Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lots of trips outside, and being left inside.

Whoops, need to catch up! It's been a busy few days.

On Sunday, Chimera and I drove an hour and a half to visit my parents. They live in the suburbs and have a fenced backyard, so my dogs always love hanging out there. (I do not have a backyard.) My parents were of course quickly won over by Cai's adorable looks and playful personality. And Cai loved my dad! I hadn't realized that my dad is so good at playing with puppies, but he immediately got Cai running after toys and chasing his hands.

We also paid a visit to my aunt and uncle and their 72 pound mutt. Normally I wouldn't let my tiny puppy interact with such a big, active dog, but Tori is well-trained and quickly figured out how to play with Chimera while lying down. Under close supervision, we let them play for an entire hour.

Cai spent a little time crated at my parents' house while I napped. He did not have any potty accidents in either home. What a great socialization day! My dad took lots of pictures for me but I haven't received them yet.

On Monday we took a field trip to Berkeley's busy Telegraph Ave. There are always "scary" homeless people as well as young punks loitering about. Cai gave a couple of people the evil eye but was easily redirected. Mostly he was interested in sniffing the ground and picking up EVERYTHING that fit in his mouth. We stopped here and there to practice sit, down, and circle work.

Tuesday was a relaxed morning, and for the first time I put Chimera in his crate and drove away. As far as I could tell, he slept quietly the entire 30 minutes I was at the grocery store.

Today was a day off, but I arranged my day as if I were leaving for a couple of hours to do dog walking. (Starting next week, that will be the norm for us!) In the morning I took Chimera to the Berkeley Marina/Cesar Chavez Park for his first off leash trip to tire him out.  Even though it was off leash, he's at that puppy stage when he is scared to leave my side, so he stayed right with me. There was almost no one else there, since it was a dreary weekday, and he didn't encounter any other dogs or people. He just milled around at my feet, sniffing and eating plants. I used boiled chicken when we did practice recall, and he was VERY motivated by it. We also practiced sit, down, and circle work.

When we got home he got breakfast, played with Jasper, chewed on a bully stick, and then started to fall asleep shortly before noon -- right on schedule. I put him into his crate and he settled in right away. I went outside and I didn't have anywhere to go, so I locked the door and sat in the car for a couple of hours, reading a book. At 2 pm I snuck back into the apartment and was able to take a shower without Cai waking up, until I was finishing up and had a coughing fit, which alerted him that I was back and surely doing something very interesting. He started barking for attention.

Since then we've had a relaxed day at home. I thought that he would be full of energy after napping for two hours straight, but he continued to alternate between napping, chewing quietly on a bully stick, and playing for short bursts.

Every time we are outside we are practicing leash walking. He is showing some understanding of coming back toward me if he runs forward and reaches the end of the leash. Honestly I am lazy and not bothering to reinforce walking next to me, but he's a big sniffer and doesn't pull very often. Potty training has been going well -- we went a few days without accidents until this afternoon.

I use his food for training and we've been slowly making progress with a few tricks, especially going to his mat. I'm trying to shape a variety of object interactions to build up his repertoire of behaviors. I have to remind myself to do short sessions. I've finally disciplined myself into COUNTING OUT just 10 treats to hold in my hand per activity. We've been working on handling and grooming more than anything else.

His ears are both halfway up. The bases of his ears are erect but then the tips curl forward. Can't take the cuteness.

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