Hilda The Guard Dog

I guess she’s decided this is home.

Just a few minutes ago, we were coming in from second to last park of the evening. Partway up the ramp, Hilda stopped and barked. Loudly. I thought it was a little odd, and it wasn’t her usual sort of thing, but I thought maybe Alena was coming down with Fiona. Nope. Because here comes this kid trying to get his dog. “I’m sorry, my dog isn’t listening to me,” he says. And Hilda’s sort of spinning around to look at this other dog and what not. Finally, the kid gets his dog and goes away apologizing. No worries far as I’m concerned. Don’t think Hilda was very impressed though.

Where’d the time go?

What happened? It was just last week yesterday.

We did not go to the final puppy class. That’s because Hilda got some very loose stools. I couldn’t pick some of them up at all. Fortunately, by Saturday and skipping one meal, and a couple of half meals, she got back to normal. But the potential for something unfortunate in the back of a cab or an Uber kept us home. I expect it was OK, and I’m not terribly heartbroken that Hilda did not get her puppy kindergarten diploma. Certificate. Graduation…thingy.

Teething is officially a thing. She’s lost four teeth, at least four that I’ve caught, but there sure seem to be lots of bigger teeth than that. Not sure how long all 42 will take to come in, but it’s definitely happening.

Monday’s weigh in at the vet puts Hilda at 35 pounds. I’d measure her, but she doesn’t stand still long enough, and she might try to eat the tape measure. She’s all legs though, and getting really close to Leno in height. Admittedly, Leno is small for a lab, but still. Anyway, all the shots, including lime vaccine, are done now. We want to stay away from the vet until spaying time in several months. I plan to have her go through her first heat cycle and spay after.

Housebreaking is going all right. We’ve had fewer in-crate accidents, and none on the carpet, I don’t think. There’s been at least one #2. But this is seriously improvement. Also, less complaining at being left alone. That’s difficult, as everyone knows, they see a setup a mile off. Still, less is better, and some of it is likely barking at the cat(s). Speaking of, I’m still waiting for the cats to seriously smack her down a time or two. I think Jasper has at least once, but they definitely need to give her a couple more lessons. She hasn’t actually hurt them, but boy howdy can she slobber when she’s chewing on their ears/necks. Besides the cats, she likes to stalk the broom when someone is sweeping. She also likes to carry around socks or towels, but especially socks when she finds them. I think maybe fetch could be a thing for her.

Walking on a loose leash is still a work in progress, though there’s definitely improvement here, too. She’ll even sometimes walk past a cat without pulling to get at the cat. That’s kind of huge.

She’s getting a little bit of time to run around the house. Not much, and only after I’m sure she’s very empty. Recall is something that will need work. “Leave it” is, believe it or not, something that’s going pretty well. Si and down are very reliable, and stand is only starting to be understood. “Rest” (AKA “stay”) is…challenging, though waiting at doorways is pretty good, though not exactly solid yet. One other thing that I’m getting her to do is to put her front paws on the first step going upstairs. This is a little bit challenging, because she wants to put her feet on the second step instead. Still when she’s on leash, she does stop at the bottom or top of the steps before we go up or down. That really is huge.

This week, regression, progress

Regression and progress? You bet!

First, I observed last week, on Facebook after I posted, that the puppy class trainer is one of those “We don’t use the word ‘dominant’ in this class” people. Dominance theory/wolf pack theory has been scientifically disproved. Which just goes to show that anything can be misinterpreted, including the words “dominant”, “leadership”, “pack”, etc. etc. But enough of that. I have my own opinions on that. Anyway, we don’t use the rod “dominant” but “a bit of a bully” is OK? Seems to me that “dominant” would perhaps have been more accurate. Just sayin’.

Starting backwards and working back, I guess. Puppy class, we finally, finally, got teaching “Leave it”, which is, IMO, kind of important. I actually like the way we did that, as in, “Your dog should never get the thing which you’re telling/teaching him to leave alone”. So she doesn’t like the cookie on the nose thing, and “Wait” might be more appropriate for a “You don’t get that thing until I tell you”. Whereas, “Leave it” would be for gross, dangerous, or just off limits things that you don’t want pup getting the idea he may get eventually. I think the lightbulb is starting to go off on this for her, but we’re just starting with it. It involves two treats: one that the dog has to eventually ignore, and another to reward for ignoring. I wonder if it makes a difference if the treats are the same thing or not? I think I may experiment with that.

One thing, OK, another thing, we really need to work on is riding in the car. Hilda seems to be a bit anxious about it. She gets in OK, or doesn’t fuss about being put in. But as we start to move, she is very restless. She whines and won’t stay still, wanting to climb up into my lap, or else somewhere at any rate, which is sometimes my lap. I’m really not sure how to get her more comfortable with this, apart from just doing it…I mean…I can’t exactly just take her for a car ride, or do it the usual way with brief exposures and going up and down the driveway and all that whenever I like, can I? But this is kind of an important thing for eventually.

We’ve got a pretty reliable sit and a nearly as reliable down now, which is fantastic. She’s even coming back more often when I call her if I drop her leash. The formal “Come”, dog at my left and sitting, is coming along slowly but surely, and walking on a loose leash is coming along even more slowly. Once I get her good at walking on a loose leash, I can start to see about walking her with Leno, a thing which has, so far, been kind of a disastrophe.

The regression? That’s a thing which Melanie I think wanted to kill me over. Last week, I had to run an errand, so I put the Beast in the crate upstairs, where she sleeps. It was morning, she had chew toys but not the food ball, I don’t think, because she had eaten not very long before. (Anyway, that only seems to help for a little bit.) Long story interesting, i was gone about two hours. And apparently, Hilda made her displeasure known by barking. Loudly. Constantly. For the whole two hours. With only brief, as in a couple minutes, breaks occasionally. However, she apparently stopped when I was about five minutes from home. Some would say this is proof positive of the psychic connection between humans and their critters. I leave that bit of speculation to you. Later in the week though, I had another thing to do, and this appeared to have been less of an issue again.

BTW, for those keeping score, according to the scale at home, that is, weighing me by myself and then e carrying Hilda, she weighs about 33 pounds. Sharon’s Freida is a couple pounds heavier. But she’s growing steadily, looks like she gains five pounds every couple weeks. Fortunately, this will slow down. Some day. She’s definitely going to be bigger than Leno though, she’s catching up to him in height already.

More This Week, Stuff We’reWorking On…

This week has been kind of a bitch, with apologies to Hilda and others, but none of it has really been Hilda’s goings-on, believe it or not. With Hilda, things have been going pretty well. A few accidents in the house, mostly from excitement or playing too hard, but definite improvement in that area.

I forgot to mention that we’ve also been working on taking treats more gently. As in, yes, you get a treat, no that treat is not my fingers, which I’d like to keep, thanks. That’s all good now, and rarely does she forget anymore. My fingers are happy about that.

I met the new vet this week, and she says Hilda’s looking good. She’s 28 pounds, and, of course, still growing. Heck, I think she’s catching up to Leno in height. One more limes vaccination and we’re done for a little while until spaying time.

She’s walking on leash without so much pulling, especially on the back ramp. She hasn’t quite generalized this, however, but I now know that yes, she is capable of walking on a loose leash. We’re also working on a more formal “Come”, where she sits at my left side when called. Different from the more informal “Here!”, which means just sort of come over near me somewhere. A bit like the difference between “Stay” (Rest) and “Wait”, which is the thing we talked about in puppy class, along with going through the tunnel, thus working on recall and going through hula hoops and things. Oh, and we also worked on “Go to your mat”. Well, talked about it, and showed practical applications.

I’m thinking that Hilda must learn things but then not do them unless she sees a point to them. Hard to explain why I think this, but it’s like, “Oh…you want me to do what? Why? What’s the point? Where is the practical application in this, if i do this strange thing you’re asking of me?” Could be all wrong, of course.

I also learned that Hilda is “a bit of a bully”. (OK…so the instructor said that, yet also that she isn’t a rotten dog, after I called her a rotten dog once in jest, because I say all my dogs are rotten and none of them take it personally.) This is because she apparently was going after the dog in class who is the shyest/most fearful or nervous. Well, she just never learned to not do that. Well…OK…I guess so, since all her littermates are all pretty confident and self-assured. I really don’t think she means to be a bully, and maybe I sound like the kid who steals your lunch money’s parent now. Don’t think so though. But yes, we definitely need to tone her lunging and jumping down some, and I’ve got no argument there. I mean, there are the cats, who I’m sure will some day like to not have their ears chewed on.

Lots to work on. Besides all that other stuff, there’s riding in the car. She’s whiny and restless. Of course, she doesn’t like to sit still for long under the best of circumstances, but she thankfully hasn’t been carsick or anything like that, and she doesn’t shy away from riding in the car. Still, another thing, and a thing that won’t be as easy to tackle really.

Anyway, of course there’s lots to do, but it all at least seems eventually manageable. She isn’t quite as obsessive about the cats, for example. So, yeah, things are coming along, a thing for which I am very grateful.