Category Archives: End of Week Wrap Ups

Loki’s sexy beast of a collar

I have been DYING waiting for this collar to arrive.

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The trophies for Winners, Best of Breed (and I think Best Opposite) at the Trenton RRCUS Regional Specialty were matching leather collars and latigo leashes made by Sexy Beast Dog Collars.

We admired the collars while they were on the trophy table, and when I asked a fellow exhibitor about them, she mentioned that the collar maker was a Ridgeback owner herself and had a booth set up in the vendor area.  So OF COURSE we had to wander over and take a look after judging was over!

I was looking through the ready-made collars she had in her booth when Nathan called my attention to a black leather collar with two-tone green braiding, and I knew as soon as I laid eyes on it that with just a tiny little change, it would be the PERFECT collar for Loki.  I asked her if she could change the lighter green in the braid to gold, and then we handed over our cash and the waiting began.

And it just about killed me.  I was dying you guys.  But today it arrived!  I was in the van going to pick Nathan up from the station when I glanced at the mailbox and saw a yellow mailing envelop sticking out.  I thought … hmm … what are the chances?  I hopped out of the van, snatched that envelope up with a quickness and then squealed in delight.  It took every ounce of willpower I had to not rip it open right then and there, but I knew Nathan would want to see the collar too, so I waited until I picked him up and let him open the envelope.

It WAS perfect!  The green and gold and black echoes the Tom Hiddleston costuming for Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (even though Loki is named after a racehorse and not the character from the movies, I lurves me some Hiddles, y’all).

So, now Loki has his very own fancy collar and doesn’t have to wear Jackson’s hand-me-down puppy collar anymore.  My little boy is growing up so fast, sniffle!

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End of Week Wrap Up

Haven’t had one of these in a while …

  • Jackson has completed what I think is week four? five? of his beginner pet obedience class.  The first week of class I wasn’t sure if he’d even graduate, because he was so overstimulated and out of control.  This week, he was the class star.  Granted, it was behaviors that we have trained the heck out of (leave it and waiting at doorways), but still.  Huge turn around in just a few weeks.  Proud of my big man.
  • I decided to break out the clicker and start teaching “sit” to Clover today.  Luring didn’t work, so I went to shaping — clicked her a few times for shifting her weight backwards and moving her front paws backward.  This got me a sphinx down, so I cleverly decided to teach her down on cue (with the goal of later luring a sit up from the down).  Two practices later and we’re already attaching a cue in the living room.  Tomorrow I’ll move her to the kitchen and begin generalizing.  Behold, the power of the clicker!
  • Loki‘s full time job right now is growing and filling out.  We’ll be heading to NJ for his next show.  It’s a RRCUS regional speciality, so I’m keeping my expectations very low, but it will be fun to go see the dogs and meet people and get him out and about.  Exciting!

Jackson and Loki are of a very similar size now, height-wise.  Jackson is still a much more mature dog than Loki, but under the right circumstances, if you’re not careful, you can confuse one for the other.

We were preparing to take the dogs out for last outs, and because we have no lights in the backyard yet, it’s easier to take them out on leash still, even with the temporary fencing up.  Normally Loki and Clover are leashed, and Jackson is allowed to wander at will.  So we’re all crowded around the door, and I grab a slip leash and put it on “Loki” and then go into the backyard.  Behind me, I hear Nate telling “Jackson” to go into the back yard as he opens the door, and then Loki goes barreling past me into the yard.

This confuses me, because I thought I had “Loki” on leash.

I look down, check the white chest spot and … yup … I had Jackson on leash.  A friend suggested on Facebook that this was perfectly natural, and Loki was just following in the steps of his Norse namesake and practicing being the Dog of Mischief.

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Loki at Playgroup

Last night we took Loki (and Amy brought Harvest) to Friday night playgroup at Masterpeace, which is where Loki had his Puppy K class.

Now, I normally am not a fan of dog parks because of the potential for one clueless owner with a badly behaved dog to ruin things for everyone else.  There’s a lot of bad behavior that goes on at dog parks in the name of “play” that can really adversely affect your own dog’s interactions even when not at the park.  So I avoid parks like the plague.  However, weather has been really crappy lately and Loki is under exercised so I’ve been looking for indoor opportunities for him, and my choices were ring rental (rent time at a training center and use it for indoor play with my dogs), or playgroup.  I decided to take a chance on playgroup.

Read more on why most dog parks should be avoided at Paws Abilities.

I felt a little more comfortable doing this at Masterpeace because (1) I’ve taken classes there and I know the trainers there are generally clueful and (2) since it’s for-pay and not a free park, odds were that I’d get a generally higher level of clue-ful-ness from the other owners, as they would probably be people whose dogs have also gone through classes at Masterpeace.  I was still pretty nervous walking into the ring though!  Loki is just at that age where even one bad interaction with another dog could leave him affected for life.

As you can see from the video, things went swimmingly well.  Loki had a brief moment of uncertainty when he entered the ring and had dogs swirling around him and checking him out, but then the crowd broke up and he went galloping off, and he acted like he had been best buds with these dogs all his life.  There was a nice mix of adult dogs and puppies, and most of the play, even though it was a lot of run and chase, was nicely low arousal run and chase.  I only saw one dog interaction on our side of the ring that had the potential to go ugly, and the dogs themselves decided to de-escalate and go in different directions.  There was a lot of nice splitting done by the older dogs, and all the dogs were lovely about taking turns chasing or being chased and mingling together in very fluid pairs.

I really couldn’t have asked for a nicer group play experience for Loki.  He showed me in Puppy K that he can be a bit of an ass to puppies that aren’t old enough to know how to set boundaries, but through playing with Caryl-Rose’s Clyde, my dogs, Amy’s dogs, and Barbara’s Whippets, he’s really nice when with older dogs.  He takes corrections from other dogs nicely and both moderates his play afterwards and bounces back very quickly.

The sweetest moment of the night came when he realized Amy had brought Harvest to playgroup.  They both had a moment of “Hey, I know that dog!” and very clearly recognized each other and spent time playing together.  Loki even very pointedly moderated his speed when playing chase me with Harvest, slowing down and looking back to make sure Harvest could keep up!  It’s exactly the kind of doggy friendship Amy and I were hoping for, since they’re about the same age and will be traveling together to shows.

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Week in Review

So, how did Loki’s first week go?

Pretty damn brilliantly.  Each night he sleeps longer and longer, and last night he slept from 10:30pm to 4am before he needed to wake up and go outside.  He is sleeping in his crate at night now, not on the bed, which I think is helping him sleep longer and more deeply.  He self-crates for naps during the day.

We have had a few potty accidents in the house, but only a very few.  I’d like to be errorless, if at all possible, but not this time.

He both wrestles with Jackson (who is very obliging and lies down on the floor to let the baby crawl all over him), and also toy plays with us and with Jackson (tug, mostly).  Clover is a very patiently suffering big sister who lets the puppy practice biting at her hocks and flanks with very little complaint, but when he forgets to keep a soft mouth, she reminds him that she is the big sister.

He has met our mail carrier, some workers who came to clean our gutters, somewhere between 35 and 45 strangers (varied between men, women, young, old, teenagers and even a baby); been to the vet’s office, two pet stores, a New Jersey rest area, Nate’s office (and the surrounding South Boston office block), and a home improvement store; and he’s met two adult dogs and a very patient office kitty.

I have quite the collection of stuffed toys that have not survived playing tug of war between Loki and Jackson — they will get repaired and re-introduced when he’s older.  Inappropriate chewing has been nearly non-existent.  He looks for a hoof or a bone when he needs to chew things.

All in all, I’m pretty darn impressed by how easy the first week has been.  And I know this is probably just the calm before the storm!

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Sunday Morning Musings (Purgatory Chasm!)

  • We’re taking the dogs today to a local geological feature called Purgatory Chasm.  How awesome a name is that?!?
  • Next weekend in Stow, MA is a lure coursing event that I plan to attend with Jackson for some more practice runs (hopefully on his part, not my part).  Keep your fingers crossed that he “turns on” to lure coursing!
  • Poor boy had his food cut back by four ounces last week so that we could drop a few pounds to get him to coursing weight.  He, of course, thinks he’s going to starve to death now.
  • Since my lawn mower broke, the grass in the backyard is now approximately waist high (slight exaggeration).  I’m sorta afraid of losing Clover in the “jungle.”
  • Then again, if the grass were more brown and less green, I could pretend I was watching Jackson out in the African plains!
  • Jackson gets what I affectionally refer to as “the hunger pukes” if he goes too long between meals.  He throws up a nice frothy mass of yellow bile (ewwww!) and then is fine afterward.  I’ve been lucky enough, often enough, to catch him before he actually throws up that I can hustle him out the backdoor so I don’t have to clean vomit off my kitchen floors.  The side effect of this, as I discovered this morning, is that Jackson now ASKS to go outside so he can throw up.
  • I need to start giving Jackson a snack before bed or first thing in the morning so he doesn’t throw up, whether or not he’s learned to be useful and ask to go outside.
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End of Week Wrap-up

Well, we haven’t done one of these in a while, so here’s an end of week wrap up.

In addition to ordering dog food this week, I spent some time storing away all the dog food I ordered last month.  I prefer to get my food order in, thaw it just enough that it can be distributed into my reusable tubs, and then everything gets stacked neatly into our upright freezer and I just pull out what I need during the month.  Last month I didn’t do this — I’ve been pulling out things to thaw as I need them, and it’s been bugging me all month.

“I need my tubs!” I ranted to Amy when I went to go see Emmy.  So … all the remaining food has been divided into tubs, so the freezer is ready to receive this month’s food shipment.  I did notice yesterday that I won’t have enough of the small blue tubs I use for muscle meat, since I ordered about 50 pounds of meat, but I only have about 20 empty tubs (each tub holds 1 pound).  I have another 15 tubs in use currently.  While I’d like to run out and buy another 15 tubs (bringing my monthly capacity to 50 pounds), instead I’ve scheduled on my calendar a mid-day food packing month.  I can handle twice a month.  Weekly (like I’ve done for February) is just too much.

Denise Fenzi (dog sport instructor and competitor extraordinaire) has opened an online dog sport academy.  I am so excited about this I just can’t tell you.  BUT … competing for my dog training funds … Susan Garrett also just opened registration for her 5-Minute Recall class.  What to choose, what to choose?  Argh!  So many great classes, not nearly enough money.

And, finally, some housekeeping for the website — my web hosting provider does daily, weekly, and monthly backups of my website, but Nate reminded me that I need to also host a backup of the site locally, so this morning I downloaded the most recent backup to my computer.  All safe and sound!

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