Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mish Mash

No lie, I'm a little worn out.  This post is going to be a little of this and a little of that.  Partially because we haven't been doing a ton of concrete things right now since this is still Dominic's first week home (it's only been a week???).  And also partially because my brain isn't functioning at its sharpest at the moment.

Dominic is growing like a weed!  As he's getting bigger and more sure of himself, I'm giving him and Miley small chunks of time out together.  Miley has learned that she has to take it down a notch with the puppy or else play time is over.  They're both learning and happy to be out together.  Dominic gets tired out because it takes so much more effort for him to play with her and she's basically a big jungle gym that plays back.  Miley is happy because she's not excluded and she gets to play with the puppy, which is the ultimate motivator for her.  Unfortunately for her, she does not get to play with him endlessly.  Which means that there are chunks of time each day where I am in with Dominic and she has to stay on the other side of the x-pen.

She is not a fan of this and it leads to much whining.  Thankfully, the amount of whining has decreased over the past week, but it does leave me feeling strung out between the two dogs.  A balancing act that I am still adjusting to.

Also thankfully, Dominic's bladder control is increasing!!  Thank goodness!!  He can now pretty reliably hold it for 20 min. or longer while outside of his crate.  This means that I'm not having to watch him like a hawk for the slightest indication that he needs to go out, which is a bit of a relief.  I am, however, having to watch him to keep him out of trouble.  He has figured out how to open the kitchen drawers and cabinets.  He stumbled on this by accident because everything that can possibly go in his mouth now does.  It started with chewing on the nobs on the drawers.  Then he pulled on them and voila!  The drawer opens!  Super.  Now he's graduated to using his paws instead of his mouth on the handles to open them.  Sometimes I wonder how much easier it would be to live with dogs who aren't terribly bright. ;)
Training time with either dog is sort of sporadic.  I think it's going to still probably be a couple more weeks before I'm able to really figure out a routine and feel like I'm accomplishing more than just shuffling dogs and playing with them.  Having to keep an eye on Dominic means that everything else I do around the house is taking me about three times longer to get through than it did before.  Again, with increased bladder control that's getting a little better.  But he's also still ridiculously cute and I want to soak in this phase while I can since they grow up so fast.  Which means that I do spend a lot time watching and playing with him just because.  I have managed a couple of training sessions where I alternate between working with the dogs.  It's been stilted and a little awkward, but I think I've got an idea that might work.  Initially I would work with Dominic first with Miley on the other side of the x-pen.  Then I would put him in his crate and work with her for a bit, periodically rewarding him with treats for being relatively well behaved and quiet in his crate.  The part that I didn't factor in at first was that an awake puppy, regardless of where they are, is a puppy who's bladder is still on the same time frame that it would be awake and outside of the crate.  Ahhhhhhhh.  I sort of forgot that little nugget and was operating on the timeline of how long he can usually hold it in his crate ASLEEP.  So we had a few accidents to clean up, but I have been sufficiently trained to factor this in now. ;) Today (barring any tweaks in my timeline for today) I'm going to try having both dogs in their crates when they're not getting worked, versus having Miley loose in the living room.  Partially because it'll be less awkward switching dogs and also partially because I need to work on reinforcing her for not whining when I'm working with Dominic.  We'll see how that goes.  Neither one of them is particularly pleased when I'm playing with the other and they aren't part of it.  Juggling two dogs who are both quite social and in need of plenty of exercise and attention is definitely different than juggling two dogs when one of them is a senior and less needy and the other is a puppy; all while keeping them mostly separated.  So yeah, I'm a little tired.

And because I haven't slowed down my schedule at all, this means that Dominic gets to go along on all sorts of fun outings and join in on some of the classes that Miley and I are taking.  He got to go and watch Miley's agility class from his crate on Friday.  He was surprisingly well behaved in there and didn't whine too much.  Tomorrow he'll go along to Miley's obedience lesson, where he'll actually start participating.  His portion of the lesson will be short and will consist of the beginnings of foundation work as well as some conformation work.  We'll also be heading down to Silverton to visit my family after our lesson so that my parents get to meet Dominic.  And today is the start of a 16 week online tricks class that our agility instructor is teaching.  I'm pretty excited about that.  I was a little apprehensive initially because I do have a tendency to over commit and end up overwhelming myself.  And adding additional things to my plate when I'm still in the process of figuring out how to juggle/work in a new puppy, could spell uber stress for me.  But I do like this class because it's fun (less serious or competition oriented right now equals less strain for me), it's spread out over a lengthier time frame (less intense training schedule) and it's online (I'm not having to factor in drive time as well as the time it takes to load and unload two dogs and all their gear, which has become an entailed process at the moment).

I've also relaxed my timeline for having Miley obedience ring ready.  My initial goal was to have her ready to enter Beginner Novice for the Great Dane Club of Northern California specialty in Lodi in April.  If she had continued to be an only dog, this is a timeline that I think we could have been pretty successful at meeting given how we've been doing and how she's been working out in random public locations.  However, that kind of timeline right now with a new puppy, makes my brain want to implode.  So, I decided to stop stressing myself out about it and I'll reassess where we're at after the specialty.  There's a match the night before the trial there, so I can use that as a barometer of how we're doing overall and see how much more work we need to do.  Not that we won't attend matches in the mean time, I'm just setting that as my reassessment point.  Plus Dominic will be much bigger, they'll be able to be loose in the house together a lot more and I'll have a much better handle on a training schedule for both dogs that doesn't put me in the loony bin.

In other non-competition/training related news, Miley got to see her first REAL snow yesterday!!  I was going on a group snowshoeing outing to Mt. Hood with a bunch of friends and I brought Miley along as well.  She was very unimpressed by the one inch that we got at our house a couple weeks back, so I wasn't sure if she would have the same blase attitude about the snow on the mountain.  My hope was that she would absolutely love it like Heffner and Bess did.  Thankfully she did. :) I didn't take a ton of pictures, but I did manage a few.  Her absolute favorite was to leap through the deeper drifts.  She even attempted climbing the big hill at the end to the ridge line with me, but the soft and deep snow meant that she was post holing the whole way.  A factor that made for a high amount of frustrating effort for not a lot of gain.  She wasn't enjoying that part, so I had one of our group keep her on leash with them while I got to a point that she wouldn't try to climb after me.  Meanwhile at home, a co-worker was hanging out at the house watching Dominic.  Thankfully she loves puppies and was happy to wear him out and keep him entertained while Miley and I went out to play.  At the end of the day, I had a fun time out with friends and two tired dogs.  It was a really great day!
Happy weekend everyone!!

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