This evening, I had to head to Portage La Prairie to teach a class. Since Sean is away, both Epic and Bear came with me. Before class we had a short walk around the block and then Epic came inside to socialise while Bear camped out in his crate in the car. I left Epic with a friend while I went out to get her crate and when I came back she did not appear to panicked by my absence.
One of the things I have agreed to do with Epic is obtain either a CKC Canine Good Neighbour Certificate or an AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate. Both the CGC and the CGN are programs designed to encourage responsible dog ownership and the test contains basic exercises designed to test whether a dog is well behaved in public around people and other dogs. The most difficult test item, and one that I think is the most toughly judged is the final test – supervised isolation. Dogs are left with a stranger for 3 minutes and are not supposed to whine bark show distress or be generally out of control until the owner returns. This means that if your dog is calm until he sees you return and then barks and jumps to get to you, depending on the evaluator, you could disqualify for nothing more than your dog being happy to see you.
In the scheme of things, I’m not certain this is the most realistic test item. I’d like my dogs to be calm when I leave them with strangers (vet, groomer, boarding) however I am ok with them being a bit excited when we are reunited so long as they aren’t knocking anyone over in the process.
It took me quite a long time to teach Bear to contain himself when he was reunited with me….and I have the feeling Epic might have a rally title or two under her belt before we even attempt the CGN or CGC.
14 Weeks, 1 Day
Today we headed to 4U Farms in St. Norbert MB to take Epic to a Herding Instinct Test. Herding Instinct tests are a pass/fail kind of thing and simply evaluate the natural instinct your dog displays the day of the test. Passing an instinct test doesn’t mean you have a herding champion in the making, some dogs with instinct need more training than others to succeed in trials. Conversely, failing doesn’t mean your dog is a herding dud it may just be that your dog needs a few exposures to stock to ‘turn on’ or perhaps they need to mature a bit.
I didn’t have a clue what to expect with Epic. I knew her breeder took the litter out on ducks when they were about 7 weeks old…about 1/2 of Epic’s lifetime ago.
At first, Epic was pretty certain the the ducks would bite her. She ran towards them and they got all flappy which made her jump back. We caught one and held it for her so she could sniff it, determine it was not a duck of the puppy killing variety and then she was much more willing to give chase. Once she gave chase, the ducks would scatter and her little puppy brain had a tough time diving itself between having fun exploring the arena and keeping the ducks together.
She did have a few moments, however of gathering the the ducks together, working in balance and even a bit of driving (moving the ducks away from the handler as opposed to towards the handler).
Epic passed the test and I’m looking forward to more herding with her. You can view the test evaluation form here.
14 Weeks, 2 Days
This morning, I took Epic to a local vaccine clinic for her final distemper/parvo booster. I stayed on hand afterwards to help out with dogs receiving vaccines, nail trims and to hand out some daycare coupons and talk to potential customers.
While I was busy Epic waited in her crate, when I was not busy she was out to say hi to whoever would pet her. She met quite a few new people and even made friends with a very sweet little girl.
After the clinic, I had to go into town to teach a class and to pick up some groceries so I decided this would be an excellent opportunity to leave her home alone with Bear. After she was fed, watered, went out to potty and had a new (to her) chew toy to play with I left her in her crate, beside Bear for what ended up being 4 hours. Class happens to coincide with what is typically her afternoon nap-time so I returned to a clean, dry, happy puppy. Much better than the last time I left her alone for that length of time! With Sean away, and my very long work days, I have even less opportunity to leave her home alone so for the next few weeks, if I have errands to run on the weekend, instead of staying in a crate in the car, Epic will be staying in her crate at home like a big girl.
14 Weeks, 3 Days
Today we returned to St. Norbert, MB to attend a herding trial with Bear. Epic came along for the ride and got to schmooze with her herding friends both canine and feline. Sometimes I think my dogs have better social lives than I do.
14 weeks, 6 days
For the past few days, I have been battling some kind of virus. It figures that I would get sick when I’m stick home alone with a puppy. Epic has been spending a lot of her time with food puzzle toys (Kong, squirrel, Nina Ottoson) and chew toys. Now that I am feeling better, I’m looking forward to the weekend when we can get out and do more.