17 Weeks, 1 Day
Today, Epic went to the groomer all by herself! It’s the first time I have left her for a time without being in the vicinity. It’s well past time she started learning to be confident with me there. She’s now comfortable with baths, and I can do her toenails, so it stands to reason, someone else should be able to do the same. I took her to my friend Kathy, who grooms for a living out of her home, about 10 minutes from our place. While Epic was at the “spa” Sean and I went for Groceries and Bear enjoyed the house (in his crate) to himself. We were gone about 3 hours and when I picked Epic up she was happy, clean and, by all accounts a good girl!
Once we got home, Epic was ready for lunch and a nap, she slept soundly for 3 hours.
17 Weeks, 2 Days
This afternoon, after I taught a class, Epic and I went to a conformation class. I promised Epic’s breeder I would show Epic and am looking forward to the new experience. Conformation shows are, essentially about evaluating a dog against the breed standard and against the other dogs of the same breed and then against other dogs of different breeds present at any given dog show. Breeders use dog shows as one way to evaluate breeding stock and their offspring but a large component of competitors are in it for the sport.
When I was first introduced to conformation, I thought it was rather boring and that it did not require much in the way of skill from a dog and handler. Now I know better and today, I learned a LOT. More than anything, I learned, how much I, as a handler need to know about the ring, how it is run, how to manage my dog and how to make sure we (Epic & I) look our best for a judge. In short, I’m a student again.
Epic did well, her free stacking is coming along, she is comfortable with someone approaching her for an examination (albeit, someone she knows) and she will let me briefly show her bite. She remained calm in a room with more dogs than she’s been around in her life. The only difficulty we had was the gaiting – keeping her moving in a straight line at the beginning and moving at all towards the end of class when she was obviously tired. I’m really looking forward to our next class.
17 Weeks, 3 Days
One of the things I love about having Sean home is that he always makes time to play with the dogs in the evening. No, it’s not a long walk but he will call them onto the couch or bed, or get down on the floor with them and wrestle. This SO not the way I interact with dogs but Sean and the dogs have an understanding. If they get too rough and he stops playing and walks away. Furthermore, with Bear, I haven’t seen this rough play transfer to me or to anyone else. I am thankful both dogs get this kind of play, I think they enjoy it and otherwise, I would not be providing them wit this kind of out let. The other thing I appreciate is that when Sean is playing with the dogs, I don’t have to keep a hawk’s eye on Epic. I can relax, take a shower or just close my eyes on the couch.
17 Weeks, 4 Days
Weight: 18.3kg ~40lbs
This morning, I made crock pot pulled pork so while Sean and I had pulled pork for supper, Epic and Bear each got a nice pork bone for supper. Bear, as usual tore into his. Epic licked hers for a few minutes, then she tried to bury her bowl and then finally after watching Bear she started gnawing on it. he whole process was entertaining to watch…this is the first time she has ever been given anything larger than a chicken back.
17 Weeks, 5 Days
Today we went to our second “big dog class” at Two Brown Dogs Canine Consultants. each class we do an exercise where we see how many times we can get our dogs to sit or lay down in 20 seconds. Last class Epic sat 7 times in 20 seconds, this class she sat once. Want to know why? Because in an effort to get her on all 4 feet for conformation class, I consciously stopped rewarding sits. Two weeks, that’s all it took. Now, I think it’s safe to say that I should be rewarding both intermittently if I want to keep both behaviours on cue, and I do. There is a whole group of conformation people that do not believe in teaching a dog to sit before they have finished their conformation titles – it’s hogwash. If I can teach and un-teach a dog to sit before she is 5 months old, it’s safe to say that I can teach a dog to sit and stand on cue quite easily. She’s a smart cookie.
On the way home from class, I pulled the car over onto the shoulder because I thought the car was making a weird sound. Turns out, the sound was not coming from the car but from Epic in the back seat snoring loud enough to put a full grown man (and broken car) to shame. I guess puppy class tonight was a real workout!