Archive for the ‘golden retriever’ Category

My very first blog post was called Two Dog Travel.  This was the story about how the Labrador broke out of her soft crate while visiting family.

I should have read it before we went home for Christmas.  While it’d been more than three years, and not one incident in all that time once we got back to my parents guess who decided to break out of her soft crate again?

Once again we traveled with two dogs.  This time the 55lb Labrador and the 65lb Golden Retriever.  We now have a Subaru Forester all decked out for the dogs, making the trip even more comfortable for everyone.

On Christmas Eve we decided to go shopping, so the dogs were placed into their soft crates, and my Father who elected not to go with us was given strict instructions not to let them out.

Out we went, shopping for a few hours only to come home to the Labrador greeting us at the front door, tail all a-wag, and evidence of an entire eaten loaf of bread on the floor.  All that was found was the wrapper.

“Dad!” I yelled, “I told you not to let them out!”

The Labrador followed me through the house, tail wagging as I went to find my Father, but there was no answer to my rather loud and exasperated exclamation.

Turning the corner I spotted him.  Asleep in bed!  How dare he?  He let out one dog and then didn’t bother to watch her?  “Dad!” I cried out, feeling fully justified in waking him up for a scolding.

Only… “I didn’t let them out,” was his sleepy, confused reply which sent me flying down the stairs to spy a ripped open soft crate.  This time she didn’t bother with the zipper, but ripped her way right through it, while the Golden watched (good boy for not following your sister’s example!).  And then she figure out how to open the sliding door to my old bedroom and probably happily trotted up the stairs to find the loaf of bread so easy to reach on the counter.

Lesson learned.  Metal crate purchased and left at my parents house!

And then I sheepishly apologized to my father, several times.



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Happy New Year!

I’ll be ringing in the new year home, with my husband and the three dogs.  Perfect way, in my opinion, to ring in the new year.  While there are lots of people posting about their new year resolutions I wanted to take a minute and look back over this last year.  Sometimes I don’t feel I’ve accomplished enough.  I’m not a good enough trainer.  I’m not progressing fast enough.  I left a training session frustrated today.  Part of the frustration is due to me trying to figure out my training philosophy – where my lines are.  There has been a lot on Facebook these last two days about training methodologies and labels — pure positive, balanced, force-free, “Have to” vs “Want to” — and I’ll be honest I haven’t read much of it, but what I do know is I have to figure out what is right for me and my dogs, and I’m having some difficulty with that.  Hopefully I’ll find more answers in the new year.  For the moment I’m just glad to be sitting here at home with the pups.

I know I want to stop comparing myself to other people.  I want to be able to appreciate and celebrate their accomplishments, while not feeling like I’m not keeping up.  I need to remind myself that that we don’t travel for trials, and yet the Labrador and I earned five new agility titles this year!  Considering I was someone who knew nothing about competition until the Labrador came into my life four years ago, that’s not too bad.

The Beagle earned her Novice Trick Dog title this year!  This was a lot of fun.  She loved getting to train!  And the Golden earned two legs of his Rally Novice title.  I should probably stop telling this story, but the second leg when the judge told me I qualified I replied with, “Really?  Are you sure?”  Probably not the best thing to blurt out to the judge!!

We’ve done a lot this year.  Maybe not by some people’s standards, but I’ll take it.  I’ve learned a lot this year.  Played a lot of games with my dogs.  And as frustrated as I may get I am enjoying the journey.  What more can I ask for?

Happy New Year!

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The Golden is now a Canine Good Citizen! He has his very first title! And I’m a bit torn.

Three years ago when the Labrador came into my life, the CGC was the only goal I had. I knew nothing of obedience, rally or agility. We went to training because the Labrador was going to be a big dog (Ha!) and she had to behave. It took us five tries to earn the CGC. Each and every time, my evaluator looked at me and said something along the lines of “Will you relax?” Each time I was so nervous that the Labrador didn’t pass due to reacting to my nerves. When we finally passed I was so excited!

And then I heard all the depreciating comments about the CGC when it became a title. Sometimes list serves are not your friend. “The AKC will do anything for money.” “The CGC is a joke.” They talked about it not being a real test, and that anyone could pass.

The consensus seemed to be a CGC was nothing to be proud of. And then another person that list spoke out, reminding them how earlier they were declaring Obedience and Rally a dying sport because they couldn’t attract new people. And with attitudes like this, she suggested, no wonder! She was proud of her CGC, and worked hard for it and it lead her into those other sports. I wrote to her privately and thanked her for her words.

Now, the reason I am torn is I think I understand just a little more what some of those other people were seeing. Had the evaluator who passed the Labrador been there the other night, the Golden may not have passed. This evaluator was more lenient. She allowed retries. While one retry is allowed, she allowed people several. Technically, with a retry he would have passed, but it doesn’t feel the same.

Even so, I am proud of the Golden. Proud of the work we have done. I’ve enjoyed our time training, and the games we’ve played, and in the end that is what matters. And I do still love the fact he gets CGC added to his name!


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I’ve always known that dogs have puppy teeth, loose them and their adult teeth come in. I’ve just never really paid attention to the process. This time though, I’ve been watching. The Golden has learned the command “Show Teeth.” But even so, the first time the Labrador came around the corner with blood all over her neck I freaked!

Then I realized what happened. The Golden had lost a tooth and smeared blood over all her while they wrestled. I’ve watched the holes appear. I watched as a molar came in, covered in gum then finally break through with a little white point at the start. That has to hurt.

Today the Labrador came to me with blood smeared on her again. The Golden’s top and bottom left canines, which were there yesterday are now gone. I’ve never found a tooth, only evidence of it’s loss. The Golden is now partially fangless!

My baby boy is growing up. Getting his adult teeth. At least they won’t be as needle sharp!

EDIT:  Correction — all four canines are gone now.  He is truly Fangless!  And for the first time I actually found a tooth!  Is it weird to want to save your dog’s baby teeth?


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Well since a few posts were delayed, I figured I’d make this one a day early. We’ve had a lot of fun today working on wait, leave it and starting weaving between legs. We also started working on roll over. This week is one of my busiest at work, but we still managed a few trips to new places including the Farmer’s Market and Downtown as students were returning.

We’re still working on loose leashing walking. I’m reminding myself that my trainer told me it could take ua year when I started with the Labrador. And even with the Labrador who is two we aren’t perfect. I am trying to be more consistent with both of them. We’ve added a new game to it, putting a treat on the ground and walking to it. If the leash stays loose, he gets the treat. If it doesn’t there are penalty yards! And we try again.

The Golden is also learning to catch. We are using dog cheese puffs for this. Something light and airy. If he doesn’t catch the treat, he doesn’t get the treat (well that’s the idea — sometimes he’s faster than I am!). Currently he has about a 90% success rate. Cheese tossing will come soon!

This weekend his sister (another litter) earned her RA. The weekend before she earned her RN and CD. His brother earned two legs of his RN. My little guy has big shoes to follow, but I know we’ll get there. I signed up for a Performance Puppy class that will start in October that I’m really looking forward to (and a Novice Competition class for the Labrador).

The coming months we have a lot going on. The Labrador is going to be competing in about 21 days. We have a Show N Go next weekend, and the Golden will be coming to experience his first show like conditions. Currently the Labrador has an Agility class, and then in October she’ll have Novice Obedience and Rally, while the puppy will be in Performance Puppy class. New classes, with new trainers. So much more to learn. And the Beagle just laughs at them both as she snarfs up the treats just for being cute!

Here’s the puppy practicing his sit/stay and leave it today. Ignore the junk in the background 😉



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And I’m freaking out because it feels like there is so much to do, and not enough time! I also suspect I’ve said that before in a post. I have a feeling I may always feel that way, at least while I still have to work a real job to support this dog habit of mine!

I am trying to work more on having all three dogs out in the house without it being WWF Puppy wrestling. For awhile I assumed it was the Puppy causing the issues, only to realize the Labrador is just as much to blame. I must figure this out. Right now Golden is on leash, laying next to me chewing on a bone. Beagle is under the living table with her bone, and Labrador is in the dining room on the floor. It’s a start.

This week I had both the Labrador and the Golden in the car without either being in a crate, and that went well. One day I will have my dogmobile as my husband calls it, where I can fit several crates in the car and travel with all the dogs comfortably. Next car.

This week we met cows, and experienced floating docks and metal ramps. We saw, and heard deer. We’ve worked on loose leash walking, and it’s getting better, though we have far to go. We went to the local University during move in and experienced the sights and sounds of that insanity as well as sitting on a bench down town on Saturday evening.

One thing I’ve never done before is paid a lot of attention to puppy teeth over the years of dogs I’ve had. This time I’ve been watching and paying attention. Though I still haven’t found one, I have noticed when one is missing. I watched as two teeth in the back rose up, and felt like they were completely in and yet still completely covered by gum. Yesterday the tooth finally broke through. It cannot be comfortable! We have all sorts of things for him to chew on, which reminds me I need to do another batch of frozen kongs this week.


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Rain, rain go away! Seems like all it’s done this summer is rain! My shoes are currently in the dryer since we didn’t let that stop us from training at the park this morning.

The puppy worked on his sits, downs, stands, stays and comes. We did a few spins and circles. We also played — retrieving balls, and playing tug. One thing I don’t think I did enough of with the Labrador during training at the start was play, so I’m making sure to incorporate more this time around.

After training we went to Petsmart to do more training (and buy more treats). Everyone loved the Golden of course, and he did some wonderful comes through the aisles, did some good downs and sits and stays. He even did speak and shake to earn his treat at check out. We then went through the drive thru at Panera. I didn’t know they kept treats for dogs there. Now I know!

Last week I wrote a list of goals — I’ll now add my updates:

  • Increase duration of stays – worked on duration AND distance. I’ve managed walking behind now on both sit and down, now to increase the circumference of the circle around him.
  • Introduction of Puzzle – he figured out the sliders, but not the flip part yet.
  • Crawl – getting much longer a crawl!
  • Back — no longer luring
  • Front — dong well
  • Keep working sit, down, stand, spin, circle, touch, and come — all still coming along nicely
  • Keep working Heel and Strut – gorgeous heeling today!
  • Practice focus – need to do this today, increased duration to 5 seconds before click this week
  • Walk on a loose leash – been doing this — need to do more!
  • Find out how to teach him to weave through my legs — forgot this. Something to add to this week.
  • Play! — ALWAYS!

Much of this I’ll continue doing this week, but I’m going to add in some shaping exercises I think. This week we put down the Wii Fit Balance Board and just treated him as he interacted with it to see what kind of behaviors he’d offer. I never did this with the Labrador.

We signed up for Beginner class which will start next month. This week I want to focus more on sit to greet. While we have a while before we’ll be attempting the CGC I’d like to be ready!


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