Monday, December 27, 2010

We met Leo's brother!

Last weekend we were at an agility trial in Elma, WA. There was a lady that stopped me early in the first day to chat about Pomeranians and wanted to say "hi" to Leo. Later that day I was working in one of the rings and got to see her run her two Poms. She has a black and an orange. Later this week I learned of a Yahoo group called Active Pomeranian. Low and behold, she and I "met" each other again. As she read my introduction it occurred to her that we had a lot in common - more than we thought on the surface. Her orange boy, Taz, will turn two the end of February 2011, too. It turns out Taz (Gemini's Raz 'Ma Taz) is Leo's brother! This is so exciting! We live relatively close to one another (She in Washington; we live in Oregon.) and we're likely to continue to run into each other in trials. In fact, we may see her at the Rose City Classic as she's entered in agility there. I'm pretty excited to see how both boys do and it'll be neat just to have someone else in the breed to chat with.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rally Novice - Willamette Toy Dog Fanciers

I'm a little late in updating this. Leo was entered into Rally Novice A two afternoons a bit earlier this month. I would have loved for him to get into the Toy show in the morning but I was unable to get off work for the entire day. So, Vegas, Leo, and I headed up to the Clark County Fairgrounds about 12:30 both Thursday and Friday the 9th and 10th. It was pouring down torrential rains and stinkin' miserable to set up but thankfully the building was warm and the show was indoors - not in the dirt. I really struggle at events when both dogs are there. Leo has such a fit when I walk away with Vegas and, in this instance, I brought the soft crate for Vegas and she couldn't be left alone in it. Thank goodness Lindsay was there and willing to help hold Vegas when needed.

Here is Thursday's course:
The judge was relaxed and even going and basically said that he'd happily take our dogs if we didn't treat them right. Too bad I didn't get to enjoy it. Vegas went first and was terrible for me so poor Leo got me tense and frustrated a few dogs later. I'm not sure what's with him but he tends to be nervous about walking into the ring. He always looks at the gate/fencing like he's nervous about it. We did get in and immediately something went wrong. I started without being told I could. Damn! Talk about amping up my nerves!

Leo wasn't doing great. He wasn't healing with me; instead he was pulling out toward the end of the leash and looking, sniffing, and generally acting stressed. The moving down was supposed to be more of a pause, down, walk but we'd never practiced that and it wasn't happening. We made our way to the down and walk around and that's where all hell broke loose. Our ring butted up against the obedience ring. A couple of stewards were doing something and someone dropped a stack of the wooden jump slats right next to us. They were literally within two feet and the only thing separating us was the white, slatted fencing used at dog shows. Can we say freaked out? Poor Leo! Of all the things to happen when I needed to be building his confidence!

I tried to pull it together. The judge said we could restart the exercise without penalty. We did and got it mostly, but the next thing was impossible. Leo couldn't stop looking at the other ring and I couldn't hold it together any more. I couldn't get him back and I lost my composure, said "thank you," and left the ring. We never looked back other than to assure myself I was not suited to obedience.

Long story short, I decided to come back Friday.

Vegas went first again but I had more time between dogs so I could work with him, play, spend time, and get him more comfortable by being near the ring. Leo was more comfortable right off the bat this day versus the previous although he did look around a bit. Perhaps a big part of it was just spending time near the ring. I also felt more comfortable and that had to help.

We pulled it off and Leo scored a 92! His first Rally Novice leg!
I just sent Leo's next entry in today. He'll have two opportunities for his remaining novice legs at the 2011 Rose City Classic.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vancouver Kennel Club Rally Trial

Leo was entered in his first performance event on Halloween. Initially I didn't enter him because I haven't really worked anything with him for rally, but with a little good natured "egging on" from a friend, I went for it. In the end I wasn't sorry for having entered him. He wasn't ready but it was a good environment to get him ready. And in the end, he actually surprised me as I felt he did better than Vegas. My guess though is that he was not walking close enough to me to count as a heel. Nonetheless, we got through it and I know next time we will do better.

That was the positive, "glass half full" side of the story. The hard part about this day was that ring time was set for 11:30 am beginning with Excellent B and progressing toward Novice A. The steward even said, when we checked in, they were running on schedule and "at last it won't be 4 o'clock" when it's your turn. Well, it was 4:15. We had arrived shortly before 10 am so we could get checked in, watch the Danes and maybe a couple other breeds in conformation, and then have a chance at our rally run. Instead we ended up trying to kill time, we were hungry, we were bored, we were tired of practicing our rally exercises, and Leo was probably over stimulated as this was an environment he was not accustomed (much different than an agility trial). I probably made the mistake, too, of not setting up the crates or putting the dogs in the truck when we knew how slowly the event was progressing. But, as with many things, hindsight is 20/20. So by the time we "ran," I had two very mentally done dogs. Plus, rally was held in the horse arena at Clark County Fairgrounds. This arena is used for a ton of events and the dirt floor is oh so fragrant. Vegas wanted to sniff cones a lot and poor Leo was even closer to the ground for sniffing plus a dog had urinated in the ring. All in all, that made for a lot of stress and frustration because I know my dogs can work better.

Our biggest issues were just going into the ring he saw something he wasn't certain of so pulled away. The down and walk around was an issue even though I got him to where he was doing it consistently outside the ring. I think the rest was just not being close enough to me. I would have loved to have video but with my son holding Vegas and her pitching a fit that Mama wasn't working with her, it didn't happen.

So Leo walked away without a qualifying leg toward his RN but I hope it served to show him he can work in a ring with me and that we'll do better next time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Super Smart Puppy

Leo's breeder said he needed a job. His brother has been doing agility for a while. Turns out he's doing nose work, too. Another brother is doing canine freestyle. Do we sense a trend here?

So yesterday after work I took the dogs in the back yard with the intention of playing fetch to burn off some energy. Neither cared about the ball at all so I decided to work with Vegas on the dog walk. This is what happened and where it took us.

Tonight we added a jump. Success! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Foundation Class, Week 2

I have an 11.5" rockstar on my hands. Seriously. Leo is going to completely rock once he's truly trained. He is showing such an affinity for agility. He is willing. He is smart. He is energetic. And he smiles all the time. We did our circular jump sequence again tonight handling it from the left and right. No problems there - in fact we had enough speed his hair was really blowing back, a beautiful sight to see. We tried the wobble board and didn't achieve much. I'm going to discard using that one anymore since it's causing him to be afraid instead of giving him confidence. I had neglected to work on targeting with him this week using a butter container lid or something similar so I was quick to grab one of those and work on sit/stay then release to target the lid in between things. For an hour class with six dogs, there really isn't down time. We are able to keep moving through stations and working on things. After we warmed up on the jump sequence we got to move on to the tunnel. Initially Autumn had it set up at about four feet long. It didn't really take any effort to send Leo through the tunnel - even without me being right on the other end where he could see me. By the end of class he had run through it at about eight feet in length with his leash trailing behind with little prompting. Super exciting!

We also introduced the tire tonight. Our instructor said she won't spend a lot of time on it but it will be available for us throughout the remaining weeks of class. Leo struggled a bit, mostly because he's still a bit sensitive to the clanging, banging noises others might be making and whether that means something might come crashing down on him. After a couple of attempts alone, one of the instructors held him while I went to the other side of the tire to call him through. Success! Well, once. The second time Sir Leo still decided to run around the tire. LOL. But, the third and subsequent times - event by myself - he got it and jumped through willingly. Go Leo!

We went over the a-frame again tonight. This time there was no intro necessary for Leo. I just led him at it and gave him some space to gain momentum and up he went! In fact, he hit the bottom and turned around and went over it again. Now to work on targeting....certainly he's not leaping off but I want a criteria. I was leaning toward four on but after he hit a solid two on/two off and held it until I released him with an "OK," I'm thinking that will be the way to go. I know with him I'll for sure need criteria and I want to train contacts solidly this time. It's been a bit of a struggle with big sis and I don't want to go there with him since I know he's going to be a speedy boy on the course.

All in all it was a fantastic class and I am SO excited for this little guy's future. Perhaps I'll get video or pictures in the future but for now, just imagine a blur of orange fur and know it's Leo.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Leo Started His Agility Career!

Leo's agility career started on Monday. The first lesson of our seven week session was the first my youngest son, Zach, would be able to attend so initially the plan was for him to do most of the exercises. Unfortunately the dogs tend to perform better with Mom and the boys get frustrated easily. So suffice it to say we both worked with Leo but Zach says he doesn't want to do agility with him anymore. We shall see....  
Waiting for class to start
Our classes are through Columbia Agility Team and our instructor is Autumn. Autumn was kind enough to send us out an outline ahead of class so we knew what to expect going in. Here is our week 1 agenda: Week 1 ~

*** Set realistic and obtainable goals for you and your dog***
Class Objectives
Introduction of classmates/ Instructor
Barn Rules
Handlers will learn to play/ interact with their dog
Dogs will work on stays (1 minute)
Handlers will learn how to lure
Handlers will learn how to reward
Handlers will learn the safety of the equipment used in class
Handlers will be introduced to obstacles (visual)
A Frame Introduction
Contact Plate Introduction

NOTE: Please work with your dog during the week. Work ten minutes twice daily during the week and more frequently if possible. Every time you handle your dog, you are training!! Methods of training are always positive re-enforcement.

Class Description
Work on Jumps (both sides)
Work on ladder and buja board
Work on sits, stays, recalls


The buja board was very scary for Leo and I'm not certain he'll ever be comfortable with it or that it will be necessary. Nonetheless, we worked on it with tons of positive reinforcement, praise, and treats. We didn't get around to the ladder in class but I'm confident in what that exercise entails and have already practiced it at home in the past. All in all, I'm excited to see how Leo progresses. I think he's going to make an awesome little agility partner. He is eager to learn, smart as a whip, and has a delightful personality. Here is a compilation of the video I took in class. The only section I really wished I had, too, was when I was working him on the a-frame. Initially he was quite hesitant but after the second time, he really got what I wanted and charged right up the ramp and down the other side without concern. Go Leo!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mail Call

I wasn't expecting anything from the AKC in the mail - or so I thought. However, when I opened the envelope, something important (and official) had arrived:
Leo also got to be honorary Dane yesterday at the Great Danes of Summer event held at our local park. It's a big annual event we hold to raise funds to support area rescue, emergencies, education, and more. There were quite a few Danes - lots of puppies - and Leo was a complete trooper the whole time. In fact, I barely spent any time with him at all once we got there. Thank goodness for my son who showed up after football about midday and kept Leo with him almost the entire rest of the day. Here are two photos we got taken though that I am completely excited about. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Soon to be a superstar

Leo finally gets to start his next training adventure! His foundation level agility classes start on Monday, September 13. They'll run for an hour once a week for seven or eight weeks. We're taking the classes through Columbia Agility Team which is close and convenient since I'll be juggling getting one of my sons (if not both) to and/or from football practice, too, those evenings. But I'm super excited to get started with Leo! He is so smart - you can just see it in his eyes. He looks at you like he can read you and is willing you to work with him. In fact, just last week I taught him to give a high-five in just three requests/commands. Now, of course, he throws that paw repeatedly and often in hopes of getting a treat. Such a smart little whipper snapper and a mama's boy to boot. Gotta love my little critter.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Canine Good Citizen

Yesterday we participated in the 8th Annual Dog Day Afternoon hosted by the Hazeldale Dog Park Committee in Beaverton, OR. This event is very well put on with tons of vendors and groups represented including flyball, disk dogs, agility, canine freestyle, the canine good citizen program, and much more.

A lot of times these things mean Leo just comes along for the ride and I get him out as often as possible for walks, meet & greet, and social time with Vegas and I. We were fortunate enough this weekend for my son, Zach, to come along to help keep Leo occupied. He got out for more frequent walks; he got to run in the fields; he got to run over some of the jumps in "Beat the Best" with X-Fidos, and he also got to go through the confidence course for agility equipment. And, he took the Canine Good Citizen test.

The test was administered by Alison Eberhard of Everyday Dog Dog Training Center and sponsored by Dog Troop 192. I had actually had the pleasure of chatting with her previously regarding an article I was writing for Spot Magazine, so it was a pleasure to put a face to the expertise I had consulted. Going into the test, I knew what area I was most worried about for Leo. It was primarily Test #6, the sit, down, and stay in place. It would seem this is simple, but for some reason Leo can be very stubborn. He learned all of this in his basic obedience and it has been practiced and reinforced, but I had minor concerns regardless. Here are all the test items for reference:

Test 1
Accepting a friendly stranger
Test 2
Sitting politely for petting.
Test 3
Appearance and grooming.
Test 4
Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
Test 5
Walking through a crowd
Test 6
Sit and down on command and Staying in place
Test 7
Coming when called
Test 8
Reaction to another dog
Test 9
Reaction to distraction
Test 10
Supervised separation

I am proud to say, Leo passed all components with flying colors! He is now Gemini's Leo the Lionhearted CGC!!!

I might have pictures to post later of Leo in the confidence course with Zach. A member of our JAG Agility Group, Natalia, was taking pictures and I'm hoping there are some of Zach and Leo.

Another thing Leo got to do yesterday was to run "Beat the Best" by X-Fidos flyball team. It was a 50' stretch with 4 flyball jumps. He was pretty uncertain so we built his confidence a bit by me having him come over just one jump, then two, and on the way back to the start line he took them all. He was timed on his run and did it in 7.31 seconds. I know he would learn to do this faster as we build his confidence and understanding of what was expected. But I'm proud of him for doing it. He's such a great little trooper and we're pretty darn lucky to have him in our family.

And to close the weekend, Leo had to have a bath tonight because despite his being a wonderful companion and great family member, he is also all boy and all dog. He found something to roll in outside in the yard and stunk to high heaven. So a bath was to be had and the zoomies to follow. I'll get a video up later of that comical respite. 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good news!

Today was an agility event that our club participated in. We held a demonstration and confidence course for attendees interested in trying out agility. Right before we re-set the course to do our second part of the demonstration, I decided to try Leo on some of the obstacles. He was energetic and really wanting to play so I thought it would be a great time. I may have mentioned before he's weird about surfaces. He will steer clear of anything that in any way shape or form that disrupts his concrete or asphalt surface when walking; he doesn't particularly care for gravel; and he doesn't like the slick flooring at Petsmart. Therefore, my biggest concern with him for agility has been the potential to be fearful of the obstacles because most have Contactacoat or some other surfacing material.

This week has bode well for him, though. It started on Thursday when Leo, Vegas, and I went to the park. We walked down to the dock after our meandering time in the woods. I had to carry him because he took one look at the metal grated surface of the dock ramp and said, "No way." On the way back up, I decided to leave him down on the dock and see if desperation to be with Vegas and I would convince Leo to make the decision himself.
That didn't happen. But, after carrying him part way, I made the tough decision to set him down and see what happened....
He didn't freak out! Yeah, for Leo!

Then today, he did better than I expected. Without help, trying the tunnel was almost futile although I did get him to go through a scrunched up tunnel twice. However, jumping was better. I set the bars on the ground and he was willing to go through the standards finally! Loose leash and repeatedly, it looks like he's losing his fear. And the pièce de résistance...after just three attempts at the a-frame, he willingly went up it (at a lowered height) and didn't lean toward the edge and me to get off. Whoohooo! My "little boy" gave me a lot of hope today for his future in agility. He seemed like he was having fun and really wanted to work with me. He was
distracted, too, what with a lot going on. But he was cooperative and less fearful and that meant a lot. Go Leo!

Friday, July 30, 2010

At long last...

Since Leo's basic obedience classes ended months ago I have hemmed and hawed on what to do with him. I really wanted to enroll him in another session of obedience classes but nothing ever met our scheduling requirements. Of course he's continually getting work when we go for a walk, off and on throughout the day at work, and at home. In fact, he has learned 'dance' recently and is starting to learn 'spin.' His stay could use work but is getting better. It's his leash walking and coming when called that are so lacking, unfortunately. And of course I have never trained a dog so small and am out of my element, so to speak, on working with such an independent and, at times, stubborn little dog.

The other issue I have struggled with is whether I will work with him or whether the kids will. Truth be told, I know they want to but I also know some of that is fleeting and I hate to have Leo's spirit crushed with regard to working and performance due to the kids' impatience. Plus, both are going into new schools in September (middle school and high school), both will be playing football, and Kane is starting to come into his own interests including going out with friends and girls. So, it isn't fair to backburner Leo and his training.

Through a Yahoo Group I belong to (NW Dog Activities) and Facebook, I learned of an upcoming Foundation Class session with a trainer Vegas and I have worked with before. Bobbie Lyons of Pawsitive Performance is great with dogs and knows her stuff. I look forward to the classes and seeing how things go for Leo. The classes will be held fairly close to home at a chic boutique pet store and doggy daycare center, Lexi Dog. They've got a fantastic facility and I look forward to introducing Leo to the world of agility as well as learning how to handle a tiny dog!

Wordless Friday

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Health Testing, Breeding, and Longevity

Something that seems to bother me more and more in time is the health of dogs and the subsequent testing done in breeding dogs prior to making the decision to carry on a line. I was going through some paperwork today and realized I hadn't filed Leo's registration paperwork at home yet. I got to thinking about his training and what his career will be like with whatever things we'll do. And since I had his registration papers, I decided to visit the OFA site and see if I could find that any testing had been done on his dam and sire. Mind you, yes, I realize I should have done all this before getting him. But I'm not going to beat myself up over that now as I couldn't ask for a better temperament in a little guy. Leo is amazing.

Of course neither his dam or sire have been tested for anything which confirms for me the lies and/or lack of awareness (AKA ignorance) portrayed by the person whom I got him. In clicking around looking and reading on the site, I found the following:
Wow! A staggering 43.7% of Pomeranians have luxated patellas. Just about half. This makes me really sad for the breed because certainly it has been bred to an extent. Why is this not considered important enough to breed out? I'm not trying to make generalizations; I'm just asking questions. I realize there are many honorable, ethical breeders out there.

Here is some additional health information for Poms indicating they are a CHIC breed.
CHIC is the Canine Health Information Center. The statement on the top of their website says it all: Providing a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs.

I worry a lot about my doggies and want them to be as happy and healthy as long as they can. To me that means being as prepared as I can be, continuing to advance my knowledge of breed-related issues, learning more about temperament, training, health, and well-being, and striving to maintain or improve their health and physicality at all times.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Leo Gets to Model

Nina with Nina's Photography posted on her Facebook page the following plus she messaged me regarding Leo:

Looking for very small dog to shoot in a giant coffee mug or teacup ... this Sat morning at Ridgefield, dog must be comfortable in public, have a good sit/stay, be happy & cute I already have 3 breeds signed up, looking for one more ... let me know your dog's breed & we'll talk. The images will be used in my display at the 2010 Petit Prix (Teacup) Nationals.

She's planning on taking the shots on Saturday at the trial Vegas is entered to run in - and the timing couldn't have been better as Leo has a grooming appointment Friday. Should be a lot of fun and will be cool to see the shots later.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Toy Time!

I've been lax in keeping up Leo's blog as we don't have much going on with him at the moment. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with training for him since there hasn't been anything that suits our schedule nor am I certain if I want to enroll him in anything when the boys will be gone for some of the summer. However, he is highly loved at work. So much so that a couple weeks ago my boss came in to tell me they (meaning the management team) made a decision intentionally without me. She said they decided they like having a dog in the office and Wednesdays are lonely without one. Therefore, Leo was requested to add Wednesdays to his schedule from now on. In fact, she said his PPL (paid personal leave) would be docked if he wasn't there. LOL. So that was fun. I'm glad he's loved.

Last week being Memorial Day, he only got to come to work two days. One of my employees said it wasn't fair that Leo only got two days that week and they miss him when he's not there. She said they should all go on strike until Leo can come every day. So flattering - yes that little man has wormed his way into hearts. He's charming them all.

For instance, one morning during our department meeting, I was sitting on the floor. I had just finished my coffee so took the lid off as Leo wanted to investigate. He stuck his face in the cup and before long had the cup "stuck" on his face. Of course I pulled it off - after we all chuckled - and put the lid back on. He proceeded to carry the cup a few feet away then set it down. Then he barked at it like it was scary or something. Yeah, he can be distracting too, the goofball.

At many of the agility trials his big sis and I enter we receive a free toy. Yesterday I brought home a stuffed kitty that Leo took an immediate liking to when I got home. Here are his antics:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bad Mama...

I find that I'm not very good at updating Leo's blog. Part of that right now is that we aren't in any classes. I haven't been able to find a single trainer whose schedule for the classes we need works for us. I'm starting to get worried as summer is nearly upon us and Zach and Kane won't be home as much to take him to class. Debating on whether I should enroll him and take him anyway...except I want him to work with the kids. It's a real catch-22 for sure and especially since Leo seems to be confused about "sit" versus "down." I'm not sure why but he wants to down more often than anything and getting him to sit is a real challenge. He instantly goes into a down. At first we struggled to get him to sit from a down and now the only time he seems to really just go into a sit without a down and stay that way is at feeding time and, in particular, when Big Sis is being told to sit and he copies her. Something which is really cute, by the way, if not annoying that he follows her instead of when we tell him to.

That said, that is where things are at right now. His healing and leash walking still needs work. He resists when I want him to walk close and tends to just want to pull out about 5 feet away, nearly at the end of his leash, but to the side. He also has a bad habit of going back and forth around you instead of staying put on one side and I discovered his concern over walking across grates and metal in the sidewalk.

Here are some pictures I've taken of the cute boy over the last couple of weeks. One thing is for sure - Leo is a complete joy and a wonderful addition to our family. It's like he's always been here. In fact, I was told in no uncertain terms that he now needs to come to work on Wednesday, too, or his PPL (paid personal leave) will be docked.
Hanging out with Big Sis....
Not concerned about her size i close confines. 
At work...sleeping on Simba whom he is often mistaken for when lying in the doorway to my office.
Leo with Godzilla...Godzilla, believe it or not, provides a great training opportunity for "leave it" because Leo would really like to play rough. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010


This is some video I took last week while starting to work with Leo on pre-agility moves. I figured it was a good way to gain focus, burn some energy, and keep him relaxed by doing things at home. Very simple, nothing fancy, and as you can see, he's highly cooperative. This is just a short snippet from quite a bit of practice and footage we got.

Coughing, hacking wierdness

Leo has had an interesting week. It started earlier in the week with a strange hacking sound he was making. It wasn't a reverse sneeze. It wasn't a cough, per se. It was just a strange noise like something was stuck in his throat. He would stand with his hand hanging just so slightly and hack and snarfle and make these strange guttural noises and then be done with it. A little while he might do it again. The first night it happened, I was obviously concerned. It was just about bedtime and I was debating on taking him to the emergency room. I checked his color and it was fine. He kept breathing and, while he was hacking like something was wrong, he acted fine otherwise. He was playful, ornery, chewing on stuff, drinking, and happy. So, I ended up going to bed and just checked on him a couple times during the night (He sleeps on the bed so easy enough to do.). He was fine but this strange behavior continued. Finally yesterday I decided he should see the vet. I was becoming concerned about collapsing trachea, although nothing had happened to traumatize him and he's never worn a collar as long as I've known him.

Off to the vet we went around mid-morning. Fortunately they are a walk-in clinic and were able to get us in right away. The doctor examined Leo and, amidst comments and exclamations about how sweet, well-behaved and a-typical he is for a Pomeranian, she explained a bit more about collapsing trachea. It wasn't quite what I thought so it was good to learn more. She tried pressing on his trachea a bit and wasn't able to get a response and send him into a 'fit.' She said it was possible it was collapsing trachea but they really struggle to try to get dogs to exhibit the behavior at the clinic. Plus, she said even when they x-ray, unless the trachea is actively collapsing, they cannot definitely determine that's it. She said they would do the x-ray if I wanted though, but she said it might be a mild case of kennel cough. Based upon the discussion we were having and knowing Leo has not had a kennel cough vaccine yet, I decided it was worth trying the antibiotics and anti-inflammatory to see if we saw a change.

So far so good. Although when we walked out of the clinic Leo immediately went into a fit and then just a short while down the road when we got out at the outlet mall to walk a bit he had the same thing happen again, he went through all of today without a single fit. He's only three doses into the antibiotic but I have a feeling that was what he had going on. I hope Vegas stays well, and it looks like Leo is on his way to kicking this little bug that attacked him.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Basic Obedience Graduation!

Leo has graduated from Petsmart's Basic Obedience class! On Monday night Zach and Leo finished their eighth week of class and graduated. They will be moving on to another obedience class and we now have a goal ahead of us. Leo is an attentive learner who really wants to please. While he could definitely do with less desire to be with "the mom" and focus on his current handler, he is trying and starting to come around.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Fun Day at the Dog Park

Leo can run! During baseball practice yesterday evening and during a several hour stretch without rain (Yay!), the dogs, Zach, and I headed to the dog park. Leo loves the park and spends time alternately chasing the big dogs and just sniffing around the perimeter independently. Yesterday a lot of people took advantage of the temporary reprieve in rain and dogs came and went the whole time we were at the park. Leo hung around with Zach and I quite a bit, intermittently meeting and checking out new dogs.

When Omar showed up, a Bulldog, he and Leo took an interest in each other. Before I knew it, this is what was going on:

One would have thought Leo would have been tired last night. Of course being the little "midgey" dog that he is, that wasn't the case. Nonetheless, he ate a good dinner after having so much fun.

In addition to his crazy zoomies, we spent some time doing some obedience work in the park. We're fortunate Leo is so good about behind handler focused. We worked on sits, downs, staying, and coming. People in the park were pretty impressed - as was I - that he could focus at all in such an environment.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Very pleased

Last night Vegas and I went to practice agility and I left Leo at home. I didn't want him in the dirt in the arena potentially getting his neuter site all dirty and germy. I had gotten home from work and let him out to go potty so I knew he was "emtpy." It was a gamble to leave him loose in the house for several hours but knowing he's small I figured I would try it. I came home about 2.25 hours later and Vegas and I entered through the garage. As soon as he heard me he was barking - something we'll be working on. I told him to quiet down and thankfully he listens well so did. Boy oh boy was he excited to see us. He was doing the Pom dance wiggling from stem to stern and dancing, prancing, and just generally being a hoot. Boy do I love this little boy. So cute and funny. He is just happy, plain and simple a very happy "kid." Anyway, I got him to settle down and checked out the house and he had not done anything. No accident, nothing chewed, nothing. I be he just lay on Vegas' bed the whole time we were gone. Great job, Leo!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Week 4 Class

We hit the halfway point on Monday. The kids are with their dad for the week so I had the pleasure of taking Leo to class. The focus of the week for class was stay, come, and dental health. We practiced stay a few times just for  few seconds with the goal of being able to get the dog to sit and stay in position as you gave them the treat after a count to three or so. That mean no lifting the front feet off the ground for the treat, etc. Leo did really well! We have actually worked on stay a bit at home because he tends to follow me everywhere and I hate tripping over him on the stairs etc at night in the dark. Sooo, still work to do but it was a great start.

Then we went and loosh leash walked around the store while the instructor took turns with the students and working on coming when called. I had to roll my eyes at this one because that is one thing that drives me absolutely batty with Leo. I can have the tastiest treat (except raw for meals) and call him and he will not come. He sits and stares at me. We thought perhaps he was associating "come" as negative so we tried "here" but that did not work either. Surprisingly though, in class, he did it really well when it was our turn. Now it could have been that the instructor was holding his leash and he wanted to go back to me, but nonetheless, I was able to reward him for coming right away. I also started using the clicker. We hadn't initally as he was jumpy with the clicker sound but now he seems desensitized to it.

At the halfway point, I must say I am excited for us to continue Leo's training. In fact, I think that after we get toward the end of the second series of classes, we may start looking for some competitive obedience matches to enter. I think he'd be really good. He is flashy and moves well and is learning very quickly. Leo is one eager to please little guy and I am so excited he is a part of our family.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Week 3 Class

Leo's week three class went very well. I sat outside the classroom again and enjoyed an hour of peaceful reading while Zach particpated in the class. He had spent some time walking Leo the day prior and I think that really made a difference. Here are some things I'm noticing about Leo:
  • He can be very stubborn.
  • He acts distracted at times but I think this is stress in not knowing what you want. For instance, he'll scratch somewhat incessantly at his ear(s) when you work with him and he doesn't get it.
  • He really wants to learn.
  • He can sit patiently and wait until he understands or you move on.
  • He is not afraid of eye contact - he will sit and watch your face almost so you can't show him what to do with hand motions.
  • He is prone to be a mama's boy, too, like all our other pets. I'll have to be careful of this.
While Zach struggled to get Leo to down in class and never succeeded there nor did he get Leo interested in a toy to play, they did work on "leave it" and loose leashing walking which he really picked up on! In fact, the first two weeks the teacher had to hang back with Zach and give him pointers on their two laps around the store. This week the two of them were the first back to the classroom! Way to go, Zach and Leo!

Leo is earning another offcial name, I do believe. Leo the Loveable. OMG, I can't believe how many people want a Pom just like him. I have to give his breeder credit for not tolerating barking/yapping. He definitely is not a yapper and his personality is top notch. One newcomer to class spent about 15 minutes talking to me about him, where I got him, and really wants to get another dog to be a playmate to the one she has, a terrier of sorts. Right after I got done talking with her, a mom and her two young girls walked in and they were super excited to see Leo and said they wanted a dog just like him. The mom immediately asked about the yapping with kind of a cringe on her face. I was super glad to be able to tell them the only time Leo yaps is when he falls off his bed and scares himself awake. Even when I get home and he's impatient for "Mom" attention, it's a bark not a yap and we're working to curb that one anyway.

Also, Leo has been to the dog park a couple of times this week. He loves it! Initially I think he was mostly just excited to check out all the smells and he was very independent about it. He did spend one evening chasing the big dogs which was pretty funny. He gets super excited to go and the last time was a pill and jumped out of the truck before I got his leash on.

This weekend should be interesting. Big Sis has an agility trial so Leo will get to experience the energy and noise of a trial for two full days. Actually, he'll get to for the next three weekends as we have an AKC trial this weekend, CPE the following, and an AKC one Easter weekend. I'm sure like everything else he'll take it in stride.

Monday the 22nd is our week four class which will signal the halfway point. I'll be taking him to that class since the kids are at their dad's  house during Spring Break. Then Tuesday is the big day - he is scheduled for his dental and extractions plus neuter at the Willamette Valley Animal Hospital. Hopefully he won't be mad at me when he comes home. I am SO excited to get this over with and hope his teeth and bite are not too damaged!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Back to Raw

I joined a Yahoo group this week on Pomeranians and decided to give raw a try for Leo again. It turns out I was being too cautious about what he could handle. Despite his little itty bitty mouth, he can tear meat apart and eat the bones. Go figure. So as of Thursday we started on raw again. I cut off a meaty part of a chicken back and sure enough, he chewed, tore, and gnawed right through it. We did the same thing that night and while he didn't finish, he sure dove right into it. For anyone who feeds raw, I'm sure I don't have to tell you how relieved he was to go back to it. He was not thrilled with the kibble at all even though that's all he knew before I got him. In fact, when I didn't give him raw for a few days and was giving him kibble, he was bouncing up and down and wanting Vegas' food and pulling out all the stops, showing us sits, downs, watch mes - the whole nine yards. Basically he was telling me he would do anything for raw.

Friday I gave him a chicken thigh. Funny thing is that he mostly just spent a lot of time on it but I'm not sure how far along he actually got but he worked on it for sure. He got the same chicken thigh Saturday morning and it didn't look a lot different when he was done, but he didn't seem to want to spend a lot of time on it. Mostly he's struggling because he wants to carry it everywhere and I don't want it all over the house. Tonight he did really well. He managed to work the meat off the bone in a chunk and then went straight to work on the bone. Boy was that interesting to watch! The marrow and everything was apparent and he went right through it. He then ate a good portion of the meat then was done for the night. Big sis was happy to finish it off.

Just a few minutes ago he went to town on a soup bone that must have weighed half what he did. It didn't intimidate him one bit though. He just chewed and chewed. I'm so glad because the worst thing for a small dog is bad teeth and his breeder already gave him a rough start by not having all his baby teeth pulled. We'll be getting that done before too long so his mouth can be more normal. In the meantime, lots of raw for Sir Leo.
Here, taunting big sis? Nah, mostly just taking a break.
Here working on that hard-earned thigh bone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday is agility practice

Leo came to agility practice again tonight! What a great little kid he's going to be some day. He was quiet and attentive the whole time, practicing good behaviors for treats when we weren't running, didn't potty in the arena, didn't bark at anyone, and lay down quietly watching most of the dogs run. I can't wait to see this little guy in action when it's his turn. In the meantime, the weekend is coming and I think we're going to start doing some ball work to begin building strength in his core and legs. I'm super glad I bought the On the Ball 2 DVD set at Christmastime because I haven't a clue where to start working with a "little" dog.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Leo Meets Godzilla

I did forget one thing that was a highlight of Leo's week. He got to meet Godzilla. Godzilla has not been super energetic lately so this was the first time in a while we've seen him interact at all. It was pretty fun - and of course, completely supervised so nobody got hurt. Godzilla really enjoys going after the dogs and was obviously not mad or his beard would have been prominently displayed.

Week 2

This has been such a whirlwind of a week. Monday was Leo's first obedience class. I enrolled him at Petsmart to take classes with my youngest son. The classes are one hour every Monday for eight weeks. The first class went okay. There are only two pups in the class including Leo - the other one is a miniature Poodle. Since my son is underage I am required to be present. The instructor went over some of Petsmart's philosophy with dog training and then started with having the students praise and treat their dogs for standing, sitting, or lying patiently in front of them. Leo was at one end of the training area and I was at the other end and he was doing a better job of going to the end of his leash and watching me or just looking around, but he was laid back and relaxed about everything.

Next up was teaching them about "Watch me." Zach, my son, struggled a bit with this and I know he was fighting against impatience because Leo was trying to get to me or just ignoring him. Regardless, he did get a few glances in and praised him accordingly.

The last thing they did was to take two laps around the store. That was another lesson in patience for Zach. Leo was much more interested in coming back to me and fortunately the other student did well independently so the instructor could help Zach. Part of the issue with Leo was encouraging him to come forward and not wanting to pull/drag him, yet cheering him forward and then Zach stopping because Leo wasn't coming. It was kind of a delicate balance of go but not too fast but keep the motion up or Leo just stopped and sat. He's quite the stubborn little guy. After making it back to the training area he and the little Poodle got to meet each other a play a bit. Then it was time to go. Next week I'm going to stay outside the training room/area so that I am less of a distraction.

On the up side, we are practicing "Nothing in Life is Free" with mealtimes and Leo really picked up on that one fast. Of course being an excited raw fed dog doesn't hurt. He is throwing sits, downs, and quick "Watch mes" in without even being asked which means we are having to shake things up a bit and move around so he gets up and then can sit on command. I have faith that the little whipper snapper will come around and work for Zach and his brother in time.
The rest of the week was not super eventful until Thursday night. I took Leo with me to agility to get the feel for the environment. He walked in like he owned the place and got some of the dogs all stirred up to meet him. He really enjoyed meeting Larkin, a little miniature Schnauzer that comes to class. I kept him on leash about half the time and in his kennel the other half and he was quite relaxed, ears perked, watching the dogs run. A great first experience.
Friday the kids were with their dad so I took Leo to work and he hung out in his kennel in between breaks. I took him on a walk mid-morning and he was so enthusiastic about it we did two laps around the business park which adds up to about a half mile or so. If he was bigger he would have been dragging me so obvious was his enthusiasm.

After the other employee left with her dog, I brought him in for the last couple of hours and he got plenty of love including from the other manager's daughter who was quite taken with him.

After we left work we picked up "big sis" and went to the dog park - another first for Sir Leo. Again, no fear and he was totally into just going around on his own sniffing stuff. He was doing just great and no dogs were even worried about him or anything until this jerk of a dog showed up. I knew he'd be a problem before he made it into the park because he was already going nuts at the fence. I ended up carrying Leo around most of the remainder of the time and the dog was so ill-behaved he was jumping on me to try to get to Leo. The owners did nothing and I was less than pleased. Before too long we left and ran to the pet store to pick up some things for today.
Today was March for Mutts at over between the baseball fields. It was a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels and Ani-Meals. The turnout was good, the weather could not have been special ordered better, and there were vendors and demos including our JAG agility team. We were there for demos and a confidence course. We arrived later than I had originally planned and I managed to forget Leo's leash. Fortunately someone had one to loan us so we were safe. After Vegas and I ran our first time on the demo course, I took both dogs outside the ball field to check some things out. I didn't make it too far because a Dane and  Pomeranian are just too irresistible to people and there was a Dane puppy there about 15 weeks old. I spent quite a while talking to her owners and finally made it over to the Fido's booth to get Leo's Rabies vaccination. After that the poor kid pretty much had to hang out in his kennel while Vegas and I had our second run on the new demo course then helped people on the confidence course. However, we then headed to my mom's house which was just a few minute away.

Dear Leo got to meet the "terrible three," my mom's Yorkshire Terriers. They're not really bad - they just happen to be super barky little dogs who are a pack of their own. At first Mom was concerned her youngest, Jake, would be too rough with Leo - who she was immediately enamored with because he's so awesome. It turned out we had nothing to worry about. The three would rather have barked at Leo than play and while he was quite assertive in checking them out, the only issue was him er, um, hmm, well, being a bit of a hump dog. (Can't wait until his family jewels are gone!) That said, he did really try to play and succeeded in making Mom smile because he's so blasted cute. Leo has this adorable way of getting down on his forearms, rear in the air, pitter-pattering the ground with his feet, and just being a kick. Most of his antics were ignored by the three, but it was good for him to have the chance to interact. He got some zoomies out and perhaps the next time they meet things will be a bit more relaxed.

We finally headed out after a couple hours of visiting and watching the dogs. When we got home I put the dogs in the front yard and we never made it in the house for almost two hours. I mowed the lawn and they hung out anxiously waiting for me. Of course when we came inside all they cared about was dinner. Once fed all they wanted to do is crash and that is the end of this week's story because Leo is snoozing the evening away in his bed. He's finally one pooped pooch.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Snowshoeing at Clark Creek & a Happy 1st Birthday, Leo!

Sunday was an amazing day on the mountain. Bright, clear, fresh mountain air, and not a cloud in site. Most of the details of the trip as well as a lot more pictures are available on Leo's "sister's" site, but I wanted to post and share some of his story here.

Being as we've only enjoyed Leo in our lives for eight days now, I'm not sure what his experiences are. One thing for certain, he's not much of a wall flower. He dives into whatever we're doing with bravery, curiosity, and flair. He's continually a delight and I look forward to every new moment we get to share with him.

Yesterday was not only our snowshoeing expedition but it was Leo's first birthday. And for his first birthday he had a great day with family and friends. You can view some pictures and video of his adventures below.

I had to include this one - it shows the cute little curl of his tail. 
This picture was taken on the way back. I had moved up to a trail above him and he gladly stayed on the lower part of the path for a while. Very independent, brave, and willing to try new things. Although there are pictures of him walking, I did carry him quite a bit since he didn't have booties yet and I didn't want his feet to get too cold. While I carried him, he leaned back into my arms almost like a cradled baby and very nearly fell asleep. 

I loved how his coat made him have a fur main around his face and his tiny little waist then the curl of a tail.
Here next to a small log I told him to jump over but he decided to find a way around.