November 25th marked my baby dog’s first birthday.  I really can’t believe she’s already a year old! I have to say, most of this blog will be non-sappy I swear, but I seriously love this kid. She is so freakin’ adorable. She is cute, lovey, fun, and did I mention CUTE? Not to mention I could not be happier with the fact that she and Kelso are actually friends. Anyway, onto the real stuff.

Agility training is going well.  Now that she’s passed the year mark I’m getting pretty serious about it.  Up till this point the only obstacle training she has done was some tunnel fun (I couldn’t resist, there’s something so precious about a puppy’s first tunnel), puppy jump grids (ala Susan Salo, and some table games we learned from Susan Garrett.  Before that is was all foundation; nose targeting, crate games, flatwork, toy drive, and impulse control.  We are still spending significant time on her foundation stuff, as it truly is everything, but I have added some obstacle training to her monthly goals.  Right now I would say the only obstacle that is truly trained exactly how I want it is the table.  She has an automatic down and will slide into the down as I run past it at full speed.  She also responds to front and rear crosses within the context of the table–which is how I planned on applying those handling maneuvers to sequencing, and I am happy with the results thus far.  She also gets really excited about practicing the table (which I use to practice driving a line, front and rear crosses, as well as stays).  She vocalizes, runs as hard as she can, and just loves it.  She is so much fun to train!  We’re also starting to work on her 2 on 2 off dogwalk, which is frankly a little frustrating. I am attempting to teach her to do a 2o2o with a repeating nose touch, like Susan Garrett’s program teaches, without actually going to Say Yes! to learn how to do it! I would love to go to Say Yes! but financially it will have to wait. So, I have a repeating nose touch to a clear plastic ground target. I have her doing that with 2o2o a step, and a plank.  I am struggling fading the target and proofing my body position, and I am not convinced that she understands the 2o2o part of the behavior.  So it’s back to the drawing board on that one, I have some plans to figure that out with Ashley (whose website is this BTW you should all buy her book).  Meanwhile, we are going to work on driving ahead and crosses. 

Life training is also a priority right now, and by that I mean getting the little weirdo out in public more.  For a dog that had seriously extensive socialization she sure does get freaked out easily.  She doens’t panic, but she does get locked onto things (like distant silhouettes of NOTHING) and forgets to hear my voice.  So I plan on getting her out without Kelso more this month.  She really needs to learn how to work at places other than Come-Play-Stay! but when it’s literally freezing out we have less options. She also came into season for the first time  just a couple of days after her birthday, and so far it’s not too bad, just kind of yucky.

Overall I couldn’t be happier.  I absolutely love this puppy.  Her structure is a dream, her drive is intense, and above all, she’s got heart–she puts all she’s got into everything she does. We showed in conformation last at the Greeley Kennel Club shows in August, and she’ll come back out in February for the Rocky Mountain Cluster in Denver, looking better than ever!

On a final note I would like to add one more major change in the lives of my dogs that has happened recently.  After years of toying with the idea I finally decided to take the plunge and switch my kids over to a raw diet.  I’s been a few weeks and I honestly could not be happier.  Watching Kelso crunch into a raw turkey thigh, bones and all, confirmed for me everything I needed to have confirmed; they are meant to eat this way–and WE ARE NOT. And so I am a vegan who feeds her dogs raw meat every day.  If you want to know more about what that’s like, check out my other blog, Sarah in Veganland.

Here’s a super-cute shot of the Squidge herself, as a wee baby dog, at one of her first agility trials.