05 January 2009

The Great Crate Escape, Caviar, and Other Babblings

We should have named Shawnee Houdini. She's a 4-legged escape artist. We've been having trouble for a while with her finding ways out of the fence. The mask in the fence is too big and she can go right through it. So DH spent hours putting net up and other things to keep her in. We thought we had all the holes blocked, but she keeps finding ways out. We've found and secured a few more of her escape spots but we don't always see how she gets out. So going out in the fence does not mean she is very safe and I have to keep an eye on her anyway (Molly is fine and stays in even when the little one is running around outside teasing her).

This morning she really proved her escape skills. I had to go pour jugs of water into the horse's trough because we still had -10C at 10am this morning. No way we will get the garden pump supplying them water today. Shawnee had been crated for an hour and a half to two hours before I went out. I'd been napping myself for that time. So when I woke up and she was still pretty quiet, I headed straight out to the horses without getting her out to potty first. To make as little noise as possible, I'd left the door to the hallway and the bedroom open--I didn't want to wake her up and make her think she'd get to go out.

When I came back from the horses (who were VERY thirsty and will need more water before DH is home from work), I saw Shawnee come running out of the bedroom when I got in. I took a quick glance at her crate, which appeared to be covered as it was when I left, then hurried to get her out for a potty walk. Good thing, too, because she was in a hurry to go.

When we got in, I shut the dogs in the kitchen properly and inspected for accidents. Nothing! I have no idea how long she'd been out--I was gone 15-20 mins--but she hadn't pottied anywhere. A few minutes later, I had to take her out for more walk, because I'd hurried in too much to check for trouble and didn't give her a chance to poo the first time. This is a great sign of the progress of her housebreaking that she'd been out long enough to go in the bedroom but hadn't left any puddles anywhere.

As my faithful readers have probably realized long ago, we have pretty spoiled dogs. One of Molly's main training treats has been canned shrimp from the start. They got some fresh shrimp a few days ago when we couldn't eat all of the container we opened (DH reports that Shawnee likes shrimp). Last night they got a further luxury when they got to share a small glass of red caviar. DH had gotten it in his Christmas present from work and finally decided he really didn't feel like eating it (I wasn't about to help, that's for sure! I tasted caviar once in my life years ago at a cousin's wedding and it was YUCKY!). So last night he gave it to the girls. Molly got the larger share. Shawnee wasn't quite as keen on it. They didn't eat all of it then and the rest was mixed in their food today. I made them share it. They're spoiled and they probably don't even know it!

Overall things are going well with htem. Molly has been getting more focused and responsive to commands despite Shawnee's presence and attempted interference. When I was lying on the floor with Shawnee this morning, Molly retrieved my blanket off the couch and brought it to me. Shawnee tried to attack her as she handed it over, but once I got the little one under control, she completed the retrieve with grace and eagerness.

Shawnee has been learning both lie down and sit very quickly. She also potties on command and tries to head for the door when she needs out (she is often prevented from going TO the door because she is leashed whenever out of the kitchen). I've also done two types of zen training with her--Molly Zen and Hand Zen.

Molly zen is the fine art of being in the same room as her sister without starting a war by attacking Molly constantly. Molly is fine with leaving Shawnee alone when we ask her to, but Shawnee doesn't have enough "leave it" yet, so has to learn. So far I have mostly done this by giving Molly a mat command into a corner of the kitchen. Then Shawnee gets to wander around and I click and treat for doing things other than attacking Molly. I keep the sessions short, but it is going well and she is less aggressive when not training as well. Every time Shawnee gets a treat for not attacking Molly, Molly gets a treat for staying on the mat and I repeat the mat command. I don't want her to think the clicker releases her and get into trouble and I also don't want her feeling left out. Staying quiet on the mat despite the Shawnee temptation is really a big deal these days.

While I did the dishes in the kitchen today, I had the crate open. Shawnee went in and out several times, often settling down in her crate for a few minutes. This is a good thing, because I haven't been crate training her properly. We just put her in and shut the door, ignoring whines and screams if she is well-pottied first. So I am very glad to see that she isn't hating the crate. I've also decided to do a better job of giving her a chew toy in the crate with her so she has somehting to do if she isn't sleepy and it seems a little more fun. When I put her down a little bit ago, she got a teeth-cleaning chew stick. Molly got one too but didn't get crated.

Molly is resting in the sun at the end of the sofa being a very beautiful and quiet girl.

Okay, my arm and hands hurt from typing so much, so that's it for today!

1 comment:

Edith said...

Love the new design of your blog and very much enjoyed the pictures of Molly and Shawnee. Seems like she's learning fast. They could have had my share of caviar as well. :-)