Last Tuesday a good friend and past puppy-walker, Carolyn O'Neill took Hector for the morning. Sometimes dogs can have issues with separation from their puppy-walker and Golden-Shepherds are not exempt to separation anxiety. Therefore I thought it would be a good time to introduce someone else into the equation. Fortunately Hector got on very well and only whined the once when he was with Carolyn.
Hector cries a lot when I leave the room, if he is left on his own or when some one gets out of the car. He doesn't even have to know the person who he is crying after.
Hector: I did miss Michele a little but I kept up a brave face, Carolyn was really nice to me and brought me to her friends house for a charity coffee morning. There were loads of crumbs for me to lick up that people had dropped from their plates. Yummy, yummy!!
Nikita and Hector having a quiet play together.
On Thursday Nikita and Hector had a play date. These two will not let the grass grow under them when they are together for some reason. They won't go and have a snooze. I am not sure what this is about, they run and play non-stop, chasing each other. When their play time is over, the two of them get into their respective beds and sleep for the rest of the day. They are like two sticks of dynamite together.
As you can imagine, there is something new to learn everyday. Last Friday was no exception. We had our Northside puppy class in St Anthony's church hall in Clontarf. As usual the classes are divided into two sessions. The early one for pups under 6 months and the next class for the older dogs. There is a 15 minute overlap for all the pups to meet and play which is great fun but it is also part of their training, they learn how to socialise with other dogs.
Hector, Nikita, Picasso and Peggy were at the early class. Hector was wondering where his sister Orrin was, I think he missed her not being there. When we arrived Suzi had set up obstacles. Now what was this class going to be about? Well we weren't long in finding out. Suzi had set up the obstacles to simulate obstructions in a pathway and the dogs were to learn how to negotiate these obstacles so they could continue on their journey. Could these little pups work it out?
Hector: I searched and searched behind all those obstacles, but no, Orrin was not there, I thought she might have been playing hide and seek. I even got Picasso and Peggy to help me look for her!
Hector, Picassa and Peggy checking out one of the obstacles we used at class or was Hector really looking for his sister. Suzi our supervisor is to the left and the other 2 ladies are Picasso and Peggy's mammies.
Well not surprising I suppose, these pups are bright and they all managed to understand the concept. We were to say "find the way" to the pups when they realised there was an obstruction in front of them, initially encouraging them to go around the obstacle. By the time we had done a the circuit of 5 obstacles a number of times the dogs were well into the swing of it. I really enjoyed this lesson because it related to a real life situation that these dogs are going to come up against in their working life.
Next on the agenda was to teach the dogs the command "stand". The commands we tend to use the most are probably "sit" and "wait". The "stand" command is a very helpful command for a number of reasons but primarily it would be used so that you can fix the jackets/harnesses onto the dog. It is a lot harder to fix their jackets on them when they are sitting down. I have always found this a kind of tricky one to teach to the dog but Suzi explained it really well and gave very clear and concise instructions. Hector sort of got the idea but I will have to work with him on this a lot more.
Our repertoire of commands are growing steadily. We now have "sit", "wait", "eat-up", "steady" (used when you want them to slow down when walking), "busy-busy", "up-sit", "off"(if they jump up on you or onto something), "down" (when you want them to lie down but they must be in the sit position first) "stay" and lastly "find the way" I think this is pretty impressive , these pups are less than 19 weeks old and they understand all of these instructions.
Hector: Yes, your right, that is a whole lot of words I have had to learn, my doggy dictionary is getting so big now I don't think I am going to be able to carry it around for much longer!!!
That big blue divider acted as another obstacle. This is the interlude between the 2 classes.
Here are some puppy walkers grabbing a coffee and catching up while others (in the background) play and talk to the dogs.
Nikita is just checking out if anyone has anything nice to say about her!!!
Most people enjoy meeting up. This is a time where we pass on tips or get ideas from each other or just offer compliments as to how big or smart or clever our dogs are becoming.
The young pups are getting ready to go so the older dogs can have their class.
On Saturday Aidan and I went up to Petmania to buy him a larger crate with the voucher we got from Petmania the day we did the broadcast in Galway on the Breakfast with Hector Show. Now he has a deluxe sized crate that even Hector and my two girls can fit into. We gave Nikita the one we had because she had outgrown hers. Thank you so much Petmania, we are really appreciate your generosity, we are very grateful.
This is not where a guide dog pup is meant to be, he should be asleep on the floor. Hector took himself off to the TV room quietly for a little nap!!!
Hector has had a long week and was obviously tired so off he went for a little rest on his own to the TV room. We were wondering where he had disappeared to, when Aidan found him ensconced on the sofa.
Hector: Its all very well slagging me but I am working really hard and I think I deserve some down time and where better than a nice cosy sofa. Whats wrong with that?