Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tiger Lily

This is Savage and Tigerlily (or just Lily), a wonderful 3 year old brindle female. We spotted her downtown and had to go say hi. I spent a good half-hour talking danes with her owner (whose name I don't remember. LOL), and her and Savvy got to know eachother. It was great to be able listen to the owner's views on training and know that he's gone through pretty much everything I have with Savage. I could spend hours just talking about my amazing puppy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New Solutions

Keeping up with training, I just bought a 20 foot long leash for Savage, so we can work on recall more. I'm also considering buying a gentle leader, or Halti-type head collar for him. I've heard it works well for teaching "heel", which is what we've been mainly working on. The theory is that when the dog pulls on the leash, the head collar naturally pulls his nose down, which trains the dog to slacken up the leash to get into a more comfortable position. The choke chain I'm using is awkward and probably super-uncomfortable for Savvy. It doesn't move around his neck well and the leash ends up wrapped around tight, causing me to adjust it constantly. Plus, if he really wants to pull, the choke chain doesn't stop him. It just lets him pull anyway, while gagging and choking. Not a solution to the problem. So we need to find a different system, maybe even a martingale, or "limited choke" collar , which tightens up, but will not actually choke him all the way. I'm always nervous about him getting the choke chain caught on something and panicking and passing out, or something. There's got to be a better way.
Still, he understands "heel" and will walk contently beside me along the road, but if we are downtown he still usually pulls and tries to get ahead. I know there is a ton of new and interesting things to see and sniff, but eventually I would like him to heel when I ask, no matter what is going on. Coming on command is still a challenge. Most times he will, but there are situations when he won't, so for his safety and for training's sake, he is now mostly on leash everywhere we go. Except for running on the Old Gunflint Trail, which is where we generally take our off-leash walks. That's where he gets to range around freely and run off energy. If I'm "borrowing" another puppy friend that's where they get to cruise around together, because there is so little traffic on the gravel road that it's hardly an issue. Even so, ever since he was a baby, Savage won't run out of my sight, so I know where he is and what he's up to at all times.
I've been having a problem with one of his ears for the longest time. When un-taped his right ear still flops over, when he's relaxed or after a few days. The left one is probably as good as it's going to get, with only the very tip still flexible but erect. Well, I figured out that when I began taping the right I wasn't keeping the natural fold at the front of his ear folded over far enough up. So his ear wasn't supported enough. Last week I finally corrected this and sure enough, this week his ear is looking much stronger and straighter since I took the tape off. Yay! I hope that this is indeed the case, and if so, maybe we only have a few more weeks of taping left!! Very exciting news. It would be absolutely awesome not to have to worry about ear-taping issues anymore.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Yesterday Savage, R., and I went up to Sag Lake to visit my family on my birthday. During the afternoon there was a crazy rainstorm and on the way home R. took this picture of me and my baby dane with a rainbow in the background. I was thinking about last year at this time, when I was going absolutely wild trying to make arrangements for new puppy, and hoping the day would finally arrive when little Savage and I would meet for the first time! Now I can barely remember when he wasn't around. Did I ever leave half-full glasses on the coffee table? Did I ever not have an entire chest freezer full of turkey backs? It seems to me that somewhere in my past I used to drive a compact car and have conversations about topics other than dogs. It's like my life has been turned upside down, but in a good way!