Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Look at That! (Round 1)

Today, I had my Mom pick Mia up from my house and once I got off of work I headed over to her house to do some training with Mia.

For the "Look at that" exercise we needed to start with a dog that she likes. I enlisted the help of my Mom and her terrier-mix Emma. Mia and I positioned ourselves in the doorway to the bathroom. There is another doorway (to my old room) directly across from the bathroom. I had my Mom walk into and out of sight. Every time they were about to come into sight I cued Mia with "Look!" and a point and clicked as soon as she looked at Emma. We did two sets of about 20 trials and Mia seemed to be getting the idea of the whole thing. At the end, I took Emma for a 15 minute walk as a thank you for being such a good sport!

Oh yeah...by the way. Meet Mia's new auntie (my Mom's new puppy, Pipi):

"I iz a cute Crestie mix with one ear up and one down."

Reactive Dogs Class #4

Whew...it has been quite a long time since I last posted! We have had a lot going on. I started and finished my last undergraduate semester and graduated on December 18. We had a great Christmas. In January I started a new job as a behavior therapist for kids with developmental disabilities (primarily Autism) and I am loving it. Lily turned 1 two weeks ago (and is still as much a puppy as ever).

Mia has improved leaps and bounds in agility she is constantly raising the bar with what I can expect from her. She now tackles the A-Frame like she's been doing it for years with no help whatsoever. Some days it's hard to keep her off of it!

Most notably, we finally got to start a reactive dogs class with the local vet behaviorist. It is held at the same facility we have agility classes. It has really helped me in the past to document her training so I can look back at it so I will be posting a lot more often now (hopefully!).

Mia has been doing very well. Each class she surprises me with how well she does. Yesterday was our fourth class. The other dogs in the class are not anywhere near as reactive as Mia is. I think there has only been one bark in the entire class that was not Mia or on command. We worked on three exercises: Look at that, on-off games, and parallel walking.

Mia is not at the point where she can play "Look at that" with the other dogs yet so we worked on desensitizing her to the sounds of jingling collars and other dogs barking (on command) when it was our turn.

Mia also wasn't comfortable enough to really get excited/aroused enough to truly work on the on-off exercise.

She, again, wasn't ready to do the parallel walking exercise so instead we worked on her looking at the other dogs (one at a time) from across the room. We rewarded anything that was appropriate (prolonged eye contact, sits, sniffing the ground, vacuuming the ground, shaking, looking at the other dog, looking back at me/the vet). One thing that is highly reinforcing to Mia is me being near her so we toyed with using that as a reinforcer. If she started to make noise or bark I would say "oops" (not as a correction but more as a marker word) and walk a few feet away. When she did something appropriate I would come back. It seemed to help. By the end of our turn she was (most of the time) looking calmly at a dog about 15 feet away and then back at me without a sound!

While the other dogs were doing the parallel walking exercise they came very close to the barrier that Mia and I were behind. I fed her continually when they walked close to us (she couldn't see them but could hear them) and she didn't make a peep (this is still quite an accomplishment for her!).

Looking forward to next week!

Mia on Easter (2010)

Saturday, August 1, 2009


We got to go to the beach the other day. It was Lily's first time and she actually liked to go in the water. I don't like to go in the water...I'll get my feet wet a little bit but I'd much rather run around, dig in the sand, and chase bugs and birds!

Beach = Love.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lazy Momma: Trip to Chicago

So Mom has been very, very lazy lately but we have been so busy! We went to Chicago for 5 days and well...Lily has taken up A LOT of Mom's time lately. Mom is still trying to give me lots of extra snuggles and kisses and attention but she's not trying hard enough!

We went to visit my Pomeranian buddies, Parker, Jack Jack, and Bebe Belle, and their Momma, my Auntie Katie, in Chicagoland last week. We had tons of fun! I rode on the airplane under the seat in front of Momma in my airplane bag. I was a very good girl in my bag. I never make a sound and people are always very surprised to hear that "there's a dog in there???"

While in Chicago we were very busy. I spent two days working at Parker's Pets (my buddy Parker's store):

It was pretty stressful for me so the second day I even had to go in the bathroom for a while. I did get some yummy doggy ice cream and a bully stick in there to keep me busy though.

We also went for walks and I got to meet two other puppies that we know from Dogster, Rondo and Gretta. Parker, Jack, and Bebe's grandma is doggy sitting for them while their Mom is in Bulgaria. Rondo, is a black and tan long haired Miniature Dachsund and, Gretta, is a Cocker Spaniel. I didn't like them at first but I got used to them after a bit. Here's a picture of us all:

Left to Right: Mia, Parker, Rondo, Bebe Belle, Gretta, Jack-Jack

It was nice having alone time with Mommy without Lily trying to get in the middle of us. I was so relaxed on the first night that I laid in bed like this:

We had a great time and lots of great food (dog and human alike). My favorite were the yummy bison ribs and Mommy's favorite was a yummy chicken dish at Mity Nice Grill.

We are all exhausted tonight so that is all for now. I'll try to bug Mom so that she'll post about today's agility class tomorrow!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Crazy, Crazy Day

Today was a pretty crazy day. Lily's first puppy class started today and is an hour before Mia's. I packed everything up really early and we left about 30 minutes early to make sure we had time to set up before class started. I also brought my Mom along just in case.

It's an hour drive out to the boonies where our trainer lives and has her training facility. The plan was for Lily to ride in a crate in the car and Mia to ride in the back seat next to her. Lily REALLY did not want to be in the crate and absolutely would not stop whining and barking. She was so stressed that she knocked the crate over on to little 9 lb Mia. I had to pull over and get Mia out from under it. Lily's crate was all wet on the inside from her drooling so I decided to just let her sit in my Mom's lap. The rest of the drive was much calmer.

We arrived 20 minutes early and went inside to set up. The plan was to have Mia in a covered crate because I knew she would be freaking out and barking a lot with all of the strange (and large) new dogs there. I put her in the crate before the first dog came in so she didn't even get to see him. She barked quite a bit during the class but usually only when one of the other dogs barked. She actually did a little better than I thought she would.

Things went pretty smoothly until my Mom took Mia out of the crate while I was across the room and one of the "new" dogs was still in the room. She had a total meltdown (I wasn't really surprised because of how stressed she was from being in a crate for an hour when she could hear other dogs barking and moving around). It took about 10 minutes for her to calm down once the dog left. She couldn't even concentrate on me enough to have her turn on the first run we did. By her second turn she was happy and wagging her tail. She went on to do better than any of the other dogs in class.

We worked a lot on serpentine again and added dogwalk, weaves, and tunnels.

Mia did really well and didn't have much trouble with it at all. She was very enthusiastic. Although she wasn't thrilled about the dogwalk she did it on leash with just a little encouragement.

Next week we have to miss class because we will be in Chicago. It'll be a nice little break for Mia and I to spend some extra time together.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Next week on Thursday, July 16, Mommy and I are going to fly on a plane to Chicago to visit my Auntie Katie for a few days. I've been to Chicago twice now. Once we drove and the other time (in January) we flew. Luckily, Southwest Airlines has started letting pets fly in the cabin. This is perfect because Southwest has cheap fares and has direct flights from Houston's Hobby Airport and Chicago's Midway Airport. Both of those airports are much closer to our house and Auntie Katie's house than the main Houston and Chicago airports.

We're going to stay for about 5 days and hang out. We'll probably also go to Indiana for a bit too. I get to visit my Pom buddies, Parker, Jack Jack, and Bebe Belle.

Lily is going to stay at home with Daddy. Hopefully they will make it through alive and the house won't be torn to shreds.

Parker and I in Galveston when he visited in March.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July

Mommy didn't work on Thursday so I didn't get to go over to Nana's and Nana was a bit upset. Mommy decided that she would drop me off at Nana's while she went with Daddy and Lily to their party.

I got tons of Nana cuddle time and got to play with Emma and Kiba for a bit!

I am a little jealous that Lily got to see my Auntie Lauren but their dog, Max, would have scared me so I think it was for the best!

Lily and I have been playing more and more. She knows how to get me to chase her and I have to admit it's a little bit fun.