Sunday, June 22, 2008

Swimming lessons

I spent Thursday and Friday at a Stuart Mah seminar, and I'm probably going to write a post about it when I get around to it, but I wanted to finally get around to posting about Pinky's swim lesson. Complete with photos!

Dogs can pretty much swim on their own; if they find themselves in water they figure out how to keep their heads above water and move themselves toward the shore. But until they try it, a lot of dogs don't know that they know how to swim, and many will avoid getting into the water if they can help it. Some will take the plunge if they see other dogs or people having fun in the water, but Pinky's not one of those. She doesn't even like stepping into a puddle.

When Lucy and Mr. Gomez were pups, we "taught" them to swim, by which I mean we helped them discover they could do it with little swimming lessons. It's pretty simple--you find a place where you can go into the water with your dog (we lived in Chicago at the time so chose a beach on Lake Michigan), then you carry the dog into water and let her swim back to shore by your side while you praise and encourage her. It worked beautifully, and now both dogs really enjoy taking a dip. Mr. Gomez, who has a rather obsessive personality, is nuts about swimming (especially if there is a ball to fetch). He's really the most awesome swimming dog I've ever seen--very fast and smooth, like a great big otter. Lucy's pretty good, too.

Pinky was past due for a swim lesson, so last weekend we headed out to a local swimming hole. Here I am carrying her in:

She's swimming! But she doesn't look like she's having a lot of fun:

All wet!

I did the carry-and-swim about 6 times. At one point, Pinky willingly got in and swam when I tossed a ball, but mostly she just hung out on the bank and watched me, Lucy and Mr. Gomez having a good time. We're going back today for another go.

And now for a few gratuitous photos:

Lucy and me:

Lucy gets the ball:

The two cutest little dogs in the world:

A damn fine dog:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pinky likes contacts

I took Pinky to my friend's Sue's house to meet Sue's Foster dog, Elvis (who needs a home, y'all). We'll be going to a Stuart Mah seminar this week, and I'll be leaving Pinky with Sue's pack and a petsitter. We wanted to make sure she and Elvis were pals first.

Pinky thought Elvis was just fine, but she was initially way more interested in Sue's contact trainer (Sue is teaching Sylvia Trkman-style running contacts to her young border collie). Pinky, apparently remembering how rewarding it can be to walk on a board, immediately started going up and down the ramp:

I was really glad to see that Pinky seemed to choose doing agility stuff over playing with another dog. I mean, I want her to like other dogs, but I don't want her to prefer them over working with me.

But we have a bit of work to do on our contact criteria. Here she is doing a "sitting contact" (while Elvis catches a tossed treat next to her), which probably isn't what I'll want her to do in a trial:

Also, I took Pinky for a swimming lesson on Sunday. I have photos. I'll post them whenever I have a few free minutes. I am packing up to move at the end of June, so of course it's not the best time to be going out of town for a Stuart Mah seminar. Whatever.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bad Roomba!

Wow, BoingBoing has been a fount of doggie info today ... that's where I found a link to this Wall Street Journal article about tensions between pets and robots. It's pretty funny, and be sure to watch the videos. I loved the advice given to people whose dogs feel threatened by a Roomba: scold the Roomba in front of the dog! I guess I've done sillier things. A slice of meat on the Roomba also seems to help achieve détente.

Dogs that know when their owners are coming home, redux

Via BoingBoing I read about a new study to replicate Rupert Sheldrake's experiments into why some dogs appear to know when their owner is coming home. Although I'm skeptical about the hypothesis that there's telepathy going on, I find the experiments quite interesting. I'd participate myself if I weren't so incredibly lazy.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Agility For Dummies

I often bore normal people to tears at parties and such with all my talk about dogs and and agility, but every once and a while I meet someone who's genuinely interested and starts asking me about how to go about training their dog to do agility. Blah, blah, blah, I usually say ... but now I can save my jawbone and just tell them to head on over to YouTube for this little gem, which tells you pretty much all you need to know:

Monday, June 02, 2008

Jonesing for a pic of my cute puppy?

beware of puppy

In case you're wondering Pinky's still adorable.

Oh yeah, and I havent run out of videos yet. Maybe you wish I would ...

This one here was Mr. Gomez' third and final Advanced Jumpers Q. If I were still competing with him, we would be in Masters Jumpers now, which would probably be a complete disaster because he was expert at the art of refusing obstacles.

Mr. Gomez USDAA Jumpers Dec. 2007 from bunchofpants on Vimeo.

This one is a Standard run with Lucy from last December. It wasn't one of the smoothest or fastest runs, but maybe we could have qualified if it weren't for that dang off-course tire near the end.

Lucy USDAA Masters Standard Dec. 2007 from bunchofpants on Vimeo.