Saturday, March 31, 2012

Puppy Post!

Since I'm currently away from the farm in grad school, its often hard to come up with llama-related topics to write about!  (That will change this summer though, can't wait!)  So I decided tonight to write about the topic that is near and dear to my heart, and the one I currently think about the most on a daily adorable puppy, Abby!

The weekend I brought Abby home...she was so tiny!

As I mentioned before, I got Abby back in October as a 9-wk old pup.  She is a full-blooded Golden Retriever, and a gorgeous girl if I do say so myself!  The first several weeks with Abby were filled with the typical puppy problems...housetraining and crate training.  Luckily Abby has never been much of a chewer, so destroying the house wasn't an issue.  She actually took to her crate pretty well too, but housetraining was a whole other matter!  Abby drinks more water than any dog I've ever seen, so she constantly needed to go outside.  She learned to ring a bell on the door when she wanted to go out though, which did help.  Now, at 7 months of age, she's a lot more reliable in the house, only having accidents if she gets over excited (as in when she meets someone new or plays really hard).  And she can sleep for 12 hours in her crate at night, which is awesome!

Abby and Hank (my roommate's German Shorthair Pointer).  February 2012.

Pretty soon after I brought Abby home we started in a "puppy kindergarten" obedience class.  Abby was the youngest in the class, but did very well.  We worked on the basics: sit, stay, lie down, come, and walking on lead.  Abby even passed her AKC Star Puppy test with flying colors!  The "advanced puppy" class this winter was a bit more challenging though.  We worked on more extensive stays (especially with distractions) and heeling, as well as brushing up on the basics.  At the end of this class we took the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test, but no one ended up passing.  It was a lot harder than the puppy test!  I'm planning on continuing to work with Abby over the spring and summer though, and try to pass the test again in the fall.

Abby and Hank "playing".

Now that Abby (and I) have gone through some pretty extensive obedience work (and know what we need to work on and how to accomplish the goals I have for her), I decided it was time for something more fun!  I wanted to do an intro to agility class with her, but it didn't work out so we signed up for flyball instead!  Flyball basically involves the dog running over a set of low jumps, retrieving a tennis ball from a box-like contraption, and then running back to the handler.  There are competitions where it is like a doggy relay: a team of dogs runs back and forth over the course as fast as they can.  Check out YouTube for videos if you haven't seen flyball before, it is amazing!  We have only been to 2 classes so far, but it seems like Abby is quite a natural.  She has no problems with the jumps, and isn't afraid of the box at all.  Now she just has to learn to grab the tennis ball and bring it back, she tends to get distracted!  Hopefully I'll be able to work on that at home, once she heals up a bit more.

Which brings me to my next topic...miss Abby got spayed last Wednesday.  After losing 2 dogs to reproductive cancers (including a Golden Retriever), I knew I wanted to have her spayed before she came into heat the first time.  The vets at the MSU Vet Hospital where I take Abby said she could be spayed anytime after her last round of shots at 4 months of age, but I decided to wait for her to grow a bit more, and she was spayed a few weeks after her 7 month birthday.  She's currently 3 days post-surgery, and has completely bounced back to her normal self.  That's a good and a bad thing...I'm glad to know she is on the mend, but its hard to keep an energetic 7 month old puppy quiet for 10 days!  She's being confined to my room when I'm home, and in her crate when I'm at school.  She has clearance to start going on walks again after 7 days, and can play as normal after 10.  And we get to go back to flyball after 14 days!

February 2012.  She's getting big!

This summer we're going to take an agility class back home in Indianapolis.  We're skipping the intro class and starting in the beginner class, so Abby and I will have some pre-class "homework" to work on before we start!  It should be a lot of fun though.

How could you resist that face?  She definitely has the "guilty" eye thing going already!  Christmas 2011.

Maybe I'll start doing "Abby Updates" every once in awhile.  So for March 2012:  Abby is 7.5 months old, weighs in at 48 lbs.  She's as tall as my parents' Australian Shepherds, but not quite as tall as my roommate's German Shorthair Pointer.  I think she's had 2 accidents in the house in the past month.  As far as obedience goes, she knows how to sit, lie down, and stay (with minimal distractions) very well.  We're still working on heeling, loose lead walking, and coming when called (though she has gotten a lot better about coming!).  My current flyball goal for her is to learn to grab the tennis ball off the box and bring it back.  My overall training goal is to get her to quit jumping on people when she meets someone new!

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