Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We're on the move.......

Last week my partner found out he had gotten a new job, and its in Auckland. Sooooooo its another move up the country for us. What a hassle moving is, even within your own country! Having to resign from my job (it will be sad to say goodbye) and apply for a new one, organise the end of the lease at our house etc etc.
The hardest thing of all though is trying to find somewhere to live that will take Pepper, what an absolute nightmare its turning into. We don't want to buy at this stage and it seems anywhere that will take a dog is hideous and run down or too far out of town (for Ben's liking anyway - I'd be supremely happy to go live out in the country but he doesn't want to have to commute into work everyday) I'm sure something will crop up eventually but in the meantime its stressful and frustrating.

Anyway, here are some happy ball time photos from the dog park that's just down the road from us.
"Are you ready Pepper"

And shes offPretzel legs prepares for takeoff

Good Catch!

Oh and we had a funny experience at pet store yesterday (one of a well known chain of stores her in NZ that offers puppy classes as well as a in store vet) I needed to buy a new clicker because my old one had given up on me. I took it up to the counter (Pepper was with me of course) and the lady there said to me "Is your dog trained with this, I've always wanted to see a dog that knows it" and proceeded to point the clicker straight at Peppers face and click it rapidly 7 or 8 times. She then looked at me (I was nearly hysterical with trying to hold my laughter in as Pepper was looking at me like "What the hell just happened there?") and she said "why isn't she doing her tricks?" Oh dear. I was about to go into a rant about how clickers are used to mark a behaviour, that the click won't make her "do" anything and that if she is going to click at my dog like that she can treat her thank you very much. But instead I just gave her the wee booklet that came with the clicker and suggested maybe she read it one day.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Heres this mornings efforts - we're getting the door clicked shut today :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Closing the door

First of all, Pepper got a new collar because someone chewed someones other collar to pieces.

We've been working quite a bit on targeting this week - foot targeting an icecream lid to start with - we've got quite good distances, about 6metres after 2 sessions, and targeting it up on the couch, on a chair etc.

Then I decided to try and teach her to push the door shut with her nose - we've done lots to "touch" targeting with my hand but not nose-to-object targeting.

At first I was using the command "touch" but then she was getting really confused, looking for my hand so I stopped that and started using "hit it" but then sort of stopped that too. She figured out to touch the piece of paper quickly, but getting her to actually p-u-s-h the door took a bit longer. After the first nose targeting session we spent some time learning to push my hand with the touch command and clicking after she put pressure on my hand for prolonged periods of time. Today when we went back to the door she pretty much got it straight away! I love watching her think! She's so quick.

Still a work in progress, only had two sessions so far...
Edit to add - The videos pretty long and boring - quicker version is in the post above :)

Oh and we had our first rally-o class last week.
Pepper had absolutely zero focus to start with: plastic ears, head in the clouds type of thing. Normally she's pretty switched on to me whenever I ask but after some great tips from Sonia our instructor she was much better and heeling with lots of attention.

I was really happy that for the entire hour we were there we only had about 3 episodes of barking (as apposed to barking the entire time we were at club only 6 weeks ago) so we're making progress there.

Rally-o seems to be a really great "sport" and I think Pepper & I will really enjoy it. I like that you can talk away to your dog as much as you like, it seems to be laid back and friendly. I hope it takes off in New Zealand as very few clubs offer it at this stage.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pony post - Before & Afters

I wanted to share some pictures today of two horses I've had in the past that came to me in a not so wonderful states. The first was a 14.3hh 5yr old morgan/TB cross called "Aidrey Lassie" (or Lass to her friends). She was brought sight-unseen by a lady that I worked with and when she arrived off the truck her new owner was horrified - she was in terrible condition. The new owner was not very experienced with young horses and Lass had really not done alot so I agreed to take her on to school for a few months.

This is what she looked like the day she arrived to my paddock (about 1 month after her owner had brought her)
And these pictures were taken about 8 weeks later!

Its amazing what good feed, good grass, regular exercise, grooming and a pair of scissors will do! She was a cool wee horse, we had alot of fun.

The next is my favourite wee pony ever - Panda an miniature timor pony. My friend Chloe and I brought her when we were 14years old for the princely sum of $25 from a horrible disgusting hideous man who had neglected a large number of miniatures he had inherited from his sick father. Our non-horsey parents didn't find out about her for 2 weeks - they were horrified! She was a bag of bones, riddled with lice & worms, had a terrible skin condition, awful feet and was just miserable. She also had a horrible cough due to having a deformity to her soft palate.

These pics were taken the day we brought her.

But with proper treatment (worming, shampoo's, farrier, feeding, covers etc) she soon picked up and became the happiest (slightly out of control) creature on the place. We loved her to pieces. She came everywhere with us and our "big" horses and was a such a character.

Sadly she passed away 6years ago from pneumonia (gosh time goes fast, it only seems like yesterday) and she is buried in our garden.
RIP little savage pony

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Another visitor

When we got home from the beach yesterday there was barking coming from behind one of the doors - it was one of the boy's friends who had brought her dog around to visit - Cocoa, who is half foxy half miniture pinscher. She's only really little (she weighs 5kg and Pep weighs 21kg) and is quite overweight which is never good for any dog, but especially for her because she has hip dysplasia, so the extra weight she is carrying won't help her hips at all.

Cocoa was not at all like Pepper's other friend Cocoa (one half of the lab attack), she was all snarly and yap yap yappy, Pepper was not too impressed because this is HER house and what right did this tiny yapper have to tell her off for coming inside!?!?

So she ran away and hid up in the garden where Cocoa couldn't yap and nip at her.

But eventually they sorted things out in the ways dogs always tend to do, although Pepper still wasn't keen on playing with her.

We also got given a blog award from Lou at Talisman Farm (thanks Lou!)

We can't remember the rules but we want to give it to El'bow & Hauwii because they have great cartoons

Friday, March 12, 2010

Where did summer go???

Today in Wellington (where we live) a big storm came through at about 4.30pm. The weather dropped 10degrees (Celsius) in less than 15minutes! Brrrrr. I was lucky enough (not) to be walking home when it "hit" and it was freezing and I got very wet and wind swept. Lucky Pepper was cuddled up on her bed when I got home, and she looked decidedly pleased with herself when she saw me looking like a drowned rat.

Here are some pictures from the news websites of the storm rolling on in, pretty chilly stuff but made for some amazing photos!

By around 7pm it had stopped raining and the wind was gone so we were off to the golf course for a quick walk and to make sure the bunnies were behaving (but they were all hiding tonight, the thunder must have scared them away)Pep found a really good pine cone though so that made up for no bunnies.She loves chewing, carrying & chasing pine cones. (We try not to let her bring them home because the mess she makes with them is totally out of this world, you end up picking up pine cone pieces for days and weeks) so they are just a special golf course toy.
Haven't had a chance to test out the new-but-old movie editing software yet (thanks Hsin-Yi!) but here's a quick video of Pepper practicing to wait with the pine cone.

We start our first Rally-O class on Wednesday, I can't wait. We're even going to be skipping the beginner class and going straight into the proper class. (eeekk) I keep reminding the instructors that I'm a horse person not a dog person, so even if Pepper seems to know what she is doing, I haven't really got the foggiest haha. Hopefully I don't embarrass Pepper too much. All the people at the club are just so nice, friendly and laid back. They love their dogs and they're all about positive reinforcement & reward based training. Last week at training Pepper and I stayed behind for an hour and chatted with the instructors while the dogs played and it was so nice to meet a group of people that aren't in it for glory and aren't overly competitive, they just want to have fun with their dogs and help others do the same. We really like this club :)