The Grass is Always Greener in Magnus’ Yard

You know that little kid in the playground who has the exact same toy as the kid next to him, but is never satisfied with his own toy? The one who has to go steal the other kids toy no matter what?

Princessface Maizey is that kid.

And while she isn’t bugging Magnus with her, “Magnus grass is greener” syndrome, she is bugging me.

Here’s the scenario, they each have a bully, she goes and takes his. He gets bored, “Hmmm. . . I wish my sisser wouldn’t take my bully. I know I’ll go bug Crazymomlady.”

Sometimes Crazymomlady has important business to take care of and can’t entertain Little Magnus. That’s why Crazymomlady gave the pups toys, bully’s, hooves, bones, etc to entertain them in the first pace. Sometimes Crazymomlady doesn’t want to stop said important business and remind Little Magnus where the other toy, bully, hoof, bone, etc. is.

Crazymomlady gets especially irritated when she goes to find the other device of entertainment and Princessface Maizey is laying on one and chewing on the other!

Crazymomlady gets further frustrated when she gives Little Magnus something else to keep him busy. But as soon as she is immersed in aforementioned important business again Princessface Maizey goes and steals Little Magnus’ new entertainment item, leaving little Magnus to come and bug Crazymomlady again.

Princessface Maizey is not aggressive about taking these things, and Little Magnus is more than generous in handing over even the most cherished of possessions. Unfortunately Little Magnus is not skilled in going to find himself something else to entertain himself with.

Crazymomlady begs the benefit of your experience in owning a greedy dog and she is sure you have advice on how to stop this aggravating cycle of “grass is greener” syndrome. How can Crazymomlady teach Princessface Maizey to keep her hands to herself? Or teach Little Magnus to go get something else to be entertained by?

Crazymomlady would really like to finish typing at least one sentence without being interrupted by this vicious and pernicious cycle. So please help a Crazymomlady out with your vast wisdom and experience!

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We Flew South and had a Good Day

We are visiting friends for the weekend and today I am one proud crazymomlady.

It seems I am always singing Magnus’ praise. I guess anticipating the dreaded adolescence it’s even sweeter watching him grow and learn now. Every day he figures out something new.

Even if it’s just jumping on the couch by himself he constantly shows me his brain is growing with his body. Several times a day I find myself thinking, “Hey! That was the first time he. . .” And it makes me smile every time.

He continues to be an intrepid boy, seeking out new things and friends. Sometimes he is a little too brave and determined, since he is convinced that he can make any dog his friend. I know I have to keep an eye on him, because as one of his puppy class instructors said,”he always goes back for more.”

He isn’t obnoxious about it, he really has wonderful puppy language, but some dogs just don’t want to be his 4legged friend. I have seen him convert a few, but if he can’t he knows to give them their space.

But today Maizey is my triumph. She loves to visit here, but sometimes I do see a little stress. With six 4legged friends to visit with there’s more to manage than at home. But it’s a safe environment and a good place for her practice her skills. And today she truly shined.

When cued with a leave it, she chose to back off reactive barking at the kennel dogs in their field. Then she worked watch/show me about 30 feet from them. The cool part is we successfully used the same process as we would with her mat, but with no mat! That was a big step forward. It’s so nice to feel like her skills are giving her confidence to make better choices.

We have several new tools we are using with her, including a Thunderhirt and Rescue Remedy. I don’t know how much they are helping yet, but in some ways she is making better choices and has much better focus. I can see her thinking instead of just being blindly led by the reactivity.

I keep wanting to post about all we are doing. But for some reason it’s hard to put it all down and feel like I can let you see what I see. Hopefully one day soon I’ll put something coherent together about it, because we are working really hard on reactivity each day and seeing progress.

Because I am such a perpetual ray of sunshine and positivity my crazymomlady has always told me I need to but a smily face on my calendar for each good day I have, she says they will pile up and I will see that there are more good days than bad.

One day when I was in a really good mood I told her, “I am marking this day as a good one! Click treat for me!” (Go ahead roll your eyes, it’s okay, I know when I’m silly.) But for me the 4legged lesson is that we should always celebrate the good days. Perhaps even more so when what makes the good day good is the small triumphs.

So c/t for crazymomlady! Magnus is still brave and my scaredy girl is getting a little braver and a lot more comfortable.

I think I deserve chocolate for my reward!

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Wordless Wednesday: A Tail’s Tale

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Graduation was Great! What Did We Learn?

Saturday was graduation day for Magnus Puppy Prep class. It was a really fun day, and I was a very silly, very proud crazymomlady.

He got a certificate, a fluffy stuffed toy, and some treats. It was a great time. I am so glad you all talked me into going!

But typical me, my favorite part of the class wasn’t the graduation march, complete with music, or the clapping and cheering. Although that was fun!

No my favorite part was my brave little guy working hard for me and loving it.

This last class was a review of the things we covered in the class. We got a chance to show the progress we have made over the weeks and ask for tips on how to polish up out skills.

“Follow Me” Lessons
At class we learned a “follow me” to start out LLW. It is basically a lure so your dog learns to stay close while you are walking. This turned out to be one of those techniques I didn’t really get at first, but in the end I learned more than I expected.

I learned I can fade a lure much faster. When our instructor saw how well he was doing she said to wait to treat him, in fact she had us walk about 15 feet before treating him. After that I realized I was treating about ever three to five feet, and he could handle much more.

Another reminder was the importance of what we communicate with our body language, tone of voice, etc. Now I already knew this, but when you get to watch someone experienced demonstrate what you are trying to do, it is the smallest changes that make a difference.

For instance when training loose leash walking I realized I always treated for correct position from my right hand. Watching our instructor I saw her lure withthe treat in her left hand. Much more efficient that reaching across my body to treat from my right hand. That small change in my posture is making a difference in both my pups loose leash walk.

Leave It
The class environment really lets you see progress that you don’t notice in your most common training grounds.

It was so nice to have mehusbandy with us for our graduation class. After class he commented how he hadn’t realized what great focus Magnus was getting.

I saw this in Magnus too, when we tried a leave it with the treat on the floor. This is one of those things that had slipped through the cracks when training at home. We have worked tons of puppy Zen but not with the treat on the floor.

So when she told us to try it, I wasn’t sure how he would do. Of course it was no problem!

In fact he added his own twist by offering me a down, staying off the treat and when I cued “leave it” he started scootching backwards with his belly on the ground. I had to laugh. Not my final picture of leave it, but a pretty funny thing for him to figure out on the spur of the moment!

But it was his focus during leave it that I loved. He is learning to look at me and not at what ever he is leaving alone. This is the same puppy I spent the first month laying on the ground hand feeding just to get a glance out of. He has come a long way!

We both learned so much and are looking forward to our next class!

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What Is This?

Today we woke up to 13″ of this:

After Magnus ran through it like this:

He clearly felt like this:

But Maizey knew to just shake off the snowballs like this:

It was enough for us to make a snowball as big as this:

But made us want to do nothing but this:

So tonight as we go to sleep with more of this falling all we really wish for is a little less of. . .

this.

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Magnus and Agility for Fun

Seems I haven’t been able to put together a coherent sentence lately, thus the lack of posts. . . Come to think if it I’m not sure if this is a coherent sentence!

Oh well, I have exciting news, so you will have to bear with my lack of coherency.

Tough Choices
Since this Saturday is Magnus last Puppy Prep class I have debated what to do. Obviously his age makes him prime to move into Wonder Pups, the next level of puppy class at Calling All Dogs.

But they also offer what seems to be a great class for reactive dogs. It is a class I feel will be wonderful for Maizey and I am anxious to have her take it.

So the debate began.

I know realistically I can only take one class at a time. Money of course is a consideration, but time and energy are resources I am constantly short on, so I must consider that too. And for me one class at a time is what is realistic.

That leaves me in the uncomfortable position of choosing which pup needs it more. Not something I was happy to choose. But Magnus age, and class availability had me convinced to move on to the next puppy class with him.

Magnus the Brave Goes to Agility for Fun
The assistant to his Wednesday night class teaches a course called Agility for Fun. It is an agility foundation skills class. I would never have considered him for this class since the prerequisites require him to complete the class he is in plus one or two classes past his.

But then a very exciting thing happened.

The Agility for Fun instructor asked us if we would like to join her class! I was floored. And honestly more than a little proud of my little guy for being such a brave, smart boy that she felt he could handle that level of class.

So of course that settled the debate once and for all. I will continue to work with Maizey here at home and use this opportunity to continue Magnus’ education and socialization. I am quite excited about it, and yes. . . a little nervous. (You wouldn’t honestly expect me to be not be nervous by now would you?)

It is a great way for me to learn clicker skills, and for him to learn confidence and focus. Did I mention I am excited?

A Simple Task
Magnus loves to tug, but I have had little experience teaching a release.

Maizey came with a built-in release: “This tug thing is boooring crazymomlady, so sure I’ll give it to you.”

Thus I beg the wisdom of your experience. What foundation skills did you find most helpful? What skills do you wish you spent more time on now? Do you have a favorite method of teaching focus, tug drive, and a release to tugging?

Growth is a continual process and this is an opportunity I hoped to have with my Princessface, so I am very excited and determined to learn all I can and bring it home to her. Hopefully this will be yet another confidence booster for all of us!

"I'm goin' to agility, cause I am Magnus The Brave!"

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Wordless Wednesday: Princessface Maizey Goes Dumpster Diving

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