Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Katie says it's a whole new world

We’re still enforcing the “OFF!” for the furniture, including the bed.  It’s very hard for us, harder for me than for my husband.  Sometimes we’re sitting on the sofa doing something and don’t even NOTICE when she jumps up and sits down next to us.  Of course the sooner we say “OFF!” the better, but once in awhile one of us notices the other person sitting on the sofa or asleep in bed with Katie curled right up against the totally unconscious person.  I have to say she’s not stupid!  She’ll try and if she gets an inch she figures she’s in like flyn.  NOT!  Mostly though she’s trying really hard to be good, though you can see she really wants to be next to us.

And to keep her busy…we’re in two classes this training session!  Last Thursday husband and I took her back to the rally class.  That’s 30 minutes of obedience and 30 minutes doing rally.  Katie kind of enjoys this because she understands what’s expected of her.  Though she HATES being put in a crate so that I can walk the rally course prior to us trying to execute it.  She backs right up if she figures out we’re heading over to the crates.  Here’s a picture of little Katie in a huge crate next to a huge dog in a middle sized crate.  The big dog next to her LOVES shelties, but Katie isn’t so sure she wants to initiate a friendship!

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Yesterday Katie, husband and I went to a beginning agility class.  There were only 6 dogs in this class so that was nice.  Katie loves to jump and run through the tunnel.  But she continued her fear of the dogwalk.  Sometimes I could get her to jump back on and walk down the other side, but as the class continued and we tried again she balked and refused to do anything whatsoever with the dog walk.   As for the teeter?  No way no how.   By the time we got to the teeter she wouldn’t go anywhere near it.  I’m sure it looked a lot like a dogwalk.  The other two dogs in my group (a poodle and a miniature aussie) of course had no trouble with anything.

This morning Katie and I went back to our rally class.  The agility stuff was still set up in a ring, and as we were early to rally we went over there so she could sniff it.  My rally instructor came out of the bathroom and stopped by to see what we were doing.  I told her about the dogwalk fear and she said let’s try!  She allowed me to put Katie on the top of the dog walk and as she spotted one side, I walked the other so Katie couldn’t jump off.  Katie walked down the ramp just fine.  But she was still scared to walk onto it herself.  Wednesday night the agility instructor wouldn’t let me pick up Katie and put her on anything.  Ah well.  We’ll see how it all works again next Wednesday night.  Husband dug out the plank I was using last summer and says he’ll put it up on a couple of concrete blocks so Katie and I can practice walking just slightly above ground on a board.  Maybe that will help!

Meanwhile, I took a picture today of Katie on the table.  She wouldn’t stay on it Wednesday night (she’s not allowed on furniture at home you know!) but she stayed on it today for me.  Such a girl.  And a picture of her sitting next to the dreaded dogwalk.  She looks happy, but I think it’s an act!

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Katie 2229Today in rally she was about perfect.  I got a shot of her in the line of other dogs doing her sits/downs.  She never moved, even though she was right at the end next to a fabric wall behind which were three owners who were practicing open sits/downs and had “left the room.”  They were talking quite loudly and she kept looking over that way but she never broke.  Even when one of them sneezed!!  And then someone knocked over a CHAIR for heavens sake!  She flinched but didn’t move.  I’m very proud of her for that.

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We’re also working on “Paw” where I ask for her left hand.  She’s obviously a right handed dog as she wants to offer “Shake.”  But sometimes she will raise her left paw fractionally and she almost always shifts her weight over to her right foot when I ask for PAW!  So that’s some progress.

Sweet girl.

Aug 22 07


New sheriff in town

Katie 2227 We’ve had some issues with Katie that have been building and becoming more severe.  Mostly we’re frightened that she will lunge and bite someone the way she lunges and shows her teeth at us when unexpected sharp noises occur at home.  We can’t sneeze, tear tinfoil, change the garbage bag, or vacuum without risking getting attacked by a snarling hysterical dog.  Well that’s not good.  My 75 year old aunt sneezed and Katie hit her right in the hips and knocked her into the kitchen cupboards.  So you can see the problem.

Today we had an animal behaviorist come out to the house.  He’s someone I’ve used occasionally for obedience training in the past, but Katie doesn’t know him well.  He spent an hour and a half talking to us and evaluating Katie.  Luckily Katie displayed some of her bad behavior when he pulled tissue from the box and sneezed.    He was so good with her.  He showed us how to slowly desensitize her over several weeks.

And more importantly he told us we had to show her we were the leaders of the pack, and that there was a “new sheriff” in town.  No more jumping on the furniture,unless she’s invited, no more sleeping with us. (at least for 30 days, then we can invite her to sleep with us one day a week for another 30)   Her toys are put up and we give her one to  play with when we feel like it, and we take it back when we feel like it.  She gets to eat when we allow it, after 20 minutes whatever is left in the bowl is put up for awhile, and then we award it to her again later on.  She has to earn all the things she wants.

The trainer says that Katie is actually acting out of fear and that she will be much more comfortable when she doesn’t feel like she has to control everything, because she can trust us to handle stuff, to be the leaders of her pack.  So we’re going to try.  Heavens, we don’t want our Katie-girl to be afraid and on guard all the time.  Though the on-guard part is in her genes I think!

This is so HARD for me!!!  She always snuggles up on the bed in the evening with me.  Tonight I have to tell her “OFF!” over and over.  But she’s getting it.  She’s sleeping next to the bed now.  I sort of miss her though.  Husband and I played with her seperately this evening.  We each picked out one of  her favorite toys, played for awhile then put them away.  I think I am going to miss her bringing me her favorite toy.  But the point is that WE are the ones that decide when to play, not her.  Because there’s a new sheriff in town and it’s not her!

We’ll be doing the desensitizing tissue work every day for a week.  Then we’ll be desensitizing her to us sneezing for another week at least.  Then we’re going to have to go find people that are willing to come over and sneeze!  He says the best thing would be if we can teach her to do a trick when we roll over or something.  But at worst (and this would be fine) she should not jump on the person sneezing!

Since we can’t afford to allow her to hurt someone, we’re taking this very seriously.  BUT IT’S HARD!!  She looks like an angel doesn’t she.  Don’t let her fool you; just try sneezing!

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I forgot to post anything for Tricky T-day this week.  We (Katie and I) are still working on weaving through my legs.  She still doesn’t understand what the point is, though she has taken to rolling over whenever I ask her to do anything, just in case.

This morning I recognized a behavior she has learned on her own that has a bit of trickery to it and I thought all you dog owners (or do they own us?) out there would enjoy the story.  Katie says it’s OK to tell, even though I am sort of ratting her out.

In the house we have a few windows and doors that allow her to see the back yard, and the road the runs the length of our property.  She always lets us know if something is in the backyard (like a rabbit, or a chipmunk or a DEER!!!!) and whenever something or someone is walking on her road.  Being a Sheltie she can hardly help herself.  We used to get up and go see what the problem was, then assure her she did her job and she could stop barking now.  Sometimes we picked her up and carried her away from the offending view.

Lately we’ve been too lazy to get up.  If we’re on the sofa, watching television or working on our laptop, we’ll call out to her, ask her to “COME!” and if she stops barking and runs over to us, she got a “GOOD GIRL!” and a bit of dog kibble as a treat.  We kept a bag of treats on the coffee table.  Well.  Don’t ever say that dogs don’t reason stuff out.

I’ve noticed the past few mornings that as I am on the sofa watching the news, or checking emails on the computer she will be off in the breakfast room, or at the door to the deck.  Then she’ll let out a couple of yips or a long low growl and than RACE back around the sofa to me and look at me expectantly.  Hmmm…I’ve gotten up a few times and checked outside.  Nothing.  I think she’s barking at nothing at all, then running over to get her “GOOD GIRL!” and especially her treat!

Little stinker!  Has she got us trained or what?



Another tricky t-day snuck up on us!

Katie and I have been working on weaving between my legs.  At first she was scared, all that obedience training caused her to want to stick right next to me on the left.

“Not going through Mom’s legs, no siree!  Pretty sure THAT will get me a big ole “NO!”  Gonna prance right next to her and look beautiful, that’s what usually gets me my treat, no sense deviating from that…hmmm….Mom’s bending over all crooked, and there’s a tasty morsel in her hand, and it’s right over THERE…and so….OK!  MOM!  I’m going to get that treat even if it IS over on the other side of you!”


So the book says, practice this for 5 minutes a couple of times a day for two weeks and she should have it.  I can get her to weave in between my legs now without giving her a treat at each weave, just at the end.  I guess that’s progress.  But I haven’t figured out how to weave, reward AND get a picture of us.  So, I hope you guys have a vivid imagination.  OR…just go watch Sara and Oreo’s July 14’t post at !  Then pretend it’s me and Katie!  🙂  I think Sara is doing a wonderful job of teaching her two some great tricks.

Meanwhile…back to our weave practice…

“Wait!”  Katie whines, “It’s almost 2 in the morning, and a sheltie-girl has to get her beauty sleep!  How about we wait till tomorrow to try again?”

Good thinking girl.



Another tricky-T day!

Katie will, about 80% of the time, “roll over” when asked now.  Even if I’m not right there luring her over!  She only rolls to her right;  going left is not an option at this time!  I figured out how to make my camera shoot some “video” but try as I might I can’t get it loaded into this blog.  So here are a couple still photos.  You’ll have to use your imagination!


Do I have to roll ALL the way over Mom?


Oh, really?  Well OK.


Geeze Mom, if I do all the work, the least you could do is get all of me in the picture!


I still think “Shake” is more fun though.


We’re going to try a new trick for next week…can’t tell you which though…cause we don’t know!



Tricky T-day again already!

Guess what finally arrived at the library yesterday!  The 101 tricks book!  Katie appears to be less than excited, but that’s because she didn’t get to see it until after her bedtime, when I finally arrived home from work.

katie-1719 I haven’t had time to study anything yet, but I have hope!  Meanwhile, last Saturday I took Katie to our local pet store and purchased an inexpensive CLICKER!  It’s really loud.  And worse, Katie HATES HATES HATES the clicker.  I sat on the floor with a bunch of treats and called her.  Clicked when she came to me and attempted to give her a treat.  The clicker caused her to back away, eyes wide.  I tried again.  She backed up further.  Didn’t want anything to do with the clicker OR the treats OR me!  I tried several times, tossing her the treats which she gulped down, but she wouldn’t come near me.  Over the past 3 days we’ve tried a few times, but she still HATES the clicker.  I’m not sure if this is normal and if I should keep trying to get her to come to associate it with treats.

Then I tried the free timing that Ludo explained by putting a large tin in the living room and seeing what she’d do with it.  I didn’t use the clicker, it was scary enough for her to have something in the living room “THAT WASN’T THERE BEFORE MOM!  katie-1716 IT DOESN’T BELONG THERE MOM!  WHAT’S IT DOING IN MY LIVING ROOM MOM?  I DON’T LIKE IT!      NOT AT ALL!  oh…there’s a treat on the top?  Well…maybe…I’ll just take that treat off your hands, you know, just help myself to that tasty morsel… ”  katie-1717 But that’s about all she would do.  She wouldn’t have anything to do with it except to take a treat off the top and stare at it intently.

So far, our tricky t-day isn’t all that tricky is it!  Well, we HAVE been working on “walking the board” in an attempt to get her over her fear of the dogwalk at agility.  Not that we’ve been able to actually GO to agility class, but maybe someday.  So, we practiced that a bit this week.   katie-1695 We played with the frisbee as a treat in between working on our obedience skills, heeling, staying, standing and then running on the board.  She’s almost at the point that I can say “Walk the board!” and she’ll go (almost) on her own and run the board.  She stops though if I’m not running next to her, to make sure that’s what I really meant. katie-1704 She’s not quite ready to just run it herself.  She has, however, on occassion, gone over and walked over the board all by herself without any direction at all from me.  Then she looks at me and grins as if to say, “SEE?  I can do this board thing..where’s my treat?”

Silly girl.



Tricky T-day

Today is tricky t-day, where I’m supposed to show you Katie’s new trick.  Right.  I did order a book (from the library of course) on how to teach your dog tricks.  Aside from doing “Shake!” which Katie appears to have been born knowing how to do, I haven’t successfully taught her any tricks.  So I think I need some help.  The book isn’t here yet, so this week we’re continuing to do Shake!  If there’s food involved, she can’t get enough of that!

And we made it all night last night in the tent, a trick unto itself.  I wasn’t going to take her, but as I was leaving she jumped on my legs and begged to go.  So we gave it another try.  She slept all night, upside down, against the air mattress.

Silly dog.