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Puppy diary, volume 9

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Morning all,
I haven't done a puppy diary for a while now, so this is just a quick update really. We're at the stage now where it's mostly just building on things already learnt, she's still too young for anything advanced and although she's mastering the basics well I'd like to get this stuff nailed before moving on.
So, it's been more of the same. Now that she's big enough for a walk down to the local playing fields I've been taking her down there a few times a week (nice early starts before the world and his dog turns up to distract her and annoy me) and basically re-teaching her all stuff she was already good at in the house and garden.
At first she wouldn't even retrieve her toys from the field, but that didn't take long to cure, I just held her still one day and wound her up until the was going nuts, then threw it all of 3 feet and made a huge fuss when she grabbed it. Since then she's been fine, although I've been working hard on ironing out her newfound tendency to swerve around me rather than retrieve properly. I just second guess her and steer her back with my arm, then make a bug fuss of her. I'd say she only tries it one time in five or six now.
She's also got the sit and stay very well. I can sit her down, tell her "stay" with an accompanying point at the spot where I want her and she'll quite happily sit there while I walk off with a toy/treat and then either call/whilstle her to me or just go back to her so she doesn't anticipate always being called and start to just follow me. I can walk in a circle around her and she shuffles around on her backside to watch me, but doesn't move. I've yet to try any distractions, although when I'm next to her I can throw a toy and she'll usually stay as long as she isn't already wound up. Annoyingly, when I first started teaching the stay she would often lie down, which I praised her for, thinking that was a better trait in a deer dog to lie rather than sit. But she's stopped now and I can't seem to find a way of getting her down.
She heels fairly well on the lead, although that sseems to depend somewhat on her mood. Some days she walks right where she's been taught, just in front and to my left, slack lead, adapting to my pace as I deliberately slow down or speed up. Other times she just wants to race off and I have to constantly check her. She's overall much better on the lead than she was though, I'm sure it'll come.
The next stage really for all of the above is to work in the distractions, I suppose. I'm just loathe to do it because I know there's a strong chance I'll end up being completely ignored for something more interesting like children or someone's dog. Or in the case of last weekend an old man with a pocket full of dog biscuits!
In terms of her deer work, I haven't had much chance to get her on scents, but the few we've done have been reasonably successful. She gets SO excited at the smell of deer it's unbelievable. It's her favourite thing, if I handle skin she goes nuts for the smell on my hands. If I put some down for a minute and remove it she'll find where it was and go crazy.
The only thing she's completely failed to impress on is water. She won't swim, and I've so far failed to find a stream shallow enough for her to paddle through but wife enough to stop her jumping it. If I pick her up and try to put her in water she climbs up me like she's on a sinki'ng ship! I even tried filling a big mixing tray with water and putting it in the way of the back door, but in the end I had to move it and let her in because I was worried the neighbours would complain about her barking. Every other pup I've known has just gone straight in. Any ideas?!
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the latest installment. I'm off to the field with her now, because she's biting me...


  1. Derwood's Avatar
    Great read mate, roughly at the same stage myself with my Lab pup. Had a great session this morning, and she didnt put a foot wrong. Keep up the good work.
  2. Tartan_Terrier's Avatar
    Interesting reading. I've got similar issues with my boy Nevis (he's 11 weeks now). I've taken him to the beach a few times, but he's not altogether happy in the water yet. I'm sure it'll come though. How old is yours now?
  3. woodmaster's Avatar
    Sounds like your getting plenty done with her. Well done. I would just say that having a sister dog to yours and assuming of a very similar temperament I would just slow down a bit. Let her have time as a pup. By all means get them basics right like sit, stay, eat, here. But she will learn alot of the rest through play. I think your expecting too much of her to be retrieving to your feet every time. And being confident in swimming.
  4. SimpleSimon's Avatar
    Thanks for the comments guys. She's 4 and a half months TT, when she was 12 weeks she paddled through a stream quite happily, but since then she won't even walk in a puddle if she can help it!
    Woodmaster, I appreciate what you're saying, maybe I do need to slow down a bit. Usually I see what sort of mood she's in. If she's being attentive and getting it all right then I go for a bit longer or try something new or more challenging. Other times she's obviously bored or too distracted so I just do one or two really basic things with her and then we have a big play.
    I hope yours is giving you as much enjoyment as mine either way. With some of the recent talk about crosses on here it'll be very interesting to see how they grow up.
    Updated 10-08-2014 at 07:03 by SimpleSimon