Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Ranch

R* Ranch has changed so much in the last six months. This is the place where I took Haddie repeatedly with the hope of her getting used to the smells of Ranch-life in an amazing store that sells all things animals and farm and awesome. To get you caught-up, Haddie was the worst in this store, her nose and excitement always got the best of her. She was spot-on in all of her other outings, but the Feed Store at R* Ranch gave her a challenge!
I was curious how Kolby would do; being so amazing on a loose leash his entire short-life, I was curious if he too would pull and I would find that Haddie was just being "normal" and not a stinker.

He didn't pull, but his tail was going a thousands miles an hour. He was in heaven - I have never seen him wag his tail so hard and for so long. It was adorable!!
I did the usual route of walking up and down every aisle, allowing him to sniff and explore so long as his tongue stayed in his mouth and he didn't pull. He was awesome. I bought him three different packages of treats before we headed home.

The Ranch has a new U-Dog Wash room which is incredible!! I will be taking my pet beagle there to try it out first, and then it will be Kolby's turn to give it a whirl. They supply all the works; the tub, the towels, shampoo and dryers, and who knows what else because every station was in its own cubicle and totally decked out. It'll be fun for photos and a good experience for both dogs. The kids are excited to come help with that.
I think I could seriously work at R* Ranch. It is a family owned and run business, everyone is friendly, it is so clean, and the list goes one. Wouldn't it be fun to dress like a cowgirl and enjoy some farm life every day with Kolby by my side?!

I know - it is probably a lot of hard work, but I like to dream.....

Monday, September 16, 2013

Kibble Challenge - 8 months

For those that follow social media and have seen Kolby's sister, Kira, rock the Kible Challenge a few weeks ago - this was Kolby's and my attempt. And for those who don't know what I am referring to - Miss Kira was laying down on her side. Completely relaxed, and her amazing Puppy Raiser painstakingly put Kira's Kibble side-by-side all the way around Kira in an outline format.

Beat that!

Well, I knew that I was not going to get Kolby to lay on his side and hold it in the middle of the day. I could do that now, at 9pm when he is zonked out in a side-down-position. But he is squeezed up against the wall in his usual, and favorite, hang out evening spot. I still could not put kibble in an outline around him.

So I went with what I knew he could do - set him up for success. He did. He rocked his Down, and never bothered the kibble.

The problem came when his two-legged-leader could not get the kibble down quick enough before he shifted his weight. According to our Contract Trainer, a down is all four-elbows on the ground, so if they decide to shift their hip or shoulder to the left or right, or move their front paw to the left or to the right, it still counts as a Down, no correction necessary.

Imagine - I am almost done outlining his second front paw and Kolby moves it to the Right, shifting kibble and making it look messy ~ as if I had just thrown the kibble at his feet (that was for you, Cassie!). Start over. Almost done and the Smart One decides to shift his weight to one hip moving his left paw to the Right. Start over. Now I am working extra quick and just trying to get the kibble down, no worries about them touching, and then grabbing my camera to snap one before Mister decides to shift weight again.

Snap! Done!

I scooped up the kibble, and made my two hands into a bowl, gave the Release command to Kolby, who did not waste time popping up and coming over to eat from my hand as I declared, "KIRA WINS!!"

It is harder than it looks for the two-legged. Go - try Kira's Kibble Challenge!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Retriever in Kolby

I am enjoying the Retriever-side of Kolby. You give him anything to carry and he turns into one proud, prancing, tail-wagging puppy. We went to the mailbox today, and I handed him a Kohl's advertisement to carry back to the house. He did - tail waggin all the way - and not a spec of puncture wound on the ad. Kolby is awesome.
I then separated the mail and had him walk around the house delivering it to various family members - all unscathed with a Drop when commanded.
The Retriever side of him that loves to carry, doesn't destroy, and has a job to do is fantastic. It is so different from Haddie who was not a carrier - and would look at me with a tone in her eyes that said, "Really?!" if I asked her to pick up anything off the floor that was not her red ball. I am not sure what the trick is to getting her to work-this in Advanced Training, but apparently she is doing it, because she has yet to be Released. 

The Retriever-side of Kolby makes me smile. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Last Hurrah of Summer!!

It was finally Kolby's turn to go to our annual get-away spot, a cute German town just a two hours drive away. We visit here in the pounding snow during our Christmas Break, and during the summer to catch some additional rays and enjoy an outdoor pool.  The town is the same during either season, bringing awesome German food and ambiance. We never get tired.
This was the first time, however, that we enjoyed "camping" in this town. And I use the quote marks on purpose because we stayed at a KOA, another first. If ever we were to travel a great distance (ie: multi-state road trip) in our RV, I can imagine that part of the experience will be KOA-style ... so we wanted to see how it worked.

It worked. It wouldn't be my first choice, but I would do it if we needed to bridge the gap between here and there.
Because we have an RV, we needed a campsite that offered a shuttle from our site to the little town, and this had that offer. It worked slick. The bonus was that this added a new experience for Kolby - getting on a mini bus and holding still while we traveled down the road. It was just short enough of a drive where Kolby didn't have time to get bored, but just long enough where he still had to maintain his manners and get the experience.
Kolby rocked the Shuttle bus, and the Under for dinner, and Under for a Yogurt Shop for dessert. He was impressed with the Horse Drawn Carriage, even though it was just two weeks ago when he got to meet his first Draft Horse, I guess he really likes them. He just stared and stared until it left we left.
He did great with all the dogs on leashes that also visit this town, but Mister was by far the most well behaved on his leash. He never solicited their attention, and expect for one that came way to close to his face, he maintained a good steady focus straight ahead as we passed each of them.
Stores were typical, he has been in those many, many times, so nothing new there - except for the new smells of this town compared to ours, his behavior was steady as it is in our neck of the woods.
We took a break from the heat at the Front Street Park which takes up one complete side of the main street. It has a huge slop to it, which attracts sledders in the winter, and in the summer - kids roll down the grassy hill, people picnic, and just hang out under the shade of the trees.
I took off Kolby's vest because while he is Black and will hide grass-stains, his Yellow Vest will not. Kolby then proceeded to roll himself down the hill head first. It was too funny to stop and take photos. You know the kind of roll, where the dog is rubbing his back all over the grass, now imagine Kolby doing that long legs sticking up and his flopping ears going down hill. Once upright, he looked dizzy, and had to focus on where he was in order to decide to go up or down to follow his leash back to meet me (it was up).
Mister didn't mind getting covered up with grass by my son either. Mister Mellow - he is up for any game that keeps anyone occupied.
We walked Blackbird Island before we headed back to the shuttle. It is a dense forest trail that borders the river. I am sure he smelled much more of the wildlife than we did, as he was more antsy here. We noticed a Beware of Raccoon sign at the beginning of the trail, so maybe one had been lurking about. It wasn't Kolby's best work, but it wasn't awful either. He was just more distracted.
And, on the way back on the trail a mother was pushing a stroller on the gravel trail, and decided to cut behind us and stop. Just the short distance of the stroller from Kolby's backside did not make my puppy happy. He did a tug-the-tail and run to the end of the leash a few times. Then I pulled over and calmed him down. I was waiting for the lady to keep walking, to "try again" with Kolby, but she was busy with her baby and I didn't want to disturb her, or keep waiting. We will need to work on that. I am not sure if it was the noise of the stroller on gravel, or the stroller itself, or just the combo of being tired from a very stimulating day.
And the river - if I would have let him, he would have loved to Jump and Play in the river!! He was adorable looking at the river, wagging his tail, looking at me, back at the river, kneeding his two feet into the ground while he was still holding his Sit, looking at me, the river, at me, the river. Poor Kolby. Next time.

The rest of the adventure at the campground was typical for Kolby. A lot of walks, time in the RV, time on the mat outside catching the sun, and people watching (which there was plenty of out in the open at a KOA, compared to a traditional campground).
I am so happy that we get to experience many firsts with Kolby - and I am especially glad that he is so steady and able to handle all that we include him in. Kolby has proven to be a very good traveler, and a seasoned camper. Well done, Mister!!