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Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Hilly Update

Whenever I see that sort of sentence as an email header from Mary I always know it's bad news. I don't know why I'm going with it seeing as this really isn't bad news. It really is just an update.

Hilly is an amazing camper (and if you're a facebook friend you know she's a good dancer too!). The only thing that would have made Hilly a better camper is if she didn't' chase the chipmunks and squirrels and run after every dog that passed the campsite. But we're really working on that and she's made great strides (leaps really) in her dog issues. Good thing she doesn't have a bird issue like her half-sister Freya (I really hate comparing her to Freya, but they're really a whole lot alike that it's hard not to sometimes) because there were quite a few Blue Jays that thought our campsite was their campsite too (ok, I know it's their home, but you know what I'm trying to get at). Other than the small mammal and dog thing she was brilliant. She totally loved the freedom of the flexi leash and didn't take *too much* advantage of it. I have so many pictures that I don't know which to post. I figure I'll do a camping post sometime next week once I get all the pictures sorted.

Now, the real problem with Hilly is her inconsistency. Some days she's golden (well, I say golden but what I mean is there is minimal whining and no leaping towards the other dog) when she's around other dogs and some days she's an absolute train wreck (yesterday morning she was more than golden, this morning was more like a four train pile up). She's also pretty inconsistent about her alert barking and there is no way for me to set her up because it's only sometimes when some dog (no consistency in the specific dog, breed, or size) is outside and she's inside. The problem with this inconsistency is that I still don't know her relieving schedule. All you other puppy raisers and Guide Dog Users know how important good relieving is, but I just can't figure her out. Well, she's gotten it into her labby mind that she can poop (sorry for those of you with sensitive ears, but it's a big subject in puppy raising) whenever she wants to. Well, at least, in the afternoon I take her out to relieve before playing with Rosie outside and there's no sign of poop. As soon as she's off leash she goes. This is a big "no no" in terms of Guide behaviour. Guides need to have at least a hint of a relieving schedule and they need to go when given the opportunity...not when they feel like it (if they could go whenever we'd have a bunch of Guides in harnesses pooping all over the street).

Now, my club may be a little...OCD is the nicest way to put it, about relieving behaviours. This may be because we've had quite a few bad relievers in the recent past or it might be because Mary drills it into our heads that good relieving habits make good guide dogs (not always true, but it does help in the formal training process.) So, because I've learned from Mary, Hilly is now on a strict "No outside play without poop until I (and she) learn her pooping schedule" protocol.

That's all from Hilly's end.

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