Monday, January 31, 2011

Another Amazing CAST Outing

Saturday, the 29th was yet another amazing outing with the CAST gang!
We started out at the kennels to take advantage of the environment for a handler-training exercise. It was very intriguing and really makes ya think about how we interact with our dogs.
 While one or two dogs were being worked with the others were in the play yard having a ball of fun. Tiki was the youngest there, the others were Comet, Galaxy, Wyatt, Terra and Jackson for a short time (he's getting neutered soon, but as always Tiki proved too enticing for the poor guy).
 Comet looked very pleased with herself after she was done being practiced with.
 Terra, as always, is one of my favorites to photograph. She's just so endearing and so gorgeous!
 Then, of course, the monster of the group. Of course she's not the largest of the group that was there, although she'll likely be bigger than any of them other than maybe Tundra but he wasn't in the play group.
 After playing and practicing for awhile we dressed the dogs and went out in the driveway and practiced "sit"s and "down"s for a short time. Terra has quite the entertaining "down". Sphinx explains it very well!
 Tiki being a good girl, as always.
 Comet looks uncomfortable in her gear here but once we loosened her harness a bit she looked much more comfortable.
 Then we took a walk down the drive and up a different one. Our destination... Meeting these fellas.
 Needless to say, Terra wasn't a big fan. In fact, none of them were to begin with. If you think about it, it's really not surprising. These giant heads are sticking out of the wall and move and make noise, what in the world!?!
 Tiki and Galaxy investigated the horse in his stall for a moment, but Tiki quickly lost her nerve.
 Then we followed Sandy, the horse (Rondy I think was his name), and Terra outside. Sandy walked Rondy around the group and had Terra on her other side. It worked very well and Terra quickly got over her initial fear.
 Of course the advanced training dogs (plus Tundra) couldn't be left out. They observed us the whole time.
 After Terra got a bit more brave it was Comet's turn. She wasn't so thrilled to begin with.
 Although she quickly gained some confidence and even licked Rondy's leg! Here she and Galaxy look like the sisters they are, just observing him as he eats.
 Then it was Galaxy's turn. It was very cool to see how each dog handled being so close to Rondy! Some showed A LOT of appeasement  behaviours, head turns, lip licking. Here Galaxy looks like she's mimicking Rondy, but I think it's how she dealt with being so close to him, letting him know in her own way that she was not a danger.
 Terra and Wyatt did well, in fact shortly after this photo Terra play-bowed to Rondy. Although, as Sandy said, it would have been shocking if he'd have play-bowed back!
 A woman, a dog, and her horse. Does it get any better?

Jackson was highly aroused. Sandy was able to get him calmed down, though. Jackson is the same sweet boy that was up here, although he seems more confident now. He's also filled out a lot and looks GREAT!
 We then worked on "up" and "jump" on a box. We also did "up" on a folding camp chair, which are great commands for confidence building. While Tiki and I weren't working on that we worked on getting her more comfortable in the barn with the "creepy" heads. The picture below is a perfect example why I'm going on a diet! (Thanks, Sandy, for the picture! It's amazing how seeing yourself in a picture motivates you to lose weight!) Shortly after this picture we also worked on "up" and "jump" on a box to help distract her from being scared. We also incorporated some "nudge"s and "sit"s. Amazingly enough, it worked wonders! In fact when we were walking down to the end of the barn to work on building confidence using a stack of hay bales she got a bit of the zoomies!
 We hadn't planned on going all the way to the top of the stack but Tiki was doing well and I'm used to climbing giant stacks of hay bales from working with the elephants, so we ventured all the way to the top. Comet quickly followed and it turned into an idea for a photo opportunity. The only good picture is this one, and it's not only because I think it's a decent picture of me either! (It doesn't do Comet any injustice either!)
 In reality, this is the best of the rest of the group. The mobbed Coreena at the other end! In that mix are Terra, Wyatt, Galaxy and Comet, Coreena is, of course, behind/under them!
 Ha! There she is (and don't mind Comet sampling the hay). You can also see Sheila and Jackson. He lacked the confidence to get all the way up but thankfully there will be plenty of opportunity.
 Then we went back to the play yard and let them run around. Skylar and Hawk the American Indian Dogs joined us for a short time.
 Then we took Comet, Tiki, Galaxy, Terra and Tundra out to eat lunch with us. We went to a fantastic restaurant that offers almost everything as Gluten-free and it was so good! Tiki also did really well for her first restaurant outing, especially considering the four other pups under the table with her!

It was so much fun and I can't express my thanks to Canine Angels for embracing us and allowing Tiki and I to join them on their outings, without them Tiki wouldn't get nearly the range of experiences as they're offering us. Only three short weeks to our next outing and we can't wait!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Making The Rounds

Last week Tiki, Comet, Coreena, Max and I made the rounds around town.
First stop? The vets' office to get current weights on the girls of course!
Tiki weighed 43 lbs
And little teeny Comet weighed 35 lbs
Then we hit up Petco, where Comet got friendly with the rats and asked Max if she could have one as a pet...
While Tiki decided to be a bit more reserved and asked for a fish...
They were both told no and especially no about even thinking about asking for snakes or tarantulas!

 Then we made our way to another park. In fact the same park where Eclipse and Eva's "senior pictures" were taken :-D
First they posed on a bench...
then decided to pose on the playground equipment
 Tiki got a taste of what it'll be like when she goes back for advanced training at the prison
 Comet lent her support
 They decided to scope out the park from their mighty perch
 And gave the rocking, grate bridge a shot.
 Comet didn't mind it one bit. Tiki took a little while to warm up to it.
 While they were just standing around they looked out over the lands below.
 Before Tiki decided to go abstract.
(She's strange I tell ya. Do you believe me now?)
And if kids can do it, so can Tiki!
 She decided since she was in the safety of their fortress she could afford to relax for a moment.
Although it didn't last long...
 Since she had to fly the helicopter!
And of course she looked absolutely stunning while doing so!

Comet didn't trust Tiki, the puppy's, judgement, so bailed. Whew! Good thing they hadn't taken off yet!
Comet suggested maybe they'd be better off going for a ride with someone else flying the 'copter.
That idea quickly fizzled though when they realized how little room there was for passengers!
So the humans stepped in and just suggested they pose next to the helicopter before heading home.

Oh, making the rounds with two cute pups is sure fun!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Slacking, yet again

Okay, so I've been slacking at my blogging. I'll try and do better, I promise! For now enjoy these random pictures from the past couple weeks. (By the way, a week ago Tiki weighed 43 lbs! At barely 5 months old! At a steady weight gain of 2.5-3 lbs a week that puts her at 45 lbs now. I wonder if she'll slow down this rate of growth anytime soon!)
 Tiki and Eclipse are best buds. Don't worry though, she's not bigger than him... YET!
 AWW! She melts my heart, despite the fact that she's a persistent little twit sometimes!
 Eclipse still has to practice his manners too, even though he's just a spoiled rotten pet now. Here I had him do a "stay" with an implied "leave it" while I left the room! Despite being SUPER food motivated now he left all that yummy salmon kibble alone for 3 minutes :-D
 Tiki and I helped that reactive pit bull again. She did great and it was so good for her to learn to listen to cues despite other dogs making noise and not behaving.
 We've been having a nice, welcome warm streak. Tiki obviously enjoyed it and I took the opportunity to rescue all the drowned stuffed toys!
 In an attempt to eat healthier and cut calories I gave the dogs my egg yolks this morning. Well, Eclipse, Kira and Teddy anyway.
Part of Tiki's daily training is holding a "wait" while the other dogs are given the "okay". She did so nicely despite the added discraction of a novel food and got rewarded with yummy treats!

More to come soon!

Ally w/Eclipse, Tiki, Teddy & Kira