Erin the Harlequin Great Dane went home last Friday after her remote collar work. She did AWESOME with the remote collar. It was the missing link in the bad behaviors she was getting away with. It was nice having another Dane around. It was funny to see Duke is almost a big as Erin & she's 2 1/2 months older that she is! She loved playing with the gang & re-socializing! She is super sweet & loves to play. She and Ty had races every time I'd let them out to play. I have a follow up lesson with her today to see how her owners are adjusting to the luxury of not having to chase her around & correct her :)
Duke also had another follow up lesson at the vet on Friday to have his ears checked. They are standing but the very tips were bending inward so as a fixer the vet added Breath Right nose strips to the tips of his ears to pull just the tips in. He'll have those on until they fall off (around 10-14 days).
I had a follow up lesson with Gus at the dog park on Friday. This is his usual freak out place when he's with his momma. Well, he freaked out. So we had to work on him walking down to the park. It took a while. He's still barking at other dogs & sometimes people when he's being walked with his momma. We have another follow up lesson this afternoon at the dog park again to work on his walking. She was instructed to not have him out walking without me since his behavior is progressing negatively. We have to get him under control & he can't be getting away with these small freak outs. They should be completely gone at this point in his training. Hopefully we'll be able to reward him with a playtime at the dog park after he walks the trail nicely past other people & dogs :)
Friday was a big day. I picked up Lucy a 1 1/2 year old German Shepherd who I did an evaluation on about over 6 months ago. She is completely non-social with people other than her owners. She has a tendency to get into scuffles with her owners other small female dog. She warmed up to me by the end of the evaluation but I instructed she be in training immediately or her behavior would get worse. She is a classic "basket case"..... case :) Meaning, she's not out of her surroundings much if any at all. She reacts aggressively or scared to death of new things because of her lack of socialization. Months, & months, & months later now, she's waaaay worse. She has serious cage aggression & she's not barking with fear in her, she's barking with intent to hurt. Our first day was very hard for her. She spent the day in the truck running errands with me. It was nice enough & cool enough with the windows down for her to hang out with me as well as get used to riding in the car. It took me almost 3 hours to get her out of the crate once we got home. She didn't have a leash on, which was my mistake & she was aggressively charging & biting the front of the crate every time I would put my hand near the crate to unlock it. Her behavior is quite different out of the crate so I wasn't much worried & just wanted to have her leashed before she came out. I had to use a snare pole to get her out after coaxing wasn't working, which I didn't want to use but I didn't want her hurting herself or me. So, she was out, I leashed her up with a slip lead & took her outside & walked her. She didn't want me touching her but she was fine to walk along side me. I wanted to wear her out in a long walk before I put her back in her crate for the evening. After her walk she nibbled her food and drank a ton of water, which I was happy to see. I left the slip lead on her so I could get her out without a hitch the next morning. The following morning was a significant improvement. She didn't lunge the front of the crate in the morning she just showed her teeth at me. When I'd tell her "no" sternly, she's avert her eyes from me & I could open the crate & grab the slip lead as she walked out. She likes being in the back yard & she's seems to like the other dogs big dogs, so I'm going to build her confidence with the other dogs. They'll be her therapy dogs :) I can't let her off the leash when she's in the back yard because I'd never get her back so she's on the 25 foot runner. She's liking these warm days as much as me!! So the weekend was getting her trusting me. She starting sitting next to me & I could get in a few pets before she walks away. She would snap at me before so that's definite progress. As of last night she came and put her head under my hand & then spooked herself when we were sitting on the couch. Silly girls. She's staying leashed all the time right now while she's learning & for safety reasons. This morning when I got her out I got a small tail wag from her, she had eaten all her dinner & licked the bowl clean!! YEAH. Eating means she's not stressed out anymore and she's starting to feel comfortable. I was able to put her on the runner without having to leave the leash attached to her collar. She let me get near her face without hesitation & I was able to give her a little butt scratch for a moment & she didn't spook away from me or show her teeth!! YESSS!!! So today, she's going to ride around with me when I go to my morning lessons & then she'll have a break & I'll take her to the park & work with her before I meet with Gus & Abigail. I'm throwing her right into everything & pushing her through this fear. She already knows her basic commands from a previous trainer when she was a puppy so that will help me out a ton! I'll take pictures of her today since I'm able to get a bit closer & she's 'not intimidated by me looking at her now. So, more to come on Lucy!
On Saturday morning I had a follow up lesson with Jemma, the Black Great Dane. She is doing AWESOME!! Abby, her momma is doing great as well. I only needed to correct a few things but over all Jemma is responding to Abby & Abby is being consistent & I couldn't be more pleased! YEAH JEMMA & ABBY!!
So on the agenda today. I have to work with Shelly & Lucy this morning. Then I have a follow up lesson with Erin. I'll come home & work with Shelly a bit more before Lucy & I go to the park to meet Abigail & Gus. I'd like to get in a bit of work with Duke. He needs to learn down at my side & hold the command. He did great walking with the group at the park on Friday but he needs work on his commands around distractions. He's up to 73lbs now as well, & he's 20 weeks today!!
On a personal note, the make over to the backyard has started. Tom fixed the fence where the tree had fallen on our fence from the terrible wind we had last week. We had a TON of pine trees between a few inches tall to 3-4 feet tall growing all over the yard. I pulled all the trees yesterday & limed the back yard. Now in 500 sq. foot sections we're going to plant grass seed on the hill. We'll have to put up silt fencing to keep the dogs off of it while it's germinating & growing. From the back door out to where the hill starts I'm going to sod with Bermuda. Its the high traffic area & it gets a lot of sun there so it makes sense. We also are going to build a 24'x34' deck right off the already poured concrete patio. We'll have a fire pit, seating & a swing. Also, where the hill starts in the back of the yard we're going to have a guy come in and quote us for adding a 3 foot retaining wall & level it & then another retaining wall as a 3 layer & level the top of that. If that makes any sense. We're trying to add functionality to the bark yard with the steep hill. Right now if I leave it like it is it will slowly start to erode away. No bueno. And the grand finale.......... (drum roll sound)......... Tom is building me a 500-600 square foot kennel!!! This way I won't have kennels in the house & in the garage. We currently have a heating & cooling system in the garage to accommodate the dogs during hot & cold times but it's cramped in there. So this new kennel will give me a spacious kennel, bathing area, & work area. The dogs will of course still be in the house with me when I'm home but they'll be in their kennels at night & when I'm away at lessons. I'm super excited!! All this will take place over the next few months because I'm not made of money...... unfortunately & I'll have to take it as I I have the money to do it. I'm not much for borrowing because I hate paying interest to people. :) So all my pet sitting money & money I have saved will go towards this huge investment so please, send people my way. It will be much appreciated!!
Here is where the deck will be. From the far corner of the house, out 34' twards me & then back to the edge of where the concret pation is. Along the fence side will be sod & landscaping.
This is me standing where the deck will be. From the pation out will be soded with bermuda, which I will be laying myself so any helpers are welcome. The green in the distance is pine trees that I pulled up yesterday :)
So here's another shot of the back of the house from a long time ago, hence no fence. I'm standing at the top of the hill. That's my friend, Wendy. So, on the right side of the house from the edge of the concrete pation to the edge of the house is the deck. From Wendy straight out to where the hill starts will be sod, as well as from Wendy & everything to the left. All these pine tree on this hill are now gone & it's just fresh dirt ready to take seed!
I tried to do a panoramic shot of the back yard standing from the patio to show where the retaining walls will be. Imagine all 4 pictures side by side. The sod will go out about 3o feet the here will be a 3ft retaining wall & it will be leveled & then about 10-15 ft up from that will be another wall & that will be leveled.
Here is where the kennel will be!! It will be about the size of a 2 car garage. It will have the same siding & roof as the house. I'm super excited. If I ever sell it will make a great workshop for someone!