the sheltiechick blog

Spring in January

GORGEOUS weather today… I almost didn’t go back to work after lunch. I wanted to go for a nice run outside and then stay in the backyard with the boys allllll afternoon.

Handsome Payton. Without any dirt hanging from him. Yay!!

Playing with the basketball! PetSmart doesn’t have these anymore =< It's a shame because this one is really heading towards the end of it's life.

My very handsome Auggiemeister.

I named my puppy after a football great. Errr…


These are from yesterday – my mom opened this two liter and it started fizzing everywhere and Payton WTF????d at it. So my solution was to give him the bottle when it was empty. And he didn’t stop playing with it. Finally he flattened part of it and ripped a hole in the plastic so I took it away before he ate the darn thing.

butt in the air. he does this SO much. it’s ridiculous.

Do you ever realize…

So the dogs are shut in the office here with me, which is where we spend most of our time lately. Payton was trying to lick my foot. I kept moving my foot around and saying “Why are you licking? Why are you licking?” and I kept making my voice go higher and higher into a falsetto until finally I said “I’m talking in a really high pitch!!”

This confused the Payton. He sat down and looked at me.

“Does that make you sit?” I asked him, in my high pitched voice. “You look confused. And now maybe kind of disappointed. Now you look like you’re judging me. Don’t judge me.”

And I thought to myself “This is funny. I mean I’m being stupid and I’m pretty sure my dog is judging me and it’s funny. I have such funny conversations with my dogs. Somebody should put me on reality TV. Or at least write a sitcom based on my life. Because we are funny.”

Then I realized it’s probably NOT funny…
And is really just kinda sad.
which is kind of even more funny.

Maybe I need a roommate. A human one.
Or not.

Payton being a dork, Auggie being Auggie

Perhaps it should be Payton being Payton too.


Why does my baby dog look kind of like a smug jerk..?

More Auggie!

Auggie says “you has a stick. I wants it plz.”a

I threw the stick and Auggie changed his mind. So Payton took it instead.

Weird dog…

der de der!!

oh you have the stick?

wooooo woo woo wooooo woo!

Ohhhh Auggie…

I need to thin out his dreadlocks, just haven’t gotten around to it. I did everything else last weekend but left all the ear hair…

I love how every time I try to get a nice, handsome photo of Payton, he has sticks and dirt all over him. That’s my puppy.

The Dog Training Robot

I feel like I’ve become a bit of one.

As I posted earlier, I’ve spent the last 8 weeks or so enrolled in Susan Garrett’s Recallers e-course.  I’ve been re-reading Shaping Success for a while since getting Payton; I got the 2×2 weaves DVD for Christmas (which I had been wanting for a while), and just got myself Crate Games a few weeks back too (which I had also been wanting and Recallers gave me the push to go ahead and order it.)

Basically, I have been so immersed in SG that I’ve found myself using her terminology in just about everything I do training-wise. My thinking has changed to be very “Say Yes” oriented. I was never the kind of person who would put a shock collar or anything on my dogs, but Auggie was trained with corrections – so being that I’ve trained with corrections in the past, I guess you can officially call me a cross over trainer into The Land of Do, as SG puts it.  See? There’s yet another SG term. I feel like if I say (or think) “where’s the value?” one more time, I’m going to smack MYSELF.

But the odd thing is that it’s also become kind of therapeutic to start thinking this way.

Baby Georgie thinks (and has been reinforced for it, so “knows”) the fastest way to get out of her crate is to yip at the top of her lungs in her high-pitched baby bitch voice.  So we are now trying to un-do the damage, train it out of her, and, basically, play Crate Games.
So this afternoon I came home from work, let the boys out, and put Georgie in Payton’s crate while I fed the boys.  I was going to go get Georgie, but my mom came home right then, which caused Georgie to start yelping and screaming and biting the crate trying to get out and get to my mom.  I already knew my mom had a migraine earlier and wasn’t in a mood to deal with the barking and yipping, but I’ll be damned if I was going to let a migraine tear down all the work we had done… so I shut my mom out of the room and decided to take care of it myself.

I walked out of the room and stood in the hall, waiting for her to stop barking.  When she was quite for five seconds, I would go into the room.  At first this was her cue to start screaming at me again, so I would immediately, silently, turn around and walk back out of the room.
I’m standing in the hall, having done this for several minutes, and feeling irritated because I’m freaking starving for my own dinner, not in a very good mood already having just left work, and this isn’t even my dog!! I sure didn’t encourage (even inadvertently) this bad habit, so why do I have to stand here and deal with this?! It’s bad enough to have to struggle with Payton’s brattiness but at least that is all a direct result of the work I have or have not put into him; this one has NOTHING TO DO WITH ME, and yet here I am with the dumb baby bitch barking at me every time I walk into the room, preventing me from just feeding her and getting on with the rest of my life. And suddenly my head starts going “It’s her choice.  Control the resources, NOT the dog.  It’s her choice.”  Like a calming mantra.  Control the resources… not the dog.  It’s Georgie’s choice to keep barking and not be let out of the crate.  It’s her choice to stop barking and have me walk in the room.  It’s her choice to start barking when I approach the crate and make me turn around and LEAVE the room.  It’s all her choice.  I’m not really DOING anything.  Just letting the dog make the choices.

And it’s actually VERY calming, really, when you think about it.  It sure makes it easy for me.  Well, “easy” may not be the right word, but it takes the pressure off me, at the very least. I’m not here to make the dog do anything. I don’t have to force it. We’re not having a battle for control.  All I’m here to do is allow the dog to make her own choices, come to the correct choice (what I want), and then reward her for it! You get that? I’m just here to allow her to experiment, make her own choices, and then deliver a reward when the right choice rolls around.  Nothing else.  I don’t have to sit there having a shouting match with her, screaming, “Georgie QUIET!  Georgie STOP BARKING!  QUIET!  SIT!  SIT!”
I just stand there in the hallway with the lights off… and wait.

It really didn’t take much longer than five minutes for her to stop barking, stay quiet as I walked into the room and approached her crate, sit nicely when I unlatched the crate door, OPEN the crate door, and then release her from her sit so we could finally leave the room and go get her dinner.
And all I did was stand there and wait patiently.

I like this kind of dog training.

Payton has a sick

Poor guy had diarrhea all over the entryway last night, literally right before we all got in bed for the night. =< I had to clean it up, then clean out the spot cleaner, then decided to leave him in his crate for the night because I thought he might get sick again all over my bed. This worked fine for about three hours, until my mom got up to use the bathroom, and he started howling like he'd been abandoned on the side of the road. X_X I let him out to poop again and saw he threw up in his crate, so I cleaned that up too. He was unhappy about being left in his crate this time, so I ended up bringing Auggie's crate (smaller) into my bedroom and put Payton in there. I don't think any of us slept well. With no crate pad or anything in the crate I could hear him every time he moved, and he was confused as to why he wasn't on my bed like usual. At 5am he was crying to go outside again, and at 5:30am I sent my business manager a text taking half a personal day to try and get a few more hours of sleep.

I did manage a couple more hours, got up, washed both dog's pillows (I had removed Auggie's before putting Payton in it, but still, I was doing laundry anyway), bleached both their crates while I was at it, gave Payton a bath because his butt was all poopy and gross. He's been acting fine all this time, even in the middle of the night he would go out and run happy laps in the yard, stop and dump some poop, then bounce around again. Just an icky tummy. I was going to fast him this morning but decided to give him half his normal breakfast just to see if it made him sick again, and if it did, I was going to drive a stool sample over to the vet just in case, but so far so good.

Poor guy. I hope he's done being sick. Not sure if he got into something or just got a touch of a stomach bug. Before he had diarrhea, he had some REALLY smelly farts – like smelled like he had actually pooped farts. So definitely a case of upset belly one way or another.

Though I will say there was quite a bit more room in my bed last night with only one dog up there, LOL. Not that it mattered much since I STILL didn't get much sleep…

Payton coming home pics

Last weekend Auggie’s breeder’s husband was playing with her phone looking at all the photos and videos, and he came across a photo of a puppy and went “Who’s that?!” and I was like “AHHHH THAT’S PAYTON!” At the time, she sent me one of these but not all of them… so I sent the rest to my phone LOL.

So here’s photos of Baby Payton right after we picked him up.

“Hello new baby.”

Waiting in traffic – you could see the people in the car next to us so I erased them. X3 Not quite as sweet as the first “real” photo of Auggie and I hahaha. I think I’m kind of in shock at myself still. Like “Did I really just go buy a puppy?!”

He was actually a squirmy wormy and did NOT want to sit still on the ride home. He was climbing all over me as soon as we were actually driving. This was him faking it. “Ohhhh I’m a sweet, cuddly boy! Yes indeed!”

Almost home and he finally fell asleep… sweet little baby boy! Faker LOL.

Some pics from today, plus a Baby Pepper

This could have been a great photo… but overexposed. >=< I have so many problems with forgetting to adjust my camera for bright sunlight and ending up with overexposed photos… ughhh…

Eat da snow!

I don’t know how he got snow on his eyebrow LOL.

Auggie says “I also eat da snow!” Auggie is kinda skinny right now… I’m not sure if I like it or not. I cut back just a bit on his food since it’s his agility off season and all his muscle was getting soft, but I dunno… and yes I realize you guys probably can’t tell from this photo LOL.

Inside… for some reason he likes to play like this. I finally managed to get a good photo of it, haha. He’ll have a toy and then start rolling around on his back making wookie noises and flailing his legs around.

And in fact yesterday morning this is how he tried to wake me up. By putting his head on my BUTT and then rolling back and forth on his back making wookie noises and flailing his legs around. w.t.f. payton.

Then he grabs at the toy and makes more wookie noises and rolls around… because he’s so weird…

Also, yesterday I drove to Indy to watch Auggie’s breeder run Auggie’s granny (and Payton’s great-granny) one last time in agility… today is granny’s first official day of retirement. Anyway, before I went over there she had me run by her house and pick up her scrapbook that she forgot and bring it to the trial with me. We all spent some time looking at granny when she was really young, her AOM picture at Westminster, all that awesome stuff. And in the binder I found a photo of granny and Auggie’s dad at his first show when he was like six months. And HOLY COW Payton still looks an awful lot like Auggie’s dad now that I have puppy awkward photos to compare! It’s crazy. I meant to take a picture of that photo with my cellphone so I could show it, but I forgot.
But in the back of the binder were a few other miscellaneous pictures, and one of them was of two puppies, and I picked it up and said “Who are these?”
She pointed to one of the puppies and went “That’s baby Pepper.”
So when I came home I looked around online until I found the photo, because I only have one other picture of her as a baby and it’s not a very good one.

Pepper is the one on the right. She’s so cute. D= D=
Georgie’s mom is the one on the left. Doesn’t Georgie look JUST like her mom?

Snow + Flashlight

So it was dark by the time I got home… but Payton didn’t want to let that stop him, so I tried not to let it stop me either. I got a flashlight and the camera.
It didn’t work out that well but I got a FEW pictures that might convey Payton’s newest love… possibly even more exciting than leaves…


He plunged his face into the snow, came up for air, then plunged back down again, hahaha.


And then he got the zoomies. For like five minutes. He just kept running laps and Auggie and I stood there just waiting for him to stop completely freaking out.

The wind picked up and started blowing, and in the light from the flashlight he could see the flakes… and decided to try to catch falling snowflakes. OMG so cute.

Ugh these will make cute pictures if I actually have light while it’s snowing hahaha.

This is our first REAL snow as opposed to a small dusting… I hope it sticks around for a few days so I can try for better photos in the daylight!

New toys in the yard

Yesterday Auggie and I went to PetSmart to try and find some new tugs that he would like to play with. We picked this one out and TA-DA! Tugging!! So exciting!

I let him tug with Payton briefly but mostly this will be reserved for tugging with me.

Payton says “I like this new toy! I want it.”

But I bought you your OWN new toy, Payton.

Look, it has two balls. Just like you.

No need to build tug drive on this thing.

I mean seriously.

Susan Garrett says tugging is not a duration behaviour.

…I think Payton disagrees… OMG puppy for real.

I have no idea WHAT they were looking at. I was holding the toy over the camera and they were both like “la la la, can’t see the toy…”
(And yes, Auggie looks tiny. He almost always does next to other shelties, unless they are also smaller shelties.)

Seriously, Payton?

Two nights ago I was laying in bed on my stomach. Auggie was on my right sharing my pillow. Payton usually sleeps down at the foot of the bed or with his head draped over my legs.
All of a sudden I feel somebody walking on me… which I know it’s not Auggie because he doesn’t do that anymore PLUS he was sleeping right next to me. So Payton is walking on me.

THEN I feel him LAY DOWN on my BACK. Like I was a big human pillow.

“WHAT the HELL are you doing” I believe is what came out of my mouth.

Last night we were all tucked in bed, same thing. I was laying on my stomach and Auggie was curled up against me on the right with his head on my pillow. Payton keeps pacing around… he’d lie down, SIGH dramatically, get up, move around, try again. He kept laying down with his BUTT on Auggie’s face and I kept pushing him away until Auggie was like “meh, fine” and got up to move down to the end of the bed. Then Payton kept trying to put his butt in MY face. Twice he burrowed under the blankets… sigh, moan, shuffle around, get up, move.
I couldn’t figure out what his deal was… he’d already peed and pooped, he didn’t seem to be acting sick… just being stupid.
Then a thought occurred to me.
And I rolled over on my right side…
and Payton shoved his head against my back and IMMEDIATELY fell asleep.

Apparently he just could NOT get comfortable with me laying any differently than I normally do when we all fall asleep… usually I start on my right side and then roll over in the middle of the night or move when I get back in bed after getting up to pee.

No excuse for deciding to try and use me as a human pillow two nights ago, but maybe he just really hates it when I lay on my stomach??
Oh Payton.

Training Chatter

So it’s week five of my Brilliant Recalls e-course with Susan Garrett. Over the course of the class, I wouldn’t say I’ve necessarily had any training epiphanies so the speak… at least not in the traditional “ah-ha!” moment kind of way. What I have had is a shifting of my thought process and my overall training habits.

The big one would be that I’ve ditched luring for behaviours. This is actually really hard, because lure based training is how I was taught to train and how I’ve trained for many many years. Old habits die hard and it’s VERY difficult to stop luring. It’s also hard because what we are learning in Recallers has to do mostly with a recall, though many of the games are useful in SO many different areas. So we aren’t learning, for example, how to teach a dog to sit without a lure. Not that I need to know how to teach a dog to sit without a lure – I know about capturing, and of course my dogs know how to sit – but I’m just using that as an example. So I’m shifting into a new way of thinking, but I don’t really know how to do everything yet.  I definitely don’t feel confident enough to walk into a training class tomorrow and say “We’re not doing any luring in this class!” and help everybody in the classroom train their dogs as expected without using a lure… just because I haven’t done it all before, helped anybody do it before, and don’t even have a clear picture in my head of what to do.  There is no game plan, no map.  I am basically stumbling around with a blank piece of paper, trying to draw the map based on what I walk into, what other people tell me, and then can eventually show that map to somebody else and tell them “Well, if you want to get from here to here, this is where you go…”
One problem with drawing this map of shaping and capturing, as I’ve noticed with other people as a trainer and having used SOME shaping/capturing in my classes (even though I would say they have been primarily lure-based) is how HARD it is for many people to learn the concept of “don’t do anything, don’t say anything, let the dog come to the conclusion on his own.” I’ve told people “okay, don’t say anything, just wait” and they wait for maybe a few seconds… and then start saying things again or trying to “make” the dog do something.  It’s difficult for people to grasp the concept of waiting for the dog to do things on his own and then reward it rather than luring or prompting… even with somebody standing right behind you, saying “JUST SHUT UP AND LET THE DOG THINK FOR A SECOND!”  (Not that I’ve ever yelled that at my students or even been tempted to, but I sometimes think I probably should have yelled that at MYSELF in the past.)


It’s evolution of my thought processes.  I’m enjoying it.  I think that might actually be the biggest thing I’m getting out of the e-course, even though the games are also IMMENSELY helpful – but it’s how my entire thought process and teaching approach is evolving along the way.

My little puppy…

He has a big. D=

I hardly even remember this!!

He is still rather squishy and I can totally snuggle him into my arms though, LOL. I always pick him up and say “I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine! And he shall be my Squishy.”

Seriously though, he’s turning out SO well, and I’m so happy with him. I mean the excited nose-touches all over the place and the jumping up on me to try and nose-touch my hands while I’m cooking dinner aren’t fun but we’re working on it.