Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Practice Session with My New Friends

It's less than a week to test day. I have been going for group practices with my classmates and sad to say, I have not progressed much....I stole a pig ear again on Monday night. On that same night, we also had the pleasure of meeting Xiong Ba (熊爸), one of the instructors at Dr. Dog. He gave us some tips and it was really enlightening because all of us were too absorbed about mastering the test topics. He said if we don't make it this time, we can always do it again. Most importantly, we must be happy and our owners must establish a good relationship with us. He also advised us to take our time to complete each segment, what they really want to see is how our owners are able to communicate with us. Thank you Xiong Ba for spending some time with us and your kind words of wisdom!

Last Saturday, we met up with a group of Dr. Dog students who are taking the advanced clicker training class for a practice session at the Taiwan University. Clicker Training is a training method using a small mechanical device that marks a correct behavior with a "click" sound. Used together with positive reinforcement, it has been known to show amazing results not only in dogs, but also dolphins, birds, cats and horses.

Our meeting place is at the field at the university where there is an old plane.

Here I am, meeting Dali the white poodle for the first time.

This is Pudding (布丁) and Xian Cao Mi (仙草蜜) in the background.

Just hours before the session, it rained heavily, so we went off to a sheltered area just in case it starts to rain again.

This is Pudding sitting prettily.

Here's Pudding again with me in the background. Noticed the head collar I have on? I have been using it since Day One of intermediate class. Dr. Dog does not use the choke chain for training and they only recommend us to use the Head Collar (also known as HC or Gentle Leader). Like all training collars, they must be used correctly.

Before they start the session, everyone calms down first and sit quietly with their owners.

This is a closeup of Xian Cao Mi (仙草蜜), the black labrador, he wins the prize for the shiniest coat!

Here's Dali, smiling sweetly at the camera.

Awww.....A tender moment of Pudding and her mommy.

Getting to know one another.

This is Xiao Lu (小魯), he is the tallest golden I have ever met! Look at those fine long limbs!

This is me, flashing my Dino smile.

This is Belle, what a lovely Husky!

This is the group, discussing the test contents.

And here is Xiao Lu (小魯) peeking through.

Belle and Dali are sharing some gossips.

And finally a group photo before we end the session. There was another husky missing from the group, I didn't get his name.

Many thanks to Pudding's Mom for letting us join in your practice session and giving me a little yummy bear biscuit.

Mom was mighty impressed with the group, they were all amazingly calm, quiet and obedient. It is a huge contrast to my class where our owners shower verbal praises like there is no tomorrow. Looks like it is going to be lots of hard work for us to be like them.

It has been a pleasure meeting all of you and we look forward to seeing all of you again! Mom was bitten all over by some nasty mosquitoes, so I hope we don't meet them the next time.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dr. Dog Intermediate Lessons

We have all been rather busy lately, so I will just give a quick recap of my Dr. Dog lessons. I have just completed the final lesson for the intermediate class yesterday. Next week is the test and Dad and Mom are getting really worried. Mom is feeling the strain because Dad was traveling and she had to bring me for the last two lessons on her own. For those of you who know me well, I am a real mommy's boy and although she is strict with me, sometimes I choose not to listen to her and that really drives her crazy. Dad always tells Mom to work harder on her leadership skills. While she works on it, let me tell you about my class.

It is a small class this time for the intermediate level, there are only 5 of us. There are my previous classmates from the Basic class, Howler the golden retriever and Bibi the red poodle. My new classmates are Bibi the West Highland Terrier and Babu the white poodle.

This is handsome Howler again.

This is Westie Bibi who is a little camera shy.

I must remember to take a photo of our two poodle classmates on Sunday.

Last Thursday night, we had a group practice at a park. Numerous toys and treats are strewn all over the floor and we are supposed to heel around them, lay down in the middle and stay. During the stay, we have to do the "Look", "Heel to the side" and "Off" command and we must not break our stay when people come up from behind to touch us or when there are any noise distractions around us. When it is time to be released, we must run straight to our owners and not go for the food or toys on the floor.

In class, we also learned how to spit out on command, but did I hear abundant yummy treats on the floor? Gosh! That is too good to be true! Anyway, I did rather badly that night, Mom did not managed to get me to obey her "Off" or "Spit Out" commands and I am guilty of eating a large pig ear and a dental bone.

The next day, Mom went to Costco and bought these:

Can you see the glee on my face? Mom thinks that pig ears are gross, but she hopes that with all these variety of treats, I will be able to master the spit out command.

Yesterday, our instructor said that I have to work harder on Off and Spit out and have to heel properly without wandering to the left and right. Looks like it is going to be a hard week, lots of intensive exercises are planned for me. I better buck up before Dad comes back.

On Saturday, we joined an amazing group of Dr. Dog students who are undergoing the advanced class for clicker training. I have lots of photos to share and so that will go into my next blog entry.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Let's go to Danshui 淡水

The Danshui area is a popular tourist attraction located in the northern part of Taipei. It is also a favorite destination among the locals for taking strolls and watching the sunset.

There are many interesting things to see and do there, so let me take you on a little tour around the Danshui Fisherman's Wharf.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I am not feeling that great today

You have not heard from me for a while because Dad and Mom were traveling and I went to stay with Liza for 5 days. I had a fun time with Liza and her dogs, but it sure feels good to be home again.

Went for my 4th intermediate Dr. Dog lesson on Sunday, training is getting tougher and our instructor wants us to meet up with our other classmates to practice together. We were taught how to do a spit out by using different types of yummy treats and Mom diligently went to buy some new treats.

Not sure if I caught a bug or it is because of the new treats that mom gave me for training that made me vomit and sick with diarrhea last night.

Yesterday was a warm sunny day and Mom brought me for a bath. When she picked me up after the bath and I had the runs just outside the groomer's. I do get the runs sometimes right after a shower, so Mom was not alarmed. Then we went back to the groomer's to clean up a little and headed home.

Mom had a cousin in town, so she went out in the evening, but she got a nasty surprise when she got home. I had a bad bout of diarrhea all over the house and it got onto some of the furniture too!

Mom saw a big puddle of diarrhea in the middle and something that looks like vomit and felt so sorry for me. When Mom was cleaning up, I vomited twice. It was almost 2am after she cleaned up the mess. She brought me downstairs and I had diarrhea again.

Mom slept in the living room with me and I was fine throughout the night.

This morning, my poop was still a little soft and I have not vomited. Mom called the vet and he said to monitor and bring me in if I do not get better. He also said that I could have a little water and food.

We are supposed to have a group practice for our Dr. Dog classmates today, but Mom is afraid that I may spread the virus to them, so we decided to stay in.

I had no dinner last night and no breakfast today, but Mom says she is going to feed me a little later if I still appear fine.

Don't worry too much about me, I am feeling fine, just not that great. I am just going to take a little nap now and hopefully get some food when I wake up. Dad is on a trip now and it is just Mom and Me. We both need a hug.

4pm Update:

I had some food and so far no diarrhea or vomiting incidents. Although I appeared fine, Dad told Mom to bring me to the vet just in case it may get worse after the vet closes. So off we went. it's a little gloomy today, but it was rather cool, so we took a nice slow stroll there.

I am very happy to report that I have no fever and my spirit and breathing are fine. Vet says I have gastroenteritis and prescribed some tablets to take twice a day. He also said I can have food and water , but small amounts each time.

That's all for now, I just took my medication and I will rest for a while until dinner time!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mommy's Day!!!

Woohoo! Someone delivered a parcel!

It smells like it is for me!

Quick! Mom! Open it!

Wow! What an exquisite looking present.

Oh! It's the Classic Chocolate Cake from Black as Chocolate that Dad ordered for Mom for Mother's Day. Look at all the dark chocolate!!!! I am drooling already!

On the box, there is a little story about classic chocolate and instructions for taking the cake out.

As usual, another photo opportunity!

It smells awesome! Can I take a bite please?

The cake came with some cute Devil's Forks and paper plates.

Dad helped mom to cut the rich chocolate cake!

I couldn't have any of it, but mom said it was yummy!

To all wonderful Mommies out there:
Happy Mother's Day and have a great day today, you deserve it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Stamps from Aunty Felicia

Wow! Look! Mom and me on a stamp! We received a whole sheet of personalized stamps from Aunty Felicia. They are very pretty! Thank you so much!

Aunty Felicia, you are so sweet!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tea Time at Chris Café

Here is a Café that has outdoor seating so naturally; I got to check it out. I can tell that the owners love dogs, so I consider this a dog friendly place.

They serve light food and drinks here so Mom had a little snack.

I love seating outside because I get to meet many people. This is Hower, he came up to say hello and gave me a few pets.


Name: Chris Cafe
Address: No. 313 Jia Xing Street 台北市嘉興街313號
Telephone: (02) 8732 3150

Introducing Your Dog to The Treadmill in 8 Steps

I have received a few inquiries about my treadmill training, many of you wanted to know how I did it.

Dad has listed out 8 steps for those of you who are interested in introducing your dog to the treadmill for the first time. Proper introduction is very important because if your dog develops a fear of the treadmill, it will be impossible to get him to run willingly on the scary machine.

1. First, start with the power off. Put your dog on a leash and lead him to the treadmill. Allow him to take his time to sniff and investigate the treadmill. At the same time, say the word "treadmill" in a happy tone. This is to associate the treadmill in a positive manner and remember to praise him for investigating the machine. You can say something like, "Good boy, treadmill!".

2. Then, walk away with your dog for one or two minutes before going back to the treadmill and repeat Step 1 again. Repeat this over a few days with the power off until you are sure that your dog is not afraid of the treadmill.

3. When your dog is comfortable with the treadmill, put him on a leash and walk him up and down on the treadmill together. Praise profusely with his name and the word, "treadmill" together. Repeat this until he shows no hesitation to go onto the treadmill. You can use treats and lots of encouragement to let him go onto the treadmill, but never force him onto it.

4. When your dog is able go onto the treadmill on command, turn on the treadmill and start with very low speed. Your dog may be startled by the sound from the treadmill, divert his attention with lots of treats and praises. Now, you should be standing at his side with the leash. Hold a treat with the other hand and place it in front of him to encourage him to move forward, like the "donkey and carrot" concept. Allow him to have the treat. If he moves too fast, you can increase the speed gradually. Continue to give him very small pieces of treats and lots of encouragement and praises.

5. If your dog cringes down when the treadmill starts, use your hand to lift him up gently from the belly to get him to stand up and at the same time encourage him to use his legs to move forward. You may need someone to help you to hold a treat in front of him and you have to hold the leash on one hand and the other hand holding him from the belly to prevent him from cringing down. Remember to use very slow speed at this point.

6. After you have accomplished Step 4 and 5, you may increase the speed gradually especially if you see that he is moving too fast or the speed is too slow for him. Remember that he should be under supervision at all times when using the treadmill.

7. In the beginning, he should be on the leash at all times when using the treadmill . When you are sure that he can run confidently on the treadmill, you can remove the leash without his knowledge . Always give him lots of praises when he is running on the treadmill to create positive association.

8. Help your dog to succeed, do not force him onto it. Slow and proper introduction is the key point here. You will see that your dog is looking forward to every session and going up on the treadmill waiting for you to turn it on. Start with 5 minutes and gradually build up to 20 minutes, remember to warm up and cool down your dog every time. Running on the treadmill is great for rainy days and bad weather, but it should never replace going out for walks to enjoy the beautiful outdoors! Happy workout, everyone!

Here is a short clip of the whole family working out together.