Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Week 32 - Chopped Lettuce

Looks sweet, right?  Well, I think Maddie had just been nipped and came running to me for comfort.  At least I get that. 

This is what I usually get.  "Don't touch me, Mom.  I don't want anyone to see us together."  We are definitely deep into the bratty teenager stage.  
 Maddie just wants to hang out with her friends.  We traveled to South Carolina for an agility trial recently and Maddie was quite the pill about doing what I asked...... except recalls.  Recalls were always great!
At this trial especially, Maddie had many opportunities to play with other puppies.  You saw Ziva the Dutch Shepherd in the last post.  There was also Harp the Golden Retriever, Ivy the Doberman we have not seen in several months, and Teg the Border Collie you see in these pictures.
Maddie had a blast.  There was a huge field for her to run full speed.  It was great exercise and very entertaining for the humans.
But I really need to be the most important, interesting, awesome thing in Maddie's life and it is just plain hard to be more wonderful than fun puppies like Teg, Ziva, Harp, and Ivy.  So with daycare ending also, I am going to reduce the amount of play she gets with other dogs as well.  I really need to be her favorite playmate.
At the very least, I want Maddie to earn the puppy play.  It was evident this weekend that she just could not respond to basic requests (like a sit) with her friends around.  I was no better than chopped lettuce.
Hard core trainers, such as my obedience trainer, do not allow their puppies to play with other dogs at all. They would have suggested that Maddie only play with me from the very beginning.  I get the concept, but it just was not going to work logistically.
For example, we attended a seminar back in November and the speaker told us how she would crate her puppy for a few hours and then interact with her puppy for 2 hours.  Then crate the puppy for a few hours and then 2 more hours of intense interaction, play, and training.  And she would continue this routine all day. That must be nice if you do not have to work a full time job away from the house.
I could never do such a schedule justice.  Especially when I have two other dogs to train.  So for the first seven months, I think it made sense for me to utilize daycare and to let her play with other puppies. But time to reel that in a bit.  Time to change my status from chopped lettuce to chopped liver.

Maddie ended Week 32 at 52 pounds and 25 inches tall.  She is now officially bigger than Seven and Riley who are right at 51 pounds and 24 and 24.5 inches tall respectively.


Wailing Wall said...

I'm surprised and a little bit disheartened by the 'my puppy can't play with other puppies' line - doesn't that mean that you are in danger of creating a dog that does not have the required confidence around other dogs? I side with Ian Dunbar's theory of super-socialisation (though I don't think his ideal numbers of people and dog interactions are actually possible).

I think your approach is much more sensible.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I think at nearly 8 months Maddie has had a ton of appropriate dog interaction (especially during Dunbar's crucial window) so I am not worried about her losing confidence around other dogs. She will continue to socialize, but the rough and tumble play needs to be reeled in. I mostly just want her to earn it. If she won't eat my treats or pay me any attention around her friends, then I am not going to turn her loose until she does. Since I use almost no force in my training, my biggest concern is that Maddie chooses me. If she doesn't, I am in big trouble.

The other thing I didn't mentioned is that Maddie also wrenched her back from all the rough and tumble and has been adjusted twice by a chiropractor in less than one week and returns on Wed. I noticed that she was crooked a couple of weeks ago and it didn't seem normal. So I want to get that issue under control as well.

So at this point, the rough play takes a backseat to everything else. But she will still socialize.

gyeong said...

Sounds like your typical teenager, ignoring the parental units when their friends are around.

Ximena said...

Yikes - that is hardcore. I'm not even entirely sure I could handle that. Elli was a complete nut when she was younger. I had to let her socialize or I'd go crazy.

This is an interesting topic though. I just watched a DVD of someone spouting that she "socializes" her dogs to the presence of other dogs while playing with her. So, the dog only sees other dogs as minor environmental distractions (if at all) from the getgo. Hardcore.

Class A Greyhounds...RVing with the Big Dogs! said...

All these ideas are very interesting...however each situation is different. We owners have to figure out what works in our lives.
Play is important, and you seem to have the secret of recall.

RubyTheWhippet said...

Ruby had a "girlfriend" when he was a puppy. They were about the same age and played all the time. Then the family left for two months and when they came back their puppy (now almost grown up) wasn't interested in Ruby at all! She only had eyes for her ball.
They explained to me that where they went there weren't any dogs to play with so they played fetch with her to tire her out. In the process they became her favorite play partners.

Greyhounds Aren't Grey said...

I must confess my first reaction was like that of many here. Seems a bit harsh. But I suppose that in the end if your goal is a first class obedience/agility dog then you do have to be the most interesting thing in Maddie's life. If only you could run faster, I bet that would change the whole equation :-)

What Remains Now said...

Those first two pictures are hilarious, especially the second one! Of course, I always love to see Ninja Maddie.

Michelle said...

Yep, typical tennager phase. Sounds about right. She is beautiful. Love the black hounds!

Those Brindle Kids said...

As the parent of a 16 year old, I know whereof you speak. :)

Claire Krigbaum said...

Wonderful photos! Yes, at least she came to you for comforting!
Indi was unofficially measured at a trial last weekend and was 24 3/4" at about 14 months old but weighs about 63 pounds!
I have never really liked that extreme view of "never let your dog play with other dogs so that you are always the most important thing" but I do understand making her work for the play! I think that soon she will realize that attention given to you means she gets what she wants and that will turn into attention on you being more rewarding than other dogs eventually!
At work when I let Indi out of her kennel to play with her Golden friend she has to wait at the kennel door and give me eye contact before I let her out. I take the ball out with me and she has started to stop in the middle of play with Barney and look at me so I throw her the ball. She wouldn't come to me at all in the beginning while he was outside with her.

Team Zero Gravity said...

Each of us has to do what we believe is right for our dogs and ourselves. I think you method with Maddie (allowing dog play as a puppy and now tapering that off) has been a good one.

We have to do what is practical for our lives while fulfulling our dogs, especially as puppies and you have done that.

As you know Blaze has always been a challenge in the department of other dogs being more interested. I'm happy to say that over the last couple of years of working my agility trainer, Barbara (Party of 2 Agility) and now my competition obedience trainer, Tina (Canine Ranch), he has improved in that department greatly. He actually seeks me out to play over other dogs the majority of the time. Being a boy, maturity took a lot longer too ;)

Our biggest challenge is in an agility ring in a an actual trial. He justs so overstimulated by that environment. We keep working on it though. One thing I learned with Rio is NEVER give up on your dog :)

Keep up wht good work!

jcp said...

Waaaitt.. did you say you took Maddie to a chiropractor? Your dedication level is just way way way above mine :).. Absolutely loved the pics as always :).

Anonymous said...

I think you are overthinking it. She is a dog, not a robot! No offense, but if you are worrying that you aren't Numero Uno in your dogs life, a little perspective is in order. Just my opinion!

Heather (jerZgirl) said...

Dang she is tall already! And I agree with you on the rough play. My corgi girl is 6 months old now and gets VERY rough...so she earns her play with other dogs.

RubyTheWhippet said...

Anonymous, I bet you never did agility with a dog, did you? And never had a dog hit by a car because they wouldn't respond to recall when chasing another dog was so much more fun.
Being Numero Uno has some very good consequences.