Yesterday we went to the pet store again with his halter. He was grand. I only had to back up two or three times, and those were just getting ahead, not pulling. He's down to one little hop when greeting people who are leaning over him
and actually accepts the idea that no, they don't, but they'd still like to talk to him.

I LOVE the way he goes through life with a wag for every single person he lays eyes on
The only thing he's ever met that he doesn't love is the fly swatter with which I'm telling him to leave old Stitch alone because she's started pooping in the house so she won't have to walk past him and his images

Then we went over to the sidewalk outside Safeway and after a minute I took the halter off. Nobody offered to stop and pet him but we had a lot of close encounters and he was wonderful. He's got both ideas down pat - see somebody coming, wag, and look at me to get a treat, and see somebody coming, wag, and keep staring at them to get a treat. Mostly he picks looking back at me.

NOTHING bothers him. We were near a construction site with big machinery clanking. No big deal. Grocery carts whizzing by. Cars. Horns. Nothing. He's doing his look-at-people-get-a-treat thing.

Once he's in full flight after a feral cat, I can't usually call him off, but other than that, his resistance to distraction is exciting. That'll come too. Sometimes I CAN call him off, and he'll turn away and forget them if I catch him between spotting them and running.

This morning I did some shaping with him for my Fenzi shaping class. Clever baby.

His name might not be Spider. Sigh. I've called him Serra a couple of times by accident in the last few days.

Kicksled adventures

OWIEEE! My 1st semi-major injury from him. May it be the worst of many to come. He was chasing a wildly bouncing ball around my legs and jammed a canine into my knee. Didn't break the skin, but made a darn good dent through a pair of jeans and long johns. I'll be feeling that tomorrow.

-6 today with no wind. Under that influence I did something incredibly stupid. I set up the kicksled, hitched Spider and Syn to it, and went off down the road. Or tried to go off down the road.

Syn felt the harness, saw the contraption behind her, and knew immediately what she was supposed to do. She looked down the road, dug her toes in, and went off pulling for all she was worth.

Spider on the other hand realized he was having an adventure. He went under the tugline. He went over the tugline. He went through the tugline. He bit the tugline. He bit the kicksled. He bit his harness. He bit Syn's harness. He bit Syn's head, neck, muzzle, tail, and feet. Understand that none of this was stressed, it was all in the name of having an adventure.

Finally I got them all straightened out and Syn started down the road again. Spider followed along lallygagging, watching the scenery, looking for cats, and occasionally smelling some bunny poop. Syn was working hard and I was walking behind the sled or riding and kicking (it being a kicksled after all). Occasionally, quite by accident, Spider would catch up and pass Syn. Without even noticing us he'd walk off with me, the, and Syn. We did just get used to sliding merrily down the road when he'd suddenly bite Syn again and go back to merrily braiding the tugline.

Syn was not amused. I was not amused. Okay maybe a little amused. Spider had a heck of a good time.

There is good news in here. He's certainly going to be big enough and strong enough to enjoy kicksledding on a regular basis as an adult. I know that in multiple previous generations of Giant Schnauzers have not only done this but been very good at it and competitive. And I got a lot of exercise today.

The bad news is that even though I did a really ugly things to my shoulder today, I failed to break it, so I will remain on the three-month waitlist rather than jumping to the Urgent list.

In a less exciting moment this morning I did a video of him being shaped to do the 1st part of the obedience Drop on Recall exercise. If I could tell him to lie down at a distance, he have the whole thing.

Calm rational outing

Excellent day.

We went first to the pet store to get him a pulling harness for the kicksled we can't use because it's above zero and all the snow has melted.

He clearly recognizes the pet store parking lot and is eager to get inside. Two backups for walking ahead of me, but he wasn't pulling. Inside he looked at people and wagged but only jumped once at the last minute. Very nice. When he's standing around he's standing, not pulling. When we're moving he's light as a feather and almost stays out of all the treats. "Suddenly" I can enjoy going into the place without thinking constantly about him flossing teeth or knocking anything over.

I bought him a harness - nice one with a handle on the back I can hold without bending over, and a Siwash front to encourage him to pull into it when he's attached to something gullible. Put it on him and - same story as the snood he didn't want to wear. Put his head down and pouted. Same sort of behaviour he'd give me if I gave him leash corrections - exceptionally well behaved but no spark.

Still, there were treats and a new bone and people to wag at and he was over it by the time we left. I let him wear it in the crate in the car while he was eating his bone. Then we went outside Canadian Tire and played the watch-people-go-by game again and did some sit stays and heeling. The great news is that, given a minute to look around, he doesn't seem to care where he is as far as working is concerned. When I let him stand around, he watched and wagged. When I worked, he was engrossed in the work and ignored everything and everybody. Perfect.

I need to start taking him out to the car on leash, he's scanning for feral cats. When he spots one, he chases it, and doesn't come back until the cat has disappeared into the barn. This is a non-starter. Sorry bud.

And another alien encounter - a guy approached to pet and said his buddy also had Bouviers. His male was at least 18" taller than Spider and he sold semen for $1500 a pop. I smiled. Yep. 43" Bouvier. Impressive.

Anyway, excellent outing..

Woot! Heeling!

No, not heeling yet, but I'm getting glimpses. Syn got it right away, eye contact, then trotting to the left, then chasing the treat. Spider didn't have a clue yesterday but he slept on it. After three or four reps this evening he discovered he was having fun. Eye contact, then follow me when I started running backwards. I didn't think I could but I got him trotting even in the short space of my kitchen. I've GOT to keep doing this, I'm actually kind of excited about obedience again. The national Specialty is in Red Deer (9 hours? drive) in April, hopefully after my new shoulder gets installed. No hope for conformation since I can't strip him - can only brush in 2-minute stretches once a day - but obedience and rally might be doable if I keep it up.

He's the first Giant I ever had who didn't have a CD before 7 months (except for Panda who got hit by a car and finished at 11 months after her spine was rehabbed). I'm certainly not taxing his little thinker.


Wonderful/odd day today.

Spider and I worked outside Best Buy and Winners today (Black Saturday). He did a wonderful job. He acknowledged every person who walked by us with a glance and a wag, but looked right back to make eye contact with me. Kids were harder, he got his whole body into the wags, but came back immediately when they were obviously walking by and didn't lunge at them.

I started the day with him on his halter. After five minutes I switched the leash from the halter to the collar but left the halter on him. Another five and I took the halter off and worked him only on the collar.

I let him talk to anybody who asked, asking them to please stop touching him if his feet came off the ground. I confess I had a good grip on his collar and stopped him from jumping several times, but overall he did a good job of controlling himself (that is, he put his paroxysms of delight into winding himself around their hands instead of going for their throats (tongue to throats that is, not teeth).

Two funny things happened. Given somebody working a very large dog on one side of a sidewalk with a shopping cart in the middle of the walk, what weird person takes the path of the red arrow? Didn't stop, didn't say hello, didn't sneak in a pat, no other traffic.

Strange. Spider was wonderful, did his usual glance and wag and came back as usual.

And... I got schooled. Woman with a kid about 5 came along, asked if she could pet. This was just after I took the halter off. I said yes, but he's young and please take your hands off him if his feet come off the ground and give him a chance to collect himself.

So she comes really close to him, hovers over him, and puts her hands all over him. This is too much and he starts with little hops, at which point she says "You're gonna love this little trick!" and grabs his collar, pulls it up really snug against his jawbones and starts to pull up while her other hand slides back to smack his butt. At that point I grabbed his collar back and pulled him back with me saying "No, thanks, we don't do that". You could see the thought go through her brain - oh, a cookie pusher! And she turned around, grabbed the kid, and left. Good reminder to me (if I needed it) to keep my hands off other people's dogs without permission.

When we got home we did some more dumbbell work. Today he has many questions about exactly what will get paid - one canine outside the bar and one inside? No. Lips hanging on but incisors closed with no grip? No. He even deliberately threw it back on his molars, staring at me as he asked the question. He can hold with me now for 8 seconds with a lovely quiet mouth. I tossed a few - he can't think what to do with the dumbbell if it's more than 5 feet away from us, but if I toss a treat over near it, he'll notice it once he's out there. Tossed closer, he can bring it back today in only two stages.

And then we started working through Shade Whitesel's Shaping Heeling class. I was so inspired by the outing that I started working heeling with both Spider and Syn. Short sessions of eye contact from in front, then me walking backwards, and rewarding behind me from my left hand. Syn's so ridiculously happy to be working again she can hardly contain herself. Spider not so much, didn't have a clue what I was doing.