Saturday, August 1, 2015

Week Two - Basic Obedience

I am so impressed with Indy's progress at home.  The classroom however, was overwhelming.   I am hopeful that over the course of the 6 weeks, she can gain some confidence and participate with the class.  It is rather noisy and there are both students and teachers - so that was a real challenge.

She gave me a couple of default behaviors to look up at me.  And she did a couple of sits - but then a large object fell in the class room. making a loud bang.  That shut her down.  She hid in  the corner and didn't even want treats.  The was disappointing - but I will let her process the experience and hope that next week, she may try again for a little longer.     She got right back with it at home.

She is able to learn at home.  If she isn't able to perform in the class - that's ok.   I just want her to have the experience.

Indy and Scout practice at home.




Indy retreats to a safe corner in the classroom.




Monday, July 27, 2015

Week One - Basic Obedience

Indigo began a basic obedience class, offered by the Misha May Foundation.  This is a video of her 2nd practice session.  The first task is for her to look up at me and then I acknowledge and reward her when our eyes meet.   She starts out staring at my hand with the treat but she caught on pretty fast to look at me.  That's not easy for a puppy mill dog.   

More challenging for her is "sit".  She isn't trusting of me withholding the treat - but she managed to do a couple.   I need to learn to curb my enthusiasm to not scare her.  It was exciting to see her succeed.

Now we need to build upon these successes.



Next week, all the dogs will be in the classroom together.  They are all puppies.   I am hoping she will soak it all in and learn from them what she did not get in her puppy hood.  

I was impressed that she was not fearful being in a classroom with 6 people sitting around her for an hour.
 

This is practice #2 a couple of days later.  She is getting the hang of it.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Value of a Confident Dog As an Example to a Puppymill Dog

Indigo is doing well to come when called. Although her demeanor is to slink in and hit the ground when I reach for her. When Scout is getting attention at the same time, then she is more confident and confident enough to almost be playful. She doesn't want to miss out on attention.

Here she is on her own with me:


And here she is when Scout is in the room:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Current Reaction to Being Approached for Petting

This is Indy's current reaction to being approached for petting.   I am going to get some lessons from Tender Hands Animal Training.  They use the Tellington Touch (TTouch) method and I am excited to see how this can help Indigo (and Scout) to be more confident dogs.

In the past, when Gracie, Dudley, and Scout boarded at Tails Up, we signed them up for a TTouch massage while we were away.  The kennel always reported about how relaxed they were after a session.   I didn't know much about the science behind it - but started looking for something to help Indigo.  I wanted to take her to a class as Gracie had done but she is too timid at this point.  It would be too much for her.   I am confident that this TTouch experience will give us both a solid starting point that we can move forward from to greater things.

The inventor of the TTouch method studied under Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais.  The Feldenkrais modality is a component of Nia - my favorite form of exercise.  I love when "coincidental" connections like that happen.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Scout and Indy together

We were a little worried that Indy was asserting too much dominance with Scout.  He is a gentle soul and we didn't want to see him get pushed around.  Indy had been showing her teeth and trying to dominate him.  We aren't leaving them alone in the house together.  Indy stays in the office or bathroom and Scout can roam about.  But they do pretty well the majority of the time.  She seemed to have mellowed out a bit.   I'm not sure if she was jealous, jockeying for position, or just trying to be a herder.  She does seem to have a strong herding instinct.  In any event, we are pleased that they seem to be ok with each other.    Gracie and Scout used to sleep close together and Gracie was a very mellow dog and good partner for Scout.   With some time, I hope they will grow closer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Little More Challenging Walk

Exposed Indy to a little more challenging walk by passing a small group of people and dogs in the park.  She was pretty nervous but we made it past the noisy group.   Just a little exposure that doesn't overwhelm her will help her become more confident.   I'm hoping that by summer she will be ok with people and other dogs since the parks will be busy.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Puppymill Kisses

Indigo enjoys a muzzle rub and returns the attention with some hand licks.  She is very tender.  For about 15 seconds I saw Scout and Indy engage in a moment of play.  I wish I was filming.  Oh well, in the meantime, this illustrates Indy's level of trust now after a month in our house.   She continues to be shy but there are moments of trust such as this one.  Note the slight tail wag ;)



Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Roll in the Grass for Freedom

It must feel good to a dog who has been caged up for 8 years to roll in the grass.   Indy does so with exuberance.   I wish I could capture her fascination with the "mirror dog" who follows her everywhere in the bathroom but disappears when the closet door is open a bit.  She stops, she looks behind the door, she backs up and look again.  Precious :)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Indigo Makes Progress on Walks

Documenting Indy's progress on learning the ways of a free dog.  What dog doesn't love to go for a walk?  Well - the world is just too big for a puppy mill dog.  When your days are all the same at a puppy mill and you know what there is to be afraid of, then the freedom of taking a walk in a big and unfamiliar world can be overwhelming.

On her first walk with us, she was very nervous.   This video is about 4 minutes long.  Further into her walk she smoothed out and walk fairly normally.  Seeing kids on bikes freaked her out and I had to pick her up.   I can't wait until she finally relaxes and enjoys her walk.


1st walk - Feb 8, 2015

Today she took her second park walk.  She has been going at night with us too.  She won't be a fan of them anytime soon but she is less nervous about getting in and out of her crate.  I'm still extra cautious about getting her out.  




2nd walk - Feb 14, 2015

It will be real progress if her tail is eventually high and waving.  Although I can't say that ever happened for Gracie on a walk.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Day 1 with Indy

Indy learns so fast, I am documenting her stages so I can remember where she started.  This video was taken on her first full day with us.   Now we are on day six.  I got my first tail wag from her on day five but I haven't seen one since.  This morning I got several licks on my hand :)   She is yet to make a sound - really odd for a sheltie.


Pep talk with Indy to let her know - life gets better!

Monday, February 2, 2015

A New Chapter Begins

After Gracie passed away I considered what her life meant to us and how to best honor her memory.  I think she would want us to help another mill dog rescue become a family dog.

Introducing Indigo (Indy)

She is a tri-color sheltie and a puppy mill rescue from Kansas.  She is 8 1/2 years old and we are the first house she has ever lived in.

Everything is new and kind of scary.  She has been glued to her crate although I see some hints of bravery.  You can just barely see her face peeking out from her crate.  I can't wait to see her personality emerge and fear subside.


We came up with her name as we were driving down to Pueblo to get her.  We were listening to the new Neil Diamond cd and played "Something Blue".   I found the lyrics appropriate and thought this will be her theme song and if only she were a blue merle, I'd call her blue.  I dismissed the idea since she is a tri-color girl.  Then at a rest stop I saw that we were on the Blue Star Highway.  OK, there is a common thread with "blue" that I need to honor.  Then the name "Indigo" hit me.   Indy will be the shortened version.

Here we go... on with the adventure!