Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Questa vom Gildaf, the HanaProject

An adorable fuzz ball of a puppy entered our house in a whirlwind yesterday.  She has the regal registered name of Questa vom Gildaf, but is called Hana.  She is a daughter of my good buddy, Buzz vom Gildaf, whom I trained and titled last year for Melinda.  Hana is not mine, however.  She belongs to Al King, and I will be keeping her here for a month or so to teach her house-breaking and basic clicker foundation.  Considering that I hope to have warmer weather by April, it is likely she will also begin her tracking work.  In that way, when she goes home to her real family she will already have an understanding of how to work for her meals and that behavior=reward.

I met Melinda in Lomira yesterday and picked up Hana.  I picked up a new puppy crate, fleece pad, pink collar with some blind and a matching pink leash at the pet store.  Plus puppy food and more toys.  Because clearly, a puppy can never have too many toys!  Doesn't that just look like a Buzz face, though?  The munchkin wasn't shy to meet me, and pottied before loading up.  No screeching in the crate, either.

Back at home, she met the #1 Puppy Fan, Thomas.

I am very lucky to have a husband who adores puppies as he does! In fact, little Hana was upset when she saw her pack leaving (crate is in the living room currently) and she began to shriek.  So Tom slept on the couch and she was comforted by that,  and he was able to get up and take her outside when he heard her stir.  In this first day, she is already very good at letting us know when she needs to go outside to potty.  With pups, as a rule, you take them outside just as soon as they wake up, before you put them in the crate, and after they eat.

Hana has met the cat.  She wasn't terribly interested and the cat wasn't impressed by her, either.  She met Cooper (in Tom's arms) and he sniffed and then ignored her, as well.  Humans are her best friends.  She follows me out to the chickens, falling into the deep footprints in the snow and walked with Tom down the driveway to get the newspaper.  The nice thing about being out on 40 acres is that we have the freedom to let her run around with us without worries she will run into the road.  Running away from us is the farthest thing from her mind at this age.  Hana only wants to be whereever we are.  She is a confident and outgoing little girl and "owns" the space she is in.  I have not yet seen anything where she is worried or hesitant, even running around in the dark.  I put a girlie bow in her hair today to take a sweet photo for her owner, but she was not impressed with that!  Her expression says it all!

Hana has pretty good mouth- eye coordination already.  She can follow the movement of her little tug toy and chase it if it isn't thrown too far.  And she already enjoys the tug game. She has access to toys to chew on, but the most fun toys are always reserved for human interaction. 

Today Hana started working for a living. That means, her food comes from my hand and I click and treat, so she will begin to associate the click with forthcoming reward. At first it didn't make sense to her but then she discovered that the hand holds food! yum!!  Now she follows my hand for the food and I can move her backwards, or in half circles and even into a down position.  Right now all I am doing is getting her familiar with the system of markers and following the food in my hand.  The first thing she will learn is to back.  Then stand, down and finally sit.  I need her to be free to move backwards without stopping first, so instead of doing the pet-dog owner trick of teaching sit or even rewarding sit right away, that will come AFTER those other commands.  And then I will be careful to teach it as a tuck position, never rocking backwards into the sit.  Ah, but I get ahead of myself with my plans....

This will be her second night.  I withheld water after 8 pm, so we will see how long she sleeps tonight before having to go outside.  Much like training a child, you pay attention to how late they can take water in without having it come out prematurely and then back it up if necessary. I'm watching her sleep as I write this, and she will get up and stir and make sure I'm still here, then settle back to sleep.  When she has to potty, it is very clear.

Good night all!  Reporting from the HanaProject Day2....