Monday, January 19, 2009

Videos of Sam-I-Am

Here are a couple of links to the videos we made of Sam.

The first one is a compilation of the tricks he learned while he was here. Unfortunately he didn't get me giving the cues, but you get the idea. He's a real quick learner and figured out the clicker game really fast.

This second video is of some play time in the snow with Sam and Quila, our golden. The game I'm eventually playing with Sam is "Ready, Set, Break!" I wanted to see what kind of impulse control he had. He did great and caught on to the game really fast. He's learning that he can release on the "break" word, which is always preceded by "set". And he's a fantastic frisbee catcher. Unfortunately, I'm still learning how to time my release of the disk properly to teach him how to catch it in midair. He can grab it from my hand at this point. Bet he'll learn to catch it in no time flat. Plus, the good disk got buried under 6" of snow the night before this video, so I only had a torn up floppy disk to play with.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sam-I-Am Day 5

Well, I just can't get over what a fast learner this little guy is. Tonight with his dinner I taught him "cover" where he puts his paw over his nose. Very cute, I should get a photo. He learned it with about 1/3 of his meal. Then we practiced "back-up" and when I went back to cover, he did it right away. He's a damn smart little dog.

He's doing really well with socialization. Because Quila did so well with him yesterday, despite the altercation, I thought I'd try it again tonight. They played for a good 30 minutes with me in the snow throwing toys. Although he'd chase Quila during her chase of the ball, there were no incidents because Quila just backed off until he became disinterested. Basically, once something stops moving, it's no longer interesting to him. I need to film their behavior because it's such an interesting study of learning dog communication. Seems like Quila's really teaching him something. Maybe Saturday before he leaves back home, we'll do a little. It's just too dark when I get home now.

Anyway, he's come a long way. Maybe I'll even let Gromit out with him, but she might not want to interact after their first incident. She tends to remember and stays fearful of dogs after they've scared her. Same thing happened in Phoenix at the dog park with this big mastiff that scared the crap out of her on our first visit.

This is quite good for him to interact with these guys. Maybe Deb will let me share him and do some agility training once he's more under control! I'm still not confident about him ever being under control in an environment with many unknown dogs. But if anyone can do it, Deb can.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Well, some of you might be wondering how it's going with Sam. He is an absolutely wonderful dog, very smart and drivey. Unfortunately, he wants to have my dogs for lunch. I have no doubt that with enough time, he will be able to successfully integrate into a home with dogs. And even, get his reactivity under control enough to be around dogs in public. I might even be able to do it. But I'm just not sure if I'm willing to take on that liability. He's done okay here. He still sometimes goes off on my guys when they travel by his x-pen to go outside. They ignore him for the most part.

Poor Gromit got it good the other night though. They were getting along without any stress signs until Gromit got too close to his crate. I should have known better than to allow them near his crate, but hindsight's 20/20. Lesson learned. He let her know that was not acceptable. Now she won't go anywhere near him. Tonight I introduced him to my golden Quila outside in relatively neutral territory. They did well and played chase in the snow for a while. Quila initiated play with a tug toy and they played chase. Unfortunately, once he got it, he didn't understand the whole sharing concept. Quila did an excellent job of blocking his "advances" and remained unscarred after the incident. He got a time out in his crate.

I'm sure Quila, Gromit, and Sam would work it out. But Kimba is my main concern. She doesn't give him the time of day right now, totally ignores his existence. But if he were to ever attempt to challenge her, she won't be as diplomatic as Quila. It's only going to take once and he's going to end up seriously wounded or worse. That would be wrong for me to put either of them in that position. I can't watch them every second and it can happen in the blink of an eye.

It's too bad because he's a fantastic dog who learns amazingly fast. I've been asking him to work for his food (NILF). He's learned high 5 with either paw, bow, and tonight we did weave through my legs, and spin both directions, and started "head down". He's picking things up really fast. He's amazing at frisbee and will wait for a break word and launch over my leg to catch the disk. I know he'd be fantastic at agility and diskdog, probably a lot of other events too: certainly lure coursing and flyball. As long as someone can control his aggressiveness with other dogs.

So, the wonderful rescue person that took him in originally is totally in love with him, so she will keep him. She's a flyball person and he's already shown a propensity for it. So, although I'll miss him, my other dogs won't be sorry to see him leave. Rick and I will miss him just because he's such a sweety with us. He adores Rick, so that's nice to see that he likes men. He'll do great back with Deb and her pack. So we'll keep him until Saturday. We're doing more work and will continue to train and socialize until then. This is a good learning experience for me. I'm actually having fun learning how to redirect his behavior. The trick training really helps.

Oh well, guess we'll have to go with the back up plan of looking for a BC or pyr shep puppy! That's not going to make it any easier on Saturday. We just had a wrestling match on the bed and he's just a cuddling fool. I'll miss him.