Saturday, September 29, 2018

Zorro 5 months

I have not been faithful with updating about Zorro! Zorro hit the official 5 month mark this past Wednesday.

Zorro has grown all of his adult incisors and is hard at work on his molars. I thought the canines would fall out first. Imagine my surprise at a nosework trial (volunteering!) last weekend when I found a molar laying in his crate! Zorro's enjoyment of tug has not diminished even though he is pushing in his molars. I am fascinated by his teething process and I don't know why. I check his teeth all the time. It is silly!

We are all done with vaccinations and I even had his microchip injected at the same appointment as his rabies shot. It was perhaps a little young to do so but with our off leash hiking I liked having that extra assurance that if he would run off from me, he is chipped.

Hiking is going really well. We have done a great mixture of on leash and off leash hiking, although probably more heavy on the on leash hiking. My weekends have been work, work call or agility trials and not so much time to go to places that are good for leash free hiking. But every Wednesday evening Zorro gets a nice long walk at the reservoir park near Perri's therapy dog visit. We did our first "town" walk, with Zorro and Molly (I live near a small town with nice sidewalks and shops, excellent for walking dogs when I don't feel like driving somewhere.) He did very well with the traffic rushing by both on the side walks and the side roads that we must walk to get into town.

Zorro's food motivation remains intense and reliable. His toy motivation is growing! I am not putting pressure on him. We use the lotus ball in class. I take his food pouch with fleece braid attached to trials and feed him out of it and casually try to play tug with him. And lately he has shown great interest in grabbing and playing with the pouch or the braid. We actually used that as a reward this past Thursday at baby agility class and he was happy to work for it consistently.

Zorro is following in Molly's foot steps with the impulse control at dinner time. I feed Zorro in the mornings in the crate from his Treat n Train after I go to work, but in the evenings it is from a food dispensing toy or a slow feed bowl. We are working on his sit-stay in these instances! He has a grasp on what the criteria is. He will hold his sit stay when the toy or bowl is lowered and we are working on duration and my movement. I have seen an improvement in his ability to stay in puppy class, whereas before he needed another handler to restrain him.

We are having great fun with the pivot bowl, sit platform, trick training and agility foundations. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed on all of the things I could do with Zorro in our training sessions, or what we should be doing. It is a little scary to have a clean slate puppy with no baggage! I saw a quote recently that really spoke to me:

In meeting my three dogs' various interests and needs, we have played many performance sports. Rally-O, Obedience, Agility, Lure Coursing, Dock Diving, Barn Hunt and Nose Work. Not to mention Trick Dog titles and Therapy Dog work. My mind is spinning on what all I can do with Zorro. I keep thinking of getting him to a barn hunt practice. He can attend a rally-o trial at 6 months old. I want to introduce him to birch/anise/clove and start training him for NW. He is still not loving water but I would love for him to dock dive. It is so very exciting to have this puppy. He is so eager and he loves training. I am terrified of overdoing it with him. I must focus. For the first time since I have been doing agility, I have an instructor who lasered in on my main mental issue. I don't focus. It is so hard for me. I am so easily distracted. It is a mental muscle I must strengthen. For Molly and for Zorro. I will do it!

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