Monday, December 31, 2007

Seven Months

Seven months have passed already. Where did they go to?

Dawn, Ellie's original foster-carer, came for the day over the Christmas period. We've stayed in contact with her since we adopted Ellie, sometimes swapping several e-mails in a week, and I know she frequently visits Ellie's blog to see how she's doing and to catch up on her progress. Ellie seemed very happy indeed to see Dawn again, as she hadn't seen her since the Autumn show, earlier in the year. She was happier still when Dawn came loaded with gifts!

Dawn and I took Ellie for a walk in the local field, which gave Dawn an opportunity to test her new camera. Here are a few pics from that day.

We've had to change her food to the Burns Active mix, as she just wasn't putting on enough weight using the standard mix. The "Active" is intended for dogs that have a more active lifestyle, as Ellie does. While she doesn't spend the day chasing sheep, she does do an awful lot of training, walking, and playing each day.

She will begin her formal training classes on January 08, if memory serves me well, and at that time Jan is also becoming a volunteer with the training group. This will give Ellie access to many more dogs and experiences.

We're eagerly awaiting the days of longer daylight. It seems, in these shorts daylight hour days, that we're forever getting up to walk the dog. Not that we'd ever mind walking the dog, but it can make for testing times when you try to schedule other things into your day too.

Ellie now trains much more for play and much less for food. I don't think that she has become any less interested in food, just more interested in play, particularly with tennis balls. It actually makes the training sessions more fun and more random so I'm pleased.

We've also started putting her videos on YouTube. I think they're great for seeing things from a different perspective and for correcting mistakes. You can see her latest video, where she retrieves the post from the doormat, below.

Again, we find ourselves waiting for the terrible period where legend has it that all dogs rip up the house, spit on your shoes, and steal the car. As yet, I have to say, she shows absolutely no signs of rebellion. None whatsoever. I like to believe it's because we ensure that she is never bored and never has too much unspent energy to burn getting into mischief. However, who knows, she may just be luring us into a false sense of security. Personally, I just don't see it happening with her.

If 2007 has been the year where we've introduced her to various training practises, then 2008 is intended to be the year where we start to drill-down and fine tune many of them. She wil walk to heel, for example, but she will often go out wide. We need to start correcting that.

We're still passionate about entering her into local shows, but not until we feel that she is ready. Her time will come.

We are also going to start giving her more freedom as of January 01. We're going to start leaving the bedroom door open at night. I suspect that, despite that, she'll still stay on our bed with us. But we trust her enough now to allow her to venture forth a little.

Her training mission for January is to retrieve the television remote control from a distance of at least two metres away, and return it to the hand.

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