I would like to start this thread to record Bays training and progress on her way to becoming a duck commander.
Carlton Brook's Great Bay Babe is named for my love of tradition and my hunting, fishing and trapping background.
Carlton Brook is the waterway that runs by our Maine hunting camp. It is our kennel name.
I grew up on the banks of a tidal estuary that feeds the Great Bay in New Hampshire. Great Bay has become my summer playland. I trap lobsters and fish for striped bass.
A good friend and mentor bestowed upon me the nickname "Bayman". I wrote a story about my adventures and the NH Fish and Game published it. They were kind enough to send me a link.
301 Moved Permanently
When discussing with Dick a name for the dog my choice was Babe. He suggested Bay. I like both so it was a done deal.
My goal is to train Bay on upland birds. Ruffed grouse (partridge where I come from) and woodcock. I am not a big waterfowl hunter. But I have been known to enjoy a morning listening to whistling woodies in the local beaver ponds.
Stay tuned. This is going to be a long ride.
Bay was the dominate puppy in the litter. Now we have become her little-mates and she has a strong will to continue as boss.
Last night she slept from 11PM to 5:30AM. No 3AM bathroom calls. She woke us up with her bark. A quick trip outside was successful. I checked the kennel.......it was dry.
We are learning that if Bay barks other than feeding or play......it means outside. I failed this morning. She barked, I told Karen she needed an outside. The moment didn't allow it. She spun her little circle and made a deposit. No scolding, no excited voices. We just let it happen. We will know better next time. Bay is training us.
The puppy collar has been on a couple days now. She still tries to scratch it off. But it is becoming much less frequent. You should have seen her the first time I attached a lead. She didn't like it at all. She looked like a stubborn mule. Now she carries the lead in her mouth. A note on puppy leads. The retractable lead worked much better than the long lead. She stumbles on the long lead. The retractable keeps the collar connection high on her neck. I can see she likes it better.
She is still biting but we pay close attention to it. The occasional soft play nip is allowed. The aggressive litter play bite is not. She is told no and given one of many of her toys.
A very good friend of mine and successful trainer of Labrador retrievers for waterfowl told me in an email today
"The bonding between the two of you is the glue that ensures a great dog."
I can't wait.
The bite is on.And I don't meaning fishing.
Bay has two personalities. One good and one rough.
She is slowly learning our hands are not chew toys. Even when she starts biting and we give her a toy she still targets our hands and if not protected....... our feet. We have been turning her lips into her teeth when she bites and say "no bite". Sometimes it just seems to wind her up more. She is my little fighter/biter.
I took Bay to work Friday to meet the staff. About 11PM that night she got sick for the first time. She threw up and had a bout with diarrhea. God love my wife. After 20 years of beagles she knew the cure and Saturday she cooked up a bowl of rice. We have been mixing that with her kibbles and happily she has come out of it. Her stools are firm again.
Bay is way ahead in outside training. There hasn't had an accident in the house or kennel since her first day home. We are religious in our attempt to house break her. After any play time and after every nap she is taken outside. It is taking a commitment but the rewards are sweet (smelling).
I have owned hunting dogs all my life. I am lucky to be able to say of all of them two were outstanding hunters. Dixie, a beagle, was a natural born hunter. I was 15 when I got her. That is an awkward age for a young man. Our time afield taught me sportsmanship and patience. She hunted for me.
Brandy,an English Springer, was the love of my life before I met my wife. She was my only experience training a bird dog. There wasn't an upland bird safe when she went afield. She barked at flush and was a natural born retriever.
I mention this because I am seeing some of the same qualities in Bay. She will crouch and wait. She studies her target before pouncing. Maybe she will point?
Bay is retrieving her toys when we play. I don't make much out of it other than to praise her when she brings it back. We do not play tug of war. When the time comes to give she will be way ahead.
Bay knows when it is time to eat. I start every feeding with a couple of hand fed kibbles. She is shown the food with my right hand and with my left I gently push down her butt and command sit. Can it be this easy?
I end this chapter with a keen observation. There is no easy street. I hear puppy horror stories. Ripped up clothing, chewed shoes, etc. Bay could easily fall into these bad habits without supervision. I praise my wife and son for making sure we see these faults. We have simple rules of do's and don'ts in her infancy. We are investing the time now.
Bay has become the newest, best-est love of our lives. I feel her presence has made our marriage and family stronger.
Thank you Lord for your blessings. Long live Great Bay Babe.
Puppy legsI took Bay on her first walk in the woods last night. We are fortunate to have some private land close by with trails, rivers and marshes where we can walk uninterrupted.
We went about 100 yards. I took baby steps the whole way. She had to sniff and bite, every stick, fern and stump. Fallen logs and brush piles got lots of attention. I always let her lead.
I am impressed with the little I see. She definitely has the right hunter qualities. We will continue this walk going a little further each time. Wait till she sees the beaver pond. Hopefully a wood duck will whistle hello.
One negative of our trip was I found a wood tick on her. As much as I hate ticks they are a part of the woods where we live. We will deal with it.
Poisonous plantsWe have a cherry tomato plant just outside the door of our house. Bay loves to chew and fight the leaves that stick out over the stairs.
Last night I picked a small ripe tomato and gave it to her to play. She loved it like a toy. She rolled it around in her mouth and played cat with her paws. When I took it away from her it was not bitten or punctured.
Bay loves to chew plants. She doesn't ingest them. She just likes fighting and biting the leaves.
Bay recently developed diarrhea. Since her stool was solid when we got her we began looking at two possibilities, food and plants.
We have identified she does not like her food. Since she has an upset stomach our vet has her on boiled hamburg and rice.
Would you believe out of the list of dangerous plants for dogs Bay has been in contact with 10 of them? 8 of them are in our yard. I can see clear cutting in my weekend future.
She started her new diet last night. Today's stool was like soft serve ice cream. That is one level up for the better from her brown liquid squirts.
Since Bay doesn't seem sick and still is a bundle of energy the vet recommended this diet and if things improve we will keep our first vet wellness visit for next Thursday.
I never knew how much I (we) could love a puppy.
Feeling better and a new friend.
Bay is feeling better. I thought it may calm her down. NOT! Now that she feels better she is a wholly terror.
I took her for a walk in the woods last night. She has to put EVERYTHING in her mouth. It scares me that she will swallow something wrong. Everything is so new to her. She tastes everything.
She likes picking up a sticks, acorns, hickory nuts, etc and holding it as she runs down the trails. It is cute. I don't think she will have a problem with hold. I may have a problem with give.
The restless nights are paying off. This morning she did her normal outside. Back in the house while cooking breakfast I noticed her standing by the door. I instantly reacted and she followed outside obediently. She did her business and wanted back in the house. Chock one up for house training.
The only trick I have been trying to teach her is sit. With food I get instant response. She can't sit fast enough. I notice when we play and I ask her to sit she doesn't respond well. I am going to stick with food for training.
I am about 75% the Alpha now.Instead of biting me she is soft mouth and tests me. My wife is far behind. I tell her it is all in the tone of your voice. You can't softly say, no bite. You have to mean it.
My son's girlfriend's family lost there 15 year old cocker spaniel Wednesday. He lived a long life. We got a call from them Wednesday in the afternoon asking if there were any puppies left. Bay has a yellow brother. They picked him up 20 minutes after a phone call to the breeder. His new name is Buddy.
Bay and Buddy. I like the sound!!
The training begins.Bay has been feeling better with her new diet. But we were noticing she wasn't gaining any weight. We could see her ribs and feel her hip bones. This concerned us.
We looked at the canned food the vet recommended for her intestinal bout. It was very low in protein and fat. The vet said to start mixing kibbles in slowly after her stool was firm again. We started this treatment Saturday. Increasing kibbles and less canned with each feeding. She is doing approx 1/2 and 1/2 now.
In just a short few days we can all see the changes. She isn't so hungry for our hands and feet anymore. She is sleeping longer and she feels much softer.
Bay is 9.5 weeks old and we are glad to say house broken. We are very diligent when it comes to waking up and after eating to go 'outside".
When the duty is done it is time for "inside". She flies to the door.
Bay has been apprehensive about going upstairs to our bedroom. We have been carrying her. Not Saturday morning. After fixing her breakfast I took it and just walked upstairs, she followed like.........a puppy!
Now we have to keep all the doors to bed and bath closed upstairs as Bay has found a new adventure area.
We have been practicing but last night sit took on its meaning. Without her seeing me I snatched 6 kibbles. I got her attention and gave her one.
Then I started walking around the house. I don't have to say who was in tow. I would stop, raise both arms in the air and command sit. It was like clockwork. When it came time for the last kibble, I stopped and only raised my arms. She sat on command.
I really think Bay temperament has been controlled by her health. And now that she is seemingly healthy......it is getting better every day.
Bay gets her feet wet.10-07-09
A healthy dog with a full stomach made a great walking companion last evening. We went twice as far tonight.
I like this trail for training. It is about eight feet wide with mature hardwood borders. The woods is open. This is going to make a good spot to learn to cast.
Brought the mini tennis ball tonight. Lots of interest to chase it. No interest to retrieve it. No biggy. We are half way there.
Bay saw the Little River tonight. It has been dry here and the stream is at a perfect level. I stood in the water and said nothing. She was very curious. She came to the bank and tested the water as we test water temperature with her paw. I never moved. I let her play on waters edge.
Before we left she was walking in the water and investigating the old beaver hut . We didn't stay long. She was anxious to leave. It was a positive first water experience.
I noticed on our back trail she led the way with gusto. She could smell where we had already been and it excited her.
Through the woods and over the dale there is a pheasant stocking site. I could hear gunshots there last night. It reminded me that the more time I spend with this dog now it will be Bay and Coalman's turn next year to test the wily grouse of the north Maine woods.
Our longest walk yet
I took Bay for her longest woods walk this morning. The consistency of being in the woods has made chewing acorns and hickory nuts boring. A pocket full of kibbles keeps her attention focused on me.
Bay is a brush buster. There is nothing too thick she will not investigate. Today we played at the rivers edge. She got nice and dirty.
The kibble training is going well. She has sit down pretty well now so I am working on come. When she is interested in something I whistle to her and put my hand down with a kibble in it and say come. It is working. When she comes I put my arms up in the air and she sits. My goal is a whistle and hand command. We will be able to keep our stealth when her hunting life begins.
Did I mention dirty?? This evening after her supper and when she was calm I took her into the bath and we both took a shower together. It worked like a charm. She sees the water does not bother me so why should it bother her? She even let me hold her up close to the shower head for rinsing. She never fought, she never struggled. I could tell she was enjoying it. I know this won't work forever. But when she grows up she will not have fear of a bath.
I have vacation this week. I have nothing planned except to spend quality time with Bay. We are heading to camp in Maine mid week for an overnight. Bay is going to climb her first hill. I'll be armed with a 20 gauge just in case a partridge offers itself for dinner.
It is duck season in NH. Yesterday I stopped by Chapman's Landing where the duck hunters launch their boats to hunt Great Bay. I saw a hunter there and asked if he had any success. He had one black duck. I asked for the wings and he obliged.
Bay loves them!
I would like to thank my co-worker, Valerie, for the generous use of her land. Val has agreed to let me keep the camper on her property. A new chapter in our lives has started. I have always wanted to own property in my Promised Land. Val's gift to use the land as my own has made my dream a reality.
Bay went to camp in Maine this week. It was her first test at an extended car ride. She passed with flying colors. My goal on this trip was to winterize the camper and get Bay some quality woods times.
(This is my Kodak cameras last outing. She is worn out. RIP my good friend)
Bay arrives at camp.
After the ride Bay was ready to hike. I took my 20 gauge for our walks. We never met any suicidal grouse. During our walk to Inch And A Half Hill where I had heard so many partridge drumming this spring we heard a grouse drumming. I don't know if he was saying hello or just teasing Bay. We will have to wait till next fall to find out.
Bay is 11 weeks old. Kibble training is going well. She comes on command. She sits without being told.
Our hike behind camp took us to the spot BIL killed his spring gobbler. I want to show her the places in Maine that mean very much to me. And also to tire her out.
Goal achieved. Bay slept while I tended to camp.
After our second trip up camp mountain Bay was ready for bed. Mrs. C says I'm spoiling her. :lol:
Yesterday's hike took us to Sucker Brook. Inch And A Half Hill to the left.. Dad's Mountain to the right.
Bay has developed a liking to stone walls. It is good balance training for her.
Bay favorite time of our hike was when she found this white birch bark. She carried it out of the woods. This piece of bark fascinates her. I brought it back to camp as her chew toy.
All good things must come to an end. Maine Camp is now ready for winter. I already have plans for some winter snowshoeing.
The ride home. I love my new front seat friend. Long live Great Bay Babe.
Bay and I took a woods walk in rain this morning. She is doing really well. The pocket full of kibbles works wonders. She is now responding well to a short whistle and the "come" command. She can't get to me fast enough for her treat. When she arrives she always sits. Snackies work wonders with puppies.
On our walk along the Little River there were a lot of berries bushes along the east side. It was a bird feeding haven. There was a large flock of robins feeding along the rivers edge. I also saw a grackle, a female cardinal and numerous woods thrush's. We stayed here for a few moments watching the feed bag going on. Bay paid the birds no interest. Her time will come.
On our walk back to the vehicle we heard a shot up ahead of us on the trail. The shot alerted Bay but did not bother her. I met a hunter chasing bushy tails (gray squirrels) with a 22 pistol. We spoke for a moment and then parted with well wishes. I wished him luck in his quest and he returned the gesture by wishing Bay a long and successful bird hunting career.
I had vacation last week. I spent every day with Bay. Our walks were long. It's back to work this week and I really miss that dog.
Her walks this week have been on the lead, on asphalt and in darkness. Last night we took a walk to a beaver pond not far from the house for duck magic time. We were not disappointed. We were a little late for the flight and only saw about a dozen wood ducks wing in but the ones already in the pond were very vocal. The whistles and feeding chuckles really perked Bay's ears up. I am trying to imprint future hunting scenarios on her.
On our walk back it was time to start "heel". Even though I never made the command I held her to my left side and briskly walked back to my truck approx 1/4 mile away. Any time I felt hesitation to stop and sniff on her lead I encouraged her to "come".
There was a little resistance at first. Then on our last couple hundred yards something kicked in with Bay. She never stopped or hesitated. She walked briskly on my left side till we made it back to the truck. I praised her greatly when we were back.
I am afraid I am spoiling Bay. She sleeps in a crate at the foot of our bed. It is me who has to pee in the night. When I get up it wakes Bay up and of course I have to bring her "outside".
Well, after "inside" last night I didn't put her back in the crate. I let her sleep with us on the bed. I know, big non-no. But if you could have seen her this morning when we woke up, sleeping on her back, paws and belly facing skyward you wouldn't be able to blame me.
It has been a long time since I had a buddy like this. Our friendship grows every day.
Alpha TrainingI sit here typing this as a Nor' Easter rains down on the land. I would rather be in the woods with Bay.
Alpha training..........I didn't know who was winning. An email to a good friend and lab trainer about Bay's aggressive biting brought back these words...
"Hold Bay down and growl in her ear next time she bites and don't let her up for a good while, even if she's fighting hard. Growl like you're mad. Really be the dominant dog. It's worked for me."
And now I can say "It worked for us". We have been practicing this technique all week. Outstanding results. The key is holding her down forcefully while she tries to regain footing. All at once she will become limp. She is held down till we feel her aggression has faded.
I know it is working. When she gets up she has a spaz attack. Runs headlong around the house. But at each pass she is careful to stay clear of her new Alpha's.
After a growl last night I avoided her. As I was sitting relaxing in my chair she jumped up and gave me a licking bath. No biting. I sensed submission.
Thanks Dickster for the advice. You are the man.
Bay has almost doubled in size in one month.
Bay and I are back from our walk. We went to family grounds. We turned around where Danny had his moose encounter last fall.
The rain didn't bother her. She was a magnet to the brook. She is only into knee deep for now. She continues to test her limits.
I stood next to her on Dudley Brook for 15 minutes or so. It was pouring rain. Perfect imprint for future duck hunts. I even did some short quacks and come back calls. Those are sounds I want her to remember.
When I got the pup a good friend and lab trainer "The Dickster" told me to shadow that dog when ever we went for walks. When ever she turned around, you were always there. He told me as we mature to hide on her. The theory being she is so used to me being right there it would make her "hunt me so I didn't have to hunt her."
Bay is wandering further away from me now. Today she got the furthest out. She was in her own little world exploring the brook. I stepped off the side of the trail. It took a minute but suddenly she realized I wasn't there. I saw her head come up and she trained her ears for any sound. At that moment I gave a couple short whistles and called her name. She zoned in and was to me in a flash.
The best thing is when she comes to call she sits. Kibbles work wonders. :lol:
I took Bay to the farm tonight.
This was her first chance to run in a field.
She loved it.
The bird cover in the back pastures are prime. Bay saw her first woodcock tonight. We both watched it flush. She watched it fly away and paid no attention to the scent when I brought her to the form.
I have to keep telling myself she is a puppy.
Bay is twelve weeks old. Our accomplishments are........
and last night..............
We are very lucky. The breeder I got Bay from has family property about one mile from our house. It is about 80 acres. All the land is in conservation. It is off the beaten path. We have no distractions.
Dudley Brook runs along the main trail going in. I know Bay is remembering. Every time we get close to the trail we use to get to the brook she remembers and heads right to the water.
Last evening I wore my boots. When we got to the brook I stepped in. Bay sat on the bank. I know she wants to test out the water. Last night I helped her along a little.
I picked her up off the bank and gently lowered her into the water. It went about half way up her legs. I pointed her towards shore and she walked up on the bank. The next thing I did was hold a kibble out for her. It meant getting back to the same depth of water. She did it with no hesitation.
After a short break while I still stood in the water she sat on shore and wanted another kibble. I picked her up and placed her in water up to her belly. She never attempted to get back to shore. I gave her the kibble, all the time talking gently and telling her she was a good girl.
Before we left the brook she was wading in as far as her belly. When she showed me a little boredom we continued our walk. When we passed the faint path to the brook on our walk out she went right to the water and up to her belly. I told her all the time she was a good girl and threw in a couple quacks for good measure.
Before we got to the truck she was ahead of me on the trail. I whistled to her and raised my arms in the air. She sat. With my arms up in the air I walked towards her. She never came out of the sit. She let me get right to her. I gave her a kibble and released her.
I love this dog!
Bay's week in review 11-03-09Week in review
Not much to write about last week. Just life in general with a lab pup.
The "Hold and Growl" is still being used. Bay is still very head strong on who is the boss. I know we won but she tests us every day.
Accomplishments that are becoming routine are
Sit, using hand signals only.
Sit and stay using hand signals before each meal. Every day we lengthen the time before release. We use the word OK.
Kennel, This is a blessing. She runs to the crate on command. Since we brought her home she has always gotten a treat when we put her in the crate. We leave the crate door open when we are home. She uses it without caution. It is her place to get away.
Fetch. She is good for 3 or 4 short living room retrieves a night. She brings the ball back and I am able to to ask her to give. You can not give her a kibble during our session or she will not fetch. She stays and investigates your hands for a treat. It is the repetition factor we are going through now.
"Inside and Outside" are down pat. She hasn't had an accident in a few weeks. She is sleeping through the night now. No more 3AM outsides.
On her own she has learned to go to the door and whine when she needs to go out. Lately a little door scratching has started. We are putting a stop to that.
In the last week she has developed a bad habit of biting the lead while on a walk. She pulls and bites the lead like to play tug of war. We don't play tug of war with Bay. But this activity gets us on her playing field. To combat it I have shortened the lead so she must heel. If she bites the lead I play Alpha. After last nights walk I can tell she is getting the idea. I just wish my wife took Alpha as serious as I do. Bay knows how to play her.
Next on my agenda Is Water Dog by ROW. I just started reading it yesterday. Only into chapter one. The first words that caught my attention was ROW's reference to field trials and how they were created to imitate hunting conditions.
So kill a bird if we must to train or trial. It brings us back to our roots.
It is deer season in NH. Bay will see less woods time this month. Not because we fear the hunters but because I could never learn to get close to a big buck with a lab in tow.
HeelIn my last post I said Bay had developed a taste for the lead while out on walks. It got to the point a few nights ago I got mad at her and she knew it. She tried to run away from me but alas I have her by the neck.
A harsh verbal scolding later and she is walking head high and proud at my left side. A couple nights ago she started the lead biting at the front door as we were about to leave on her walk. I put an end to it and she walked better than the previous evening.
Last night we made big strides. Strides in learning, not in walking. When she went for the lead with her mouth I scolded her with a harsh no. That was the last time on our walk she tried to bite the lead.
This is not why I am writing today. I am writing because I noticed last night how well she stayed at heel. If I felt any hesitation on the lead I told her heel. It is working. I can actually see it.
I read chapter 2 of Water Dog last night. It was a good feeling reading that by 12 weeks a lab should be accustomed to "sit, stay, come and possibly heel"
Bay is 4 for 4.
Way to go my little Duck Commander!!
Deer season is getting in the way.Thank you for those suggestions. I will investigate. Heel is going really well. We went at least a mile last night. I am so proud when I look down as she is prancing right along with he head held high.
Deer season is getting in the way..........
......of our training. Not that I am afraid of the hunters, I am one. My buddy got a button last weekend and gave me a hind quarter. It lasted two meals for our family. I love buttons.
Bay's training is coming along well. As ROW says it is all about repetition. Heel is going really well. I am tempted to let her off the lead and try but the asphalt jungle scares me. So for the time being we will work on the lead.
You should see "kennel". We don't have to say a word. We kennel Bay during the day while we are at work. She just knows that after the coffee is poured in the thermos and I reach to the top of the fridge for her treat she flies into the kennel. I taught her to sit when she goes in. The kennel is her safe house.
Stay is also doing very well. Every time Bay is fed she is put in a sit and stay. 30 seconds has been about the longest I have held her. She does not break. Not even body language.
I have been playing fetch with her every night. Here she has a long way to go.........or so I thought. I brought Bay back to the breeders for the first time Saturday afternoon for a little dog socialization. When we got there the breeder met us in the front yard. before I knew it he threw a tennis ball for her. It was her longest retrieves to date. She brought the ball back each time and he was able to take it from her mouth. He never said anything but I could tell he was impressed. Come to think of it.........so was I.
So please wish me luck filling my whitetail tags so I can spend more time with my newest love.
Settling in.Bay is settling in. Her life is starting to be routine.
We feed her at the same time each day and she lets us know if we are late.
We hang the leads by the front door. Bay has started to sit below the leads, look up at them and bark when she needs an "outside". What a trooper.
Bay is now 16 weeks. Both my wife and I noticed she is in need of a tooth fairy. She lost two of her front teeth on the bottom and I can see the adult teeth breaking the gum. Now I know why she is so content to chew her rawhide.
Bay has become testy. She knows some chew things are off limits like a plastic water bottle in the recycle bin. When we scold her she takes off like a shot. She thinks we are going to chase her. She knows she has been bad and tries to make a game of it. We don't play.
Heel training is coming along well. Had an embarrassing moment this week. Bay did both a #1 and #2 before our walk. I noticed she was pulling to the left while we walked on the sidewalk. Next thing I know she is doing a #2 right on the sidewalk. Since I thought she had taken care of business before we left I was unprepared. I came home, grabbed the pooper scooper and drove back to the scene. Thank goodness it was still in original form. I know bad Coalman for not having a bag. She won't embarrass me again. I'll be prepared.
Rabies and distemper shots are next Friday. Starting 11-23 Bay starts official dog school. It will be good for both my wife and I because we have no formal dog training skills. We just look back on our successes and failures from the past years of our canines.
I never knew after Brandy (RIP) if I could love a dog as much again. As I look over now at that yellow ball of fur sleeping by the front door I know that feeling again.
The rain is over and a big whitetail buck awaits. Thanks for letting me ramble.
Please continue!!! I really enjoyed your story. It was like reading a book.
Last night was our first "bring the dog" puppy class.
It is a small world. Bay's litter mate a chocolate male named "Moose" was also in attendance. What a good group of dogs. From a Saint Bernard to a Pug. The English Springer above reminded me of my old pal Brandy (RIP).
Bay was excited. The first thing the instructor noticed with Bay was she pulling at the lead. She was choking herself but didn't care. She recommended a pinch collar immediately.
I am very proud of my wife for attending. So is Bay.
Bay choked herself to much. We have never seen her pant with her tongue out.
Bay tuckered herself out.
After class we stayed and purchased a pinch collar. After the first circle around the training room I could sense a difference. The test came tonight.
Bay and I went for our walk tonight armed with the pinch collar. In only 100 yards she remembered her circle around the training room last night.
The instructor had us make the dogs sit every time we stopped. It was a struggle with a flat collar on Bay. Tonight after a couple of reminders Bay sat at every stop we made on our walk.
I watched a program this fall about a lady who wrote a book about the best places in VT and NH to take dogs for hikes. One thing she said was if you meet other people on the trail you should announce yourself to them before they were close. A friendly, "Hi how are you" assures your dog that the approaching people are OK with you.
Tonight on our walk a gentleman was coming up the sidewalk. We stopped and Bay sat. I announced myself before he invaded our space. Bay sat the whole time he went around. I was very proud of Bay when he said as he passed by " Your dog is well behaved".
A pinch collar? Can it be this easy?
First bird interest
We are very blessed to work only a half mile from our house. That means Bay gets an outside and a little exercise at lunch time.
This morning I filled our bird feeders for the first time since April. We don't feed during the summer as the local squirrel population is doing fine without us.
Today at lunch when I took Bay outside there was a small dove on the ground at the feeder. It seemed unafraid. It let me get very close. Must be getting fed elsewhere.
I called Bay over and just as she caught the scent the dove flushed up into a neighbors low tree. It caught Bay by surprise. She looked at that bird on the branch and I told her to "fetch it". The dove took off with Bay hot on its heels.
This was the first time I have seen Bay interested in a bird.
Trust and understanding
Deer season is over. It is time for Bay and I to explore.
Bay is in the height of teething. The right side upper jaw is gum. The canine tooth is gone. Her front lower teeth are coming in sparkling white.
I confess to a feeling of haste to train Bay. I have RAW's book Waterdog and Evan G's Smartworks 1. Even though there are many years between the training methods there is one thing that stands out in the beginning of each publication. The new dog and you.
I have great expectations for Bay. The sense of pride I feel when we go on our walks is intense. I see her learning with each session. It is I who needs the training. I need to instill a trust and understanding in Bay. That we are the boss and she is welcome to share our space.
The bond has to come first. With each passing day, our little girl Bay is developing trust and understanding.
Training will not come overnight. I have to remind myself that the time spent with Bay now will reap the rewards in her maturity. The growing feeling of that bond convinces me Bay and I are on the right path.
We have had a week of pinch collar walks. Tonight is school. I feel like a father going to watch his kid in a school play. I hope she performs well.
Bay is glad deer season is over. And after our walk this morning..............so am I. But that doesn't mean we are not still learning about the backyard SB's.
That last day buck is still on my mind. We hit the trail about 0830.
Bay expression says it all. "It is good to be in the woods". He lives.
Puppy obedience classes are over
We had our last puppy class last night. What a total reverse from that first night of mayhem.
I felt bad for the male yellow lab ,Sabo, last night. Bay and Sabo hit it off very well. Those two were the most aggressive during playtime. Our trainer noticed blood on Sabo's fur. Seems Bay lost both her bottom canine teeth during play. She gave Sabo a blood bath. One canine was hanging to the gum. After class I noticed it was gone. We found it on the floor. It will be a keepsake of ours.
My last memory of class will be of the instructor standing in the middle of the room. She was surrounded in a circle by seven puppies either sitting or laying at their masters side. Quite a difference from our first class. We have been practicing our lessons. We see a nice improvement in Bay.
Bay and I got to take long walks in the woods this weekend. She is a great companion. Never too close yet never too far. Saturday's hike was on frozen crusty snow. I kept a keen eye on the snow for signs for bleeding paws. Bay had no problems. Her pads are tough.
Sunday's walk was at the tail end of the nor'easter we had. The new snow hid the frozen spots. Bay took a couple headers. She will learn to slow her step in fresh snow.
Our puppy is leaving us. Not everything is new anymore. Life is bringing on a routine. We practice basics every day. Sit, stay, kennel, hold it, etc.
I can put her in a sit, walk away and throw the paint roller in another room
and then release her to find. It takes a treat to get the roller back. Come is a challenge we are working on.
We are starting to see the young lady emerging from Bay. The family bond strengthens every day. Even though we said we wouldn't we have been letting Bay sleep with us at night. Other than her occasional snoring she is a little angel.
Bay's teeth are growing in as fast as they are falling out. Next step in the life of a dog will be her first heat cycle. I can't wait to see the princess that emerges.
Trapper and Bay. The weather is our enemyFor Bay and I the weather lately has been our enemy. It has won a couple battles but it won't win the war.
This past weekend was our fourth in a row with stormy weather. The only good thing about our walks was lack of ticks.
Well I take that back. Sunday in a Nor' easter rain storm I got together with Wilson and his better half along with his male yellow lab, Trapper.
We took a walk in a local WMA to introduce Trapper and Bay. Both dogs handled themselves very well. Bay was at first the aggressor. She chased Trapper all around. That is till Bay got tired and the tide turned. Trapper then held the upper hand with his height and weight. Trapper though handled himself as a great gentleman and never put Bay in harms way. These two are bound to be good hunting partners.
Over the holiday Bay and I spent a lot of time together. I even took her to my non dog BIL's house in Maine for Christmas dinner. She loved the unwrapping of the presents and the low to ground Christmas ornaments on the tree.
My son was home from work yesterday and made this comment to me when I came home. He said Bay spent a lot of time sitting by the door. He said she was looking for me. I know it is hard for her to understand why some days she doesn't even have time for a nap we are so active. And then bang home alone while we work.
It tells me our bond is getting stronger. She is looking for me. If I had it my way she would be staying with me at my office at work.
Owe goody, three days off starting Friday and a major snow storm predicted.
The weather is our enemy.
She gets bigger every day.
I am inspired to write from a comment my wife made this morning. She said" I think Bay grew overnight." And looking at Bay I bet she did.
The puppy leaves us more each day. We are in the pre teen phase now. Something I have noticed is how much more loving she has become in the last couple weeks.
Bay knows how to hide her emotions. When I come home it is a stretch here and a stretch there like "Oh, it is you?" But let me step out that door and she begins her wait by the threshold.
Our training is going well. We are still working on basics everyday. Bay is in the "catch me if you can" mode now. She knows come. Just being testy. She still has that strong alpha trait. I breath deep, remind myself this is just a stage and control my emotions. I think that works best because we don't play her game. And she gives in easy.
She is a candidate and will be adorned this spring with an e-collar.
This dog is the best hiking friend I have ever had. She is always ready to go, stays within site and has no quit. You could mistake her for a beagle she uses that nose to the ground so much. She smells everything. Even under the snow she finds sticks to play with.
Over the long weekend we hiked every day. The snow conditions were perfect. We jumped some deer by the fresh sign in the snow. She smelled the tracks and got interested. I told her to leave it and that was that. Whew, no deer problems.
In one of our walks we found a honey hole of snowshoe hare. These tracks made me long for my beagles.
One thing I notice and encourage is how long Bay will sit in one spot with out moving. I encourage it by standing by her side and not moving. I think of it as being in a blind together. We have a backyard bird feeding station. The other day we had a flock of mourning doves out on the snow. We got to within 20 yards of them while they fed. Bay went into a sit and never moved anything but her eyes as she watched the doves come and go.
I am tempted to shoot one just for her to retrieve but they are my backyard friends and are safe.
Bay has lost her puppy teeth. Those rear molars are scary looking. White but scary looking.
I have to say after reading threads on lab web sites we are very blessed to have Bay. We haven't lost any shoes. She is not a chewer. She is not a barker. She is housebroken (has been for months), she sleeps all night long, doesn't complain about the kennel and loves to give me licking baths.
I look out for Bay like a child. She thinks I'm her dad.
Life is good!
Today was Bay's first ice fishing trip. We got to share the morning with our good friend Roccus.
We set up camp at sunrise.
Then we went about drilling our holes.
As we set up traps we used Bay as our sled dog.
After setting traps Bay came back to see what was for breakfast.
This is Roc's kitchen.
Breakfast on the ice. Thanks Joe!.
Bay settled in to watch her trap.
She didn't have much action.
Bay got a yellow perch.
We had a little action before noon.
And then we called it a day.
I think Bay's is going to like ice fishing. We practiced fetch and come. We learned she likes to pull the sled. It is time for a harness.
Thank you Roccus for breakfast. It was fit for a king. Until next time.
Bay the Black Widow Spider
Tomorrow 01-31-10 Bay is officially six months old. Last weekend I noticed a little spot on her blanket. I told my wife it may be the start of her first heat cycle. That was confirmed by the male beagle we met at the bunny hunting camp on our last adventure. He showed lots of interest.
Bay has a special boyfriend.
It is a pillow we use(d) to keep the cold winter draft from coming under our front door. Along with her maturity we have been keeping the kennel door open when we are not at home. She has been very good in her house manners.
Just image my surprise this week when I came home for lunch and found this.
Seems Bay has exhibited some tendencies of a female black widow spider. After all the fun was over she ate her boyfriend.
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