Tuesday, March 31, 2009

There's A New Dog In Town...

...and his name is Rex, and I love him!

Husband's parents are staying with us for the week and they brought their new dog, Rex.  They think he's a Texas Heeler, though only because of pictures they've seen (he's a rescue) .  He pretty much looks just like the dog in the first picture if you follow the link, only black instead of brown.  He is the sweetest dog ever!  He's a year and a half and very playful.  He gives kisses, loves belly rubs, and didn't meet a single one of Theo's toys that he didn't like.  I'm considering never letting him leave.

I wasn't at home when they were first introduced, but I'm told that when they first met, outside our house and away from the yard, Theo reacted to Rex as he does most dogs.  He sniffed and kissed and showed him his butt.  But once Rex came in the house with us, he was a little perturbed.  Understandably, he didn't understand why the intruder had followed him home.  That's how he seemed to regard Rex for the most part, an intruder.  When I came home, he was mostly ignoring him, except to growl at him when he came near the toy he was playing with.  But I'm told they had quite the play session in the backyard before I got home, and I did see a lot of head jumping and ear biting after dinner.  

Rex is so sweet tempered that he's kind of perfect for Theo.  Theo starts off nice and playful, but he often lets things get out of hand.  I noticed while they were playing that Theo's usual play-growling would turn into real growling, and he would start getting a little nasty, but Rex was all over it.  When Theo got out of hand, he would just get out of his way and let him calm down a bit before he came back for more.  Even though he's much bigger than Theo, he played very gently with him.  He even let Theo tackle him to the ground and have his ears for an evening snack!  And Rex was loving every minute of it.  If we get a second dog (eventually), I'll definitely have to find a Rex.

Of course fetch got a little interesting.  When Theo wants to play fetch, he wants to play with a specific toy.  If he brings you a penguin, he wants you to throw the penguin.  If you throw the tribble instead, he's just going to sit there and look at the penguin and then look at you as if to say "No, throw this one, you idiot!"  Rex is not so picky.  This is both a good and bad thing.  It's good because I could get him to play with whatever I wanted.  It's bad because when I would throw Theo's penguin, Rex would run after it as well, which would cause Theo to growl and Rex to be out of luck.  I, in my infinite wisdom, devised a way that both dogs could play fetch without someone getting a bloody nose.  I sat in the middle of the room.  I had Rex give me a non-penguin toy and threw that in one direction.  He went after it.  Since it wasn't the penguin, Theo did not.  Then I threw Theo's penguin the other direction, and since Rex was busy with another toy, Theo could fetch it in peace.  When they both came back, I did the same thing again, and when I stuck to that order, the fetch session worked out quite nicely. 

Meal times are also interesting.  I wasn't there, but I hear there were some words spoken between the dogs during an attempted feeding.  Husband should have known better, really.  The only thing that gets Theo full on aggressive is food competition.  So for dinner and breakfast this morning we made sure to feed them separately.  So far so good.  Though Rex eats painfully slow.

I'm looking forward to a whole week with a dog I can love on with no 2-foot rules!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Houseguest And The A-Frame

My sister came to stay for a visit last weekend and Theo was just in heaven.  She was just getting over a cold and Theo just loves snuggling with the infirm.   She got to see what I mean when I talk about Theo snuggling my legs.  It's great, isn't it?  She also got to see that I am not exaggerating when I say he gets a bit psycho on our runs in the morning.  He was definitely a little bummed to see her go, but luckily he perked back up in time for agility this week.

It was my first time in the more advanced class.  By the end of it I learned that Theo is ready, but I still need a lot of work.  Theo is just a lot of handle.  He get so excited in class that he barks pretty much for the entire hour straight.  Then, when it's his turn to run the course, he won't calm down enough to even sit down and wait for me to give him the command to run it!  It's pretty cute.  He's so excited, in fact, that he runs the entire course at full speed.  Full Corgi speed is quite fast (compared to my oh so slow human speed), and I'm supposed to keep up with him!  When he would miss a jump or run past the a-frame, it was because I wasn't keeping in front of him to direct him to the next obstacle.  My trainer (and the rest of the class) kept yelling "run, [julo], run!" Phew!  It's so much pressure on me!  Thankfully the other students are nice and encouraging, rather than judging, so I try not to feel too self concious.  I always got a round of applause when I could finally rein in Theo's enthusiam enough to finish a couse.

Also, Theo's taken to making up his own courses.  He pretty much starts as soon as I take his leash off, then he just runs and jumps over whatever suits him, then once I can finally get him back to the starting point, we can begin "my course".  It's hilarious.  I told him "teeter" at one point last night.  He ran past the teeter, over the a-frame, back the other way over the a-frame, then over the teeter.  As my trainer said, he just needed a little a-frame for courage.  Hehe.  

One of the other students was nice enough to break out her tools and tighten up the teeter totter.  Last class Theo was terrified of it, but now that it's nice and stiff, he likes it a lot better.  That's good to know.  If he ever starts getting iffy with it again, I can just suggest she tighten it back up again.  Of course, it's so tight right now that I actually have to help push it down because Theo is too light to move it. 

It's really great to see how excited Theo gets running the courses.  He is definitely having the time of his life.  I think we'll have to keep doing agility for quite some time.  I've even piqued Husband's interest with my descriptions of Theo's crazy behavior.  He might actually come watch one of these nights.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Late Night Agility

How is it the middle of March and I haven't posted yet this month?  Man, I am still out of it.

The biggest Theo news I have is he started the next agility class last night.  The place I take him for training originally only had 2 agility classes: agility 1 and agility 2.  And people could just take 2 over and over again.  Well apparently the class got so big, the trainer decided to split the class and make an agility 3.  Since Theo had already gone through agility 2 once, the trainer graduated him to 3 last night.  What's that mean?  Well probably nothing except that now class is at 8:30pm!  Ugh, that's going to be rough.

Basically, it's a big pain for the trainer to pull out all the agility equipment and set it up every week, so she's not willing to do it more than 1 night a week.  That means she has to fit 3 agility classes into one evening, thus the late hour.  I wouldn't mind except it means driving all the way down there to pick Theo up from doggy day care, then driving home for like an hour, and then turning around and driving back.  I would just hang out and walk around, but an hours is a long time to kill and there's really nothing in the area worth walking to.  It's really not a very nice neighborhood.  It's not unsafe, just loud, smelly, and busy.

I'm a little nervous about agility 3 because it means I'm in the class with the people who have been doing this class for years and their dogs are just amazing.  Theo is still pretty terrible.  He gets so excited to be running the obstacles, that he runs past half of them.  And I don't think he'll ever quite get the hang of the weave poles.  Heh.

There's one dog, Princess, who does the cutest thing.  When she's all done with the course her owner throws his hands up and waves them around, and Princess hops up on her hind legs, and dances around with her front paws in the airs.  It's the cutest thing!  It's a fun way to celebrate without using a treat.  I don't think I could ever get Theo accept a treat substitute celebration.