Saturday, 30 November 2013

Devil may care

Oh boy... I knew it, the minions were preparing something dodgy. I heard that there was a christmas party at the training club where we do agility and obedience and Rally-O. So I thought yeah, I'm going to go and hang out with my mates.... But then I heard them starting to giggle and whisper about the cost of tuna? Maybe I didn't understand well because they were looking shifty.
Then they went out last week and BAM! Look at me now!! Mum said it was appropriate for me! And I'll have to go and see all my mates looking like that?!?! I think I'll play the sick puppy to stay at home...

Friday, 29 November 2013

The power of puppy eyes

Mum said that there was something special going on later today. And that whatever happens I would need to use my puppy eyes to help us keep points? Dunno why she wants to keep points, but do you think that this will do to keep points? Or do I need to go full cute puppy?

Look at my eyes judge,
do not remove the points....

Thursday, 28 November 2013


Mum and dad have been trying to get me to run a bit ever since I was a tiny pup, to get some of my energy out they say. At first I really couldn't care less about anything they were throwing. But then they got a bit better at throwing. Well mum was so awful at that, that we needed to get an ambulance on standby for the other people in the park... Now I really like my ball. I also quite like to strip the yellow stuff on tennis balls, it's fun and then I can run crazy with the stuff in my mouth and mum looks very impressed, yeah she does, I swear!

Dad didn't like my art with tennis balls so they found some really bouncy ones, they are called HiBounce and they have some funny faces on :). But with mum's bad throw , she is always upset with them, cause they keep bouncing really high up and I looove to jump after them. So now they don't want to use them anymore :(.

Now mum found another type of round thing, it's a softball thingy, but she doesn't play close catch, because she says that she will give me a concussion cause it's too hard. I don't know why she doesn't want to give me cushions? I like cushions, it's soft under my head when I want to snooze.

Anyway, I'm also not allowed to play with balls in the house, because the minions say I get too excited with catching the ball... They are no fun. They also say that the small bouncy chewy HiBounce created a problem if they want to try and do some retrieving work with me because I started chewing things I hold. And apparently I'm not allowed to chew things I retrieve... Well I'm telling you now, if they put a birdy in my mouth, they are not going to get much on the retrieving front, yum sglurp ahhhh. Ta for lunch!

Anyway, all I wanted to say today is that I really like to play ball, so if you feel like having a bit of a play with me that would be cool, because the minions never want to play for long enough!

So come and throw the ball!!!


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Flowery things from walks

I like going on walks with mum. We always see and sniff some new things. I really like the bush walks mostly because there is so much to look at. And on sunday, usually we do a big long walk as you might have gathered from my previous posts. Mum always says they are very long walks and I should be tired afterwards, but really, it's not that much... just a little 12km appetiser stroll to stretch the legs. She is just too precious.... Anyway last time on one of our trot, we saw that bushy tree! It was all big and colourful, obviously mum had to whip out the phone to take a pic cause she said it was pretty. She can be so girly sometimes... I tried to smell the flowers but it didn't really sniff of much. Mum was lamenting that I lost my interest in flowers. When I was little I used to stop at every flower to look at it and have a good sniff. Well yes I don't do that anymore, I'm a big BOY. Flowers are for girlies and baby pups :P
Still I'll indulge mum and ooohhh and ahhhh about her flowery bushy tree, I s'pose....


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Trick and Treat Tuesday: give us a kiss!

I'm always on the look out for silly tricks, but I have to add a forewarning for this one. If you do not like a bit of slobber (but it's good for the skin mum!) or if your pup can be a bit too eager and rushes forwards with you having no control over this, this trick might not be for you. Unless you want a concussion... Believe me I have tested the skull of several dogs (by un-coordination from our mutual movements, not in a mean way) and my poor skull has definitely come second every time... My poor nose too, lucky I don't break easily.... Though you can still try with the tips below.

She's just a cry-baby, don't listen to her my skull is lovely and soft.

The idea is to get your pup to come and plant a big kiss on your cheek. Obviously you need to get a nice gentle kiss, with him coming to you when you ask him. That's not a very complicated trick to learn, or at least to explain. And with Mawson it was quite quick to teach, cause he is a big softy.

MUM! Remember what I said before, I am a big mean scary pup! Not a softy! Stop destroying my street creds!

The fastest way I have succeeded to do that with Mawson is obviously by using food...

Alright then, as long as it's at home only, then... yay, food is coming guys!

From my experience, the main steps are:

- Get mister pup sitting in front of you. Get a treat in your hand and get him to approach his nose on your cheek and release the treat with the reward cue (yes or click, or whatever you fancy). Repeat a few times. Make sure that the approach and the "kiss" are gentle and not turning into a pup headbutt. If that is the case calm things down by luring him slowly to your cheek or by using previous learning (for example, I have taught Mawson "gentle" which means to him being a bit more of a gentleman and not a big silly crazy monster, that works well in  whole lot of circumstances, from play with us to play with other dogs, mostly the tiny ones that would entirely disappear under one of Mawson's paw). When the basic "kiss" action is learnt, start adding the cue word slowly after the action. Then, when your pup, seems to get really at ease with this, go to the next step.

Hey pups, if your mum or dad asks you to do that kissy thing and you're not keen. Then, make sure that you really slobber up before any performance. Just spread it up on their faces. Even put a bit of slobbery tongue. I swear that will stop a lot of the minions from doing that trick. Me, I can't help it I like giving a kiss to mum, then she gives me one on the nose :)
Euh ahem, well she gives me treats you see, only for the treats, yuk, girl's kisses, yuk, ahem...

- Start getting the pup to do the "kiss" by indicating your cheek with one finger (or your preferred hand signal you will use in the future). Then start to switch the food from the indicating cheek-hand to the other hand, hence, removing a bit of the luring, but still rewarding all the way of course (that means treat given after the action instead of getting the action through the treat). Continue to reinforce the cue word.

- When your pup starts to really get the idea without the food luring. Then start to introduce a bit of distance between you and the pup, from him just sitting in front of you to a few paces, where he has to actively come towards you to plant the kiss. Try to stay at the pup's level, to not encourage jumping up. The jumping up is not good for plenty of reasons but mainly because you will either get a concussion or get a trip to the dentist...

And that is basically it! Just a bit of repeats and perfection of the pup's action and you can get as many kisses as you want!

Within reason, mum, within reason...

Remember, as for any trick and new behaviour, if at any step the pup starts getting confused, just go back to the previous step. And be patient!

And also use a lot of treats, yeah, juicy treats!

Now, I can basically be anywhere and ask Mawson to give me a kiss (ok I use an informal french translation word for it...) and he will come and give a nice kiss on his mum's cheek like a good pup :).  Martin doesn't really do it, he prefers the manly handshakes...

While flexing our respective biceps, I shall add! It's for the ladiezzzz...

Mawson sends big good night' smouacks to all of you :*

Well, at least to the ladiezzz ;)

Want a kiss???

(NB not my pic nor Mawson,
found it from on the t'internet)

Monday, 25 November 2013

Dinner prep' supervision

Checking out the dinner preparations. I need to make sure that mum isn't cutting the pieces wrong. And also just making sure that she doesn't drop anything on the floor. I wouldn't want the floor to get dirty with pieces of pancetta really. That would be untidy! Always there to help me! 
Though I don't know why mum was telling me off because "my nose was too close"? I don't know what she means really. I'm just looking, I don't have a very good sight you see, so I need to be not too far... I'm not touching the board honest!

I swearz! There is still a thin layer of atoms
between my nose and the board!

Mum wanted me to put a note that it wasn't a real situation and that I am not allowed that usually and that it was a bit of a stitch up and gnagnagna. Cause she wants to tell everybody how well behaved I am at home... (except when she has her back turned mwahaha)...

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Eureka moment

I need to complain to the minions! There is not enough space in my travel crate so my water has to stay outside. BUT that means I have to stretch to drink! I don't want to get cold and out of the warmth of the blanky! That will not do... maybe I need to attach a bell. Yes that's it! I ring the bell every time I need a drink and the minions rush to the bowl to bring it closer to me. It would even be better as they could slightly lift it so I do not need to bend down so much. I need to talk to them tomorrow, I'm sure they will see the genius in my idea and agree straight away.

See that will not do, will it?

Saturday, 23 November 2013

That's not fair :(

Saturdays are such long days. I am completely pooped by the end. Today I succeeded to get mum despairing of having entered the obedience trial next week. She is too demanding, I get stage fright me, so many groupies to satisfy... When I am in a big group I'm ok, I can hide but all alone with mum in the middle of the ring there, I get self conscious. A little scratch here, a little sniff, I blush, get a bit scaredy, I can't help it!! Mum says it's because I am a silly monster puppy :(, but then she gives me a cuddle and a treat. That makes it better.

Maybe she should use some tips she got from some people at the club today. They said that she should get a little swig of a drink beforehand to relax. I think she should actually do that with me! That would fit very well with the tradition that grandpa Frank started a little while ago. When he comes round, him and dad go to Hornsby to get some oysters and do oyster shooters! It smells nice, but the minions never let me have a bit. They are not good with sharing you see. So maybe if I tell them it's to get my obedience better, they might be ok with that? What do you think?

The friday tradition: oyster shooters
and polish sausages

wot? I'm just looking!

Smells interesting up there

He's not giving me any! *pout*

Friday, 22 November 2013

Does I look shifty enough??

Tip toeing through...

Plip plop plip plop

I'm taking up swimming full time. Or maybe I'm going to ask for one of those stand up paddle boards. Not sure how I will paddle, but I'll sort it out later. We've had more than 10 cm of rain this week, a tornado close-by, and huge big thunders. At the start of the thunderstorm, I thought it was daddy sneezing, but even by his standards, it was too loud! I don't mind the thunder, maybe I should find a white sheet and some chains to spook mum. Need to keep the drama up, to keep thinks interesting.

This morning dad and I went for a jog, he very "intelligently" waited for the thunderstorm to pass and the rain to ease up... yeah right didn't look at the forecast.... We only just succeeded to turn the corner when it started thundering and pouring down on us. We came back drenched, which seems to be a frequent occurrence lately. So, in retaliation, I rolled on the carpet mwahaha!

I do hope the weather will get better for a tad because I want to go to my training later on today. And I don't think they are keen on doing some underwater agility, weaklings...

plic ploc

a tad humid

Et voila, we went there and the training got cancelled :(. Ran after the ball a bit but it's not the same really.
At least now I'll get my pig's ear before my snooze. We'll do some agility tonight and hopefully tomorrow. It'd better not be rained out tomorrow either or I'll be very cross!!!

And hey by the way minions? That's only a small pig's ear!! I want the big one, hey, don't go yet... change the pig's ear... or better give me another one, hey. Damn they've gone, well I'll be sleeping all day and make sure I have plenty of energy tonight to keep the minions entertained.... for a loooong time *revenge*, though given how they feed me I don't know if I will have enough energy, poor little starving me.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Little big cicada can't swim

Poor little cicada fell in the pool this morning (actually wasn't so little, was pretty huge even!). Martin rescued it and placed it to revive in the sun. But I don't think it liked the fresh chlorination and had a pretty big headache when we came back from work. I don't think an aspirin will fix it...
It's friends are definitely singing a song for her tonight though.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Never despair about car travel

The first thing we learnt about Mawson, when we brought him home, was that he was pretty badly car sick... It lasted for quite a while throughout puppyhood and every car trip was a fairly complicated planning operation, with timing of the last food intake, and division into small distances. Even a five minute trip could be dangerous...
We used to get him to travel on the back seat, and for a long time it has been a bit of a challenge to get him in the car, as the travel sickness was making any fun experience negative. On top of that he was exercising his best opera in whine major.... Martin was saying that Mawson knew we were travelling to the puppy crusher...

We did try a lot of things: treats (a lot), training at breaky and dinner (one of the best trick we have learnt for hard things as he will do, literally, anything for his food!), changing place in the car, etc.
We decided not to always pick him up to put him in the car, it would have been way easier but we know how the Mawsonator brain works by now. One, he would have expected it forever, and by the way he is 33kg and I like my back in one functioning articulated piece. And two, I learnt to never ever ever back down on a behaviour I want him to change (did I mention ever?), he is way too intelligent and would shame the memory of an elephant....
That does mean, however, that we have been know to stay in a face off for up to 10 minutes, when it's at home it's ok but when it is at the park, well we did look a tad silly. When I say a tad, I am being kind... Mostly when all along we ask him to get in the car with a happy voice....

I am happy to say that after a combination of growing up and a lot of "fun" training, mister monster now jumps by himself in the car with minimal request. The fact he is not car sick anymore does help a lot. And we have found out that he prefers to ride in the boot and quietly look at the world go by. Unless we go to training on saturday, and the whole excitement of it all makes him give small whines when we approach the grounds. 
The going to trials has helped immensely as well. He has so much fun there that the car has now taken the identity of "going somewhere fun" instead of its previous "going to throw up". So yay for trials!

So where are we going now?
We'll see how it goes after we do a bit of travel to have fun at trials. He might end up rushing to the car after all! He's already pretty happy about the new furnishing in the car boot...

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Trick and treat tuesday: foundation trick

A lot of tricks need to be taught in steps. There are some founding behaviours that are good to start with and can be used for all sorts of things, from obedience, day to day house manners and also for further silly tricks. One such of those is fetching an item.

Well that was a long waffle to get to the point mum, nearly fell asleep on the way (actually I did!). Btw I have very good house manners thank you...

Fetching sounds like an easy enough thing to do for dogs. After all, how many dogs do you see in the park playing with the ball and bringing it back for further throws? And a lot of those dogs have not attained the highest level of obedience if you see what I mean...

Ball? Somebody said ball? I want to play ball? Come on now 'fess up, who said ball?

Actually, it can be quite hard mostly if you want to get a proper retrieve you can use for later, and also if you want to not have to run more than your dog to get to the object you are throwing!
A lot of dogs and puppies will run after an object being thrown, that's the easy step! The next steps will consist in bringing it back to you, to your hand, holding it in the mouth, doing things while holding it, and also fetching/holding all sorts of different shaped objects.

But let's start with the simple fetch and then hold.

Does that entails treats or shall I go back to sleep?

The biggest pitfall of teaching fetch is that the pup/dog actually does follow any object thrown, hence, people start the wrong way by throwing the object way too far and somehow trying to entice the pup to bring it back. That usually leads to very fit owners running after the ball to play with their  dogs, while the dog throws the ball...

Tsehehe, tried that it's fun! But the minions are lazy so they didn't want to do that anymore. They wanted ME to run, oh the infamy! I get tired!!!!

The best starting point is to sit down with your pup and an object you want to teach fetch with (get some treats, a clicker or your best reward word and a lot of patience). Make sure that it is an object the pup is interested in for the start, like a toy (mostly for young pups). The first thing to do is to present the object to the little monster, get him to interact with it. Any interaction, like touch of the nose, opening of mouth etc., gets a happy YES/ click and a treat. Remember not to use command words at the beginning. Get the pup to get the object in his mouth and give it back to you happily, with happy reward yes/clicks and treats. We are trying to get the holding and giving of an object, not enforcing a tug-of-war game. Most pup will not want to give back to you a hard earned toy (even if all the work they had to do was to use those magic puppy eyes).

Hey don't diss the puppy eyes! You don't know how long it takes to perfect the art of the unresistible puppy eyes. It's hard, very hard. It's out of sweat and tears that we get it right! Now give me those treats you are talking about, I'm hungry.

I don't have treats here Mawson, I'm explaining what to try and do! You know how to fetch...

I forgot, I need reminding... with treats...

Back to bed! Where was I? Ah yes, make it fun for the pup to give back the toy, also make it worth his giving up the fun toy he had caught. When the action of giving back is getting good you can attach the word "give" to the action (or any word you want to use for this, like spaghetti...).

That's a good start, I'm going quick but that can take a while so don't be impatient. When that's good, same thing, next to your pup, get him interested in the object then drop the toy at your feet. Hopefully if he is interested he will grab it (big yes) and present a treat with give (that will usually enforce the give as well). The closeness will make it easier to manage the exchange of the object/treats instead of growing the object at a distance and hoping for the best! Continue the whole action a few times. If demon pup reliably picks up the object and gives it back, then start adding a little distance. Nothing too fancy, just something like 30 cm (or arm reach) and repeat. You can also start adding the "fetch" cue word.

Gradually increase the throw distance. If it gets awry, then come back closer. A good thing to start early is to get your pup to give back the object in your hand. I don't know about you, but my back is not what it used to be (and I don't think that's going to get any better really). So, bending down every ten seconds to pick up a ball is not really my cup of tea. Hence, we got Mawson to bring back everything to our hand (the advantage of having a big dog you see...). That is also needed for further applications of the fetching where it might look a bit messy if the monster just spits out the item in your general direction (see below). Those obedience and retrieving people don't get impressed by dummy spits...

Even when it's mummy who spits the dummy :P. And that's your cue pups. Listen to me, if they insist on a hand retrieve, remember to slobber on the object. Get the juices going, get that ball/toy covered and dripping, yehaaaa. That will gross them out! Mwahaha.

When you get a nice fetching, then you can start to introduce a "hold". Basically it works in the same way as the fetch, but on close work you start by getting the pup to hold the item in his mouth without dropping it when you give it to him (not too much chewing please!) instead of picking it up from the floor. Start with a short couple of seconds, and then extend. Remember the clicks/yes and treats. When you get good holds, then you can mix the fetch and hold. That can take a fair while though. All this seems simple but it is a lengthy process, so keep patient.

These have been some life savers for us. GSPs are high energy dogs, so finding ways to get some of that energy out has been pretty high on the priority list ever since we got Mawson as a tiny worm. Another interesting trait of GSPs is that they are naughty little thieves. They can somehow read your mind, and know what item you are going to use/need soon. And they grab it first, and run out goofily with it in their mouth, wanting to play the catch-me-if-you-can with you. That works for anything from items of clothing to DIY object. I have also read in places some silly pups running away with knifes! So.... I have turned away any thieving into a big huge "oh my god what a good pup to fetch my ...(insert stolen item name)...., quick let's get a treat". We do not have anymore problem of stolen items in our house :). Ok he will still go on the look out for Martin socks and bring them to me for a treat, but hey...

Is she still going? She talks a lot doesn't she... We are all asleep here mum, time for bed! And by the way, I am not naughty. It's not my fault if dad lets his socks everywhere in the house. Poor me, I have to gather them all to put them in the wash, but the laundry door is closed, so I give them to mum. You know how smelly those socks are? I have a sensitive nose me!!

The other good thing, and more to the point of this post is that the fetch and hold is the necessary basis of a lot of tricks, that we will hopefully cover in the future "Trick and treat tuesdays" posts.

Our main uses for fetch/hold:
- fetch for balls (for pure exercise, get that energy out!)
- fetch/hold dumbell (obedience test)
- fetch/hold dummies (field retrieving)
- fetch keys, toys, TV remote, etc. (tricks)
- fetch back naughtily stolen items (particularly useful for naughty dogs, or GSPs for that matter...)
- fetch and hold corner of blanket for further tricks like rolling in blanky (trick)
- fetch and hold (carry) your dog bag (trick)
- and ad finitum tricks, your imagination is the limit!

So get your pup's fetch and hold perfected for future tricks, and see you next time :)


See I can fetch and hold everything, at once! :)

Monday, 18 November 2013

Guest list

I know it hasn't rained much at all during the whole winter. I know that the beginning of spring has been horrendous and hot, and we have had some dramatic bush fires already. So I can understand a lot of people have been praying for rain and wishing for a good down pour.

But really, could that have not been a bit more spread?? I can't even go out for my business lately, without asking mum to hold the umbrella! I've seen the minions empty the pool loads of times (ok lost count on my tootsies, got distracted by a pig's ear...). And the worst is, when it rains daddy keeps adding some nasty stuff in the pool so I can't go and swim :(.

Enough is enough, I'll have to start building an ark soon. Already made a start on a list of entry for the ark:

2 galahs (they can invite galah friends, just for the trip gnehehehe)
2 bush turkeys, oh yeah! not for long :O
2 rabbits, same as the bush turkeys really
2 possums
2 kangaroos
2 cans of tuna
2 lorikeets
2 flies (well I know they are annoying but I like to crush them on the glass with my nose)
2 worms (they are cool to roll into when they start to rot)
2 skinks (crunchy under the tooth)
2 cows or beef, or... yeah one of each, they can bring extra shinbones if they want too :)
2 pixies with big ears....
2 butterflies (they are just cute, euh ahem, that's just for mum, cause she likes them, not for me of course... I'm a big manly dog, ahem....)

So that's just the start of the list, will have to think of some more guests, cause I'm going to make a biiiig ark. Now, where is that hammer I saw dad with...?


(found those paws from my mate Jaxon's tweet, they are cute!)

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Hard sunday...

Today was exhausting! Dad took me to the beach early to try and make sure I didn't meet a lovely dog that would open my back leg again. Had fun in there, played with some mates and dad got wet cause he didn't check the tide coming in... mwahaha. Then we came back home but it started raining, so I decided to snoozed as the minions were not very captivating. It's nice to snooze. But then I get a bit bored of snoozing, so the minions decided to work on some new tricks...
I've got a new trick myself... instead of listening to what they ask me, I do all the easy tricks in a row very quickly, that should be good enough for a treat, no? But they didn't seem impressed... they are a hard crowd to please! I had to listen and do the thing they wanted or they didn't give me anything, nothing, not a single tiny morsel, even though I busted all those moves, the rats....

Still, I succeeded to extract some pieces of chicken from their hard clutched hands after slaving away.  They seemed happy enough with their "training session". Life is so hard, let's go and chew my blanky to feel better. I do hope the rain will stop a bit tomorrow or they will continue with those tricks. As if I needed to know how to wave my paws to say goodbye!!!

if only.....

Saturday, 16 November 2013


Succeeded to get a pic of dad red-handed, relapsing into his addiction: mowing. You can see the grass is nowhere in need of a cut, but he still goes over. I can hear the blades of grass screaming in unison "not him again!". Maybe I should make him go to the MA (the mowers anonymous)? 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Worried about the minions' state

Mummy has been sick since monday. That's pretty easy to see because she's been sniffling, coughing, blowing her nose like a trumpet, sneezing... All day and all night too!! I can't sleep, she's keeping me awake.

So much so that we have started discussing options with daddy. You know you have to take in account the health and quality of life of the minions... you cannot let them continue on and let them suffer... We might have to bring mum to the vet and let her go peacefully... Dad says I am being dramatic and for now dad isn't agreeing with me. But I'm sure he'll come round eventually.

I have been a good boy in the meantime though, stayed next to mum while she was doing a rendition of a sickly dying person in bed, worthy of an oscar if you ask me.

To be fair, I'm also a bit concerned about the mental sate of dad. He's been buying books... So normally I don't mind, it's good for minions to have a bit of literacy, but that latest book's title is something about 101 tricks to teach your dog... What am I? A circus dog????
I take you all as witness of my abuse!

Keeping an eye on the patient
while trying not to get sneezed onto

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Mawson the cowboy trady

Mum just found pics she took from our last agility training at St Ives. It was sooooo hot. But Paris found a way of keeping cool. She dug herself a little hole where she could just fit in. She nearly disappeared. 
I'm jealous, I want a hole too! But I'm not allowed to dig, or mum is going to tell me off :( 

However, when she turned her back I created an extension to Paris' new house. She wasn't impressed because it was a bit bigger than her afterwards... And mum wasn't impressed either by my construction skills.

All I have to say is that girls are never happy, I was just trying to help... didn't want Paris to dirty her pretty little white paws... Grump, that will teach me to be a gentleman! 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Ahhh!!! I am sure I saw something move in there!! Heeellpppp...


Oops no! It was just a shadow from the trees, my bad...

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Trick and Treat Tuesday: it's polite to say hello!

Ah well, a bit late, but I finally get back to tricks!

Told you she was lazy...

The first trick we taught Mawson was fairly simple and we learnt it during puppy school.
It is the hand shake. 

They use that to get me embarrassed in front of my mate in the park.

It's easier if the pup is in the sitting position (luckily Bodhi just explained sit today!). The whole idea at the beginning is to get mister pup to lift his paw to get something that doesn't come easy. They nearly all do that. So, what you need to do is get a trigger in your hand, usually it works best with little bits of food. Show it to the puppy then close your hand, enclosing the food. Any puppy or dog will nose it and try to get to it, and they will certainly fairly quickly get their paw up and paw your hand. When that happens, get the cue reward either yes or click from the clicker and give the treat. Do not say anything else at that point. Repeat the action a few times, trying to make sure that mister pup makes a swift paw action touching your hand once with his paw and then go onto something else. Over the next few days repeat the simple action without saying anything refining the paw action. When it becomes regular, start adding your cue word after the action (it is important to start associating the word with the action but perform the action that the pup is learning first, then reward and add the word).
When that word gets associated, start moving the word earlier and use it as the trigger for the action, and then phase the treat out. Offer your hand as before but without the treat in (keep it in the other hand) and get the action going. Paw to the hand you are offering, big yes, then reward from the other hand.

Mum don't say to phase the treats out, keep the treats going, yes, aaallllll the time, treats treats treats. Actually you don't need to ask anything, just give the treats. Mum can do the trick part, I do the treat part...

The thing with teaching any behaviour is being patient. Just think about when you learnt to tie up your shoelaces. I am sure there was quite a few failed attempts and it took a little while to stick in your brain, even though now you find it (hopefully) trivial. Well that is the same with anything new you teach. If you go a bit too fast and things get a bit pear shaped, do not hesitate to take a step back and go back to the previous step.

The step where there are treats... WHAT mum? Why are you looking at me like that... I'm trying to help...

This has proven really useful for us as Mawson can be a bit shy of people and we have been succeeding to relax him by teaching him to say shake the paw (hand!) of people we meet in the street to good effect. By staying at a little distance he just says hello and gets treats and everybody relaxes. 

Well, what a week-end!!

Woohoo! I did it! I am the king of agility!!! Ahem... well nearly... On friday, dad started throwing things in the car... a lot of things, so I got a bit suspicious. Usually that's when we go somewhere far that the car gets overloaded. Always thought that was mummy needing a loooot of things... but she wasn't there so maybe that's not all her fault? Mmmmm something to ponder... Then we drove off, I like long trips now, it's always a lot comfier.

mmmm should always be that comfy
I had to suffer a few hours of dad's "driving", then we arrived somewhere I had never been. There was some of those big horses running around and dad put the tent up. I knew all of the things he put in the car weren't all for me. Geez how much stuff does he need!! The evening was fun, we played ball and met plenty of minions and their owner.
The main problem was when we got to bed. Too many noises around and people moving, I had to warn daddy and protect the tent from the night monsters. I didn't sleep very well...

In the morning, plenty more people arrived and yayyyyy they started putting up some agility equipment! Woohooooo, I like agility!
Very quickly it was our turn on my fav event: novice jumping. We started and it wasn't right, I dropped a bar and stuff but that was because the minions around were all confused. We were the first one of the day and the timer didn't start!!!! How are they going to see my awesomeness if they don't time me? So we restarted, yippee!
And I flew round the course, dunno were dad was, I was doing everything, reading the numbers, turning all alone (:P) I met him back at the end of the course. He must have gone for a drink...

And it turned out at the end that I (ok dad..."we") won it! Fastest time of all the dogs aaaaand clear run, soooo.... I got my first qualification for a title, yehaaa.

Then dad tried to put me in the new crate he got me, so I "settle" and "relax"... It's all in cloth with zippers... so I passed my head through, mwahahah. I didn't break it, I swear, I just snuck my nose through the zip and pushed :). We were sharing the huge gazebo with my mate Jaxon and his mum Frankie. Jaxon also had the same crate than me, but I guess he must have washed it in a bit too hot water cause it shrank! it was real small. But he seemed to fit in I guess. He's a bit smaller than me, being a papillon and all. We had fun. And he is teaching me how to do a cute little face to get treats. He does that real well, but I guess being small and cute and with fluffy ears helps. My ears are not really fluffy :(. They are silky smooth though!

Then after a bit of wait it was time for another run, novice agility. Well that went a bit awry. I went a bit fast at the start and dad is too slow, gnehehe so I zoomed past him before he could get his fine positioning. Well sorry dad but I haven't got all day. Then again a bit later, he faffed about in the middle of the course and well there was a bit of a collision with dad, me and a jump... oopsy, well that was it for that cause I was a bit sore. Not as much as dad as he discovered later... He thinks he cracked a rib, oopsy bis....
Then we went back and I had to take a double take cause.. there was mum!!!! Mummy!!!!! Woohoo that's the besets ever run, even though mummy looked a bit stoned shall I say.
Dad said we were done for the day, but we looked a bit longer at the other guys running. There are so many good dogs out there! In the evening we went back to the tent. There was quite a bit of noise so I told it to mum, and she seemed to enjoy it cause she kept coming back and cuddling my head and then after a few time she came in the crate. She looked even more stoned in the morning.... But I went out of my crate for a cuddle. It was soooo cold in the morning.

We had a couple more runs on sunday. One where dad invented a course (well, dad you do that anyway....), and I saw my groupies so I went to say hello, but they seemed not to be happy and were waiving their arms and dad was rolling on the ground so I went back so see what all the fuss was about. We still finished with a place apparently though, I'm quite proud of my time and my awesomeness. Wasn't the idea getting as much ... oh! that was points not seconds? Ooops sorry...

Then mum went wild and entered us in Open jumping... Yeah good mum... and it was at the same time as the novice snooker run so dad had to remember two courses at once... He can't remember a full one alone how did she expect him to memorise two at once... But I did the hard stuff well, got caught out by the semi closed tunnel entry (not fair!) and didn't bothered finishing the last jumps... I was TIRED! Not too bad because it's usually quite hard and everybody enters even the master guys.

We continued looking at the other runs afterwards. The minions wanted to see what the gamblers were doing... I bet mum is going to add some more entries for dad and I to run in the next trials. Can see it's not her running! She just sits on her, ahem BIG BUM! On second thought maybe she SHOULD run...

Handler's conga line
Too complicated I'll sit that one out!
We had to come back home afterwards because the minions said they wanted to sleep in their bed. Whatever, I liked cuddles with mum in the crate.
On the way back, though I was fully awake... I smelt some dodgy burnt smell around. Mum said that we were passing through the areas that had recently been burnt in the bushfire. It wasn't looking great :(

bit eery
When we came back home, the minions told me that they found an 18th birthday party announcement  in the neighbourhood for the saturday we were out, so we wouldn't have slept here either!

They took my bed out and I went straight on it for a snooze. Just opened my eyes for two seconds to get dinner and go do my business, then lights out for me and my trophies... zzzzzz

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (in style)

On monday it was pouring down with rain, dad dragged me out in the morning. It was all wet!!!
But then I stayed and looked after mum. She was looking all green and kept coughing. I guess she brought something back from her trip. That will teach her to leave me alone with dad!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Well, what a week

The posts this week have not been as regular as normal because I went to a work conference in Fremantle (on sponges!). Mawson was too busy to write while getting ready for his trials and partying with his dad!!! It was the first time I went to the west coast of Australia, and it was a pretty hard week of work and not a lot of free time to visit.

Representation of the sheep trading from Freo
(at the maritime museum!!)
I love the eyes...

An old building of something... I forgot... I was jogging!

But I had to come back quickly to see the boys running at our first big agility weekend trial!
The plan was to take the flight back on friday afternoon, rent a car and drive in the evening to arrive during the night. Tadaaa! Ready for the start in the morning.

Exceeeeeept, well good plans always go wrong don't they. And this one, well, why go a little bit wrong when you can make the news...  In summary, the flight went ok until we tried to land... high gusts of wind made the whole thing a bit of a disaster. People were crying, and being, let's say "unwell". We didn't succeed to land... We got diverted to the military airport at Newcastle, cause we didn't have a lot of fuel... then they tried to get back to Sydney but we didn't make the extended curfew so we got diverted to Brisbane... Great! I didn't know I had booked an around-the-country flight!!!

We arrived to Brisbane very late, and they got us accommodation for the night and rebooked us for a flight the next day, as they say in the article... What they didn't say was that we arrived late, took ages to process and get to the accommodation, where we arrived approximately at 2am. We were booked in a flight at 6.15am in the international airport, which meant leaving at 4am (we had to get our own taxi btw...) so the night sleep was well not really there... I must say that the flight crew and the guys from Brisbane were really nice. The ones on the Sydney side were letting the side down. I have heard and dealt with some rude and uncaring representatives which was a shame after the whole episode.
But I arrived (finally!) at Sydney, booked a rental car (a pretty rubbish one at that), and drove to Bathurst. Not sure how I made it there in one piece, after not really sleeping for two days. Guess the coffees and the singing to myself in the car helped...

Anyhow, I'm pretty happy to have made it even if late. But not really fussed about trying that again. So next time, I'll check not to go to a conference the week before a trial.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Euh... really?

While I am away, Martin is doing keeping the monster occupied as best he can, but now that's getting a bit silly, no? Where is my garden?! That's a good course to mess with a puppy's head, a bit too advanced and too cramped for the Mawsonator still. He hasn't even got space to turn!


Don't worry too much, it didn't stay long like that though. We do like to see that there is a bit of grass under the agility equipment! 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Ready for camping

We're going to go camping soon, cause I'm going to do plenty of jumping at another trial. I pawed the place in on google, it's far! I won't be able to trot there and back overnight, we're going for a full weekend. So daddy and me will go camping! Ok mum you can tag along but just stay on this spot and don't disturb my daddy and me... We all prepared and the minions found a big tent for all of us. They looked how to put it up. Luckily I was there to help as they are pretty poorly coordinated. 
Now it's all good but there is only barely space for me and my bed, so I don't know where the minions will stay!? At least it's better than their previous lightweight two men tent, cause that was squishy and hot even in full winter in Orange, so we wouldn't have survived in "spring".

MY tent
We are all ready for some more fun adventures, yehaaaa, just need to find a teddy to scare the night monsters away....

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


I'm away from my pup for the first time ever and I'm missing my trip hazard monster. I know it's sad, it's only a few days but we have our little routine together. Now I need to trust Martin to do my Rally-O training and other fun evening stuffs, :( sniff. To console myself, I had a look at some old pics and look what I found!

Look at that little baby Mawson's face, could you resist giving him a hug... Nawww

ps: they do have little vampire teeth in that cute little mouth at that age....

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Neighbourhood watch

Let's check out what the neighbours are doing... I thought I heard some noise! Nope, not there, mmm better stay vigilant, never know what they are doing... 

And now I need to keep an eye on the other side's neighbours too. They are new and they are doing all sorts of things.... Maybe I should convince mum to go and see them? No! I won't growl at them... ok maybe just a little... ok ok I won't! Pffff, kill joy.


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Car wash

I tried to help daddy wash the car today, but he didn't seem to appreciate the help! Don't know why, he can be so ungrateful sometimes.... I thought I was doing a good job pointing out the bits he had missed. I think he just can't take criticism. Yes, that's it!

It's still dirty there!

Friday, 1 November 2013

What The Friday?

Sometimes I despair a bit… Martin and I are both research scientist and right now, it's pretty hard to get grant fundings. Applications are lengthy and difficult, and the level of success is quite low, even if your submission quality is very good. But that's not the point here… or maybe it is a bit…
This morning while browsing the various "fine" journalistic efforts Australia has to offer (I can't decide on a paper I like so I browse a few…), I found an interesting feature relating the outcome of a certainly diligent and expensive piece of  scientific research. It certainly follows a previous effort that explains why you have recently seen people yawning in front of their dogs repeatedly…

Such fascinating topics make me wonder why I did so many years of study. They also make me rethink my choice of research topic… Maybe I got an idea for our next grant submission… *need to talk to my boss*
Mawson in any case was left unmoved….

Definitely anxious wouldn't you say?