On 29. 07. 2016 few of our H-puppies and father of the litter already came to the meeting's location, so we drove there to go for a walk and a swim with dogs.
Hideo (Ozzy) was happy to meet his Chessy again, who just ignored him, Hera was happy of Hideo, who ignored her, while mother Heidi and Hideo just greeted each other for few seconds, than they went to do their business further on, i.e. Hideo had to follow the water crazy Chessy and Heidi had to go back into the bushes to collect more seeds with her coat and to dig out the treasure. This was in her opinion the best Birthday party ever, because although she was with the dogs, she was playing alone (she is like her mother Ama).
Heidi did not even notice H-puppies father Eliott and his "sibling" the dalmatian Luke, who joined us later. None of the dogs were interested in other people, they just loved to play in the water and with each other.
On 30. 07. 2016 the official part of the 1st curly meeting in Slovenia, with parents and friends of our H-puppies, started in the morning at Ribniško lake in Kočevje with father Eliott, mum Heidi (left in the morning), sons Haru (left in the morning) and Ozzy (Hideo), daughters Hera (left in the morning), Halma and Hope, father's friend dalmatian Luke and toller helper Daisy.
We did basic behaviour test that can be done once per year (results for the litter is below), discussed it comparing to the parents and among siblings.
After the basic instinctual behaviour test we started with land exercises for SUP with the dog (Daisy was the helper): body awareness exercises, balance exercises, exercises for building muscles and target exercises (towel). After the land exercises we tried how dogs are ready to stay calmly on the surf with the owner.
After the SUP training we did a small break to cool down the dogs in the water and to let the puppies, that did not have the opportunity to swim since they left their nest, remember how to swim (they are all perfect swimmers). With help of happy dummies and Daisy (social learning) some of the puppies and the dalmatian Luke learned how to jump from the dock into the water. All the successful ones had also a short individual training.
At the end we trained things that make problems to new owners, did smaller part of personality test for juniors (average of the tested H-puppies is presented below) and gave to all of the dog-handler teams the SUP diplomas for the memory.
It was really nice to meet you and looking forward to see you all next year, when the puppies will be learning how to search for truffles.
On 27. 09. 2015 Heidi and Chessy competed individually in bikejoring women in Stražun forest in Maribor, Slovenia. Heidi competed 1st, Chessy last. Barbara got to know the trail with Heidi, so with Chessy she could go a bit more relaxed knowing the trail a little bit more. Chessy was at the end 2.5 min faster from Heidi.
Heidi usually stops immediately when she want to poo, so there is hardly any time to stop the bike behind her. This time happened what we were always afraid off, i.e. there was not enough time to stop the bike, so Barbara hit Heidi's hind leg with the bike. Heidi moved a bit and pooped on. But from here on it was obvious that Heidi had fear and was not relaxed.
With Chessy it was obvious that we train a little bit wrong, i.e. she stopped every time when we passed certain length of trail - the length of stops was there there with our short training trail. When getting closer to finish line, she blocked a bit (like last time), but we managed to get through the finish line a bit better than last time.
We still need to train more and on longer trails with more turns, but the progress, especially with Chessy, was amazing.
Along with Chessy and Heidi we took also Haru, who was amazed by bikejoring starts. He met new people, new dogs, tried vegetarian meal which he did not like much, had fun and came home tired.
Photos from the event are in the slideshow below. Thank you to all the photographers for the photos, organizers for such a nice event, trail on a such a lovely day, and all for the help. It was very nice to meet old faces after a long time.
In Hraše, Smlednik, Slovenia, there was already 3rd dryland competition in memory of Henrik Sečnik. It was on the last March Sunday, 29. 03. 2015, on a sunny but not too warm day.
This year we entered only Chessy to bikejoring women open category, because Heidi was mated, Daisy was in season, Kala will probably end her career in sled sports etc.
The track was 3.5 km long, almost completely level with mud baths here and there. In general, very nice track. The weather was perfect for dogs and people, not warm, but sunny.
Before bikejoring in Hraše Chessy had one dogtrekking training with Kala and Heidi, where she learned how to pull on a harness (left photo below), and one bikejoring training with Heidi for 100 to 200 m, followed by one bikejoring training where she was alone (right yt video below).
She did not know left/right before the start in Hraše. In the 1st half she tried to pull out from the path for 3 times, but after that it got much better. She listened to left/right commands and understood them.
The major problem was, that Barbara drove into a mud, fell and stopped Chessy instantly. From the fall on Chessy was not so confident anymore as in the beginning. In the finish line she even stopped when she felt that leash is "hard" again in the way, that Barbara might fall again. After the leash was "relaxed", and Barbara promised Chessy, that they are now going to drink water (she already knows what means "vodika"), they went on. Sadly Barbara forgot to tell her, that this water waits for her in the car. So before the finish line she pulled once again out from the path towards a small channel full of water. After they managed to go back to the track, Chessy got more and more energy, confidence back from all the cheer-leading beside the track. Thank you all, because you helped Chessy a lot!
At the end Chessy was 6th with time 16 min 45 s, i.e. she had 2 minutes more than Heidi, but Heidi knows all the commands and Barbara knows Heidi, while we are all getting to know Chessy.
We thank the organizers for such a nice event, all the competitors, spectators, and all the photographers: Katja Jemec, Blayo San and Vesna Hrovat. It was really a nice day and we are looking forward to 4th memorial of Henrik Sečnik 2015.
Close to the competition ground there was a lovely pond with lots of different waterfowl. Chessy went for a walk near the birds (on a leash) and did not even try to chase/flush them (the exercise sit and wait is getting better and better). There was also a nice area almost without birds, so we could practice free search and retrieving from water, just to see, if there is sth to improve.
Chessy's steadiness is not fine, also her self-control is close to none, but we are working on that. Her free search was nice but it was hard to create the exercise, because she is not steady. There is no sit and hold, and she shakes after she gets out from water. At least she does not drop the dummy.
17. 02. 2015 we got a "lifelong" visit from chesapeake bay retriever Ilona chessy z Vlčich luk, called Chessy. She was born on 25. 06. 2012 in kennel "z Vlčich luk", Czech Republic, Europe. When she was 8 months old she found a home in kennel "Tohočinska", Slovenia, Europe. From personal reasons they could not keep her, therefore we made an agreement, that we take her, if she will get along with our dogs.
When she came, she knew her call name, i.e. Chessy, perfectly, so we decided not to change it.
As she got into the house, we let her sniff around inside the house downstairs and relax without other dogs being around, except Dusty and the cat Janez. She behaved nicely around Dusty, who felt a little bit weird, sad, confused. All our cats are used to dogs, so Janez enjoyed being sniffed by Chessy. When he got tired of being sniffed, he tried to punch her. So she left him alone. Later this day she also met other cats, which she also greeted nicely. Very well behaved girl.
Before meeting other dogs, she got her breakfast, Biomill kibbles, which we feed our dogs and cats, beside other food. She liked it very much, but she obviously likes everything - when there is food, she does not notice anything, not even other dogs. So no problems concerning food.
In the backyard she also met our pig, Buddha, who is not afraid of dogs, and is very curious about visitors and new animals. The problem is, that pigs do not speak doggy language, do not know any calming signals, do not greet dogs in polite doggy way, but do run towards them face to face. So Chessy is a little bit afraid of courageous Buddha and runs away from her, if Buddha comes to near. We do like that Chessy prefers to move away than to stand the ground.
We have thrown her a ball and other toys, and she fetched it perfectly: fast running there, stopped at the toy while the grass was flying under her feet, grabbed the toy, turned back and brought it to the hand. She has soft mouth, perfect hold, perfect let go into the hand. But there is no steadiness, and no obedience (no sit, down, heel... nothing). She does not make any sound when waiting, jumping for the toy to be thrown, but she is chattering with teeth when she is really excited and hardly waiting for the toy. We started to solve this problem immediately with lots patience while waiting for Chessy to calm down.
After letting our dogs to get to know Chessy one after another in the large fenced backyard with help of donuts, we went for a walk with them (just May stayed at home). Chessy was all the time on a sled harness and tied to Barbara. She was not bothered by the harness at all. It got obvious, that she might have problems walking nicely on the leash, because she pulled left, right, back... not constantly, but when she did pull, it was instantly and with a lot of power. It was also clear, that she might be a good sled dog.
She was not paying attention to other dogs (she did not know them and was not a member of their "family") and also other dogs played among each other like they always do and did not even try to include her, not even Kala, who is always interested in new dogs, animals. Well, they will probably need a month to learn from each other what one likes or not. We expect ups and downs, but we will be there to lead them. Well, at least Chessy heard on the 1st walk how loud Drobižek plays, saw how tough Kala plays etc.
However, she did not miss any treat, nor any snowball. She likes snowballs even more than Dusty does. She really likes to play, especially fetch, but we started also with a little bit of tug of war and she is better and better at it. She already played tug of war with Kala, while Barbara was holding the toy between them. When the game became to excited, the toy was replaced by a treat for Kala and for Chessy. Kala already knows this game, Chessy is learning quick, a lot with social learning.
After the walk we gave her a complete bath, not because she would be dirty, but to remove not known smells to our dogs and give her our smells, to help our dogs accept her a bit more easily. She does have a certain smell, not only when she is wet, but also when she is dry. Maybe we are getting used to her smell or it is just getting milder each day, because she smells nicer and nicer.
We noticed that she knows how to open doors with horizontal door handles (our May opens all of them, no matter how the door handle is placed, while Saki opens only the doors with vertical handles which have to be pushed up - she jumps and pushes the handle up). Chessy opened all the doors to follow Barbara upstairs, even if Barbara went upstairs just for few seconds. We are already practicing wait calmly in the room for Barbara to return, but the doors had to be locked in the beginning, that Chessy could be successful. Nevertheless, Chessy will need up to 1 year to relax and realize, that she is staying, and will stop jumping up immediately when Barbara moves a little.
Next day, 18. 02. 2015, we went to the vet to arrange the rabies vaccination and to do the ultrasound, because she might have been pregnant (she was mated at kennel "z Vlčich luk" more than 3 weeks ago). But nothing was seen. We are repeating the ultrasound next week to be sure, that there is nothing and that we can continue with trainings normally.
She was also weighed and weights 29.5 kg, so she got 3 anti-warms pills (we dewarmed also all our other dogs on the same day, otherwise it would be pointless to dewarm Chessy).
Getting Chessy into the car was a huge problem already at home - we had to lift her and put her into the car as she was a puppy. We thought that maybe because she was afraid that she would have to go to new home again, but previous owner explained, that she does not like driving because she is sick in the car. She did heavily breath and drooled a lot, but she did not puke (and she had full stomach).
So we did a training also for going into the car, and for relaxing her while driving carefully. We visited only nice places, so she could connect car with sth nice. The 1st place we visited was the place where we train water work. She learned here how to cross the narrow bridge, how to jump over channels etc. and she showed us how much she loves water. Next stop was our plantation, where there is also river. We trained here a little bit of wait, but nothing else. We also stopped in Trebnje, because we had to arrange the car to get fixed. She did not get out the car this time, but was not alone. The result was that she relaxed (not completely) in the car, started to breathe normally, drooled less, but we still had to put her into the car like a puppy. At home she will have to be fed in the car, that she will start jumping into it by herself. This is probably 1 moths of focused work.
On 19. 02.2015 we took all dogs for a short early morning walk, even May. Also this time Chessy was on the sled harness. In the afternoon, before the supper, we went for a longer walk. This time Chessy was on a textile collar and a leash. It was as we predicted. She was pulling, but like in pulses: she stopped, she pulled, she stopped, she pulled. It was impossible to predict anything. When she stopped, she did a circle around Barbara from her left to right and proceeded with her "pulse-work". Stopping when she pulled did not help much (the positive results for not pulling on collar, at least not drastically, can not come in 1 hour of 1 walk). The not pulling on a collar will be taught separately at home, than on the dog-school field, with luring at the beginning.
On 20. 02. 2015 we had our 1st proper sled training. With help of Kala and Heidi we were successful in teaching Chessy how to pull constantly in a sled harness. She is natural, strong and fast. The most difficult thing was to take photo when she was sitting and waiting with our other dogs on the top of the peak - well, she does not know what sit and wait means like our dogs do. It is a little bit frustrating, but we have a plan how to solve the problem.
However, this was the 1st and the last time these 3 girls were pulling together a human behind (cart and sled not included), because they are just to strong, when they do it as they were supposed to.
The problem while being a sled dog is that when we stop she comes to the human, goes around him, entangles him with all the ropes... We already started to resolve the problem during her 1st sled training, but will have to teach her the "flip" separately from sled sport, if she will have to come to see what human is doing. For the sled she will also have to learn right, left, go, stop and wait.
One of the positive results of Chessy's 1st doghiking was also that she was so tired, that she did not get up when Barbara moved. She even found her place to sleep in relaxed positions.
Chessy learned fast what "no" means and respects it. After she stops with mischief she if praised, so that "no" is nothing bad, just that she has to stop what she is doing. Beside "no" also "eeeee" and "Chessyyy!" work perfectly. She hear "no" even when she wants to clean cat litter or eat cat food, but she does not hear "no" very well, when she wants to clean after our pig or wild animals on the walk. But this is a struggle probably with all retrievers.
So far we noticed, that she drinks a lot. Maybe because she used to live in a kennel, and now she lives inside, where is warm. She is a lot like our Kala, who also does not fancy warm weather.
She does not poo inside, but she peed inside 3-times, once even on the bed. However, we are starting to read her better: she tells us when she has to go to do her needs with heavily breathing and with being "annoying". When she peed on the bed we thought that she needs to loose more energy, so we played with her tug of war, instead going out to pee. Well, she gave us a lesson.
She needed 3 days to finally get into our biorhythm (with help of doghiking to the nearest peak), i.e. no turning on the lights during the night, no fetching during the night, no opening the doors... Now she wakes us up in the morning to let her out into the backyard to do her needs. Very well behaved girl (but there still might be accidents).
Chessy also learned very fast, that after doing the morning needs it is time for the breakfast. They all eat very close to each other, everyone his/hers portion from his/hers bowl. She does not provoke anyone to get his/hers portion, but she sees just food and nothing else. So when we are giving treats, she almost never gets it 1st, because she has to learn to wait calmly, i.e. she has to learn patience. When she is not too hungry for the treats, she is performing the exercise better and better. Well, sooner or later she will wait politely.
She might have known from before that plates, cups, pots... are to be licked, or it was just her love towards the food that she knew what to do with it. We always give every dog to lick the "food-dirty" plate, everyone gets a little bit. She is usually the last. However, she is already capable to lick the plate together with other dogs, even with Kala, who loves food as much as she does. But Kala already knows, that if anyone growls, the licking stops for everybody. But we still remove the plate away, when it is almost clean, not to provoke any unwanted reaction from anyone when licking the plate with Chessy.
She adores all toys and likes to destroy them. Especially plastic ones. So we already had to throw away the 1st toy after a long time. At least she does not destroy anything else: not inside, nor outside. However, she has to have a lot of physical exercise, that she is nicely calm inside the house. For mental activity there is a problem, because for example sit was being taught with modeling, which is still the only way to "make" her sit. Luring into sit does not work, but she sits here and there by herself. Our plan is to catch the sit and mark it by clicker.
Chessy is getting to know what clicker means, and is getting there - without it there is no way to succeed. With luring we could start teaching only to spin around her axis, so we used also a click there. She knows how to walk backwards, when you are walking towards her, so we also clicked here. And she got clicks for nose touch of the hand and for the eye contact. The problem is the motivation and frustration, because demands from us to her can be immediately to big and she is lost. Big help are our other dogs, that are practicing with her. Sometimes they are performing the same exercise, sometimes a bit more difficult. It helps Chessy to build patience, calmness... when she is observing other dogs what they do and that they get after the small trick a reward. But this has to go fast, so she does not have time not to be calm and that she does not loose the focus. The other positive effect is, that she sees what other dogs do and she repeats after them. She is getting more confident in offering new positive ideas (she has many ideas in her free time, if she is not exercised enough, which are not to be clicked), and she is starting to think like other clicker-dogs do. But she is still far from the wanted results. We estimate that we will need 6 months to a year, to make her a dog we like to be.
With the clicker training we will have to do exercises with which she will also get aware of her hind legs, because now her hind legs are just following the front ones.
Beside fetch and tug of war she also learned how to play with Barbara without a toy ("wrestling"). This was not hard to teach her, because not just that she has seen our other dogs play in this way, but she also likes cuddling, petting... so this was just one step further on and a tool to be used for the final and biggest reward.
Well, as a watch-guard dog, she has not show anything yet. But this is her 1st week here. She started running to the fence with our dogs, when they go barking and "guarding" their territory, but she still does not get what they are doing. Sooner or later all get it, and sooner or later they also understand which bark is serious, and which one is not.