This afternoon the weather much improved, so we decided to go to the city with Skye. So far I had only taken her in the overground part of the underground. This time I wanted to go a bit further. We took the tube to St. Paul's, the station near St. Paul's Cathedral. From there we walked over the Millennium Bridge to Tate Modern. We took quite a few pictures, I thought I'd show some of them here.
This morning we had puppy training again. There were only three puppies this time. I think the others (well, probably their owners) thought it was going to rain again. But fortunately it didn't and we had a really good time. Skye did very well. Although I had to use a lot of rewards to keep her focussed on me. The wet grass did distract her easily again. But her recall went very well. When Skye and another dog were released at the same time, she came to me right away. Even when the Akita wanted to check out my treats first. Skye thought she was a bit big and just waited nearby until she could come to get her reward. Good girl!!
Walking on a loose leash went pretty well too. We worked quite hard on that this week, so it was good to see that she was willing to show it off in class as well. After walking mainly in straight lines, back and forth, we did some (tight) bends too. This proved to be a bit harder. But with a bit of practise we'll hopefully master that soon too.
When we came home, Skye went to sleep straight away.
We had such a lovely walk in the park this afternoon. And I even managed to remember to bring my photo camera!! So here are a few of the pictures I took. It's kind of a miracle Skye is on any of them at all. She is so quick. Many of the photos I took only have a tail, a blur or no dog at all on them!!
I especially like this last picture. Clever little girl.
Early last week we had some friends staying over at our house. As we're living in the UK and most of our family and friends live in the Netherlands, this is something that happens quite often. So it was a nice opportunity to get Skye used to the hustle and bustle of having people over. We had a really good time and Skye just loved all the attention. She wasn't bothered by it at all.
Skye after a busy day.
Friday I've taken Skye on the bus and the tube to Loughton, so we could meet Joost at work and drive back with him by car. Skye had never travelled on a bus before and wasn't too sure about the whole thing at first. The ride was a bit shaky and there were quite a few people inside. But as soon as we found a place to sit down, she was fine again and had a good look around. And of course she got a lot of attention of the other passengers. Which is ok, although I must admit that I do get a bit tired of the baby voices telling her how cute she is. Even the trainer at puppy class talks differently to her than he does to the other pups.
Travelling on the tube went better this time. She didn't shake too much and as soon as the clicker and chicken came out, she was completely back to her own busy self. I'm so pleased with that. However, so far we have only travelled above ground. This week, I would like to take Skye to the city for a walk along the Thames. Let's see what she thinks of that.
Saturday, Skye had her second puppy class. Unfortunately it was raining a bit. But she didn't mind. She really enjoyed seeing the other dogs again. Most of the exercises went pretty well. Except for one of the recalls. Her nose was just glued to the grass. I think the rain brought out lots of lovely smells. Although in the end I could fortunately get her attention again (with the help of many chicken treats). For this week we got lots of homework again. Sit-stays with distractions, recall in and outside the house, handling exercises. We'll be busy again.
This morning we had our first puppy class. Skye got really excited when she saw the other dogs on the field, although she found the bouncy golden retriever puppy a bit overwhelming. Still, the training went really well. Our trainer, Steve, explained very clearly what he wanted us to do and how to use clicker training to tackle all kinds of training challenges. We worked on introducing the clicker, getting your dog's attention, walking on the lead without pulling and holding your dogs collar for a few seconds. Skye did pretty well, even though she was quite easily distracted at times. Especially by the westie puppy right next to us. She would really like to play with him.
After the training we drove back home and Skye immediately fell asleep in her crate. And at home she did some more sleeping, which gave me some time to read the hand-outs we were given. There is lots to do for the next lesson!
This afternoon we practised a few of the things we had learned. Skye worked quite well here at home, without all the distractions of the training field. And it was a good opportunity to have her eat her meals. Skye is a bit of a fussy eater, but with the clicker her bowl was empty in no time!!
(As I am typing this, Skye woke up and weed on the newspaper instead of outside. Aaargh, I was too late again!! I just have to watch her so well.)
The last week we have been taking Skye out to all kinds of different environments. Besides her regular walks, we've been to busy roads, a big pet store, Epping Forest and to our local High Street. Skye has taken it all in her stride. She is very relaxed around busy roads and wags her tail when strangers want to meet her. And we have seen quite a few: young, old, black, white, Asian, male, female, a man on crutches, mums with prams, people on bicycles. (Of course I forgot to bring my camera, so I'll just add a few other photos of Skye.)
The only thing she didn't seem to like, was the screeching sound of the brakes of a double-decker bus, stopping right besides us. (I must say I hate that sound myself too.) But it turned out to be quite a funny experience. The chauffeur openend the doors of the bus and asked us all kinds of things about Skye. We took the opportunity to take Skye into the bus and let her snif around. The chauffeur was completely taken by her, in the mean time causing a bit of a traffic jam outside.
Today, I want to take Skye for a little ride on the Tube. I hope she won't be too intimidated by all the noise it makes. We live near the Central Line, which is pretty old and noisy. Hopefully she'll get used to it soon. It would be nice if we were able to take her to Hyde Park sometimes. Next Saturday Skye will go to her first puppy class. They use clicker training and are very focussed on making the lessons a fun experience for both the dogs and the owners. I am really looking forward to it.
Skye really loves to play. As soon as we get up in the morning she jumps and dances around me. So funny. She loves to tug and run through the mini tunnel we bought at Ikea. We have also started with clicker training. She seems to get the idea already and does some nice 'sits' and 'comes' (aka puppy, puppy, puppy). Sue Ailsby's website has been very helpful. I am new to clicker training a dog and in the descriptions of her training levels she gives some great tips to get started.
The cats are slowly getting used to Skye as well. Both Poes and Raisa are walking around the living room again, although very cautiously. And sometimes the puppy and the cats sniff each other carefully. But Skye often gets a bit too playful with them, which makes them quickly back off or hiss at her. Still, I must say I am quite happy with how everything is going so far.
Yesterday morning we drove to South London, where Skye's breeder Lian lives. It is only about 20 miles from where we live in North London, but as the city lies in the middle, it takes quite a while to get there. London's streets never seem to get quiet.
We had a lovely afternoon at Lian's. And after a delicious bbq meal (!!), it was time to take Skye home with us. Our trip back went very well. Skye just went to sleep in her bed and was very calm. When we arrived home, we first locked both our cats in the kitchen with a nice bowl of food, so Skye could check out our living room and the puppypen with all her things. She immediately weed on the newspaper we laid down for her there. She is such a clever girl. However, she also thought Joost's mountainbike magazine would make a good toilet. Oops. We had a good laugh about that.
Later, we let the cats out of the kitchen, one by one. They were not too enthusiastic about Skye. And Skye wasn't too keen at first either. She softly barked and growled a bit at the cats. But I think that was just insecurity, she hadn't really met a cat before. When she sat on our laps and looked at them, she was all right. One of the cats hasn't come into the living room yet, the other one is more curious. It will take a while, but I think they will get used to each other soon.
The first night went very well too. Skye immediately settled in her bed in the crate. She fell straight asleep and was really quiet. At about four o'clock she woke me up and I took her to the newspapers. She did a little wee and went straight to sleep again after we went back to the bedroom. This morning she woke up at a quarter to seven!! We are so proud of her.
Tomorrow we are going to pick up Skye!! I just can't wait. I've wanted to own a dog for more than twenty years! However, because of all kinds of commitments I've never been able to do so. But now the moment is finally there, and I am going to enjoy it!! Skye is such a lovely little character. Very confident, outgoing and cheeky. Her breeder, Lian, has done such a wonderful job in raising her and her sisters. I feel so lucky. We couldn't have asked for a better puppy.
The last few weeks, we've been preparing ourselves for Skye's arrival. We bought all kinds of things for her and made a lovely little puppy corner in our living room. Our garden is now puppyproof as well. Although I still had to close the last little gap in our fencing this morning. We bought about 25 metres of garden mesh last week. We thought that should do the job. But of course it didn't, we needed about 80 cms (!!) more. Fortunately the DIY-shop is not too far from our home.