Thursday, May 15, 2008

Still rattling around

Sorry I haven't posted much recently, not much interesting has happened for a while. There's no more snow and it's progressively getting hotter, which makes granny happy, but mommy and I a little sad.

Because I'm bored, I'm going to fill out this quiz thing I've seen rattling around a few blogs. Maybe it'll help you guys to know me better, and it'll be fun to do. I stole it from Huffle's blog, but I've seen it a few other places and hopefully he won't mind.

1. Your age? 2 and 1/2 yearss old

2. Your age when came to live with your people? 14 months

3. What color is the collar you’re wearing right now? I don't wear a collar in the house, but the one I use when I go places is black with red, green and yellow chili peppers on it.

4. Who is your favorite person other than the people you live with? Any of my harem members.

5. How much do you weigh? 75lbs, last time I checked

6. Most expensive thing you’ve ever chewed up? Um... Everything I've ever chewed up here was hand made. I guess the doll my mommy's great-granny made was the thing that got me into the most trouble, though.

7. Do you like cats? Yes, of course! But mommy thinks that if one was running around, I might hurt it. I've lived with cats before, or so Mommy was told, but she doesn't really trust me.

8. Who is your best non-human friend? Hmmm... Vaks the husky x lab. He's GOD. I so want him to love me and play with me and run around with me, but he always ignores me. This makes me sad. Otherwise I have quite a few friends at the dogrun who I play with regularly.

9. Squeaky Toys or Tennis Balls? Squeaky toys! I LOVE squeaky toys. But I'm not allowed to have any because Granny hates the squeak and I destroy them too fast.

10. Do you like to be brushed? When I'm shedding, yes. Generally if it means that I'm getting loves and attention, I will sit through anything.

11. Peanut Butter or Cheese? Cheese! Mommy says I'd sell my soul for cheese and I probably would.

12. Do your people cut your toenails? Yes. But generally mommy does this while I'm getting petted and loved on, so I barely notice. I like being fawned over, it's my job in life, apart from pulling the sled.

13. Any formal education? I attended at least one obedience class. I don't remember if I did in my former home, but Mommy took me to a class here where I got to play with a baby jack russel and terrorize a poor daschund. She was just intimidated by my size, don't worry, I wasn't mean to her. I did very well, which surprised the teacher and made her say I must not be a pure husky.

14. Couch potato or Energizer Bunny? In the house, I'm calm until after supper, when it's time to go Marcher. Outside, I zoom a lot.

15. Five nicknames your people call you. Loulou, Wookie, Husky, Bebe, imbecile.

16. What is your best trick? Papatte, other papatte. If I do that, it goes faster to put the harness on. Other than that, left, right... I don't do tricks that have no purpose.

17. Do you like puppies? Um.... Depends on the puppy. Mommy says I can be a bit of a bully, sometimes. But I'm really, really nice with some puppies and i roll over on my back and let them bounce all over me.

18. What did you have for breakfast? Ground beef, today, and a carrot. I'm raw fed, so every day is something different. I've been getting ground beef a lot recently, though, I'm starting to be sick of it.

19. Can you hunt (aka have you ever killed anything living)? If so, what?
I am the master hunter! I caught and killed a wild baby bunny, once. And I almost caught a skunk, but it was mean and sprayed me and that was not fun.

20. When & why was the last time you went to the V.E.T.? Um... A few months ago, I think. It was for a general check up and vaccines.

21. Where do you sleep at night? On my rug next to Mommy's bed, sometimes IN mommy's bed, sometimes other places in the house. But mostly next to mommy, somewhere.

22. Do you like to swim? Not really.

23. Can you make puppies? I'll have to ask mommy.... No. Apparently I can't.

24. Your favorite place to visit? Hmmm, decisions decisions... The dogrun, then the mountain, then the good-smelling dogfood store, in that order.

25. Do you give kisses? Yes! Sometimes. When I feel like it.

26. Can you potty on command? No, why would I do that? As I said, I don't do things that are pointless to me.

27. To Cuz or not to Cuz?
CUZ! I love cuzes. But I can only have mine at the dogrun if there are no other dogs. It's a special treat.

So that's it, folks... You can also ask me questions, if you want, and I'll answer them...
Until next time,


Sophie Brador said...

Hey Louka, You never know. Vaks might really love you too. He just might not show it much. I'm like that. I have tons of friends who it seems like I ignore, but I really am happy inside to see them.


The Army of Four said...

Woo, Louka! Where've you BEEN!?!? Great answers. 75 pounds!?!? Woooo, you're a lot bigger than us guys!
I like cheese, too. And my mommy.

Nessa said...


Nessa said...

Hey Louka -

So here's what I'm taking from the note your mama left me. It sounds like you are willing to work for food, but she wants you to do it without food.

There's good news buddy - Whenever a dog is learning a new skill he needs some form of tangible reward. Food is usually the easiest and the highest in value to a dog. So if your mama wants you to learn something new, she will probably have to feed your face. You can see in the videos that I'm giving Nanook a treat after every single time he is successful - because he's learning a new skill. Even after he understands the skill I'm going to keep rewarding him for a while. Then, when I know that the skill is completely learned, (and this could take a week or more of working the skill several short sessions a day (five to ten minute sessions)), I will start rewarding only the BEST efforts on his part. Or reward after three efforts, then after five, then after three again, then after two - you want to vary it. The dog should at this point not know when he'll get a treat.

These intermittent rewards are important. It will encourage you to work harder and focus more, because you will not know if you are getting a treat or not. It keeps it interesting, basically. Our trainer says the dog works harder for the possibility of a treat than it would for the certainty of a treat. You can make the intervals longer and longer between rewards over time, although you always want to try and keep it from being predictable.

It can take months to wean a dog off of rewards and still get a reliable response from the dog, depending on the complexity of the command and the dog's own temperament. It's important to have two marker words, one that means "you did it right and you're getting a cookie" and another that means "you did it right but you're not getting a cookie." That way you, Louka, still know that you did the right thing even during the intermittent reward phase.

You can also try other rewards if food is an issue for some reason. Do you have a favorite toy? If so, your mama should take it away from you, (sorry buddy), and only let you play with it during training, with her. This will help focus your attention on her, and act as a reward. But it has to be a toy you go absolutely wild over. Nanook LOVES his chuck it and tennis balls so he's only allowed to play with them when we train - I'll hold the ball in heel position etc and when he does well he gets to chase the ball. Then I take it back and we start over again. It's useful to have a high value reward that isn't food, like a toy, for us because we're not allowed to use food on Therapy visits. But I can keep the tennis ball visibly in a pocket and it helps Nanook focus on me in stressful new situations.

Hope that helped buddy! There's lots of resources on clicker training online that might be easier to understand than my ramblings... but the long and short of it is that it's your mama's job to get your attention and keep it when you're learning something, by any means necessary! Although the more you work and practice, the easier it will be for you to focus and the longer your attention span will become.

(Mama - just make sure you keep sessions short and fun and successful or he'll get really bored - the working breeds are too smart for their own good and I'm sure you can tell he's thinking "what's in it for me? This is Booooooooring..."