Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Zeki Update

As you can imagine things have been a bit hectic this week so I haven't updated the blog since getting Zeki. I will try to do this on a regular basis from now on! I'd really like to try to track her training on the blog for my own benefit as much as anything so hopefully I'll get around to doing this.

For now, a brief idea of what we've been up to:

Our day starts around 5.00 am when she yells to go out. As this is rather early I've been getting up and letting her on the patch to do her business. Then I put her back to bed for a couple of hours. She complains (loudly) for about five minutes and then goes back to sleep and we get up around 7.00 am.

She goes out again and then I take her into Andy who plays tuggy with her in our bed whilst I sort out the big dogs (and Kizzle) and either give them their breakfast or a biscuit if they're going on a really early walk. Then Andy gets a cup of tea in bed (lucky him) and I retrieve Zeki. So far this week we've then gone down the garden for a nice walk for about fifteen minutes or so. Each day I take a different dog with her. The first day was Abbey, the second Niamh and today was Kizzy (big mistake - too noisy that time in the morning!)

Then we go indoors and have a little training session with food and the clicker and finish with a game of tuggy which she really loves already (thanks Bernadette!) After this she has a mooch round the kitchen whilst the big dogs are out on the decking and then it's time for her breakfast and morning sleep.

This week she's had a visit to a building site with Andy and Kizzy - lots of big machines and noise. Andy said she took it all in her stride and wasn't the least bothered.

She has also been to dog club in her pod. To start with she screamed the house down so Jan suggested I cover the pod and this worked really well. Nobody was allowed to take her out for a cuddle unless she was quiet so she quickly realised that screaming didn't get her anything. She then got passed round everyone and had a very pleasant evening biting peoples' noses and generally being a bad puppy. Of course Steve has given her a nickname as he does with all our dogs. Kizzy is Pinocchio; Niamh is Ben (as in Nevis) and so forth. Zeki has been christened Gonzo. Well done Steve, this is very original and witty. I had thought you might pick Beaky to rhyme with Zeki but no Gonzo it is. Bastard.

This afternoon we took a couple of hours out to go to Orpington Caravans to try to get sorted with a new awning. We took Zeki and Kizzle and carried Zeki around the shop and in and out of lots of caravans. I did say we were looking for an awning but we can't resist looking inside the new caravans! We didn't spend anything but rather like some of the new layouts. We can't decide yet what to do about an awning. However, Zeki got another new experience!

This evening I took her to meet our new vet Ian. He really liked her and was impressed with how bold she is. She has put on a little weight since I got her and got a clean bill of health plus she had her first jab. She'll go back in a couple of weeks for the second one and then I think it's a further two weeks 'til she's safe to go down on the floor. She was extremely well behaved at the vet with no screaming tantrums. She even cuddled with the receptionist whilst I wrote out a cheque. She did steal her pen but that was all! We met Mac and Spud on the way out of the vets. Spud was going in for his booster jab. He totally ignored Zeki while she had a cuddle with Mac. I love Spud, he's such a gorgeous dog.

We are very lucky with this big garden as it's a wonderful space for her to burn off some energy until she can go on real walks. We didn't have this with our other puppies and it's a real luxury. Without fail she shoots through the pipe tunnel each time we go out for our garden walk!

She is a monster to catch though. I have some real work to do on my recalls. I have even taken to having her on her extender lead if I'm short of time as I just can't catch the little blighter.

So far the other dogs have been really good with her. Even Abbey and Niamh are much better than they were with Kizzy. Of course any contact is supervised but Niamh seems much more tolerant. Typical Niamh really. This is her second experience of having a puppy around so she's pretty cool about it. I think Abbey has mellowed a bit in her old age; either that or she's so doolally that she's hasn't noticed the puppy!

Zeki is very different from Kizzy who was really an almost perfect puppy. Zeki has a temper and an extremely loud voice and isn't afraid to use either. She is being groomed twice a day as she hates this. So far not much change in her tolerance level of this activity but IT WILL GET BETTER!

She is very quick to learn which is wonderful. She came with quite a repertoire of tricks and a great understanding of the clicker process. Where else would you get a puppy like this, I really admire what Bernadette (and Dennis) do with these puppies.

Anyway, now it's down to me to take her training forward. She could already turn to the right and sort of to the left; sit; lie down; offer both paws and nose target to hand. She could also interact with any object you set on the floor near her.

So to this list we have so far added: improved turns to left; stand from sit or down; the start of the circus elephant trick; sitting in a box; jumping into a little bed and touching nose to a clear target held in the hand. I have done a tiny bit of recall but not much. This is on my urgent to do list (ha!) We have also done some play retrieve which she is very natural at and loads of tugging. I make sure to finish every clicker training session with a good tug game. At the moment she switches easily from food to tug which is good. I hope I can continue with this and strengthen it. My plan is for 2-3 short clicker training sessions a day followed by tug; separate tug sessions; pure play session at least twice a day; two walks round the garden (one with another dog; one without) and one new experience where possible plus the dreaded grooming. I shall try hard to maintain this level but no doubt will fail sometimes!

Tomorrow my step father is coming for a visit so she'll go for a ride round the garden on his mobility scooter. God help my flower gardens as he doesn't have much control over this machine! I'm also going to take her into our little town for a walk about and a visit to the pet shop and if the timing is right to the primary school gates when the children come out of school.

As well as this we've been pretty busy in the office, lots of lessons and just the other six dogs to care for and walk! I've been trying to take time out to give Niamh, Poppy and Abbey some extras too. I get overcome with guilt about them when I spend time with the puppy. So lots of clicker work with Niamh this week (which she loves); some agility with Poppy and a good deal of tugging with Abbey!

That's about it for now; here are a couple of photos. I hope to get some better ones later in the week!


  1. ...She looks so grown up, in just under a week! I think all breeders should be like Bernedette.
    Well done.

  2. She looks gorgeous, but I am tired just reading your day..............x

  3. Good to see thos e strong healthy teeth on the end of that tugger!!!
    I remember all that still from last year (and even now - trying to keep madam stimulated!) - i had no idea how exhausted I looked till I saw the photos! keep smiling!Hx