What She Said & Heidi Heidi + KaiBaby Update

I second what Elizabethanne said in the comments of yesterday. And I agree with Carol that likely it is just a stage -- if you think about it, big unknown dogs should probably be a little scary to the discerning puppy!

Harper doesn't really see other dogs much but she has had a similar reaction to deer! She thinks they are creepy or something -- it just reminds me of how the developing brain allows new information in and has to find places for it all. A puppy -- and a baby -- is constantly exposed to new "stuff" and once they notice it they must decide what they think about it -- scary? Friend? Edible?

Consider this -- let's say Harper barks at the evil Bambi and I get upset/concerned about it. After all, the fact that a three month old puppy barked at Bambi means that I will never be able to show her in deer agility, or take walks in the woods, or even watch the Disney movie about Bambi -- and woe is me -- clearly this means that my puppy has a terrible temperament!!!!!

Dogs can detect changes in blood sugar, they can sniff out cancer, and they most certainly can detect the flood that we produce when we are stressed/upset. And suddenly the puppy is well-aware that Bambi is the anti-Christ because the human just got panic-stricken in the presence of Bambi.

The puppy doesn't know that the human's reaction was to her own quick mental skills of catastrophizing -- the puppy just knows that her reaction to Bambi was well-placed since the human had an even bigger one. Welcome to the vicious cycle -- and who gets blamed?! The puppy.

Dog training requires a level of self-awareness that is not easy to develop or maintain -- who wants to admit that they are, in fact, a large part of a puppy's problem? And dog training seems like it should be easy -- who wants to feel stupid and ineffective? So clearly it is the dog -- it couldn't possibly be the owner!

Luckily for Lainey she has Cindy, The Queen of Chill, to handle things. And Harper has me -- it takes more than a three month old puppy barking at a deer to convince me that the sky is falling in!

If my puppy barked at other dogs, I would find a puppy play group or puppy class to attend -- other puppies likely won't be intimidating and they will quickly grow into dogs so the comfort with bigger dogs can grow with the puppies in the class or group, if that makes sense. I would not set out on a course to sensitize her to bigger dogs at this minute since clearly they are scary to her right now -- instead I would focus on the many things she does confidently -- in that way she is rehearsing confidence.

If she sees another dog and finds it scary for whatever reason, I would adopt what Elizabethanne suggested. And in 2 - 3 weeks she may be ready to move through the stage with some gentle "work" but I wouldn't force it or really do much of anything extra right now -- just a puppy group (if she is okay with it) and let her develop a little more.

This is a great age to teach alternate behaviors that can be "whipped out" when we need to distract a puppy and/or help them feel confident. I have been shaping Harper to do some fun things. I started with her crate -- first just going in, and then going in and sitting, and then going in and laying down -- I did all of this with just cookies and a clicker. A couple of nights ago I shaped her to touch a lid -- that took about ten seconds -- once a puppy knows the game is to "do something" they catch on quickly. Last night I shaped a down outside the crate -- very cute! And I am also shaping her to hold the down until she is released -- she already knows her release word! That is the only word she really knows for training since I am not using words yet -- just cookies and clicker.

Dear Husband, on the other hand, is trying to teach Harper to like watching football...

And Harper says, "fine -- just don't make me watch Bambi -- those deer are like creepy clowns!!!!!!!!"

Heidi2 Update

You know what today is! Double Dose Wednesday -- here is the latest from John on "Heidi Houdini" and the rest of her family...

"She is now called 'Heidi Houdini' because she has escaped (on many occasions) from her temporary backyard fence!  In the picture she is supposed to be on the OTHER side. 

This fence was erected to keep her away from various backyard flora (Her nickname last week was 'fungus').  We are now in the extra-proactive process of fencing the front yard, which will become the 'winter/spring' yard because it has none/less of said flora.  I have been wanting to do this anyhow and now we have reason.  This project will be complete with a dog-door into the laundry room/house so Mika and Heidi can come and go as they please...  

Heidi and Kai are doing well and still growing.  Included is a picture of Heidi riding in the crate in the car. 

Kai likes the car almost as much as she does... maybe we should just drive around all day and night!!!"

I suspect you would not be the first parents to drive around to get the babies to sleep! Thanks for the wonderful update -- and good luck on the fence situation -- I am thinking Heidi Houdini is ahead at this point -- just saying ;)

I hope everyone is having a most excellent week!!! And thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas -- we all learn when we do that!

 

7 comments

by Barb on Wed, 01/25/2012 - 08:02

Kai-couldn't be any cuter with that lip sticking out!! He looks very alert and like he is taking it all in.
Still chuckling about Heidi /Heidini of course a silly little fence won't stop her... And if she has those Air Zoey agility genes she'll need a 6 foot fence..
Zaida was at my daughter's house down the street from my house one day last month. I put all the dogs over there on Wednesdays when the cleaning lady comes. I was going home first to quick change my clothes before picking them all up to go for our walk. Next thing I knew there was barking and scratching at the front door. She jumped off the deck landing and over a huge fence. I went over to follow her tracks to see how she got out. Easy to do with snow on the ground.. I just looked at her and shook my head. Guess she thought if I was home she should be too.

by Alex's Dad on Wed, 01/25/2012 - 08:16

One common misconception among those who live with Berners is that they (the Berners) don't like football.

Au contraire.

Berners don't like football that doesn't involve their favorite team...that's all. If people would put their unreasonable bias aside and just put the Raider game on, you'd find many more happy Berners in this world.

It obviously works for us.

Trust me.

by Alex's Dad on Wed, 01/25/2012 - 08:17

...works too.

by Lois on Wed, 01/25/2012 - 09:34

oh, Heidi, you are so cute and so smart...it takes brains and cleverness to be such a good Houdini! Just don't go teaching it to your cute as a button human brother Kai too. I think your parents already have enough on their hands!

I can also attest that Berners do like football. Auggie has watched LOTS of football with his human dad - although if he was laying like Harper is with DH he would definitely be chewing on his beard, and ears, and nose, and coat.....

Oh and I loved the picture of Harper covering her eyes - priceless!

by Carmen K. on Wed, 01/25/2012 - 09:39

...of Harper covering her face, and Heidi Houdini the escape artist, and Baby Kai! It looks like Kai is doing a fine job of holding his head up :) Thank you all for the updates and photos...they make for a cheery start to our otherwise chilly, grey morning :)

by Cousin Julie on Wed, 01/25/2012 - 19:13

...love the blog everyday and the pictures, but today's are exceptional!!! That Baby Kai is a real cutie!!!

by Jennifer Z on Wed, 01/25/2012 - 19:13

Baby Kai looks like he's watching his sister Heidi and taking notes. Hmmm, could get exciting at the Heinzberner house. And, with her deep black nose, and bright white blaze, Harper looks like a stufffed animal.

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