Tweenager

19 04 2011

Pandora: 63 cm, 32 kg, 23 month old

My girl has grown up
She is sneaky and smart and funny and crazy … and very neat.
Just by coincidence did I see her discreetly licking the floor and then herself. By luck I found out that she was in heat!
My little puppy is no longer a little puppy.
Now I have to protect her from all the big, bad, ugly boys out there.
She hasn’t seen uncomfortable up to her heat or anything. I mean, Pandora always act a little silly and unpredictable. So it has not affected her much.
If you think I’m a little crazy here, I can tell with my old dog I always knew when she was getting in heat. She seemed in pain and unhappy a couple of weeks before.

Pandora Czechoslovakian wolfdog and wiener dog kissing

Big, bad boy kissing my girl!

BARF
As Pandora is weighing a little too much, we talked to our BARF advisor in the barf shop about it. He suggested that we tried to feed Pandora every other day instead of every day. She would then have to have the double amount of food, but chances were that she would start to burn off fat from her body.
It didn’t work very well and the change in her everyday life made her uncomfortable. That was when she took another bite of the new sofa.
She seems to be a little autistic when it comes to major changes in her life.
So we went back to the old way. She is just getting an even smaller amount of food every day. Unfortunately she also gets a lot of goodies as we train so much, but I’ve found my bike in the back of the barn, we train obedience and agility now, so perhaps we can get her (and our self) more fit.

Insecure or deaf
A change was actually five steps backward.
During the winter she got so good at the call back commands. It felt almost like an ordinary dog, y’know Labradors and Shepherds. The breeds that stick around and find their human interesting.
Now it’s spring. The snow is finally gone and all the great smells are back, birds are twittering and nature is calling. Calling a lot louder than me, ‘cos it gets harder and harder to call Pandora back when we are out for a walk. For half a year we have been training with other dogs and her ‘escape when you can attitude’ was almost gone. Well, now it’s back.
She chases birds, deer, hares and catches mice, worms and what-have you. And she give a … whether we call or not.
And then I had an experience.
Last time we went training she had to do a ‘search’ for a man.
The guy stood in the rim of a small forest and I send Pandora forward with a ‘search’.
The goal is to make her bark, and I don’t have to tell you that barking is not a wolfdog’s preferred language, so she didn’t bark.
He tried to tease her with some goodies, but didn’t give her any. I stood ten meters away, and then Pandora turned her head looking at me as if she needed help. I wasn’t fast enough so she looked at me again. Insecure of what this strange man wanted from her. Too late I walked towards her. She gave up on me and on him, like she was thinking: I can’t trust my mom, she won’t help. I leave!
And that was exactly what she did.
Ran off. It took half an hour to get her back. All the time she was like five meters away from us, but didn’t react to me offering goodies, smacking my lips, turning my back to her, fiddling with toys, trying to look like I just caught a rabbit. Nothing. She stared at me like I was an idiot.
We got hold of her because she wanted to play with another dog and the owner grabbed her.
Was she disappointed in me?! Lousy leader, I was, letting her down like that.
And I learned that though she is a tough little one, she’s not that tough at all.
I know it from when I get angry at her in the house. I point my mouth and open my eyes wide and stare at her. Not a sound is uttered, and she gets very submissive. I just never thought of her insecurity out in the field.

Agility
But she has good days too. And there are more of them than bad once.
Remember in the beginning when she was coming 20-30 % of the time? Now she’s coming 85-90 % of the time.
Last week we started at agility again.
Pandora wasn’t at all as crazy when we met with the other dogs as she was last autumn.
A small dog , about half of Pandora’s size, quite cute, is a little aggressive. Emma, her name is, would very much like to be the queen of the team. And she was last autumn. Last autumn, Pandora would have laid herself flat on the grass in submissive attitude. But not this spring.
Pandora took a look at Emma, sticking her nose to Emma’s nose and said: Yeah, you might wanna be in control, but you won’t control me.
No aggressiveness, no growling, snarling or anything. Just Pandora’s self-awareness and self-confident attitude. Then Pandora turned her back to Emma, and the ‘never spoke again’.
The trainer looked at Pandora and said: Wauw has she matured since last autumn.
And she has, of course.

To the story comes, that last summer, our wonderful breeders, van Goverwelle, warned us that a mature female wolfdog, can change temper severely. A wolfdog who’s been kind and sweet can become a very aggressive grown up female.
We have feared Pandora changing her gentle disposition, but now I don’t think it’ll happen. She must be in her most vulnerable stage right now been in heat.
The agility field wasn’t very difficult, and too easy means too boring, to Pandora.
She did the first run perfectly, the next she skipped a few jumps. Then we tried to run from the other end. Twice she skipped a few things. But I knew she could do the field, so it was okay.
And yes she did it without a leash. And yes she ran away once, and hey! I could call her back! With goodies and a luring voice she came back within a minute.
– Wauw has she matured, the trainer said again.
Pandora will never be a fast agility runner, but when it comes to intelligence, she might be the cleverest.
The challenges in the agility sport is very much her style.

I promised pictures of the toothpaste sessions. Here they are.

Czechoslovakian wolfdog watching with crooked head

Hey man, can I join ya?

Czechoslovakian wolfdog licking round sink for toothpaste

This taste good, dad, real good!

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… a great taste in shoes

27 09 2010

It’s a long time since I wrote last time.
Summer is over, so no more swimming in the lakes and soon we’ll have to keep the door shut if we shouldn’t let the heat out. But for now the weather is still fine, and the door is open all day so Pandora can go in and out. And for the last two months, she hasn’t been wearing the long leash that used to keep her in the garden.
Now she can go free and she doesn’t jump the fence to escape or anything. We are very proud of her. The fence is so low (60 cm/24 inches) that it is no challenge for her to jump. But she doesn’t. Great!

Training camp
Pandora is a teenager and that means: rebuilding the top floor.
Some days she trains perfectly. She is clever and learns a lot. The next day I can’t get her attention at all.
Most of the things she learns right now, stays in her head, though.
And that’s a relief.
Two days ago I went training with her near by. Just me and her at a huge football lane. She was very good. First we trained all the sit, stand, lay down-things and afterwards I took off her leash and did all the same things again and she did so fine.
The goodies theses days are chicken cubes which she likes very much, but soon we’ll have to learn to train without as many goodies.
Now we have been training obedience in the new club for 6 weeks. The 7th November we are going to a ‘test test’. Meaning we should try what it’s like to go to at competition. Hence the intensive training these days.
I did that a lot many years ago so I am familiar with it, but it’s good to try again.

Agility
Three weeks ago I said: No more agility after this season.
She understands all the obstacles but she is not interested in doing the exercises fast.
She is slow, curious about the objects and takes her time to do stuff.

The tunnel for instance.
She had been running through it four or five times, but then she decided that it was boring.
She stopped in the middle of it to examine the material, the smells and ‘what is in this tunnel for ME’.
This made the tunnel roll sideways. That seemed to frustrate her.
She left the tunnel, but after that, she didn’t want to go back in. She wasn’t afraid but it was like she said: I’ve been there, it’s not for me.
I managed to get her through a couple of times but she was reluctant, as if I had tried to feed her with fruit instead of meat.
I don’t need to tell that the Labrador, the Border collie and the German Shepherds are doing very well. But Pandora is neither, so it takes a lot of patience.
I need to tell myself that she’s doing well for a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog. Sometimes I forget that I have trained German Shepherds and it was a lot easier. And if I compare Pandora with other CsW’s I’m sure she’s doing excellent, actually.

The last few times she has been doing better and better. At the final lesson for this season she was so clever and could do things I didn’t she could.
She did a whole ‘beginners’ field and didn’t run away or try to avoid any of the obstacles. She did it perfectly twice. Then she ran away, but came back and did it very well one more time.
So wolfish, actually. 🙂
The season is now over. No more agility before spring.

Right now I don’t know if we’ll join the team again, but after much consideration I think we will. Not because we want to go to competitions, but because it was very good for Pandora’s obedience skills, too. The agility taught her to work on ‘her own’, several meters from me. And that was quite amazing to see her graduating from ‘running away’ dog to ‘I can do this if I like’ girl.

 

Czechoslovakian wolfdog agility training

Pandora agility training, A board

 

 

Czechoslovakian wolfdog agility training

Pandora agility training, jump

 

 

Czechoslovakian wolfdog agility training

Pandora agility training, the tunnel

 

Talking wolfish
Pandora is a fresh little one. Especially as we go to bed in the evening, she wants to play, bite our hands and won’t go to sleep.

Here’s the trick:
Tummy rubbing
I cuddle and caress Pandora in a calm, slow and gently way on the bare skin on her tummy. That relaxes her a lot.

Mommy sounds
I also make small, squeaking sounds like if you are really satisfied or pleased, like lying in a wonderful soft bed. These sounds remind the dog of the mother comforting the puppy and it works very well on Pandora.

Alone at home
Pandora is still home alone the first three hours a day. And sometimes she still bites things to pieces.
If she has been playing or training hard the evening before, she doesn’t.
If she had a quiet and a little too boring day the day before, she will find stuff to bite in.
Now my husband makes a little treasure hunt every morning by wrapping some goodies in a cardboard box and put it somewhere in the house for Pandora to find.
It is shredded when we come home and it obviously keeps her occupied, as we no longer find any other things bitten and torn apart anymore.

Girls like shoes
A have a little riddle here:
Who’s walking with shoes but do not wear them? Well you guess.
About the eating things stuff, Pandora has managed to ruin at least 5 pair of shoes this summer.
The shoes stand on the floor in our utility room. Once in a while, she has stolen a single shoe and brought it to the lawn at the back of the house for further examination. She enjoys the dissection of the leather.
It’s our own fault if we forget to remove the shoes out of her reach.
But the weirdest part is that last month she stole a shoe (I didn’t see it, though) and now it’s gone. Completely gone. We usually find the shoe or pieces of it, but this shoe is gone. Vanished.
I wonder if I’ll find it next summer buried somewhere between the roses and the lavender.





Holiday, sheep, water and stuff

12 08 2010

Farewell Thor – old guy

Thor

Farewell Thor

First a farewell to Pandora’s friend, Thor, the 13 year old White Swiss shepherd.
He left this world the 21. July.

We are all happy we got to know you, sweet boy.

Holiday’s over
We began our official holiday almost four weeks ago.The holiday has been extremely active for Pandora and it’s been great.

Lets begin at the beginning

Holland
Day 1.
The 22. July we started the car in the early morning and drove to Holland.
It’s approximately 800 kilometres and we arrived in a little town called Gronningen in the early afternoon.
Here we stopped to eat dinner, watch the beautiful wooden ships in the canal and stretch our legs.
We had only had a few shorter stops on the way.
After the break we continued and arrived at our destination Mercure Hotel in Zwolle.
Let me just say that if you’re ever going to Zwolle with you dog, use Mercure Hotel!
The were so welcoming and Pandora was allowed to join us in the restaurant at breakfast, lunch and dinner, they even served her water as we were dining.
After dinner we walked in the surroundings which were green lawns, trees, a quiet road and very country-like.

Pandora in Groningen watching ships

Pandora in Groningen watching ships

Pandora behaved perfectly. As we were eating, she was sleeping next to us, and in the night, she just slept through and never made any trouble.
(Don’t tell anyone that she slept in the bed, of course.)

Day 2. Mom and dad
This was what we all came for.
We went to BG Hall where Letty and Koos from Kennel Goverwelle lives.
We were very excited about what they would say to the beautiful girl.
And they loved her.
Letty said she was a big girl. Not as in ‘fat’ but as in ‘tall’.
Then Koos brought Pandora’s father, Elan, from the kennels boxes and Pandora liked him from the first second.
I don’t think they had the slightest clue that they were each others flesh and blood, but Pandora like Elan and kissed him a lot.
She was almost as tall as him, and we went for a little walk in the nearest forest.

Elan Spod Dumbiera, Pandoras father

Elan Spod Dumbiera, Pandoras father

In the afternoon we went to see a small vintage village nearby, and when we came back, Letty picked up Kahjah, Pandoras mother.
She was a lot darker than Pandora, and a lot smaller. Okay, Pandora is a big girl.
The two dogs licked each others lips as greetings, and they sniffed a little to each others tales, ears and mouths.
Then a small plastic can fell to the ground with a noisy sound – and all hell broke loose.
The two dog attacked each other, probably thinking that the other one had coursed the noise.
We got them separated but Pandora never fell in love with her mother.
This was only the second dog in her life that didn’t just love her.

Kahjah von Goverwelle, Pandoras mom

Kahjah von Goverwelle, Pandoras mom

After all we had a wonderful day with Letty and Koos, and it was so great to talk to them again.
We left them in the evening after many laughs, hugs and picture-takings of Pandora.

Day 3. Amsterdam.
We went to Amsterdam and enjoyed 4-5 hours in this gorgeous city.
Pandora behaved fantastic, and we decided to take a boat trip on the canals.
Pandora didn’t mind the sailing at all, but she hated the queue we had to wait in to get on the boat.

We arrived at our hotel in the evening and had a quiet dinner at the restaurant.

Pandora sailing on the canals of Amsterdam

Pandora sailing on the canals of Amsterdam

Next day, we drove home.
It took 12 hours as we ran into several queues at the highway and it was one tired wolfdog we brought home Sunday late evening.

Denmark, Rømø
For four days we went to the Northern Sea at a little island called Rømø.
Here we have been many times as it’s such a good place for swimming and also a good place to bring a dog.
This was the first time Pandora really got the chance to swim in an ocean instead of a lake.
The first day she swam out, but had to struggle to swim.
The waves in the Northern Sea can be very big. And at one second the water is knee high, the next wave rolls over you head. Swimming is very hard. And PAndora got scared of the big waves. Perhaps she was swimming for 10 minutes, then she was so tired, we had to go back in.
The swimming really wore her out.
The next day the waves were small and the water low, and then she had no problem swimming for half an hour or so.

Legoland
We went to Legoland shortly last weekend and it wasn’t really a trip minded on Pandora, I just want to tell that she managed all the children so well.
She wasn’t fearful or reserved to them. She really would have loved to play with the kids running around the fountain, or tasted a little boys ice cream, but what she got was a big hug from a little girl and she repaid with a long tongue kiss.

A wolf in sheep skin?
Vibeke, the owner of deceased Thor, Cirkeline and Arthur invited us on a visit after we came home from Holland.
She had a surprise for us.
We were invited to a farm where a man had specialised in teaching herding.
So now it was Pandora’s time. The wolfdog should try to herd sheep.

The first time round we went into a meadow with Pandora in a leash.
She had no idea of what was expected from her.
She had fun though.
The guy who taught us said that Pandora should try to herd without a leash.
I said to him, that I would take no responsibility of his sheep. He just laughed and said she was ready!
So we went into a smaller fenced area and let the dog loose.
And see, she actually began to figure out what it was all about.
She wasn’t too hard on the sheep and she actually managed to round up the sheep a couple of times and she never got aggressive or ‘hungry’ for the sheep.
I think we shall try herding again.

Czechoslovakian wolfdog_herding_01

Pandora herding

Czechoslovakian wolfdog_herding_02

Pandora herding a little more

Czechoslovakian wolfdog_herding_03

Pandora still herding

A little ekstra note:
Two women saw Pandora and said: “Are you really gonna let that dog loose with the sheep??”
Another woman said: “She’ll be tired the rest of the day!”, but Pandora was tired for half an hour, then she was on top again.
Recall: As Pandora’s recall is only 20% stable, I was a little frightened to let her herd if I couldn’t make her come, but in the end she was so tired, I could just go to her and put the leash back on.

Agility
Last Thursday we went to our first agility lesson.
After half a year of waiting, we finally had a place in a team.
The trainer was a very capable woman who had two Border Collies herself.
She was very good at teaching the attendants stuff, and Pandora learned to: jump over small obstacles, going through the tube and going through the tunnel. And she did all the things without any hesitation.
After an hour she was pretty tired (for 20 minutes), but she had learned a lot.
The trainer asked if we had ever trained agility or any other thing, and I told her that Pandora had been herding the week before.
She look very surprised and said: Why on earth would you wanna her with her?
And I told her it was just a test and for fun.
I’m sure she thought we were a little crazy. Especially because she had the Border Collies which are made for herding. They are so good at it.

Training
Last monday as we went to training (the ordinary obedience), and we were told, that we had been ‘upgraded’, meaning next time, we’ll have to train with the ‘big’ dogs.
It’s a little annoying as we just had a very good trainer on the beginners team.
But it’s also funny to see Pandora now can sit, lay down, walk in leash perfectly, with goodies she can walk without the leash, too. She can come back on recall as long as we’re in the training area and she can stand, show teeth and behave nicely.

In the end
This was a lot of information, but it has been a lovely holiday with Pandora. All in all we are so proud that we can bring her to a restaurant and she just lays down and sleep, or we can walk in the city with a lot of people and she won’t pay attention to anyone.
These days she also seams more mature and grown. She is more calm, though not low in energy, but she seams more confident with herself.
She’s relaxed and forthcoming but if she’s not let loose to burn off some steam, she literally protests with her wolf howl and an offended look in her eyes.

Czechoslovakian wolfdog and white Swiss Shepherd

Pandora and Cirkeline kissing or ...

Next time:
I don’t know when I’ll have the time to write again, so I think Pandora will write the next blog 😉