Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the girls being quiet...

Today we set up the baby gate outside of the office, with the dog bed between it and the wall. At one point Chris found all three girls quietly sleeping on the same bed, and managed to nab this photo. Perhaps there is hope for harmony amongst the pack yet!

Halloween Flyball

Last weekend was the annual South of the Boo!der tournament hosted by the Cascade Comets at Argus Ranch down in Auburn. While it is nice to not have to leave the country or travel much for a tournament, it does mean that we have to get up ungodly early due to the hour-long drive from our house down to the facility. As usual everything we brought was just covered in dirt, as it is a soft dirt-floored barn that doesn't pack down well, but thankfully we had no canine or human injuries.

All three of our dogs ran very well all weekend, with Jadzia running as height dog again (13") with the new rules change. Her times were slower than I would like, with her best time only around 5.3", but that soft footing made her lose a lot of speed especially coming off the box and causing her to double-step between jumps 5 and 6. I had Carol take a look at her midday on Sunday and Jadzia does have some tightness in her spine, so I think I'll take her to see the vet and see if she needs any chiropractic work. She's also still chunky despite lowering her food, so a thyroid test may be in order as well. Curzon ran well all weekend, with only one bobble on Saturday and that was still a clean run, so it looks like our "throw the ball at his head" drills are helping him with catching the ball out of the box more reliably. Phoebe ran solidly both days, and this was the first tournament in two years that she didn't run every heat of every race, as both Siena and Taben were also on her team.

Perhaps most exciting of all, at least to us personally, was the presentation of title awards on Saturday after racing was over. Chris got the ONYX plaque for Curzon, and I received the Flyball Grand Champion plaque for Jadzia. The FGDCh plaque is huge and really gorgeous, and I'm just so tickled to finally have it - she earned the title on June 29 after all! Unfortunately the title pull was just before Phoebe earned her ONYX, so it'll be another six months or so until I get the plaque for that title. Julie and Tango also got their ONYX plaque, and there's at least two other dogs closing in on the title so hopefully we will have at least one more achieved before the next title pull. I hope to get both plaques up on the wall in the dog room tonight - Curzon's ONYX plaque will go below Jadzia's, but I think I am going to move some art around to put the FGDCh plaque up next to the bulletin board. We might move other things around too, and re-hang the individual photos of the dogs with their ribbons as well, depending on how motivated I turn out to be.

Ezri is doing beautifully and is fifteen weeks old today. I plan to write a longer post tonight with pictures after I've taken the weekly set this evening at home.

Monday, October 20, 2008

of freezers and photos

With four dogs and two cats on the raw diet in our house, we have been looking at ways to cut costs for their food as their food budget outstrips our own at this point. I have joined the local raw buying group to get deals on bulk meat orders, and our first (small) order of Columbia River pet food was quite good. However, the group only orders CR once every three months, so we would need over 300 lbs to last that long, especially as Ezri grows and needs more food. Our chest freezer can only fit about 100-120 lbs, so that was not going to work out, so I started looking on Craigslist to find an inexpensive freezer. Well, I totally lucked out and found one last week - a 31 cubic foot freezer, delivered to our house, for $300 total. These photos are from my iPhone, but they should be sufficient to show the size of this beast - the top shelf is about even with my head! We are now all set to make an enormous order for three months worth of raw food, and I've even taken advantage of a sale at the grocery store to stock up on some french fries and ice cream, although I don't want to put in too much "human food" until we're sure we have the space we need for the raw food. I'm going to also change our Darwins order to quarterly since we will only be ordering cat food from them, and so we'll be stocked for months at a time. All I need to do now is to get a temperature probe and alarm for the freezer, as a "just in case" measure should it ever fail.

When Chris' parents visited us in September, they came to the Gig Harbor demo we were running on the 27th and got to see the dogs play flyball in person for the first time. His mom took lots of pictures, and I nabbed these two from her Flickr photostream to share - our "family" picture is not the best since we were trying to wrangle the dogs, but the closeup of Ezri's face is just stunning. Yay Mom!

We spent most of the day Saturday preparing for and then taking our family portraits with Ann Chase at her home studio in Woodinville, which is a lovely house on absolutely gorgeous grounds. Our appointment was part of her "Fall Fantasy" series to take advantage of the color in the trees, and we got a beautiful sunny day to use for the shoot. In the morning we took the dogs to Marymoor to play and tire them out a bit, then we took them to the dogwash to ensure they were all sparkly clean. This was Ezri's first not-in-the-sink bath, and she was not entirely sure she wanted any part of it! After the dogs were clean we headed home for lunch and to get dressed ourselves (jeans and blue shirts), and off to Ann's house we went. The shoot went really, really well, with the full amily portraits taken in three locations, a set of just Chris and I in another location, and individuals of us with the dogs (Chris with Curzon, me with all four). We even got a nice series of all four dogs, alone together on a blanket! It was fun, none of the dogs went into the creek, and Ann was highly amused by Jadzia and Curzon jumping over her fence prop in the yard. I can't wait to see the proofs at our viewing appointment on the sixth!

Friday, October 17, 2008

nine thousand miles

Yesterday I kicked over nine thousand miles on my bike while on my way home, probably somewhere on Mercer Street. It had about 2700 on it when I bought it in February, so that's just over six thousand that I've ridden this year. Double that to include the mileage that I put on the Vulcan, and I've ridden about twelve thousand miles in the past fifteen months, nearly all of it commuting. That is a lot of city riding, and thankfully I have had no accidents (knock on wood) and only a few truly close calls.

I would love to ride for fun on the weekends, but most of the time the thought of settling the dogs for the day, figuring out where to go, getting geared up, and actually heading out is just too much to overcome. I'd like to go ride on the peninsula by taking the ferry, especially with cheaper fares and preferential loading on bikes, but we just haven't gotten around to doing it. Add in that Chris has been working nights for several months now, and putting a fun ride in our schedule just isn't as easy as it could be. Last spring we did take the bike to go to the tulip festivals in the Skagit valley, and that was a good day. Maybe next year we can go to the lavendar festivals on the peninsula, or find some other destination that involves scenic riding. We both generally do better with a purpose to a trip, and not just riding for scenery.

I've been using earplugs since I got the BMW, as it is much louder than the Vulcan was due to the riding position and lower windshield. However, the earplugs I use have been hurting my ears after just the 30 minute commute, which was another mark against going for a longer ride. Yesterday the new earplugs I ordered online showed up, and so this morning I wore the first pair that I had the highest hopes for - the SilentEar reusable earplugs. They have a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 32, higher than that of the ones I was using (24), and look way cooler and also came in a small size. After one trip with them I am pleased, as my ears did not hurt at all when I got to work, noises were quieter, and they were easier to insert properly than the old ones. Depending on how I like them after a few more days, I may not even try the others - but the others were all $2 per pair or so, thus I am not fussed about the cost. I can probably use at least one of them for flyball, at any rate.

Now, if I could just find a manufacturer who believes that women do in fact ride during the winter and need waterproof, armored, insulated gloves just like men do, I'd be all set. Men's XS is just not the same as a properly proportioned Women's S size.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

thirteen weeks -and- three months

Yesterday little Ezri was thirteen weeks old, and today is her three-month birthday as well. As it turns out, the ground rubber floor at our puppy class is an excellent backdrop, as evidenced by this photo, taken on Monday. Over the last five days or so her ears have been standing up more and more, and as of about yesterday they're pretty much settled in a fully upright position. I'm a little sad about that, and have been threatening to tie weights to her ears to make them lie back down again. It doesn't really matter, her health and performance are what matters most of all, but all the same I'm just slightly sad that her ears popped. In happier news, her tail started flagging last week and is showing a nice little fringe already, and her adult coat is already starting to come in along the lower part of her spine. I wish I could somehow record how soft puppy fur feels, but I suppose only pictures and video are available to us now.

She's doing quite well with puppy class, flyball training, and general housetraining. This week in puppy class we did a handling exercise involving dressing the puppies in a t-shirt and socks, which led to this picture of a slightly confused and embarrassed border collie puppy. I wasn't fast enough the first time, but she did have four socks on initially but they slid right off with just walking, so I didn't get a photo. At flyball this weekend we worked on recalls to a toy, chase drills with Riker, and box motion drills on the flat board with a tennis ball. Julie had a new Tug-It, which is basically a mesh pouch that you put food or a toy inside to train tug drive, and with her squeaky toy inside it Ezri went nuts. She's not quite up to tugging on a fleece tug at flyball yet, so this is a perfect way to reinforce the tugging behavior until she does understand it, and I've ordered my own set of Tug-Its to help. Maybe later I'll even see if I can transition Phoebe to a tug!

In the housetraining world, Ezri has been going out in the kennel after Chris gets home for a week now, and it is going well. She is mostly quiet and not waking him up now, and spends most of her time chasing Phoebe as the terrier bounces around watching squirrels. Between the activity and the chilly weather, Ezri has been pretty tired and sleepy during the evening, which is an odd thing to see in a puppy! Housebreaking is going very well although we are still being very careful about regular potty breaks and keeping her within sight or on lead at all times. She has learned to sit before eating and going outside, and is picking up plenty of other household behaviors and cues. She and Curzon spend quite a lot of time playing with each other as well, and she loves playing with a tennis ball although we are still working on the fetch part of that game. So all in all, a happy, healthy, well-adjusted three month old puppy. I love her to pieces and am enjoying every minute of watching her grow.

Friday, October 10, 2008

cold weather is here

This week it seems we have skipped straight over fall and gone directly into winter, at least temperature-wise. We had a nice windstorm on Monday/Tuesday and it's been very chilly in the mornings, down in the low forties already. I saw a temperature of 39.2 degrees at the bottom of my hill yesterday morning on my way to work, that's pretty darn cold for October in Seattle.

The cold weather means more than just another blanket on the bed at night, however, it also means both Chris and I are now wearing all of our motorcycle gear for our commute. Right now, my winter kit consists of the following items:

Olympia AST three-quarter length jacket in grey
Gerbing heated jacket liner in black
Olympia Promax armored pants in black
Oxtar Sunray Gore-Tex boots in black (recently rebranded as TCX)
Scorpion Exo700 helmet in Black Dahlia
Fieldsheer Polar gloves in men's XS, black
Schampa Doo-Z helmet liner in black
Turtle Fur fleece tube neckpiece in black/blue
Conic Fit earplugs

It sounds like a lot of stuff, but it's not really all that much when you put it on even though it can get bulky and time consuming. And after all, all but the helmet liner and fleece tube are necessary for safety! I had forgotten just how bulky the pants are when the liner is in, so that took some getting used over the last two days - I lose some of my leg length on the bike due to the extra fabric, making it a little harder to put a foot down safely.

Of all the gear, however, the most important piece for comfort is the heated jacket liner and the built-in heated grips on my bike. Without those two I would be cold and very unhappy, and probably unable to ride during the winter. On the old bike I was OK without the jacket until about December, but there was also a bigger windshield and more protected riding position on that bike. On the BMW my head, shoulders, and upper chest are pretty much completely exposed unless I'm laying down over the bike, and that is only feasible at speed on the highway and isn't terribly comfortable. As of yesterday morning riding on the highway was not fun at all, even with all the gear, so today I took Lake City Way in to avoid the highway as much as possible.

Despite what many people think, I actually enjoy riding in the cold and rain to an extent. Yeah, misty rain that continually covers my helmet is annoying, as is slightly-cold-rain that makes my visor fog up. There is just something about being encased in my gear and riding along in the elements that driving a car just can't match. I'll keep riding because of that.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

12 weeks old!

Today Ezri is twelve weeks old, although it will be another week until she is three calendar months old. Her second vet appointment was yesterday, and she weighed 15.2 lbs and had her parvo vaccine. She'll have her next vet appointment at sixteen weeks where she'll be microchipped and get her distemper vaccine.

I found the pet records file that I kept up until about 2005, and Curzon's growth pattern was as follows:
8 weeks - 12.0 lbs
11 weeks - 16.0 lbs
14 weeks - 21.4 lbs
20 weeks - 24.6 lbs
6 months - 27.2 lbs
8 months - 31.0 lbs
11 months - 34.6 lbs
13 months - 36.0 lbs

So far Ezri was 10.3 lbs at 8 weeks and 15.2 lbs at 12 weeks, so she is tracking just behind where he was growth-wise. I was a little worried that she was bigger than him, as I thought he was only 8 lbs when he came home, so I'm glad I found the data sheet. I should get photocopies of their 2005-2008 records and update the file. Also, it would be interesting to see how Indigo grew if Ben or Deb happens to see this and have the information.

Behavior-wise I think she had a maturity leap in the last few days, combined with stricter discipline by us with regards to keeping her leashed to us physically if she is not actively playing under supervision. She's doing much better with the going outside to potty, is quickly learning tricks and commands (some by observation), and is having a ball at both flyball practice and puppy kindergarten. Of course right now she is chewing on her tail, so not showing much of that vaunted intelligence at this particular moment.....

Monday, October 6, 2008

Irresponsible Authorities

I just read a story on the Seattle Times website, entitled "Exotic Pets and Young Kids A No-No," which is extolling the dangers of having nontraditional pets in homes with children under five years of age. On first blush this is a reasonable topic, especially as the article further explains that hedgehogs and lizards often carry bacteria such as salmonella, and many young children will kiss their pets or put their hands in their mouth after playing with them. Fair enough, parents should be extra vigilant if they have these types of pets, it is good to know about the possible dangers if for no other reason than reference should Junior come up with a mysterious case of diarrhea.

However, these doctors went way too far with the last line in the article - "Those who already have the pets are encouraged to contact their veterinarians about specific risks and possible new homes for the animals." WAY to extol responsibility, people - scare the snot out of parents, and then tell them that they should get rid of their pets to protect their children. How about simply asking parents to be aware of the risks and avoid bringing these pets into a household with young children? Exotic pets have few enough good homes as it is, so scaring a parent who does provide a good home into giving up their lizards is going to do NO good whatsoever.

And to make things worse, one of the pets on the "exotic and nontraditional" list? Hamsters. If hamsters aren't a traditional childhood pet, I don't know what is - I had hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs growing up, in addition to cats and a pair of parakeets who belonged to my mother.

It makes me so angry to see authorities spreading fear and hyping up minimal dangers, and then implying that the only way to protect your child is to get rid of your beloved pets. That does NOT protect your child, it simply teaches them that pets are disposable and furthermore removes another "dirty" part of life that is important for developing immune systems. There are enough scaredy-cat parents out there trying to coat the world in hypoallergenic germicidal Nerf already, the last thing we need is for doctors adding to the frenzy.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

if a picture is worth a thousand words....

Then this picture says it all about Curzon: intensity, drive, power, concentration, and more!

It was taken by Harold Carter at the Gig Harbor "Harbor Hounds Walk the Town" event on September 22, 2007. At the event last weekend he gave me a CD filled with images from the 2005 and 2007 events, which we greatly enjoyed looking through with Jeff, Julie, Jason, and Lindsey this evening. I plan to put all of them up on Flickr or another site where the rest of our teammates can see them and get copies for themselves.

Here is a lovely one of Jadzia with her tail up in full "airbrake" position, also taken on 09/22/07.

Finally, two more taken on September 24, 2005 - Curzon is just shy of two years old, and Jadzia is three and a half.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Time to Play?

Play and work are both very important to dogs, with each having a place in their lives. There are so many kinds of play that it's hard to list them all, as nearly every dog has their own preferred way to play. Some dogs like to play with their owners, some like to play with other dogs, and some like to play with toys on their own. And some dogs don't play very much at all, preferring only to do serious work. I have known border collies who fill all of these roles, and routinely play with my dogs or watch them play with each other.

This photo is of Ezri and Riker playing with each other in a small e-pen last Saturday (September 27). These two don't want to play with toys, no they only want to play wrestle and chase and bite games. In an enclosed area like this pen they simply weave and tumble over and over, but in an open area they will dodge around people and obstacles as they ferociously chase each other. As of last week Riker was required to use fast turns and obstacles to keep ahead of Ezri, as she is nearly his equal on flat open ground already. It will be interesting to see how they interact this weekend!

At home, Curzon is the only dog who will play with Ezri, and we've even been teaching him the command "Play with Ezri" as a code for "go babysit your sister." They will play wrestle/bitey games, and also play tug with various toys together, but there's not enough room in the upstairs for a good game of chase so I don't know if he would play with her like that. Phoebe used to tug with Curzon when she was bored, but she is now trying to avoid Ezri so I haven't seen her play games with him since the puppy came home. And Jadzia has never liked playing with other dogs, much preferring to simply play fetch with one of her humans. She did play tug when encouraged while Curzon was a baby, but once he got older and stronger she quit doing it at all.

Working with the dogs on commands and tricks blurs the work/play line, at least in my opinion. They enjoy the treats and the attention, but they're also being asked to think and do various actions on my command, so it's really a mix of the two. I am currently working on teaching Ezri the standard commands (sit, down, bang, roll over, spin, stand, weave, wait, leave it), and intermittently working on more advanced tricks with the other dogs (back up, bow, paw, beg, dance, over, leave it+). Phoebe is very stubborn and really only will do sit and lay down reliably, although with treat-leading she will do stand, dance, and spin. Jadzia has the prettiest beg of any dog I know except Bear, who crosses his front feet while he begs. And Curzon is just lightning fast at anything you want him to do, as if he figured he gets more rewards for doing the requests at hyperspeed. I enjoy working with the dogs on their commands and tricks, as it is good bonding time and reminder of who is in charge in the house, and ending it with a good session of tug or fetch makes it truly fun for everyone.

Now, if I could only train Phoebe to leave the cats alone without using that zap collar.....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Why do I feed raw?

This is a question that I get all the time on forums and in real life, and I'm sure even members of my family aren't all aware of why I chose to feed my animals raw food. I'm not going to quote studies or books, although I will mention some, as there are plenty of resources available with a simple Google search if someone is interested. Instead I will focus on why we chose to feed raw, why we use the supplements we do, and what benefits I believe the dogs (and ourselves) reap from this choice.

Why do I feed raw?
The first and simple answer is "because Jadzia will eat it." When we brought her home, one of her many issues was that she did not want to eat very much - kibble, wet food, it didn't matter. We went through multiple high-quality pet foods (Canidae, Innova, Wellness, etc.), and found that only by mixing her food with copious quantities of Parmesan cheese could we get her to eat at all. Soon after we brought Curzon home as a puppy, I went to a dog show and visited the Darwin's Pet Food booth where Gary Tashjian gave me a 1-lb sample of their chicken-and-veggie raw food. I took it home, offered it to Jadzia, and she vacuumed it up in record time and was looking for more - and we were sold. A few weeks later we had arranged to get home delivery from Darwin's, and we have fed raw to our animals ever since.

I am also very interested in eating foods that are as natural as possible, and this mentality carries over to my animals as well. While I am not always successful in my own diet (mini Milky Ways, anyone?), I can ensure that my dogs have food that I can identify that is fresh and healthful. I do strive for that in my own food, and as such we no longer buy items such as chicken nuggets, instead choosing to buy cut-up chicken to cook on its own and french fries made with nothing more than organic potatoes and sea salt. Eating "clean" and eating well is important for health, in my opinion, and so I feed my dogs the way that I feed myself.

What benefits do the dogs get from eating raw?
Our dogs are border collies (3) and a jack russell terrier, which are all high-energy, high-intelligence, high-drive dogs. We play flyball competitively year-round, and also dabble in multiple other dog sports including agility, rally-o, sheep herding, frisbee, and dock diving. We often go camping or hiking with the dogs, and in the summer we've been known to take them biking or rollerblading. Regular kibble bought at the store will not do these dogs justice, and even high-quality kibble such as Innova Evo is only going to be "good enough." Raw food provides our dogs with the best quality protein that they can get, which is what they turn into those fast flyball times and flashy tricks. They have soft coats, clear eyes, few tummy upsets, few incidents of pickiness, and leave very little waste behind in the yard. And of course, they have boundless energy and weight management is very simple due to the high protein diet.

Jadzia and Phoebe are the ones we have seen change from kibble to raw, as Curzon was only four months old when he went to raw and Ezri was weaned straight onto raw. Both of the adult girls showed improvements in coat, muscle tone, and attitude towards food once they were fed appropriate amounts of raw food. And as stated before, just seeing Jadzia happy to eat was benefit enough.

What supplements do you use?
Right now we use three supplements regularly - salmon oil, liquid glucosamine/chondroitin, and digestive enzymes. Jadzia and Curzon get the first two, Ezri gets just the oil, and Phoebe gets the last two. The oil provides additional fatty acids that the raw meat lacks, as well as a pleasing taste (and not-so-pleasing aroma). The glucosamine/chondroitin is for joint protection as flyball and other jumping sports can be very hard on both the hips and shoulders. The digestive enzymes are a new addition, and they are helping Phoebe's system handle the protein diet without causing a flareup of pancreatitis.

The dogs will intermittently get other additions to their food, ranging from cottage cheese to canned pumpkin to eggs.

But what about bacteria? And aren't poultry bones bad for animals?
In general, the digestive tracts of both cats and dogs are hotter, shorter, and more acidic than those of humans. This means that should they eat a contaminated meal, the bacteria won't have much of a chance to grow up to colonies large enough to cause problems. Raw food is digested much more quickly than kibble, which can also be seen in how human runners "carb-load" before a race because those carbs take longer to digest and provide more energy later on. It is the sugars in carbs that provide food for the bacteria, so a low-carb diet is further protection against bacterial overgrowth. Finally, we take the same precautions with the dog food as we do with our own - it is kept frozen, thawed in the refrigerator, used promptly, and all dishes and utensils are cleaned in hot soapy water between uses.

Cooked poultry bones will be brittle and can splinter easily, which can be very dangerous and even fatal if a dog eats these cooked bones. Raw bones, however, are still flexible and chewy and simply crunch up into smaller pieces when eaten, thus causing no issues with digestion. Anyone can test this for themselves by simply taking one raw and one cooked chicken wing and whacking them with mallets - the cooked one will show splintered shards of bone, while the raw one will just be a little more squished.

What about the cats?
Our two cats also eat raw food, although it took a bit of convincing to get Onyx to eat it at first - but now she knocks her brother out of the way when it is meal time! Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that biologically they are required to eat meat because they cannot synthesize the amino acid taurine like omnivores can, so they must get it from meat. The perfect meal for a cat is a mouse - it has meat and bones, with a little bit of organ meat, partially digested vegetable matter from the stomach, and roughage from the fur. My cats must make do with premade raw or the occasional chicken wing, however, as I don't think bringing home mice for them to eat would be taken kindly by my husband.

Where did you get your information from?
There are several books you can read, including those by Ian Billinghurst and Ann Martin, which are two authors whose books I recommend. I have also talked extensively with other raw feeders, including my vet Dr. Jackie Obando at Mercy Vet, as well as read a great deal of information on the internet. Information on supplements varies all over the place, so I have simply considered what works well for my animals and keep an eye on them to be ready to change out anything that is no longer useful or is causing problems. Examples of this include Jadzia and Curzon being allergic to a new formulation of Missing Link last fall, and taking salmon oil out of Phoebe's meals to protect her pancreas. Many of my friends also feed raw, and we often trade information (and sometimes raw goodies too) to ensure that we keep all of our dogs safe.

If you want to feed your animals raw food.....
First, please educate yourself - just reading this post is not enough, you need to read books and peruse raw-feeding groups as well. Next, talk to your vet and be sure they support what you want to do and are willing to help you out with it. Not all vets are receptive to raw feeding, for various reasons although I believe the biggest one is due to much of their nutritional schooling coming from Purina and Science Diet. Third, determine if raw will fit into your lifestyle and budget - it can be much more expensive, or take much more effort, than kibble or canned food takes. Some people prefer to just supplement kibble with other fresh foods, and that is a good option as long as simple precautions are taken. Fourth, find a reliable supplier of good-quality raw food, as you do not want to be buying grade-D meat as that completely defeats the purpose. Finally, switch your pets over to raw, being alert to all issues and nuances of their behavior during the transition.

I hope this has been helpful in explaining why we feed raw. I am not a professional animal nutritionist or animal trainer, although I do consider myself well informed in both areas. I am always open to questions about our dogs, so if you have further questions please feel free to ask.

Eleven weeks old, still learning...

Yesterday was Ezri's eleven-week birthday, we took the standard pictures and they're up on my Facebook page. I'm guessing she is about 15lbs now, and she is significantly taller than Phoebe and just a little bigger than Obsidian at this point. She's getting better at going up and down stairs, although she does keep trying to stretch on the way down sometimes which means she slides down the stairs frog-dog style. I swear she grows when she naps in the evenings, and her harness fit much better yesterday than it did at puppy class on Monday, so she must've done some growing at least overnight!

Her training is coming along in bits and pieces, and she's definitely a smart little girl who is always trying new things and new ways to annoy us. She and Curzon have regular play sessions which involve tugging on toys and also wrestling and "nom-ing" each other, which is quite entertaining to watch. She's pretty much gotten the idea that pee should go outside, although she hasn't quite figured out how to tell us this to go out, but she will usually go pee on command outside. Getting her to understand that poop also goes outside is harder, but I caught her just as she was squatting this morning and whisked her outside, where she got lots of praise for going outside so hopefully that will help. Ezri is also settling in to the family routine of playtime interspersed with quiet time, such as when we're playing video games or watching a TV show. Thankfully she hasn't picked up any of the bad habits of the other dogs (Jadzia's beep fascination, Curzon's shredder/vacuum herding, Phoebe's whining for food), although I'm sure she'll come up with some habit of her own sometime along the way.

The first photo in this post is Ezri sleeping in the living room last week, in the corner of the couch with the settee, and I have *no* idea how she managed to sleep for at least a half-hour in that position without injuring herself. The second photo is her first meal on the bowl riser we use for Curzon (it's a shoe rack!), which is exceedingly cute as she's standing up on it to eat because she's not -quite- as tall as I thought she was.