Sunday, March 29, 2009

Christmas Angel

It's Christmas Eve, and for the second time Kika has climbed into Tionas favourite chair and curled in for a nap. Again, very appropriate. Christmas Eve was Tionas birthday. Tiona loved Christmas, she got spoiled more than usual. Special treats and lots of presents to open. She always opened the food gifts first and left the toys for Griffy.

Kika is looking bigger every day. Here she is in her Christmas collar.

Here;s Tiona,the 13yr old veteran in action. She's wagging with excitement because not only is the present a jumbo bag of cookies, they are her favourite .. Marrowbones.

Her lack of fur is from her procedure and diagnosis ... but nothing stops this wonder pup.

Sunning herself and taking a breather between bouts of gift opening. She got an air mattress to spare her the strain of going up and down all our stairs - and boy did she decide this was the good life!

My favourite picture from that Christmas. Tiona looking well and just like the sweet pup she was. Griffin as always with a stuffie in his mouth. This was one of his special Christmas hedgehogs.

Santa Claus is coming to town...perhaps not after seeing this picture! Kika always has something in her mouth. And in shreds on the floor.

No respect for his reindeer either apparently!

See, I am a good girl, Santa brought me these toys

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Naughty Naughty

We all went to the local garden centre and picked out our Christmas tree. Our usual spot for the tree in the house is up on a plant ledge. It's a little hard to decorate, but it looks nice and there's lots of room for presents. This year, we kept with tradition because we thought it would be safer and out of Kikas reach...

Sizing up her opponent.

Looks nice, lots of shiny and breakable things

Wondering how she can get up there - are some of those presents for me? Most of them actually.

Don't ask, we don't know how she managed it either...

The day we took the tree down and removed it from the house, Kika decided the house was a little bare, so she stripped a 6ft branch from one of the aspen trees.

She tried to bring it into the house, but we wouldn't let her.

She then tried a different tactic, she started bringing it into the house, 1 foot at a time.
She can be so naughty, but we think she is still pretty nice.

Monday, March 23, 2009

You're Invited

Kika sent out the invitations for Christmas Dinner this year.

This is her "puppy" sized tree. [Not to be left at floor level unless we want it to look more like a "Charlie Brown tree" in appearance.]

I love it when she pretends what you are saying is actually important ...

Ok .... if I tilt my head and pour on the wrinkles like I'm listening = I get treats. I've almost got them trained ; )

Notice that she has perfected the relax excercise ...

No clicker. No classes. No problemo.

Kika loves to kick up her heels!

We'll see if she can get her Grandmas to kick up theirs.

There will be wine at Christmas .... Let's keep the camera at the ready ....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fire and Ice

It's the little Spitfire vs Snow and Ice! Here are some pictures from Kikas first significant snowfall of the year. We were curious as to how Kika would handle all the cold and white stuff. She loved it! Even when it's 20 below, we can't keep her in the house. We have a fairly good sized back yard, and as one can clearly see by these photos - - - there is hardly any space that hasn't been investigated.

Stalking snowflakes

Scent hound following tracks. (her own)

Hmmm ..... Puppy tracks crossing people tacks.
Further nosing required.

This one seems to have been made at a high rate of speed .....

Racing around - wild dog style. Snow is GREAT!

We noticed Kika running onto the deck and sliding to the door. Jim decided to shovel the desk so she wouldn't slip. We determined a few things; Her sliding was intentional, she was surfing to the door. And secondly that Kika loves to play with the shovel and will chase the snow you throw or bite at it as it accumulates in the scoop.

Wild dog lap #24 .... and counting.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Just One More Time...

Just mere days after her amazing performance at puppy class, Kika has another "incident". While out on a walk with Grandma, the "girls" decide to stop at Jims' sisters house for a visit. Her kids had just gotten home from school, so their stuff was randomly distributed on the floor. In addition to loving Grandma, the kids are thrilled with Kika (they call her their cousin), and Kika loves kids - especially to run and play with. Kika, being a little nosy, went snooping and came up with a pair of pink socks. It was fun for a while to play chase the puppy until they realised that they had only recovered one sock. A thorough search was launched ... no second sock could be found. All concluded that Kika has swallowed the sock, wolfing it down mid chase. At this point in her growth, she has developed massive molars that act like a conveyor belt to anything that gets in her mouth, she may not have even intended to swallow the sock. And regrettably we admit it's nothing she hasn't done before....

We have never had a dog swallow socks before (chew - maybe, But Swallow them...?). A few weeks before this latest episode we were awoken in the wee hours of the morning to the ever delightful serenade of retching. I leap up, turn on a light, and grab a towel for Kika. Imagine our surprise when she projectile vomits a small ankle sock. She got good air time with it too, missed the towel and launched it right over the back of the dog couch. We had no idea how she got hold of a sock in the first place, let alone ate it! We were so embarrassed and sure we would be up for bad parents of the year - this little pup has new tricks up her sleeves that all our previous puppies didn't have.

Watching her carefully we figure out how she stole the first sock. We observed her poking her nose into the closed clothes hamper - - - through the hand hold openings, she used it just like a tissue dispenser, grab a bit of cloth and pull. So we ramped up our puppy proofing at home, problem solved, and we told no one .....

Back to the pink sock episode - - - So now we are on sock watch. Days go by, sleepless nights (for us) and through vigilant (almost neurotic) observation - - - nothing is appearing - - - from one end or the other. We are beginning to wonder if she actually ate it at all, or if we need to have a vet x-ray her. We cancel some of her social engagements, because we are paranoid the sock is in her intestines and she will end up with a twisted bowel if she gets over excited or over exerted. So we are trying to keep her calm - ha ha. Then one night several days later, while stalking her in the yard with a flashlight while she does her thing, we discover some pink fabric in her night deposit. Yeah!!! We think another dramatic episode is over.

Imagine our surprise many nights later to be woken up in the wee hours of the morning to the sound of - retching! But nothing comes up. This was at one in the morning, we all settle back down to sleep only to be woken up at 3 in the morning with the same sounds and again no result. Finally at 5am - - - another round of yakking sounds ... and it happens Kika projectile vomits; you guessed it, a pink sock!

Twelve days after she ate it, she finally got rid of it. She just faked us out the first time with pink fabric fuzz from one of her toys. She ate normally, behaved normally, did her business normally despite having this sock inside her for the whole 12 days.

One good development from this episode is that by keeping her calmer and less busy, Kika is turning into a real cuddler...

This has good and bad .... it is now confirmed that Kika is a Daddy's girl at cuddle times. I can deal with it ... she's just so cute.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hot For Teacher

We finally get to tell a story that so many people have been waiting to hear ..... although pictures will not be available!

We have been taking Kika to puppy classes and puppy playtimes at a local dog training school. She enjoys the playtimes much more than the classes. In the classes she is very distracted, she will not listen at all, so we assume she isn't paying attention. Then when at home during practice, she performs the task perfectly!

Kika seems to be more of a morning girl, so she really isn't at her best in the evening when the classes occur. On nights at home without classes Kika is normally powering down for a nap at the same time her classes start. Her distractions at puppy classes are compounded by the fact that the same room space is used for puppy play time, where Kika has a GREAT time meeting and playing with everyone (puppies and people alike). She obviously has decided that the room is only suitable for her preferred activity - PLAY.

It's been a little frustrating as we move to her next level of puppy classes as we have explained to the instructors that she is; a) a Ridgeback and therefore a very independent thinker, and b) really full of spunk. The instructors respond with statements like; "Do you know how many dogs we have trained?" While we appreciate their confidence, we feel unnecessarily dismissed - This is not our first puppy experience. Surely we should have some reliable perspective on the matter. We were not yet experiencing the "fun" of these classes that keeps being promised.

As part of these next level of classes we were to attend an orientation class without Kika. We had a mixup with dates so while we were in the orientation session, we realized we should have been in class with Kika...ooops...

We have been given the course outline in orientation and I've spoken with Kim, so we know what we missed in the first class. For the next week, we work really hard to catch up. The first lesson is name recognition and recall, she's already good at that. The next lesson is called the Relax, I think it's a little complicated for a 5 month old puppy, but we give it a try. You have your puppy on a leash and sit in a comfy spot with some treats, ignore your dog and wait for her to lie down at your feet. Kika is a very clever girl and did figure it out. She is performing the Relax for us at home. So, on class night, off we go, feeling rather confident!

That feeling soon evaporated. She got into the classroom and promptly lost her mind. She's decided that the room should only be for her playtime sessions, so she can't understand why the other puppies are ignoring her and not playing. She's no quitter though, and the more other puppies refuse to play, the harder she tries to make them.

It was shaping up to be one of the longest hour of our lives, the class is brushing up on the Relax and adding to it. Kika meanwhile, is doing the exact opposite. The assistant instructor comes over to help us out, to no avail. 40 minutes in and Kika is still barking and spazing out, she has laid down only once and is otherwise being very disruptive. At one point she is so bored she started to chase her tail and bounce around in circles. The other ten puppies in her class are labs and dobermans, who are all following commands perfectly and I think shooting dirty looks our way. They are using clickers to train at these classes. Every time a clicker goes off near her, she is expecting a treat. This is really adding to her frustration level. Kika had all her commands down pat with verbal and hand signals and so this change to clicker training is starting to undo what she already knows. This clicker use perplexed us, since over time the program graduates to .... yup, verbal and hand signals.

Finally, a short break during which the instructor assures us that none of the dogs perform the move the first time ...right... Class is back, the instructor gives Kika to the assistant to work with. She places them in the middle of the room and groups the other dogs and owners around them. Something about Kika being a "good distraction". It was painful to watch, another 10 minutes of barking and poor behaviour - even for the "experts". She then added howling and winding her leash in figure eights around the instructors legs and pulling, attempting a form of calf roping. I wasn't really watching at this point, I was taking note of the exits and wondering if anyone would notice if we snuck out, when I happened to glance Jims way and noticed a "look" come over his face. That can't be good, I thought and peered through the crowd to see what was going on...

At this point the head instructor had moved to the centre of the room to give more instruction, all eyes were on her, the assistant and Kika. It was at this moment Kika chose to fully express her frustration with the situation, once again proving she is unafraid to take matters into her own paws......... Oh God, Kika is humping the instructors leg!!! It was a very authoritative; "you're not the boss of me" kind of action. Taking the opportunity for a teaching moment, the head instructor proclaimed that the best way to handle this type of situation is to step into the dog. Mistake - it seemed Kika thought, well if you are going to offer it she promptly humped her leg too. Needless to say, they kept us after class. I was horrified, Jim started laughing first and even seemed a little proud of his girl ... "Well, she certainly humped some of the smug off them!"

Remarkably this is something Kika had never done previously and hasn't done since. We were trying to look on the bright side - we had wanted her to learn something new in class...

Here she is, doing her best to look innocent ... needs a little more work. I think she looks a little too pleased with herself.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Run For Cover

Our second Ridgeback Run. I think Emmie and Kika had a better time at this one as they were bigger now and able to play with the big dogs.

The girls ready to rumble under the watchful eye of Raimi (with one of Kims boys)

Raimi and his brother Tucker, share a joke.

Rory loves his Mum, Halo.

Nice, are you using a special whitener?

Kika being brave - hey guys can I play?

Yikes! maybe later!
And come back later she did, even Tamzin commented on the little spitfire.

Ramblin' Rory!

Yes, you may worship me..Raimi to Kika, Emmie and Levi

The Girls wrestling...Emmie, how did your ears get this dirty?

The Girls preparing to wrestle (again) and a chance for Emmie to inspect Kikas ears.

Emmie, look at that ....... Emmie?

You were right Emmie, this is interesting

Kims boys enjoying the day as well.

A brave boxer decided to join in.

One last romp before heading home. Again, Kika played and ran so hard she fell asleep in the truck on the way home. That night I was on the phone with my sister and she remarked that it was quiet in the background and asked if Kika was asleep..yes, yes she was...

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