Monday, December 17, 2012

First Class

Today was Embers first class with her trainer Rebecca Letson!

Rebecca got us novice puppy owners started by giving us a foundation to start with and a path for Ember to follow in her training. Before, we felt a little lost even though we had great books at our disposal and lots of advice from several sources about training puppies. It's one thing to read or hear about it and quite another to see some of the fundamentals in action and witness demonstrations as to how they will eventually lead to the rest of the things we would like to.

Our first steps toward heel! up until today we have done little to no "heel" work with Ember. Most of her training has been sit, down, stand and place. So today we started some of the initial lead work that leads to heel and we will continue to condition her into the action everyday.

We worked on seperating "sit" from "down". Somewhere along the way Ember began to occasionally attach sit and down together when she became confused... offering each in turn until she recieved a treat. She knows the difference but having put her in a down from sit far too often has created a small obstacle when she gets a little mixed up. She would occasionally default to down from a sit if a command was given, regardless of the command. She's a bit used to doing sit then down then sit then down. So we began working each command seperately. After returning home and using her dinner for treats we have seen a lot of improvement and refinement on her sits and downs in just one evening!

working on her "off" switch: As our final bit of homework we will be working with ember to relax when we want her to with a physical command. We place our hands on her shoulders and wait for a small bit of relaxation... and then treat her, slowly increasing the pause time between treating or praising each day over the next couple months.

Probably one of the best things for us was gaining use of the "yes" tool which is delivering a solid confirmation to ember that she has done something right... whereas before "good girl" was serving as both confirmation and praise. Now Ember knows when she has completed the task correctly... and praise won't sound like we are confusing her by repeatedly confirming her action and not offering more treats. Already we can see Ember understand and respond to the confirmation in a way that she never reached with "good girl".

We learned more than just commands and good foundations... we also learned that we ought to pull out the camera and take a few measly pictures once in a while... we're sorry! we were listening far to intently to remember to snap a few photos. Ember will be getting another private puppy class before christmas, we will try to let the photographer loose this time.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Blog posts sure have gotten scarce!

Main reason is that Ember is allowed outside and can mingle now!  We have been frolicking around with relative reckless abandon!

Ember has been loving her new found freedom.  Gone are the constant carrying trips... though she still looks to be held from time to time :)  Now she can explore and meet other dogs!  Which is good because she's quite bored with our cats having little interest in stimulating her playful nature.

Ember received her shots on December 7th.  Apologies on the slow news day around here!  Holiday hub-bub and getting her out and about have been keeping us really busy.

 Something we have been waiting for is getting Ember up to the barn.  You can see that she has found a friend.  Ember was eager to sniff at this big gentle giant and Poco was fascinated by the new friend in the arena.

Ember had her tail between her legs for all of about 20 seconds and then she was ready to roll in the dirt with him... if only we allowed that.

She met other horses that day and witnessed some kenneled beagles who were far too rowdy and loud for her tastes.  She snubbed them and we headed back home.  Muddy pastures and dusty arenas forced us to pull out the shower head.  Ember does pretty well in the bathtub... she doesn't even mind the 70's era color!  But she doesn't love it either. :)

 The next day we took her out to Struble Pond which has a lot of open area and a couple baseball diamonds no one was using.  Ran around a bit and let her stretch her legs.  We had a 30 foot lead which we used to lightly work on a little bit of recall.  Ember is happy to run towards you if you call her name... even from over 60 feet!
 There were a few other folks walking there dogs up on the top of the dike and in the other baseball fields.  Ember desperately wanted to investigate them.
 Here you can see Ember getting a little rowdy, and the dike in the background.  Later we would go for a walk up there and Ember met her first dog ever who was very accomodating and patient with her.
 Ember likes to chase and run in general.  Her big floppy ears tolerate the abuse.

After a long day, these two spent some quality time together.

Another day, another park!  This is Sandy Beach... a relatively abandoned park with rarely any visitors.  It has a river and a boat lauch so we figured it could be fun for Ember to explore it a bit.

The weather has been surprisingly cooperative these past couple weeks.  Almost unseasonal.  If it wasn't so windy, we would have  probably left the coat in the car.

Ember has her first private obedience lesson on Monday with Rebecca Letson!  Look forward to a quick post about the goings on!

Friday, November 30, 2012

A treat for those who check the blog. :)

What have we been doing?  It's been busy around here and Ember has been doing Crate Games very enthusiastically.  We are at the stage where you hold her collar to build value and release her to run into the crate.  She loves it and really has fun with it!  Can't wait to move on to 'Change my mind', that looks really fun.

Things we are going to be mindful of:

  • getting Ember to release the tug toy.  She has a strong hold and doesn't release on command yet
  • keeping her enthusiasm up so she continues to bolt in and out of the crate
Often times after we are done she is not.  She's running back into the crate and sitting, hoping beyond hope to be treated again for her good behavior.  Then we feed her to transition her away from it.

Ember has steadily been meeting a new person or two every other day.  We really havn't socialized her with any dogs and we look forward to Dec. 7th when she finally gets her second set of shots.  At that point all sorts of fun things start to come into play.  Private obedience lessons, puppy classes and meeting other nice doggies.  Ember will get to see her Mom and Grandma during the holidays!  I'm sure she will have lots to share and be overjoyed to see the rest of her family.

At some point we are going to overhaul this blog when time permits.  A photo gallery would be nice, and some personalized styling.  Come on Josh! Get to work!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Quick Post.

Ember went to meet her dog trainer on Tuesday!  Rebecca Letson of was recommended to us by Tracy Sklenor.  She's local and does all phases of training and obedience that we are interested in.

She thought Ember was a well behaved and balanced pup who seemed fairly well socialized.  :D yay!  We decided to do 2 private lessons after her second set of shots to evaluate where she is and for Rebecca to really get to know her.  After that we signed her up for Performance Puppy classes!

Staring off at the agility obstacles that Rebecca had set up in her arena I can't help but see a larger Ember galloping around in the ring.  One day!  For now though we are just working our way through potty training and loving her to death.  

Next week we plan to start doing some of the exercises we saw in the Crate Games DVD, we can't wait! They look like fun! She already willingly runs into her crate to grab this or that toy and when she sees her food bowl she instantly runs into her crate and waits for us to deliver the goods. She sometimes still whines after we close her in if we can't keep an eye on her but the volume of the 'singing' has gone down and ends much sooner :) I think she's starting to get it and like it in her crate much more, we hope Crate Games improves on this even more. We recently introduced her to the downstairs den with it's fully carpeted floor and this has become her new absolute favorite place. The joys of racing around the floor at top speed with no fear of slipping is apparently quite intoxicating to Ember! This is the new play room and is a perfect location for some retrieving, that is of course after she gets over the initial excitement of carpet ;)

We also explored the bathtub today! Aimee put about 3 inches of luke warm water in the tub and with Ember watching from her lap she threw in some biscuits, feeding a couple to Ember here and there. As soon as she showed some desire to get in there for those tasty treats Aimee picked her up and set her in the water and sure enough she slowly and carefully waded over to the treats and tried to lap them up. When Ember decided she had had enough she tip toed over to the edge and we scooped her up. Good enough for now :) We didn't want to over whelm her. We will play in the tub some more in a few days, I think she liked it!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

9 Weeks Old Today!

Lets start this of with some "Videos of Ember in Action!"

So yesterday came and went without a post!  To summarize; it was a relatively normal Ember day.  She still whines in her crate but eventually gets the point and settles down.

We had what we would call Ember's first "Big Girl Bark".  We have had the whole host of little whines, yelps, and moans when she's protesting her crate, but no real audible "barks".  Yesterday we took Ember out to do her business and she did so very quickly [number 2 sometimes takes a while though ;)].   She then looked immediately up at us and waited.  Usually she walks around checking out the yard and finding things to get into.  Not this time.  This time she sat there staring right at us, and finally surprised us with a real bark and then attempted in vain to jump into my arms but failed and leaped into my legs.  Points for bravery and self confidence, but you can't jump that high yet honey!  :)

Embers 'outing' for  yesterday was the Rite Aid parking lot while we grabbed a few things.  We kept Ember near the car because there's no way to tell where other dogs have been or peed.  Then we took her to see Grandma yet again.  Ember and her are developing quite a relationship.  Grandma likes having her sleep in her lap and Ember dozes off into a warm coma.  A full day of things to do and see.  She was very sleepy by the end and went right to bed without a sound.

Now onto today. Ember's 9 weeks old today!

She had some time home alone while Aimee and I went to see the movie "Lincoln"  the 9am showing was sold out, which promptly restored my faith in humanity.  The next showing was at 1pm which freed us up to take Ember to the Farmers Market!

We took Ember to one of the little farmers markets in our area. Aimee held her inside her coat with her head popping out.  People rushed over and, to our surprise, asked us if it was a weimaraner.  Many folks seemed to recognize the breed rather quickly and a couple people asked us if it was a gray labradore. Everyone was in love with her. Puppies really do have a bit of magic at their disposal, don't they?   The power to melt people... and force upon them ear to ear smiles.  Ember enjoyed the attention.  The Market was a little loud with hustle and bustle and about the time Ember had decided she was done with it, we just made it back to the car.

1 pm finally rolled around and we left Ember home while we took in the film.  The film by the way was awesome.  Daniel Day Lewis is not human.  He is a changeling/chameleon who can assume any character he so chooses.  Stephen Colbert had it right... just shape an Oscar to look like Daniel Day Lewis, and then present him with it.

We forgot to take pictures!  So instead we offer you the two movies up top.  :) We try to keep everything we do with her as fun for her as possible.  She's still very much a puppy, and we don't want to push her into anything to hard.  She's a happy girl who loves to play!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Photo Flood.

    We didn't have enough time for Ember to explore the tub today.  It was a busier day than normal with routine doctor visits for both of the humans in the house, as well as dentist appointments, along with all the other things we do throughout the day like work, horse visits, family visits, and work around the house budgeting time for Ember is a delicate business.  Weimaraners are very susceptible to seperation anxiety so we find ourselves making sure Ember has enough time by herself to develop in a balanced way.  Today she was in the house in her crate without us for nearly 3 hours.  The past couple days we have been increasing the time slowly from 30 minutes to an hour and so on.  This is different from when we crate her at home and we are there walking around. She was home alone and she will need to be.

    Now this may seem like a no-brainer. Folks leave there dogs home alone all the time.  But this is not the kind of dog you just leave home alone for extended periods of time.  Once you dig in and do the research you start to see that these dogs are sensitive and you have to consider these sensitivities and needs when you decide on the particular dog that will work well for you.  As fate would have it, a stay at home job and our lifestyle happens to fit perfectly with Embers needs.  Perhaps even a little "too" perfectly with her "wants" for attention.  We actually have to set time throughout the day where we are "separated".  If you scour the internet as we have, you will find loads of stories of Weims who were aquired because of how "adorable" or "cute" they were and they quickly find themselves in a shelter or a rescue because these would-be owners had no idea what they were getting into.  The dogs become difficult and develop many major issues without proper forethought and planning. We do not intend to help Ember develop any major issues besides a spunky additude and a presence in competition that is hard to match... at least we hope we will =D

    We did what we could to give her a good chance in what might look like solitary confinement to most folks.  We made sure she was well fed before we left, and that she had "emptied herself" as much as we felt she could.  Then we played with her until she was satisfied and just a tad sleepy.  Next we smeared peanut butter into the grooves of her favorite chew toy and chucked that into the crate.  Ember chased it inside and the cold bars of incarceration slammed shut.  ;)  we joke... but shes growing rather fond of her crate... albeit slowly.  Today was the least amount of protest so far.

We came home to a silent dog.

So we fed her and played with her with lots of praise.  Working in some more fetching games Ember had a ball, go figure.

    Then Ember suited up and went with us to the home improvement store.  We had her in arm the entire time and folks couldn't help themselves.  In a strange way Ember is like a car wreck, when you see her you just can't look away. The most serious man in the store with a look on his face like he was about to tackle some monumental home repair emergency would stop dead in his tracks at the sight of Ember, forgetting about his plumbing nightmare or his family in peril and spend a moment with our little Grayhart pup.  This girl just has gravity.  I am about to make my case to the United Nations about carrying Weimaraner pups into hostile negotiations between warring city states and nations. Moments later diplomats from both sides would have cigars, smiling faces, shaking each others hands and a Weim pup hoisted in the air.

    Ember was curious and took to her doting public quite well, and then we went home.  She was sporting a little black hoodie that she is just about too big for.  Luckily the co-owner Linda has let us borrow a puppy coat or two for her next stage in growth. This way we can save our money for dressing her up in all sorts of tacky Christmas garb. =D

Ember knows how to make her self comfortable.  Judging by the look on her face, this was apparently the best spot in the house.  This is not our bed, this is downstairs in the den where we take in some TV.

Just look at her.  Yesss... stare into those baby blues and find yourself transfixed and hypnotized into doing her bidding.  There is no escape. 

Content with her human slaves. ;)

She almost looks like an older dog right here!  A glimpse into the future perhaps?

Playing coy.

She's a ham... stuffed into the barrel of a gun that shoots cute'splosions.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

She's a Star With Everyone!

   It's hard to believe we have had Ember for only three days.  Somehow it feels like she has been with us since we moved into our little house.  She is fitting right in!  But don't ask us... ask the cats.

    The trio were incredibly interested in this recent home invader.  Antero (male Egyptian Mau looking kitty) being the lead feline went up and sniffed embers nose without issue and seems to accept her well enough.  Annie (orange tiger) took the opportunity to get some cuddle time in with Ember obviously glad to have another lady in the house!  Pepper (tuxedo) is also warming up to our new pup but is the most cautious of the bunch.

   All three cats have almost lost all of their initial concern with Ember and we have to lay most of the credit for that on Ember. She is very polite and as harmless in her approach as she could be and the cats really seem to recognize it.  In the hopes of coming to a truce with Ember, Pepper even offered his belly to her, and he is the most bashful of the bunch! So she must be doing something right :)

   We won't be letting them do anything more than brief meet and greets under close super vision just to be safe.  They all share the same temperament: very lovable and very curious.  We are hoping they will all make great friends  The fact that everyone is being polite is just more than we could have hoped for.  We keep everyone's nails trimmed or ground down.  We are not ready yet to let them have free run with Ember because it's still far too early.

     Ember has been quite a busy girl.  Today we took her over to Grandma Jones.  Ember was a little tuckered out from playing earlier and fell asleep in Grandma's lap for quite some time.  Grandma Jones has taken quite a liking to her and I think Ember is beginning to feel the same way.  :)

   Tomorrow we may let Ember experience a little water in the bathtub.  Not a soapy bath but just some inspection of a considerable pool of water.  Who knows, maybe she'll hop in. :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

First Day Out

I suppose a detailed Blogpost once a day might feel like overkill, but we're excited!

Today was Ember's first day out with us.  After a perfectly silent evening and a morning of play we crated her up in the back of the car and took her out on the town.  She seems pretty bombproof, nothing seems to phase her .  We are still trying to work on getting her to focus on the asphalt when doing her business because she prefers the grass. That will have to be a work in progress.

She met a couple new folks today who couldn't help themselves and really, it's not hard to see why She could melt frozen stones with how cute she is.  After the car ride came home, she had lunch in her crate and she generally seems to be adjusting very well.  The cats are doing their best to observe this new thing that has taken up residence.  So far Antero has been the boldest and touched noses with her.  The rest are making strides already.

We introduced her to her dog bed today, and in good time because she was tuckered out from our little trip.

We decided on a 6:30-12:00-6:30 feeding schedule.

We have been working on eye contact.  It seems to not be a big deal for her as she will steal any moment she can to stare you down in hopes of climbing into your lap.  We are also working on getting her to respond to her name.  We went behind an obstruction and called her name and when she came over she got a treat.  When we call her name and she turns her head she gets a treat. She's getting good solid play and all the good stuff like tug, tag, chase and keeping a thought towards bite inhibition to control her mouthiness a little.  We have cautiously worked on some lite acclimation to the cats.  We give the cats treats to come near her but not too close and she learned to sit quietly and observe them.  Antero and Annie seem the least disturbed by her  followed by pepper and then the "Grey Beast".

And then there is the all powerful potty!

We get her to go to roughly the same place in the yard every time and we may put gravel there to keep working on getting her used to going on asphalt.  As of right now it's a small pile of leaves.

We crated her at home while we went to the home improvement store to get some separation time in.  She handles separation fairly well but not without some initial protest.

Forgive the annoying details, but this is as good a place as any to catalogue the little things for us and our breeder to go back and scrutinize ;)


Is it possible to fall completely in love with someone in under 3 hours?  Thats about how long the car ride was to head back home from +linda Hartheimer's with our new puppy Ember.  We were ready for a long car ride of whining and wriggling and for the first 10 minutes things were going according to that plan.  We tried our hand at some early, light guidance by praising her when she calmed down.  Ten minutes in...

= was bliss for the entire rest of the ride home!  With hours of road ahead, you're left sitting there helpless to this little girl who burrowed right into your heart by just simply existing quietly in your lap. 

Now it finally begins to sink in. Miss Green became Ember, our little Grayhart pup.  After weeks of struggling not get too attached to any particular puppy, it would seem we were quickly making up for lost time.

We were too excited to take pictures when we got home, but we played with her, gave her her first meal in her crate, took her out to do her business and put her to bed.  She "sang a song for us" for about 10 minutes then was silent for the entire night. 

The story of how we got here is a long one and it starts over a year ago.  We decided finally after much deliberation that we would bring a puppy into the fold and began looking into breeds.  We quickly settled on the weimeraner and began the arduous journey of finding a good breeder.  We were not really concerned with proximity as long as we could make a round trip inside of a day.  Linda Hartheimer was more than happy to invite us to shows and agility trials where she spoke to the myriad of things that owning a Weim entails.  She introduced us to many folks within the community and seemed more than willing to answer our many questions.  We began to develop a relationship with her which quickly convinced us that it was going to be her and their simply was no other breeder.  

So we dug in and began to wait.  We continued to meet Linda and her friend KellyAnn (president of the weimaraner rescue of the Tri-state area) occasionally at dog shows eager to glean more news and more knowledge.  Then word came, Jam (Embers mother) was in season! After some time however, we learned that we would be waiting until the next time Jam was ready. So we hunkered down and continued to try and learn about the breed, buying weim and puppy books and keeping busy.  After a full year of waiting it was time and jam came into season again. When we heard she was pregnant we began to get excited!  Linda has a wonderful blog about all of her dogs that chronicles the birth of the puppies all the way up to them leaving the nest as well as the trials and tribulations of weathering hurricane Sandy while whelping a litter!  

We visited her lovely home and wonderful family as often as we could make time. We got to see all of them grow from little, stumbling breakfast sausages into the stunning Rockstars they are today.  We decided on a name within the Rockstar theme: Grayhart's Light My Fire.  We kept the call name in keeping with the registered name and decided on Ember.  But we didn't know who it would be and we wouldn't find out until the night before we took her home.  If this sounds a bit strange we refer you to an article Linda posted on her blog, Section #5 specifically.  The entire article is actually quite informative and seeks to explain to novice puppy owners how a good breeder operates/thinks and how to go about getting a great puppy from the right people.

        And then we heard... Miss Green was to be our Ember.