Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cobalt: Portraits

I've gotten tired of having to go down to "Small" on wide Flickr photos to get them to fit on this page, so I've tweaked the template a bit. Let me know if it doesn't work for you.

I'm now about four days behind in posting Cobalt photos, so I'm going to try to catch up. For today, some portraits:

She can be rowdy

But she's usually pretty dignified

And, of course, extremely cute

It's hard, but it is possible to tire her out

Read more!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cobalt: Weekend Update

Remember the old Warner Bros. Foghorn Leghorn cartoons? Leghorn would tease the dog until he ran out at full speed until he reached the end of his rope. As the line went taught, his feet would fly out from under him, and he'd land flat on his back.

Cobalt managed that this morning, though without the giant chicken. She also recovered far faster than the dog ever did. Unfortunately, I didn't have the camera going!

Things have been settling into a routine for us, though Cobalt keeps defying the routine -- at least, the bit between midnight and 6am. We're trying to get her on an overnight schedule, based on the times she was whining to go out, but apparently she's changing that...

Puppy preschool started on Sunday. Nothing too exciting the first day -- mostly introductions and expositions. We've got homework, though, to train her on "Watch me": getting her to look at one of us and not look away. Unfortunately, she's very easily distracted. We'll keep working on it.

Cobalt's deciding that she likes snow. She'll wander around and stick her muzzle into it up over her eyes to sniff around, though that always ends with sneezes. She'll even tunnel in up to her shoulders at times -- lots of sneezes from that.

We've got a bunch more photos to sort through and put up -- I hope to get those in place over th next couple of days. Read more!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cobalt: Last Photos With Mattie

Here are a few selections from the last set of photos with Mattie:

Cobalt's usually very quiet, but she got quite vocal with Mattie as they played.

Walking On Air
Not to mention bouncy.

Tail Grab
At one point, she grabbed Mattie's tail and got dragged around the yard.

Flappy Ears
Mattie's ears are just ridiculous when she's running around.
Read more!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cobalt: Off Leash

We've been getting mixed advice on leash-free parks. One trainer said, up front, "keep out" -- he'd seen too many dogs attacked and injured by, or infected with parasites from, dogs not properly trained or cared for by their owners that they met in leash-free areas.

About a month ago, my mother took Mattie to her local leash-free, which had a "small dog" and a "big dog" area. Some idiot was running his greyhounds in the small dog area (because they were "too gentle" for the big dog section), and the greyhounds took Mattie for a rabbit and went for her. My mother, who's in her late 60s, couldn't catch up with them, and the greyhound owner wouldn't do anything.

My mother avoids off-leashes now if there are any other dogs around. Her previous dog, Bogie, was completely neurotic about all other dogs after being attacked in an off-leash, as well.

But yesterday I had Cobalt down at Moss Park, where three other people had their dogs off-leash, and she loved it. I kept her on her springy-leash thing, so she couldn't run free, but she had a grand time bouncing at the other dogs, who either ignored her or snuffled friendly-like. It's certainly a great way for her to burn off energy!

I suppose the best bet would be an off-leash area where you knew everyone and their dogs, but that's not really doable in downtown Toronto. Read more!

Cobalt: Cobalt & Mattie In The Snow

More photos from Sunday. There's one more set after this one, but taking care of Cobalt after work takes up a lot of prime photo-prepping time.

Square In The Air
Mattie doesn't usually get this animated.

Chasing a Seal
Mattie looks like a seal. Where are her legs?

The two of them burned off a lot of energy.

Sheep Corners Shepherd
Normally, the shepherd's supposed to corner the sheep.
Cobalt hasn't got up to that page in the manual, I guess.
Read more!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cobalt: Cobalt Photos

And here are some photos of Cobalt herself:

Of course, she loves to run

But running can be exhausting!

She can zonk right out in the most inconvenient places

But it doesn't take much to perk her up again.
Read more!

Cobalt: Mattie Photos

I am exhausted. Cobalt had us up at 11:30, 2:00, 2:30, 3:30, 5:30, and 6:15 last night. We need to get her on a schedule. She's taken to whining to go out to pee, then once she's back in her crate (on the third floor with us) whining to go out again for another go.

But before all that, I got the first of the Cobalt & Mattie photos up on Flickr. These ones are from their first, indoor romp.

Best Friends
Cobalt & Mattie

Play Time
Still not quite sure what to make of the new creature

Checking Mattie Out
Being an Aussie, Cobalt doesn't know what a tail is

Cobalt tries to herd Mattie

Best Friends
Read more!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Cobalt: Mattie

This Sunday, we were having family over to meet the new pup. My mother was coming up from London to see the COC production of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and was going to come by for dinner after, where we'd be joined by my siblings.

On Saturday, though, she called and said her dogsitter had cancelled out on her, and could we watch Mattie, her Coton De Tulear, while she was at the opera?


We figured this would be a great opportunity to socialize Cobalt with another dog her size -- and if they didn't get along, we could always put Mattie in the pen. for the duration.

Well, they got along. As soon as Mattie was in the door, the two of them were racing around the living room at top speed. Mattie looks like a little sheep, and Cobalt was keen on herding her. It was a good half-hour before they calmed down at all.

After my mother left, we took the two outside, and they were even more hyper than they had been in the living room -- round and round the yard, chasing each other non-stop. In all they had three outside sessions like that, and were exhausted by the time my mother got back. We shot about 500 photos (burst mode is very useful when photographing hyper puppies!), and we'll have some choice ones posted soon!

Cobalt, of course, was a total hit with the family. Read more!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cobalt: Wham!

Last night, just after 11pm, I took Cobalt out into the yard, but it didn't quite go as planned. The snow on the top step had started to pack down from us going in and out so much, and it gave way under my foot. Next thing I knew, I was in the air and coming down on my back on the stairs. Ouch. Fortunately, Cobalt, whom I was carrying, landed on top of me rather than vice-versa.

All of which means, I won't be running around the yard with her for a couple of days... Read more!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cobalt: Rubber Velcro Monkey Dog In Action!

Hung up

Over the Wall

And over!
Escape from Alcatraz

The landing was a little rough, but she bounces.
Read more!

Cobalt: Shawl dog, too

Last night on the way to the vet, Cobalt was very squirmy, climbing up my chest and nuzzling into my neck all the way. Cute, but a little awkward.

Driving from the vet to PetSmart, though, she got downright silly. She squirmed up over my shoulder and around my neck like a shawl, and fell asleep.

I wish we'd had a camera with us. Except Lori was driving, so it wouldn't've been a good idea for her to have been taking pictures... Read more!

Cobalt: Rubber Velcro Monkey Dog

Cobalt is a rubber dog: when she's in her pen and one of us walks into the room (even though she's being supervised by the other) she starts bouncing. A lot. And high. L was already thinking of putting her in agility training (those steeplechase things like the Superdogs do), and she's certainly got the springiness for it.

Cobalt is a velcro dog. Her puppy claws were nice and sharp, and when she latches onto you it can be very hard to detach her. We had her at the vet yesterday (everything was good!) and the vet trimmer her nails, but that hasn't reduced her velcrosity that much.

Cobalt is also a monkey dog. When we left for work yesterday, she hadn't used the yard, so we left her in her pen, which has a 2' high fence. When I got home at lunch, she was waiting for me at the top of the stairs, all patient and happy. I thought at first she'd managed to jump out, but after I took up her food dishes after feeding her and turned to put them back in the cupboard, I turned back to find her with her elbows over the top of the fence and her feet on the middle cross-bar. She jumps up into the corner of the pen and latches on, making good use of her rubber and velcro properties, and apparently yesterday she managed to combine them all to get out.

The good news is that the only damage to anything that she did was the total destruction of one kitty fluff ball toy. Everything else was fine, and there were no accidents. So she's a very well behaved rubber velcro monkey dog.

Unfortunately, she still doesn't like using the yard. She's learned how to climb the back porch stairs, and within minutes of putting her down out back, she's up the stairs and standing at the door, looking in expectantly. Usually with Mouse the Cat inside, looking out, very curious.

(Mouse isn't the only curious one: two nights ago when I had her out at 4:00 am a large, round raccoon climbed up onto the top of one of our fence-posts and perched there, watching us, until we went in.)

Our first puppy preschool class is tomorrow after work. I hope they can give us some advice on yard training! Read more!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cobalt: Progress!

Yesterday was Cobalt's first day with us away at work. We've started to work out a bit of a toilet schedule for her -- her favourite times seem to be about 10 am and 2 am. Which is a little awkward.

Our plan, for the moment, is to feed her and take her out to the back yard in the morning, then leave her in her pen with a potty-pad until I return at lunch. This takes care of the 10 am -- it's not ideal, since we want to get her away from using the pads, but it's better than her messing her crate.

I fed her at lunch and took her out again (no results), but this time put her in her crate until we got back from work. We figured that'd be safe given her schedule-to-date.

Taking her out after work and after dinner didn't produce any breakthroughs on the potty front, but she has made progress in one area: she's figured out the back porch stairs! After work, L headed back to the house and Cobalt followed. She managed to get up about three steps before getting confused and falling back down again. But by the third time out that evening, she was taking the stairs without trouble -- and this morning, she signaled that she wanted to go in by running up the stairs and waiting by the door, without us leading her.

After dinner -- and her first successful run up the stairs -- we sat her on the bed and settled in to watch TV. Unfortunately, we haven't yet figured out how to tell the difference between exploratory sniffing and sniffing around for a good toilet spot. So the duvet cover ended up in the wash. She's fast!

But we have made progress -- her 1am and after-breakfast visits to the yard produced results, and earned her extensive hot dog rewards. So we're getting there.

Today, the big event is the trip to the vet. This should be interesting. Read more!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cobalt: Day 2

We're now through our first full day with Cobalt. She's incredibly affectionate and energetic, as you'd expect! We took her on two walks down to the local park, which she really enjoyed (she loves to chase), but it's so cold out that within 10 or 15 minutes we have to carry her home because she's shivering.

Fortunately, we have a 50-foot-long living room/dining room combo in our house, so we can run her there as well. Unfortunately, it still has bits of our old waterbed against the wall, which makes it a little hard to maneuver through while trying not to step on a dog who likes to follow you with her chin on your ankle.

We've also had her with us on the bed Saturday night & Sunday as we watched CSI & Mythbusters. She's very happy to flop out with us, though Grendel, who usually curls up at my feet, isn't too happy about her coming over to sniff him from time to time. But he was back on the bed after she went into her crate.

We're trying to crate- and pen-train her, which is being a little trying. She's got a piercing voice when she's not the centre of attention. But with both of us working 9-to-5, we have to get her used to being alone.

The current plan is for me to head home every day at lunch to feed her and take her out. I'm hoping that won't eat up too much of my office time, 'cause it doesn't help if I have to stay late to make up the time. My current plan is to work on the client-oriented projects from 9-12 and 1-5 (home for the pup from 12-1), then take my work laptop home at night and work on my big programming projects there -- the ones that are constantly getting interrupted by client projects at the office.

The biggest problem right now is toilet training. Her schedule's a little irregular right now: anywhere from 1½ hours to 8½ hours after eating (that last being 2:30 this morning!). For the moment, our plan is to take her out after breakfast and, if she doesn't do anything, leave her in her pen with her potty-pad (which she uses properly, thanks to Stoverly's paper training) until I'm back for lunch.

We've only had one accident so far, when she was crated while we ran out to get her toys & a pillow. Fortunately, the jacuzzi tub is deep enough that she can't get out while I'm cleaning her. Unfortunately, it has one sloped side that generally causes her to slide belly-down into the mess I've just washed off her...

Today, we make appointments with the vet (we'll be using Bay Dog Hospital, since we already use Bay Cat Hospital for Grendel & Mouse, and the puppy training (we'll be trying PetSmart for that). Read more!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cobalt: The Poor Mouse!

Cobalt's taken a liking to one of the cats' toys, the poor thing.


By the way, I've replaced the original pictures on Flickr with colour-corrected ones, and added four new ones. Read more!

Cobalt: Pictures

It looks like we're naming the new girl "Cobalt", as her colouring is called "blue merle". It's actually grey with black spots, but it's called "blue", so I figure we can call her "Cobalt".

Here are some photos of her from our visit to Stoverly, where she picked L out:

At Stoverly

At Stoverly

Read more!

Pets: The New Girl

L's wanted a dog for a long time. She misses Tigger, her old cat of 22 years who would curl up with her when she slept. Mouse is a great cat, but she's not a cuddly one, and Grendel always curls up at my feet.

L gets very specific ideas about what she wants, and in this case, what she wanted was a miniature Australian Shepherd. She did a bunch of research and found Stoverly Aussies in Midland. We went up to meet with them and their dogs, and L loved the dogs.

We didn't adopt any puppies then -- there were none ready for adoption -- but a week ago L found that Stoverly had posted pictures of two new litters up for adoption. One pup in particular, Quiver, caught L's eye: he had very distinctive markings, and was a very small pup (which suited us).

After getting in touch with Stoverly, we decided not to go with Quiver. Stoverly wanted to keep him on a co-own for breeding purposes, which would have been very awkward with the two-hour drive between Toronto and Midland. Still, L was also taken with a couple of the other pups, Usher (a male) and Cheerio (a female), so we arranged to visit Stoverly on Saturday.

After driving through a nasty white-out in Barrie, we arrived at Stoverly and met all the pups, who were racing all 'round the house. After we'd been there a while, one of the other females, Jolly, curled up on L's lap and fell asleep, and that clinched it -- we ended up taking Jolly home.

We got back to Toronto and stopped at PetSmart to pick up a crate, a pen, some toys, and so on -- and had a great deal of trouble getting out of the store because people kept stopping to ask about her.

Once home, we got things set up and put her food down in her pen, but she was too excited to eat. We took her outside, but since she hadn't eaten, she didn't need to go -- and it was cold!

Eventually we retired to the bedroom to catch up on our CSI episodes, with the new girl -- we're not going to go with "Jolly", but we have to come up with a name of our own -- curled up on L and snoozing through them all. After the shows, she went into her crate with a minimum of fuss and sleep through 'til I got up at 7am.

Next up: photos, and day 2. Read more!

Stuff: Back!

I know I said, back when I accepted the Algorithmics job, that details would follow. Well, the main detail is that I've been too busy to blog about it! However, we've just had a big event that merits reviving this thing, so that'll follow in the next post. Read more!