Tag Archives: Winn

Summer fun in the water

I knew that Winn was something special when she spotted the newspaper on the sidewalk, made her way down the porch steps and brought the paper into the kitchen for a reward. She was only 4 months old! I had tried to show her how to do that two or three times a couple of weeks before but I didn’t think she was getting it and figured she was too young and we would try again when she was older. That was the first time that she showed me she really was absorbing what I was trying to teach her to do and could put it together at a later time.  I was instantly aware that I had a true working dog on my hands and we could explore all kinds fun activities together.

Last summer I observed some friends water training their Newfies and then I volunteered at our local Newfoundland Club’s annual water test. I had never been to a test before and was just beginning to learn about water work with Newfoundlands but after that experience I was hooked!

When I got home from that test, I knew it was something that I wanted to do with Winn so I purchased a recommended book that was dedicated to training for the three different levels of the water test.  We played retrieval games with bumpers and a life jacket.  I filled her wading pool with water so that she could dunk her face for carrots and hot dogs as well as diving rings. We went swimming in a doggie pool during the winter months, throwing in different articles for her to retrieve and even doing a little jumping off of the pool deck to encourage her playfulness in the water.

When spring rolled around, I was excited to actually start training for the test. We have good friends who have enjoyed doing water and draft work with Newfies for many years.  They were teaching a water work seminar for the Central Ontario Newfoundland Club over Memorial Day Weekend and I decided that would be a great way to spend the weekend with our friends, learning new skills and being surrounded by fellow Newfie lovers.

They went through each of the different exercises and showed us how to break them into small segments.  We learned tips and tricks to practice on land as well as in the water, and each exercise was introduced to each team individually in a gentle and fun way.

Land work: practicing going out and around and revving her up by having fun with her fetching articles.

Learning Take A Line, one of the most difficult exercises:

Introducing the boat, taking treats and pulling it in:

Swim With Handler, our favorite exercise that we had been doing all winter at the indoor doggie pool:

When we returned home, we had to wait a few more weeks for the weather to cooperate but we were invited to train with two other families at a nearby lake.  We spent almost every Saturday or Sunday with them and Winn took to it amazingly well.  We each took turns with our dogs, helping each other out with exercises by acting like a drowning victim, dropping articles in the water or rowing the boat. IMG_8075.jpgAs the weeks passed, Winn was executing everything really well.  When she was first learning Take A Line, we put a long line on her to help guide to the caller, then swim around them and back to shore.  After only 2 or 3 times with the long line, she understood what she was supposed to do and after that I didn’t put the long line on again. She was great at retrieval, was starting to understand Tow A Boat and was perfect with the Basic Control exercises.  I even found myself giving tips to others on heeling and recall!IMG_7773Once I was pretty confident with our skills, I started getting more excited about entering a water test.  There were several tests planned in our area, all on different weekends so I started filling out the paperwork and entered 4 different tests with the hope of getting into and competing in 2 or 3.  In addition to our own club’s test which would be the last one of the summer, we got into one in Indiana and one in Michigan.  I really hoped that we would have success in at least one of them.

We continued practicing, fine tuning each exercise so that we were doing what was needed to pass and building her strength and stamina.  She wore a life jacket during practice and I was planning on taking it off and doing a full practice run of the test the week before our first water test in Indiana. I wrote a post a while back explaining why Newfies wear life jackets when they train and you can read that here. Everything was going according to plan until the night before that designated practice and Winn went into heat!  I knew it was coming sometime soon but I didn’t expect it that night.  We would have to stay home and wouldn’t have any more time in the water until we showed up for our first test.  I would just have to cross my fingers and go for it. That would add an extra layer of difficulty, she would most likely be more distracted and would have a harder time focusing on me.  I had also severely sprained my ankle the week before and had skipped practice.  By the time we tested, it was 3 weeks since we had been in the water and she wouldn’t be cleared to practice again until 2 weeks after we got back and that was the weekend of the Michigan test.  It was time to have faith in our skills and go out and have a good time no matter how it may end up!IMG_8091next post: our first water test!

Happy Birthday Baby Winn!

From the very beginning, Winn has loved to rummage around and bring me things. She proudly shows off her treasures and while it’s tricky,  I’ve tried to get a picture whenever possible.

What could be a better way to celebrate her growth over the past year than to take a look at her answers to my constant question “what’s in your mouth”?

She quickly discovered that the recycling bin held all kinds of fun items from containers:

to boxes:

She loves to chew on the food and water bowls and string them around the house. I’m trying to train her to round them up and bring them to me so that I can fill them. That isn’t going so well.

She likes to bring me socks:

and random s**t she finds around the house:IMG_3832

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My all time favorite was when she snuck upstairs, busted into the guest room, broke into the closet and pulled my sewing basket off the shelf.  She rummaged through all of the spilled contents until she found the perfect item and ran downstairs and posed by the treat cabinet ready to make an exchange. There was a long trail of ribbon behind her as she proudly waited for me.IMG_5186Last but not least, day 364, yesterday. She chewed on a huge box that I set outside to and then tried to hide the evidence in her jowl when I opened the door.IMG_5788She’s a character and has brought an unlimited amount of joy to our family.  Happy Birthday baby Winn, you are getting to be such a big girl but you are still such puppy at heart! Can I still call you my puppy and tiny baby now that your are one year old?IMG_1857

 

Mini road trip

Recently we loaded Maisie and Winn into the car and went on a quick road trip.  We were off to visit our daughter who lives about 3 hours away.

It’s pretty obvious that Maisie considers Abigail to be her favorite person on earth.  It is always so fun to see their reunions, and this time was no different.  Winn loves everybody and responded to Maisie’s energy by wiggling and squeaking while showering Abigail with kisses.  A two Newfie welcome can be a pretty overwhelming affair!

We all walked to a little brew pub for lunch and I was so impressed with Winn.  She walked calmly and confidently through crowds while staying in a perfect heel.  All of our training time really paid off!

We sat down at a big picnic table and our waitress brought a large water bowl for the girls.  Maisie loves to sit and watch the people walk by on the sidewalk, but Winn quietly settled right beside me, looked around a bit and ignored the other dog that was barking at us from a table near by.  Eventually she crawled under the table and rested her head so that she could see all of the other patio diners.IMG_4227IMG_4250We tend to get a lot of attention when we are out with the dogs, their size makes it impossible to remain unnoticed and most people haven’t seen a brown Newfoundland so we get a lot of questions about their breed.  This usually includes:  “What do they weigh?”, “How much do they eat?”,  “Do they come with a saddle?”, and my least favorite  “Do they shed?”.  Yes they shed, Newfoundlands shed!  Most dogs shed! There are a few breeds that don’t, but there seems to be an increased assumption that one should have a dog that doesn’t shed.

After lunch we walked back to her house, left the dogs with two of her friends and went to a movie. When we returned, we took the girls out again, stopped and got some ice cream and relaxed by the shores of a nearby lake.  As soon as we were close to the water, Maisie and Winn both wanted to wander in, but they stayed close by and immediately came when called when they strayed too far away.  I was so proud of both of them, they were so well-behaved!IMG_4247IMG_4245IMG_4236It was a lovely day spent with our daughter in the town that she loves and has decided to make her home.  It’s close enough that we headed back home as the sun was setting and Maisie and Winn slept the whole way after having such a fun-filled day of activity!IMG_4229

 

Please don’t smack me in the face

and other things I say to my puppy.

I love Winn’s huge paws, but good grief it hurts when she pounces on me when she’s hungry.  She tends to do this in the morning, after she goes outside to do her business.  She will come up to me, crawl across my chest and take one paw and hit my face.  Then she will get closer, essentially pinning me down and smother me with kisses.  It’s very sweet but too much the first thing in the morning and I’m encouraging her to stop with the smacking!

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My view every morning.

What’s in your mouth? I must say this 10 times a day.

Where did you go? I taught her to bring in the paper which she loves to do because then she gets a treat.  She can be very quiet when she wants to be and will sneak off, cruising around, looking for something to bring to me to get my attention and to hopefully get another treat.

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She goes looking for socks, and is always so proud when she finds one.

I try to give her other jobs to stimulate her working dog desire to bring me things.

And finally, please, please stay out of the paint!  We seem to always have a project going on, and often times paint is involved.  Her affinity for paint started when we were at my mom’s house and I wrote about painting with a puppy.  This summer we have been touching up the paint around our back deck and she found a plastic container filled with paint that had been placed among other paint cans.  I had let her out while I was in the kitchen making my breakfast. In just short of 2 minutes, she made a colossal mess!

Do you catch yourself saying funny things to your dog?