Day 51 – May 27, 2023: braving the snake head AGAIN (and then some)!

We went back to Parque Ecológico Huayamilpas because yesterday didn’t go quite as perfectly as I had hoped – the cohetes spoiled the fun. Since I’m about to move, I wanted to use the opportunity – one of the last days I would be nearby! – to return to the park for a positive experience at the snake head once again. I am stubborn that way; Chai will end up loving all snake head people dogdammit!

Today, I brought Game along as well. The three of us hung out at the snake head for quite a while … but no one showed up. Finally, two people walked past, but Chai didn’t even notice them. Apparently, Pentecost isn’t the kind of weekend people spend at giant snake statues. Learn something new every day!

Marching bands

I finally got bored of waiting and we headed back towards the parking lot … and ran right into a marching band practicing! The first time (the first clip in this video), Chai was a little weirded out so we walked back and forth past the band several times. By the fifth time, Chai didn’t care about them anymore at all and we moved on. Brave puppy!

I mentioned in my last post that going forwards, I’d mostly share general Chaiaries in my daily reports … but this one is just too good not to share here as well! Bravery for the win! Plus I haven’t published a bravery post yet that I could link to, so there is that!

Fire crackers

We also heard a single loud cohete (fire cracker). Chai looked slightly concerned. When she isn’t sure what to make of a situation, she looks at me as well as other dogs to learn what the appropriate reaction to a situation is. And that looks she gave me today? She already looked less concerned than yesterday! Of course it rained kibble right after the cohete which will hopefully make the next one an even smaller deal!

Husbandry

+ I announced and then cut some front and back paw fur.

Night walk

Since Chai seemed a little concerned last night, I took her on a brief night walk (and outdoors pee!) with Game. NOTHING weirded her out today! Go puppy go!

Chaiary, day 49-50: a calm day and a full day!

Day 49 – May 25, 2023: not a lot going on!

+ Both Chai and Game got to go to UNAM and run around the campus.

+ We had a single positions-practice session.

+ Husbandry: I clipped Chai’s nails on both front paws and she got brushed, and I cut a little around her front paw fur (another thing I’d like her to get used to in case she turns out to be a furry-paw Border Collie!)

+ Both dogs stayed home alone for a few hours.

Day 501 – May 26, 2023: Huayamilpas, kids, cohetes … a full day!

Today was a BIG day!

Training

We started the morning with some more position work. I pulled out the fold-back down and we did two rounds of down with “good” (room service: stay in position; the treat is coming to you) versus “get it” (chase the treat marker) – one round for breakfast and one for lunch. In the video below, you’ll see me work with a hand signal to get the fold-back down some of the time and with a lure some other times.

The reason I help relatively quickly rather than waiting Chai out is that she would otherwise default to a sit (and then try a down from the sit if the sit didn’t work).

I specifically want a fold-back down rather than a down from a sit, and the way to teach this is from a stand.

The video below is an uninterrupted 10-minute session with a 5-months old puppy. As I said in an earlier post, this is not what I’d recommend most clients do (unless they have really worky puppies). I happen to have a worky puppy who loves training and so do I – so I get to do this on days I need something to obsess over or something that I can focus on without thinking about anything else in the world! Dog training is that thing for me, so here we go – both having fun!

Note that often, I will have heavy-training days followed by little or no other adventures or very low-key days like yesterday. I don’t want Chai to turn into a super-athlete who needs to either train or run nonstop. So heavy training days tend to be low-physical activity days (just not today) and heavy physical activity days tend to be little-to-no-training days.

Husbandry

+ We did some cutting of Chai’s front paw fur and I brushed her.

Indoors spaces

+ We went to ride the elevator.

+ We toured the busy Walmart corridor (people, shopping carts) and a bank with Chai in her backpack. (Thank you so much, Scarlett, for lending me the puppy backpack! It is GREAT!)

Tarps blowing in the wind

It’s a windy day today, and on our adventure loop we saw a tarp blowing in the wind and Chai got a little spooked. After watching it for a while, she was able to cautiously walk past it. This is the second time I have seen this reaction – that’s my cue that tarp feelings aren’t a one-off thing and we need to work on things blowing in the wind! When I got home, I set up the fan and pointed it at the curtains:

It never hurts to learn about the safety of objects and situations in set-ups you can control before encountering them in the real world (again)!

Huayamilpas

In the late afternoon, we spontaneously returned to Parque Ecológico Huayamilpas briefly before 6pm: when we were there a few days ago Chai barked at suddenly appearing strangers (and they all started to appear around 6 after we had had the place to ourselves all afternoon). I wanted to make sure to counter the experience by orchestrating positive interactions with suddenly appearing people at the same spot (I haven’t seen her bark at people before and I would love for it to stay that way).

Unfortunately, things didn’t start out as well as I had hoped they would: soon after we got there, someone elsewhere in the park, but clearly not far, set off a bunch of REALLY loud firecrackers (you can hear them in the video but they are muffled by the microphone – this doesn’t compare to the real-life volume). I don’t think Chai has heard firecrackers before – and definitely not at this volume. She got worried – not panicky, but worried enough to tuck her tail and seek my consolation.

Right after, the first person suddenly appeared. Not the best antecedent arrangement to set her up for success! Luckily, the person had a dog and Chai trusts dogs. After watching the two approach suspiciously, she greeted the dog and a little later, I had the person do a version of our food protocol (they had already reached for her so I just gave them treats to feed). All was well with Chai and she even jumped up on them for more. We hung out for a bit and talked dogs, and Chai and the other dog – Kipper – socialized and she did drive-byes with both of us humans.

We then followed the next pair of passers-by for a little – an adult and a kid. As we turned around to look back, a family with several kids had come to the concrete snake in the center of the park and we turned around to see them up close. Since Chai could see the family from a distance, this wasn’t a sudden environmental change (which I specifically wanted to work on). Still, she had positive interactions with people at the snake!

Because it went so well, I waited longer and Chai got to briefly greet an adult and a kid walking with two dogs. Then, we called it a day and made our way towards the exit.

Sadly, right as we were walking away from the snake, the nearby firecrackers started up again. Chai was – again – concerned. All I had was kibble, but she was able to eat and I fed one after each boom. Still, the insecurity lingered after the firecrackers stopped. Unease is not the emotion I want her to associate with the snake, the park or firecrackers. So I will probably be going back for another round of sudden environmental change – hopefully without the firecrackers.

The saving grace today was a Lab mix we met at the parking lot: Chai and the dog played for a minute or so, and then Chai, tail proud and high, eyes shining and body language loose left the park on a good note.

By the time we got back home, it was dark out. On the walk from the car to the apartment, Chai got spooked by people unloading stuff from a truck. We watched for a bit, curved around and then I encouraged her to watch some more, but she was ready to leave. Note to self: take more night walks around weird stuff and people carrying strange objects!

Growing up and changing

Today was quite the day! Our outings were not very long, but jam-packed with things going on. Puppies and adolescents change every day – and these days, Chai is highly sensitive in all directions: picking up behaviors from older dogs and having an easier startle response than she usually does. However, the good news is that her recovery is still amazing (playing with that Lab mix a minute after hearing firecrackers? Go Chai!) and that even in a state of firecracker insecurity, she was able to eat kibble.

It is also interesting to see a dog who learns really fast overall have sensitive days: they are impactful in a different way than in the last two puppies I raised (Puzzle and Game). It is like watching Chai have an experience and then assimilate it into this 10 000-piece puzzle that is the map of the world in her head. Nothing exists in isolation. Every experience Chai has gives her a puzzle piece, and she is quick to find the exact spot it belongs in the map of the world she is creating for herself. If we think back to the elevator experience: her baseline assumption about the world is an optimistic one, but she is fast to learn what to exempt from optimism (such as this particular elevator – I don’t know about others because this is the only one I have currently access to and the first one she’s ever been on).2

A slice of Mexico City’s subway web. Maps are necessarily an imperfect representation of the world. Subway stops are one of my favorite way to conceptualize big cities. Once I have a subway map in my head, I’ll generally find my way around. Subway stops are my favorite landmark.

As far as I can tell, Chai’s initial hesitancy around people was based on a lack of exposure and my two protocols (the one for strangers and the one for expanding her circle of friends) have helped her become a socially optimistic dog. She’s a Border Collie, not a Lab, so she is never going to have problems with hyper-sociability towards strangers. But she is now significantly more confident around them and open to making new friends.

In everybody poops news …

(Feel free to skip this paragraph if you’d rather not read about my puppy’s bowel movements!)

Chai peed AND pooped at the park without another dog to imitate! Our house training project is coming along! In fact, she has only had a single accident inside what I define as the living space of our Coyoacán apartment in the last month, since we’ve been here! (She will go to pee/poop on the outdoors patio. If I leave her by herself, I do so in the bathroom, and she will pee/poop in the shower when she has to go rather than waiting – as far away from where my bed as is possible to set up in this small space. All of this is great news for a dog who had no idea about defined toilet spaces when I got her. If I had a yard, she might be doing all her business there already (apart from the occasional accident even adolescents still have).

Sidenote: fear periods

People like talking about the elusive “puppy fear period” or “adolescent fear period.” Some trainers even define at what age exactly fear periods (sometimes called sensitive periods) are supposed to happen and how many of them there are.

To my knowledge (readers: please correct me and send me peer-reviewed sources if I’m wrong!), there is no scientific evidence that fear periods exist or that every dog has them. (Most of the puppies I have raised have not had anything I would label “a fear period.”) In the absence of scientific evidence for “fear periods,” I don’t generally use the term.

Instead, I just think of any young developing brain: there are changes and shifts in hormone levels and neurotransmitters and neural connections and all kinds of other things I do not know about because I have no medical degree. Young brains are brains under construction. When constructing, say, a house, there will be days electrical wires are exposed (and you hope it won’t rain). Similarly, there will be days that a growing brain (the wires) is more sensitive to external stimuli (the rain) than others. Other than with the wiring of your house, you don’t know when this will be because you are probably not cutting open your puppy’s brain. So you just hope that if and when your puppy is having a sensitive day, they happen to not encounter the kind of stuff that would trigger an electrical fire. But if it happens? Well, it happens. Nothing you can do about it. No one’s fault – sometimes life is a shitshow.

Observe your puppy and if you see the experience have a permanent impact (it won’t necessarily have a permanent impact at all, no worries!) or you just want to be on the safe side, give it a few days (to be sure the exposed wiring of your house has been covered) and then repeat the situation under different conditions, setting your puppy up for success. This is what would have happened today with the snake head had there not been firecrackers.

Apart from the fact that young brains are under construction, dogs of all ages – just like other animals of all ages – sometimes have a less-than-ideal day. Sometimes, you wake up with a headache and it just shaves a little bit off of your patience with your coworkers or your friend or your partner. Sometimes, your dog is in pain – it may be invisible pain – and this too can cause a slight shift in their response to otherwise uninteresting stimuli.

How sensitive a dog’s behavior is to pain differs greatly from one individual to the next, just like it does in people. Personally, I’ve observed myself having a shorter fuse under (very specific) pain conditions.

On the other hand, my grandfather has been livingwith a crumbling hip bone for a decade, refuses to take pain killers or go in for surgery and is still the kindest and most patient person you can imagine, just like he has always been. People are different. Dogs are different. And your puppy is a different person every day because they are still in the process of becoming themselves! (We could argue that we all are always either in the process of becoming ourselves or we are dead – but that’s a blog post for another day.)


(1) Day 50 (the 50th day Chai has been with me) – half way to 100! – is a good day to change my diary approach. Going forwards, I will mostly share general Chaiary videos and videos that don’t fit into one of my categories (play, foundations, obedience, socializing, the art of doing nothing, recalls, leash walking, tricks, being brave) in my daily reports. The categories themselves will each get their own posts that specifically talk about THAT category and feature our progress from start to finish (if/when there is such a thing as “finish”). I will link to these more specific posts in future Chaiaries instead of directly inserting the videos every day. You’ll re-encounter some sessions you have already seen under these specific headings.

(2)Update from the future: Chai did not generalize her elevator fears to other elevators! It was just the one. Fundamental optimism for the win!

Day 48 – May 24, 2023: fun with positions and marker cues!

We didn’t go on any adventures or exciting outings today – except for pee breaks, we all stayed in, and it was …

Positions

… time for obediency stuff! We worked on positions in two sessions: one for Chai’s breakfast and the other one for her lunch.

Breakfast session

You’re about to see a 10 minute long uninterrupted positions training session with a 5 months old puppy. Is this what I, C, Professional Dog Trainer, would recommend anyone do with their 5 months old puppy? No. I’d say keep sessions to 2 minutes or, if you have a really avid worker, 3 minutes max at this age to ensure your puppy learns that training is a privilege rather than a chore. So why am I not heeding my own advice? Because I’m me and some days I can’t help it. I am grateful for having dogs who just roll with it! Also note that this is a day where training is pretty much all Chai got to do (except for pee outings which at this point mostly only involve Game peeing).

Session profile:

Cues: sit (sitz), stand (steh) and down (platz)
Announcements: All done (I will not work or play with you anymore even if you pester me)
Marker cues: tongue click (treat from hand), Good (room service), treats (scatter cue; in the very end of this video)
Home position: hands behind my back
Transition behavior (what I do between (marker) cues and (treat or lure) hand movement: blink once


Lunch session

Session profile:

Same as above.

Look how far her understanding has come between the two sessions! Go Chai! This is looking fantastic!

In some of the reps, it looks as if Chai was guessing positions. That is entirely possible … and it doesn’t bother me. She can play a guessing game and get reinforced anytime she gets it right. Over time, this leads to learning. Notice that Chai is learning several new things at the same time in this session: the marker cue “Good” (room service) and all three positions. She does not need to understand every single word I say in order for us to have an enriching training conversation. It’s like learning a new language or reading in a foreign language: you don’t need to know every single word or grammar rule in order to follow the plot.

PS: when I say “Yes,” it’s just a commentary on Chai having done well. It is not a marker cue.

PPS: the reason Game is chilling on her mat behind us is that she has excellent mat skills. If there was no mat, she would very much be participating!

Husbandry

+ Chai got the claws on her left and right back paws clipped and did great.

The art of doing nothing

She was able to hang out in her luxury kennel – the bathrooom – with visitors and Game in the main room. Good puppy keeping the FOMO from raising its head! It is just as important to include your puppy in your general activities as it is to occasionally have them NOT participate. Both are important skills for your future life together!

Day 46 & 47 – May 22-23, 2023: brief puppy updates

Day 46 – May 22, 2023

Today, Chai and Game got to go to Las Islas at the UNAM campus and met quite a few dogs:

Game and Chai are meeting new folks at Las Islas.

Chai also had a solo adventure: we rode the scary elevator once and she joined me at the bank and on a loop through the Walmart corridor in her puppy backpack.

Finally, we practiced walking past the Pits. Chai is getting better and better at anticipating her treats rather than having intense feelings about the barking dogs! Go puppy!

If Chai keeps going at this rate, she’s going to turn Game into a dog/dog snuggler!

Not much to report otherwise and I didn’t take any video – so today’s update is a short one. Stay tuned for more (and more exciting) Border Collie puppy adventures!

Day 47 – May 23, 2023

Another update on the shorter end today!

+ Husbandry: “Brush!” Chai keeps being a great sport about husbandry!

+ Chai and I went to Parque Ecológico Huayamilpas where she met a few dogs and walked on a metal-grid staircase like a pro. Only downside: she gave two brief barks at suddenly appearing people after we had hung out at a particular spot for a while. This is the first time I’ve seen this behavior in her – I’ll be sure to nip it in the bud by coming back to the same spot later this week! She also pooped outside not just once, but TWICE! This is rare and amazing and clearly facilitated by us hanging out in the same spot for a longer period of time.

What looks like a lake on the map is actually all dried out. No swims for puppies! Sad face.

Huayamilpas, an ecological park that’s part of the Coyoacán neighborhood.

+ She walked through a new street market and did really well.

+ Today’s adventure included two Uber rides. For the second one, her belly was full of all the treats (kibble) she had earned along the way – and she did perfectly fine! No throwing up! Go puppy!

Back home and ready to snuggle away the rest of the day with big sister Game!

Day 45 – May 21, 2023: fresa Condesa, puppy’s first time IN a dog park, teaching relaxation and playground time

It’s Sunday, and it’s the day of the monthly Sungay Brunch (a traveling queer and somewhat fresa daytime brunch party thing I occasionally go). It’s always at a dog friendly location which makes it perfect to socialize your puppy!

Today was Chai’s first time. We went to Parque España first to get some of our need to move out!

Parque España and fresa Zuzu’s.

There’s lots to see at Parque España!

We also watched kids at the playground (normalizing kids running and screaming is a big deal for herding dogs!)

Playground puppy! “Kids are normal and boring and there’s no need to develop herdy feelings towards them.”

Dog park puppy!

I then spontaneously let Chai into a dog park for the first time in her life. It wasn’t too busy and she wanted to greet one of the dogs inside – so why not. She’s not a baby puppy anymore (I wouldn’t take a dog under 5 months to the dog park because they can’t get away or defend themselves at all.) A slightly older, bolder puppy? If she wants to go into the dog park – into the dog park we go!

In the video below, you’ll see how Chai’s tail position changes after the first 2ish minutes in the park: it starts out low but then goes up. A working Border Collie’s natural tail position is low when relaxed. However, when confident and exploring new territories – and overall when confident and being a puppy! – the tail tends to go down and up with the puppy’s confidence level.

I use the opportunity to charge Chai’s formal recall cue – “Schnee!” – in a distracting environment and protect her from the Great-Dane-mix-looking dog when he comes too close for her to be comfortable. My overall advice for a fairly confident puppy: allow them to explore freely. If they stick to you or hide behind you, they are asking for help – give them what they are asking for in order to turn yourself into a traveling safe haven for your dog. This is HUGE and will help you as they get older (and faster and more independent): you are building the tendency to run TOWARDS rather away from you in the face of perceived danger.

Sidenote: if your puppy is a bully, don’t take them to the dog park. It’s not fair to everyone else there. Instead, find opportunities for your puppy to socialize with adult dogs who can set appropriate boundaries.

The art of doing nothing

After our stint at the park, we made our way to Zuzu’s Rooftop – the location of today’s Sungay Brunch. Chai did an amazing job mastering the initially scary stairs! And then just hanging out … my little superstar! Practicing the art of doing nothing since 2023!

One of THE most important skills for a busy dog like many Border Collies and other workaholics is the art of doing nothing. There are several ways of getting there and you can mix and match. One example is what I showed here and also here with Puzzle: mat work CU style. Another one is what I show in my older mat and crate protocol: part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4. And yet another one is just taking your puppy places when they still need a relatively large amount of sleep and setting them up for success by letting them play or run around a little before providing a mat and a chew in a stimulating environment – this is what I’m doing in the video above, in this post. You can stick to one of the above approaches or use all of them in different situations – whatever works for you and your dog! There are also other protocols out there such as Karen Overall’s Protocol for Relaxation. None of these are “right” or “wrong,” “better” or “worse” – it’s all about finding what works best for you and the dog in front if you!

3 caveats

+ First, don’t only crate your dog in a car and expect them to be able to relax in a crate elsewhere. Cars are VERY specific contexts and in my experience, dogs don’t generalize well from them.

+ Second, don’t exhaust your dog completely before taking them to a stimulating place to relax (like in the video with Chai above). She still has fuel to keep going – our stint at Parque España was not much longer than it took me to film the video and take the pictures! If your puppy falls asleep due to exhaustion, this does not tend to carry over into real relaxation once they are a little older (and don’t get exhausted easily). Trust me – I’ve made that mistake with Phoebe!

+ Third, if your dog is fearful, don’t start with crazy environments like the one in my video above. Pick a quiet corner of an indoors space or a quiet park – whatever your dog is more comfortable with – and slowly increase criteria from there once your dog is able to relax!

May 18-20, 2023: puppy adventures in husbandry, UNAM, playgrounds and eating at restaurants!

Day 42 – May 18, 2023

Not a lot happened today … BUT I got some husbandry done: clipping (“Claws!”) Chai’s nails on the right back paw. No problem for my superstar!

Day 42 – May 19, 2023

Husbandry

+ “Claws!” on the left back paw.
+ “Brush!” (with a break between the two husbandry procedures)

UNAM adventures

Game, Chai and I went to UNAM, saw and met strangers, practiced recalls, got paid for check-ins and hung out with fellow Border Collies!

Because it rained, the space around the big UNAM flag had turned into a pool and we played in the water and going up and down the stairs until a security person kicked us out.

Fun with fellow Border Collies at Las Islas!

Inside spaces

I took Chai by herself (solo adventures are SO important in my book!) up and down the scary elevator (still carrying her in and out). Then I put her into the puppy and we walked through the Walmart corridor and to the bank.

Day 43 – May 20, 2023

Parque Hundido

Chai and I went to Parque Hundido – which was quite busy since it was Saturday! She played with a Chihuahua (making me very happy; I want her to interact with dogs of all sizes!) and we hung out at the playground so she could observe kids running, playing and climbing.

Parque Hundido, located in Colonia Extremadura Insurgentes.

The bestest girl waiting for my order of pambazos at a Parque Hundido food stand.

Playing briefly with a Chihuahua, a whistle recall at the right moment and a sweeping view of the playground:

More playground time: watch and learn! (I had her on a leash and walked her around the playground and then we just watched from a distance. I only unleashed her to play with the Chi.)

Playground time! Getting used to kids running, screaming, laughing, playing, riding bikes …

Pizza outing

Chai and I then went to have pizza for lunch with a group of people I know. She did great inside the pizza place, mostly resting near my chair and chewing on a rawhide! I’m not much of a restaurant person – but if it involves socializing my puppy, count me in!

Pizza, rawhide and the art of doing nothing.

Further errands

I also took her to a bakery and a pharmacy and then had her wait in the car crate while I looked at an apartment. (And important exercise: I don’t want her to ONLY be in the car crate when I’m in the car myself!)

She did great on all her adventures today! Go Chai!

Day 41 – May 17, 2023: Chapultepec, toy play, puppy socializing and big birds

We’re back to our usually (un)scheduled activities! No more diarrhea, Border Collie puppy energy up!

Mornig play with the first toy Chai dissected! Proud of you, puppy – that’s how things are done when you grow up with a Mal! (Thank you for the toys, Chris! Shark and octopus are still intact and well loved!)

Husbandry

I announced (“Claws!”) and clipped the nails on both front paws today – good puppy, no problem!

Chapultepec

After some morning play at home, Scarlett, Game, Chai and I went to Chapultepec. It’s Chai’s first time and I wanted it to be during the week when there were not as many other dogs around as on the weekend. We ended up staying for several hours and had a lovely time.

Chai played with another puppy – Archie!

In the video above, you can sie Archie’s human call him twice: first at 02:17 (he comes all the way back) and then again at 03:09 (Archie doesn’t come all the way back). What are they doing well? What could they do differently to up their success rate? What advice would you give them if they were your client and showing you this recall baseline of a 5-months old puppy? Let me know in the comments!

… and Chai saw her first heron! She did not think much of it – I was way more enchanted by it than the dogs today. (And that includes Game who usually loves chasing birds!)

Toy and food play

Chai and I also played with food and toys outside. Look at the little superstar in her single-ball play session!

May 12-16, 2023: puppy diarrhea isn’t fun

Chai got diarrhea, meaning I put her on a diet. She was tired and so was I – neither one of us was up for a lot of training for a few days. Apart from sleeping, going out (and actually pooping because of the diarrhea!) a few times a day and wrestling a little with Game, not a whole lot happened. Here’s the bullet point version!

May 12, 2023

+ I took Chai to the lavandería in her backpack and we rode the elevator twice. This time, I put her on the floor in between the doors opening. She did okay. Slow and steady wins the race! One day, she’s going to stroll in and out of that elevator with her head held high!

+ We walked past the Pitties twice and Chai was being a superstar!

+ Chai and Game got to go to UNAM together so Chai could get some outdoors pooping done. We didn’t much else because her stool was pretty liquid.

May 13, 2023

Chai seemed tired and her diarrhea had a little blood in it. I took her to the vet in the late afternoon to make sure it was nothing serious. She did amazing! You go, fearless puppy!

Loose leash walking on her back-clip harness on the way to the vet’s:

Chai got some mysterious stomach medication which turned out to solve the problem over the next few days. The vet also suggested that in case she had a sensitive stomach, I do not use hotdogs in training again. Apparently hotdogs are the worst possible reward for a dog with a sensitive stomach because we have no idea what is actually in a hotdog. They probably have a point. Chai got A LOT of hotdogs the other day. If THAT kind of diarrhea is what they are capable of causing, there will be no more hotdogs in her future. I’m sorry, puppy. I know you like them a lot.

Yes I’ll take those post-cat-watching snuggles!

Galleta, the wild child, was more scared of Chai than vice versa: Chai approached her as if she was another puppy. Galleta said NO and fled to her vantage point up on the stairs!

After the vet, I met up with friends – first at their place where Chai got to watch cats and then get loved on, and then I put her in her car crate to rest while we went out for dinner.

Yummm!

May 14, 2023

We had a stay-home, sleep and watch Netflix day. Chai was a tired and sad puppy!

The Border Collie life is hard.

May 15, 2023

Lazing in the morning sun: one of them has got to keep their eyes open at all times while the other one rests!

Her poop looked almost normal again this morning and she was more active! Yay!!

+ We went to la Michoacana (where a lovely Michoacana ice cream vendor always stops to chat) and through the Walmart corridor in her backpack.

+ I lured and named all three positions: sit, down and stand.

+ We rode the scary elevator and Chai was more confident than last time! She got to stand during the ride while the doors were closed and I carried her in and out.

+ She did REALLY well walking on Game’s shorter leash and her harness and hardly pulled at all. Good girl!

+ Chai was also ready to play a bunch with Game in the apartment. Definitely feeling better!

Tonight, Chai’s poop was finally completely normal again – and so was her level of activity (and mine too). We’re ready to adventure again with Scarlett tomorrow!

May 16, 2023

Chai’s poop looks fully normal! Woohooo! Hopefully, there will be no more puppy popop talk for a few days!

+ We went to Petco Oasis. Chai showed no fear of its sliding doors and did great walking around in the pet store!

+ We went to a park Chai hadn’t been to before.

+ Husbandry: I clippered Chai’s nails on the right front paw. No problem!


More well documented training and adventuring starting up again tomorrow!

Back in CDMX: day 35 – May 11, 2023

+ Today, I upped the difficulty level of Chai’s formal recall (“Schnee”) in real life situations at UNAM – so I upped the reinforcer accordingly: hotdogs for the win! Chai loved them and had A LOT. (Up until now, she’s only worked for kibble.)

A check in and a relatively easy whistle recall – kibble for check-ins, hot dogs for our 2-dog whistle recall:

+ An UNAM student offered the back of their hand for Chai to sniff and then touched the back of her head – and she didn’t mind! Wow, puppy! You are being so brave with random strangers!

Below, Chrissi being overconfident in one of their recalls, the stranger reaching for Chai, meeting a dog and lots of exploring! Come join aus at Las Islas:

… after seeing me use “Schnee” in a situation that was clearly too hard (The Popcorn Incident), below is an appropriate recall level for formal recalls rewarded with hotdogs: Chai is running the other way when I call. Not suuuper easy and not too hard either.

Game comes back too because she loves hotdogs – but every dog only gets them on their own recall cue or the multi-dog cue (whistle). Sorry, Game!

+ Chai mastered going up and down the see-through stairs at UNAM!

UNAM fun with Game. I love the color of bougainvilleas!

+ Chai saw lots of umbrellas and rain gear because it started raining as we were there!

+ The wind picked up too, and Chai startled seeing the big flag blow in the wind, and then had a similar reaction to a poster being moved by the wind. She quickly got over the poster, and we walked up to the UNAM flag to see it wasn’t a monster. Chai was able to quickly shake off both startles! I love a puppy with a good bounce-back!

I happened to take a picture right at Chai’s poster startle moment. You can’t see the poster – it’s up and to the right. Imagine a straight line going up from Game’s butt to the edge of the wall. That’s where the poster is.

Going right up to the previously scary flag blowing in the wind! (Actually, the wind must have picked up before the rain started: I can see in the pictures that the ground is still dry.)

+ Game peed outside twice after Game pooped and once completely independently! Go puppy! Spending lots of time outside and in one area (that becomes boring/familiar over time) certainly helps remind Chai that maybe she’d like to pee! So does Game who is still the best role model for outside toiletry.

+ I picked Chai up and rode the scary elevator with her in my arms twice.

+ Husbandry: “Brush!”, and “Claws!” on the right back paw. (I thought I’d spread out her paw husbandry over the week now that we’re settling back into some sort of everyday life.)

May 8-May 10, 2023: Chai’s first road trip!

From May 8 to May 10, Chai got to go on her first road trip! Together with Game – a travel pro! – we went to visit our Guanajuato friends.

Left: they know something is up … they just don’t know what it is yet! Right: Chai in her car crate. It’s hot out and the AC hasn’t cooled down the car yet. Pant we must!

Guanajuato is about a 5 hour drive from Mexico City – not too long a road trip but definitely more time in a car than Chai is used to. It made for a good first adventure! She made it about 4.5 hours before (poor puppy!) throwing up in her crate. I hadn’t fed her breakfast, so it was mostly water.

A free-roamer at a rest stop along the way. I remember this dog from the last time I came through here about half a year ago!

Another rest stop. Priorities: first water the dogs, then bathroom the Chrissi!

Game was so excited to see our friend Vanessa that she jumped out the car window the moment she saw her. She’s always had a soft spot for Vanessa … only her late dog, Dutch Shepherd Nabuko, got the occasional correction when he once again forgot that Game didn’t want to play with him: “I’m not into you! Get the memo alreay!”

Vane has a yard with avocado trees. The dogs were very excited about it and eating all the avocados they could find.

Chai is a social learner. Realizing that Game was Vane’s friend, she immediately wanted to be her friend as well!

Game time: at night, I put Chai to bed while Game got loved on by her friends! Sometimes, we get a few hours of feeling like an only dog – spoiled and all (below):

Above: Taking breaks on a Guanajuato walk. It’s warmer here than in CDMX!

At the hardware store: I got annoyed at the pink long line and bought a slightly shorter rope instead!

We walked from los Álamos to Presa de la Olla – Game’s favorite swimming spot. An unsuspecting Border Collie puppy, following Game’s lead … found herself swimming!

Crazy wet puppy after her first semi-voluntary swim at Presa de la Olla!

Rawhide at the park, Rodrigo and Orisa.

Like the good old times: dog walks and Habibi talks with Rodrigo and Orisa.

Left: the girls are posing! Right: so is this free roaming trio.

We spent three lovely day in Guanajuato with Vane and her kids Dana and Fabi and my friend Rodrigo and his Jack Russel Terrier Orisa.

While Game was happy to see Orisa, Orisa was NOT impressed with the puppy. WHY did I have to bring the annoying little animal? Orisa made sure we knew she was pissed by sitting at a distance and looking the other way.

Another day of fun in Vane’s yard – this trip was the first time Game and Chai two got to play in a yard together (below)!

… and finally: let me and my girls take you on a Guanajuato adventure (below)!

Sleepy evening pups after a long adventure day!

Vane and Rodrigo, now that I write about you I miss you. I hope to go back and visit soon … and you’ll have to come visit CDMX! Vane and I have been planning for this trip even before I decided to move here.