Sunday, May 31, 2009


We've been working on training Memphis since she arrived. Since she's going to be such a big girl, it's very important to us to make sure she will respond to basic requests like sit, wait, come and so on. To make sure we're on the right track, we decided to work with a trainer, meeting every two weeks for a session and practicing in between. We had the first session on Thursday, which was primarily an assessment. The trainer Lex says Memphis is submissive and that we've been on the right track with our training so far, so she doesn't anticipate we'll have a lot of trouble training her.

Later on, I'd like to work with her on some other activities that will stimulate her mind and "give her a job".

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Last night Memphis slept through the night. I appreciated that!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memphis enjoying a day at Pigeon Lake

Miss Memphis gets another invitation

Hi Memphis,

I am going to have another stool test done early next week and if it is clear would you and your people like to come to my place and have dinner with me & my people next Friday June 5th about 7 pm?

I hear you are really hot and I would like to meet you! I would especially like to trade stories about how you are training and handling your people. I do not know about yours but mine are pretty slow!!! They have these weird ideas about going outside to do my business and have real hang-ups about me showing affection by biting and eating their things. Go figure?! I have some toys and bones and treats that I would like to share with you!!!!!! I hope you can make!!!!!

Hugs & kisses,


Saturday, May 23, 2009

new poodle friend

This powerful poodle played very gently with Memphis. It seemed like a teaching session.

with Jacques as usual

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A breakthrough

This morning, early, I took Memphis out for a walk. Last evening, Tuffy P and I took her out and with lots of encouragement, she was able to overcome her fear of leaving the property on the leash. This morning, Memphis was a little reluctant, but once we got going, she enjoyed a good long walk. We met up with a couple dogs along the way. There are a lot of dogs in this area, so even at 6:00 a.m. you're likely to see some.

We walked over to Sam Smith park, up the hill behind the water treatment plant, down the other side, and across to the path. Then we turned back toward home, but at Twenty-third, we walked north to Iris, then across to Twenty-fifth, then north again. Twenty-fifth is one street over from our place, and when we were parallel to our house, Memphis stopped and wanted to take a short-cut through the backyard of our neighbour. Instead, we continued north to Alder, and across to Twenty-seventh and south back home.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Memphis discovers Lake Ontario

This afternoon I took Memphis to the lake at Samual Smith park. On the way, she made friends with a 150 lb beautiful St. Bernard. Memphis was very curious about the water but didn't go in for a swim. She laid down on the stone beach and let the waves lap up over her paws. She also saw the swans, who were not impressed. We met a few dogs with their owners, who warned us to watch out for the City truck, as sometimes they come around and ticket people who let their dogs off the leash.

On that subject, a local dog owner told us of a place where a number of people take their dogs at specific times in the morning and evening, and let them run and play together off leash. We were there this evening and Memphis had a great time.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Today we had some success getting Memphis to walk away from the house on the leash using a little teamwork. At first she put on the brakes, which is what she has been doing once we reach the edge of our property. This time, though, with one of us holding the leash and the other encouraging Memphis to sally forth, she walked with us down to the corner, and along Lake Prom to Twenty-fifth. Somewhere along the way I realized I didn't bring plastic bags with me, so we turned back before Memphis decided make a deposit. Otherwise I think she would have happily walked much further with us.


Sometimes Memphis gets pretty excited playing with Jacques or trying to get Rossi to play. The other day, she dropped a tennis ball at Rossi's feet, and barked at him, expecting him to pick it up and play. She has a long way to go to understand cats.

Although she's friendly with the cats, they get her excited. Feeding time for the cats also gets her excited, and she would love nothing more than to barge into that party. She sometimes barks at the cats to try to get them to play and it's a challenge then to turn her attention to something else.

We give Memphis periodic time in the library, which is gated, and also occasional sessions in her crate. The crate is a good time out for her. She doesn't see the cats and typically, she quickly goes to sleep. While I've been off work, I've also been leaving her alone in the library for periods of different lengths to get her used to the idea that she'll have to spend some time alone - which she will have to do when I go back to work.

Although we're making some progress with training sessions, it is very difficult for Memphis to focus when she gets excited. Also, sometimes she loses interest in training treats, so I think I have to up the ante to a treat she's willing to work for under most conditions.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Memphis makes friends with Roscoe

Rosco's a pup too, about the same age as Memphis.

Playing with Jacques

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fetch and targeting

Newfs are not supposed to be good at chasing balls and fetching them, but today I introduced tennis balls into our play. As long as I didn't throw the ball too hard or two far, Memphis would amble over, grab the ball and bring it back to me. At least she did for the first 5 or 6 throws. After that, she decided that chewing on a bark chip was more fun.

I also started teaching some targeting exercises. I have a dowel with some yellow tape at the end. She gets a click and a treat for touching it with her nose. Tomorrow, I'll see if she'll move three of four feet to touch the dowel. Targeting is the beginning behavior for shaping a number of behaviors.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Last chance to be a lap dog

With Rossi

Home Sweet Home

Memphis doesn't like to walk away from our house on her leash. She has a tendency to put the brakes on, lie down, roll over and refuse to move forward. Sometimes I can coax her forward and sometimes not. If I turn around and go back to the house, she's all happy and walks fine.

Yesterday, I drove her over to Sam Smith park, and without the smell and sight of our house around, she did much much better. We were walking around on the paths very well. Also, when I took her to the vet yesterday, she was walking very well, no issue.

I'm not sure what the right training strategy is. At ten weeks, she's still very young, and I don't want walking on the leash to be an unpleasant experience for her. Maybe I should keep working with her away from the house.

Suggestions from all you experts out there welcome.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Memphis weighed in at 16.9 lbs today, a gain of two pounds from last week.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Memphis is getting around...

Yesterday evening, Memphis was invited for dinner by her new friend Pookie. Today she visited our friend Jim at the nursing home where he lives. She had her first elevator ride and her first wheelchair ride. She met all sorts of residents and guests there, and was very friendly with everyone.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


A fellow we know has a 5 month old black newf named Rocky and an 12 year old beagle mix named Trixie. They came for a visit this afternoon. While they were all playing on the front lawn a neighbourhood dog named Eddie was out for a walk and stopped by with his companion. Then another neighbourhood dog named Riley, also out walking his companion, stopped for a visit. Memphis was having a great time with all the dogs around. Rocky and Trixie and Memphis played well together. The others, just passing by, stayed on leash.

Compared to Rocky, Memphis might be called Memphis Minnie! Rocky is over 50 pounds at five months, three times Memphis' size. On top of that, his hair is quite a bit longer, making him look even bigger. Memphis will catch up for a while but, being a female, will never be as big as Rocky is going to grow.

She finally figured out what to do with a kong

Following Dr. Ian Dunbar's advice, I wanted to encourage Memphis from early on to become a "chew-toy-aholic" using food-stuffed kong toys. The idea is that the kong gives the pup a challenge getting food, and keeps her happily occupied when we can't or don't want to give her our attention.

Then I watched LM give Batty a frozen kong... I think he had everything out of it and in his gullet in ten or fifteen minutes. Yikes!

My first attempts to introduce a kong to Memphis were mostly ignored. When I closed the big end with peanut butter, she licked it a bit but really she was disinterested. This morning I tried something different. I stuffed a liver treat in the small end, filled it with kibble mixed with a few treats and closed the big end with cat-food. My idea was that I could transfer Memphis' interest in the cat's breakfast to interest in chewing her own kong.

This was successful in that Memphis was indeed interested and happily chewed away at the kong in her crate. The downside was that she had it figured out and devoured in 8 minutes. I'll continue to give her fairly easy ones for a while, then I'll start making things a little more challenging with different ingredients and by freezing them.

Kong suggestions welcome.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Memphis and Jacques

Mealtime Challenge

Our cats get a combination of kibble and wet food. Memphis gets kibble. She likes her kibble fine, but to her, nothing is as savoury and tasty as some juicy canned cat food. It's even tastier if she gets to push a happily eating cat out of the way to steal it. Yes, that's our Memphis I'm talking about.

First I bring Memphis and her food and water out to the deck, and get her going. Then I feed the cats in the kitchen. While she works on her kibble, she develops top secret plans to infiltrate the cat food.

Once Memphis gets used to walking past the end of the property and she and I do a good walk every morning before she eats, I'm going to change the routine a little. I'll bring Memphis out to the deck, feed the cats in the kitchen, then take Memphis for a walk while the cats eat.

When we get back from the walk, Memphis will eat. That way she works for her food by doing the walk, and she isn't around to smell the catfood while they eat.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

beginning training

We're doing some training sessions each day in the back yard. Memphis is learning to walk beside me, to sit, and to sit when we stop walking. I started her off-leash, then introduced the leash, which she didn't like at first. She tried to carry it around with her. I introduced an intermediate step, with her dragging the leash but walking beside me, then I started walking her with the leash.

She's doing pretty well so far, but she still lacks the confidence to walk away from the house. She puts the brakes on and rolls over on her back. We'll tackle that a little at a time.

I'm using a clicker and treats by the way, and Memphis responds well to that approach in short sessions.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Memphis plays dead in the garden

Memphis thought jumping in my new garden and ripping apart the plants was the most hilarious game. After I chased her out of the garden about 200 times, she snuck back in, and rolled over on her back, and played dead, staying in that position for about twenty minutes while I carried on with my planting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Various kinds of worms are common with pups, even though they are de-wormed at the kennel. We brought a sample to the vets for her first visit yesterday. It turns out she has a parasite called hookworm. The vet had given us two pills for another round of de-worming at the visit. She's had one and she gets the other one in a week, and that should take care of the problem.

They both want the little piece of cardboard

Monday, May 4, 2009

with Jacques and in the cat bed


Here's Memphis with my brother's dog Scout. I was needlessly worried that Scout would play rough with Memphis (which we have to avoid while her bones develop). In fact Scout was very gentle and very friendly as well.

with Jerry

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Deck Stairs

Memphis figured out how to go down the deck stairs this stair at a time...

Memphis and the cats

Jacques and Shadow are both pretty relaxed around Memphis already. Rossi seems OK too. Spud and Delia are a bit freaked out by the new addition. Jerry has whacked the puppy upside the head a few times already to show who's boss.

The cats are allowed to do things like sleep on the furniture, which Memphis isn't allowed to do. We want her to get used to sleeping in the library, where we have a crate for her. Last night, she obviously missed cuddling with her litter-mates and missed us too, and she let us know by crying about it. I went down to see her a couple times during the night and took her outside to relieve herself. Of course she was wide awake and ready to play.

This morning, she's happily napping. I may go for one of those too!

Last night Memphis figured out how to climb the deck stairs, one at a time. Going down is another story altogether. She shows no interest in attempting that feat yet.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


It was a big day for Memphis today, and for us too. She was fine in the car - we stopped at my sister's on the way for a rest. She made some new friends, including Jacques, our young cat. Memphis wants to stay as close to us as possible, and now, in the last little while, she's passed out.

Friday, May 1, 2009

We bring Memphis home...

Saturday morning!