Katya Growing

Katya in a Sun Beam

This photo is my new desktop, an update from this one which I’ve been running with for a good long while. Our ‘new‘ puppy Katya, who appeared in previous post deserves a photo of her own. When I came in from chores with her tagging along behind she went over and laid down in the sun spot by the wood stove at the center of our cottage. As I disrobed from my outdoor winter work suit I caught her looking up at something out the front windows. It was a pose that showed her off most beautifully.

Her mother Lili is my brown eyed girl, almost gold, but Katya’s eyes are beginning to turn into rainbows that range from dark brown through tan, gold, green and yellow like Kavi‘s eyes although she is more robust like her aunt Kita. Katya is starting to lose her puppy curls as her courser guard hair coat comes in. Her paws are also huge and she uses them to grab things, and me. Another interesting change as she ages is that she is gaining a silver to her face which is just noticeable in the photo above at her temples. These are silver tips to the guard hairs on her face.

We’re working out language structure both ways along with her livestock guarding and herding training. I had previously not tried hard training this early so this is very interesting. With only one puppy things happen a little differently than with a big litter bouncing at my feet. She learns a great deal from the other dogs and we have now had one instance where they learned something from her. I had taught Katya a new command. The adult dogs got quite jealous that Katya was getting attention and honed in on the activity picking up the command and multi-step sequence from watching Katya perform it. An interesting reversal of the usual training.

One of her favorite fun tasks is when we come in to the cottage from working. I take off my boots and she then insists on taking off my socks. If I get distracted and start doing something else or take too long she’ll bite my ankles trying to get me to lift my feet so she can grab the sock by the toe, how she was taught to pull it off my foot. Once she gets it off she parades around the room with it and then gives it to me to hang up. Then she goes for the other sock – best I cooperate!

This might sound like a silly little game but it actually teaches several different commands and behaviors including take, gentle, bring, drop, object naming and sequencing. Not all dogs understand objects, nouns and verbs. Some have more inclination than others and there are definitely key phases. Getting this training in early is key to maximizing their language and potential but I don’t expect her to do full work for a long time as she still has a lot of growing up to do.

A key to training is getting their attention and establishing communications. Rather like with people. After that, train early, train often and train variety. On the flip side, you can train an old dog new tricks, as Kita and Molly proved – everything else still applies.

Outdoors: 32째F/19째F Mostly Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65째F/61째F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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15 Responses to Katya Growing

  1. Mary Ricksen says:

    You're such a good daddy. What a great dog. Is there wolf in the dogs?
    They are such intelligent animals. I talk to my dog and he appears to understand. It does take time to develop a relationship like that.

  2. My Lord ~ she's a big girl! And only 5 months old~! Thanks for taking the time to make her "Blog worthy" with her own post. :)

    It's amazing how much pups learn just by watching and mirroring. We train new lead dogs by using older, experienced leaders. And of course, they hear Gee and Haw from early on so the commands aren't new to them once pulling a dog sled.

    She's beautiful Walter ~ looking forward to more pictures soon.

  3. Sara says:

    Awww she gorgeous! It is clear she got both brains and beauty! I have a quick training question for you. I have a pup (1 1/2 yrs.) that does not listen at all? As soon as we take her off the leash (12 foot) she is a yellow blur! I'm kinda against using shock collars do you have any tips? We have tried treats, praise and scolding but nothing works. Both her parents listen well when out in the backyard (2 acres) we have also tried using them to show her how to behave but that doesn't work. I have tied her to a VERY well behaved Lab but some how she talks him into going with her to the swamps. So we have to keep her chained or on a leash because of the danger of other near by dogs (Rottweilers,Pitt bulls and Saint Barnards who are not the least bit friendly) and the old grumpy hunter that would gladly put a bullet in her. Any advice would be helpful…I fear a shock collar will soon be a purchase.
    Thank you
    Fellow dog lover ^.^

  4. Sara,

    I was against using the remote collars too until I had a dog come back to us after the people who had it had left it tied all the time and given it no training. She wanted to work with our others. She wanted to work with me. But just like you describe, she would blur to the horizon and couldn't focus her attention. I've been training dogs for decades and couldn't get her to focus.

    I finally, in desperation, bought the remote collar. First I tested it on myself – no worse than a mild electric fence zap, something I hit all the time.[1, 2] The remote worked perfectly. It instantly got her attention and from there she trained up quickly. It saved her life and made it so she didn't have to always be on lead. Kita went from always on a restraint to a free roaming top notch farm livestock guardian and herding dog. Read about her story at "Killer Kita – Training the Untrainable."



  5. Gail in Montana says:

    Wow, Walter, what a beautiful puppy!!!! You are a very good dog trainer, amongst all the other things you do. Katya is growing into a fine young lady. Glad you are such a good "daddy". That's what we call each other when referring us to our dogs. They know what it means. When Dad says "mamma's home", they are at the door waiting and vice versa. Thanks for sharing Katya's growing up year so far with us!! :-)

  6. Holly ? Are you drawing Katya yet ? She is begging for a portrait. Those eyes, those eyes…those EYES.

  7. Mellifera says:

    Golly gee, with all that extra puppy fur she's got the "chubby little toddler" thing down cold.

  8. An interesting deceptive thing about Katya's size is that the fur on her body is the same length as the fur on the adult dogs who are far bigger than her in total size. Katya's extremely long body fur makes her look bigger than she is. The adult dogs are lean, trim running and jumping athletes. When she's full grown she'll be just like them and they were just like her when they were pups.

  9. Sara says:

    Thanks Walter! I read the Kita post and it sounds just like Peanut! Well not the killing part she is scared of my sisters indoor cats. Anyhow not what I really wanted to hear but I knew that was the answer all along. Just in denial I guess. Well then I'm off to do some reading on how to train with a shock collar. Are there any tips or reading you can suggest? What collar do you recommend? I appreciate all your help! I will let you know how it goes.

  10. Sandy says:

    Gosh i just love her colors. Your dogs look so alert and intelligent! I wish I could have a big dog. They just dont work in my current situation but that WILL change. I will make it change. Wish I was closer and could get a pup from you!

  11. Sara,

    After a lot of research I got the "DT Systems Radio Training Collar EZT plus." I do not know if that would still be the best choice. There are additional features I would like to have such as a mode where it acts as an invisible wireless fence with a dialable distance up to 1000'. It would also be nice if it had a walkie-talkie on it so I could talk to the dog at a couple of mile distance when we're working together so it would be useful after I no longer need its primary function.

    I found that I only used the shocks a few times. After that the vibrate setting, which does work at a very long distance, was all that was needed and was very useful for training. I also do voice, hand signs, whistles and clicks (tongue) training. Those are what I had used for years until Kita needed something more.

    When ten year old Molly, "The Good News Dog", came to use last year she was in dire need of training. With only two uses of the collar she was paying attention and in a few short months she was a free dog.



  12. holly says:

    Donna she would be a beautiful one to draw and I love drawing eyes. But it takes a certain kind of time available for me to get into a drawing portraits mode. Maybe after the butcher shop is up and running. I do go in fits and spurts. I confess that Hope was three before I finally finished a portrait of her. So many beautiful faces….

  13. Jerry says:

    Another inspirational post and another skill I must learn. Growing up, our dogs were never really trained beyond a very few commands and the inherent herding skill natural in border collies. As such, I never really learned how to train a working dog. My sister has brought a lab puppy out to the farm now though and I have been trying to train her somewhat, she must learn to co-exist with other animals and gardens and such. Luckily she is very intelligent or, with my very slight knowledge picked up online and other places, all would be lost. Making it extra difficult is that I am not there regularly and that she is "my sister's dog".

    Anyway, I appreciate the chance to learn and see how your beautiful dogs work. Thank you.

  14. alyssa says:

    It seems the dogs have a job to do, and that’s great! But why is she so hugely obese? That puts a lot more pressure on her joints and is shortening her lifespan.

    • Katya had white muscle disease, a lack of selenium, as a puppy. I had taken her to the vet who completely missed the diagnosis. This causes her skeleton to grow very differently giving her a barrel shape unlike the other dogs and twisting her leg bones. It is not reversible. It makes her look fat but it is her skeletal structure that is so off. Since she can’t be as physical as the other dogs she puts her focus into more cerebral things. Perhaps that’s why she was reading the paper.

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