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Amber's Update - 14.04.2015

Amber's compilation 2014

It's been awhile since we updated on Amber, there isn't a lot of new things to share about but we'll try our best to list as much as we can. Amber is going to be 4 years old this December, she is very healthy at the moment but we do expect small issues to appear as she age. This girl is still active, very active I must say, not to be surprised because she is a high energy dog, she also tries her luck to test us out from time to time, for example, sometimes she would purposely walk in front during off leash and run back to our sides without any correction, she would also attempt to crawl to strangers when asked to stay, though not always but we still have to be firm and let her know that we are still watching! Well it's really funny when we think about it, but one thing we will not forget is to never let feelings take over our action during training, knowing that doing so is selfish and does not benefit her in any ways, we do however talk to one another and laugh it off at the end of the day.

Commands and Tricks
We are now advancing Amber's "Left" command, this is a command to have her stay on our left when asked to, she has the tendency to move away or fidget when there are other dogs walking beside her, Amber is very sensitive and she does not like anyone to touch her during walks, especially her back (she has tail sensitivity). After about 1 month of practice, Amber will now move back into our preferred position when asked to, she does try to move away at times but it is much better already, we do not want to rush this as we know that this is not her choice, she is just sensitive due to her docked tail. We are also deciding whether or not to start training her to walk on the right, this although won't benefit much for her, could help us if we have a lot of dogs that prefers to walk on the left, hence knowing the "Right" command could make our lives easier.
Advancing "Left": 70% 

We are brushing up on Amber's "Gong Xi" trick, which is to move both her arms up and down, as if she is begging for Ang Pao (red packet)! This had been going on and off for about a year as we do not practice a lot, she is always rushing her arms, almost looked like she wants to hit someone instead of begging! Another trick is to have her touch the bell, we call it "Ring ring", this is much easier and we have only started about a month ago, she is about 50% there.
"Gong Xi" : 60%
"RingRing" : 50%

"Reverse" is a trick to have Amber move backwards, she is getting there but misses the idea at times.

Amber's "Crawl" is getting better, she used to speed up her crawl like a crazy women, slamming her hands onto the floor as she crawls, now she can do it slower.

Well overall we want her to take her own pace for things that are not important, all we aim for is to let her have fun and learn new things.

Amber is having Orijen Six Fish now, throughout her life we have tried:

Taste of the wild
She is okay with this brand, but it's not her favorite, became picky just as she was about to go for spaying. We had no choice during the healing process and added a little toppings like cottage cheese, treats or addiction dehydrated food.

After she was healed, Amber tried her luck again, spitting out kibbles topped up with cheese, eating just the nice parts and skipped her kibbles. We started to be strict and trained her to eat properly, she was back to normal after awhile.

Wellness core
Wellness core is the quality version of the standard Wellness kibbles, we let Amber try for a couple of weeks before deeming it unsuitable, it was just too big in size for her, taking 10 seconds to chew one kibble was too uncomfortable.

Orijen is one of the best brand for kibbles out there, high in meat protein, which is a necessity for dogs. Amber loved it a lot and started to gain weight after having this, however her stools started to smell and got sticky once in awhile, this was also when she started to have mistakes in housebreaking, to prevent herself from stepping onto her poo, she would walk while doing business, walking out and having some of them beside her pee tray. This became a sort of a habit but we cannot really blame her, we shouldn't blame a housebroken dog for not wanting to step on their poo, as long as there is intention to do business on the tray, they cannot get smarter than that, some male dogs might also step on the tray but pee on the floor, they just do not know and cannot aim properly. Other than that Amber seemed to be healthier and stronger on Orijen six fish, her eyes even looked clearer, she does have natural sparkling eyes by the way.

Merrick is another good brand, not only high protein but also good carbohydrates, they use sweet potatoes for that, there are also lots of choices to alternate from, once a small pack finishes we would change to another flavor for Amber to eat. Dogs should take different meats from time to time, if the brand of food has limitation on flavors, like Orijen which only has 2 (chicken and fish), you will need to feed other meats in the form of treats, this provides them with different nutrition available from different meats.

Amber had no trouble finishing Merrick kibbles, however we could see that she wasn't as interested in her food compared to Orijen, hence we changed back to this Orijen after 5 months of Merrick. We would never allow her to be picky, but if there are better options we would not hesitate to change and have a small trial to compare the difference, the key not to make a dog picky is to only change when it isn't skipping meals, never change your dog's food just because it isn't eating, rather train it to eat the current food first, then change for a surprise, the dog will then learn to cherish it's new food. Of course if medical conditions arise then there is no choice but to provide alternative and put training aside temporarily, otherwise it is always a must to be firm for the sake of your dog's future, nobody wants a dog that hates all the food in the world.

We have decided to let Amber try K9 Natural Freeze Dried food after the current Orijen pack finishes, we would like to see if her digestion gets better. Though K9 is 2 times more expensive than Orijen, it would be great if this is a perfect food for Amber, to us a perfect food should be tasty for the individual dog (does not apply to picky, spoiled dogs), the meat content (protein) should be high, fruits/veggies should not exceed 20%, stools should be minimal and relatively firm, a perfect food is a very subjective term, one that is suitable for one dog might not be suitable for others, owners should make slow transitions to see which one fits their dogs best. After all it's been 3 years and we still haven't found a perfect food for Amber, though most of them almost made the list.

Behavior issues
If you read Amber's previous update (here), she had a little barking problem due to the change in her roles - she is now looking over the other dogs and learning to help change their behaviors, this resulted in her having some guarding issues, she would make a soft bark, 1-2 times when strangers knock on the door. We have trained her on this and the barking is gone, however she is starting to whine for attention now, whenever strangers come by she would start her soft whines, she wants to interact with them, from young we had brought her to meet many people and dogs, hence she is too friendly and wishes to meet every single one of them, this in return causes her to be excited when there's people, to add on with people that touches her even when we mentioned that she is undergoing training, it kind of slowed her progress down, we are now working to reduce the friendliness instead.

Other than that, she does not seem to have anything else to be corrected of at this point of time, but we strive to improve her even further. Dog training never ends, there is no perfect dog in this world just as there isn't such thing as a perfect human being, everyone has their strengths and flaws, we learn to keep the strengths and work on the flaws. As long as there isn't any major issues, it is perfectly fine to work slowly to polish up your dog's skills!

As you may see from the photos, we like to apply fashion that is safe and comfortable for Amber, her looks are constantly changing and we enjoy seeing her in different styles. Because of her docked tail, she is sensitive to clothes, so we rarely put her in clothing anymore, unless it's for photo taking. Shoes are not needed anymore, we are happy to say that our new estate is very clean, not much rubbish or dangerous objects seen, we don't walk Amber on grasses and it is okay for us.

Amber's hair is now kept long, our current groomer told us that her head and fringe was styled wrongly by previous groomers, will have to wait for them to regrow again before we can have her in full hair length, we would like to have her in a more feminine style to suit her age, to tie her hair with different pins and ribbons, just for 1-2 years. Maybe one day we might just have her in puppy cut again!


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