Thursday, August 20, 2015

Country Life

Country Life is so awesome that I never want to leave my house. I've always been a go, go, go type of person. I'm busy. All. The. Time. 

That urge to be busy has slowly been dwindling- but this move has popped that into overdrive. 

Im doing some serious thinking about how I can have a better life balance of work and real life. Cutting back a night of teaching is becoming a very real option. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


We moved to the country. It's the most amazing thing and the dogs and  I are completely at home after just a few days. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

CKC Agility Weekend

Leo competed in his second CKC agility trial last weekend. The first one was a year prior. He finished both Novice titles- jumpers and standard. 

Despite the Q's it was not a stellar weekend. We did four things a day. And only two out of eight runs actually felt good. The others we were not working as a team at all. He lacked enthusiasm even though I tried to cheer him on and rev him up. 

I think part of that is me still figuring out how much warm up, what type of warm up, and how to run him at a trial. But there is a big difference between Leo in training and Leo at a trial.  In training he is engaged and excited, quick, and drives for equipment. at a trial he is not that dog at all. He scans for stuff, trots between jumps and has barely any obstacle commitment. 

I haven't had a dog like that since the years of running kate, my shepherd. 

I don't think it's a confidence thing. I think it is a joy thing. In that he doesn't have excitement and joy for equipment and the game. He has excitement and joy for me, and the Toy. I need to work harder at bridging the two. So that the game becomes the joy and excitement. Not the reward at the end. 

It's safe to say we won't be trialing again anytime soon. I believe in listening to the dog. What the dog wants to do is more important than what I want to do. I do so much with my dogs that if it turns out that Leo doesn't like agility trials then we will just do something else. 

I have put together a training plan to help him learn about the fun of the game. It involves a lot of tunnels and aframes. His two favorite things. ;)

This dog training business is Always interesting! 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Wicca Update

Wicca continues to be most awesome.  She is doing pretty well and is just happy doing her thing. She still comes on walks- we just take our time. She still is bossy and sassy and likes to play. Her appetite is great, though she is having trouble keeping weight on. I'm switching her to raw after much persuasion from my friend Cindy. She loves it of course, but it's a pain in the ass. But anything for Wicca!!

She has definitely aged lately. It makes me sad a little. But she is still well and I am very thankful for that! I hope she continues to do so well! 

Wendy took her out last night to check out a location for a photo shoot. She took a ton of photos but here are my favorites!!

Monday, June 08, 2015

Brit- first Open try, and Excellent Rally

Entered Brit in Open for Saturday and she rocked it! She was happy and eager and had a great time. She anticipated the recall and walked the broad jump. So we failed but I was happy despite the errors! Such small things for her first time. The afternoon didn't go so well. She was worried and I ended up stopping mid heeling pattern to give her some support. She didn't really recover and we muddled through. 

Sunday I entered her in rally instead. Because of the melting Saturday, and the fact that I trial so rarely- I didn't want her last memory of the ring to be stressful. 

It was just the thing and we had a fantastic time. She earned a perfect score the first time and we had another 100 going until I mis-cued the moving stand and she dropped instead. Costing us 10 points. So a 90. My error, not hers! Now we need one more excellent leg for her title. She seems to really like rally so o think I may focus on that with her for a while.  Good ring exposure, without a ton of pressure. While we work on training for open. 

Thanks to Liz for the great photos of her open debut! They are great!

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Pixel CDX!!!!!!!

Pixel earned the last leg for her CDX today!!!!! I'm just so thrilled!

We have been struggling for a few years. Yea. Years. With the damn sit stays. Throw in the odd broad jump, or drop issue and well- you spend a lot of money on entries and do a lot of training. 

But finally. She got it. And I think actually understood she needed to stay in place. Her drop on recall was beautiful and she was happy and enthusiastic.

It was a crappy score though. Not gonna lie. Lol. She anticipated the finishes and dropped the dumbbell at my feet. Not even kidding. It's like they just make things up to mess with us. 

In any case am thrilled. Way to go Pixel! Super excited about utility!! We have some stuff trained. But have a ways to go! I'm looking forward to new challenges and failures though! ;)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


When it pays to have a friend who is a photographer! 

Wendy from Paws on the Run Photography needed a model for a new location. Brit was more than willing and the photos are gorgeous!!! 

Thanks Wendy!!


When it pays to have a friend who is a photographer! 

Wendy from Paws on the Run Photography needed a model for a new location. Brit was more than willing and the photos are gorgeous!!! 

Thanks Wendy!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Pro Novice

We headed to Stirling Acres Stockdog Trial this past weekend. The dogs and I were entered in Pro Novice for the first time. I went with the goal of getting around the course with Leo. 

A few friends and I booked a cabin right next door and it was fantastic. So much fun!! We had a great time together and it is hard to come back to reality after such a fun weekend. 

Brit surprised me and actually did the outrun on both runs!!! I was pretty surprised as she has not been working well for me lately. She did struggle with the drive but the second run we made it to the cross drive before she would not push them anymore. We will keep puttering away- she is not really a trial dog but as long as she is having fun...

Leo had a disappointing first run when he couldn't find his sheep. The field is very flat and was big. He didn't see them at all so I walked out to help him. He was surprised to see them out there... His second run was really really good though so it more than made up for it. 

We got a 76! Which is the highest score I think I've ever gotten. He had a beautiful outrun and fetch. And we only had a few bobbles on the drive. He took almost every stop and was very kind to his sheep. I'm very proud of him. And to make it even more awesome we placeD 5th in a class of over 30 dogs!!! It's an intimidating class- experienced people and dogs. But I was so done with the lower level classes. And we were ready for Pro Novice- which Leo proved. 

We have lots of things to work on before the next trial-flanks on whistles, hitting panels, and squaring out those inside flanks... Oh and driving. ;) 

All this comes at a great time as my Altapete friends have hit the road so I have the awesome job of farm sitting. Which means plenty of sheep time. Can't wait for the weekend!!

A photo of the score breakdown. And a photo of Leo by the talented Kristi. ;)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The road less travelled.

That would be me. 
Finding my own way. 
Doing my own thing. 
The hard way more often than not. 
It's interesting. 
And often overwhelming. 
Figuring myself out. 
One step at a time. 
There aren't words really. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New CD!!

Brit earned her CD this past weekend at the Camrose Dog Show. 

She needed two legs and came away with exactly that. :)

Her first day was definitely her best yet- 191.5 with 8 points off for missed sits!!!!!  
Regardless of the sits I just can't get enough of the video. I've watched it a few times. Lol

Second day she was a little more sloppy but still very enthusiastic. No signs of big stress and just having a great time in the ring. We got a 182... Lots of forging. And no sits. ;)

The third day she broke her sit stay. Which is unlike her. I wonder if her back was bugging her- which explains the no sits on the heeling as well. I'll post the video later so you can see. She tries to sit and then changes her mind. 

I am so proud of her though- she did just as well in the ring as she does in practice and that's a good feeling be chase I rarely get that with Princess Pixel. Lol. 

In fact Proncess Pixel failed all three times on that long sit. Once just as I was coming back!!! Which is a huge improvement. But I still can't help but be disappointed. We've been working very hard! More work is needed obviously. Lol. Despite that Pixel was very happy in the ring and we actually got the drop on Sunday too! Yay for hand signals! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

This Weirdo

This weirdo is entered in his first AAC Agility trial. I entered in him in one day of a March trial. This will be his first official trial.

 I am not sure what to expect really- he could be awesome, or he could be weird. lol.

 I ran him in a seminar this past weekend and he did really really well- for the first part of the day, and then his brain exploded and he was pretty much useless. I couldn't even get him to do the simplest of things.... It's kind of a crap shoot with him sometimes. 

But one day, four runs- and if he is fading then I'll pull him out of the last two, and we can go chase sheep instead in the afternoon. lol. All I'm looking for is him to be comfortable, stay focused, and have fun. We have some weave issues still. It's been suggested to retrain from scratch....

I am excited about the trial though- It's been a few years!!!! Since I've been to an AAC trial. It will be nice to see old friends again!  Fun times!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


The Cardigan girls.

I love this breed, and will probably always have one. They are tough, sassy, smart, and funny. All traits that I really like in a dog. Add in a little bitchy edge and they are darn near perfect. ;)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

This and That

Wicca is doing pretty good. I've messed around a bit with her supplements and have found a mix that seems to work. And I bought her these cool socks that have grips on them. So she is able to keep her feet under her better on my slippery floor. And she only hates them a little bit. I worry about her. Like all the time. But she's fine. Just getting old. Funny that Boone is the same age and hardly shows it at all. I certainly don't worry about him the same way I do Wicca!

I have been training the dogs a lot. Making time for my own dogs is priority lately. I cut back an actual class so I could train my own dogs and its working well.

Brit is really coming along and will be ready for Novice Obedience in Camrose in March. Leo is amazing in Obedience. I started working on his stand and the exam portion of that exercise. So far he's fairly relaxed and seems to understand the exercise. We have some work on the recall part to do though. I've discovered he doesn't know how to run to me. Which seems odd until I remember that I probably haven't taught him and he didn't know anything before I got him.

Pixel is learning nosework. She's a total rockstar. I've decided to teach an alert right from the beginning as it was frustrating with Wicca to figure out when she actually found it. So far it's working pretty well! In wish I had more time for this particular game!

Herding is great. Most times I work the dogs I leave the field happy with the progress we've made. Leo is making huge improvements with driving. He really gets it now and is happy to truck along behind his sheep. He understands a stop and steady whistle. I'm going to start flanks next week! Brit either does really well or terrible. Her outruns are nice in practice, but the top still is troublesome. She is like a bowling ball sometimes. Smashing into them. Lol. Both dogs had trouble with pushing into pressure at the last arena trial. So I've set that up a few times and Leo especially seems to understand a bit better. This herding game is a tough one!

Agility is awesome. I am happy to be training and running again. I even entered a trial! Although I have my doubts that we are ready. Leo is a strange dog sometimes and I wonder about his ability to focus and work in such an exciting environment. He can barely weave at the arena we train at. Lol. And not because he doesn't know how, but because his brain short circuits or something and he turns frantic and weird. But Sundog itself is wonderful and busy and everything I had hoped for. To celebrate our one month Cindy brought homemade baileys for everyone. It was pretty awesome.

Life itself is busy and hectic and a little sad sometimes. My mom is really unwell and seemingly unwilling to help herself. Its highly stressful and difficult. But we've got some help with her now and that's been a relief. There has been a lot of sadness this past week with friends and their pets. I always say that its hard to know and love so many. Thats that many more losses and heartache you feel. I wouldn't change it though. <3

Regardless of lifes ups and downs I keep on keeping busy and that's really what helps me to stay grounded and okay. I think that moving forward- even one step at a time is better than stopping to think too long, or feeling bad for yourself. I've seen it in real life and I'm determined that will not be my fate. So no matter how hard things are I find something good to think about and focus on. That gets me through just fine!

I have been debating leaving Facebook. I find the whole thing quite depressing and annoying. So much crap, so much bullying and negativity. It seems that people just whine and complain mostly, I have enough of that in my real life. Lol. I cut my friends list way down and am going to cut out some Business pages and stupid groups- maybe that will help me to be less annoyed. It's like an addiction though! I know people who say they are quitting and then five minutes later they are back. I figure it'll be easier to fade it out slowly. I've been posting less and less and am checking in way less too. We will see what happens.

And that's pretty much what's happening in my life. I've become a terrible blogger. I think in part because of all the crap- I hate being one of those people who complain or air their dirty laundry. I think that talking about the bad stuff gives it too much power. My gram always said if you didn't have anything nice to say then it was better to say nothing at all. She was a smart woman. <3

Monday, January 19, 2015

Scenthurdle Rockstars

Pixel especially is really very very good at this game. So good in fact I sent her to a race without me and she ran just fine with a team mate.

Brit is also pretty super! She's mostly accurate now and is pretty speedy too!

The CSHRA recently underwent some changes. Including issuing their own certificates! I got these in an email this morning.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

On Dog Training.

This past weekend I spent teaching a workshop on building drive and motivation for work, as well as competition obedience specific skills. It was a lot of fun- working with new dogs and people. Everyone was really great and I think came away with some new ideas.

I teach quite a lot- all different types of classes and levels. Although I don't consider myself a "people person," I do read people well. I can tell what they need to hear, and usually Can figure out a way to explain it in a way that they understand.

One thing that I do struggle to explain properly is how important it is to know your dog. How understanding your dogs behavior, is the first step before being able to actually teach them something. I think far too often we are just blindly trying to teach the dog stuff without considering the dogs mental ability and state. If the dog is stressed, worried, anxious, over-aroused, or bored will all make a difference in the dogs ability to learn and perform. Identifying it, and the reason behind it and then moving forward to a solution is Important.

Teaching our dogs to cope with stress, distractions, and failure shouldn't be avoided. Too often the first sign of failure and we either make it a big deal, or make it easy for the dog again. We are creating dogs who give up and have no try. There needs to be a happy medium. One where the effort may be acknowledged, but lets try it again. And maybe with a little change, or a bit of help. Backing up all the time to square one is not going to teach the dog how to get to step three.

Anyway. Just some random thinking. I talked about these things a fair amount this weekend- and I wonder if people were caught up in the skill part of the workshop and didn't really consider the other stuff. Maybe it should have been on a handout...

Next time I think I'll do that. So people can read and absorb on their own. Just like dogs, we don't all learn the same!

Monday, January 05, 2015

11 Years of Awesome

Wicca is 11 years old, and still as awesome as ever. Her attitude, personality, and zest for life have never slowed down. Physically she is very much an old dog now, but mentally she is as sharp as ever. We have done a lot of really cool stuff in her 11 years. Everything I asked of her she did with all her heart. Happy Birthday to the best dog ever, and the keeper of my heart. 

<3 ya Woo.

Friday, January 02, 2015

More adventure and less procrastination.

Wow. January 2nd already.

2014 was busy. I did lots of awesome stuff. I did some not so awesome stuff. I worked a lot. I worked hard. I had fun. I made time for family. For friends. I loved my dogs. I did stuff that I thought I couldn't. And I went to some cool places. I had lots of personal growth and triumph. It was mostly a great year.

2015 will likely look a lot like 2014. I have some awesome adventures planned. I plan to work hard so I can play hard. I plan to make time for my family, and spend fun times with friends.

I also plan to procrastinate less. I would say that is my worst trait. So I'm going to work on that.

Without a doubt there will be hardship and struggle, but as always I'll figure out how to cope and recover and move on. Life is so short- and full of surprises. Good and bad. It's important to roll with punches and not get stuck getting beat up all of the time, or get caught up in fighting back. Literally, or figuratively. ;)

And I will enjoy and celebrate the good stuff. No matter how small. Because in my life there is a lot of good. I'm lucky to have a family and friends and a job and opportunity and my dogs. I keep myself centered by thinking of all those things. Because that's the important stuff.

So bring it on 2015. We are ready for ya!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Greetings

A day late. But still heartfelt. I hope that all my friends, family, and strangers ;) who read this blog had a wonderful Christmas full of love, laughter, family and friends. I know I did. <3