Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Pixel Update

Pixel is all of a sudden not the baby. I mean, she hasn't been the youngest dog for a few years now- but she was always "the baby." Her maturity level was comparable to a two year old. But in the past few months she has really just come into herself. She actually seeks out attention, and has taken to sleeping on the bed! She has never been a touchy-feely sort of dog so it is an interesting change!

Her off and on again limp is off and on, always that same damn shoulder. So it's hard to train for Utility because she can't heel, or jump... We've been working on signals, and go outs, and articles though. Those she can do even if she's a bit gimpy. I'm hoping that by spring we will be ready to give it a go! She is quite good at what we can work on- finally we've got the moving stand sorted, and paying attention during signals. Progress!

She is loving country life, she's been running a lot and is probably the fittest she has ever been. Though she is a little chunky again all of a sudden! I hate seeing fat corgis, so the weight is on it's way off right away!

Monday, October 05, 2015

Wicca Update

Everyday I look at her and see more grey, more wisdom, and more of my heart. 

I cannot explain how much I love this dog. She has lots of good days- days of running around the yard, killing squeakers, bossing the other dogs, protesting when it's not her turn. And then she has bad days- limping, stiff and sore, not bothering to get up and police the other dogs, days where she just soaks up the sun in total old dog peace. Those days make me sad, but also grateful to get to enjoy her in her olddog ways. 

She needs an adjustment- I have to find the time to get her to Calgary in the next week or so. She's got something out in her neck. The limp is in her right shoulder but it's definitely coming from her neck. For now she is on antiinflammatories, robaxin, and Pepcid for her tummy.  She is also reverse sneezing once in a while, and I think is breathing heavier too sometimes. I had her at the vet a few weeks ago when the shoulder/neck thing happened. But that was just for that- so I think I'll book a check up. Maybe some blood. It'll either make me feel better or give me more to worry about. 

Oh to have an old dog who actually is an old dog. She's my first really. Kate, my shepherd didn't age until she died. Really.   My other dogs died young. It's hard to watch this slowly getting old. I have had to really work at changing my mind set- instead of focusing on the getting old and omg she's going to die one day soon- I'm trying to appreciate her old dog ways. It's helped a bit. ;)

Vito Update

Vito is his usual self. Lazy and Grumpy with a hint if humour. :)

He is going to be 9 years old next month- hard to believe! He hasn't changed much at all. I will say his energy level has increased since we moved to the country. He delights in chasing the cats, and running up and down the hills on our walks, playing with my nephew, and rolling in fresh horse shit. It's every dogs dream really. ;)

We did have a bit of health scare a few months ago- he was losing weight and was lethargic. The vet ran a full blood panel, but couldn't find anything. He's back to normal though so not sure what that was about. In fact he's put all that weight back on. lol

Hopefully he remains just the same as always for many more years! 

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Leo Update

I've been a bad blogger. Life is so busy, and crazy, that finding the time to sit down at the computer for non-work related stuff just doesn't seem to happen anymore.

But- I am feeling motivated to get back at it. I miss blogging, and already have found that twice I could have used the ability to look back at what I did with the dogs... I have a terrible memory- so use my blog all the time to find out about how the last trial went, or what we worked on, or where they are at.

So- back to blogging. It would be sad to not have record of Siren's puppyhood! And like I said I need it to keep my life organised. ;)

Leo's Update first, mostly because he's the only one I have recent photos of. ;)

Since the agility trial at the beginning of the summer we haven't done anything else except for herding. I did this for a few reasons. 
Herding is his passion- it is what he loves the most, and what I love doing with him the most.
But mostly, the other training was messing up some herding stuff! He doesn't seem to transfer very well from thing to thing. Obedience to Agility, or even Agility to Herding. He is a very literal dog and there was much confusion about what was expected of him. So back to keeping it simple. I think that he is happier this way. Don't get me wrong we still play with toys, and he sleeps on the couch, and is a total suck. But I'm not actively training him for obedience or agility right now.

I am going to start back little bits of agility with him this fall- but if I start seeing issues pop up with the herding stuff again then we may just not!

He is doing really well on sheep. His driving is almost *there,* and we are this >< close to having whistles. I have to fix my Come Bye whistle as the start sounds the same as the stop. We didn't get a chance to trial much this year- but we sure trained a lot! He ran Pro Novice all season and we did manage to get around the field a few times with mostly numbers and not letters. ;)  I am hoping that by the end of next year we will be in Open. He has a great outrun, so it's really just going to be stretching things out, and learning to shed.

Here he is with his beloved Jolly Ball. He LOVES it... a lot.

Tomorrow a Wicca update. :)

Friday, October 02, 2015

Playing With Fire

During one of the conversations with the breeder of the puppy we were talking about names. I had always wanted a terrier called Temper. I mean, how fitting! But as I contemplated the name I said that might be playing with fire. Immediately the breeder loved it- and so began the search for a name that went with the "fire" theme. The Dam's name is Flaire, as in Solar Flaire- so it kind of goes with that too.

Names are hard. I will be the first to admit that I have this HUGE list on my phone, and not one of those names seemed suitable for this puppy. I stumbled across Siren when I made a list of all the fire related words I could think of. As soon as I saw it I loved it. Putting it to use, and actually saying it was a little tricky at first. The R doesn't roll of the tongue very easily, but the name suits her and I love the strength it has.

And so- Introducing Siren.
The puppy with a big voice, and an even bigger personality. ;)

Thursday, October 01, 2015

A terrier!??!

The rumors are true.  I got another dog- and this time a terrier of all things! 

Specifically a Parson Russell Terrier. Think Jack Russell, but CKC registered... 

I've been asked about a million times why a terrier and I've only had the puppy for one day. So I figured it would be a good blog post. ;)

I needed another sport dog. Something small, playful/active and structurally sound to play the games I like to play. And I needed another sport dog because although I have six dogs- I'm almost out of dogs! Leo is focusing purely on herding right one. One thing in his brain at a time, Brit and Pixel are doing Obedience and everyone else is asleep on the couch...

So onto the criteria! 

Small size was important because I already had six dogs... that is a lot of dogs in one house. Also I don't want a mini van... 

I wanted a dog that was playful and active and wasn't what I call "soft." A dog who could work through a little pressure and still keep a good attitude. 

And structurally sound was a biggie. I have had exactly zero luck when it comes to Corgis. It was definitely time for something a little different. 

I've always admired and loved Terriers. The tenacity, the attitude, the feisty personality- all are traits that I enjoy. I've been around Jacks since the good old days when a friend and I would trek to the terrier trials and I'd judge obedience or whatever. It was like a whole other world! 

I wasn't set on a Parson right away though. I've been looking around for quite a few months now. 

Rescues always have cute little  scruffy dogs but nothing that didn't have a lot of baggage (and while I'm definitely pro rescue, I wanted a dog with no issues this time around.) I did find a cute little dog at a city shelter but by the time I got there to see him he was adopted. 

I actually considered a Sheltie. I met a wonderful breeder who has great little shelties. Fabulous temperaments, drive, and of course super cute! But realistically a sheltie wouldn't suit my personality. Too sensitive, which is my main complaint with the border collies! 

I also looked into Staffordshire Bull Terriers- but the bulk makes up for the height and that was just a bit bigger than I wanted. Smooth Fox Terriers also were considered but after talking to a few breeders and watching online videos I decided that the breed was a bit too severe for me look wise. 

That left me looking at Jack Russell's. Which then led me to the Parson! I do a fair amount of CKC sports so it was important to me that it be registerable. Jacks aren't officially part of the CKC, which is what led me to look at a Parson. I don't know really what the differences are. Parsons are bred for conformation mostly, and all have rough or broken coats. They also tend to be a little slighter in my own research. Jacks are bred almost purely for terrier stuff- so are typically a little more fired up and seemto be more variable size and look wise too. I wasn't bothered either way and looked into both. 

It so happens that there is a local-ish Parson breeder who was more than happy to talk to me about health, temperament, and what her ideal terrier is. She does a lot of conformation so her dogs are structurally correct, but also does a ton of earth dog stuff. I was impressed with the temperaments of her dogs- outgoing, pushy, and smart but not off the wall crazy. They have true terrier instincts but also have a chill out button. Or so I'm told. She also is very anal about health testing- which is important to me!

Of course visiting a litter after the were born totally sold me. Hook, Line and Sinker. I'm a total sucker. I mean they were pretty darn cute! I told the breeder what I wanted in a dog and as the puppies grew and the personalities emerged she was able to tell me which one would suit me. Thankfully it was a cute one. ;) 

So. Here she is. In all her terrier badness and cuteness! So far she's a total spitfire and has taken her first day in stride. She's met all the dogs and the cats and pretty much is being adorable. 

I haven't decided on a name yet. Maybe tomorrow. ;)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

California or Bust

Tomorrow I leave for vacation!!! I'm super duper excited. 

1) ten days of freedom from work and responsibilities. (I'm really really looking forward to not checking email!)

2) going somewhere I've never been! Northern California. 18 hours drive- and it's gonna be so much fun! 

3) the national finals!!!! border collies everywhere. Fantastic handlers, a huge field. This is a big deal. And although I'm not competing, I can't wait to get there! 

4) some one on one time with leo. Our working relationship is really great lately. I've been focusing on herding exclusively all summer and it's really made a difference. He's going to come along on the trip and just hang out with me. 

5) shopping! I hear there's some good vendors at the finals. 

6) touristing! Well, as much as Louanne will let me. Lol

7) meeting Internet people! Facebook friends and such that I've never actually met. 

8) and when I get back i get a puppy!!  More on that later. ;)

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. ;)