Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I am a confessed collar addict...really. My dogs have many, many collars. (too many to count) Yesterday, I added more to the collection. These collars will become their everyday, normal collars. I actually got tags to put on them. Can you beleive it!!! My dogs rarely wear collars, but am becoming a bit paranoid about them one day getting out. Our animal shelter here is pretty stupid so I'd hate for them to be picked up without tags. I actually had a nightmare about that the other day.
So- on to my selections:
For Sam- New Wave pattern, looks amazing and matches his wild personality.
For Wicca- Jelly Roll, I was concerned that it would be too girly but it looks great. I have never had her in purple before.

For Vito- Silverado, He looks very dashing and the sparkles stand out on him....fancy shmancy!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fun at the Farm

My friend Natalie has been looking after her inlaws farm and horses while they are away. I went with her a few times last week and was amazed at how beautiful it is down there. Today I brought the dogs- and a camera!!!

I have a few more really good ones that I will post tomorrow...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bugs 'N Obedience

Today was a pretty busy day!
This morning we went to an Obedience funmatch where Wicca and I entered Open. She was such a good girl! Her heeling was great and there was no weirdness on the recall at all. She did everything perfectly until we got to broad jump. Ugh. She walked over it, and even when I set her back up to try again she still was hesitant...So- more broad jump work is needed apparently :o)
I pulled her from long sits and downs as I thought the distraction was more than she could handle. (the conformation people had started to arrive and were being of course rude) I was pretty happy with her overall performance and have some things to work on.

We had our 1st Annual Howl-oween Party at work in the afternoon and it was lots of fun. We had a Parade of Costumes, followed by judging- some of the costumes were awesome! We played Musical Mats, and Weiner Dunking. We had also set up a "Photo Booth" of sorts- where people could get their dogs pics taken. Of course I had to get some of Wicca and Vito. They were very cute- but very unhappy!

Sam stayed home, but he does have a costume, I will try and get a picture of him before Wednesday!

You can see more pictures of the Bugs on my Photobucket site and more pictures of the whole Howloween Event at the POTR Flickr Site...There are some GREAT costumes- totally worth checking out...


Wicca and Vito got all dressed up today for a Howl-oween Party.....More details of the day to come!

Friday, October 26, 2007

How Perfect...and Unusual

I think it is really neat that when you name your dog generally the dogs personality becomes perfect for the name. I know some really cool dogs and it always amazes me how well they suit their name. Now, I know some other really cool dogs with pretty ridiculous names but mostly I blame that on their owners bad choice. :o)

Take the name Wicca. What do you think of when you hear the name. I think a witch, intense, and fast. How would you describe my dog- a witch, intense, and fast. :o) See?!

What about Sam. He came named, and I couldn't think of anything. I know, lame. But what do you do. So- Sam is a happy name, one that I attribute to retrievers mostly..and well, Sam is very retriever like sometimes. This dog has a serious case of ADD.....

And little Vito. Initially Vito was named after Danny Devito But later on we discovered (well, sarah actually) that Vito is very much a Mobster name...And well, Vito does think he rules the world. He can be a bully and has no problem bossing other dogs around....he is also suspicious and doesn't trust a lot of people...perfect eh?

I have friends dogs too- that for the weirdest reason their names are perfect...

Coulee- I had never met a dog named Coulee before. And I had never met a dog quite like Coulee before. She is a Golden Retriever/Border Collie cross who is exactly what you would think that cross would be like. Hyper, Energetic, and well, Active. She is the color of the Coulees in the fall, and has wild hair, and fuzzy toes. Her name suits her...it's quite amazing really...

And then there is McKeely- I had never heard the name for a dog before and I will admit that I was skeptical at first. But wow- does her name ever fit. Mckeely is a Weimeraner. She is a girly dog, but not really. Kind of like her name- it is definitely feminine, but not girly. Mckeely is an active dog and was named after a Tennis player or something like that...for whatever reason it works!

And my last Unusual but Perfect name-
Perkins- he is a miniature dachsie who is undeniably just Perkins. He was named after a device for hearing impaired people, and again for some reason is an amazing name. Perkins is Mr.Personality. This dog is happy, happy and loves most people. Everyone knows who Perki is and of course he is adored wherever he goes

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Agility 101

I am starting to work with Vito a bit more seriously (a bit, not a lot) and thought it would be fun to blog about some of the things I am doing with him.


The most important thing for any dog- and especially a dog like Vito is building up a motivator. In Vito's case he loves the tug 'n treat, aswell as a long furry purple tug like thing. He has been a hard to dog to motivate so I am thrilled that now he will tug almost anywhere- we do lots of fun warm up games to get his brain working, and to increase the excitement of the training- so sit, down, throw the toy; down, sit, stand, tug the toy etc. etc.


Even though I am not going to keep a 2on2off I do want to teach it- I want him to learn independant contact behaviour so that I do not have to be there with him. Also- I want to have f-a-s-t contacts- so it is quite a complicated thing at this point as I mostly want fast- not accurate. So- I am racing him- I have a target on the bottom, loaded with goodies I might add, I hold him back get him pumped and if I get there before he does I get the cookies! The nice thing about this is that with the target there he isn't jumping off-which is what I was getting when I was racing him without the target. I am teaching his actual bottom behaviour on a contact trainer. Using a clear target- asking for a nose touch in a traditional 2on2off stance. This is coming along well, but not great as he tends to sit...I am also continueing on with the happiest place which has made the most impact on him. He loves this game and I think that this is what is actually helping him to understand what I want. The teeter is his best piece of equipment at this point. I started doing teeter games with him months ago so this dog LOVES the teeter. He gets on, runs to the end, and rides it down- exactly what I want.


He is jumping 6" and knows how to find a jump, will go out to a jump, and is learning jump patterns. He can succesfully complete a pin wheel on his own, as well as a serpentine. We have just started threadles and 270's. I am trying to do a lot of jump work- as I do not need another bar knocker. We have a goodie container with PB or canned food that he gets when we do jump games. I want him to think that jumps have the most value.


He can follow a front cross, and a rear cross on the flat. We are using tunnels to teach rear crosses on a jump and he has front crosses down pat. I think that he is the dog that I will have to be doing front crosses- alot. With Wicca and Sam I tend to use a lot of rears- mostly because I am always behind them! With V I think that I will be using front crosses to keep him moving and paying attention.

Weave Poles:

I have been teaching him entries- just with two poles and clicking. And that is about as far as I have got so far with weaves. I will be using gates to teach them, but am not in any hurry.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Howloween Trial

Just a quick post on some weekend news. I will post more tomorrow.

Mas. Gamblers
- Wicca was wild- a little out of control. Stuck contacts- except teeter! I forgot and didn't tell her to. Aaaah! Didn't get the gamble- it was super hard and only a few people got it
Adv Std 1
- Good run, awesome contacts. Wicca was responsive and listening well. We had a knocked bar and an off course
Adv Std 2
- Great run! It felt amazing. The course was very difficult and required quite a bit of handling. But we managed well and only had one knocked bar!!!
Adv Jumpers
- Awesome run. it felt smooth and not frantic at all. She handled well and didn't knock a single bar! Go Wiccie Go!

What can I say but amazing. We were clean and ran it in 32. seconds. No bars, no flubs. Woohoo!
Std 3
Fun! Wicca did great and nailed her weave pole entry, her contacts were great and I was super proud of her. What a good girl! One knocked bar
- I got to run twice and it was very fun.
Run #1/Side 1/with Jaz - wicca handled well but didn't commit to a jump and we earned a refusal- Jaz was clean
Run #2/Side 2/with Gyp - wicca was awesome, but missed her weave entry- earning us again, a refusal. Gyppie was clean :o)

and, as I mentioned in my previous post Wicca and I are taking a Snooker break. We will be working on this over the winter and hope to be back in the snooker ring in the spring!

Oh- and Sarah and I won the Team Costume contest- as Bugs (the dogs) and Bug Catchers! It was very fun and they were very cute!

I was very impressed with how well Wicca ran this weekend. We accomplished everything on my list of goals and I am very satisfied with our weekend. She had amazing weave poles- we only messed up one weave entry (on team of course) She had great contacts and I really pushed her limits on them. I did notice that when I take her leash off at the line she scoots forward a bit- hoping I don't notice I guess? Something that I will have to work on I suppose.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Breed Quirks

So I was thinking last night (while observing dogs in my classes) about all the different "quirks" or traits that we assign to a dog- based purely on breed or group. Now of course these are all generalized as there are always exceptions. But for the most part I think that my observations are fairly accurate

Retrievers- labs, goldens, flatcoats
They are ALL goofy- some more than others (particularily if you're a flatcoat) They generally are easy to train- but it is important that they learn to think even with an obvious reward...

Toy breeds- papillons, chi's, etc..
Can you say boing????? These dogs generally are either bouncing off the walls, or melted to the spot, terrified to move. Thankfully the ones that come to my classes tend to be the bouncers- which makes for great fun! They are little balls of energy and you can't help but go "Awwwww"
These dogs tend to be introverts in class and have lots of handler focus.

Herding breeds- corgis ;o), border collies, aussies, shelties etc...
Smart, but tend to overthink things. Generally these dogs have obsessive problems, tend to be a little over the top, and well....are very, very, very smart.

Working Breeds- Berners, Mastiffs, Rotti's etc.
Great work ethic but can have a slower learning rate. These dogs never forget stuff- but are generally considered harder to train than dogs from other group. These dogs also tend to be easily distracted and very...very food motivated.

and then there are the Non-Sporting dogs...We don't have many around here...well, except poodles. We have oodles of poodles (mostly standard)
These dogs are smart, beautiful, and well, smart. They tend to be either thinkers, or bouncers. And if you are lucky you have one in between!!!

Terriers- scotties, jacks, to name a few
Intense, driven and always looking for an opportunity to be bad! Generally they are little geniuses though- with tons of potential, if only they listened!

**Photo credit- JRT, Flatcoat, and BC - sarah novak Mastiff- me**

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Weekend Goals

So we are off to Calgary this weekend for the Training Troop trial.
It should be lots of fun, and I have some specific goals for Wicca
that I thought I would share.
Goal #1- Teeter Contact. MUST stick it. No exceptions
Goal #2- No more than 2 bars per day. If there are more than that she is to be pulled off, no excuses.
Goal #3- Weave Entries.
and of course the normal Wicca trial "goals" of start lines, contacts, and control. Wicca and I are on a Snooker diet but I still have been practicing control around obstacles.

It's funny that I rarely get nervous with Wicca anymore. I remember when I first started trialing her- I actually got sick once. It's the weirdest thing as I am not even sure why I was so nervous- I think because I knew my handling wasn't as good as my dog- now that I am a better handler I think I stress less about it...weird.

I am however always excited to trial her. Running Wicca at an
agility trial is a rush like no other. It is amazing and when it
comes together it is the best feeling in the world. And when it smashes to a million pieces it feels horrible. But everytime I trial this dog we get better and better. She is amazing. I feel so lucky to have her.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Heeling, Broadjump, and Relax!

I haven't blogged in a while about the general training of the beasties so thought I'd update you all on the training aspect of things. We'll start with the youngest.

I am in the process of teaching Vito to heel. It is not as hard as one might think, but it sure takes a long time! When I say "heel" I mean that the dog is looking up at me while walking on my left side- shoulder to shoulder. So for Vito- who is still what I classify as a puppy- I am pretty much rewarding him for looking at me while moving. He can do about 10 or 15 steps. He's pretty good, and will offer the behaviour to me consistently. Vito is also learning how to find heel position- he is not great at this yet and doesn't ever sit straight so we are working on that.

As I posted the other day- Wicca and I have been working hard on teaching a solid contact performance on the teeter. I am happy to report that she has it 90% at training. We'll see how she does at the trial this weekend. I have also been working more on her Obedience skills. I am hoping to get a leg or two on her CDX in November. Her weakness has been the broad jump and out of sight stays (just stay in general is hard for Wicca :o) ) So we have been doing the broad jump every day, and I have been making an effort to use stay at least twice a day in normal situations. All of the other aspects of the open routine she is great at. She loves to fetch, and is a good heeling dog. She is also very reliable on her drop.

Sam and I have been working on little things as he is still not able to do a lot of strenuous things. I have been trying to clicker him to rest his head on the ground. This seems to be an impossible thing with him as he really is a VERY "up" dog and unless I lure his head down he doesn't even think about offering it. I am also teaching him back up, which has been fun- and it forces him to use that back leg...he is pretty good, but seems to always shift to the right. (probably mostly to do with his leg)

So that's that on the training front.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

2 Centimeters!

I took Sam up to the Canine Fitness Center and he's gained 2 centimeters of muscle on his leg! That is a great sign as it means that he is using his leg more. We have been doing the prescribed exercises every day and he is doing great. He really seems to enjoy them at least! And, I can start letting him do more normal doggy things- he is allowed to do stairs whenever he wants (in moderation) and he can have normal to moderate walking exercises. Still no 100 mph running but Sam will be a very happy boy to get more exercise. We go back again in three weeks, so hopefully he will continue to improve! Yay for Sam!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Great Expectations.

This afternoon Sarah and I went out early to train our own dogs before class and I thought I'd report a few things.
First- Gyp, Sarah's little border collie- is Cute. And Sassy. But still Cute! And Wicked Fast.

Second- Wicca finally understands the newly added Teeter contact. You see, I never bothered to teach a 2on2off on the teeter. I liked her fast teeter- why would i need her to stop. Well, after a few well placed teeters at trials(picture teeter- tunnel) I discovered that yes, I did in fact need my dog to stop. So we have been working on this for a few months and she is getting it. Yay! What a good girl

Third- Vito is cute, and may be a half decent agility dog afterall! I am ashamed to admit that I really didn't think that Vito was cut out for an active lifestyle. Really, this dog loves to lounge around and is not easily motivated to do much. So I assumed that he wouldn't be super interested in agility. I have been doing some stuff with him- in small steps and only playing with him when he is interested and fast. I don't want him to think that Agility is boring and should be done slowly. So- I have done lots of backchaining on contacts, teeter games, and have introduced him to tunnels, chutes, the table (which he loves), and the tire. I have done minimal sequencing and have just begun teaching him jump patterns (serpentines, threadles, 270's, 180's etc) I am also ashamed to admit that I didn't expect much of him. This is where I screwed up with Sam too. I saw that Sam loved agility but didn't expect him to be as fast or as good as Wicca. I know, I know. Stupid. But that's what I thought. Sarah set me straight and I am trying hard not to fall into that mind set again. So by keeping my training short, and moving slowly I think that I have made what could be a pretty good little agility dog. He probably will make it out of starters snooker before Wicca.....


So, for those of you who know me well won't be surprised to hear that I lost my cell phone sometime today. Ugh. This is phone no. 3- and I really have no clue as to where it could be. My day was a busy one and the last time I used it was around 2:20 or so- I was in Natalie's truck on the way to the daycare after picking up all the pooches. And then the weirdest part is my phone called the daycare!!! (around 2:45) Super Weird- I actually thought it was Natalie calling me from my phone but when I picked up the phone was hung up. So I guess I am out a phone. Again. unless by some miracle it is returned to me. If I was more organised, and less frazzled all the time these things wouldn't happen to me, but for whatever reason I am always rushing around and it seems my brain can't keep up to me!!!

Stay tuned for the continuing saga of the lost phone. :-)


Friday, October 05, 2007

Her Majesty

As per comments on my previous post, here is JANE. Alone, the star, the center of the post.

Everyone meet Jane- the most spoiled dog in the universe. She is a princess and rules her kingdom with an iron fist....er, paw. Jane has many collars but picked these few out for a special occasion. She truly is a little princess. :o)

I hope this meets Jane's approval. ;o)

Friends Continued.

This is all Natalie's fault. Apparently all my other friends are offended that they weren't mentioned. So- to rectify the situation. Everyone meet my dog friends

Okay- nevermind. I started to make a list and come up with cute little sayings about everyone, but ya know...it was just too time consuming. I have a lot of Friends. Too many to list, and as Wendy pointed out what if I forgot someone! So, instead I made a collage.... ;o)

This is a compilation of some of my dog friends, or friends dogs. Enjoy!

oh- I didn't take any of the photos- all the credit goes to the owner of the dog. (In most cases)
oh, and one more note- all these pics are from my email, so if you're not on there- it's 'cause you haven't sent me any pics in a while!!!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Last night a funny thing happened. My friend- who shall remain nameless- said to me "I read your blog and it's great but how come I'm not mentioned?" of course she was joking but really it did get me thinking about how trivial some of the things I post about are. I don't want anyone to think that I am someone who does nothing but dog stuff...oh wait, I am that someone! Really. I work at a dog daycare. I teach dog classes four days a week, and trial at least one weekend a month. I have four dogs and am a main player in a dog rescue group. All of my friends have dogs, love dogs and are generally interested in dogs. So I tend to talk pretty much about dogs.
Anyway, I started thinking last night about my friends, and I guess just friendships in general. I have a few close friends, lots of friends, and tons of aquaintances. I consider myself a pretty outgoing person. But lets face it. I can be a bitch. I am bossy and I like to be right. I am not sure I would be friends with myself some days. But I still manage to have friends. It's amazing really.

Friends are an important thing to have in life and I feel that I have really great friends. My friends have been here supporting me through Sam's issues, they were here when Wicca was so sick with Parvo, and they were here to tell me that I was indeed keeping Vito. :o) All in all I am pretty glad I have such a great group of friends.

This particular friend who started all this is someone who has dogs of her own (of course) She has a Golden Retriever named Chloe and a Standard Xolo.....named Cholti. She and I spend quite a bit of time together as we are the operators of Prairie Dog Canine Rescue. She is very passionate about dog rescue and is a fun person to be around. She is also the type of person who is always helpful and is someone you can depend on. I call her at least twice a day- sometimes, okay quite often, more than 5 times a day. She is one of those people who always has something to say- and is blunt and to the point. She is an animal lover, and treats all animals and most people with respect. She does lots for me, and I like to think that I return the favor. She recently went to new york and brought me back a great sweater- that if you can beleive it I haven't even wrecked yet!!! I consider her one of my closest friends and we know that we can count on each other. Right?
So Natalie- look, I mentioned you, I even complimented you, and if I had a
picture of you I'd post it just so I could say that I did. Hah. :o)

Moving on,
I don't want my other friends to think that I don't care about them so everyone else- Hi! You know who you are, and are probably thankful that I am not mentioning you specifically..hehe...

So I guess the whole point to this rambling- non dog post is to say "Thanks" to all my friends for just being my friend.
(and of course to mention Natalie so she doesn't feel left out...)


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

More pictures from the weekend

Here are two collages I made from the photos that Steve from DigiK9 took at this weekends past trial. He got some amazing pics of Wicca- I love the weave pole ones! There were over 40!!! The Weave collage is from one of the standard runs. It is a sequence- starting in the top left corner- you can see that she gets the wrong entry and is pretty
ticked when I pull her out to restart!!!

The collage below is some of the better pics of the whole trial in general.
You can really see how intense she is when she is playing agility.

You can view more pictures on the DigiK9 site- this was the Medicine Hat Flashing K9's Trial.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Agility Filled Weekend

We had yet another action packed weekend! Sarah and I travelled to Calgary early Friday morning for a seminar with Kathy Keats. It was a great day and I was very impressed by Kathy- she had lots of greats suggestions and tips and the exercises were very fun. Wicca had a great time! I also booked an Appointment with Susan Suttcliff- she is a Sports PhysioTherapist and did some really neat things to Wicca- this happened in the afternoon so I took it easy with her after that to let her recover. It did make a difference in her though over the agility weekend- she had no problems extending her back legs over a jump so there were less bars down!! Yay!!

We left Calgary and went directly to Medicine Hat that night for two days of Agility. I'd love to be able to say that the weather was perfect but unfortunately it pretty much sucked. It was wet, rainy, cold and miserable most of the day on Saturday- finally starting to clear up around 4pm. Bad weather or not I had a great day! Wicca was a good girl and we had some really good runs- the theme of the weekend seemed to be bad Weavepole entries. She missed every weave entry except one ALL weekend. Ugh.

Sunday was a better day weather wise- still cold but not rainy, and it actually warmed up in the afternoon. Wicca was more settled and actually seemed to be a bit stiff so I was sure to warm her up well, it was actually kind of weird- she would act uninterested and then as soon as she was on the line she was back to her intense little self. Very Strange.

The most exciting thing of the weekend was Steeplechase. I LOVE this game. Wicca ran the course in 35 seconds, knocked 2 bars, still qualified, AND placed THIRD overall! She was beat only by two VERY fast, experience dogs (Target and Zoom) I was thrilled. (Oh, and one bar was her fault, and the other was most definitely my fault)

NOTE: The pictures posted were taken by Steve from DigiK9- I bought the whole disc so I have a ton more that I will post on my website in the next few days...