Monday, February 28, 2011
Wicca is so awesome at the vet- we rarely go, but she is never stressed or worried and walks in and leaves happy as can be. Thankful for the cookies I suppose. I brought Vito along today just to hang out and meet the vet and he did pretty great! I switched to this new clinic pretty recently and he hasn't been yet. I don't vaccinate regularly and he has been a very healthy guy. Anyway, he can be weird around people but was happy to meet her and she doled out cookies and had him doing his little tricks. It was cute. She even did a once over on him just to get him used to being on their table and stuff- which was super nice. (and found a chip on his tooth!) I was very proud of him for being such a good boy though (his people skills are improving a lot!!!) I Will have to make an actual appointment for him in the near future- maybe for a titre test or something....
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Pixel had her assesment with Dr.Devall today and it went great!!! Veronica was impressed by her condition, her core, and her overall structure. She did one minor chiropractic adjustment on her lower back but said that almost every dog she sees needs at least one adjustment. I am happy with that- she hasn't shown any issues but I want to keep it like that!
Pixel was nearly perfect at scenthurdle today too. She only made one mistake and was pretty focused and fast. She is getting faster as she gets more confident, and our team is really coming along. We have a bunch of new dogs just starting and I am just amazed at how fast they are catching on!!!! Our first official race is coming up soon!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Robbie is the most vocal cat I've ever met. It was cute when he was little, not so cute now. The water bottle is a permanent fixture in the house now...
He seriously chatters away all day and is the first to complain about an empty food bowl, or if he is upset by something.
Speaking of upset- I am SO SICK OF WINTER!!! It has seemed to drag on, and on, and on. I remember winters when it was so mild we were able to get out and do some outdoor agility once in a while. For the past few years that has not been able to happen. It seems like this year especially we've had to cancel more classes, and more events.
Our Building Drive seminar was cancelled today- the wind was blowing so bad that it was esssentially a white out. Sucky to cancel, but better safe than sorry.
I hope Winter ends soon. I need some sun, and some warmth, and for this wind to go away! Or maybe I need to move somewhere warmer....
Friday, February 25, 2011
This is my 52 weeks submission for the week. I love it although it is not super flasy, or artsy. it's just simple and peaceful like.
I have a busy weekend ahead although I am hoping to be able to sneak in some naps sometime. I am so tired.
Tomorrow I am attending a motivation and drive seminar- should be lots of fun. I am taking Pixel and am hoping to come away with some good tips on how to get consistent pumped up Pixel. It is being taught by a Schutzhund person and this particular person has a super hyped up Bouvier. She is like no other Bouvier I've ever met (well, except for her previous dogs).
Tomorrow night we have a class to teach- Sarah and I are trying to get in a few winter classes for a newer bunch of agility dogs. Mostly we are working on foundation stuff. So it should be pretty fun, and it should go by fast.
Sunday I work mid day, and then have my make up appointment with Dr.Devall. She is a vet who specialises in rehabilitation, pain management and non traditional treatments- chiro, massage, accupuncture, etc. I am taking Pixel just to get an evaluation. This was actually scheduled a month ago but was cancelled due to the weather.
Which still sucks by the way. It is -44 C this morning with the windchill. That's well below comfortable, or bearable. I am ready for winter to be over now!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
This morning I told my mom today that it's okay to be sad for a little while, but to celebrate their lives, not mourn for them. It will be three years (in april) since my Grandma died, combined with Kate's death a week ago (yesterday). She is having a hard time and I was trying to make her feel better. I am really good at supporting people, and knowing just what to say to make things a bit better. Too bad I don't follow my own advice.
I've got the celebrate their lives down pat, but it's the "okay to be sad" part I have troubles with. I have not really allowed myself to cry. I tell myself every morning to move on, get over it, smile or else, stop dwelling on it, do something else, whatever it takes to get my mind focusing on stuff and not on sadness. I need to take my own advice or I may never heal.
Sam died almost three years ago.
And I still am sad about it.
Kate died a week ago.
And I am still sad about it.
My Grama died three years ago
And I am still sad about it.
Each of them was so important to me- My grandma was the best grandma ever (I know everyone says that) but really. She was everyone's Grama. The whole town loved her. Her house was like Tim Hortons. Always full of people drinking coffee. She had the best sense of humour and was always there for me if I needed her. I miss her so much. Sometimes I can feel the tightness in my chest when I smell lavender, or hear someone that sounds like her, or hear a wind chime. It seems crazy to miss someone so much when they have been gone for three years.
Sam was my heart. And he died young. He was such an amazing dog. Every moment that I spent with him was great- living with him was always fun, training him was exciting, and having him snuggle in my bed was even better. He had so many qualities that I love- he was the best snuggler and would lay beside me all night long. He had a fantastic work ethic. He would work forever- for a ball, or a cookie, or a piece of pocket lint. It didn't matter. He worked for the pure enjoyment of doing stuff. He was so smart about some stuff, and not so smart about others (it took him more than a few tries to learn the tire....) He was just a very good boy who died before I was ready. It is sucky.
And Kate is still so fresh. She and I had some pretty incredible moments and I am sad that I wasn't around more to enjoy her senior years. She was a dog with major issues and taught me so much about dogs and training. I don't think I would be where I am now had I not picked out the shy, scared little puppy. I am content with her life though and don't feel the same sadness I do for the other two losses. She had a great life, a long life, and almost right to the end was the same old Kate. The light in her eye never left, nor did the bond we shared.
You want to know the one thing that ties all three of these losses together? Guilt. I never got the chance to say goodbye to my Grandma. I didn't spend enough time with her the last year of her life. It never occured to me that she would die. I chose to end Sam's life because I didn't catch his injury soon enough and by the time it was diagnosed it was too expensive, and too risky to attempt. And I recently blogged about my guilt where Kate was concerned. Not enough time spent with an old dog. She lived at my parents a few minutes away and at most I saw her three times a week. It doesn't seem enough.
I could very well be grieving forever if I don't let it out. I just don't know how. I've never been one to be overly emotional. I rarely cry, and certainly not in public if I can help it. That's just the kind of person I am. I have always been the strong one, the person people come to with their problems. I am also a very good liar and can hide my emotions well from most people...(except for a few close friends who can see right through it)...
I do really well for a long time, and then something will remind me and catch me off guard and Bam! Overwhelming sadness that I instantly start punching back down to my gut where it belongs. It makes for interesting mood swings.
In any case the next I am sad I am going to tell myself it's okay. And let the tears fall for as long as I need. And maybe the next time I am sad it will be smaller and easier to deal with. That's my hope anyway. I won't however let the sadness weigh me down. I think that there is a fine line between being sad, and being unhealthy.
And that's where I am at. Mostly okay, but still a little sad sometimes.
I am not the type to wallow in my misery, and hate attention seekers that do that, my life is full of drama but I don't spread it around or shout it from the rooftops. I am a private person. I hesitate to write this blog post as it seems so wimpy, and "poor me" which is not me. But this is my space to write what I want, and I have always felt better after expressing myself in the written word. That and I often pretend that no one but me reads the blog....
I've been working with Pixel in Obedience a lot lately- doing little bits of stuff every day. Her attention has improved a ton, and so of course has her heeling.
i like my dog to heel with her head up looking at me. She needs to be paying attention the whole time. This takes a lot of training, but I like the way the dog understands exactly what their job is.
I started attention heeling with Pixel when she was a baby. First completely stationary rewarding for eye contact, and then adding steps. Now the finished product is pretty, comfortable for both of us, and most importantly automatic.
It does take a lot of time though and if you skip steps, or move too fast you will have holes in the behavior that will likely bite you in the ass later on. I've tried to be very careful to not have that happen with Pixel. She doesn't like to be wrong ever, so if I train her right the first time we won't have to worry about that.
Now that we have fine tuned our actual heeling we are working on adding duration (i.e a heeling pattern), and distraction (i.e a ring setting) I wish there were more funmatches in my area- I think that Pixel would really benefit from that.
We are still working on other things- fronts in general. I obviously am missing something as none of my dogs have great fronts. Pixel is no exception although does have a general idea of what she is supposed to do. Her drop on recall is going to be lovely I think, and her stays are great.
We've also been working on the dreaded left pivots. This has involved a lot of perch work and a clicker. But we are getting there- which is exciting as the idea was completely foreign to her just a few months ago...
I am feeling optimistic about my goal for May in Open. If only I can stay focused for that long. :)
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Imagine my surprise when this was my number 7 photo....
Wendy and I were just talking about Sam the other day.....
Sam was one the best dogs ever. Always happy, ready to do whatever I asked, he was a very good boy. I remember that I fell in love with him the first time I met him. Wicca's breeder had rescued him from the shelter where he was going to be euthanised because he failed their temperament test...She brought him into the store I was working at to buy him a collar. He came in tugging on a toy and kept the toy in his mouth the whole time. I took him home a week or so later.
This photo was taken at a friends family farm- it is such a beautiful place. I have loads of photos from this walk, although this was the best one. He was a dog who never sat still long so getting photos was a challenge. This is one my all time favorite photos of him. Such a happy guy. I lost him too early, but I have great memories of his life.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I know I've posted photos of Pixel barking before. But this one made me laugh out loud. Look how big her mouth is!!! She is a small dog- but has the biggest bark...
p.s still loving my new camera....
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Wicca takes her food very seriously and I don't call her a bitch for nothing. Wicca is very fierce.
*Disclaimer- this was a fully staged photo. She is not normally allowed to resource guard. For the photo I put her in a sit stay with the food bowl in front of her, and scattered some kibble behind me for the other dogs. I got lots of really funny photos. She was really, really ticked off.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Kate was put to rest this afternoon.
I miss her already.
Kate was one of a kind, and will be greatly missed. She was never an easy dog but I loved her so much. Kate spent most of her life as a family dog- on the couch, under our feet, with plenty of walks, summer swims, and camping trips. We did Obedience and Agility but only because I asked her- not because she loved it. She retired early and spent the last 5 years as my parents constant companion.
Kate was a dog that taught me so much. She had many issues as a young dog including intense seperation anxiety. By five years old she had jumped out of windows, chewed through wooden doors, and broken most of her teeth. She was nothing if not determined. Despite her issues, and maybe because of those issues, I loved her like no other. We learned about dog training together, and she helped me become the person I am today.
She aged gracefully and up until a year ago was always the same silly dog. She loved to fetch, and could pop a tennis ball in under a minute. She liked to sleep on her back, and roll around on the bed in the morning. She loved her walks, and would run just for the sake of running. She was a dog that lived in the moment. This past year her age caught up to her I have been keeping a watchful eye on her condition. Just yesterday I had made her final vet appointment for this weekend. This morning I got a call from my parents. As with everything else in her life Kate did this on her own terms.
I thought that because she was an old dog, that it would be easier. Sam was so incredibley difficult, I thought that this would be different. It is different, but still so hard. Carrying her into the vet clinic, and then later giving her the final kiss broke my heart.
I have loved many dogs, and lost only a few, but I don't think it ever gets any easier to lose them. I know that with time my heart will heal- I will never forget her, but thinking of her will be easier. She was a pretty incredible dog, and for now I will cry for her.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
But knowing that they are happy, and having fun makes the grooming a little less painful. Although Boone is missing a fairly large chunk of hair on his tail now... lol
Monday, February 14, 2011
I shouldn't have worried. His new family adore him already and Dave has settled right in. He already has his own bed, and new toys, and is meeting the neighbors and is just being himself. Just like that. I am so proud of him.
Being a foster home is never easy- especially for a dog like Dave. The ones that need the most work are the ones we often fall in love with. But when you find the perfect home and everything works out just so it makes it all worthwhile.
Davie will have the best possible life and I am so grateful to Sandra and Danny for taking him and loving him already. He is a very lucky boy. Sandra tells me she may start a blog just for him. I'll let you all know 'bout that. :)
Wicca and I had some great moments. As you see on the jumpers video the bar was her fault, and the refusal mine. I was too far behind for the threadle, and didn't rotate at all.....I was pretty happy with her this weekend though- just a few little things to iron out and nothing too major. Her startlines were better than the last trial, but her jumping was worse. Wicca is special like that. lol
Pixel was super. A little pokey at times but working hard and doing what I ask. :) She is still young and does some typical young dog stuff- but is getting better and better as we go along. You can see in the video that there is no "target" at the dogwalk. lol. Still much work to do. :) I wish I would have gotten her standard on video but she was first up and I forgot to ask someone!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Pixel earned her fourth Masters Jumpers Q!!! Do you know how incredible that is for me??? Seriously awesome. I still can't believe it. She also earned a Masters Standard Q, and an Advanced Snooker Q. We almost had a gamble too but I didn't handle it correctly. :) She was pretty speedy almost the whole weekend and we had some really great runs. I am just so proud of her. We really need to work on the dogwalk contact however. Pixel swears she has no idea what Target means....
Wicca was wild. But in an okay way (if that makes sense). We only got one Q- a gamble. But we had some amazing runs. Both her standards were incredible, and the jumpers was pretty thrilling. A bar, and a refusal (the refusal my bad timing on a threadle)...but SO close. Even though she was wild I still felt like we were working together as a team, and that is pretty huge because often with Wild Wicca comes deaf and blind Wicca. Although Q wise we aren't improving I still feel that we are working better and better together.
And possibley even bigger than great teamwork- Not once this weekend did I look at a course and think I couldn't do it, and not once did I get lost. I only hung out with people who made me feel good about myself, and didn't feel bad when I needed to be by myself to think and focus. It was a great weekend mentally for me. I felt calm and focused on each of my runs (except Wicca's snooker....) And that is a big deal!
I will have videos tomorrow as I am too tired to work on them now. It's been a long weekend and I should get to bed. (the girls are already sound asleep...)
oh- and I bought Pixel a shiny collar with bling in honor of her fancy new title. :) She looks awesome.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Week 6 for the 52 Weeks challenge:
Wicca rarely rests in the house- she is always on the look out for the cats, or listening for something fun to interrupt. (her nickname is the fun police.) This is her classic mid afternoon nap- Eyes Wide Open. Sometimes she will drift off but is always half awake- ready to spring into action at a seconds notice.
You can see the way her right ear is flicked back that she knows that one of the cats is on the back of the couch....She really doesn't care for the cats but leaves them alone at my request.- well, mostly anyway. :)
This week has been a bit of a blur. I can't believe it's Thursday already. (not that I am complaining!)
I have an agility trial this weekend with the girls- planning on leaving after work tomorrow. Should be a fun weekend. I have them both entered in a full trial- we will see how Pixel does. If she starts getting tired I will pull her for a few events. The boys are going to stay at Wendys.
And Mr.Handsome leaves for his new home tomorrow morning. I will miss him but I am VERY excited for him. He is very lucky to be going to such a great home.
And that's it for news. Not sure I will have time to blog tomorrow. But will have stuff to blog about on Sunday I am sure!
I am the worst for trimming toe hair. Vito always has slippers. Poor Pixel was looking a little rough around the edges so yesterday (after I took this photo) I trimmed her feet and brushed her again. She is losing all of her coat and looks pretty ridiculous right now...
Her feet look nice and trim- now I have to tackle the ears....oh the joy of a fluff. lol
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
As I've mentioned before Dave loves the cats. Okay, maybe obsessed is a better word. We've been working the past few weeks on leave it, and trying to manage his desire to herd the cats. I thought we had made some pretty good headway until this afternoon.
I caught him and Boone chasing the young cat (robbie) up the cat tree...I scolded them both and Dave looked so pathetic I had to take a photo. Boone doesn't look sorry in the least. lol
Sunday, February 06, 2011
I was in one session today and it was great- more handling and such. I am really getting in a groove with both girls and my timing is getting better and better. I am feeling confident with my handling decisions and my dogs. I still need to trust that they know their jobs so that I can do mine better- but it is a work in progress.
Terry had lots of great advice for me, and for our students this weekend. It was a great weekend- lots of challenge, and fun. Terry is always great for some laughs, the weekend just flew by because of it.
Pixel was uber fast this afternoon- I've been doing TONS of random reinforcement and it has made a huge difference. The toy appears and dissapears, sometimes even a different one. It keeps her wondering, and keeps her pretty motivated.
Wicca worked hard this weekend and is a little sore- she's going to get a massage on Tuesday which will hopefully get all the kinks worked out. Mostly her hamstring area it seems- which is a new place. Usually her back and neck are the issues...
I am super late with my 52 weeks photo. I rarely leave it for Sunday but wasn't happy with the photos I took on Saturday. Anyway I really like this photo- although I wish I had brushed her! You can see that shedding season has started at my house....
Saturday, February 05, 2011
Another great day today. Lots of really fun courses and exercises.
I worked Wicca in the morning mostly because that is what she and I need. Course Work. Remembering the course with an uber fast dog is still something I struggle with at times. Todays courses were tough- lots of tricky things. We did well though- Wicca had some stellar runs and I got more fine tuning on my threadles. Also worked on some rear crosses. Nothing too new with her- I know her little quirks, and her strong/weak points. We just need to continue to work as a team is all.
Terry had us make a list of five dynamics for our dogs, and ourselves. It was hard, but really makes you think about your dog in a different way. I don't have my notes with me now but here are the ones I remember
No regard for her safety
and for me
Easily Overwhelemed (by my dog and by courses)
The point of the list is to be able to have a starting point of improvement, and to be able to identify little things about your dog that will help you handle a course for you and your dog. Terry is a big fan of thinking outside the box- handling one way isn't going to work for all dogs. So by knowing your dog and you, and your handling style you should be able to easily break down a course or sequence to work for your dog.
The afternoon Pixel worked the most- again lots of serps, threadles, push thru's, and other tricky little things. She was a very good girl- I just can't get over her. She just always does what I tell her. Terry nailed it when he said she is a very literal dog. Meaning she reads my handling very precisely and if I slip up just a bit she notices. LOL. I still need to work on my timing with her a bit, and those darn weaves. Geez.
Tomorrow I am just in one Advanced Handling spot- I will bring both girls again as I think that I will alternate them. Neither of them are overly tired tonite- although Wicca shoudl be!!! We ran 8 full courses this morning (5 actually, but we ran a few of them twice).
Friday, February 04, 2011
Pixel was super- our first few exercises were great. She had nice speed, and I handled her well. She learned serps and threadles when she was first learning to jump so they are pretty ingrained in her little head. Then I gave her a break and used Wicca and it all went to hell. LOL. Okay, she wasn't that bad, but she certainly managed to get me flustered. And when I get flustered I forget where I am going. I got lost on both drills with her. But we did manage to finish them and do them once correctly. I still need to work on my timing for a threadle. In the exercise it was impossible to be up close the jump, and I was barely able to get ahead of her- she turned in, but then missed the next jump. I needed to hold her head longer to make sure she came all the way into me. Also make sure that I am presenting the right leg to her (i.e stepping into her, but backwards at the same time. lol) I ran Pixel in the last drill and she was again very good. I was so focused on pumping her up however that I forgot the course right away and had to take minute to think about it. I hate it when that happens. After I remembered though she nailed it. She is such a good girl- I have already learned that I am the problem in our working relationship. She's pretty perfect.
Oh, and there was much discussion about the "new move" that has actually been around for a while in europe. There is plenty debate about it of course, but Terry showed us how he taught it and let people try if they wanted. I chose not to as I think that it wouldn't benefit Pixel and Wicca's cues are finally getting straightened out I don't want to mess with them. I am not a big fan of blind crosses anyway and that is essentially what it is. But it did seem to work for some of the big fast, long strided dogs- and it looks cool. :), And if you aren't sure what the new move is there is youtube video circulating around..But basically the you face the dog and the dog goes behind you over a jump. Like a rally left about turn...(confused yet?!)
Tomorrow is Course Analysis and "Can you Handle it". Both sessions will be great for my memory, and I will have plenty of time to work each girl. I am debating about taking Boone in case the girls peter out. Wicca won't I am sure, but Pixel may...
Terry had a cool quote but I forgot to write it down- I am sure he will repeat himself tomorrow so I will take note. It really made sense to me. Too bad I can't remember it. LOL.
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Somehow this weekend has snuck up fast!!! Tomorrow is the first day of three action packed days with Terry Simons. I have been looking forward to this for a few months.
We bring Terry here every year and he always brings lots of great exercises, great advice, and lots of laughs. Terry is easily my most favorite seminar presenter that I've been to. He is flexible and doesn't prescribe to, or push one specific handling system. He does expect your cues to be consistent for your dog but that is all. If it works it works. He works with the individual dog and handler and everyone comes away with information just for them. And it's fun, oh and there is often tequila....
His laid back attitude goes perfect with how we teach and our students always have a great time. The seminar usually fills within a few hours, and we have waiting lists for cancellations. Once you've been to him once you always want to go again.
This year will be great because Pixel will actually get to participate- last year she did a small bit as she was just learning sequencing etc. This year I will run her in two full sessions. Wicca will be working in two spots aswell.
I will have lots to blog about on Monday that is for sure !