Monday, August 29, 2011

Prairie Princess 8/12/Pixel

Pixel is the best travelling buddy ever. :)

Monday Morning Ramblings

It's monday. I'm tired. It doesn't bode well for the week. lol

This past weekend I taught a seminar and it was wonderful. But exhausting.  I didn't even realize how tired I was until I got home and crashed. This morning was very difficult to get up. It was super dark when I walked the dogs, and even now the sun is just starting to peek up (and it's nearly 7.) When it's dark it is even harder to get up.

I had planned to go to an Obedience seminar next weekend- it is reasonably priced (almost cheap!), and not to far away. I was in that same town this past weekend and drove by the building it's in and it's very small. I also spoke to someone else who has gone to her seminars and she said it was okay, but wouldn't go again. So now I am torn. I am so tired, a weekend at home, a pyjama day, a clean my house day- those are all things I really need. This summer has been go, go, go. I think I might just use this last weekend to chill.

Decisions Decisions...

or maybe I will go to the agility field and train my dog how to do a 
Sarah snapped this at one of the demos this past week- Pixel doesn't miss her contact, but uh, that's not quite the criteria I had planned...

so yeah, sleep saturday, clean sunday, train monday. Could be a win, win all around. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

at the fair

three short dogs, at the fair. :)

by a hair...

CKC agility is a lot more lenient as far as Qing goes. In Novice and Intermediate you can still qualify even with faults. I always forget about that so was surprised to see in my trial report this morning that Wicca did in fact earn a Q. It was close, and it was a very naughty run so she really doesn't deserve it... but it's there.


It has been a crazy week. I will almost be glad when Monday comes around. I am so tired! The Whoop Up days demos have been a ton of fun- I've taken just the corgi girls so far, but might bring Vito tonite.

I will take some photos tonite so I've got something fun to post tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Birthday Boy!

Boone is EIGHT years old today! 

Yesterday the owner of his sister (Jib, on the far right) posted this photo on Facebook. I only have one baby picture of Boone so was pretty excited about this one. Boone is the dark puppy on the left. 

It has been a long, often complicated journey with Boone so far- he has been the most challenging of any dog I've ever owned but I wouldn't trade him for the world. 

I am so lucky to have him. 

His morning snuggles. 
His grunts and groans 
His "poking" habit (he likes to poke inanimate objects)
His wild bed head in the morning
His ability to make me laugh
His excitement is contagious
His happy smile when he is relaxed
His bark for the ball
How when he runs his back feet and front feet sometimes gets tangled up
His paddling for rocks in the river
His hugs. 

Happy Birthday to the Pyr Shep with the most heart. <3

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Whoopin' it up!

Today marks the start of our city's "Whoop Up Days." Starting off with a parade and then a fair, concerts, rodeo, etc for the rest of the week. Our agility group is doing demonstrations each day at the fair, and got to participate in the parade. This year Wicca dressed up. ;)

The saddle is a toy actually- but is made of leather and the whole works. I borrowed it from a friend. It's was totally awesome. She only wore it half way for the parade as it was custom fit for a corgi that is a bit bigger and was sliding all around. But it was super cute while it lasted! People got a big kick out of it.

Our first night of demos is over, and things went smoothly and without a hitch. People love to watch the dogs, and the dogs always provide great entertainment. :)

Thanks for the awesome photo Sarah!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Most Excellent. :)

Pixel earned her Excellent title on Saturday with two Q's back to back. I have never had a dog earn titles so fast!!! She earned her first excellent leg at the last trial and then just bang bang with the next two. She's a good girl. Although today's course she decided that she doesn't know discrimination and took not one, but two off courses. I've added that to her "weak skills" side of the chart. lol

Wicca came home with no Q's, but we had fun. Only one bar in three runs, but some missed weave entries, and some off courses. Brat.

It was a nice trial, the venue was super. It was great to run the dogs off leash, and let them swim in the canal. The dogs and I were camping not too far away so mostly it was a pretty relaxing weekend. We left early today and missed our last runs, but I needed to come home and catch up on stuff, and sleep. I am exhausted and have a long week ahead of me!

I have no video from the weekend, and only a few photos. I will post the photos I do have tomorrow. ;)

Friday, August 19, 2011

More Agility?!

Not sure what I was thinking but the dogs and I are off to more agility this weekend. This time a CKC trial. We are camping, which will be fun. Actually that's the part I am looking forward to most!

Pixel is in Excellent- only two more legs to go, and Wicca is in Intermediate with two legs to go. It's funny that Pixel is more advanced than Wicca. ;)

Thanks for all the comments about Boone. Last night we had yet another huge storm. We did get some sleep though- the thunder didn't last long and was over before midnight. I tied him to me and made him sleep close and he seemed more relaxed. This morning he was happy, and eager for breakfast. :)

All the dogs are coming with me this weekend- so Boone is going to have to settle. I've frozen five kongs for him for the weekend, and am bringing some meaty bones too. Anything to keep him busy, and calm. lol

Wish us luck this weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What about Boone?

You may have noticed that Boone didn't get mention in the trial results posts...

Boone is having a hard time mentally. Plain and simple he is having a complete meltdown with life. We have had LOTS, and LOTS of very bad, very loud, very long storms pretty much the whole summer. Boone started out having mild anxiety about storms, and now any slight rumble of thunder, or rain cloud sends him into a barking, spinning lunatic.

The Thundershirt is amazing. I must say- it has really made a difference in how bad he reacts. He still is scared, but isn't so unsettled. He is able to lie down beside me instead of spinning and barking. I am also using rescue remedy although I haven't noticed much difference with that. I am going to try another natural product that a friend suggested and see if it works better.

Anyway, back to the trial. I only had him entered in three things- but I knew after an hour of being at the trial site that there was no way he was going to run, and have fun with me. It made me sad, and I was upset for him. He was nervous, and hyper (which is how he gets sometimes), and couldn't focus on me at all. Barking, Spinning, almost in a trance. He was way, way over the top. So I asked my dad to come and take him to my house for me- where he could at least settle.

I am upset that it seems like we have taken this giant step backwards. But am not willing to concede defeat.

I've ordered a desensitizing CD for thunder storms, and have started thinking about a game plan to help him to learn to self calm. He just gets so wound up, and then can't calm himself. If he could just learn to take a deep breathe and focus he'd be okay. :)

Fear is an interesting (but sad) thing, and I've been doing quite a lot of reading about general fear, as well as specific fears such as thunder. I do think that Boone's already unstable temperament has made this problem a thousand times worse that it could be. Really he is not that sensitive to noises anymore at all and used to manage storms just fine. It's just been this summer that it has gotten bad. Boone is a strange dog on good days though- Pyr Sheps are not known for their stable temperaments...he is easily overwhelmed, distracted, lots of nervous energy, would spin and pace in every new place if I let him. I have to keep his brain busy or he goes a little crazy. It's been a journey with him for sure.

My hope is that I can at least get the happy, goofy Boone back at home. He had started hiding, barking at noises, being anti-social and just being weird. So I've had to take away his hiding places, close the crate door when I am home, in some cases tie him to me, and am trying really hard to let him know that nothing has changed. When I first got Boone this is how it was- worse actually, and I got him through once and I am sure I can get him through it again. If I can get the normal Boone at home I will be happy. He doesn't have to play agility if he doesn't want to, although he does like it. We'll just have to play it by ear and get him over this one tiny step at a time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Videos :)

Perfect Pixel who almost always does what she's told
and Wild Wicca who has a mind of her own, BUT is always LOTS of fun. :)  

Rackin' up the points

I didn't have time to go through all the video last night, so here is a teaser.

Wicca's Gamble from Saturday. We had the highest overall points!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

MAD and more...

Today Pixel earned her MASTERS AGILITY DOG OF CANADA Title. In case you didn't know, THAT is awesome. :)

The whole weekend really was pretty great. The weather was good (although a bit hot on Saturday), and the trial went smoothly. I think people enjoyed themselves a lot, and our Go Dog Go group worked their butts off. Talk about volunteers! I rarely had to hollar for people, and if I did it was almost always the GDG group coming to save the day. Seriously awesome.

I am too tired to go into detail, and I have hours of video to look through...but here are the highlights

Wicca- was awesome, and on fire. She has not slowed down one bit, and was a good girl for most of the runs. She came home with 4 Q's- Standard, Snooker!, and two Gambles. Her saturday gamble was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Most point of all the masters dogs, and was bang on in the gamble. The other amazing thing was our jumpers run this afternoon. It felt perfect. Seriously we were in sync with one another, until she took an off course tunnel. But wait for the video, you'll see what I mean. I love that feeling, and I don't often get it with her. The Snooker cue was her 10th, and earned her Expert Bronze Snooker title.

Pixel just keeps getting better and better. She is getting faster, while still remaining consistent. She Q'd in 7 out of 8 runs. That just floors me. She is such a good girl- always listening, always in tune with me. Any screw ups are generally mine. Running her is easy. I love it. She q'd in two Masters Standards (earning her MAD!), a masters snooker, two masters jumpers!!!!, and two advanced gambles!!!! The gambles earned her AGDC (Advanced Game title), and she moves up to masters gamblers. That was a long time coming- we've been training distance really hard as that is (was!) her weakest skill.

And you want to know what made my weekend even better? Vito.
I entered Vito in three runs- two saturday and one today. Both the saturday runs (snooker and standard) he pretty well goofed around and tried to visit, and sniff the jump bars (weird. lol), but had fun and mostly ran to keep up with me. Today he RAN the Jumpers. Like was ahead of me, driving into tunnels, rear crossing like a pro. He Q'd. I am so proud of him.

More weekend details, videos, and photos to come over the next few days!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Unmistakable 32/52

Unmistakable 32/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Another last minute Flickr submission (sunday is the last day for each week) but I really, really, really LOVE it. I've been trying for a while to get a good silhouette shot- and finally tonite it was perfect lighting for it.

As the trial was winding down (and the sun setting) I thought it would be a good opportunity to take Wicca for a walk and try for a photo.

P.S The trial went awesome today. 4/4 Q's for Pixel! She is seriously awesome. Wicca came home with two Q's, no jumpers (darnit!) but some really nice bits and pieces today. Vito got to run too- and he had a good time trucking right along. He is just so cute. ;)

Details (and video!!!) to come tomorrow night, or Monday depending on how tired I am. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Go Dog Go Trial

We are hosting our own trial this weekend. Yay for local agility!!! 

Going home to sleep in my own bed each night is awesome. :) 

The trial should go smoothly, and hopefully not too stressful. 
Being able to focus on my own dogs would be great. :) 

I have the girls entered in the full weekend- 

I'd really like for Pixel to get a gamble. She is running really well, and we've been working hard on our dog walk...cross your fingers for some progress on that aspect. :) 

Wicca is still searching for that last jumpers leg, so that would be nice aswell. :)

I also have Boone entered in two events, although he has been so nervous because of all the storms I am not sure how he will run. We've been practicing a fair amount so I am hoping that he will be able to stay connected through a whole run. I miss playing agility with him. :) 

The weather gods have given us good weather- sun, and decent agility temperatures. :)

Wendy will be there taking photos, and I will try really hard to get some video. 
I haven't posted any Wicca agility videos in a while! 

I am looking forward to the trial, good company, friends, and best of all playing with my dogs. :) 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Okay, maybe a little Grace

Brit, originally uploaded by Blazingstar.

Liz (from Blazingstar) took this photo when we were there this past weekend. Brit almost looks graceful. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

For Sarah

 a little bit of annoying for your wednesday.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Life Lessons and 1501

This is a whole post with no dog content. Beware. ;)

When I was in elementary school I had an awesome school counsellor. He always knew how to put things into perspective. I hated school and had a bad attitude even then. I had no friends, and was bullied often. Kids are mean. Maybe that's why I still don't like them. In any case, back to my awesome counsellor. I saw him once a week. Once a week I would tell him how horrible school was and how everyone was mean to me and called me names. Gently he would ask me how many people were included in the everyone? Was there not at least one person who was nice to me? I couldn't answer him so  he gave me a notebook. I was to carry this notebook with me all day at school and jot down when someone would call me a name. Not who, not even what, just a frowny face. The next week when we looked in the book there was just one frowny face. We continued with this for a few weeks until I stopped saying that everyone was calling me names. Don't get me wrong- I was still being bullied. But it was a far less number than it felt like.  Funny how bully's can have power without even saying anything. Sometimes an action, or a look is all it takes. We built on the frowny face notebook and for every frowny face I'd have to seek out a positive interaction- with either a teacher or a student. Soon my frowny face was being replaced by a smiley sticker.  The frowny face exercise has stayed with me my whole life. It really does make you stop and think about how little things can turn into something really big if you let it. I mean, I let those bullies define me. I let that happen. After that year in school I never let anyone bully me again. Ever. Their words stopped having so much weight on me. I learned to ignore most, and for those that didn't give up I'd give it right back to them. Through words and the occasional fist I was never made to feel like that again. (I admit that maybe not the fist was not best way, but sometimes there were no other options.)

Back to the counsellor, he talked a lot about positive thinking. How things are often not as bad as they seem. He made me do all sorts of mental exercises to learn to stop being so negative. Anyone who knows me in real life (and maybe my blogger friends can tell through my posts as well!) knows that I am not always a cheery person. I  can be moody, and downright bitchy at times. In elementary school I was way, way worse. Can you imagine? :) Thanks to the hard work of one school counsellor (well, two later on) I did learn to smile, and to let myself be happy, and to try to find the positives in every situation.

The point of my blog post is this. Right now some things in my life aren't going so well.  Rescue sucks. I almost hate it. I almost want to give up. There are a whole lot of bad people in the world. We have some awesome dogs, and no one is interested. It is emotionally draining. I've turned away three dogs for intake already this week. It's Tuesday.  I've been trying to figure out a way to put a positive spin on it. Maybe no one wants dogs right now because they are taking such good care of the dogs they have already? Due to the number of calls and emails I've had from people who want to ditch their dogs, and from the hundreds of kijiji ads I doubt that. Where have all the good dog owners gone? This is one of those things that no matter the angle I can't see the good anymore. It depresses me that I feel this way about something I was so passionate about.

I am also finding teaching to be a struggle. I feel like I am putting a lot of myself into teaching people who sometimes seem like they don't care. Of course we have some super duper awesome keener students who do listen, and practice, and who are just generally great people. But all it takes is a few bad apples to turn my mood sour. I used to love teaching, I looked forward to classes. I want that back. So I've decided to focus only on the people who want to be there and who are putting the effort in. Of course I will still teach the people who are paying for classes, but I won't let their negative energy wreck my night or my perspective anymore. They can get the same lesson, but I won't argue my point, or push them to be better. I will save my energy for those that want it. Because the good people are so awesome. I mean, we have a bunch of keeners who go out and practice a few times a week. There are a few people in our novice class who have already taught their dogs to weave! And they do a good job! It's refreshing- and that is what I need to be focusing on to better my own state of mind.

Family is another stressor for me right now. Everyone has family drama of course, but sometimes I just wish things could be normal. Just for a week, or a day even. I won't go into details, but I am watching first hand what happens when someone stops trying to get better. It's frustrating, and crappy, and really sad. But at least I have the rest of my family.  We can't change the giving up, we can't make it better. But together we can share the burden and the hurt. All split up it's not so bad.

Anyway, the lesson of the day- Think Positive. It's almost never as bad as it seems. Let the small things roll. Focus on the good. Find your smiley stickers- sometimes you have to look for them, but they are there somewhere. And generally things get better. I tell myself that frequently throughout the day. It helps to keep me centred. My dogs also help- a lot. They make me laugh every day, and since I have been better about managing my time I am feeling much more relaxed, and happy. Truly, I am a happy person most of the time (although in posts like this that is hard to see. lol), and I owe that to my dogs, and my friends. I am grateful.

On a side note this is my one thousand, five hundred and first blog post. It sounds impressive when you write it out like that. Apparently I have lots to say.

Monday, August 08, 2011

The opposite of graceful

more photos from our afternoon at Blazingstar. :)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Red Delicious 31/52

Red Delicious 31/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

My 52 weeks project is still going strong. This week the theme was the color red. So uh, this is all I could come up with. lol

Not super creative, but cute none the less!

You can see the full set here:

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Brit Update

It feels like I am going non stop with work, life, dogs, training and such. Adding in just those extra training/fitness sessions with Brit has filled every spare moment I had. But it's worth it. Already I am seeing a difference.

Here's what we've been doing as far as strength and fitness training

Trotting. For this I take her on the bike. We go every other day (with some exceptions..). We usually go for for about half an hour or 45 minutes. I've found some great paths that allow her to run on the grass

Free Running. This was a bit of a challenge as she doesn't run for nothing. So I've started allowing her to go for off leash runs with Pixel. Pixel runs for everything, and Brit follows her. This was hard to do because I've worked really hard to stop the obsession...but nothing gets her moving quite as fast as a Pixel. I've got a great area to run the dogs with lots of coulees, and up/down hills. We all get a work out.

Cavalletti. We do this every day. 6 poles with crushed pop cans to raise them up. Back and forth, back and forth.

Balance Discs. We do this three times a week. This has proven to be challenging for her, and takes a lot of work physically. I can actually see the muscles in her rear working. She enjoys it though and has already started offering her two back legs when she sees the disc. I am still having to help her put her front feet on the other disc.  (I am saving up to buy a peanut ball! I can't wait!)

Sit Ups, Back Ups, Pivoting, Side Stepping, and Stretching. We alternate all these things. Combined with her sit/stand/down from any position, and other training games there is lots to choose from every day.

We are also doing obedience and agility training.

Fronts. None of my dogs have ever had solid fronts. I'm determined to get complete understanding from Brit. We've been shaping it and so far I am happy with the results. Time will tell if I am capable of teaching a dog to front properly. lol

Finishes. We have the behaviour, but not on cue so we've been working on that.

Stationary attention. Not surprisingly this has been easy to get.

Heeling. We can do three steps. I am not happy with her head position though so won't be doing much more until I fix that. She likes to hold her head crooked and low. I want it high and straight.

Stays. She is pretty solid on this. We vary the exercise though- sometimes I will call her to heel, sometimes I will run away, sometimes I return to her, sometimes I stand behind her.

Circle Work. Self Explanatory really. Lots of running inside and outside circles. She likes this, and is very good. We've added more change of pace, and direction changes into it to spice things up a bit.

Acceleration/Deceleration. Now that I have toy drive we can actually train it! I've discovered she is very responsive to my body.

Jump Work. We've been going through some one jump drills, and some grids. Mostly extension/collection, I haven't done any bend grids with her yet.

Handling with no bars. Front and Rear crosses.  She is just in the beginning stages of learning a rear cross. I set up a box in my yard and we do all sorts of things. She thinks it is fun.

Jump Patterns (often with no bars). She is learning 180's and 270's right now.

Tugging! Oh man, do we do a lot of this. Gone are the tentative- pull for a cookie type tugs. She really gets into it now and will growl, pull back and shake. I am very happy. It still takes a few minutes to get her going but I can get it anywhere now (even the agility field where she would like to watch the dogs...)

Targeting. We are at the beginning stage right now. She has learned to stand on the board and stare at the target. And can target on the flat. I am adding multiple touches at this point on the flat, and "rule outs" (distractions) to the board work.  We don't do this a lot as it will be a while before she is doing contacts.

And that's pretty well it at this point. Lots and lots of work. No wonder I am tired. lol I should mention that we don't do all these things every day! Often I will take a day or two and do nothing training wise.  Sometimes all I can spare is 5 or 10 minutes. We do just little bits as often as we can. So far I am happy with the results. Brit loves to train, and is eager to work!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Excellent. :)

I forgot to get someone to video her runs on Saturday, but managed to remember on Sunday. Here is her first excellent run- a first place and a Q. I am really happy with her weaves- she is actually fast. :) Her dogwalk and teeter need work. lol

Other Show Results

The brace was the most fun- which is why I posted it first, but we had other successes too!

No Nonscents raced on Saturday night at Scenthurdle and we did pretty great. We have a new dog (Gyp) that is just learning the ropes so we had a few bobbles- but she is catching on pretty quickly. Our other dogs went through the same thing when we first started so we understand completely! Even with a few bobbles it was still the most successful race yet as far as accuracy, and staying in our own lane. There were no cross overs- which was awesome, and Pixel is the only one who made a mistake. Everyone else was right on. We earned enough points for the four original dogs to earn their Scenthurdle Excellent titles!

Wicca raced on Due South both Saturday and Sunday night and did great. Saturday she was perfect, Sunday she had a few weird things. Our box loader spooked her by accident once so she was going a bit slow up to the box, and once wouldn't even go up the line! It was odd. But we got her past it and she went back to her normal self. I am not sure how many points she earned, or even what she has. I will have to find out.

Agility was awesome. Pixel Q'd 3/4 runs! She qualified in both Intermediate runs on Saturday- earned her Intermediate title after the first one, but we weren't allowed same day move ups. So we have an insurance Q.   Sunday she Q'd her first excellent run- her weaves were awesome! The second one neither of us were really in the right mood so it was a bit of a disaster. lol

I travelled with Jolene and her collies- as always it was lots of fun. We stayed at our friends place again- which was great. Lots of room for the dogs to run around, and it was nice to have space to spread out for the three days!

It usually takes me a few days to recover from a dogshow weekend but because I had so much downtime I don't feel as tired. If anything I am energized. I watched a lot of obedience this weekend and have a clear plan for Pixel's open training. I will blog about that later this week. :)

Monday, August 01, 2011

Two is more fun than one...

Brace Obedience was so fun. I will definitely do it again. I think the dogs enjoyed themselves aswell. Pixel cracked me up.

We earned a 190/200 in this round (although I think the judge was being rather generous). The second round was not as good, Pixel decided she was done with being tied to Wicca and protested- a lot. But we still "qualified" with a 176. The other brace entered was a fluff pembroke and a standard wirehaired dachsie- it was very cute aswell.