Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You can't always have what you want..

so if you wanted this yummy looking rawhide chewy with one end all gooey, and dog hair stuck to the other end you'd be right outta luck. ;)

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Vito's Life Lessons:

Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart

Vito is the bestest.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Visting, Herding, and Magic

Yesterday I spent the day in Calgary- it was a busy day. But I got to do three cool things. 

Visit with a good friend, that I don't see often enough and haven't talked to in what feels like a long time. Because I haven't been to a trial in what feels like forever I don't get to talk much with all my agility friends. It was a nice visit- although too short. Next time I will plan better!!!

Have a Herding Lesson at Louanne's.
Which was really good. Her stops were way better than before (at least to start), and she worked really well. We did a Y chute for the first time- which was difficult. LOL. And did fenceline work with actual obstacles. That was cool. The sheep we used were super flighty and fast- Brit liked that. It was very apparent we have a long way to go though. I struggle with watching my dog, my sheep, and thinking about what I am supposed to be telling my dog. With time it will come together but right now we are both very novice. At least I have a good novice dog- she tries hard to please me, and is way smarter than me. lol.

And I took Wicca to a different rehab person. Well, a Canine Body Worker. Sarah is apprenticing under Tina from Inhand Equine Therapy and I had the chance to take Wicca to be a guinea pig. I jumped at the chance- another set of eyes on her can't hurt!  Right off the bat Tina could see two things. And as she went over her she told me that she thinks that Wicca has an old, chronic Iliopsoas injury. Interesting eh? She did her magic and by the end of the hour Wicca was walking like a normal dog- without her legs tucked under her, and her topline had leveled out a bit. So I came home with a different set of exercises to do with her every day. Exercises specifically to a Psoas injury- which she may or may not have. But at this point I am willing to try anything. It can't hurt for sure, and if how Wicca was after the appointment is any indication then I am sold.

The hard part about this sort of thing is that I've already been working with a vet who has done lots of good for Wicca. As with everything in life there are always opinions and different thoughts. But I'm a believer in exploring options. And Tina is pretty confident in her observations. She certainly sounded like she knew what she was talking about!  So I'll give it a go. This means that Wicca is back to no fun. Leash walks only. No Running, Twisting, Turning, Jumping, Stairs, or Fun. lol. But Tina thinks that after 7-9 months of Rehab she will be better. That's right, Better.

Even if I could get her better I still won't go back to agility with her. I will be forever scared of hurting her. I couldn't handle that at all. But it would be fun to go back into the Rally ring with her! But being who I am I am still remaining pessimistic about the whole thing. lol. I will be happy if one day she can return to normal life.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Brit in Training

Just a quick update about Brit and her training in various things. This is more for me to be able to look back and see where we are/were at our training.

She LOVES this game. She has the jumping down pat, and the fetching. She is speedy, and really pulls for her turn. She is fast on the box, and is very confident in her job. Now the discrimination is what we are focusing on- she doesn't always think carefully at the box so we've been doing lots of box work. She is getting it though, and I suspect she will be racing on our second team by the summer.

She is so fun to train. We've straightened out (literally) her heeling, and we've made a lot of progress in the past few months. She has the best "front" of any dog I've ever trained. Her sit, down and stand are pretty solid, and she has great finishes. Often she is a little too eager in her finishes and is a bit out of position. Her stand for exam is pretty great, and I've been working on lots of right turns, and big loopy circles.  We've been doing lots of work against fences, and walls to encourage her being straight. I've just started pairing rally signs together and we actually did a pretty tough course last week. She has some work to do on duration but I am pretty pleased!!

I blog about every lesson because there is so much to learn and absorb. She has taught me so much, and I am completely addicted to it. We are very very novice still, but we are novice together at least. :) I filled out my first ever Herding trial entry form. It was pretty exciting. The trials are in June- and I entered all four. I am super nervous and it is still months away. She is a natural though, and as long as I can keep my head we will do just fine. She has the skill. Mostly. lol

I have not done much at all. She has the ground work, and the mechanics for contacts, and handling. She can front and rear cross, understands a serp cue, and a threadle. But doesn't have the actual training on equipment. She is still at the backchaining on contacts, and jumping 16". She can weave, sort of, not really. And I have a list a mile long of things she still needs to learn. First on the list is jump work.

Despite this list I do not spend all that much time actually training with her. Mostly we play and train little bits here and there. I am really enjoying her. She is so sweet, and happy, and eager to do whatever I ask her. I really love that about her. I am in no hurry with her in any venue- we'll get there when we get there. I think Rally will be her first actual ring experience of any sort. But time will tell!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mister Freeze

 This has been a pretty mild winter. We've only had a few days of really cold winter.Temperatures dipping below -40 C. For my American friends- that's FREAKING COLD. On one of those nights this cute little kitten was left outside and in the morning was FROZEN to someones doorstep. They had to use warm water to pull him off.

The people who found him contacted me by accident- thinking I was a cat rescue. His story was sad, and they were desperate. So he came home with me even though I am definitely not a cat rescue. lol.

He is about 4 months old and is fiesty, playful, a huge trouble maker and is mostly a pain in the ass. He is a little on the wild side, and attacks any unprotected feet. He's very sneaky and launches onto one of the dogs nearly every day. He's bad.  But he's here to stay. He and Bruce have become friends already.  He is ultra confident with the dogs and he and Vito actually cuddle on the couch. It is the cutest thing ever.

Thankfully there have been no ill effects from his near death experience. His feet are in good shape, his ear tips fine, and he got a clean bill of health from the vet. He'll be neutered in a few months.

I had a hard time naming him. I mostly call him Mister. lol. Mister Bad Ass, Mister Confidence, Mister Freeze. He will be a purely indoor cat, I've been succesful in keeping him away from the dangerous outdoors so far, and intend to keep it that way.

he's crazy so he fits right in...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Herding Lesson

Today Brit and I headed out to Alta Pete for another lesson. We have found our groove and for the first time I felt a little bit confident in what I was supposed to do. lol. Brit's outruns are very nice all of a sudden, and although she can still cut in a bit on the top it is still 100x's better than before. What really sucked were the lie downs. And I was using a non-grumpy voice and everything. They actually started out pretty well, and then went to shit. So we worked on some lie down drills, and she worked through her little pout pretty well. Other than her crappy stops she was pretty wonderful. Listening, and trying hard.

 Oh and for the first time we picked up the sheep from where Jenny was standing and Brit circled right around them- and of course she wouldn't stop when I asked her. So we worked on that a bit more- gather and stop, gather and stop.

She is a sensitive girl and today was the first time that we really pushed her to the point where she wasn't so happy to work. But we let her flank a little bit to rebuild some confidence and ended on a pretty decent down.

I'm not sure how I can really work on that anymore at home. I can down on her on the way to a toy, on a recall, and playing with a dog. We'll have to work a bit harder on it though- throw in some new challenges or something. I need for her to have a solid stop so that I can think. lol.

On the way home we went to PetSmart and she got to pick out a new toy, and I bought cookies, and cat treats. She had a good time sniffing stuff and meeting people, and I felt the disapproving stare of the store "dog trainer" as my cute little border collie jumped all over me and pulled on her leash. It made me smile.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Husky Power

Yesterday my boss (Wendy) took us all Dog Sledding as a surprise Fun Day. It was SUPER fun!!! I've never been before so it was completely new for me. The place we went was small, family run, and best of all they really do care about their dogs. The dogs were all happy, and friendly. We each got a turn to drive, and be a passenger. Driving a dog sled is harder than it looks. lol. But I managed not to fall!! Being a passenger was a lot less work. ;)

Friday, February 17, 2012


"It's a great big world, and you'll see
It could pass you by at light speed
You got one life, one life
Don't stop; don't stop live it up" 

Sometimes you can find inspiration even when you're not looking. 

Last night I went to a Hedley concert. And it was fantastic. I loved it. I didn't want it to end.  I've been a fan from the beginning- drawn to his energy, killer voice, and messages found in his songs.

He is seriously talented.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


c-r-a-z-y, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

vito cracks me up.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wicca Update

Wicca is continuing to be limp free- which makes me SO SO SO happy. She still gets a little shaky in the rear after exercise, but it doesn't last long. She is still a little twitchy in spots, but I've been massaging her every night. Overall she is feeling pretty good I think. We've been slowly increasing her exercise- we went for an hour and a half today!!! She is still not allowed to play or wrestle with the other dogs, or jump. But she has been doing lots of off leash walks- nothing crazy, no fun dogs to play with (No Pixel!) but I think that has helped her to get rid of some pent up energy.

We are very religious with her exercises- every morning we do stretches and her little tricks- wave, take a bow, weave through my legs, crawl... In the afternoon we do our ball stuff every second day, and alternate off leash walking, or hill walking...The hill stuff is a killer. lol. For me. And in the evenings we do more stretches, some training (working on signals, go backs, and more tricks), and cavelleti's twice a week. The Cavelleti's are ridiculous really- she smashes through them. I saw a photo on someone elses blog that I am going to try. Pylons with holes drilled in them to keep the pole from moving...It's a worth a try because my way certainly is more time consuming and a pain in the butt.

Leash walking has been pretty impossible. She is my naughtiest dog on leash and pulls like a psycho- not good for her body at all. I had an easy walk for her that worked well but she can't have her shoulders restricted like that. I bought this pretty pink harness for tracking- but it is the only one I've found that doesn't pull on her neck or shoulders. We don't do a ton of leash walking- but when we do she is stylin' :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Different Light

Last week I decided that maybe it was time to take a break from agility with my dogs. I was feeling completely depressed about Wicca, and just couldn't seem to get past it. Everytime I tried to train Pixel or Brit in agility I couldn't really get into it. I was stuck.

So I decided that a break was in need. Some time off from training (even though I have already not been doing much I had been trying to make myself...) A break so that I wasn't training my dogs when my heart wasn't in it. Pixel is so sensitive to that sort of thing- she's not a dog that you can fake it with.  A break to give me a chance to see if Agility is as important to me as I think it is. I have no timeline.

I'm still teaching- right now only one agility class every second week. Enough to keep me in the loop. And stay connected with my friends. I also taught a Seminar this weekend with the Medicine Hat group- it was awesome. I had a good time, and was excited about agility! I even worked Brit a little on the breaks- and enjoyed myself!

So I know the passion is still there- I just need to get over myself. Feel better about myself.  Get focused, and I think that the love I have for agility will come back. I can feel it a little bit just from the weekend. As I gave my pep talk at the end of the weekend- talking about being confident, trusting your training and pushing to be better, it dawned on me that I never take my own advice. lol.

Interestingly enough I have had no problem in Obedience or Scenthurdle. In fact I am on an upswing Obedience wise and have been doing lots of training with both Pixel and Brit. I do think that most of my issue with agility is Me. My own lack of confidence, and issues that go along with that. And Wicca. I have guilt. Lots of guilt. But I've been reading some books about confidence, guilt, and emotions, and trying to be a better, healthier person. It's completely out of character for me. lol. But I'm trying.

Agility has been a huge part of my life for more than 10 years. That's a long time. I am not ready to throw that away, or quit. I think that with time, and thought, and some good old fashioned helpful words from friends I'll be back at it in no time.  With a better attitude, and a new light.

Monday, February 13, 2012


As I read through my blog posts for the last few weeks I realised I hadn't posted about Boone very much! He's not any of my flickr projects this year, and combined with the "hard to photograph" factor I don't have many new photos.

This is from one of our beach walks last week- Boone blended into the sand a little too well, and I barely got any decent photos of him. I have a very hard getting good photos of him. He doesn't stop moving ever, and because of his fuzzy face I can't seem to focus on him very easily...

Boone and Scamp have formed the cutest friendship. None of my foster dogs have remained friends with Boone once they discovered how fun everyone else is. That is until Scamp. They cuddle on the couch together, play together, tug together, and run together. It is very cute.

I include this photo only because it made me laugh out loud. I do realise it's not in focus. But the teeth are awesome! ;)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Breaking the Rules

I've been taking the dogs to a beach not too far away. It's the off season so it is deserted, and we can walk for a long time and not see any people. The dogs have a great time playing in the sand- and Wicca's even been able to do one of her presrcibed exercises (digging!).

Although she is still not supposed to run, she got a serious case of the zoomies and I did let her rip around for a few seconds. She was so excited, and had a huge smile on her face. I loved seeing that.

                                                   She finished the zoomies off with a celebratory roll in goose poop. ;)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Scamp Update

Scamp is pretty awesome. He is happy, playful, curious, and an easy dog to live with. He barely ever barks, is great on a leash, has a fabulous recall and is great with dogs, cats, and people.  He can still be a bit worried about men, or if people approach him too fast- but he recovers fast and is easily bribed with food and a good boy. He is very sweet and affectionate- he loves to cuddle, and thinks he is a lap dog. He is a people dog and likes to please. He has the cutest happy dance when he's excited and will jump up and down with his front feet and wiggle. It is adorable and very charming.

Scamp loves to play- with you or a toy. If you run he will gallop beside you springing in the air. He'll fetch pretty well any toy but has his favorites (he really loves this blue squeaky hedgehog..)

 At the beginning of this journey with him I wasn't sure if he would be suitable for dog sports or not- but I actually think he would do pretty great. He is keen to learn (he's figured it out. lol), and is pretty athletic. He is excited to play and will fetch and tug now even in new places. I think he has quite a large amount of drive hidden in there. The trick will be the right person to take the time to bring out the best in him. It will be a bit of a process though.

As of right now he is more than ready to live as a normal dog- he is used to regular house things, is completely housetrained, crate trained, and is well behaved. I am very particular about where my project foster dogs go. I've put a lot of work into him and he really deserves a great home. So if you're interested send me an email, or if you know someone who might be pass them the link!

he looks very whippet like in this photo. lol. i assure you he is all border collie!

The Gimpy Dog Club

When my dog Sam started limping, and had to have test, after test, and 2nd, and 3rd opinions for a diagnosis I started doing fundraising. Sarah designed me this logo and I made a cafe press site with tshirts, bags, etc. And used the design for labels for some home made leashes and tugs. It didn't really make much money, but it kept me busy and helped to keep my mind off things. Yesterday I was joking with Sarah that maybe instead of one Gimpy dog, I should have a club...

Pixel started limping on Sunday. A prominent limp in her front right leg. I had a bit of a freak out, and then did the rational thing-  decided to make my dogs live in a bubble,  I mean, gave her some Traumeel and called Sarah. 

On Sarahs advice I also iced it off and on for a few days. There was swelling on the pastern, and she was definitely tender. She's been super restricted activity wise. Carried down the stairs outside (which I can assure you she hates) and there has been a no fun allowed rule reinstated in the house. 

Yesterday she was almost normal, just a little misstep every once in a while. I had Sarah look at her to see if she could feel anything weird- and while she did find a little lump under the skin (feels like a spear grass?), the swelling is minimal and I think she is on the mend. I am going to soak her foot to see if I can get anything to come out but it really does feel quite under the skin, not just on the surface. 

I suspect that she either bashed it on a scent hurdle jump (although I rewatched the video and didn't see anything...), or maybe she tripped up the stairs, or banged it banking off the cupboard to get outside. It was likely just very bruised and sore. She is a bit of a klutz so who knows. I am thankful that she seems to be much better already. 

On another note Wicca's blood test results came back and all looks okay. There were a few minor things that we are going to keep an out for. Her kidney levels (can't remember what they are called) were a bit high, but that could be just from being a bit dehydrated the day of the blood test. Also her liver level was high- but not high enough to worry about. And her Red Blood Cell count was also high.  The vet suggested retesting her blood in two months and see if things have changed any. Also, I need to take her back in next week to get a new sample from the little lump on her leg. The sample she took didn't have anything in it. So we want to be sure that she just didn't get a bad sample. 

Wicca is feeling pretty good though, and we are up to an hour walk on flat pathways. Off Leash. So there has been some progress and she is not so stir crazy. She still gets very upset if I leave the house with another dog though. To help with my guilt I've been giving her extra chews and such...but I noticed this morning she looked a little thicker so I will have to cut back her food/treats a bit more...

And that's pretty much most of the drama from the week. The other dogs are awesome. Which reminds me, I need to do a blog post for Scamp. He is doing great. 

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Dogs We Love

Tsuga, on a recent good day. Photo by Dave Lewis
I work in the dog industry and am surrounded by lots of different dogs each and every day. I've trained lots of peoples dogs, and get to play with dogs all day long. I like a lot of dogs- and love a lot of dogs too. I spend more time with the dogs at work than my own dogs sometimes, and as you can expect we form attachments. And despite what you may have been told there are always favorites. Dogs that we especially like for one reason or another, or dogs that we connect with. It's amazing to think that you can love a dog that's not your own.

Today one of the dogs that I loved died of Cancer. He has been sick for a few months now, and actually lived longer than the Vets guessed. What makes this even sadder is that just a few months prior they lost their other dog to Cancer aswell. That dog also was a favorite- a flatcoat that had a wag and a kiss for everyone. Their hearts haven't even had a chance to heal from that sudden loss and now they are faced with another.

Tsuga was a great dog- a border collie cross pup rescued with his littermates, that grew into a handsome Shepherdy looking guy. Full of life and happiness. He was never a wild player at work- but had a thing for the "girls" and would often hang out on the outside edges flirting with a pretty little lab. Tsuga was sweet, and affectionate, and eager to please. A dog that didn't like to make mistakes or be wrong. A sensitive soul who liked to jump up to say hi even though he wasn't supposed to.

He will be greatly missed. :(

Life is not fair.
This sort of thing makes my own problems seem so small and petty.

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick- Herding Lesson #

Although I was barely alive this morning after my mega long Saturday. We got up bright and early on Sunday and Brit and I headed to Alta-Pete for a lesson.
I am so glad we did. The weather was perfect. Sun shining, only a slight breeze. Perfect.

And Brit did really great!!!

She was a little fast to start, so we spent some time working on squaring off the start of her flanks. She is generally starting well, but then tightens up at the top. Jenny helped me to work her through that though and she was much better for it. We also worked a bit on the fence exercise- where she has to hold them to me and the fence. Her lie downs SUCKED though so this was hard to start. So we stopped that and just worked on a drill of flanks and stops in the middle of the arena. Around and around we went. And then we took a mental break.

After the break we went back and did another outrun- which was perfect!. And then some more fence stuff which was better, and finished off with the drills in the middle. And she was lovely! Took her flanks nicely and her lie downs were really nice- not instant, but close. I was so happy with her! It's interesting how they process things. Learning sheep really is probably the most difficult thing. The dog has to do lots of thinking for themselves, and don't really get a lot of help from us. I find it quite interesting.

A few things from today

  • When starting my dog have her set a bit aways from me depending on the distance to encourage her to run distance
  • Speak Softly and Carry a Big stick. lol. I tend to get grumpy at her (nothing new. lol), but she really does listen better if I say it nicely. If she doesn't do it after I've asked her twice then I can get grumpy at her. But not before. And I can use the stick (or the pressure of the stick) instead.
  • Does she understand, or is she choosing not to. This is hard for me because I am very new to this and don't really know if she is doing the right thing or the wrong thing, or is blowing me off. For instance if I tell her to lie down and she feels she should move three feet to the left and lie down to have better control of the sheep....
  • With the drill I had her lie down at hard spots, or take difficult flanks, and then rewarded her with 12 O'Clock. Or 9:00. (which was her second favorite spot.)
All in all a pretty great morning!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Thanks to a great team!

I have the best Scenthurdle team ever. I won't lie- the dream of having a Lethbridge Scenthurdle team has been bumpy, and difficult, and sometimes a huge pain in my ass. Team Sports are not my thing really. And me in charge of a team?! lol. Well you can imagine. Thankfully I have an awesome bunch of people- people who keep me organised, and talk back, take advice, and have a great sense of humor.

Last year was our first year. We rarely ran clean, had lots of issues pop up, and placed last or second last every single race. The Lethbridge race in the summer was particularily painful. Even our "reliable" dogs weren't running well.  Despite our rough races we still had fun, and laughed, and joked around. It is important to us that our dogs have fun. Winning is not everything.  But we went home and trained harder. We all sacrificed some time and have been getting together every week (or nearly) for a few months now. And all the work is paying off!

Last night was awesome. There were 7 teams. And we placed 2nd Overall. Do you know how awesome that is? Like really awesome. We ran 7 races, and WON 5 of them. Against some very impressive teams. Teams that usually win every single time. Our dogs had super competitive times- anything under 40 seconds is pretty awesome (and earns 10 points!)We had five times under 40, and even had a 34!!! But more important than speed- we had no mistakes. No wrong dumbbells, no crossovers, no bobbles. The only mistake was mine. lol. Pixel missed a few jumps, (I'll have video and explain later) and I didn't yell up to the boxloader in time for her to put another in. But no biggie, and that was our only issue. That's a huge improvement!

I am so proud of everyone! I am proud of our sportsmanship. We volunteer whenever we can, we are nice to our dogs- and to each other, and we just have a great time. We are going to be a fierce team this year. I can tell. We've got speed, consistency, and fun. We were the loudest team, the team always laughing, and some of them even skipped a bit as they ran...It was a pretty fun night and I am looking forward to the next one!!

Team No Nonscents
l-r Donna, Epic, Swift, Amanda, Pixel, Jo, Kort, Tina, Jethro, Amanda S (box loader), Gyp, Bosley, Kim, Sarah

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


Random thing #1
Pixel was awesome at scenthurdle tonite. We are going to Calgary for a race on Saturday. First one of the season!

Random thing #2
Bruce (the cat) is seriously mad. He's not adjusting to being an indoor cat, and combined with random thing #6 makes for a very pissed off cat.

Random thing #3
Wicca went to the vet today for a "geriatric" check up and blood work. Good thing I teach my dogs to pee on command...

Random thing #4
I love Wednesdays, and Income Tax time.

Random thing #5
Scamp is driving me nutty with his "I'm a normal happy dog now and want to play all the freaking time..." He's ready to go now. Serious. Any takers?

Random thing #6
I got a kitten and named him Baker. For no reason except I like the name and it sounds good with Bruce. He was found frozen to someones porch when it was -50. I am a sucker.

Random thing #7
I am going through sheepherding withdrawls so have a lesson on Sunday...

Random thing #8
I finally picked up the tickets for HEDLEY- I bought them more than a month ago.....  So excited!!!
That is all.