Monday, December 31, 2012

Vito's Life Lessons Wrap-Up

I belong to a Flickr group called 52 Weeks for Dogs. This has been my fourth year participating. A Photo a Week is harder than you'd think! But it was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed the theme I had set for Vito's year. His "Life Lessons" often brought me the inspiration for the photo, which is not what I had anticipated!

I did up a slideshow of his year. It's about 4 minutes long, but he's cute so maybe you won't notice the length. ;)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blue Sky Day!

Wicca is a leader


The princess was not happy about sitting in the snow.

this photo cracked me up. lol

Ready for Action

She wanted the toy more than the dog for once!

I love the sun flare in this.

Happy Leo

Leaping Leo! (for a toy!)

and Wicca found a hole, and could not be dragged away.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Herding for the Holidays

I've been off work since the 24th. And I am loving the break! Sleeping in, walking the dogs, visiting family and friends. Wonderful.

Oh, and herding. ;)

Last week I took a trip out to an arena near Nanton. Just to scope it out. See what it was like. I planned to work Leo because I didn't know what the sheep would be like. Jenny said that if the sheep were doggie it would be good for her to work because they just run to the person. And she was right! I worked Brit for just a few minutes and she had fun. Rushing into the corner for them and zipping around. I loved the confidence I saw! Leo was pushy. And the sheep weren't helpful. lol. But he had fun.

Yesterday I went out to Altapete for another lesson with Scott. We worked on her stops. She MUST LIE DOWN WHEN I TELL HER TO. Ya. lol. I was proud of her for not melting even with a lot of pressure, and she wasn't nervous of the sheep at all. She worked for almost 45 minutes and by the end we were both understanding what we were supposed to do. It doesn't sound all that hard- walk in to her to prevent her from making a mistake (i.e coming forward on a lie down). Simple right? Not so much apparently. lol. But we did it, and I get the concept. Now to put it into action!

Today we went in the opposite direction to Phantomridge. Just some informal herding fun. It was a great day. Yummy food, good company, great weather and even some Baileys...
this is Nim. And my most favorite herding photo that I've taken to date. I didn't take any photos of my own dog so this will have to do. ;)

Brit was zippy and I worked her only for a short time her first turn. Just a few quick flanks and lie downs (and they were good ones too!!!). We quit while she was still amped up for more. Her second turn was in the big field and she worked with no hesitation. I am pretty proud of her! Here's hoping that more positive experiences will just continue to build back that confidence.

I worked Leo too. He is coming right along. We've been working on Lie Downs and such in the yard. With the excitement of a toy or the other dogs. And it has payed off. He worked pretty well today. He is so different than Brit. Pushy, and forward. lol. It's like I am relearning everything. But I am having fun learning with him! He is a good teacher.

So yes, I am definitely enjoying my holidays and taking advantage of each day. I have a few days left- I go back on Wednesday. So I have a few more days to get in some more herding, relaxing, playing and fun!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Country Boy in the Big City

This handsome fella is Try. He is belongs to my friend Jenny at Altapete Stockdogs. I get to puppy-sit for a few days- we are pretty excited! Puppies are so fun! Because he is a "country boy" he has much to learn about City life- people, noises, cars, different surfaces, and all that stuff we take for granted.

His first city lesson was about Tim Hortons. He learned that drive-thrus are pretty awesome and dispense things called Tim Bits.

Next we went home to introduce him to the crew. Mr.Confidence had no problem meeting everyone and made quick friends with Boone.

 A quick romp in the yard (where he chased the cat, stalked the corgi, stole Boone's toy and ran around like a yahoo)....

 And then we headed out to do some visiting at the local pet stores. Teaching him first that car trips are great! (you get cookies, and you get to go somewhere fun!)

Wicca came along to show him there was nothing to be afraid of when meeting new people.

He is a quick study and Wicca showed him how to steal things off shelves, clean up crumbs and mooch treats from the staff.

Now we are at home having a nap after such a busy afternoon!

His adventure will continue tomorrow with a trip to the bank, and to meet my nephew. ;)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


For Me

and for them. Well, this is what *I* gave them. 
the dogs have a lot of friends and have almost a whole toy box full of new stuff! Lucky Dogs.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Do you Believe in Santa?

Believe in Santa 51/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Vito sure does! And he's hoping that the big guy wasn't watching when he did all those naughty things this past year. Time will tell I suppose! ;)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Torture, I mean photos...

the official one. (as seen on facebook) ;)

Bruce even got in on the action...

So Cute!

They look happier without the

Version 2 (after Leo said he could not possibly sit for one second longer.)
I hope everyone in blogger land has a great Christmas!!! Cherish every moment!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We interrupt our regular programming...

For some puppy pictures!!! This is Kit. Who is freaking adorable- and a really great pup. She will grow up to be a hard working stock-dog. But for now she is a typical, rambunctious puppy.

She is at my friends Louannes and while I was waiting for a lesson today I took her out to play. Freaking Cute. Gah!

Seriously, isn't she adorable? All Puppies are cute but she takes it to a whole new level....

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Christmas sort of day!

Slowly but surely I am getting ready for Christmas. Today I was very christmas-y.

I tortured the dogs with their annual Christmas photo...

(A Sneek Peek of Mr. Leo participating!)

I did some Christmas Shopping!!! I was able to cross two people off my list which is great!

And I bought a new Tree. My little one was cute, but I needed something bigger to help me to get into the season. So I bought this beauty. It was on sale even for 60% off! So I don't even feel bad spending money on it.

Merry Christmas to me. ;)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Building Brave

The other day I blogged about Brit's lack of confidence and courage when it comes to working sheep. She had one bad experience and now she is afraid. I wondered aloud about what the plan would be. How does one go about fixing that? I of course had no idea. lol. Well it's a good thing I happen to know someone who does!

Brit and I had a lesson with Scott Glen (of Altapete fame) yesterday morning. It was fantastic and I left with my head reeling with information, and the thought that my dog can get over this. We did a few various exercises- all with confidence building in mind. Brit had a blast and was running around like a yahoo for the most of it. Scott had lots of good suggestions and thoughts. Like take for example her bad stops- she generally always takes a step or two before lying down. It is likley the pressure of the sheep that actually makes her stop, not me. And that right there could be a pretty big part of our problem. If she is being "stopped" by the sheep all the time it could be wearing her down. Makes total sense. I had never really thought about it like that before.

Some of the close up work was scary for her at first- working in tight quarters with sheep flying every which way was interesting. lol. She got the hang of it though and worked through being uncomfortable. We (well I say we, but Scott did most of the work) managed to get her to bite- twice! And even a few air snaps. Wrinkled lips and everything. I was impressed as I really didn't think we'd be able to get her to. She needs to learn that she has options- and that there are things she can do when she is facing a ewe. Biting is a tool she will need.

Scott has a really cool way of explaining things. I tried to remember all his little sayings but a whole hour of information flooded my brain. Thoughts of "give up control, let her be bad, jazz her up with my voice, faster is better" are floating around in a jumbled mess in my brain. lol. I am going to go back for another lesson with him after Christmas and then work with my other two instructors and see if we can't keep up the confidence stuff until she is ready to be serious again. I have no idea of a timeline at this point. I forgot to ask cause my brain was over filled. 

I have decided though to start doing lessons with Scott every once in a while- maybe once a month or so? Just to help keep things on track. He really is a Wizard when it comes to stockdogs- he certainly has an eye for stuff. He pinpointed all of Brits weaknesses in five minutes....

I'm feeling pretty lucky to have Scott so close!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Is as simple as an x-ray. Pixels radiographs look great. Her hips and spine look very normal and healthy. Phew.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Last Weeks Lesson

Vito's Life Lessons : Week 49

You don't have to have it all figured out to move forward.

Vito is so smart.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Highwood Stockdog Series- Round 2

Well this round didn't go as I anticipated.

Brit had an incident with a cranky ewe last week at my lesson. She was chased and threatened and of course being the chicken she is would not stand up to her. Sigh. So we tried our best to get the ewe moving and let Brit take control but it didn't end so good. So I was worried going in to the trial that she would be afraid to come up behind them. My plan was to just jazz her up and let her bowl them to me. lol. Good plan eh?

The first round she did manage to get them going- but it took quite a bit of time and encouragment from me. We finished strong though, and I let her run them a bit to get some excitement built for the next one.

The second round was rough. She couldn't lift them at all. And after a few seconds of watching her worry about it I marched up there to help her out. With the help of a guy from the chutes we got them moving ourselves and then I sent Brit behind them so she could feel as though she did it. LOL.

So no glory this time, but I was still happy with the work she did on the first round. She had to really push and she did it, but she just didn't have enough confidence to do it a second time. I know that my dog is a bit of a chicken. She has no eye, and won't face off a ewe. Heck, we couldn't even get her to grip at the lesson last week.... I am pretty sure this likely won't ever change. I would be very surprised if it did. Brit's kind of an open book.

So I am not sure what the plan is. I have zero experience with this in relation to stock. But I do know that if this is like any other bad experience it will probably take quite a lot of good experiences to overshadow the bad. I need to find some local sheep that I can use. Once a week won't be enough to get over this, and I can't afford more than that. Gas, Time, and Lesson costs add up pretty fast!

The next trial isn't until the end of January so we have a while- but if her confidence isn't up by then I am not sure if I will just pull her, or forfeit my run and go with her. Time will tell I guess!

Plans are in the works to try and get our own sheep- we have a friend who has some space on her acreage... But there are lots of fences to fix, and a slight weed problem to deal with first.. Maybe we need to get a goat first to eat all the weeds.... ;)

The video of her first run

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Lookin' good in Plaid

 Boone had a great time on our walk today. He loves to wear his coat (I think it acts almost as a thundershirt and gives him some added confidence). He even flirted a bit with a friends Kelpie!

Friday, December 07, 2012

Getting into the Spirit

A week ago I said I wasn't going to put up the tree, or decorate, or really put any effort into Christmas. But yesterday I decided that I was grumpy enough, and maybe some Christmas Cheer is what I needed.

So yesterday afternoon my sister and my nephew Nolen came over and helped me to Christmas-ify my house. Okay, Nolen mostly played with Pixel and asked a lot of questions but Sabrina was a big help.

So my tree is up, and a few christmas decorations are making an appearance. I'm hoping that it will help to get me out of this funk.

I used to LOVE Christmas- my favorite time of year. Now as an adult not so much. I think it's because when I was little the whole season was warm and wonderful. The feel of the season was easy to grasp. As a kid you see what is in front of you- not the behind the scenes. For the past few years I've felt ripped off- not gift wise. (in fact I am not a big gift person, though I do like to shop for others!!!) But rather a strange empty feeling. It's hard to explain...

As Nolen gets older I am noticing that Christmas is certainly more fun- he is definitely the highlight! So here, to pass on some good holiday cheer- a cute kid, a dog with antlers and a purdy little tree...

and my new most favorite tree decoration. Boone. Handpainted and everything. I love it. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Pixel Update

I took Pixel to Calgary to see her rehab/chiro vet yesterday. I've been nervous about the appointment for a few weeks. She hasn't been quite right for a while, and I suspected something "big" was going on. Of course, always the pessimist, I was thinking a disc issue or something of the like.

She definitely was in need of an adjustment but Veronica doesn't think there is anything too major going in. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest. 

Pixel had a few ouchie spots- her neck being the biggest one. From heeling of course... She had a few adjustments in her neck/shoulder area and Veronica showed me how to feel if one side was tighter than the other. I should be able to work it out on my own with some light massage if I catch it in time. She will be taking a few months off from heeling though. We will have to work on some other training things and get back to the quest for a CDX in the spring...

Her lower lumbar and pelvis was also out. Pixel didn't appreciate this adjustment at all... But I think she is feeling better because of it. She also got a Traumeel injection which will help her to feel better. 

Pixel was also booked for X-Rays but unfortunately the machine wasn't working properly so we will be going back next week for them. I am getting her spine, and hips xrayed just to be sure. Veronica couldn't tell for sure about her hips- I've been concerned because her sits have gotten sloppier and sloppier, often sitting so far back on her butt that her legs stick out. Is this because she is lazy? Or uncomfortable? At this point it is debatable so I have some exercises to do to work on getting her more in an "up" sit. X-Rays will tell. If she is displastic it is not the end of the world- there are plenty of dogs out there with Hip Displasia that still do things. Of course I hope she isn't because it will be just one more thing for me to worry about. lol.

Displastic or not we will be doing things a little differently in the future. Apparently my Cardigans are made of glass and need to live in a bubble. It is frustrating at times, but I need to just deal with what I have. And I have another Cardigan who will never play agility again. The risk for a back injury (which could be life threatening) is too great for me. She obviously is compromised structurally to have some much wrong with her at a young age- and with very limited agility in the past 5 months! Agility is probably not even the cause of all of this- she hasn't done anything in months! And still her back, and pelvis are more than a little sore. That's alarming for me. Aside from bits of obedience she hasn't done anything outside of real life. And if real life makes her lame, well that's a problem. So we will be moving on to something else for Pixel too. Which makes me sad to type because she really did like agility and it was something we had fun doing together. She is only two Q's away from an ATCHC. But I'll take my dogs health and longevity over a title any day. There is no question or regret for me. I am thankful to have at least caught this before her injuries were severe enough to warrant no fun (like Wicca). At least Pixel is still able to go back to some sports- Scenthurdle, Obedience (with a new heeling style) and maybe we'll pick up something new like Tracking...

So for once I am feeling Optimistic. The world is not over. My dog still has a long, healthy, painfree life ahead of her. And I am very grateful for that. This has been keeping me up at night for a few weeks. I'm looking forward to some sleep! 

Monday, December 03, 2012

Adventures in Herding

A video montage from Sundays Herding fun. Enjoy!