Monday, December 31, 2007

Resolutions and such...

So it is the 31st today...the last day of the year and although I don't generally like to do the whole New Years Resolution thing this year I do have some specific goals...

General Resolutions
1) Be Healthier- I tend to have not great eating habits, haven't gone to the doctors in forever, and am just generally too busy to take care of myself
2)Get my ass in gear and behind the wheel- self explanatory I think
3) Save more money...

General Dog Resolutions
1) Train more often
2) Be a more patient trainer

Wicca's Resolutions
1) Get a CDX
2) Get into the Rally ring
3) Win her height division at regionals and place at Nationals

Sam's Resolutions
1) More tracking (see below post)
2) Send for PEN # (it's the procrastinator in me)
3) Keep up with the physio

Vito's Resolutions
1) Teach him to weave
2) Get into the Rally Ring
3) Get him out more into the general public- increase his confidence with people

Boone's Resolutions
1) Cutting ALL of his nails without fuss
2) Be okay when I leave him for a weekend (a post about that coming soon)
3) Get into an Obedience/Rally ring

Kate doesn't really have resolutions....the joys of retirement and couch potato life! ;o)

Sam's new hobby

Lots of my friends do tracking but it never interested me that much- I do a lot of dog things and couldn't imagine adding one more thing to do...but with Sam being unable to do agility, or obedience we needed to find him an alternative.

So yesterday we went for the first time. It was lots of fun and Sam had a great time! He was pretty excited to be out and about and I am eager to learn more. I am going to do some reading on tracking and talk more to my friends about it. Sam did three little mini tracks and was overjoyed at finding his toy at the end. It was pretty cute!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Video

I brought all the dogs to work last night and even managed to get some video!
Wicca really needs work on entries- especially when there is speed involved. This is near the end of the session- after I worked on three poles- and a gate. I was overall pretty happy with her. She is such a great weaver- she just has to get in there!

I worked on jump skills with Vito- some one jump exercises aswell as 180's. He did great and was very full of himself. We also worked on some heeling and stationary attention. I used the goodie container to get him to move out ahead of me in a straight line- which of course he loved! He's so cute!

Boone had a great time- I haven't done much with him as I wasn't sure what all I wanted to do with him. At this point I am still figuring out what he knows- and what he thinks he knows :o)
Boone has a few Q's already so he has a pretty good idea of what a jump is, and he loves tunnels. I am working on targeting on the flat to retrain contacts as I want a 2on2off. Last night I asked him to weave for the first time- so I could see what I have to work with. He kind of gets it...but not really. i think he mostly guesses until he gets it right :o)
It is very cute to see him try so hard. I think a month of gate training and he will have decent weaves...I found that he loves the goodie container so we used that last night to work on some basic jump drills...

and Sam got to come out and run through a few tunnels and play catch while I packed up. He was pretty excited about it....

Anyway, here is the video of Wicca weaving. I put the camera on a chair and just let it go. I know nothing about Video editing so there are some "gaps" of nothingness. Sorry :o)
Enjoy it anyway!

For some stupid reason I can't get the code to work.....For now- use the above link!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Say What?

Vito is looking very handsome these days. I love it when he cocks his head when I talk to him. I'd love to be able to get his trademark smile on camera...everytime I try I miss day I'll get it...but until then- trust's very, very cute
Wicca, Sam and Boone stayed home today- I am going to bring them back tonite and do some work with each of them. I am working on teaching Sam some new tricks, building Boone's confidence and trick repetoire, Wicca is working on fronts and finshes, and Vito is working on heeling...

Wicca Says...

she's very tired after a long day of opening presents, eating, and visiting family!
She hopes that all her doggy friends had a great Christmas too!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Boone Pictures

I don't have many pictures of Boone to share with you all yet. I had hoped to get some this weekend but we'll see how the rest of my day goes :o)
I do have a puppy picture of him though.......

he is 8 weeks in this picture...cute eh?

Boone continues to improve and is mostly normal now. He hasn't had a melt down in a few weeks and his true personality is starting to show. He is very playful, has a great sense if humor and enjoys showing off!

Here is a link to his mom "Breeze"
and his Dad- "Rookie"

Friday, December 21, 2007

No Reason

No reason for this post, except that I thought the pictures were cute and wanted to share!

The love of his life....

Vito loves Molly Brown....he hasn't seen her for a few weeks and he started singing and whining the minute he saw her this morning. She loves him too, but plays hard to get sometime :o)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Agility Babble

Wicca was such a good girl last night!

I have been working at getting our distance back as she has become a little confused and therefore is pulling back to me off of a jump etc. I have been working mostly at home with the coffee table! and it totally paid off.
In the bottom sequence (white) I was able to lead out to the tire- and stay in the middle and rear cross 7 -8. She had great weaves, a solid start line and one bar. In the black sequence lead out pivot 1-2 and her 4-5 weave entry was awesome- she collected and had no bobbles.
The top sequence was super fun and I really pushed her for speed but still maintaining criteria, bars, and weaves. Black- the 4-5 weave entry was tough and we missed it the first time- I ended up pushing her out to make the approach better for her. 6-7 I layered the no.10 jump and just hung back to get the turn. White sequence-this one was more technical and required a well thought out plan. It was interesting to see the different paths my students chose. With Wicca I did a lead out pivot 1-2, sent her to the tunnel and picked her up on my right for the jump. Rear crossed 5-6 and again with the nasty weave entry- this time she got it the first time- and the rest was pretty straight forward- you had to be sure that you commited to the #13 jump- some dogs missed the jump completely. the weaves from the tunnel was a given as long as you got your cue out in time. Wicca was smokin and I was very pleased with her. Last night was the last barn night for three weeks- so it was good to really let her go full tilt....
I took Vito last night aswell and he did great. He was VERY full of himself and really wanted to play. We warmed up with some jumping-and some front crosses. His A-Frame training is coming along great and he was AWESOME last night. I was very impressed with him. He is understanding what touch means and that makes me really happy! He loves the contacts (because of the high rate of reinforcement) and had no problem with his first little discrimination. We did some restrained recalls over two jumps to a tire- he doesn't like to be restrained though- and that's something we will have to work on more. We ended on some teeter games- which he loves!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


This morning I was playing around on facebook and stumbled on to a Cardigan Corgi group.
I was very surprised to find this in the photo section! This is a painting of Wicca that I had done more than two years ago. The artist-Ryan Schmidt was at an agility trial. He takes a photo of your dog and then in a matter of an hour presto! a really cool portrait of your dog...Super Fun.

Anyway, it never occured to me to show you them, as I have had the paintings much longer than I have had the I have included Sam's aswell...
Check out his website- he has buttons of all sorts of dog breeds, and silhouettes aswell....
Fun! Fun!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Party

We had our combined GoDogGo and Paws on the Run Doggie Daycare Christmas Party on Saturday and everyone had a great time. We raised more money for the rescue and the games and santa pictures went over really well. Wendy set up the Santa picture display and Vito thought he'd keep the seat warm for Santa! It was super cute- he jumped up and had a little nap while we set up...
I will have the actual Santa pictures later this afternoon....I hope. :o)
I took the three corgis and Boone, and they all had a pretty good time. Wicca got to play wiener dunking (and she and Jane tied!) and Boone won the trick contest. He did really well- friendly with people and kids, and didn't seem to be too stressed out. He even behaved for the santa pictures. Everyone was pretty impressed with him- compared to a month ago he is quite the different dog....

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Video of Vito heeling

Choosing to Heel

There has been discussion on one of the forums that I belong to about how hard it can be to teach a dog to heel. I enjoy teaching dogs to heel and usually both the dog and I end up having a great time. I like to teach heeling without a leash.
*note- my dogs have a full understanding of what a click means before I start this

I start in a smaller enclosed space- a backyard, or at the training centre. I have treats in my left hand and my clicker in my right. I start walking. The puppy will probably sniff around a little and not pay me much attention. I walk faster or start to run. The puppy thinks this is great fun and will run to catch up- C/T!

Now the pup is going to stay pretty close to me- C/T when pup moves closer to "heel position" or looks up at me. If pup wanders away or looses interest I will change direction and reward more frequently the next set.

Once the pup understands the game you will find him paying closer attention and staying with you- now is the time to make the pup work harder for the click. Depending on the age of the puppy (mentally and literally) will decide how many steps you will ask your pup to "heel" for. If my puppy is just three months old I am going to start with three steps-

  1. Leash is off

  2. Treats in left hand

  3. I start walking

  4. Puppy runs eagerly to catch up

  5. I count my steps when puppy is actually walking with me

C/T JACKPOT at 3! (once pup is consistenly attentive for three- go to four, then five etc. etc. )

It is important to remember to reward where you want the dog to be- quite often people reward their dogs in front of them- so are surprised when the dog always swings in front to get the cookie for heeling....Ideal heel position is the dog shoulder to knee with you- reward there.
I also like for my dog to "look up" at me while they are heeling- so I will go one stop further and change my criteria to include - you must be looking at me while we heel. I do this because when I do competitive obedience I like the look of this aswell as I know that my dog is paying attention to me. I don't add a verbal cue until the dog understands the behaviour- so my "heel" command doesn't come until the dog can offer me heeling for five steps or so. Once I have the moving part of the heel down I teach automatic sits (which is a whole other post) aswell as a "start" or "ready" (again, a whole other post)

I love this method of teaching heeling because

A) my dogs learn to "think about it"

b) i am not forcing them- so heeling never becomes boring and well, forced

c) it is fun- again the dogs learn that heeling is fun

I guess I should also mention that my dogs don't "heel" on a walk. Heeling for me and my dogs is in the rally or obedience ring- when we are on a walk we will sometimes practice the game of "heeling" but mostly all that I require my dogs to do is walk nice and not pull on the leash. I teach this by rewarding the dog for not pulling and stopping when the do pull. They learn that they don't get anywhere by pulling.

There are also some GREAT tools out there to make your walking experience more enjoyable. My all time favorite new tool is the Easy Walk Harness it works amazing and is very easy for the dog and the person to figure out! The neat thing about this is that there is little to no adjustment period for the dog- unlike the Halti which takes quite a while for the dog to be comfortable with.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Sam is unhappy. Well, maybe unhappy isn't the word. He's Miserable. And there really isn't much I can do about it. It has been 10 months of pain for him- and I think he is realising that it's not going to go away. So he is cranky, barky and sulky. Which makes living with him not very much fun.

I am at a loss now as to what I can or should do for him. We haven't gone to see a physical therapist in four weeks. I am still doing the exercises and things everyday- but I am unable to get up to Calgary as frequently as before. I feel badly for him and wish that he would be magically better.

I should say that he isn't ALWAYS miserable. He is very happy in the mornings, and at night when we cuddle. He likes it when I sit on the floor with him and rub his belly, and of course he is especially happy when it is breakfast time. He is mostly bored I think- we do lots of "brain" games- he gets kongs, treat balls and the like in the daytime, and I am teaching him tricks (that don't require as much moving around) We still play catch but it just isn't the same as playing ball, or tugging with a toy, or doing agility.

It has been a big adjustment for both us I think. I am doing better than he is.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I will be first to admit that my dogs are jerks. They bully each other, they will guard toys, and they are just generally jerky. I don't know what it is, but ALL three of the corgis are like that...must be a corgi thing :o)

Sam is the worst by far. He is very pushy and has a history of aggression (I got him at two years old from a shelter who was going to euthanise him) He is very opinionated and thinks that he should be the center of attention. All the fun toys are his and he takes offense of one of the other dogs is getting attention. Of course these are all thing he doesn't get away with- but he still pushes it every day. He has taken to licking me- rather forcefully if I am petting one of the other dogs and he wants my attention- usually this results in him being put in a downstay a few feet away. Sam hates to get in trouble. If he is reprimanded or physically corrected (a muzzle grab if he snapped at one of the others or is being an ass) he will fight me back. He growls and gets a scary look in his eye. I don't doubt for one minute that this dog has bit someone. I never let him win these battles and I am glad to say that they are few and far between. I do however need to take my own advice and deal with the root of his problems....

Wicca is just a *itch. She is very bossy, but is subtle about it. Half the time the boys don't even know what just happened but all of a sudden they will be on the ground. She is growly and violent in her play- and will quite often slam into Vito and latch on to is pretty funny to watch as Vito LOVES this game....Wicca tends to be the ruler of the house- if she wants something she will either flirt her way to it, trick them into giving it to her or outright steal it. (Except chewies- which have a pretty high value) She is very guardy and will stand across the room staring at a bag, or coat pocket that might contain treats. If the cats happen to walk by she will race over growling...they don't have a clue why! Wicca can be bossy with other dogs aswell, and will immediatly attempt to put her head over their shoulders- which is pretty hard to do when your 11 inches tall. I will say though that she is pretty good with most dogs- and that she is actually pretty insecure around big dogs (thanks to Kate)

And poor little, innocent Vito? Well, he may seem all mild mannered and meek but the inner demon surfaces occasionally! At daycare is pretty jerky. He LOVES to be chased, but will become worried if there is no where to hide or isn't sure how to end the game. He has also taken to chasing and barking at the big boy dogs- they try and ignore him but sometimes he pushes them a bit too much- in which case he is given a time out or a squirt with the water bottle. Vito is very into food and will guard anything that he sees as a food source. It is funny because he and Wicca will be guarding the same thing but from different parts of the room...but mostly he is as cute and innocent as he looks, I think it's his inner border collie that makes him a nice dog ;o)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Morning Rituals

(not the best picture I know, and it doesn't really apply to what I am blogging about but oh well)

  • 5:45- Sam starts rooting around, rolling, snorting, and grumbling his good mornings

  • 5:50- Alarm goes off, Sam jumps around on the bed- Wicca comes up to the head of the bed to say goodmorning- making woo woo noises, she likes to stick her cold little nose into my neck and then she proceeds to roll around and smear herself on me. If I am lucky I can pin her down for a few seconds of cuddling....

  • 5:55- Vito wakes up from his beauty sleep, and walks around on the bed smiling like a fool, when he almost gets to me he "falls" down and drags himself the rest of the way. Then he proceeds to grind his body into my head, trying to kiss me (I hide under the pillow)

  • 6:00- MUST get out of bed, open Boone's kennel he spins and twirls in happiness making little happy noises. I sit on the bed and he gets his morning cuddles and pets. He LOVES mornings and his whole body wags with anticipation- not sure if he's happy for attention or knows that he gets breakfast soon!

  • 6:10- Outside for pups, Shower for me

  • 6:20- Breakfast for pooches, (this is a one minute endeavor- even Boone eats like a mad man!)
  • 6:21- Outside for last minute business

  • 6:30- Pack up the dogs who are coming to work, give chewies or kongs to dogs staying home. And off to work I go!

Now of course there are always variables in our routines- some mornings we are up earlier (if we have "extra" dogs) or the dogs need more exercise, and some mornings we don't spend the extra 20 minutes in bed and will fit that 20 minutes somewhere else- training maybe, or a short walk around the neighborhood...but I will admit that most mornings that 20 minutes is spent cuddling with the dogs :o)

Oh, I have a Queen sized bed by the way....