Saturday, March 29, 2008

More Pics from training

Kristy took these, and it is funny because you can totally see that she knocked this bar. She really is a horrible jumper. This must have been the second time, as the first bar she was jumping flat. This is what I got after I downed her and reset the bar. She is jumping up- but not over. She still knocked it.....More jump work is planned....
This is what a stressed out boonie looks like...

Friday, March 28, 2008

First Outdoor Training

So- because of the forcast for snow tomorrow Sarah and I decided that we would go after work and train. It was great to be back outside!!! The temperature was great and the wind barely blew.

I wanted to work on Go Ons, Wraps, Weave poles. I did two out of three.

I worked Go Ons first, and Wicca totally gets it. I just needed to actually cue it, and train it. Who knew. I used a ball, sent her to it once down a row, second time I had it in my hand and threw it as she went over the second last bar, and the third time I didn't throw it until she had gone all the way down the line. Perfecto.

We then set up a sequence that had an open weavepole entry. I put up a gate and the first time Wicca would have blown by and really had to rock back and collect. I C/T and rewarded. Second time she had no problems. I also pushed her alot and made her pretty frenzied before sending her to the weaves. Three times I made her fail. By the fourth time she worked hard enough even with me ahead and running and cheering to get through all the poles. Good Girl!

I didn't get to wraps at all. Will have to do that next time. I worked on front crossing instead and have decided I have horrible timing- something that Sarah has told me millions of times, but I was kind of in denial. Two times I made her knock the bar by crossing too late. The first one was kind of not my fault in that I forgot where we were going....We've all had those moments. The second one was just all around bad timing. Something to work on I suppose!

Overall I was happy with Wicca- her contacts were great, her jumping not too bad. She knocked 6 bars in total. Three of those were "first bars" and the other three were on sequencing (late FC's etc)

Boone has never been to the agility field. He was terrified.

We rent space from a boarding kennel. So the field is kind of attached to the building. So you have barking dogs on one side, and a highway on the other side. And in between you have a gorgeous, almost flat fully fenced in field. It is perfect....but loud. Boone really doesn't like loud. I have never owned a sound sensitive dog before. It is strange.

The first time I brought him out he couldn't look at me, or take food. I sat on the ground and waited for hand touches. He was out maybe 5 minutes.

Second time he was out I sent him through a tunnel before he realised he was scared and then worked just on hand touches. He seemed to gain a little confidence. I took his leash off and he tried to go back to his kennel. Three times I called him, treated him, and let him go again. Soon, he was just sitting at my feet. Still scared, but not running away.

The third and final time he came out I asked him to do a jump. No problem he said. And then he tried to leave again. I asked him again and he ran away. Again. So I settled for a hand touch and we walked back to the crate. On my terms.

At the end, we let Wicca and Gyp run around and play. I let Boone out too and closed the crate door. He did pretty good. He was definitely getting more upbeat and was even kind of excited to be out. He did try and go back to his kennel but I didn't say anything and just let him figure it out. I rewarded him with attention and cookies (when he'd take them) I even managed to get a few spins out of him!

So- I learned a few things.
I think it will take a few weeks before Boone can even think out there, let alone learn.
I also need to let him run around at the beginning with the other dogs- gain some confidence before I try and work with him
He needs to be hungrier
I might try putting his kennel outside the gate. So he can't get to it....

*Sarah took lots of did I- you can see them on Sarah's flickr site

Adoption Fair and Snow....

The dogs are going to have a fairly boring weekend as Sunday is PDCR's Adoption Fair. It is going to be a very busy day and my dogs will be stuck at home all day. I am pretty excited about the fair though- we did one in December and had some really good adoptions. This one is going to be even bigger, and I am actually a little worried that it will be too busy. Good for the rescue, and good for the dogs, but I am going to be a very, very busy lady!

On Saturday however, I had planned to spend most of the afternoon training- outside, in the agility field. Yay! But....the weatherman has forcasted snow. Yup. Snow. Grrr. So, if there is no snow, and it is mostly nice outside the dogs and I will enjoy our first outdoor training session of the year. I was pretty excited about it...until I heard that it is supposed to snow! If it does snow then the dogs and I will have to do something else...
cuddle on the couch with a good book perhaps???

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Regionals Prep....

Sarah wrote a huge long blog post yesterday about what she needs to do with her guys in preparation of regionals. Until that moment I hadn't really thought about things specific for that. I mean, I have a list a mile long for Wicca just to improve overall- but regionals specific I hadn't really thought of....

Regionals is comprised of Masters Level Standard, Jumpers and Gamblers. There is also a Steeplechase competition on Friday. Last year I qualified by the hair on Wicca's tail. I think we were three or four points over the required 300. This year the points are raised to 350. Which is better than when it was 400....

Anyway- Wicca and I have a whole wack of things to work on already, but when you add in the Regional Specific things my list expands almost by half....

General List
Go On- I need to work more at this.
Close- this is mostly for use on the snooker course...thank freakin' god there is no snooker at regionals!!!
Wrap- not so much a verbal cue, but this is where we will knock a bar.
Weave Entries- easy and fast seem to trip her up. I am going to keep a gate on the first pole for a few weeks.
Distance- Wicca has good distance but we have lost some of it since we have been working on keeping her close and focused on me....I need that back!
Obstacle Discrimination- Wicca generally is very good, but I want to refresh her memory, as well as work on just verbal cues alone so that I could rely on that if I needed to (i.e a gamble)
Perfecting my off arm flip ;o)- follow through, don't be casual
Running with more intensity, be abrupt and use shoulders more- I am a casual kinda girl running an intense dog...we need to meet in the middle...
Front Crosses- work hard on being able to get there....
Start lines, and getting set up- Wicca hasn't broken a start line in a really long time, but she is starting to push and with all the trials coming up I need to get back to being solid on the stay...
Directionals- she can do left and right on the flat and over one jump- but I need to put it into practice. I have a hard time with this as I can't picture myself ever using it on course- but for a gamble...and well, gambles are important so I'm gonna work hard at it...

I am sure there is something I have forgotten....but you get the gist!

Regional Specific-
Masters Standard- we just moved to masters standard so I am still learning how to handle her on even tighter courses...
Maximize Time- you get points for being under time. Wicca is fast so I never worry about time, but to get more points I need to work on keeping lines tight, and pushing for even more speed.
Gamble Scenarios- Wicca is a great gamblers dog, but I need to work on gambles with jumps, and weaves. She is pretty solid on contacts- but we will work these as well.
Serpentines, Threadles, Pull Throughs, Push Throughs.....uh huh...don't those sounds fun?
Jump Work- now that we are outside I intend to go back and do some more jump work. She has been improving alot but I would really hate for her to fall back on old habits.
Course Analysis- I suck.....and worrry about getting lost...there is no table at makes me sad. I want my 5 seconds to think...

We have lots of work ahead of us!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Sad Rescue Story

Warning; yesterday was not a good day and although I will spare you all the graphic details it won't be hard to imagine it.

Rescue is a big part of my life, and one that I rarely talk about on here. Mostly because I have a rescue blog so I don't really feel the need to tell the same stories twice. Yesterday was a pretty rough day though and I am still having a hard time getting over it. I was thinking that maybe writing it all out might help. I didn't want to put much detail into the actual rescue blog site as I am not sure that people really want to know. But here, this is my space and I know that if you want to read it you will, and if you don't you will pass it over. And that is okay.

Natalie and I went to the reserve yesterday to take food, and to see if there were any younger dogs that we could catch. We can't trap the feral ones as we don't have foster homes who can deal with that kind of dog- so unfortunately we are limited to dogs that with a little bit of rehab and time are adoptable. Anyway- so we aren't even in Stand Off yet and we see three different dogs in the ditches- one, a young dog, who is hobbling on three legs. The next one was so skinny his face was sunken in, and the third one again, limping. And then we see dead dog number 1. A puppy, with a rope around his neck. This was not a good sign.

Onward we go. We get into standoff and as we drive up the dump road I can see a dog standing at the top of one of the piles- watching us come. As soon as we are close he jumps off and hightails it. They are so afraid of people. We dump food and start driving around, looking for signs of puppies. We find nothing. Well, except for two more dead dogs. But nothing living. Which is a good thing in a way.

We head back into town. It is hard to describe but just imagine that you are in a third world country. There are houses that are burnt down, windows broken, kids playing on the road- dogs...everywhere. Starving, thin, broken, beaten. It is horrible.

We have a contact on the reserve and we stop there to ask if she knows of any puppies, or dogs that are desperate. She takes us to a Mom dog and her pups. A different rescue group had tried already to get the pups- but the mom is quite aggressive. We decide to try. We succesfully get two, but the third is just too afraid. We move on.

There are lots of gorgeous dogs there, of course most of them are mixed breeds, there are more dogs than you could imagine- everywhere you look there is a dog or two. No one spays the dogs out there so the continue to breed. We tried to get one smaller dog- a little tri-color spaniel type cross. But when I tried to scoop her up she was spooked and took off. Many of them have never been touched before.

We leave the town and head out towards the college- this is where we found Tim Bit last time we went out. We don't see any dogs on the highway- just one farther away crossing the fields. At the college we see a little black dog. We decide that we will feed her but that we won't take her. After all she is black. Black dogs don't get adopted. (It's suprisingly true!!!) We leave food and move on. We find no more dogs. On the way back the little black pup is sitting. As though she is waiting. Natalie gets out and the pup eagerly licks her hands for more food. We decide we can't leave her.

We go straight through town again on the way out and as always I am saddened by the dogs we had to leave behind. The mom and her baby, the young shaggy pup that had dissapeared when we turned around. This tri color dog who I scared away. It is always so hard, and sometimes I ask myself why I put myself through it. But you know, we saved three dogs and they are guaranteed to have happy, long lives; that makes it worth it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Obedience and Such

So I have been making an effort to work with dogs in Obedience every day. I sometimes get a little slack in the obedience part of life. But I really want to enter Wicca in Medicine Hat in May. I have the premium list printed and sitting on my coffee table.

Our weakest exercise is also the most important. It can make or break you. Out of Sight stays are a killer but I think that if maybe I learn to like them more it won't be so horrible.

Every morning Wicca gets put in a stay while I prepare breakfast. Sometimes it is in the bathroom, sometimes in the bedroom. She has always breaks once. Except this morning. She didn't break at all! Yay for Wiccie. I find stays hard to teach because really I should be rewarding her away from me- that's kind of the whole point. Yet, I have to return to her to reward her. If it doesn't make sense to me I am not sure how it makes sense to my dog!!!

Boone has been learning both types of finishes and we have been working on quarter turns so that he is more aware of his rear end. I want him to be an upright heeler and doesn't really want to be that, so we are having to compromise. I don't make him stare at me, but I make him check in with me as we halt, and before we continue.

Vito is learning what it means to come to front. He is quite horrible at it so we have been experimenting with different methods. I now have a safety pin on my pant leg that he targets to. It has helped alot.

And Sam is learning how to pick up his toys and put them in the toy box. It is a slow process!

Random Pictures

Cleaning out pictures today and thought I'd post one of each dog....just because.

Sam, enjoying a coulee walk....

Vito on a mission....

Wicca- on one leg....

Boone- fresh outta the grooming room!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pyr Shep Party

Last weekend there were FOUR Pyr Sheps at the agility trial. Only one of them was competing, and the others were socialising and such. It amazes me how different they all are!!! Pyr Sheps are one of those breeds that you are just never sure if it's the same breed. There are so many variations of the standard. These four are good examples of that! None of them look alike!!!

From left to right
Barb and Cheetah, Sherri and Jiggs, Shannen and Lynx, and Me and Boone.

Cheetah has amazing hair and when I dogsat him a few years ago I used to brush him obsessively! He is such a sweetheart and will be debuting in agility at the April trial.

Jiggs is the diva of the group- she is an amazingly fast little agility dog, with attitude to spare!

Lynx is a new little rescue dog- Shannen is smitten and I am sure she will be keeping him. He is a very drivey little guy who loves to tug.
And then there is all know about Boone ;o)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Last Barn Night

Last night was the last barn night. We will be moving our equipment outdoors soon. In one way I am looking forward to it- no more dirty, smelly horse arena....

but on the other hand we do live in Alberta.....
the wind sometimes is so cold and strong it blows over all the jumps you have just set up. There are days we can't use the chute at all. It will take two sets of tunnel bags to hold the tunnels in place, and some days the dog walk is deemed unsafe (small dogs can be picked up by the wind!) The gophers and resulting holes can be killers, mowing the field is not all that fun and although I enjoy being outside the bugs, hot sun and resulting sun burn is not all that pleasant.

then again some days are beautiful and perfect...I personally enjoy training outdoors more than indoors. For some reason it seems like there is more freedom. For us, there is most definitely more training time- as we can go out pretty much anytime we'd like and train.

Last night Wicca stayed home and the boys got to come. As a barn wrap-up we ran two courses- a steeplechase and a gamble.

Vito got to play and did pieces of the steeplechase. He did really great and actually did better than I thought he would! He was super excited to be there, and with help from Julia to rev him up at the start line he dove through the tire and onto the course. His A-frame was great, except he face planted on the way up the first time! But his contacts were good- I am still baiting the target for him but he is clearly understanding what I want! He had a great send to the table, and finished the course in great time. He had a blast!

I ran Boone as well- he was VERY excited to get to play, and took only a little reminding of what a start line is. We have been working hard at home every day so it was nice to see that he is getting it. I like to run courses once in a while as it gives you a good indication of what you need to work on. Boone also got to do the gamble- which of course he didn't get but he had fun gathering points!!! He is so cute when he runs!

Sending ahead to a jump
Tunnel discrimination
rear cross on jumps
finding a line
weave poles
contact independance

sending ahead
weave poles
speed and motivation

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Advanced Standard Run

I can't get the stupid embed code to work so here is the link to the video Sarah posted for me of Wicca's standard run.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Okay. So we did it. Yes. That's right. No more Starters Snooker for Wicca. I thought I was going to have a heart attack and I was pretty nervous, but we still managed to hold it together. 47 points, all the way to 7, and still had plenty of time.

Oh yeah, We also Q'd in two standards, advanced team, and gamblers. Wicca had a kick ass weekend and I am so proud of her. She was great, and for the exception of steeplechase (which was a disaster) she was listening, and responsive.

She earned two more titles- her starters game dog title, her advanced title (and officialy her Masters Gamblers title as well....) So Wicca is now Bluetrix a Little Wicca Majic CD SAADC AJNJS SHD SMGDC SSGDC

The first run of the day was Gamblers. The Gamble was very simple jump out to a curved tunnel, back to a curved tunnel out to an off set tire and over a jump. We earned 72 points. Q

Advanced Std. 1- we missed our weave entrance and she came off the a-frame before she was release so of course we re did it.

Advanced Std. 2- she was awesome and we worked great together as a team. It felt like a pretty good run. 48.38 seconds. SCT- 68.00 Q

Advanced Jumpers- we had three bars and it was pretty messy. She was a little on the wild side, and despite the fact that I did a beautiful lead out- I still somehow misjudged my FC and was not where i needed to be....the back part of the course was amazing though- we had great distance and I handled it well.

Sunday morning, Wicca was feeling very fresh and was a freakin' maniac for steeplechase. We knocked bars, had an off course and it was pretty bad all around.

She redeemed herself though with the 3 rd Standard- she listened, payed attention and we ran clean. Yay! When I walked the course I didn't really think that Wicca and I could run it clean. It was pretty technical and with her Steeplechase run still in my mind I didn't think we could pull it together. Well, it wasn't beautiful but it was clean, and run in 45 seconds. The SCT was 64.00
This Q earned Wicca her Advanced title.

Advanced Team- paired with Gyppie. Wicca ran the second half and we did great! She missed her weave entry but with the new team rules you are allowed 5 Masters Team here we come! We had the fastest time in the class.

And then as my stomach rolled and the stress settled in came Starters Snooker.
My plan was two fives and a seven. It worked. Beautifully. We had one moment where I thought she might flick off to a jump, but I kept in her head and we did it. No bars, nothin. I was never so happy with her...All over a fricken' starters snooker Q....I never imagined it would be that difficult with her. ...So finally- no more starters...Yay for Wicca!

Go Wiccie Go!
Boone came for the weekend and did great. We visited, did tricks, played on the warm up jump and somehow I was convinced to enter him at Paws 'n Effect in april...just in Jumpers....Oh My.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I have mentioned before about Vito's love for fence running. I am now seriously working on fixing that so there won't be any more pictures of him waiting....and watching for cars to go by in the alley...

So I thought it was fitting to do a collage of all of the pictures I have gotten over the past 6 months of him watching.....

Weekend Plans

I am leaving Vito and Sam at home this weekend- my dad was easily bribed with Chocolate to stay at my house and look after the boys. My dad really likes Vito- right from the get go Vito has adored my dad and will snuggle happily on the couch. My dad and Sam haven't always gotten along but in the recent months of dogsitting him I think my dad secretly likes Sam the most!

This weekend is the Training Troop- St. Patricks Day trial. It is always lots of fun and one of my favorite trials. They have great prizes, and the trial is always run smoothly and although they have a big entry it is done at a reasonable time. Wicca is entered in the trial and Boone is coming along to hang out. I will have plenty of time to work with him so it will be a good training opportunity. I have been working hard on teaching him stay and already it is starting to pay off.

Wicca's goals are:
Keep the bars up
Start lines- she has been scooting a bit lately, and we are working on fixing that
Weave Entries....she has improved greatly in practice, we'll see how it is at a trial
Table- no more hydraulic ass!!!!
and of course I would really like a Q, or at least a good attempt at Snooker.....

Boone's goals are:
To Socialise....
No meltdowns
Work on stays near the ring
1,2,3 Go! Game
Heeling....we will have lots of time so why not practice!!!
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I'll be running Kaleb in team...We practiced on Tuesday and he did pretty good. It is so weird to run a big dog again. It takes some getting used to. Bitz is a good dog though and will run for me no problem. (as long as he thinks I have a fur toy in my pocket.....)

Thursday, March 13, 2008


This weekend will be my first attempt at Snooker at a trial in about 6 months or so. I am looking forward to it. I think we can do it. I told Wicca that she better damn well listen to me if she ever wants an AtchC party. =)

Seriously though we have been trialing for 2.5 years- I don't want to even count how many trials that is. And we have played (or atttempted) Snooker at most of those trials. We have never once gotten a Q. Why you ask? How hard could it be....right? Afterall we are talking about Starters....

Well, let me tell you all the ways Wicca has blown snooker.....(this list could go on and on...)

knock the first bar, plow onto the dogwalk- TWEET

take the first bar, take the correct obstacle, go back and take that obstacle again (for good measure) - TWEET

take the first bar, the wrong obstacle, take the second bar, which also happens to be the first bar. TWEET

knock the first bar, take the tunnel- TWEET.....oh, did I already do this one, well, she's done it to me countless times...

take the first bar, take the correct obstacle, take the 2nd bar, take the 2nd obstacle (not the planned one mind you...but still doable) take the third bar- oh my god, we can do this....take the third obstacle....start closing sequence knock the damn bar in the #3 sequence....Uh Huh...yup...I was thrilled....

And yes...sometimes those bars are my fault....and sometimes well, Wicca is a *itch who likes to do things her way and when she thinks she's right well, its pretty much over. =)

But this weekend will be different...We have been practicing running THROUGH equipment, I have practiced wrapping jumps and keeping the bars up, and I have practiced running it in my head clean.....All of those things should help....

Keep your fingers crossed for me...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


So in my quest to be better organised I have tried alot of things- Sarah made us all a pretty Go Dog Go binder with a chart to record Q's and such. I got a great notebook to record training. I bought an even better notebook (this one with an attached clipboard) to record training, and now I have this beautiful one. (ordered from

Sarah bet me I'd have it for a month or less....I'm going to try hard to use it faithfully and lot loose it!!!! Afterall, I'd hate to loose something so pretty!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Kiersten Pt.2

Saturday night was really great. We got some good information and the main focus was -Know your dog, know your breed, and know yourself. It was pretty good- and very motivating for our students I think. The video was great aswell for everyone to see different types of drive, motivation, temperament etc.

Sunday morning was the advanced session. I had planned on rotating Boone and Vito but Vito is no where near the point where he would have been succesful with what we did. I worked him on the sidelines, and over one jump at the back.

So Boone got to do all the work and I was very impressed with him. I have been working with him every week and every day on little things at home, but really he blew me away. He was ULTRA confident and didn't have one moment of worriedness. Things I need to work on with him:

1) stays- because he is so sensitive about things I haven't been super serious about teaching him what stay really means (he has his own variation but it's not quite right!)

2) don't babysit him- and for doGs sake keep your arm down- if you always run with your arm out then how the heck is the dog supposed to know when to actually move out.

3) more teeter games...

At the end Boone ran a full course- with no problems. I was very happy with him and I am looking forward to more training with him. I also need to get serious about the whole weave thing.

Wicca ran in the afternoon Masters session. Kiersten knows my dog very well as I have run under her a lot. (she is a judge) So she knows exactly what her little quirks are. I was both glad to hear that she had some tips for me but also a little anxious about being picked on!

Well, I was picked on, but it was great!

We started with Snooker Strategy and Planning. I am pretty good at Snooker I think. Over the years of running Wicca (sometimes just a few seconds) I have run a lot of snooker and have the game down pat. The problem is that together Wicca and I just can't get it. It all comes down to her not wanting to come in close to me. So- back to the snooker. I had a great plan but Wicca wrecked it not once, not twice- but three times with knocked bars. Now- to give her some credit two bars were my fault. One was a late rear cross and the other was just bad handling. So once we managed to get it through to her that I was serious about keeping bars up Wicca ran it well. I was pretty happy with her. (I have decided to re-enter snooker at the next few trials...we'll see how it goes)

After snooker we got into a discussion about "the evil arm." As you read in my blog post about Kim Collins- she really hates the off arm flip. Despite my reasoning she made it sound like her way was still better. So I have been working very hard at not using the flip, and trying to put a verbal cue to it. Kiersten disagrees. I was ecstatic. I have been struggling with the reason behind not doing it and wasn't sure if I fully agreed- but if everyone else agreed then there must be some truth to it right? (after all a flip is essentially a rear cross on the flat) So I vowed to keep my evil arm down and use a verbal cue instead. Kiersten said that she doesn't have a problem with a flip, and in fact uses one herself- but it should be done properly and the dog needs to understand it. My dog understands it just fine, but I need to follow through more. I am in the habit of letting my arms do the handling and I should be using my whole body. So I am going to make my flip better and that's that. =)

Kiersten then set a course which we picked apart and ran piece by piece before putting it together. She addressed our issue of Wicca not wanting to come close and she suggested I teach it and put it on cue....why didn't I think of that? Or had I, and just not put it into practice????? (I will have to look back on my blog and training notes) Anyway- so she had me work on that, over, and over, and over again until Wicca started to somewhat respond...I am confident that I know what to do now to get her to that point and can't believe that something so simple could fix such a huge problem. At the end of the day we ran the course and it was great. Not perfect- but pretty close, and it felt awesome.

I am understanding more and more how my dog thinks, and what I need to be doing to keep her focused on both me and the equipment! It was also great to listen in to what she was saying to the other participants- particularily our students...we push our students hard so when she set up the starters course I could see their confidence rise. It wasn't a super challenging course, but I think (and hope) that everyone got a lot out of it. As an instructor and someone who really loves to learn I love watching the other dogs, and hearing what she has to say. I learn alot that way. Wicca is such a whirlwind compared to the boys- I got some good ideas for Vito and some good tips for Boone- even when it wasn't my turn. Seminars are great because there are lots of different types of dogs and it can be a great learning experience. It is an outside perspective and if you can get one good thing from it then it was money well spent.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Kiersten Lloyd Seminar- Part 1

Way back in the fall we (Go Dog Go) asked Kiersten Lloyd to come and do a seminar for us. We wanted Kiersten because a) she is a great agility trainer (her dog is on the world team) and b) she has campaigned her dogs in obedience (she was in the Top 10 in Canada 1999/2000)

I have been looking forward to it for awhile- but it takes quite a bit of work to actually put on a seminar so until last night I hadn't really thought of it as a "seminar" more like just another thing to have to do.

Anyway, so today was the Obedience day. It went GREAT! I was very impressed with what Kiersten had to say and was pleasantly surprised at all of the great advice she had!

A couple of key notes:

  • "slow" does not mean short choppy strides. Long and Slow is smoother and a better signal to your dog

  • wicca really needs work on her fronts/finishes.

  • apparently I taught my dog how to forge =) I need to have a better picture in my mind of where my dog should be. This is what happens when you train mostly by yourself....

When she picks up the dummy incorrectly don't take it from her. Wait her out and see if she'll figure out to drop it and re-pick it up.

We also worked on "bad throws" over the high jump. Wicca did great. I was happy.

A couple fun "games"

-Down Game

this is to help slow drop on recalls. Teach them that when you move in towards them to drop fast for the cookie. See if you can "beat them to the down." This helps build excitement as well as fast downs.

-Quarter Turn

Great for teaching proper heel position, as well as how to "fix" a sloppy finish. I have done this before, but never with the excitement of a game =)

We ended with long sits/downs out of sight. I have been practicing.....alot. And it totally showed. I was very impressed with her. She went down on her sit (at about the 2.5 min mark) and sat on her down (at the 30 sec mark) both times I said nothing, and just put her back where I wanted her.

Overall I was very impressed with Wicca. She is a great dog and if I would get serious about Obedience we could have a's on my list for this year practice, practice!

Tonite we have the dinner/talking portion of tomorrows seminar....I will post tomorrow night about how it all went.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Power of the Dryer

From soaking wet....and miserable....

to dry and mostly happy in 1/2 hour...

Boone was overdue for a bath and trim...

and I wanted him to look good for the seminar this weekend =)

It's not easy... stay clean

Thursday, March 06, 2008

One Year

A year ago Sam suddenly started limping- it was the week prior to a seminar that I noticed and gave him the week off so he'd be okay for the weekend. He came out of the car that afternoon limping even worse.

In a year Sam has seen three regular vets, two specialists, three physio therapists, a massage therapist, and a T-Touch practitioner.
According to one vet he had a cruciate, another vet said that crate rest will fix it, and the specialists said that no- he has a herniated disc in his lower spine. Unfortunately I am not made of money, nor do I have a money tree in my backyard. All of my "savings" were spent on initial treatments. There is no possible way I can afford a surgery like that. So we do what we can to make him feel better. He gets a 1/2 dose of Derramax every four days, and sees Genie, a physiotherapist, once a week. April comes once a week to do Ttouch on him, and between all of those things he does not too badly.

He of course can't play agility, and rarely can do rally or anything like that. I have taught him lots of new tricks in the past year and just generally do what I can to keep his spirits up. We play fetch (but not traditional fetch) he stays, I throw, he tries to catch. We play hide and seek. I have taught him the names to his favorite toys, and he now knows scent discrimination.

It is frustrating of course. He is this super high drive, up and at 'em kinda dog who can't play. Most days he can't even go for a walk. He doesn't understand why he doesn't get to go anymore, but I try very hard to make sure that he still gets one on one time with me, and still gets his little "training" sessions.

It is very hard some days as I still struggle with decisions I have made for him. Some days he is in a lot of pain and those days especially I wonder if I've made the right choice for him. But mostly Sam is a pretty happy guy- he is still wild and crazy, and still banks of the couch and wrestles with his sister. All in all he's quite alright.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Barn Night

Wicca's Goals
* push throughs

We really struggled with this at the seminar on the weekend. Last night we managed to do them pretty well. She was unsure of what I was asking her at first but using food to reward her when she came into me made her get it pretty fast after that. We built up to a little bit of speed (okay a lot of speed) and found it more difficult again- I can't imagine having to do those at a trial on a course where my dog is going 100 MPH.....maybe with more practice they'll seem more normal.

* serpentine

She used to have a great Serp. but with all the work on pull throughs and threadles I wanted to be sure she still had it. No Problem said Wicca!

* weave entries

I worked on front crossing and rear crossing poles last night. It went really well and she only missed one entry last night.

Miss Wicca only worked 1.5 sets as I really want to get Boone understanding about contacts. So I spent quite a lot of time working him last night.

Boone's Goals

* confidence on dog walk

because I wasn't the one to teach him the actual equipment it is funny to see the little things that pop up. I have back chained the dogwalk a fair number of times, but last night we did the whole thing- he ran up the first time and promptly bailed off right where the tip point would be if it were a teeter....hmmmm...So more backchaining, racing and rewards and he almost forgot about it ;o) It's something we will have to work on more. I also found that he won't look very hard for the clear target.....we are going to work more on that at home this week.
* pin wheel (adding distance)
Boone loves to jump and I have been working on building jump patterns with him, last night we did the pinwheel- but I started to add a little distance to the far jump, and put in a front cross after. He caught on really quick- but pulled in once when I obviously hadn't commited him to the jump before moving for my FC. I found this very cool little gum container I use for a goodie container works great! Boone will almost pick it up...We are working on fetch at home ;o)

* sequencing
I haven't put alot of things together with him. Last night we did Tire, Dogwalk, Tunnel. After the contact on the dogwalk he was quite reluctant about taking the tunnel. He was quite obviously very focused on me and wouldn't look ahead. He started offering tricks and such- rather than look ahead. I need to work on his contact release driving ahead to something at home.

The next sequence was much better and I felt really good about it. We did Chute, jump, tunnel, dogwalk. He was right on and had no troubles staying focused on the equipment. I was pretty proud of him.

We also played with the weave poles a little. I guess I keep hoping that I won't have to retrain them but last night proved that he really doesn't know how to weave. So- Boone is going to learn what gates are all about. He and Vito both can learn to weave together!

Speaking of Vito I worked him at POTR on Monday night for a little bit- he did great. We did some straight line jump work. Sarah helped and we did some restrained recall, and then sending ahead to a toy. We also worked on a turn. He's doing great and I am working hard at keeping him up and motivated. We do small bits every day- this morning I ran around and had him chase me- I raced him to a target, if he got there first he got the cookie, if I got there first he got nothin'....I started teaching him the 1,2,3 Go game- he loves it and is starting to anticipate now (which for most dogs is something you don't want, but with Vito I love that he wants to go that badly) Step by step he is getting there!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hairless Wonder

This is Kato- he is the most handsome Xolo I have ever seen. He is a Standard Size Xoloitzcuintle (pronounced- Sho-low-eets-queen-tlee). I have spent a lot of time with a Xolo prior so his skin and texture isn't new to me- but believe me he is super soft, almost leathery. Kato also has very soft fine black hairs on his face and his tail. He has very cool eyes- they are a bright brown and combined with his fuzzy black face I think he's pretty darn cute!

My friend Natalie just got him last night- he is a Canadian Champion but at 18 months his bite had gone "off" so he was for sale. Natalie recently lost her Xolo Cholti and although wasn't looking to replace him this quickly a dog-less house was more than she could handle. Kato became available and here he is!

Anyway- I met Kato last night and was very shocked at how friendly he was ! His tail was wagging, and he was quite happy to play fetch after a few minutes of meeting me. I was astounded as this breed is a very aloof breed, typically used for guarding.

Mind you Kato has not been just a kennel dog- he grew up with Rottweilers and was shown alot all over the world so he is pretty much bomb proof. Anyway, I introduced him here as Xolo's are a pretty rare breed and it's kinda nice to educate people once in a while. Not to mention that you'll probably be seeing the odd pic or story about him.

You can read more about Xolo's here:

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Herding Pictures

You can see Vito's pictures on Scott and Jenny's website-


Okay so today I was officially amazed. Boone went herding. And did AWESOME! He was totally into it and had a blast. To be honest I didn't expect that he would really be into it. I hoped he wouldn't be afraid of the sheep. He went into the pen excited, tail up and actually had a great time! He went up to them right away and as soon as he moved away figured out that he was the boss. It was pretty neat to see. Right off the bat he was out and moving around the sheep- which Wicca has been really reluctant to do. He gripped a bit and did lots of chasing rather than herding, but with softer dogs it is important to let them have a "little bit of bad" as Scott likes to say. *You should all know that it took me a good part of two hours to get this video uploaded, edited and posted!*

Vito got to play and he was even better than last time- he was down to business right away and he was much more responsive this time too. I have been working on his lie downs and he is getting a little more reliable. I didn't get any video of him, but I think Sarah or Jenny got a few pictures.

Wicca was good- she is still tired from her big day yesterday but was better about taking direction this time because of it. We are teaching Comeby and Away- she used to know this very well but we haven't used it in more than a year so she is a little rusty. Despite that she did well. She is still reluctant to move all the way around them but is getting better each time. Next time I am going to try going with her last- so she has some excitement built up from waiting her turn.