Sunday, November 30, 2008


Last night I went to a concert. I was slightly embarrased to admit it..but ya know- he has a good voice, and he's local! I was invited by my friend Liz- we had a pretty good time. Lots, and lots of screaming teenagers but the great singing made up for it.

Theo Tams won Candian Idol this summer and Lethbridge was one of the stops on the official Top 3 tour...

He sang one of my favorite songs- "One Of Us" and did a great job with it. But I couldn't find a decent clip on youtube.

So here are a few clips from the summer...


"Good Mother"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

No sheep today

So my sister is due to pop any day now. (A baby that is)

She is having a boy- and it is her first baby- she is very excited but pretty nervous too! My sister is kind of a wimp and is a little worried about the part of actually having the baby. I told her that if dogs can do it without whining she'll be fine :o) She didn't appreciate that.

So because she is supposed to be having her baby today (what her doctor said anyway) I didn't go sheepherding 'cause I didn't want to be out in the boonies and miss the big event. Of course she didn't have the baby...yet.

Instead I painted a hallway at my parents house. Fun eh? Not really. I was excited for Pixel to get to watch the sheepies, and I was going to let the boys and wicca all have a turn. Instead I painted.

Pixel is still cute as ever, in case you are all wondering...

she was in love with a beagle/basset at daycare last week...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pixel's learnin'

Pixel is learning new things everyday. Yesterday she learned how to manipulate Vito into giving her the toy. Poor Vito is easily tricked it seems. :o)

As far as learning good things though she is doing really well. We have been playing lots of fun games and so far she LOVES to learn. Which is a good thing.

Free Shaping- last night we did this for the first time, she had fun and it was pretty cute to see the wheels turning. :o) I plan to do this every day the rest of the week.

Perch Work- she LOVES the stool and thinks it is a pretty marvelous way to get cookies. She is just starting to move around it.

Hand Touch- she is still very gentle about it, and I don't think she is at the level yet where I can frustrate her into giving a harder push so right now I am rewarding for accuracy.

Sit- very good, on verbal cue only now, and will sit in all positions in relation to me (left side, right side, in front, and behind)

Down- she doesn't fully understand the word yet but if I wait it out she does offer it. Am only rewarding for under five seconds though in hopes she'll start pairing the action adn the word together.

It's Yer Choice-No Mugging - she really gets this game, and I find that I am already having to challenge her with better treats, and placement of the hand. This has really helped her to learn that sit means sit. :o)

Crate Games- last year when I first heard about crate games I was skeptical as to the value it would have. I have been training Crate Games now for just over a week and I think that it is a great tool to build excitement and value in just training. It has been neat to see how quickly a little puppy can progress. Pixel will wait in the crate until the release word, and I can now actually move around in front of the crate and she won't leave. She dives into her crate on one word and is more than happy to stay in.

Okay- building excitement for my release word. I have her sitting next to me, throw a cookie ahead and say "Ok" and she's allowed to charge ahead and get the cookie. She thinks this is pretty fun.

Set up skills- one of my pet peeves is people who can't get their dog set up beside them (either side) and have to fiddle around at the start line all the time. I have started playing set up games with Pixel. She thinks it's pretty fun :o)

Surfaces- she has walked on lots of different surfaces- metal grating, plastic, shiny, loud, rough- pretty much anything I could think of!

Fetch- as in bring the toy back. Picking up the toy is never an issue. Bringing it back can be. So we play lots of fetch with the leash on so she can't leave. But I run around the room like a mad woman and she chases me...with the toy in her mouth.

Collar Grabs- already she has an aversion to having her collar grabbed so we've been playing the collar game- grab the collar, get a cookie. Over and Over, and Over again :o)

Recalls- it is hard to practice this by yourself, but at home I've been throwing a cookie, and running away. It works. She knows her name really well and I don't see coming when called as an issue for her.

and that's what we're learnin' these days! Puppies are LOTS of work! But her cuteness makes up for it :o)


Just a few random agility photos... taken by the Back in the Pack guy a few weeks ago

Doesn't Boone look like Superman??? :o)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Busy, Busy

Too busy to post really, but here are another few photos from Pixels photo shoot a few weeks ago. Hard to believe that it has been that long already!!! She is growing SO much!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Seminar Highlights

This was by far the best seminar of the three outreaches. Not sure really what the difference was- but it was very good. I did however send my notes (okay, I forgot them) home with Brenda so they are in cranbrook right now. Yeah. Smart eh?

So I am going to try and remember all the good stuff.

Saturday we worked a lot on Acceleration/Decceleration which was good as I sometimes struggle with this. Why you ask? Well because I tend to go all one speed. Slowish. It is hard to deccelerate when you are already going slow. So we talked about having to accel even for a few steps in order for the dog to read the decel. We did some pretty neat exercises that showed wether or not the dog understands the motion cues. Wicca gets it when I get it :o)

Sunday we worked on rear crosses, and course analysis. The rear cross exercises were fun- we talked about how to tighten a turn up with a rear (crossing closer to the jump) and how to make the dog understand what is expected of them. I use rear crosses a lot with Wicca but I still learned stuff I didn't know before or hadn't really thought of. It was neat to see dogs who didn't really "get" rear crosses learn them.

The course was wicked. When I get my notes back I will draw it out for you all. But believe me it was pretty technical. The coolest part was using a serpentine cue out of a tunnel. Who would have thought of that! I can see that Wicca and I will be using that one day! After we all ran the course once we picked it apart into stations and got to rotate throught the stations. I really needed to work on my threadle cue and wanted Kim's advice so picked that as one of my stations- we talked about how Wicca tends to power out of a threadle because of the front cross cue- she broke it down for me and showed me exactly where to reward. It made sense and is not something I will forget.

I got lots and lots of information this weekend and plan to put it all to good use. I am pretty excited again about training- so excited that I am going to order more jumps for at home. :o) It is hard to only train once a week with two dogs!

I have decided to do Outreach again next year. I waffled all weekend but it is a good group of people and I think that in order to improve I need to continue with the seminars. Other than seminars Sarah and I get no instruction so it is well worth it in the long run!

Happy Birthday!

I can't believe he's TWO years old!!!

Happy Birthday little man!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Peek

A few weekends ago I got photos taken by a professional photographer at an agility trial. Brian from Back in the Pack did a great job and there are some AWESOME photos of little miss Pixel. I don't have time to post them all, but here is a quick sneak peek!


This weekend is the last Outreach seminar with Kim Collins. It has been a pretty neat program- three seminars over the year with pretty intensive instruction and homework in between. We did the first two seminars at the beginning of the year and this will be the last one this year. I am waffling about doing it next year. I have until tomorrow to decide :o)

Kim is a good instructor and has done a lot of training with Susan Garrett. Her teaching style is similar- and those of you who have taken seminars from Susan know what I am getting at. She is very specific as to what steps you take to get the results you want. She can be pushy about her methods but I do think she wants to see her students succeed and is good about problem solving, and she really watches the dog/handler. I got a lot of good information out of the seminars- she really picks apart the exercise, and is good about explaining things. But like I said she can be hard to take. I am not that specific in my training and still use Out as Out, and haven't followed up on teaching Away....I am sure she'll want to see those things.

Wicca also has had the better part of two months off of agility- we are a little rusty. I didn't take her to training this week as last week she was a bit stiff and I really don't want to overdo it. I am going to bring Boone in case I feel like it is too much for Wicca. The week I took Wicca she was a little wild. We'll see how the weekend goes!

I took Vito to the first two novice sessions but it really is not his thing and I am not sure I will take him tomorrow. I have pretty much decided that Vito will not being doing much in the way of agility any time soon. Pixel is too young and we have JUST started some of the baby dog stuff (crate games, perch work, targeting) so she is not ready for a seminar. And Boone doesn't know some of that foundation stuff- he has no idea about crate games...

I am sure the seminar will be great though and will be taking lots of notes, and learning lots!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mother Hen

Wicca thinks she is the mom. She is forever trying to "clean" Pixel. She finally managed to pin her down and give her a good ear cleaning the other day!

Poor Pixel! She was very unhappy and certainly told Wicca where to take her mothering!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Still Can't Reach

November 12th November 18th

pretty amazing eh?

All her favorite things

are right here in this bed. :o)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Everyone has one of those days that you are just cranky. Not at anything in particular just an overwhelming sense of grouchiness. Well, that's me.

I was borderline grumpy yesterday but a nice long walk with the dogs (all four of them) seemed to help last night. Oh, and Pixel helped as well. :o)

This morning started well enough- we had a good play in the yard, and then I got to work and checked my mail and my day went out the window.
Somone is mad at me- a person who surrendered their dog to rescue is pissed off that I made them seem like shitty dog owners in the dogs descriptive blog post. And because I can't really tell her right where to go I had to be the "adult" and tell her I'd change it. So I did. To exactly her words- which was pretty much what I had written anyway. But Geesh. People piss me off.
She gave away the dog because he pee'd in the house (he's not neutered, and was used as a stud dog) - she said it was an accident- but this is after she'd told me she bought the dog to breed. She also didn't have the time to spend with him- I said that they didn't have the time to train the dog. Oh, and she's having another baby. 'Cause that's a good reason to get rid of your dog. People Suck. I so badly wanted to tell her off. But I didn't. Wendy will be proud.
Sometimes (okay, most of the time) rescue drives me crazy. I'd really like to quit. But I can't. So I won't. But it helps to vent about it.
But given my luck that same woman will stumble upon my personal blog and be outraged.
Bring it on.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I re-taped Pixels ears on Saturday night. They were getting more and more floppy every day. Sometimes she wouldn't even hold them up at all! I was asked two times if she was an Aussie pup.

So now she is a cone head again. I'm going to put a t-shirt on her with the explanation so I don't have to tell people over, and over, and over again why she has tape all over her ears.

My tape job isn't very good- I am going to try again tonite. Pixel was really good for it though- just stood there like a little champ. :o)

Not sure how long I am supposed to leave them in for. I will have to ask Rita.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Today Sarah and I taught two mini seminars- it gave our students an opportunity to train some pretty specific things. It went really well and Boone even got to play in the afternoon a bit.

This sessions focus was on jumping- we talked about everything from the mechanics of jumping, to how to modify your dogs current jumping style. We did some jump grids for collection, extension, and turning. We also talked about how to teach the dog to always take the jump. Sarah and I had learned lots of great things from Terry Simons this past year and we put it to good use for our students. We worked on making jumps more valuable too as we tend to under reward for jumping. It is pretty obvious when dogs will go out of thier way to do a contact obstacle instead of the jump in front of them. By the end of the session all of the dogs were driving towards the jumps with speed and enthusiasm. I think that we had some good pointers for everyone, and that they all had a good time.

Boone had lots of fun and I find myself really enjoying the training time with him. He was very eager and wasn't at all stressed by seeing new things (the bend grid can look a little intimidating) Overall he did great and I think I will make a point of doing that sort of thing with him more often. It was a great way to keep his confidence up and he is still learning things.

He's so cute. He has always liked to jump and he has a nice natural style of jumping so he had fun with the grids.

I remember when I took a jump clinic with Kim Collins. Wicca was exhausted and it was really, really difficult for her. She is not a good jumper at all and had to work very hard to do the exercises properly. She doesn't have much natural ability :o)

I didn't ever really "teach" Wicca how to jump- and just lured her over the jump a few times- and presto! she can jump. Too bad that doesn't really work! I won't be making that same mistake with Pixel. Jump training has really evolved these last few years and I think the it is a pretty valuable thing to teach properly right from the start!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wicca's AAC Stats

In 2006 Wicca earned 4 Q's
In 2007 Wicca earned 8 Q's

This year she has 20 Q's!

What an improvement!

20 Q's may not be a lot for some people, but for me and this dog that is pretty darn good. For mostly my own sake here is a break down of her Qualifying runs this year...

Starters Snooker 15-Mar-08 Training Troop

Advanced Standard 1 15-Mar-08 Training Troop

Advanced Standard 2 15-Mar-08 Training Troop

Advanced Standard 3 06-Sep-08 Cookie Power K-9

Advanced Snooker 1 26-Apr-08 Paws N' Effect

Advanced Snooker 2 17-May-08 Flashing Canines

Advanced Team 1 16-Feb-08 Calgary Agility Association

Advanced Team 2 15-Mar-08 Training Troop

Masters Standard 1 20-Sep-08 Flashing Canines

Masters Gamblers 2 16-Feb-08 Calgary Agility Association

Masters Gamblers 3 15-Mar-08 Training Troop

Masters Gamblers 4 17-May-08 Flashing Canines

Masters Gamblers 5 20-Sep-08 Flashing Canines

Masters Snooker 1 06-Sep-08 Cookie Power K-9

Masters Team 1 26-Apr-08 Paws N' Effect

Masters Team 2 06-Sep-08 Cookie Power K-9

Steeplechase 4 16-Feb-08 Calgary Agility Association

Steeplechase 5 05-Jul-08 Go Dogs Go

Steeplechase 6 08-Aug-08 Flyball Agility Maritime Express (nationals)

Steeplechase 7 06-Sep-08 Cookie Power K-9

We worked really hard for each and every one of those Q's- she has not been an easy dog, and I am not always the best handler but the improvement from last year to this year is quite shocking.

I hope that we continue to improve and I must say that I am pretty proud of us this year.

they all know

Boone knows it

Vito knows it

and Pixel has learned already

that Wicca is the boss.

(click to enlarge for full experience)

that's the spot..

the short story about an itch oooh yes
that's the spot!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Pest

Pixel is a typical little sister now and wants to be doing whatever the "big dogs" are doing...

She is forever trying to get in on their wrestling games,
and will take any opportunity she can to be a pest...

She's not quite big enough to really get in there,

but she tries...and for the most part they humour her :o)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


They are somewhat fuzzy, but you get the picture...Boone and Pixel LOVE each other...

Overboard, I took the camera home this afternoon and went a little overboard. Okay, a lot overboard. I took a lot of photos. Even after weeding out the bad photos I still have 99 "good ones" and by "good ones" I mean ones that aren't quite fuzzy enough to throw away.

She has grown so much already- you can see that she is loosing her "puppy fuzz" already and the hair coming in has that coarse texture. She has thinned out already and isn't looking so puppyish..

Anyway, onto the cuteness that is Pixel..

Doesn't she look serious?
On the move....

she realllly wanted up there...

having a rest...

I tried numerous times to get a photo of Pixel and Wicca together...this is as good as I got.


more cuteness...

watching big brother Vito...

More pictures to come tomorrow!