Thursday, April 30, 2009


Pixel is a dog who gets a lot of attention. Her color, her eyes, her coat...her cuteness. Now that Pixel is "the cute one" on our walks poor V-man is relegated to just being a dog. Which really is just as well- he doesn't much like strangers anyway...

Terry Simons

I am off to another seminar this weekend (well, part of it anyway).

Terry Simons is in Calgary and I signed up for a full weekend of workshops.

Pixel is going to do the puppy session on Friday morning, and I have Wicca in Saturday. All day is a "Can You Handle It" seminar. Which is super cool. It is a real trial- with four runs- and afterwards Terry will help, and pick apart the stuff you had problems with. We will get a chance to go back in the ring and fix the messed up stuff with Terry's help. How fun is that?!

I had Boone entered in Sunday morning, and Wicca again in the afternoon but things didn't work out as planned and I am coming home Saturday night. Poor Boone- always misses out!!! I am still going to take him along though- I will have all Friday afternoon to do nothing- so we can do some obedience training, and other little stuff.

We had Terry here a few months ago and he was great- He is a very funny instructor, and likes to keep things simple. As long as you are consistent, and it works he doesn't critisize your methods. But if it's not consistent, or it doesn't work then he always has lots of great advice. I am pretty excited about it.

Vito is going to have another sleep over at Wendy and Marlins...lucky guy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Off Topic

Isn't she cute??? This is Lily- she belongs to my parents and is a Yorkie/Chihuahua cross. She is just over a year old and is very spoiled, and very bratty. She is my dads little "baby" if you can believe it!!!

Judging Schedule

The schedule for the Medicine Hat Dog Show is up- it is next weekend (not this one coming up)....

There aren't that many Obedience entries- which surprised me. And even in Rally there aren't many...

It also surprised me that there are FOUR Cardigans entered in Conformation. Of course there are! Geesh. It will be nice to see some other Cardi's. I am thinking they will be Bluetrix dogs...

Pixel is not entered- she was supposed to be spayed already. She is going to tag along though- just for fun!

I have been training almost every day. Wicca is doing great- I am still a tad worried about long sits/downs but I honestly think she'll be okay. Boone is doing really well. We've got the sit/stay/walk around down to work on the stand/walk around......Everything else is great- his fronts are awesome, and his heeling is much improved.

I am excited!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).

Monday, April 27, 2009

In hiding...

It is almost May. And it is snowing. In fact, we have a snowfall warning in the area. Really. The dogs of course don't mind the snow- and had a good romp. I, however, am pretty sick of it. The dogs were pretty cute though, and I got some cute photos!

Pixel is in hiding until spring...

Vito wanting up...

Boone is catching snowflakes on his tongue!

Not a great photo, but kinda neat.

And one last one of Pixel in hiding.


I got Wicca's Advanced Game Dog Title certificate in the mail the other day. We got the second Advanced Jumpers Q in January. Finally! But- the rules had changed in January so now she was supposed to have needed THREE advanced Jumpers Q's. But I'm thinkin' she was "grandfathered" in or something. The rules are a bit confusing and I couldn't really figure them out... Anyway, I was pretty ecstatic to get it in the mail. Jumpers is a major weakness of ours (mostly mine) and I so wanted to be out of Advanced on that last Q. So Yay!

That got me to thinking about what she really needs for titles and stuff. I know she only needs one more Standard Q for her MAD- which is a pretty big deal for me. I've never had a dog with a MAD before, and I remember thinking way back then how neat it would be to eventually get that.

Wicca only needs two more Steeplechase Q's for her Title in that

For her AtCh Wicca only needs One Masters Standard, Two Masters Snooker Q's, and Four Masters Jumpers Q's. Pretty Amazing. Although it is only 7 Q's I expect it will take us a year and a bit to get those. That will be one awesome day.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Outreach was mostly good. I got lots of great pointers- and reminders about things I know I have to do better/change. I took tons of notes:

My arm out is like a turn signal- don't leave the ticker on if you're not turning

Pumping your arms when you run is a signal for you dog to keep running.

Accel to Decel...I know this. And get told this a lot.

Threadle- when upon landing if the dog sees the plane of the obstacle, and I want the actual obstacle I need to threadle.

Wicca still needs work on "hidden" tunnels. Weird, but true.

Don't arm change until the dog is committed.

Run With a Purpose- again, something I have heard before.

We did some fun two and three jump drills and worked on decel, post turns, f/c's, RC Threadles, and 270's...they were pretty fun and very easy to set up.

On the decel- reward for collection before the jump for a dog who has trouble.

We did a fun speed circle- that was unlike any speed circle I've seen. There where random jump in the middle that you could then work a whole raft of stuff on. Also she had a bounce jump set up out of the tunnel. Wicca needs lots of jump work- we definitely were a bit rusty on jumping- back to the jump grids!!!

Bar Knocking- Kim suggested I don't stop Wicca for knocked bars anymore- she needs to learn to recover after a knocked bar- which could prevent further destruction on the course...Interesting thought...she said that just by going back and re-doing, and then rewarding for keeping that bar up the dog will learn to not knock the bar. Wicca's bar knocking has been getting better, and better but I am willing to give anything a chance.

On Threadle make sure that you're not "working" two arms at once! Your feet need to be facing the jump on a threadle and almost step sideways to continue on...

Directionals. (insert big Sigh here)
I now have a verbal Turn cue- which means for her to turn 180 degrees away from me. I also have an out- which means for her to move away. And a go on- which means to take what is in front of you. Last outreach Kim talked A LOT about directionals, and this time talked even more about them. However, last time she talked about her "away" cue which means the same as my "out"- THIS TIME, she said that an "out" is a flick away and that the only way to do it right "true to the system" is to use left/right. She demo'd and had her dog move left, and then right, and then over the bar. So the dog changes direction on the flat. I think it's silly. I think that my out is more clear to the dog- and is going to be faster- than having the dog zig zag on the flat. In a gamble there isn't room for one, and if your dog is fast (like mine)I would think that my timing would always be off. Anyway, I just kept quiet and as with all seminars will take what I want, and file away the rest perhaps for future use...

I had Pixel in one morning of the puppy seminar- I got some good tips about continuing on with crate games, more fun games to play, and some further ideas about targeting. Also we did some accel/decel games- Pixel needs to drive more ahead of me- which is funny as I have been working LOTS on decel and teaching her about my BCL (Blind Cross Body line) and how to read my motion and no motion cues properly. Anyway, I guess I've been so worried about teaching her to read my decel I haven't done a very good job of letting her drive ahead of me...

We did some plank work too- although I am not entirely sure I am going to stick with this method of teaching contacts. I feel that the progressions are too slow, and that the way that we teach contacts gets very, very similar results- minus the bopping nose touch...The only issue I have with Wicca's contacts is her head position- and NOW I know how to fix that- so think that I can prevent that in Pixel. At this point it is mute point because she is too young to be doing contacts anyway- but it is something I have been thinking about a lot....

Anyway, mostly it was a great weekend- we have one more outreach seminar with her in November and I am still deciding about whether to do it again next year.....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Neighbor Dog

Two summers ago my neighbor got a cute little lab/rotti cross pup.
Ultra cute pup, a little shy, but very cute.
The puppy spent lots of time indoors- and I rarely saw it.
And then one day it started barking.
My guess is that it was "old enough" to live outside now.
The puppy was sad, sad, sad- and barked a lot.
He learned to guard his yard, and as he grew older,
and less socialised he became louder, and more forceful.
It wasn't long until he was slamming into the fence at the sound of my door opening. Soon they had to replace the fence-
he could ALMOST get over.
Teeth bared, force barking,
my non dog friends were reluctant to walk through my yard.
The fence was replaced.
Now the fence is taller- he can't jump over and see anymore.
But He still barks.
The dog still lives outside, and rarely leaves the yard.
He barks from the minute I open my door, until the minute I bring my dogs in.
It is a pain in my ass.
Vito hates him.
With a passion.
I've had to put up a second fence, and even then he will still try.
He is obsessed.
We are working on it
But the barking next door frustrates me-
I can imagine how my dogs feel!!!
I don't hate many dogs-
and mostly I feel sorry for him
but shut up for once.

Vito- eyeing up the neighbor dog....

The Neighbor Dog

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Friday

Heading off to a Kim Collins Outreach Seminar this weekend. I am pretty excited about it. Wicca did really well at class on Tuesday so I am not nearly as nervous anymore. Last week I was pretty nervous and felt very out of practice. Hopefully we'll have a good weekend. I am sure that Kim will have lots of great info for us! Pixel is doing the Puppy Session on Sunday morning- so that should be fun!

Boone and Vito are going to Wendy's for the weekend.

I'll leave you all with some cute photos of the dogs playing in the snow...and by dogs I mean Boone mostly, and Pixel. Wicca is too good for that sort of thing, and Vito couldn't possibly leave his post at the fence (more about that later)

Have a good weekend!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fun With Mirrors...

This week the Flickr group I am in has a specific challenge- Reflections.

Is it ever hard!!! Like, really difficult. Of course I got a great one of Boone, and Wicca- but Pixel wasn't a very willing participant. I eventually clickered her to target the mirror with her foot to get her near it. But I am not thrilled with any of the ones I got of her...I am going to take a better look at work where the monitor is better so I'll be able to tell hopefully which one is better.......

A Big Joke

Mother Nature sucks...It's not funny anymore...

Growing Up

Puts her growing in perspective!!!

November 12th

November 18th

April 22nd

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

Kim from OtchRah has passed along the Honest Scrap blog award to us! To accept, we need to list 10 honest things about ourselves. In addition to listing the 10 things, we must pass this award on to seven other blogs.

I decided that Boone would be the lucky dog to participate!

Here are Boone's 10 things...

1) He LOVES bones. Like, LOVES bones. His eyes pop out of his head and he pats the ground in excitement. It is VERY cute.

2) He has an abnormally long tongue. Really. it's very long!

3) He has a hernia, and double dew claws in the rear. The hernia doesn't bug him, but the dewclaws do...we've discussed having them removed...

4) I am Boone's second home. He was given up when his old owners couldn't manage his issues anymore. He used to play flyball, and freestyle in his old life. Now we play Obedience, and Agility, and sometimes Sheep!

5) He's actually one of the most normal Pyr Sheps I've ever met. Really. They are all usually a bit odd...I've worked hard to socialise him to dogs and people and it has totally paid off. It's pretty amazing what good, consistent training, and a little bit of patience can do!

6) He loves butt rubs, and will give himself a butt rub against the couch, or a wall, or your is slightly distrubing

7) He is very nosey. He likes to check things out- especially if it is new, or out of place. He pokes things randomly through-out the house to make noise- the mop bucket is his favorite, and the toilet seat...strange eh?

8) He like to hug. It's very cute, and you should consider yourself very special if Boone chooses you as a person to trust.

9) He has a pretty famous brother who has sired lots of puppies- Harley

10) He HATES to have his feet touched. When I first got him we had to pin him to the floor to cut his huge long nails. With training, and treats I can now cut all of his nails myself with no issue or fuss- except for his right dewclaws...I need a holder for that one still...

Now I am supposed to nominate 7 blogs to participate- but really, whoever wants to can!!! I won't force ya! I do think Jolene should do it for sure- I want Kort to be honest about himself... :o)

Nine Months...almost

Pixel is going to be nine months old in a few days!!! Wowsers.

I have a hard time describing her personality because really, she's a bunch of things!

She is a serious dog, and is a thinker. She always thinks things through before jumping in, and is a great problem solver. The smarts that this dog has is pretty amazing.

She is independent. I forgot that Wicca was very much the same way at this age. But wow. Some days I'd like to throttle her. Come means nothing to her. Unless of course we are training and then she is perfectly attentive.

She doesn't like to be touched. Really. She is friendly- all wiggles and excited to see you, the minute you reach out. Gone. Busy, doing something else, thank you very much. We are working on this...she is a little strange.

She likes to be pretty. She is way more of a girly dog than Wicca. Pixel likes to be brushed and groomed. She could skip the bathing and drying though, but everything else she's game for.

She loves to learn- training her is LOTS of fun. She is always throwing new behaviors at me, and really enjoys training.
She has sure grown up in a few short months!!! It's hard to believe she was this little!!!

She is a great little dog- cute as a button with lots of atttitude!!! Pretty and Perfect!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Great and The Good.

The Great:

Boone!!!! I was completely stunned. My plan tonite was to bring him out of the car three times and play the "Look at that" game with the cars on the highway. Maybe get in a few basic nose touches, sits, downs etc. I brought him out the first time and used the jackpot toy with canned food. I got a few sits/downs and even some really solid nose touches. I rewarded Five times and then put him away. The second time I brought him out was right before a very high, fast, loud Border Collie had a turn- Boone gets SO excited when this dog runs. I used that excitement to get focus, and rewarded him for ignoring the traffic. The third time he came out I did a few quick sits/downs and then a few jumps. Each Jump he got the jackpot toy- he was stoked! On the end of that turn I took a chance and did an a-frame. perfect. 2on2off. no hesitation. What a good dog! His fourth and final turn was a recap of the look at that game, and then weaves. Rhythm and Speed. Huge Jackpot. I am SO impressed with him. I expected much more in the way of anxiety. Wow.

The Good:

Wicca. She was on. Even with her excitement through the roof! (remember she hasn't seen equipment in a month or even been to the outdoor field at all this year!!) Tuesday night is the Regionals Prep class- each week we set up a past Regionals (or Nationals) course. This week we chose to do a standard. I ran it three times- and each time was better and better.

Run #1- I chose to run it with Wicca on my right. I want to rear cross the tunnel so that I would be in a good position to direct her for the wrap (#5) The weave entry although looked challenging wasn't an issue at all. I waffled on how to handle 9-13. Initally I was going to do a landing side front cross at 12. Sarah and I talked about it and decided that ideally it should be a take off side FC. I didn't think I could get there so chose to keep her on my left and "sweep" her across my feet and rear the teeter. It worked out pretty good, although I was late the first time and resent her. I was worried that she would shoot out of the tunnel and take the number five jump so over rotated and she bit the wrong tunnel mouth. Geesh. Stupid Handler Moment! I used a go on for 15-16 and then again "swept her across my feet" and reared 18. It wasn't a bad run but a bit choppy. I rewarded her on all the contacts, and when ever I asked her to come in to me- her time was 1:29:34

Run #2 - I wanted to see how it would be to start with her on my left- it was a wreck. It puts you in a bad, bad spot for #5 and she bit the tunnel, not once, but twice! The rest of it I ran the same- I pushed for more speed and distance onthe DW, and through to the pinwheel. Time- 1:26:03

Run #3- For this one I went back to handle her on my right at the beginning. I do think that was the best way to handle it. I really wanted to try to get in the front crosses- at the take of side of 11- and I did it!!!!! With time to spare even. It was much smoother and way tighter. No knocked bar either! I also wanted to try and front cross 16-17 for a tighter line. I almost missed it- but I got there! Again- she was MUCH tighter out of the tunnel. Time- 39:40.

What a difference eh?

Nutro Anyone???

Be Careful what you feed.....

FDA confirms that Nutro suspected as cause of death and illnesses spanning the last two years...

I have been feeding Acana Pacifica for about two years now, and have been pretty satisfied. But I am going to switch to Now! Grain Free Chicken formula. Not for any other reason than I think it's time to switch it up a bit...

Dog food is a scary thing...and for many a very touchy subject.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Fifth Dog

I have a dog named Kate. Did you know that?
She will be 11 years old this September.

I never really know how to talk about Kate. I've been planning this blog post for a while now, and have re-written it a few dozen times. With my recent "Real Life" post I thought now would be a good time.. Before I go any farther it would be hard to write about Kate, without giving some background.

I got Kate when she was about 12 weeks old- she was my replacement puppy for a pup I had to euthanise for a severe hip problem. (another long story I'll share some day...) Anyway, I wasn't ready to love another puppy yet, but didn't have the heart to leave her behind.

Her "breeder" didn't see the value in socialising, or raising the litter indoors, with the family. Her "breeder" didn't see the value in making sure that all the puppies were balanced and had sound temperaments. Kate was the pup that wouldn't come out from under the shed when I went to see the litter. The six year old daughter had to crawl under and drag her out. After that she sat in the corner by the garage grumbling at us. I chose her because she looked the least like the dog I just had euthanised. You'd think I'd know better even then. Apparently not. (I was 16 by the way)

Anyway, Kate was a struggle. From the day I brought her home until now that dog has challenged my patience, my training ability, and my love. Unless you've had a fearful dog you won't really understand. But let me tell you. It is not easy to live with a dog like Kate.

Kate had severe anxiety in social settings, and was fearful to the point of aggression with people and dogs. With the help of my friends I figured out a way to get through to her. A clicker, and treats helped her to learn through her worries. It was no miracle by any stretch- she still would melt down, and would go into a barking frenzy if something set her off (nothing like a 60lb dog force barking in someone's face!)

But we managed and we trained hard. We got through our CD with a High in Class, and decent scores. The stand for exam was the hardest thing for her- a stranger (quite often a man) had to touch her. But we did it. The second hardest thing was the stay. Me, across the room for three minutes, was a killer for her. The day she earned her CD was a great one, I was so proud of her. I attempted one round of Open and officially retired her.

We also played agility. She got the advanced level in AAC before I retired her. I was always on the lookout for things that would set her off. She once started barking at the judge from the top of the a-frame. That was scary. She would spook at the ring crew, and she and I were often not having fun- I would have to coach and cheer her around most courses, and I was always so nervous about her leaving the ring. It was not healthy for either of us. Her last trial was the Alberta Regionals- I forget which year even- but it was awful. I was in tears, and she was stressed beyond her norm. That was the last time we trialed.

Living with Kate has also not been fun. She's eaten through a wooden door, jumped through a second story window, broken all of her front teeth on the metal door of a crate, destroyed numerous crates, ripped her nail off jumping through a door, and is a complete stress case- at my house. At my parents house she is a completely different dog. Relaxed, content, and playful. A Kate that I didn't often get to experience.

But it wasn't all bad- there were moments where she was confident, and carefree. She would fly around an agility course, and look like she didn't have a care in the world. She had her select friends- people who she trusted and loved. But those people were few and far between. If you were a friend of Kates' you must be pretty special. She also had a few dog friends- but not many dogs could take her rough play style. All of her insecurities would be gone when playing fetch. She would fetch a tennis ball for hours. (her arthritis can attest to that!) And when she was calm she was a very easy dog to be with.

About three years ago she went to live with my parents full time. At first it was only a few nights a week- when I worked long hours at the boarding kennel. And then it was during the week, and then weekends...and now, well she has occasional sleep overs at my house.

I love this dog- alot. It is hard to put into words how you feel about a dog that you worked SO hard with. She was my constant shadow, always at my feet, always at my side. It is also hard to explain to people really who she is. When you are talking about a dog with issues- typically you focus on the issues- and not the dog. Kate deserves much more than that. She really is a great dog- under the fear. She is goofy, and has a weird sense of humour. She is very smart, and is the most loyal dog- ever. She would stand by my side always. If I let her. She is beautiful- even in her old age. And she has heart. A lot of it. The day that I got that first CD leg with her I cried. You could see the stress on her face, and still she did it. You could see she wanted to run away, but she stayed. It is amazing to think that a dog can love a person so much to withstand fear for them.

Letting her live with my parents was a very, very difficult decision. Thankfully they only live a few blocks away and I visit at least a few times a week. It doesn't make it any easier though. I often wonder if maybe now, in her older age she would settle down into my life again. I try once in a while- bring her home for sleepovers. Her unhappiness is apparent.

At my parents house she is happy, playing, fetching, wrestling with Drew, laying at my dads feet. At my house she is pacing, whining, panting, looking for a way out. I can't leave her unattended for a moment. She is miserable.

In life, and especially in dogs there are lots of "What Ifs." What if I had known back then what I know now. Would she be different? Would I have even chose her? Where would she be if I didn't? I would have done so many things differently. Maybe it would have changed things, maybe not. In any case, ours might not be an ideal situation- but it works.

Kate gets to be happy, and I get to see her be happy.
Mostly, it is a win/win kind of thing. Except for the whole missing my dog thing.

Mistaken Identity

Does this-

Look like this?

I think not. Do you know how many times I've been asked and/or told that Pixel must be one of those Australian dogs....

Not that I have anything against Aussies...(they are one of my favorites) but geesh! She's a little short for an aussie...and the ears and tail don't really go....


I put Wicca through a whole routine yesterday- and she did great. A little wide on About Turns- but her transitions from station to station were great. I was very impressed with her.

Everyone else got to do a little bit- Pixel is working on left turns and is doing well- she still forges a bit- but it is something I am doing. Boone is doing great- he is staying focused and has mastered the st/stay/walk around. Now to work on the down walk around. He is very nervous about it...

The only crappy part of yesterday was when Pixel ate the Dumbbell- totally my fault, but still super I will have to dig around and find an old one somewhere...