Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vito, Shut Up.

Seriously. Vito didn't stop barking the whole time at the river. He was so excited by Coulee he could hardly stand it. He didn't want to go right into the river to chase her so settled for barking on was pretty fun. Not. Poor Coulee

Click to view large.


The mysterious, and very loud "thing" emerges from the river....

ready to attack...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Not tagged, but still playing

One of the blogs I read was tagged in a game in which we share stories of how our dogs came to live with us. I wasn't tagged to play, but thought it would be good blog content.

Wicca- I wanted a German Shepherd Dog. Okay, I thought I wanted a German Shepherd. The litter didn't take, and I still wanted a puppy. So I started looking around and researching different breeds. I worked at a pet supply store and one of our long time clients came in with a cute little Cardigan Puppy...the next day I got a call from the breeder of that cute little Cardigan puppy. She had heard that the GSD litter didn't take and wondered if I was interested in coming out to meet the litter she had. I went. I fell in love. I did some research (could a short legged dog even play agility???!)I went again. I paid for her. I brought her home.

Vito- I was working heavily with rescue. A friend of mine called me and said that extended family of hers had a puppy that they needed help with. I went to asses the dog. he was about 14 weeks and wouldn't come and greet me. growled and grumbled. While I was there telling the family that this particular puppy will need his own space, rules, obedience classes, constant supervision with the children, etc the kids crawled under the table with the puppy and not only woke him up but started poking him. I left, suggesting that they find a more suitable home for him. I got a call a few days later. He had bit the young boy quite badly. I was only fostering/training/socialising him. And then I loved him. And now I am stuck with the little jerk. :o) It's a good thing he's so cute.

Boone- I didn't need another dog. A friend of mine emailed and said that she had gotten an adult Pyr Shep as a "Re-Home" but that she is looking for a home for him. It wasn't working out. She wasn't aware of his issues, and didn't have the time, or inclination to fix them. A year or so previously I had looked after this same friends other Pyr Shep, and loved him. I have a soft spot for Pyr Sheps, and said I would take him without even seeing a photo. I know. bad. I went to pick him up, and I couldn't touch him he was so nervous. He spun in the crate the whole way home. Initially I was just working with him- not going to keep him. No really, not going to keep him. And then I loved him. And it took the better part of a year to make him normal. But he is a great dog- and well worth the effort. This Picture was taken right after I got him.

Pixel- When Sam died I knew I wanted another Cardi. I didn't want one right away though. But I had a serious case of puppy fever. It went from a whisper in my ear to a puppy in just a few weeks. I had started researching breeders. I knew what I wanted, and knew it might take a while to find. I had bookmarked the breeders I was interested in talking to more, and frequently checked and rechecked their websites. Almost stalker like actually. And then I stumbled upon this picture

and knew that she was the one. Looking into her further I discovered that her Sire is a WORKING cardi, with Champion Herding Titles- exactly what I was looking for. A moderate dog, with working background. After talking with her breeder, passing her screening (I had never had that before!!!) and finally getting all the paperwork stuff sorted out Pixel flew from Florida to Great Falls (a few hours from me.)She has been a bossy, bratty, great addition to my family!

I am going to tag

Sarah from Dig It, Fetch It, Herd It
Jolene from OneCollie
Sandy from Mira,Duke and the Evil One
Wendy from Crazy and Little
and Julie from Slow As Molasses

Have Fun Ladies!

Not the Answer

No Kill Shelters are something I have always been opposed to.

This is a good reason- Toronto Humane Society- Killing them with Kindness

Warning- The photos are graphic, as is the content.

Anyone who believes that No Kill Shelters are the answer needs to read the article.

I want to rant and rave, but I don't really have it in me at the moment. The article tells the story well.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Friday!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

We are going to be spending lots of time outside enjoying the great weather. I pulled out the dogs pool the other day so will have lots of pictures to share! In the mean time here are my favorite "pool" photos from last year.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Puppy Class in Photos

I took my camera to class last night in hopes of getting my 52 Weeks photo. I did manage to get that, but I also got some cute photos of the class.

We got there early so they had a quick romp in the field.

There is no supper on class nights. Pixel was famished....

We started with crate games

Some Wobble Board Fun

Some plank fun

Some Tugging

Threw is some begging- remember she's STARVING...

Some being cute

We did the table

and lots of other things that aren't very photogenic...

Puppies are Fun!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Pixel and her little Cavalier friend GG are best buds. They are very similar. :o)

The Wart

Okay- it wasn't really a wart- it was a papilloma. Regardless, It's finally almost gone. I had planned on getting it surgically removed if it wasn't gone by the time she was spayed. Thankfully it has gone away on it's own. It started changing color last week, and today it is just a tiny discoloration. Yay. It was pretty giant, and pretty ugly looking for a while!!!

April 7- the start- you can also see how badly the mange had spread around her eye...

May 11- this was the only photo I could find of "the wart" - On purpose I have only taken photos on her "good side" and deleted almost everything that showed how giant the thing was...I kept this only because it is cute otherwise...

May 26- Yay!

Regionals Prep- Jumpers

Last night we ran a Jumpers course from last years Ontario Regionals. It was "Jumpers Round 2" designed by Tim Ostrem who is actually from Edmonton. It was a fun course. There was good challenge, but it also flowed really well. It was also fast.

The problem is me. I need to focus. I have a hard time thinking when I am stressed. I have a hard time planning for the whole course when I am worried about getting lost. Jumpers is my weakness. My dog however does pretty well despite me.

Our first run wasn't pretty. The start was awful even though I led out- I was using the wrong arm to change her lead. She knocked five or six bars- most due to my handling. Ugh.

Second run was MUCH improved. Two bars, but good run. I didn't get lost, and I didn't have to think about the course other than my handling. Which is what I need to be able to do the first time.

At the end of class I used my time to work on some threadles. We did it successfully with no speed twice, and then I added speed and barely squeaked by...but we are improving. I need to be patient and hold her head. It is hard to think that fast. But I am practicing religiously. I am hoping that I'll have practiced it so much that there won't be one....

I am stressed. The pressure is on. Less than three weeks away now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spring Yard Photos

My yard is abnormally green right now. I've been watering every day, and actually started digging out my flower beds. Really. Anyway, the dogs had a great time puttering around the yard while I tidied, and watered.....

Dax is doing awesome- and hopefully will be heading off to his new home this weekend! I am very excited for him.

Wicca was continuing to be helpful and "helped" me water...

Vito is sitting IN the used to be flower bed I started digging...don't my weeds look pretty?

p.s Notice anything about Pixel??? Stay tuned for the answer tomorrow...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Teachers and Training

I remember every dog training instructor I've ever had. Which is pretty amazing considering my awful memory. I remember not only who they were, and what they taught, but more importantly HOW they taught it. The ones that stand out are the ones who made training clear, fun, and rewarding. If at the end of a seminar/class and I am no further ahead in my understanding or ability, and was bored to tears I am not as likely to go back. If I am having a good time, learning, and things are broken down for me and for the dog, I will be the first to sign up for the next one!

I think the key to being a good instructor is presentation. Really. How your lesson is expressed, and how the students receive the message. There are always lots of laughs in our class. We are friends with our students and know their dogs. Everyone has a good time, and by the size of our classes, and by the amount of people who come back each session I would say that most people appreciate our style.

You of course need to HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE to share. And make sure that you are delivering that knowledge clearly, and in a way that everyone is able to understand. What you are teaching better be something that you yourself have experience with, and that you fully understand- if you don't know the answer that is fine- but be honest, and then find the answer. As an instructor you need to keep current with training- new ideas and methods are popping up all the time and it is important to keep abreast of that sort of thing.

Rewards are not only important for the dogs- students need to be told when they do something awesome, or have finally mastered something they've been working on. A "Good Job" can make or break someones night- and even finding and rewarding those small break throughs can make someone feel good about their dog, and themselves.

Teaching is not all fun and games though. People, like dogs, learn through their mistakes. It is our job to make sure that people are learning and improving. Not repeating the same mistakes over, and over again. It is our job to break things down if need be, or offer an alternative so that the team is succesful. I am not known for being subtle. If you screw up I will be the first to tell you. Rarely is there ever a need to blame the dog. It is always the person. :o)

A good teacher/student ratio is important too. Having 10 or more dogs for one instructor means that you are either going to be waiting around a lot, or getting minimal instruction. Sometimes classes with multiple instructors is the way to go. But finding balance between the instructors is important. There is nothing worse than having two instructors who are complete opposites and contradict one another. Sarah and I teach together (we also trial together which is a whole 'nother post...) and I think we compliment one another. Sarah is VERY anal and plans to the second. She does most of the lesson plans now, and also is the weave queen. She has an eye for that and we recognize that strength. I am not as well organised and Sarah keeps me in line. I LOVE training contacts and am bossy enough to get my message across about how important teaching independant contact performance is. I also am the queen of "REWARD THE FREAKIN' DOG!!!" :o) Oh- and Sarah is in charge of teaching case you were wondering. We both have our strengths and weaknesses...okay, I have more weakness than Sarah! :o)

I would hope that people remember our classes as being fun, informative, and come away knowing more than when they walked in. It is not easy to be an instructor. I remember thinking how fun it would be to boss people around and get paid for it! Well, it is fun- but it is much harder than one would think! It is mostly a very enjoyable, and rewarding job- I love seeing students succeed, or finally get that one thing they've been struggling with. It is a feeling that is pretty special.

10 months

Pixel turned 10 months old yesterday. It's pretty amazing to think of how much she has grown!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Different Perspective...

My friend Kim and I went to a funmatch at a difference training facility today. They have a great set up- the ground is ALL FLAT, it is far from the highway, and did I mention that the ground is all flat??!!!

It was a super novice funmatch meant for their students to get a feel for an actual trial. There were only a few people, and I think everyone had a great time. They had some super cute dogs participating.

For myself, I used this funmatch as a training opportunity for the upcoming regionals and rewarded her on her contacts, for good start lines, and pushed my handling/speed a little bit. She did pretty well although we did have a few melt down moments on the second course...and the jumpers course she got a little creative on...

The interesting part was watching the other people run their dogs, and listen to their instructor give advice. It was hard not to step in, and I had to bite my tongue a few times. I offered my own students plenty of advice, and tried to do it where others might hear. Reward your dog here, Front Cross here, etc. etc. etc...I am not known for my subtle ways, and I do have a hard time keeping my opinions to myself. But, I did manage to for the most part.

As an instructor I am always careful to balance advice, and letting people figure it out for themselves. If I see that someone has walked the course and it may not be the best way I will ask them why, and then suggest an alternative method that might be faster, or more clear to the dog. Also we are big on REWARD THE DOG! Always, always, always REWARD THE DOG. If it is a novice dog, or a dog that has motivation issues REWARD THE DOG- in the middle, after something fast, and of course at the end. We push this on our students big time. And of course- reward the person. A "Good Job" or "That was Really Nice" can go a long way to making a person feel confident about themselves, and their dog.

That said, I was proud of myself for keeping my mouth shut and staying out of things that aren't my business, although I did help with course building, and judging...
I was very proud of the two Go Dog Go students that came- they did a great job of handling, and their dogs worked well in the heat.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Wicca thought she'd be helpful and help us paint the agility equipment today. She actually had just managed to get out of the xpen and ran over to say hi. Smearing herself in red paint in the process. Her feet, her belly, and her tail were thick with it.

Even after a turpentine rinse she is still a bit on the pink side....

Just Because

she is so darn cute....

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Friday

Please?, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

On Saturday we are doing our pre-regionals fun match, training volunteers and equipment fixing up. Sunday is another funmatch, and housecleaning....

Should be mostly a fun weekend!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A little bit 'o terrier

Wicca LOVES to critter. Seriously. The Gophers chirp and she is instantly alert. Our training field is FILLED with the cute little buggers....she digs, and whines, and watches...waiting for one to be stupid enough to pop out of the hole...

So far her wish hasn't come true...there is no doubt in my mind that she'd kill one if she had the chance...

Sarah snapped these photos yesterday before class. Gyp was doing a similar thing...

Day 12

Pixel is on approximately day 12 of her heat cycle.
She is NOT enjoying her fancy pants....