Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grown Up

Pixel is going to be a year old next month. It is hard to believe. I still think of her as a puppy- but she is looking very grown up these days. She is even starting to act mature....well, mostly.

She has tons of hair- although looking at the photo you can't really tell. Her tail is something that a Sheltie would be envious of! :o) She is all muscle under the hair, and is in great shape. Her coat definitely makes her seem larger than she is. She is much finer than wicca, although I think that they will be the same height when all is said and done.

Anyway, Wendy took this photo of her "stacked" the other day and I thought it turned out pretty decent. Show dog she is not, and show dog person I am not! :o)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Jump For Joy!

I am off work for almost a whole week starting on Wednesday. I am so excited! The dogs and I are going camping and are just going to hang out, swim, and enjoy doing nothing. For FIVE DAYS! Wow!

Wendy took this picture yesterday of Pixel. I thought it was totally fitting!

So we'll be gone from Wednesday morning until Monday- I may still blog from my phone if anything exciting happens... :o)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jolene fell outta the boat...

More than a month ago Wendy (my boss) told us about a "Mystery Fun Day" she had booked for us. She refused to tell us what it was...we tried to guess of course, and I nagged a lot- but she held out.

Today was the day- and we ended up going White Water Rafting- which was totally fun!!! It reminded me of the good old days when I was little- tubing, and boating down the river in the Crowsnest Pass. It was LOTS of fun. But of course we had our share of adventure....

Jolene was a little nervous, but was good sport. And then she fell out of the boat. There was a rough spot, and she kinda bounced out. Feet Up, Arms Flailing. All I could do was laugh. I felt awful. But I couldn't stop laughing. Our guide grabbed her and we rowed to shore, there was not really any danger of death or injury, but still I kinda felt bad for laughing. But still giggle thinking about it. Poor Jo!

We got to "Body Surf" which means you basically float down the river and through some rapids. The water was super cold, but it was fun! I couldn't swim fast enough to shore though and went a little too far down stream before being saved. :o)

And Wendy jumped off a cliff- crazy lady!! A forty foot drop! But she did it- even though she was scared. We were super proud of her. I wouldn't do that. And then she too didn't swim to share fast enough and went down river...far!! The guides had to run to catch up to her. But she was fine, a little out of breathe but otherwise okay!

We ended the day with a yummy BBQ at Wendy's house- and now I am home- tired, and a little sunburnt...

It was a great way to spend the day though and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Vito and Pixel take on the Wubba

Vito attacked Mega Wubba with a vengeance- ripping, and biting into it. He was pretty savage about the whole thing..

Pixel on the other hand was slightly weirded out by the monster and would only bite it if I held it up...she's not a very effective Wubba killer...

Boone wonders if it's edible

Boone thinks with his stomach most of the time. When the Monster Wubba was presented to him he had to taste...

Wicca and the Giant

A friend gave me a MEGA SIZE Wubba the other day. I am talkin' huge- bigger than my dogs heads. They all went a little nutty over it. It was funny to see the different play styles with something so large. Of course I took lots of photos...so many in fact that the posts will be split up by dog....

Wicca likes to roll on it, and bite it's tentacles...She's all about domination this dog...

Stay tuned for the others...

Friday, June 26, 2009

So Blue 25/52

So Blue 25/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

“Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.”
~George MacDonald

Most of the comments that I get about my photos on Flickr are in relation to Pixels' amazing blue eyes.

For this weeks Flickr 52 weeks Challenge I wanted a different perspective, and a piece of her, rather than her whole body or face.

And then I found the above quote, and I knew that this was the perfect picture for this week.

The sky was SO blue, it was almost what I was looking for exactly. I love the way that this turned out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Doing it Right...the first time.

On one of the blogs I frequent there is discussion about training methods, and the place that corrections have in training.

I wanted to comment, and give my opinion. It took a long time to write! I kept writing, and rewriting. In the end it is longer than most of my blog posts!!

Anyway, one of the points I was trying to make was "Imagine how it would be if we taught our dogs how to do it right, the first time."

Before I moved out of my family house, and before Corgi, my family got a puppy. He was the cutest, fuzziest ball of lazy. His mom was a Rottweiler, and his sire was an Akita. We knew he was gonna be big. He was born in a garage to a family of drug dealers, and was dumped in our laps around 8 weeks old.

He was my guinea pig. I wanted to try raising a puppy the right way. I got the clicker out, and began educating him. I taught him to walk nicely beside me, I taught him tricks, I taught him how to listen, and I taught him how to be a great family dog. It worked.

He is now 7 years old and around 80lbs. He does not pull on a leash. Ever. Serious. I don't think he knows there is an end of the leash. It doesn't matter if it is a 6ft leash, or a flexi. If he feels the end he comes back to your side. Could he pull? Certainly! Will he? Why would he? He understands his job. It is clear to him what is expected. Because I spent so much teaching him HOW TO DO IT CORRECTLY before he knew how NOT TO DO IT. Cookies, Praise, and Good Timing. He never got where he wanted to go by pulling. That is how he learned how to walk on leash.

Now, I am not saying it's easy. After all, if it was easy I'd be able to say that none of my dogs pull. Which is not the case. The difference is that Drew was my total focus. I was going to school and didn't work and I had LOTS of time to spend with him.

But it does put things into perspective a bit I thought. It was an experiment that worked out pretty well I'd say!


Wiccie : Woo : WICCA!!! : Woo Woo

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Nightmare...

I had a Nightmare the other night that I somehow made Pixel a slow and cautious dog. I woke up and it took me a while to fall back asleep.

I am so worried about screwing her up that I am almost afraid to do anything.

My first agility dog was an out of shape shepherd cross. She gave me her all, and I trained her how I was taught. She was slow, but happy. I was thrilled with her of course, and will always remember her for all the things she taught me.

My second agility dog was a stress case, slow, and methodical. It was not very fun to trial with her, although we had fun training. She tried her best, and I tried mine (with the tools I knew/had at the time), but she retired early.

My third agility dog is speedy fast, and now is becoming a great agility dog. But we had our fair share of issues- no impulse control, no regard for her body, no regard for me! I saw the speed she had a baby and ran with it. Literally.

My fourth agility dog moves at a slow trot at the best of times, and would rather lounge on the sofa than exert himself. He is retired now at the rip old age of two.

My fifth agility dog is doing great, learning confidence and is a very fun dog to run. He is easy compared to dog number three.

And now there is Pixel.

Dogs number 1, 2 and 4 did not enjoy agility really. They did it because I asked them. I had to cheerlead them around course, it was painful. I vowed to never "make" a dog play agility again.

What if Pixel doesn't like it? What if she's slow?

I mean she obviously loves to train and play. She is a different dog than Vito and I can tell already that she has some spunk to her. But we haven't done much really. Someone asked me the other day if she is fast. I didn't know how to answer- because I don't know! I assume she will be.

We have been doing foundation work since she was a wee baby. She is learning to read my body language, how to follow a front cross cue, how to decel with me, how to blast ahead on cue, and all of those things that I didn't teach Wicca as a baby...She is learning to find a jump, and is learning value in the bars (set at 6") She is learning what her 2on2off position will be, she is learning that the teeter is a great game, and of course she is learning basic obedience.

The problem (for me) is that I hadn't seen any of that together. I had a hard time focusing on the big picture. I was worried. A lot.

Last night I put her on the dogwalk. Backchained it a few times with a toy at the bottom, and sent her across. She was speedy. I couldn't keep up. It was wonderful. Like a weight lifted off my chest. Tonite we did some jump grids and I saw her blast over the bars (set at 6") for the food bowl at the end of the row. It was wonderful.

I think my issue is that I wondered if it was me. If I was somehow creating these slow dogs who didn't like agility. But I don't really think that looking back. And I am confident in my training abilities, and in my training plan that I will have a very well balanced (but fast) agility partner when she is all grown up.

I got to see a little bit of that last night and tonite. It made me feel better.


Last night I took Wicca to class and worked on a few things.

We worked on out. As in take the far away jump when presented with two of them. As in the gamble from regionals that she should have had. She totally got it after a few reps, and then I changed it up a bit, used a tunnel, and then again with the two jumps. She generally is a very good distance dog, but I still need to be maintaining that training- and it showed!

We worked on 270's, and front crosses on a box. It was frustrating at first because she launches out of a front cross but once we did it a few times she settled down into work mode. Her 270's were okay- when I made them BIG I had to support a little more than normal, but a few well placed/timed rewards and she got it.

And that's pretty much it. We ran the jumpers course I set for class. The first time I ran it she was perfect- clean, and fast. It was a good feeling!

I took Pixel last night too- did some teeter games. She loves surfing, and isn't afraid of the movement at all. She is learning to rock backwards. She is very confident this girl.

Also worked on some jump stuff. Set up a few basic patterns (180, a pinwheel, and a turn)- she had lots of fun, and is very good about following my direction. And we ended on the dogwalk. Yes. The dogwalk. She had been on the plank between two tables a few times with no issue, so I lowered the dogwalk and she was racin' across it no problem. Of course she doesn't know "the end behaviour" yet, but I am not too worried about that at this point. She won't get on the dogwalk again until she understands her 2on2off postion on her travel plank, and then I will begin backchaining the whole thing.

Tonite is her actual class and we'll be doing some jump grids, more circle work, and working on verbal cues for out, go on, and turn. Fun Fun!

Excuse Me...

Vito is a little ticked that he hasn't been on the blog lately...

Poor Dude!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009


I'd like to introduce you to Pierre.

He is a mouse. He was actually a gift for Boone. But Boone doesn't like Mice. I however think he is the cutest little thing. So. He is my new little buddy.

He will follow me around from trial to trial, seminar to seminar.

While there he will take notes for me. (andrea gave him a lesson on how to do that)

Keep a look out for dangers (kitties, birds...bugs)

And just generally be my silent travelling partner.

Stay tuned for more adventures of Pierre...

Seminar Highlights and Photos

This seminar was hosted by the area kennel club, but actually was run by another agility group in town. Sound Confusing? It kind of was. But it was well put together, Kiersten was full of lots of great information, and I wasn't a total outcast because I had convinced some other GDG people to attend aswell.

The students of GDG that went did great- Sunar, Betty and Bosley all did very well. And I think it was great that they heard some of the same stuff that we preach to them all the time. Sometimes it is good to hear it from someone else!

My own dog did great. He totally surprised me. He was VERY excited to be working and playing. On Saturday we broke down, and then ran a standard from regionals and he rocked it. On Sunday we did handling exercises on the double box, and some distance. He followed my cues beautifully, and I handled my dog properly. He even recovered after a tractor prompted a total breakdown. (the seminar was at a farm) It was a good seminar that reconfirmed some stuff that I need to work more on with him. It also reconfirmed the fact that I need to quit babying him.

He can do it. He just needs me to trust him a bit more, and to handle him. For whatever reason I worry about him a lot- and always try and take the pressure off for him. But in reality I need to start applying more pressure, and expecting him to do what I want on course.

Boone had a blast, and I had lots of fun. I also got some good ideas for Pixel, and have actually decided what I am doing with her (more on that later)

I took my camera on Sunday so here are some cute faces from the day...

marco- a little sheltie that just came to audit on sunday.

Kes, Kierstens old girl. She is 11.5 and came along to demonstrate!

Charm, a.k.a "The Princess" is blossoming into quite the little agility dog!!!

I was a little obsessed with the schnauzer. This is Kelsey, and she is a standard Schnauzer. I LOVE the look of a well groomed Schnauzer...

Chase, the Sable Merle Sheltie.

the bos. :o)

this sharpei had a great weekend and was more focused than I'd ever seen at trials before- the power of motivation! He is cute, and "squishy" although doesn't like to be squished!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pixel 'N Sunar...

I brought Pixel along to the seminar today, and she got to play with Su'nar! The girls were very happy to see each other. Pixel spent a weekend at Su'nars house once, and they are great friends. It was very cute!!!

Oh- Sunar has the same Sire as Wicca. So they are half sisters...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Seminar for Boone

Well, the crazy lab lady (otherwise known as Kiersten) is coming to Lethbridge to teach a seminar this weekend. I really enjoy Kiersten's seminars and have signed Boone up to participate this weekend. Wicca is still on break. And Boone could use the work. In fact, Boone and I could really use the challenge.

Boone is progressing nicely, although we haven't really trained a lot lately. I was so focused on regionals that he hasn't done much except a few odd things here and there.

This weekend might be above his head a bit, but Kiersten assures me that she'll modify stuff for him if he is struggling too much. I think actually that it will be good for him. I tend to baby him almost. Weird Eh? I find myself thinking- he's just a novice dog. When in fact he is mostly an advanced dog. I need to stop doubting him, and need to up the challenge a bit. He is a fun dog to train, and a fun dog to run. I tend to do a lot of "baby-dog" stuff with him because I worry about his stress.

Anyway, I am hoping Kiersten will have some good advice for us as a team. I am auditing the novice session aswell. And have some questions for her about Pixel. Everyone is going to get to come and sit in the xpen to spectate, as I have no dog sitter, and I think it will be too long for Pixel to be at home.

Oh, and we call her the crazy lab lady as a term of endearment. She is not crazy, but she does have labs, and well...you hafta be kinda crazy to own a lab right?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Lesson

by Pixel.

Look what I found. It's the bestest ever.

It's fun to rip, and crunch...and....


Get yer fuzzy paws off my toy or I'll....

Oh. Sorry Mom. I guess I'll share with the little dork....

He can have the boring part...

and I'll keep the crunchy, yummmy, fun part!

the lesson here kids, is to share. or you'll get in trouble. stupid fuzz head.