Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Halloween 2009, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

What's halloween really but an excuse to torture the dogs. :o)

Wicca only needed a hat for the perfect costume :o) (she's a witch)
Pixel the Princess
Vito the devil, although he does look rather innocent here.
Boone the clown.

it's all very fitting. :o)

Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Gotcha' Day!

Coincidentally I got both Boone and Pixel around the same time (end of October)- just a year apart. Funny eh?

Two years ago I offered to foster a scared Pyr Shep for a friend. A month later and I knew he was meant to be mine. Here is a link to the first blog post I wrote about him. He has come so far in two years he is a completely different dog. He is happy, confident, outgoing and loves people. He is a dog who is just all heart and I adore him.

Last year at this time I brought Pixel home. I was so excited to see her off the plane. She came out of the crate as happy as could be, and has been motoring along since then. She is everything I wanted, and I often sit and think about how lucky I am to have her. She has grown up into a beautiful dog who gets attention wherever she goes. Pixel has been an easy pup to raise- and has a wonderful future ahead of her.

So Happy Gotcha' Days to two of my favorite dogs. :o)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

November is on it's way....

October is almost over. Not sure where it went, but November is on it's way!

This past month I took some time for me. I had a break from agility classes and it was great! Instead of teaching four nights a week I only did one, and on occasion two. It was pretty perfect.

Starting next week that all changes. My schedule is a busy one- mostly because that's they way I like it. I have a hard time saying no, and I do love what I do. I've made sure though to not overflow my schedule so we'll see how it goes this winter.

As of right next week this is my teaching schedule Monday- competition obedience, Tuesday- Agility at the barn, Wednesday- Agility at POTR and Pixels class, Thursday and Friday are free except for occasional agility, or private lesson I choose to do. I have given up Pet Obedience for a few months. I need a break from the raw beginners that seem to suck you dry. :o) (nothing against any beginner/pet people that read this- just that you are much more work than the people that are used to being bossed around by me!)

November is also a busy month dog wise- I have Boone and Wicca entered in Obedience/Rally at the Reddeer Dog show. There is an agility trial the weekend after, although at this point I am not sure what I am doing (going, or not going) and the weekend after that is the last Kim Collins Outreach of the year. Again- not sure what I am doing with that, it will depend on how Wicca is, and if I feel she is able to physically handle it. If not- Boone will have to stand in. In amongst all of that Pixel is being vaccinated, and spayed. OMG! (that's a whole 'nother post)

Oh, I am sure you all noticed but I changed the header- Wendy took this picture of Vito on a walk yesterday and I LOVE it, so much that it just had to be the header. Vito doesn't get enough face time on the blog so this way he can be front and center for a while!

Rare Breed

Ever see a Rare Pointing Corgi?


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

just because

I wasn't going to blog twice today, but I LOVE this picture of the girls together. They were running down the path together and I told them to down. Pixel needs work on a moving down apparently! But still, a great photo!

Goin' Places 43/52

Goin' Places 43/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

"Goin' places that I've never been.
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again -" Willie Nelson

Finally! I was able to take a photo of moving Pixel. :o) I really wanted a moving photo for this weeks 52 Weeks photo. Pixel is a dog that doesn't stop moving for long, and combined with my photography skills most of the photos I've gotten of her are stationary. (or blurry and not submitted :o) )

She looks like she is on a mission, so I thought the "On the Road Again" lyrics were a perfect fit.

Uploaded by manymuddypaws on 28 Oct 09, 6.53AM MDT.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Kink in her neck and over-reacting

At the trial Wicca saw Susan again, a Sport Physio/Rehab person. She has had a stiff neck lately and I was a bit concerned again about her shoulders. Well, she has a kink in her neck- most likely caused from heeling. Geez. I have been practicing a fair amount lately (I have Wicca entered in Open Obed in a few weeks) so obviously this has caused some problems. Susan reccomended heeling on the right side, aswell as the left. I am just going to lay off the heeling for a while all together.

I have written before about how stressed I am about Wicca's health. Yesterday just about did me in. She had a REALLY hard time weaving yesterday. Like, could not get an entry if it was on the "on side." This is due to a few things- one, her neck. Because of the kink in her neck it was not comfortable bending her head that way. Two- the footing. It was very deep, and she was not the only small dog to have weave issues.

Her neck is not even caused by agility and yesterday on the way home I was telling Sarah that I was going to stop doing agility for a few months. Sometimes I am not even rational. That's why I didn't blog about it at all last night. I was not thinking straight. When your dog is hurt, and the sport that you and your dog love is causing the hurt it's a pretty emotional thing.

However, in the case of her neck the issue isn't even agility. Susan worked out the kink and Wicca already is feeling better and has a better range of motion. She also gave me some really great exercises for her shoulders. I was concerned yesterday because at the end of the day she seemed to be favoring her back right leg. I think she slept on it funny, and I was over-reacting.

Wicca actually had one of the best weekends physically- she didn't knock many bars, and didn't have any crashes or ouch moments. Her new running aframe is going well and taking lots of pressure off of her. I need to take a deep breath and stop worrying so much. She is fine. She is healthy. She is not lame. She is not going to die.

I am however going to put her on a weave pole diet until her neck is feeling better. l This means that I will pull her from the agility trial in November. It will be a good break for her. My plan is also to do only light training- and just work on getting her into the best shape physically that I can.

Also Sarah had a good though- I am going to use a bigger crate at trial. Her "house" crate is large (german shepherd size) but at a trial she is in a small normal corgi size one. She can't really stretch out all that great. Too bad she can't be trusted in a soft crate, it would be an easy fix then. :o)

So that's the plan. Get her neck back to normal, keep her active, but don't over do it. No weaves, or contacts. Just light handling. We'll still have plenty to keep us busy!

Training Troop Trial

I am feeling pretty mixed up right now. So I apologize for the erratic writing. I will try to keep things in order.

It was a great weekend. The trial itself was very well run, and the people are awesome. There are some really nice agility people in our area. It's nice to go to a trial where almost everyone is nice to each other.

The dogs did very well. I had some great runs with both of them, and a one or two not so nice runs.

Boone earned only one Q this weekend- in Advanced Snooker- which just so happens to be the Q he needed for his Advanced Games title. This also moves him up to Masters Snooker. His other runs (except one) were SO GOOD. He really did a great job this weekend and worked hard. We ran team for the first time in almost a year, and he did great- running his half clean. It was a great run. His contacts are really solid- I need to work on my timing of my "target" cue so that he is not slowing dogs. His speed was great- faster than ever before. And his weaves were very good (and fast) up until the very last run. The bobbles we had were mostly my fault. Although, he did have one very naughty run. The Sunday standard was pretty disasterous. He was very wild and not listening. He rarely has ever done that so I wasn't sure how to get him back. We ended up getting buzzed off. :o) I got lots of great feedback about him- some people hadn't seen him in a few months and were surprised a the difference. I haven't forgotten where he started, but I don't always think about it. He really is a pretty amazing dog. He was happy, confident, and having fun all weekend.

Wicca ran really well on Saturday. She was one of a few (7 or 8) dogs to get the gamble earning her 11th Gamble Q. Her other runs on Saturday were pretty good- we had some really good moments in the standards, but the jumpers was a train wreck. I can't even remember really what happened now, I remember there had been no knocked bars all day until that run...just an off course or two. The other Q she got was in Steeplechase. She had a smoking fast run- the third fastest overall. She did have a knocked bar, but the fault just gets added to the time so we still qualified.

She also won the Judges Choice Award for a Masters dog. Both of the judges were not local so had never seen her before. They were pretty amazed at her speed, and drive for such a short dog. I am proud to have won that. She won it twice before when she was a starters dog at that trial, so it's pretty neat to have won it again in masters. One of the judges commented that she didn't go over the ground, she went through it. And she really did have to. The arena is filled with dirt/sand/wood shavings. Although it was cushy for us to run on it was hard for some of the smaller dogs. The divots at the weave poles made it so she almost had to jump to weave.

I am very proud of Wicca this weekend- she didn't knock any bars all day Saturday until the last run, and only one or two on Sunday. Her A-frame is going pretty good- she knows that she will be released now but is still running full tilt down the frame- which is exactly what I want. We also had some pretty good handling moments. Of course there are things we need to work on. Her startlines. Man, oh man. I really need to make sure that I am sticking to my criteria with this dog. Her dogwalk/teeter contacts. She came right off the dogwalk on Sunday- I picked her up and left the course after that. And the teeter. The teeter is completely my fault. Again- criteria. I need to make sure she sticks her teeter until I release.

Mostly it was a good weekend. I am pretty tired- as are the dogs. I am looking forward to a full week of NO CLASSES. It will be a good break.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Friday

We are off to an agility trial this weekend. It is the "Halloween" trial, so there are costume contests and all sorts of goulish things. I'll make sure to have some pictures to post on Monday :o)

Hope everyone else has a great weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Lesson from Wicca on Gophering

Find the hole.

Now, take a big sniff to make sure it's down there.

Really get down there, you need to let 'em know you mean business.

Digging at this point is acceptable.

For best results whine, bark, and keep on digging.

Make sure you come back up for air- it's a little stuffy down there!

Repeat as Necessary!

*pictures by Wendy

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vito :o)

Vito just amazes me sometimes. Truly.

I took him to the agility field last night- just for him to get out and play around in between working Wicca. He did awesome.

He was a tugging maniac, and was running and having a good time. His dogwalk was speedy, his jumping great, his discrimination sucked :o), and he was happy and silly. He was so excited to work. I don't know why that shocks me so much- he was the same the last time I took him out too.

Vito is a struggle sometimes. I love him to bits, but we don't have a great working relationship history. Now I don't ever put training stress on him, and it is just about having a good time. We got out once a month on average I would say and he toodles around and does his own thing.

Sometimes he is pokey and distracted, other times it is like he has lightening up his butt (like tonite.) Either way I am pretty happy that he was happy and having fun with me. He is a dog that I don't really expect to play agility with me. When we do play it is not about being accurate, or about him learning something every time. I don't expect him to work hard when we train. I am pleasantly surprised when he does, but I don't go out there thinking that he will. At one time I did, and quickly realised that he had different plans. After some soul searching I decided to just let him be. And we are much happier because of that.

At the same time I see how much fun he does have sometimes, and wonder if I did put in the work what I would have. Would he be a good agility dog if I actually was serious with him? Quite probably. I realise, and admit that I am the issue. Lots of people run and train dogs just like Vito and do well- some really well. I just am not that kind of person anymore. I think I was so traumatized after Kate that any sort of shut down/nervousness freaks me out. I can teach other people how to train those types of dogs, but can't seem to do it myself. (Although Boone started out much worse than Vito, and is now a pretty great agility dog) At this point I am not willing to jeopardize our current relationship.

Despite my hangups, we will continue to train at home and go out once a month or so. If he gets to the point where he is having fun always, and I think that I can mentally handle him then perhaps we'll get more serious. If not though, he is quite happy doing what he does now. :o)

A Year Ago

A Year ago today I posted about having the fever, and starting the search for a breeder. I was taking it slow, not in a rush. And then I saw her. I applied for Pixel shortly after stumbling across her picture on the breeders website. From the second I saw her I knew that she was the dog for me. I don't know how I knew, but I just knew. I am not a big believer in fate, and karma but something about this dog caught me and I couldn't stop thinking about her.

I was looking for a specific type of dog, and found all that and more. Looking back on my old posts made me smile. I thought I'd share with you.

Oct 23/2008 The Fever Continues- What I am looking for in a Puppy

A Girl- Wicca is out numbered and I really do like a girl dog personality more than a boy. CHECK

A dog with an edge- I want the bad puppy, the one that gets into everything, and is trouble from the start (Wicca was that dog as a baby...oh who am I kidding she is that dog now!)

Blue, Black, or Red- I am not a brindle person, and from the photos I have seen it seems that the brindles are bigger...There are always exceptions though and color is on the bottom of my list. Blue is my preference. CHECK

A Small Dog- I really don't want a big boned Cardi- lots, and lots, and lots of those out there, mostly those seem to be the ones that are bred purely for the conformation ring, I want an agile corgi. So a small female is high on my list of priorities. CHECK- SHE IS PERFECT, SMALL, ATHLETIC, AND SMALL!

A Multipurpose dog- although above I said I don't want a big boned dog I would like a dog that I can do anything I want with and if the fancy strikes me to put her in the show ring then so be it. I showed Wicca briefly- no competition and I gave up. It was kind of fun... FAIL- BUT HEY, I AM NOT A CONFORMATION PERSON ANYWAY, AND EXCEPT FOR THE COAT SHE COULD EASILY FINISH.

A dog that is sound- here is the catch 22- I want a dog that is built well. Wicca has a bad top line, and although as of yet it hasn't hurt her performance or athleticism I would like a dog with a nice topline, a good front, and of course one that is a good mover...CHECK. THIS DOG IS BUILT VERY WELL. SHE HAS A GREAT TOPLINE, A NICE REAR, AND IS A GREAT MOVER. SHE CAN TURN ON A DIME AND IS VERY ATHLETIC. (i.e springs for legs)

A dog that will fetch- toy drive is very, very important and I need to have that in a puppy right from the start, it will make training that much better. CHECK, CHECK, AND DOUBLE CHECK. PIXEL WOULD FETCH ALL DAY. SHE LOVES TO PLAY AND TUG AND FETCH.

And most of all I need a good work ethic- I need a puppy who loves to learn, and wants to play. CHECK. SHE IS SO EAGER TO LEARN, AND IS SCARY SMART. SHE IS NOT A HARD DOG LIKE WICCA SO I HAVE BEEN CAREFUL, BUT WOW. THIS DOG WILL DO GREAT THINGS.

That shouldn't be too hard to find....right? APPARENTLY NOT. :o)

Pixel also has the best sense of humour, she is so funny. She is a good blend of confidence and common sense, and she is a great dog dog. She also is friendly towards people (although doesn't stand still long enough for much of a hello!)

It has been a great year, and I love Pixel more and more each day. She is the exact dog I was looking for. I can't believe how lucky I am.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I have been working every day with Pixel at home on the travel plank and already I am seeing a difference.

She was having a hard time on the aframe staying on and keeping drive to the target.

I went back and worked on just targeting on the flat board. And then I started raising the end up.

I have discovered I need to have the target closer for her to rock back on her rear enough to stay on the board. She doesn't have the muscle memory to rely on yet.

Last night I had her do the whole board off the couch and she was able to maintain position and drove to the target.

In a different session I also did some "happiest place" games. This is the best game ever that I got from Terry Simons. It really teaches the dog the value of staying on the board. Because that is part of the issue right now I figured it would help her to understand. I couldn't trick her off the board (out of position) so I am pretty pleased.

Contacts are one of those things that take a long while to get. But in the end it is so worth it. At this point I am pretty certain that I will also teach Pixel a running frame. But I want her to learn a two on two off to start.

So yeah. Progress is a wonderful thing!

Updated: julie asked for more details about the happiest you go!

Happiest Place explanation
The happiest place is just that- teaching the dog that the best place to be is on the end of the contact. You can do this two feet on the board, or four feet depending on your dogs contacts. The first step is to just feed the dog- the WHOLE TIME they are on the board. A Hotdog or Cheese string works best. You can't run out of food. Release before you run out. Once the dog is excited about the position and eagerly chowing down you then start to pull your hand away. If the dog leaves position you close your hand, until they get back in position then you resume feeding. They learn super fast that the food ends when they leave the board. You can do this on all the contacts- the teeter included. Oh, and you just get the dog to hop up on the board- not do the whole thing. You have to be there, ready with the food. It is also important to think about head position while you are doing this- feed low. I have found this works really well for all levels of dogs- it is a good way to proof your position, and a fun game to do with puppies. We do this in all of our intro classes. Hopefully i've explained it well enough!

Monday, October 19, 2009


This is from our walk on Saturday. Photo by Wendy.

My Hero

A few months ago I noticed evidence of Mice (or A mouse) in my house. I put out traps, caught the little sucker (and a bunch of babies) and thought I was done with it. Ha!

I was away last week dogsitting so my house was empty. The mouse (or mice) are still alive and well. It is unfortunate. I am not afraid of mice, but can't stand the thought of them in my house. On my counters, on my stuff. It's gross.

I have had the traps out, and Wicca thinks she can get them. She knows where they (or it) like to hide and would stand and stare for hours if I let her. But I haven't caught any. It's like they learned from last time.

So I did what any mouse hating person would do. I got a cat.

Yes. A cat.

I don't dislike cats, but I am not a cat person. I've actually had a cat, or a few before. After I found a great home for my previous kitty (someone who likes cats, and had the time to spend with said cat) I swore I'd never get another. I just am not home enough for a cat. I felt so bad for my last cat- she was so sociable and would glue herself to my leg screaming the minute I walked in the door. I felt like a total jerk when I found her a new home, but she just wasn't right for my lifestyle.

But these are desperate times. And this time will be different. I am home more often now, and this cat is a pretty perfect fit so far.

The lady at the animal shelter told me he was surrendered because he "beat the crap outta the ladies little dog." Perfect! A cat who will stand up to the dogs. He is friendly, but independent and likes to do his own thing. He is also a mighty hunter and stalks his little toy mouse pretty intently (it's practice for the real thing)

Oh, and he is pretty darn cute. He is a great dark grey color with lots of white. He's got a perfect circle on one shoulder, and a white "X" between his shoulder blades. His face looks slightly lopsided due to the white zigzag on his face. And the grey dot on his chin adds to the overall look. :o)

I didn't go to the shelter looking for anything other than an already altered cat, who had some known history with dogs. This cat was napping when I went in the room, opened his eyes, yawned, had a big stretch and sauntered over to me like he didn't have a care in the world. Once I heard his story I knew he'd be perfect.

So far he is doing pretty good with the dogs. He is very brave and isn't afraid of them. He gave Boone a swat on the first day and now Boone gives him a wide berth. Vito on the other hand hasn't learned yet. Pixel LOVES the kitty, and wants so badly to kiss it. Everytime she walks by she gives him this super funny submissive smile. Wicca ignores him. Mostly things are pretty peaceful.

He doesn't have an official name yet. I suck at names. His original name is Buster. And well, I'm not really a "Buster" kind of girl. My other cats had food names (Ketchup) but this cat needs a hero's name. Something masculine and mighty. I've been thinking of Lance. As in "Sir Lancelot." Geeky Right?

I am totally up for some name suggestions if anyone has any.

So for $10.00! I got an already neutered, adult cat who is a mighty warrior. He is going to help me with my little mouse problem, and teach Vito to respect cats. Oh- and keep my lap warm this winter!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I took just Pixel and Boone out to the field this morning. It was a beautiful day, perfect for agility. We were almost hot!

Anyway, I went with specific goals for the dogs.

Boone- weave entries, rear crosses, and 270's.

His weaves are getting so good. All that two and three pole work has paid off so much. It's quite amazing really. I threw some pretty tough entries at him and he did great.

Rear crosses still need work. I need to drive to the jump, but he also needs to be ahead of me. When he is pokey and not sure I can easily catch up to him...but today we had some pretty good progress. I had a speed circle set up (for Pixel) and used that to get some speed and confidence out of him. It worked pretty well.

He rocked the 270's- I am able to get a little distance and he is understanding to stay out.

Pixel- teeter games, contacts(backchaining), jumping

Teeter Games. she is progressing really well. She is now driving to the top of the board, and surfing with a few "quick" drops. She is not afraid at all, and had learned to control her body up there. Today was the first time she actually rode it all the way down. (after a half way drop)

Contacts. I need to go back to the plank. She is doing really well but I am losing the intensity for the nose touch-target already. So we'll be laying off contacts until I get that back on the plank. The dogwalk is much better than the a-frame though. She drives into position, head down, and does three quick nose touches to the target. The dogwalk is at full height now and we are backchaining from the middle. The A-frame is a different story. We are just backchaining from the middle of the frame and she is not able to stop in position. I have increased the height only very gradually, but she still is struggling. Because of that I have lost the drive for the target (nose touch). So. Back to the plank, and the stairs. Obviously I have missed a step along the way.

Jumping. I set up a speed circle. Four jumps on one side, three on the other with a tunnel at either ends. She needs to start learning to look for jumps, and this was a good start to that. She had lots of fun, especially when she was restrained at the beginning. She did really well and is learning to handle her body with speed, over jumps. I also worked on a staggered line. She figured out how to look for the jump even if it was at an angle.

It was a pretty productive morning!

Beautiful Day

Today the weather was amazing. We've had snow already, and very cold/windy weather. Today was what fall should be- mild temperatures, and a light breeze. I went for a nice walk with Wendy this afternoon. The dogs even played in the river a bit!

Thanks Wendy for the pics!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Seven Groups

On one of the forums I frequent there was a question that I thought would make a good blog post.

(excluding your own breeds)

Group 1- Sporting
Group 2- Hound
Group 3- Working
Group 4- Terriers
Group 5- Toys
Group 6- Non Sporting
Group 7- Herding

There are lots of dog breeds that I like, and some that I would seriously consider owning. It's nice sometimes to dream :o)

My Seven Goups

Group 1- Flatcoated Retriever. I am slightly obsessed with them, it's the most logical choice for me to make. :o) I admire the work ethic, the personality, and the looks of the breed. The high rate of cancer scares me to death though. But they are truly great dogs.

Group 2- Whippets are about the only Group 2 dog I think that I like beyond just their looks. Every Whippet I have met has had a great personality. They are also super athletic and make great agility dogs. I couldn't actually own this breed, but I do enjoy them.

Group 3- I LOVE the look of a Rottweiler. Everything about them impresses me. It is a great breed, one that I would consider if I didn't love agility so much.

Group 4- Jack Russell hands down. One day I will have one. I love the never give up attitude, and fiesty-ness that comes with a terrier. They are great looking dogs, and a nice size.

Group 5- Italian Greyhounds. I dog-sat one once and fell in love. They are unbelievably soft, and warm. Love the looks, but not quite tough enough for me to actually own one.

Group 6- Dalmatian. I have always admired them. Strange eh? I like the look and the spots are cool. (I am a sucker for freckles/spots) and I think I would enjoy the change in temperament- they are goofy and independent. I am always surprised there aren't more playing agility as they are very athletic.

Group 7- This was a hard one. I love lots of the herding breeds. But I'd have to say that my favorite (other than "my" breeds) are Australian Shepherds. I love the wiggle butt, the personality, and the look. The coat is beautiful, and a good looking Aussie is breathtaking.

Anyway, I encourage all of you to post it to your blog and let us know what breeds you like and why. Make sure you leave a comment so we know you've done it!

Fall is Back!

All of our snow has melted! Yay!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I had such a great time training my dogs last night. I don't do Obedience nearly as often as I'd like to. Obedience is my first love, but sadly there are no classes or trainers around this area that I'd go to. (other than the ones I organise) So I either end up teaching classes or just not doing anything obedience wise.

Last night a few friends and I got together and it was so nice. Not to teach. Just to train.

I worked on very specific things with the dogs-

Wicca worked on her fronts, and finishes. Her finishes are getting really sloppy. We also did a few retrieves, some heeling, and a long sit out of sight. (Which I am happy to say she didn't break the second time)

Boone did some heeling, and some sit, down, and stand in heel position. I want to get his Advanced Rally title and he needs work on standing at heel. I only brought him out twice for really short bursts of work- he had fun and that's what I like.

With Pixel I worked on some heeling- her left turns are super now, no more forging. We need to work on our halts though, so last night was a good opportunity for that. I also need to start teaching her what "Front" means. It seems like it's been a long time since I taught it I am not sure where to start. Will have to go back and do some reading.

I also worked Sarah's dog Kaleb. (from digit, fetchit, herdit) It looks like I am going to take him in the ring for his CDX in December. He is a great working dog- very focused and does a great job. He has all the skills, and it was nice to heel with a tall dog! Even if he was a little slobbery. :o)

Poor Vito didn't get to come out. He was pretty happy though to get a yummy bone instead. :o)

It really is too bad that there isn't more interest in Obedience in my area. Lethbridge really sucks that way. I'd love to be able to just go to class once a week. I am hoping to do some more obedience this winter...we'll see though if I have time when Agility starts up again in a few weeks....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pixel 'n Gyp 41/52

Pixel 'n Gyp 41/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

My submission for this weeks photo project at FLICKR.

Sarah and I got together for a photo session yesterday of the two girls. They had lots of fun playing in the leaves, and running around like hooligans.

Pixel wants to be just like Gyp when she grows up....crazy and cross-eyed.... :o)

Week 41 of 52 Weeks for dogs.


this dog makes me laugh every single day

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Winter Training Plans

During the summer/spring/fall months I typically train twice, or three times a week. In the winter we move to a horse arena and are limited to one night a week. This year we are going to rent the arena on a second night once or twice a month. That means that we'll have more training time- which is a good thing!

I like to set Winter goals with my dogs- our training time is limited so I have to make sure that I am working on things that need improving, and not just "going with the flow" of what other people are doing. I always go to training with a plan- but don't always stick to it. My list will help me to remember what I need to work on specific to my own dogs.

Threadles and Serpentines
A-Frame- self explanatory I think :o)
Directionals- with my running a-frame I need to make sure that her directional cues are strong. Go on and Turn.
Handling Drills- decel/accel and rear crosses.
Start Line- she has been getting bad about creeping/changing position

270's and 180's
Threadles and Serpentines- need to go back to basics with him
Weave Drills- entries and exits
Directionals- Turn.
Contacts- are really strong, but I need to increase distance, and discrimination.

will probably only come out to the arena once or twice. Mostly we'll be working at POTR and home.
Weave Poles are his goal this winter

is in a class starting the beginning of November that will continue to teach handling/jumping and weaving.
I will be bringing her to the arena once a month to work on contacts, and some light sequencing.

Fun Fun!

Girls just wanna have fun

playing in the snow.

Pixel LOVES the snow and had a great time in the coulees yesterday rolling in and biting at the snow. It was pretty cute.

Wicca likes snow too- but for different reasons. She likes to burrow her nose under the snow looking for critters...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apple Acrobatics

My dogs LOVE apples. We have a giant apple tree in our yard, and I go out every other day or so to pick up the fallen ones so the dogs don't overdo it.

I am dogsitting at Wendy's right now and she has an itty bitty apple tree in her yard. And it was LOADED with apples. I say Was, because the dogs have picked it clean as far as they can reach. And boy, did they ever reach.

Pixel has it down to a science now- she bites the branch and pulls it low enough to grab one...Boone is resourceful and uses the fence, or his shorter siblings to stand on. Not even kidding. They are determined when there is food to be had! These pics were taken through the window, sorry for the bad quality, but I had to share...


This means that I have to stand outside in the freezing cold with them to make sure they don't wreck the tree, and hurt their tummies. Today I even had to go out and guard the tree itself...even with all the low apples gone they continue to try.

Coulee was the only good dog.

Not A Puppy

One of my minor annoyances in life is when people call their dogs "Puppies" and they're not. In my mind a Puppy is a dog 6 months or under. After that they're adults. Or at least just called dogs. Pixel is 15 months old- a dog. Not a puppy. I don't think she got the memo.

This morning while I was attempting to sleep in she ate a pen. Not just a plain old BIC either- a fancy pen, the kind you can see the ink in. Her leg is a pretty blue now, as is a spot under chin and above her nose. I haven't been able to look in her mouth yet to see the damage. I imagine it too is a pretty shade of blue. She was very considerate though and made sure not to spill any on the carpet. Instead she used a cushion to protect the floor.


She's not a puppy anymore so maybe she needs a new excuse?

I say the devil made her do it.

Sorry Wendy. Hopefully you are not too attached to the cushion.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Snow Pixel

I took advantage of my day off today and got a nice walk in with Sarah and her dogs. We don't often walk together anymore so it was nice for Pixel to get to, chase some new dogs. She had LOTS of fun trying to keep up with the big dogs, and Sarah got these two amazing photos of her....

Thanks Sarah!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

No Hurry

Pixel is going to be a great agility dog when she grows up. She is 15 months old and will be old enough to trial in three months. Will she be trialing in three months? No.

At 18 months old dogs are allowed to compete in AAC Agility. Does that mean they should? Not neccesarily. If the dog is ready mentally and physically than sure, why not. But if the dog is not trained enough, or mentally is not able to handle it then no. Why the rush? It is my biggest pet peeve in agility to see these barely 18 month old dogs running around a course doing whatever they want, jumping off contacts, running out of the ring, not listening, and the owner thinking it was a "good experience" for the dog.

Pixel is mature enough to be ready at 18 months but frankly I haven't put the serious training in until recently. I just finished her first set of classes with contact equipment last week. That is eight weeks of contacts, jumping, and general obstacle learning. Before that we did lots of foundation work on the flat. So she had no problems at all with anything we did in the intro class. The next step is more handling, and of course more equipment work.

I still have to learn how to handle her- each dog is different and because I have taught her differently (i.e better) than the other dogs my handling has to change aswell. We have done short little sequences and she is doing very well. She is a natural jumper and is very springy. So far running her reminds me a lot of how I ran Sam. He too was a very upright dog. Pixel has lots of speed which is nice. She is very responsive to my body and I will have to be careful that I am not creating bad habits already.

She has LOTS of learning to do still. She doesn't have a full understanding of contacts. She is just learning weave poles. She is almost ready to do a full teeter (we've been playing teeter games up until this point) and she is just doing small sequences. I am aiming for March for a few events, and May for her first standard runs. I am not in a hurry with her though, so if she is not ready she won't be entered.

I see too many young dogs entered way before they are ready. By "ready" I mean that the dog is able to do all of the equipment, understands basic handling, and is mentally prepared for the stress of a trial atmosphere. It always makes me wonder why someone would enter their dog knowing that the dog isn't going to be able to do it. It is one thing to enter a dog to see where they are at- but if you know that your dog can't do the dogwalk in practice, what makes you think your dog is going to do it a trial. Trials are a place to test your training- not to train.

It is painful to watch those starters teams sometimes- the handler spending a full minute at the first jump trying to get her dog over. The dog that races around frantically taking whatever is in front of it. The list could go on, and really what do they think the benefit is of continuing to trial a dog who isn't ready?

I certainly don't want my young dog to learn bad habits, and learn that at a trial the rules are different than in training. I also want to make sure my dog is 100% sure of what her job is before I put her in a stressful situation and ask her to perform. I think the only exception for my own rule of not entering the dog until it knows all the equipment would be the weave poles. It is easy to enter classes without them until the dog learns them. I would not enter a class with weaves and just run by them however. I made that mistake with Wicca, and for a while she saw nothing wrong with running past the poles.

Each of us has to make our own choices for us and our dogs, and I do understand that everyone has different opinions. My own stance is that I'd rather take it slow and train, train, train and know that my dog can go into a ring and win her class than go in wondering if she'll magically have learned how to do the dogwalk since the last class. I am all about being prepared, and making sure that while my dog is having a positive experience in the ring she is also doing what I've taught her.

So Pixel maybe heading to her first trial in March, or she might not be. It will all depend on how she's doing, and how we are doing as a team. I'm in no hurry.

Gyp is a good example of a dog who started trialing only when she was ready. She earned her ATCH in a year! (she is a great dog, with a great trainer which also helps...) But still. Her first trial she didn't mis-step at all, and with time and more trials she keeps getting faster and faster. She is most definately a dog who knew her job before she went to trial.

Standing Tall

Vito is a complicated little dude. He is all mushy and cute with people he loves, but is stand-offish with strangers. He is silly and playful with certain dog friends and is a bully to others. He is mostly a lazy dog who likes to lay around, but will get the frantic zoomies at least once a day. He can outrun all of my other dogs when he feels the need. He is my favorite dog to snuggle with, and is the dog most likely to be at my feet. For all his weirdness he is a good boy, but mostly he gets through life based on his good looks. :o)

Thanks Wendy for the great photo.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Feeling Fall

Pixel is still pretty naked, so she looks kind of giraffe-like.
Leggy with a long neck. :o)
She is still beautiful though...


This past weekend one of our students-Sunar, attended her second trial and met up with her litter brother! I have seen Henry a fair amount in the last few years at trials, so it was nice to be able to introduce his owner to Sunar and her mom. The two are very similar in looks and in personality. Wicca comes from the same breeder and actually has the same sire as these two.


Henry and Sunar

Monday, October 05, 2009

Corgicature :o)

Shep from Cardigan Complex did two amazing cartoon caricatures of her own dogs last week. I loved them so much I had to ask her to do one of Pixel. I mean, this dog is begging to be a cartoon. She is finished already and I am blown away- Shep did a great job with her and totally caught her personality. How awesome is this!

Thanks Shep!

One Day CAA Trial

What a great day we had!

Boone and I ran an Advanced standard that I didn't walk and still we managed to do pretty good. We had one off course when I Front crossed, instead of rear crossed later on. Had I walked the course we would have done it a little differently....But I was very impressed with him regardless. His weaves were stellar (off side 12) and he had no hesitation on his contacts.

His Advanced Jumpers was great- I didn't get lost (Yay for me!) and we Q'd with a time of 35.62. We had one bobble where I was late with a FC but beyond that we were perfect. This Q means we move up to Masters Jumpers!!!

His first time in Masters Gamble and he totally nailed it. We had a great opening path and earned 64 points total. He had no problem with the gamble even though it required him to complete the dogwalk with out me, a tunnel discrimination, a far out jump, and one more jump for good measure. He is such a good boy! Sarah at Dig it Fetch it Herd it has a course map posted of the final gamble.

Wicca also had a great day- she too had no problem with the Master Gamble, and we racked up 88 points. We were able to do the mini gamble even though I hadn't planned on it :o) which earned us an extra 16 points. What a good girl! This is her 10th Masters Gamble Q- earning her a Masters Gamble Title of some sort. :o)

She had a beautiful standard run also- almost earned a refusal due to a late rear cross, and then knocking the last bar almost after the fact....they called her for a Q later on, and I went and talked to the judge (who said he didn't remember) and the scribe who also didn't she earned a Q...but not really...

Our jumpers run was pretty good. Actually it was very good. The course was hard with lots of twists and turns. I think Sarah did like fifteen billion front crosses when she ran it with Gyp. :o) I didn't get lost so I am very proud of that. We did have a bar- the first one so totally her fault. And I forgot how I was going to handle a particular part so had to fix it on the fly....I reared where I should have fronted- but it worked and we had no off courses, and no other bars...I am very proud of that run.

The Challenge class was just that- a Challenge...this one was much more difficult than the Medicine Hat one. I ran the first part beautifully. and then we kind of fell wasn't pretty and missed a few threadles...but the beginning was great! (and LOTS of dog couldn't even do that!)

Pixel tagged along and we did some heeling, some lead outs, used the warm up jumps to play around on and went for a walk in the wet and snow. Yes, Snow. It snowed on the way there in the morning, and it snowed a bit on the way home. Nothing much to stick on the ground because it was so wet- but snow is snow. But it was a great day- the Go Dog Go people all rocked, and the trial was well run and organised. Can't ask for much better than that (well, except for the snow part!)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Obedience Match

I took the girls to a fun match today and we had a great time.

I had thought of putting Pixel in rally novice- but the course that was set was advanced (and pretty hard!) and I thought it was too difficult for her. So.....I put her in Novice Obedience! And she did great- her heeling is so pretty. Her little trot is super cute. We skipped the stand for exam (I haven't trained it) and she doesn't know what "front" means. Here she is demonstrating what she thinks should happen after a recall!
But her heeling was SO good. I was very impressed with her.

Pixel has lots of growing (mentally) and more training to do before the real thing but it was a good experience with her- lots of yummy cookies, pats, in a new and distracting environment.

Wicca was a star. We won High in Match (a cute fuzzy sheep) and she was so good. She did two Rally Courses, and scored 100/100 on the Advanced one. We had a few little blips on the Excellent one (i have never taught her to heel backwards so we had to improvise and it wasn't pretty!) But what really made the day- was Open. I have not trained this dog in Open Obedience for a while. Like 6 months. And she rocked it. Her heeling was great- her drop was fast, and she was having Fun. Yay for Wicca! Maybe we'll have time this winter for some obedience....

After Obedience there was conformation- and because I was sticking around with my friend Jolene I thought I might aswell enter Pixel (in all her naked glory) She showed very well and had no problem stacking, gaiting, and showing herself off. We placed first in the Yearling Female class (the other dog was older, and the other one related to the judge. :o) ) But still. Pixel showed off very nicely. She was happy with all her cookies, and it was yet another great experience for her!

It was a good day! Thanks Jo for taking the photos!