Saturday, February 27, 2010

Little Boys

Little Boys, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

This is my 14 month old Nephew, Nolan. He had a great time playing in the mud puddles on our walk today.

He would go WAY out of our way in search of mud...our walk around the block took nearly half an hour with all the puddle detours. :o)

He's not really a baby anymore, and has really become a little boy. He is seriously cute, and already very naughty....

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Kinda feeling blah these days. Worried about Wicca's health, worried about real life (i.e money, and all that entails), bored with Obedience, and not really feeling Agility all that much either...

I think in part it's the weather. I hate this time of year- one day cold, snowy, and grey. The next day Sunny, Windy, and MUD. And the other part is I'm just a moody kind of girl...

Hopefully I'll start feeling better soon!

Woe is Me 8/52

Woe is Me 8/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

my 52 Weeks photo this week.

Boone is not REALLY a sad dog, but sure plays the part well for a cookie :o)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vito and Pixels Night Out

Wicca and Boone are on a break from agility for a few weeks so last night I took Pixel and Vito to the arena for agility training.

Vito had SO much fun. He showed off all his little tricks, and got lots of hot dogs, and got to work for a goodie container. That is all fun according to Vito. We worked on getting excited at the startline, and running fast. :) It was a perfect night to bring him as one of the stations was a speed circle. He had lots of fun with that and was running full out. He's pretty much the cutest thing.

Pixel had a good night too. Her frame is coming along very nicely and I am getting much more speed out of her. Last night we built up to doing the whole frame and she was great. I am still using the MM mostly, but next time will vary the reward more. We worked on lead outs, and starts. I haven't been doing many start lines with her as I found that she is slower if I lead out- but it is a skill that she is going to need so we did that a bit last night. She is still not super confident jumping 10". I only ended up doing a small amount on the speed circle as she just didn't seem that into it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dakota and Friends


Dakota is doing awesome. She went on her first official off leash group walk the other day and was perfect.

Sarah took all of these photos. Thanks Sarah!

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's all downhill from here...


Sarah and I took the tri color girls to see a specialist today. You can read about Gyp's appointment on her blog.

Dr.Devall, at Western Veterinary Specialist Center, is a Holistic vet that deals specifically with Sport Rehab, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, aswell as Chinese Herbal Medicine.

I made the appointment in hopes that she could give me an official diagnosis and treatment plan for Wicca's long term health. It was a fabulous appointment and I got a lot of information.

First off Wicca's diagnosis- her right bicep is very sore. Probably an old injury that she keeps re-injuring. This explains her weave issues. She also had two "ouchie" spots on her lower back. Her neck was great though- which is good news!


After the Chiropractic adjustment you could actually feel the heat in her back. The heat is essentially caused by the release of tension.

She had acupuncture done for the first time and didn't mind at all. She had a total of 8 needles- mostly on her back.

Therapeutic Laser on her bicep and on her spine. It helps to release the tension and reduces inflammation in the tissue under the skin.

Wicca tends to stand like a mountain goat- with her back feet pulled up under her and her front tucked in. This can be caused by long nails- the longer nails (even if they are just barely ticking on the floor) make the dog walk differently, which can affect them long term. I knew short nails were important, but will make more of an effort to keep them super short...Wicca's are too long even though I cut them religously. I will be pulling out the dremel more often to get them shorter.

We talked about diet. I recently switched the dogs from Acana to Innova. She likes Acana more than Innova because of the grain. I guess I will be switching back! The dogs did well on Acana, I just wanted a change for them! She actually prefers raw, but Acana is grain free so it is one of her favorite kibbles.

Weight. Wicca is fat. Geesh. And I just blogged about that didn't I?! I need to take a few pounds off of her- Dr.Devall likes her sports dogs thin, thin, thin. I normally keep my dogs thin but Wicca somehow has managed to pack on a few extra pounds.

Supplements. Wicca is on Recovery right now, which is a good supplement. But Cosequin is better. I'll be calling my clinic tomorrow to see if they can get it for me. Also Dr.Devall said that the green lipped mussels which are popular in supplements right now aren't as good as Chondroitin. Interesting I thought. She also really likes Elk Velvet Antler as a joint supplement.

She also suggested I put Wicca on Arnica for two weeks straight. Twice a day. I usually give Arnica starting a week before a trial, and a week after.

Exercises and Strengthening.

Dr.Devall is a big fan of "the ball" and suggests that all agility dogs should be doing ball work. I used to do this a lot with the dogs but lately haven't been. I guess it's time to bring the ball back out! It is the best way to strengthen those core muscles that are so important.

Downhill- Wicca needs to do lots of downhill walking. This will help with her sore Bicep. I should limit the uphill with her though.

Keep doing the warm ups and stretching, and cool downs that I have been doing. Backing Up is a super exercise, as is teaching the dog to stretch on cue (like a bow).

It was a very full hour long appointment! I hope I remembered everything and can't guarantee the accuracy of anything I just wrote! lol I am sure there is something I've forgotten. It will come to me as soon as I publish the post no doubt!

I am going back for a follow up appointment in two weeks, and then hopefully can go every three months to maintain what we've done. I am glad to have an official diagnosis, and was very impressed with the clinic, and Dr.Devall. She was very knowledgable and was very good with the dogs.

It is a good feeling to know that I am doing the right things with my dog. :o)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Two Steppin' 6/52

Two Steppin' 6/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

One of Boone's favorite tricks is to back up. He is a very high stepping dog to begin with and when he backs up he often looks a little ridiculous. I caught this totally by accident and love the look he's giving me...

Uploaded by manymuddypaws on 14 Feb 10, 8.06PM MST.

I'm behind and forgot to post this on the blog last week! This weeks photo is still in the works...

Dakota Update

Dakota has settled in and is doing very, very well.

In a week she has learned:

how to sit at the door
how to go to her crate on cue
how to go to her crate for breakfast
how to take cookies from people
how to get "off" the furniture on cue
how to play nicely with other dogs when toys are involved
how to trade cookies for a ball (this was a hard thing to learn)
how to cuddle on the bed (she LOVES this)
how to stand at the door to get her feet wiped
no mugging
nose touches
perch work

We are still working on socialising, socialising, socialising. She is now to the point where she will approach a stranger and sit for a treat. She is still nervous at first and won't allow petting, but the barking has stopped and her tail wags now.

I took her to the agility arena this week and one of my students spent quite a bit of time with her- tugging, and playing. Dakota warmed up really fast and was letting Jo touch her at the end of the 10 minutes. I was quite impressed.

Sarah took this video of her playing after class.


This weekend I will get video of her meeting a new person, and showing off some of her new tricks.

She is an incredible dog and really will be a great working dog for someone!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


So I got Pixels paperwork back from the CKC- denied.

Geez. I am so annoyed.

Apparently they don't allow dogs with limited registration. Why? I don't know really, and no one can really give me a reason. I have looked all over the CKC website and have found no information about it.

So, now I have to fill out AKC paperwork to reverse the Limited registration, send it to Pixel's breeder to sign, pay some more $, and then wait for AKC to send me a new registration. And then I can send that it in to CKC. Send in more $, and hopefully get a CKC number.

What a pain in the ass.

I guess I am not entering her in Rally in March.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Calgary Agility Trial- video posted!

This weekend I entered Wicca in five things only- no standards, or challenge class. I am really going to limit her agility this year, and at this point standards aren't that important. I was a little sad to not run her in the standards, but I could tell by the end of the weekend that it was a good choice- she isn't stiff or sore at all.

She ran awesome this weekend. We were very much a team and I am just so proud of us.

Her gamble on Saturday was wicked. The gamble itself wasn't all that difficult- but lots of dogs didn't get it, and only a few did the mini gamble twice. Wicca got 108 points, and another gamble Q.

She knocked the first bar in Snooker- which required me to do some fast thinking on my feet. She totally messed up my plan and our time ran out before we could finish. I was certain we didn't have enough points for the Q, imagine my surprise when her name was called out for the Q!! She had 40 points exactly. Which is exactly how many you need. This earned us our Snooker title! I never thought I'd see the day...

Her last run on Saturday was jumpers, and it wasn't an easy one! We had two bars- both of which were my fault. It was a serpentine to a push thru and I was just a fraction of a second too late. She slammed both bars. Otherwise it was very nice, and very fast.

Sunday started out great with an awesome Steeplechase run. She took down one bar, but was fast enough to make up the time for the Q. She was one of the fastest dogs overall. The course actually required handling- which was nice for a change and was lots of fun.

Another snooker round- this one a little harder than the one on Saturday. She thought she'd out do her Saturday snooker and knocked TWO red bars...geez. I really had to work at getting her around that course. But we did it and made it to seven before the buzzer. And we Qualified. No kidding. I was super excited when I found out. This time with 41 points... lol

Here is the video of the sunday snooker run. Thanks Kim!

Talk about thinking on your feet!
I used to be so scared of snooker, I hated it with a passion. I still don't love it. But am comfortable with the game, and with my dog. And it is noticeable.

And that was it for her. Seriously it was an awesome weekend with her. Her Q rate is never that high, so I am pretty thrilled.

Boone didn't have such a stellar weekend, in fact it was probably the worst ever for him. Saturday he was completely stressed out and wouldn't connect with me at all. In warm up he was perfect- tail wagging, having fun- and then I'd put him on the start line and it was all over. Sunday was a bit better and his steeplechase wasn't awful..but still it's not the same dog I had in class last week.

I need to figure out what is causing his stress- I have a few theories. Contacts- he had a bit of a melt down last week about the frame, possibly he is still worried about making a mistake. Weavepoled- again this weekend he was skipping out. The bases weren't the problem as he sometimes popped out at the third pole. His weaves were PERFECT in class last week...Or maybe it is physical? He is kind of a wussy dog so you'd think I'd notice if he was sore, but I haven't. I will keep a close eye on him though and make sure there is no limping, hitching, or stiffness...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

To: Simon

To: Simon, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

My heart belongs to you

Hope you get here soon.

Love: Pixel


To: Pixel

I hope Shep doesn't mind that I am blogging her photo, but how could I not?!!!!

I was away for the weekend at an agility trial (more on that tomorrow) and came back to find this on the flickr 52 Weeks photo group...

to say Pixel is flattered is an understatement. :o)

hope everyone had a great valentines day!


52 Weeks For Dogs: 6/52 "Long Distance Relationships..."

Simon loves Pixel, yes he does. ;)

(Pixel of course, being manymuddypaws's beautiful blue merle Cardigan.)

Now, I've got to admit, he's got great taste. I've loved Pixel too from the day I saw her photo. Simon of course, being a rather romantic soul was instantly smitten...

(Of course, it's hard when the girl you adore is in a different country, haha. But that's okay -- he's got his licence, his Visa card (wait a second, that's MY Visa card, you!) and a comfortable box to travel in. )

Love knows no bounds, even when you have short little legs!

Simon says, "Happy Valentines Day! Neither snow nor sleet nor pouring rain will delay me. Of course, uh, I didn't realize that they won't take me without the proper postage. Sigh. Back to square one."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Introducing Dakota.

I used to be very active with a local rescue. I did adoptions mostly, but also was a foster home. I used to always have an extra dog or two kicking around. A year or so ago I quit for personal reasons. This week I offered to foster a dog. Crazy eh?

But...Dakota needed somewhere to go, and how could I resist a face like this?

She is a 1 year old Border Collie/Whippet cross. At first glance all you see is Border Collie. Even in the photos it is hard to see the Whippet. And then you see her in real life and you're like "Oh...there it is." She is very roached, and has the longest legs possible and a tiny little body. Seriously she is about 4inches wide, and isn't that skinny...

She has been in two homes and was surrendered when she kept escaping out her yard...

At this point Dakota is very shy. She will growl if cornered or rushed into a greeting. She is uncomfortable in large groups of people. But this will change. Her temperament is solid- it's her socialising that is lacking. Already in one meet and greet session she was relaxed and taking cookies from people. I am confident that with a little work and patience she will come around in no time.

She is very stereo-typical border collie in the way that she obsesses about stuff. If the ball rolls under the couch the couch gets moved. If she wants a toy that is on a shelf she lets you know. Once she is focused on something she doesn't know how to move on to the next thing.

Dakota is very good in the house and has good manners. She doesn't get in the garbage, on counters, or on the furniture. She is housetrained but has had a few accidents. Mostly she will self entertain if she has a toy to destroy.

Once she gets to know you she is affectionate and friendly. It does take a bit of work to make friends- but once you're her friend she won't forget you. She likes to be in the same room as you and loves to lay at your feet.

She is quite good with other dogs and is very playful. She is a bit on the dominant side and will try to push the other dogs around. She can also be toy/food possesive with other dogs. My dogs are teaching her how to play nicely and how to share. :o)

There is no shortage of motivation- she loves all toys, and all food. She is very smart and has already caught on to the clicker and shaping. (I've had her for one day!) Toys have the most value to her and she doesn't always bring the ball back during a game of fetch but we are working on it. She will be an easy dog to train because she REALLY wants to make you happy and earn her reward.

I think that Dakota would make a great pet, and a fabulous performance dog. She has the brains, and the build to be a great agility dog, and the drive to be a flyball dog. Dakota could be an amazing dog with the right owner.

She is available for adoption through Prairie Dog Canine Rescue but all applications will be screened by me. And just a warning, I am picky and will want the best possible home for her. The first application may not be the best....If you are interested in knowing more about her, or would like to apply please email me at Make sure to put Dakota in the subject line.

Here are some more photos for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

training pixel (and boone)

I took Pixel to training last night and didn't get greedy! Yay for me.

We did two sets of ten reps of half way up the frame. Two times she went into a 2on2off- I think it was my position that cued her to do that so we started again and I made sure to to try that position again. She was really driving off the frame last night so I think next time I will build up to the top of the frame.

She also did the full teeter a few times- out of a tunnel. She is very confident on it and runs to the end to wait for her cookie. All the surfing and bang it games totally paid off and she has no issue with the movement or the noise.

Boone also got to come and we worked on his teeter, weaves, and some handling. He was smokin' last night and had great weaves. I only did a small amount with him because of his busy weekend, and we have a trial this coming weekend too. I mostly wanted to get him on the frame because he had some weirdness at the seminar. Last night it was no problem though- so that's a relief!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

No Fat Dogs

One of my major pet peeves are fat dogs.

I work with dogs all day, and teach dogs most evenings. Lots of fat dogs. Seriously. If your lab looks like a coffee table on legs then perhaps a diet is in order?

All dogs should have a nice tuck, and a noticeable waist line. In most dogs you should be able to see the last rib. If you have to seach through a layer of fat to feel the rib then I'd say your dog is fat.

There are three easy steps to help your dog to lose weight

1) Measure. seriously. it's that simple.
2) Feed a good quality food.
3) Exercise your dog. One 10 minute leash walk a day is not going to cut it.

If your dog is seriously overweight you can do a few extra things to help them along.

Green Beans and Pumpkin are great fillers. If your dog is on a small amount of food and thinks he is starving the filler will make him feel full without making him fat.

Take into account your treats. If you are giving your dog three milkbones every day on top of training treats you may have to cut back, use smaller treats, or even use kibble if your dog will work for it.

Split your meals. I forget where I read this first, but by splitting the meals into smaller portions it can help the dog to metabolize the food better, and help with weight loss.

With my breed I have noticed that it is very easy for them to get fat- a few days of too many extras, or not measuring kibble and all of a sudden Wicca starts looking like a torpedo. :o) I have recently had to cut everyone back after switching to a food with a tad bit higher fat/protein....

Wicca gets 1/2 cup a day.
Pixel gets 3/4 cup a day
Vito gets 1 cup a day
Boone gets 3/4 cup a day.

These aren't yorkies folks. They are dogs that range in the 25-30 pound mark...

Why does it matter if your dog is fat?

Joint health- if you have a large breed dog that can be prone to displasia, or a small breed dog that is prone to patella (knee) problems carrying around the extra weight on potentially compromised joints doesn't make much sense. it could make that issue much, much worse.

Heart health- same as in people an overweight dog is more likely to have heart problems later on.

Longevity- do you want your dog to have a long, healthy life and live well into their teens? By keeping them healthy (including weight) you can increase the chance of that.

Appearance!! As humans we like to look at things that are pretty or handsome...a fat dog is just not attractive. Especially a fat dog with no hair to hide the offending fat rolls...

And of course if you participate in agility, or any other dog sport then it is a given. You don't often see fat dogs doing agility anymore as people seem to be more health conscious. There are the odd ones out there though and I always cringe when I see them struggle up the frame, or land with an "oomph" over a jump...

If you aren't sure if your dog is fat or could lose a few pounds ask someone! Most people are going to be honest with you. I'd tell you for sure...or you could take an honest look at your dog yourself....

Monday, February 08, 2010

Great Weekend

The seminar was fabulous. I intended on writing a blog post each night but I was too tired. In fact, I am still too tired. But if I don't write it down I will forget.

As always Terry was full of great ideas, challenging sequencing, and fine tuning tips for handling. His sense of humor and simple approach to better handling was very refreshing. Everyone got a lot of feedback and I am sure that people will have stuff to keep working on for a while!

The overall theme seemed to be serpentines, one could be found in just about every sequence we ran. Also 270's, threadles, and lead outs were discussed.

Pixel was in the friday morning session. She did pretty well although was a little unsure at first. I am finding that I need to rev her up a lot on the startline and lead out as little as possible. Also, I need to go deep into tunnels and pick her up out of them to get more speed. She worked very hard though and I was impressed with how well she did.

Boone worked in the friday afternoon session and did very well. He was super excited to be there and was focused almost the whole 4 hour session. We worked on 270's, and although Boone is very reliable with the pattern we still got a few pointers.

Wicca worked all saturday morning and did awesome. I was able to handle her pretty well on some challenging exercises. I need to work on moving through a serpentine and trusting that she'll take the jump even if I am leaving.

Boone worked in the afternoon and did a great job with some tough stuff. He listened so well and didn't do anything flaky at all. It was pretty amazing actually.

Sunday I alternated Boone and Wicca in the morning. Boone was fairly strange by then and had a hard time focusing. We worked on finding tight lines and handling efficiently. The less yardage the better. Terry gave me some good suggestions for Boone's drifting and disconnect on course- talk to him on turns, go back and work on rewarding close on turns, and use his tricks more to reconnect before a run.

Sunday afternoon I worked mostly Pixel and she did great! No hesitation this time and she really was able to get some good speed. I was very impressed with her. We worked on front and rear crosses- and of course some serpentines.

All of our students did great and I think that everyone came away with more than little to work on. Terry did a great job of really figuring out each handler/dog team. It was a very fun, but long weekend!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

frozen in time 5/52

frozen in time 5/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

This week the Flickr group had a challenge. "Places where dogs shouldn't be." In the end I chose not to do the challenge. All the posed photos I got of him didn't turn out very well- he either looked beaten or you couldn't really tell where exactly he was. In the end I chose this photo because I love the classic, old fashioned feeling...


Boone was not a very good model this week and although we tried we couldn't get much for the challenge this week.

I got this photo in the middle of the week on an off leash walk and just kept coming back to it. not sure exactly why I love it so much. the walk itself was very cold, but the dogs had a great time exploring and sniffing.

i love the "old fashioned" feel of the photo and am pretty happy with how it turned out.

oh, and although not a very good example for the challenge, it does technically fall into the category as he is off leash in a non off leash area. :o)

Uploaded by manymuddypaws on 4 Feb 10, 8.27AM MST.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Seminar Weekend

I have a seminar this weekend(actually starts tomorrow) that I am super excited about.

Terry Simons is from California and runs Duck Tollers, and Border Collies. He is a fantastic seminar presenter and I have nothing but good things to say about him. We bring him to cold, snowy canada once a year and make fun of his sandals and t-shirts in the winter... :o)

I've gone to three or four (maybe more, I can't remember) seminars of his and have been happy with all of them. He is a very down to earth kind of person and doesn't get stuck up on systems and rules. Instead he focuses on consistency and getting the best/most out of the dog. He also has a great sense of humour and is seriously funny.

I always come away having learned something useful, and feeling pretty good about my dogs and or my handling. Not only does he challenge you, but he pushes you to do the best you can, and will help you figure out how to get the most from your dog. The motivational aspect of his teaching is the best thing about his "method" frankly.

I have Pixel registered for a novice session, Boone in two handling sessions, and Wicca in a full day and a half handling/course analysis type session. Terry makes us work hard so I am sure to be beyond exhaustion by the end of the weekend!

I will be blogging each night so I don't forget stay tuned for updates.

and just so this post is not completely boring to the non agility people...

Here's an old photo of Wicca- she was probably about Pixel's age in this photo...maybe a bit younger....

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Frosty Walk

It's still winter....only 6 more weeks of it though (says the Groundhog...)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Running A-Frame- Week 1

Tonite was the first time Pixel did the A-Frame with the wicket.

I started with her just a foot high on the frame and the MM about 10 feet out. She understands to run through the wicket and had no hesitation at this stage. I did three reps of this.

Moved her farther up the frame, and moved the MM farther away. Still lots of acceleration. I was very happy with her speed and drive through the hoop. This is where I should have stopped.

Instead I got greedy and moved her to the top of the frame, and then I did the whole thing...of course I did this over lots of short sessions..but still. I need to not progress so fast. What ended up happening is acceleration through the bottom of the frame and the wicket. Not so much from the top. I even got a head check...

So- next week when I take her again I am going to ONLY get the the stage where she is half way up the frame. Period. No greediness.

She did look pretty darn great though and was very sure of herself, but I need to remember that she is a thinker. I assumed that she would run from the top for the promise of reward. Pixel is not like that, I know that about her. She doesn't lump behaviors together, and she didn't think to run fast down the frame until she got to the part she knew (the wicket.)

The good thing of all this is that I recognized it right away and will now move at an appropriate pace for her.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Rally Funmatch Video

Here is the video from last weekends Rally Funmatch.

Wicca is first on an Advanced course, and Pixel follows with a Novice course. This is the run that I stepped on her foot on a left turn and then had to have a bit of a play to get her back to normal...

I love how happy they both look...wagging tails make me happy.

oh, thanks to sarah for the video :o)