Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Brit, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Just a pretty portrait of a pretty dog. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Pixel had an ear trim the other day.
The fringes were outta control. :)
 I think the trimmed ears make her look more serious, and a little less crazy.
 It always takes me a few days to get used to the new look though.

and speaking of ears. Brit has uber crazy ears that never do the same thing twice....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Scenthurdle and Bath Day

Today was our last scenthurdle practice before our first official race next weekend. All the dogs are doing pretty great and I am feeling pretty great about our team. I took a few photos today with their fancy racing vests one. :)

Pixel is so cute in her little vest. I think she is the cutest. :)

After scenthurdle both Boone and Pixel were groomed. They both hate it so it wasn't very fun for me or for them. But it had to be done. Pixel was beginning to look like a Papillon with those ear fringes! She looks all pretty and trimmed now- I even did her feet. :)
Boone just had a bath and blow dry- no trim. I couldn't resist taking a photo of the torture. These were taken with my iphone so excuse the crappy quality. He is so miserable the whole time, but the drying is the worst. He hates the sound, and doesn't like the feel of the blowing anywhere near his head. It makes trying to dry him ridiculously hard.  But he survived, and he looks super puffy right now. I probably should have trimmed him a bit, but in a few days it will start to curl up a bit and he won't look so funny. :) No after pics of Pixel. I was in a hurry...

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Stalker 12/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Brit has a nickname already. Stalker. She is pretty creepy about it too. She likes to stare at things. Like all the time. The dogs, the cats, me. Seriously- I can feel her staring at me as I type this. lol

I have been managing her motion sensitive stuff pretty well though and already I am seeing a difference in her behavior.

Here is what we are doing.

For the dogs- she is not allowed out in the yard with them until they are settled. (they run out all excitedly and that makes her obsessive).

For the cats- she is learning what leave it means. I use a spray bottle. Also the cats have been spending lots of time outside because of the nice weather so that is helpful too. She will call away from them though- with just her name, but the draw is still there.

She and Wicca are really good friends- it is very strange. They play quite a bit. Brit is already very attached to me and is always at my feet or on my lap. She has wicked recalls, and is just a very fun dog to have around. I am having a blast training with her.

She is learning things at an amazing rate. I am trying really hard to be as clear as I can for her as I know that once is a habit with a border collie. I've started a training log for her, and every day we work on stuff. We've started circle work- and she is starting to understand to run beside me, and not bounce off of me....

For my own use here is a list of things she knows, and things she is learning

Solid (nearly 100%)
Sit- she sits for her food, to have her halti/leash on, to come out of the crate, and will sit during play
Down- she has a very fast down (it was the very first thing I taught her), and it is her default behavior.
Touch- nose touch my hand, any position, and working on repetition now
Stay- in both sit/down position. We are proofing this now with motion and toys...
Okay!- release word
Tug- i had to work at this one! she had zero interest in tugging/toys when I got her
Come- she has a wicked recall and is very fast. she has no brakes hurts.
Her Name- instant check in, eye contact

Learning Stage
Leave It
Shaping to run around a pylon/jump standard
Get In (heel position)
Off! (she has horrible manners. lol)
Impulse Control Games- no mugging, crate games, etc.

She has loads of things to learn still but I think we've made decent progress in just two weeks.

A Great Day

Wendy, Jolene and I made a quick trip to Calgary to check out the Pet Expo today. We had a good time- there was quite a bit of shopping and things to look at, we watched some of the demos, and just wandered around for a few hours taking in the sights. I bought a few books, and a T-Shirt in support of the Pets aren't Products/Actions Speak Louder campaign that is going on in Calgary right now. They are actually trying to ban the sales of Puppies in petstores- which is awesome! I am excited to wear my shirt! I also bought a toy, and a wonder walker (which is like a halti/leash in one) for Brit. I restrained myself and didn't buy any collars though!

Once I got home I took the dogs out for a walk/run. The sun is shining, the birds are out in full force and it is a wet, muddy mess out there- but the snow is almost gone! The dogs are drying in their kennels right now...

Brit continues to be awesome. She is playing with the dogs way more than stalking them now...

Pixel looks pretty happy that the sun is out too...
Boone likes all the puddles and makes no effort to go around them...tomorrow is grooming day so it's okay!
Vito celebrated the sun by actually fetching the ball...once. :)
and Wicca apparently wants to taste the sun. :)


Friday, March 25, 2011

Loser Like Me

I am not ashamed to admit that I watch Glee and totally enjoy it.

Although I hated high school it is interesting to watch. lol

This is their original song from last week. I've listened to it a few times...okay, a lot...

I wonder if shows like Glee are helping all the "loser" kids in highschool to fit in more. I know that I certainly fit into that category and High School, okay all school, was hell for me. We can hope at least that maybe Bullying isn't quite as cool as it was...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bits and Pieces

When I train my dogs (and others) I try to make sure that I am splitting things up into little bits during the learning process. Making sure that the dog understands what I am asking of them before I start putting things together. I have been careful about this especially with Pixel- who can get overwhelmed if she is not sure of what to do.

Why then does my dog not really understand Front? I should clarify- why doesn't she know front coming from the left, or from across the room, or with a dumbbell in her mouth. I went back and looked at my training logs and really am not seeing where I have missed a step.

But it is obvious that it is me as Wicca has similar problems with her front. Crooked, too far away, sometimes not even bothering. It is frustrating for me, and I am sure it is frustrating for the dog to not understand what I am asking of her. Sure if I ask her again, or again, or maybe even once more she will eventually get it. But I want it right the first time...

Last night we did fronts around the clock- the handler stands in the center and the dog is put in a stay in various "clock" positions and is called to front. Pixel did very well coming from the center, or from the right. The left was a whole different thing as she did not make an effort to swing her butt over to be straight.

At home we've been using the perch to work on fronts. Theoretically this should be teaching her to stay in the center wherever I move to. We just started this however, but I can see that it has helped already just from the exercise we did last night. A few weeks ago she wouldn't have done that. So I am excited about the bit of progress but still wonder if there is something else I could be doing.

I see all these fantastic obedience dogs with these killer fronts- I want that. Sometimes it is frustrating living in this city where there is such a small group of Obedience enthusiasts. We have no one really to help us except each other, so we are pretty limited sometimes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Destination

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same.
Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
~Don Williams, Jr.

I know I've posted the middle photo already, but I seriously love it. It was actually on EXPLORE on Flickr which is super cool. I am never sure how Explore works but not many photos make it on there! In any case I am going to get all three of these photos printed for my back porch.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A bad home video...

I shot this myself. Not that you can tell. lol

The boys were jealous that the girls got videos...they wanted to show you how smart (and cute) they are..

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I put Wicca in Utility today at the funmatch- and she was awesome. It gave me goosebumps and choked me up a bit. Utility. Seriously Awesome. I have never had a Utility dog. Never even gone in the Utility ring before. Wicca has known the Utility exercises forever but I have never put it all together. Until today. And she was great. :) I love this dog to bits.

Her routine was far from Perfect. But I haven't trained some of this stuff in a long time (because we can't get out of open....) But for not having much training she did pretty great!  I had to double cue her for the directed jumping. (but she did the hard part of the go outs!!!!!) She needed some help with the articles, and her signals weren't really there. But she did it all. And pretty well. I am so proud of this dog.

Now if only she could get some confidence on those stays for Open, or maybe they will get rid of the stays all together....and then we could seriously train for Utility and not just dabble in it...although I must say it has been fun to train!

This was Pixel's first time doing everything all together for Open and it blew her little brain. :) She tried though. Her heeling was great- she was up, and excited, and focused- and that is awesome as we have had to work very hard to build that! But she was slowly losing it throughout the routine. By the time the broad jump came around she was done. It is very apparent though that as much as we have worked on fronts they aren't fixed...Anyone have any ideas of what I can do for better fronts? I've done a bit of Chutes, and tons of feeding in position, etc. But still she doesn't seem to get it... I am happy with her though- and it gave me an idea of where she is and what I need to work more on....

I brought everyone so Boone did a run through of Rally too- he had fun although was a little stressed by the end of the course. It was long  and pretty twisty. He sure likes his pivots though! Vito came out and did some socialising (sticking to his meeting new people rules..). And Brit came out and amazed everyone with her cuteness. :) She jumped up on everyone, and mooched for cookies, and practiced her sits, downs, and hand touches...Oh, and she tugged. Like a mad woman. It was awesome. I think it may be time to reinforce some manners though...

So now I have very tired dogs, and we've been hanging out all evening and just chillaxin'...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Are you a Pez Dispenser???

The seminar today was great- Carolyn is a fantastic speaker, and had lots of valuable information to share. 
Carolyn is a former obedience person turned Schutzhund trainer- so drive and motivation is very important in her sport. She uses mostly toys as rewards and had some good ideas for everyone as to how to play with the dog, when to reward, marker words, and just general training stuff.
 The morning was all lecture and videos. We talked about the different types of motivation, and examples of why/when they would work. After a yummy lunch we got to work our dogs- each person/dog team got the floor for some individual feedback.

One of the things she talked a lot about is the fact that we often become "Pez Dispensers." Handing out food for the dog even if she doesn't deserve it, and often without much thought. The dog quickly becomes completely reliant on the sight of the food to perform, or starts acting out in an effort to get the food. Not to pick on her, but my friend Jo is having problems with her Collie Kort in this aspect. He demands cookies, and in the ring of course you can't have any- so then he starts flaking off, or biting her, or barking, or being silly in an effort to illicit a response...It is a vicious cycle, and I am happy that Carolyn talked about the steps to get away from that. I think that lots of us are quilty of this.

Carolyn demonstrates a way to get a good tug from Kort

We also talked about changing the dogs lifestyle to increase drive. When Pixel was younger I took away all the toys in the house to increase her toy drive. I blogged about it and many of my readers were horrified about it. lol. But it works. If the dog has free access to toys, why on earth would they work hard for one? I am a big advocate of that, I know that it worked for Pixel. And now that Brit is here and is learning how to play all the dogs are on a toy diet aswell...Also- working for food. How many of us just put the bowl down and leave the dog to eat in peace? I try to make the dogs work for their food as much as I can, although probably not as often as I should.

Everyone in attendance got some great one on one advice, and I learned a lot just watching the other sessions- it was nice to hear that I am on the right track as lots of what she said and does I already do. I think it was great for my friends to hear some of the same stuff from someone else- sometimes just hearing it from someone new is enough to make it sink in.

She had some good advice for me with Pixel- I use play a lot already in training, in fact I rely on that to get her "up" before I train. Carolyn suggested that I start asking her to do simple things before the play to help wean away/reduce the amount of play Pixel needs to be "up." It makes total sense- can't believe I didn't think about that before! Pixel is an awesome worker- when she is in the mood, and I won't always have the opportunity to play before training so I have been struggling with how to fade that a bit...

This is Daisy- who belongs to Wicca's breeder. She is super duper cute, and a very happy worker- but had no idea how to play.
This is Lore "Making Prey" as the germans I took lots of photos of her as I think she is adorable. I will post them later this week..

And the reason I brought Wicca was for a photo op. I am sick of the same scenery, and knew that the tracks in the small town where the seminar was would be awesome. I didn't anticipate just how cool though- with the snowy backgroun it turned out pretty incredible!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Flowers...

I bought this giant flower a few weeks ago and promptly forgot about it. I found it when I was searching for something else...
The dogs had a BLAST playing with it this afternoon. They each took turns (well, except Brit who doesn't play with toys yet) running around the yard with it. Boone was the funniest and spent a lot of time just laying on it...

Vito shook the crap out of it, Pixel fetched it, Wicca rolled on it, and then they decided to play tug and the head fell off. :) Here are a few of my favorite photos of the event....

Recalls, Shaping, and Fun

Brit has been a busy girl since she has come to my house. Every day we go somewhere new, and every day we train something new, and practice stuff she knows. She is a sponge and seems to absorb information at an fast rate.

She likes to learn, and seems to enjoy the challenge and thoughtfulness of clicker training games. She starts jumping and wiggling when the clicker comes out and then starts offering all the behaviours she knows to see what I want.

She has been to the daycare building and has done recalls and attention work. She has been to the arena and has done recalls, some shaping games, and even more recalls. She has been to both of the parks I frequent and has done recalls, the first stages of circle work, and some shaping games. She wasn't phased at all by the new places or people, and seems to be a very well adjusted dog.

She was spooked by the horses at the arena, but I think they surprised her more than anything. And the hairdryer makes her nervous too- she will leave the room and watch from a distance. Once it is off she comes running back over to make sure I am okay. It makes me laugh. I am not too worried about as I think that once she hears it every day it will stop bugging her....

Her people skills are great- she is not nervous to meet people and is very friendly and waggy. She is learning that often people will have cookies for her so she went around at class last night sitting in front of everyone for food, and when that didn't work she'd start poking them...she's just a little pushy...

The gentle leader is a regular part of her life already and she doesn't mind it. She is still very excited by motion so it is a good way to control her excitement and focus. She sees it now as a signal that we are going to do something fun.

I think that she is going to be a very fun dog to train- she is very eager that's for sure! I have gone back and read through Pixels' training plan and journals to see what I will do again, and what I could change or improve on. There is lots that will stay the same, but some things I will change, or do more of, or in some cases less of.

One thing that will be the same is teaching the toy drive and tugging. I have her tugging now- but not 100% and not reliably. So right now we are focusing lots on play.

Running, Play, Recalls, and Shaping will be the focus for the next little while! I want to create another dog who loves to learn, run, and to play with me...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bring on the green beer...

I mostly use holidays as a way to torture my dogs. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


naming her was SO hard!
I am sure in part because she already had a name, and after you've called a dog by a name it's a little hard to think about a different name. She came with the name Amy. Which is just not my cup of tea. But there are so. many. name. out there. Seriously. Millions of name sites and search engines. I even resorted to looking through breeder websites to see if there was anything that caught my eye. In the end I went back to one of the first places I looked and found it...

 I like Border Collies to have Border Collie names- usually one syllable, and easy to say. I chose Brit in the end because it sounded pretty, and it means freckled or spotted. And she has freckles and spots, so it fits.  Also it is not a common name, I don't think I've met a dog with this name before.

We will spend a few days learning the new name together and then we should be set. It is hard to do much training when the dog doesn't have a name. :)

Fetch- the real thing

Fetch- the real thing, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Pixel is not sure of Vito's love for the ball thrower- but she sure likes the ball. :)

Boone wishes he had a ball too. lol


Fetch 3/12/Vito, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Vito is not a great fetching type dog- he often gets the ball and then will spend 5 minutes rolling around on it. In this case he stole the ball thrower and paraded around with it for half an hour while the normal dogs played with the ball....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Names are Hard...

, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.
I am really not very good at naming. At this rate she'll be stuck with the name she came with....

Things she learned today
-Sit means Sit
-Down means Down
-Okay is a release
-Also chasing Wicca is a bad idea.

Things I learned about her today
-That she Woo Woo Woo's when she plays with you
-That she likes very physical play (pushing)
-That she needs a halti
-Oh, and that hotdogs are the best thing ever...

Sunday, March 13, 2011


A few weeks ago I got a rescue email from a family who were looking for a more active home for their young dog. I asked for more information and photos. As we talked about the dog it occurred to me more than once that this dog sounds like a perfect dog- for me. I tried to stop myself as no one really needs five dogs. But the more I learned about her the more I liked her. She has many of the qualities I love in a dog.. And then they said the'd be happy to bring her for a visit. They were going to visit family near here and wouldn't mind dropping her off. I met her on Friday.

I don't need five dogs. But when she jumped up and smiled at me I melted just a bit.
I don't need five dogs. But she walked in the house and the dogs were instantly calm
I don't need five dogs. But she has lots of great things going for her.

Still I didn't want to jump into this without knowing the dog.
I am known for my spur of the moment, rash decisions (sometimes bad), in the dog department. I blogged recently (about Dave, the foster dog) about the difference of choosing with your heart vs. your head.  I have learned from those I assure you. If this dog didn't have everything I wanted I was set to send her packing. I think I've done pretty well not falling in love with every dog that comes through my door. Dave was very hard, but I knew that he wasn't the dog for me. I know that this is it for me. There will be no puppy in a year- but that's okay because I think that this dog is the right one.

After spending a day (now two) with this dog I know that she is the dog for me. Well, at least I think so.

Most importantly she fits in my house. Wicca likes her. Which is odd. Boone thinks she's cute, Vito still pretends she doesn't exist, and she and Pixel almost played. My dogs are first and formost my pets- so how they mesh is important.
She is very happy, very friendly, and loves everyone she meets. She hasn't met a stranger yet.
She is smart. Learned how to down in five minutes. She has caught on to the clicker already, and we are learning how to offer behaviors now.
She is cute. Good looks are important. :)
She is not sound sensitive or spooky.
She is not soft. This is important to me as I struggle with the super soft dogs and wanted a tougher temperament.
She wants to please.
She is great in the house.
She is atheltic and fast.
She wants to play and has plenty of drive. (I may be sporting a black eye from her enthusiasm...)
She has long legs. :) I had decided that my next dog was not going to be a corgi. I needed a better balanced dog to play agility with, and wanted a tall dog to do obedience with...

She is not without her faults though. Her life so far has been one as just a pet. Her previous owners let her chase/herd dogs for exercise. She won't be allowed to run off leash with the other dogs for a while. She needs to learn to control herself when dogs are moving. Already she is way better in the house.  The other thing is that she has no idea what to do with toys. She is interested, but has yet to pick one up. We will be working on this. Toy drive isn't a neccesity although I don't think I will have trouble teaching her to tug and play.

There are many reasons why it isn't ideal for me to have another dog right now. But in my heart I believe that this dog is mine. Sometimes these things just happen. And sometimes the best things in life are the ones we haven't planned for.

p.s She needs a name. The name she has is not very good. lol

Saturday, March 12, 2011

At the dogpark

The Leader 10/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

We went to the dogpark for the first time since fall today. We do run off leash every day, but at "unofficial" off leash areas...

I remembered why we don't go there almost immediately. I wasn't even out of the car when a lab jumped all over me. And then jumped in the car while I was trying to get my guys out. I keep my guys on leash in the parking area now so once we were past the lab, and the parking area they were off like bullets. While the dogs were off sniffing and running around my dad and I had our eyes to the ground- the amount of dog shit was disgusting. Seriously. It was everywhere. No wonder people have issues with dog parks and off leash areas....

We quickly left the main area and then I was able to at least get some photos of the dogs without worrying where I was stepping. Vito, Pixel, and Wicca had a blast. Boone not so much. Reason number #200 why I don't like this dogpark- it's right next to a shooting range. Boone does not deal with that well and had to stay on leash. My dad is so great with him though and while I played fetch with the crazies he cuddled with Boone. :)

Although we won't be walking there anytime soon it was nice to have a change of scenery! Oh, and in case you didn't notice almost all of our snow is gone!!!! So excited for Spring!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Obedience Update

Pixel did a three minute out of sight sit the other day at class. I was so stoked! She did the down aswell but apparently was a bit sniffy. We will have to work on that. The stays have always been this huge stress for me- Wicca was never solid, not even in sight- and having them at the end to make or break your Qualifying score just adds to the stress. With Pixel it is different. I don't have the stress or hang up about it. I just expect that she will do it. And how awesome is that.

In other Obedience news our fronts are getting good- almost awesome actually. She still is a bit crooked now and again but is close and that's what I've been rewarding for up until this point. Even with the dumbbell in her mouth her fronts are good.

Heeling has been good- I haven't been doing a ton of patterns but rather have been doing short bursts of heeling followed by big time reward. We have been working on our left pivots still- and they are improving. She still will stall out a bit, but with encouragment will stay in position. It's coming.

Wicca is re-learning how to stay in one position and be calm about it. Our placemat is now half the size and she is comfortable in the house for up to five minutes. "Place" is the cue, and so far it has been working well. It will still be a while before we are ready for the Open ring, but I am excited about the prospect of her doing those stays.

Back on Track 9/52

Back on Track 9/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

At 7 years old Wicca is as physically healthy and fit than she ever has been. Due to her insane speed, and intensity on the agility course she has had some pretty big injuries in her career. She was often lame after a weekend, and sore or stiff after training. I took even more weight off of her, started supplements on a regular basis, took her to a rehab vet and do the prescribed exercises religiously, and bought a Back on Track coat for her. The coat is made of a ceramic fabric that reflects the body heat back into her, increasing blood flow, and helps to prevent stiffening muscles. It has made a world of difference and she wears it most of a trial weekend. I've had it now for a few months and although she hates to wear it (she doesn't like to wear stuff) it makes such a difference in how she feels I make her.

You can read more about the coats at-

I am fighting a wicked cold right now and wish there was some magical thing to make me feel better. Two nights now of almost no sleep due to coughing. I hate being sick, and it seems that this winter I have been sick a lot. Maybe I need to move somewhere warmer...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Camera Happy Part II

As promised here are some cute pups!!!!

This is Ty, an Australian Kelpie. Yes, they are allowed to come in that color. :)  I <3 this puppy...

and Arcade, a cute baby border collie...

and finally Wheeler, a sassy little Sheltie boy who was opposed to standing still...