Thursday, September 29, 2011

Birthday Girl

Today was Brit's Birthday!
I have had her for 7 months, and it seems like forever.
Happy Birthday to the girl who stole my heart in five minutes.
Here's to many more!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cheesy Tourist 38/52

Cheesy Tourist 38/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.
Via Flickr:
Every single time I drive through Bow Island I think to myself that I should stop and take a photo. I mean, how awesome is the giant bean? lol

His name is Pinto MacBean.

This past weekend I bit the bullet and stopped. Wicca thought I was crazy (as did the people driving by) but hey, you only live once. :)

I processed it to look like an old fashioned cheesy tourist photo, the kind you have as a kid. I think it adds to the overall cheese. lol

Not an awesome photo technically but too funny not to post.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Wicca had another fantastic weekend. It feels like we are finally getting it- of course we still have our bobbles and "almosts" but we are still working together for the most part. I am so proud of her. This weekend she earned 4 more Q's, two of which are ones we needed for our BRONZE!!!! I was hopeful for one standard Q this weekend, but was floored when we earned both of them.  She also earned two more steeplechase Q's. Steeplechase is definitely her game. We also had some really nice runs that we didn't Q in, but were still awesome. In particular the challenge, and the jumpers. I don't enter her in challenge very often. I am not ashamed to admit that the courses often make my brain hurt. lol. It generally ends in some sort of explosion where Wicca takes 20 tunnels, and I am standing in the middle screaming. lol. But this weekend was different- we actually made it through with only one off course, and a missed weave entry. I was stoked. And the jumpers- a refusal and bar, but felt smooth and calm. I will have the rest of the video in a few days, but here is the first standard.

And little Pixel came home with only two Q's, a snooker and a jumpers. And what do those two classes have in common? No dogwalk. lol. I have really screwed my dog up, which is a whole post of it's own. In any case she did have some good moments, her weaves are getting faster, and her obstacle commitment is great. I am happy with the two Q's she got- the Snooker earned her Masters Snooker Dog title! She only needs gambles now for her ATCHC. Pretty hard to believe.

As promised the weather was smokin' hot. Thankfully there was wind today- but it was still uncomfortably hot. Wicca deals with the heat pretty well. She likes the hose and runs just as hard in the heat as she does any other time. Pixel not so much. The princess doesn't like the heat and would prefer air conditioning. ;)

The people were great, our go dog go group came home with lots of Q's and some great runs. The host club did a great job, and although it went a bit late on Saturday the trial is very well run. I am sad that the outdoor agility season is over- I love training and trialing outside. When I got home today my yard is completely covered in leaves- I am going to have to find my rake, and before long the snow shovel.

Friday, September 23, 2011

First Day of Fall and it's 30'C

Today is the first day of fall and I had to sleep with the air conditioner on and walked the dogs in shorts and a t-shirt. Last week I had to dig out a heavier jacket for my morning walks. Weather is an interesting thing...

The girls and I are heading off to the last outdoor agility trial of the weekend. It should be a fun weekend- good weather, great friends, and agility. It doesn't get much better than that. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Early Fall 37/52

Early Fall 37/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

The mornings are chilly, and the dark is creeping up. Fall is almost here. The dogs and I like the cool fall weather and the beautiful fall colors. The only thing I dislike is that Winter is shortly behind...

Thought of the Day

I searched for a quote that put into words what I am feeling because I couldn't figure out a way to say it myself. This is it exactly. 

There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Training Weekend

This has been a training type of weekend- Yesterday Pixel, Brit and I went to the agility field and got a lot done in a small amount of time. I wanted to see if Pixel really understands her dogwalk- in a trial she is consistently blowing off without even attempting a 2on2off. I have not corrected her because I blamed myself for not teaching her properly. Ha!! Yesterday I did lots of proofing with her and she offered me the behavior every single time. So little miss princess will be having a rude awakening at the trial next weekend. If she comes off the contact we will be sacrificing the run to redo the target. If she makes an effort, but it isn't quite right I will just stop her (sit) and then continue on. Now that I am sure she understands what Target means I feel okay giving her a consequence for not doing it.

Brit is doing well on her target work- we have moved back to the dogwalk plank and she is as realiable as she is at home. I am pleased with how quickly she is picking it up. I also did a bit of "The Happiest Place" game- which she thought was super fun. I've blogged about the game before- but included a description at the bottom of the post. :) We also did a few one jump drills. She can figure 8 nicely, and has nice tight turns on a decel cue now. I need to buckle down and get in as much training as I can before winter comes...

And yesterday afternoon Wicca got to see Sheep! She has been turned off Sheep for a few years now- showing no interest. All it took was her being rolled by an ornery sheep and she wanted nothing to with them. Yesterday she was eager, excited, and had a lot of fun. It was very informal- no instructor, just at a friends place. I think it is what she needed- no stress related to the sheep. I gave her freedom and gave her lots of encouragement. I am going to try and get out a few more times with her. I am excited that she seemed to enjoy herself again!

This morning we got up bright and early and got in some great obedience training at a local park.

Brit can now heel for about 10 steps, and I've added in automatic sits. She has a great happy attitude while working and is wagging the whole time she works. I love that. We've started fronts at home, and this is the first time we've done them in a new place- she is not as accurate outdoors as she is at home so we've got to work on proofing more at home. At this point there is only one step into front for her- once she is 100% at this I will ask for two steps, then three, and so on. I also introduced her to the dumbbell for the first time, as I thought she has no problem. Because I have taught her what fetch actually means she understands to bring back what I want- regardless of what the item is.

I warmed Pixel up a bit and broke down each "hard" exercise for her- retrieve over jump, and the broad jump. And then put her away. After I worked the other dogs I had someone put me through a modified routine (just the retrieves, BJ, and heeling at the end). And she did it! Her fronts were nearly perfect, and she was eager and fast on the Broad jump and the retrieves. I am so pleased with her!!! Her heeling was spot on- with no cookies, or talking from me for the whole pattern. It felt nice to put stuff together. It's been a bit of a struggle. I am really looking forward to the trial in November!

We ended with Scenthurdle. Pixel actually made a mistake. lol. It was my fault though as I wasn't really focused on her. But she had fun, and is generally a reliable dog so I am not too worried about it. Our next race will be in November aswell- that is if we have enough dogs that can race... Scenthurdle is an interesting sport, and I have a love/hate relationship with it. Some days I am thrilled to actually have people who want to do it, and are training and doing well- and other days I don't know why I bother. Today's practice was in the middle- on one hand almost everyone on the team came, and I was happy with how well the newer dogs are doing. But I could do without some of the shit and responsibilities being in charge of a team comes with. lol. But as I said- mostly it was a great practice.

Catch went home today- his Momma was very happy to see him- and Catch was beside himself to see her and his brother Chase. Two weeks is a long time!  I will miss him -(although Brit may not. lol) he is a very good puppy.

All in all a good weekend! This afternoon the dogs and I are just going to hang out and relax. Maybe read a book, and sit outside and enjoy the end of summer.

Happiest Place explanation
I learned this from Terry Simons. 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!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Warning: No Brakes

Warning: No Brakes, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Via Flickr:
Brit isn't equipped with brakes. Instead, she plows right into you. It feels as good as it sounds...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kimberely Candids

squished. they didn't all stay together in one xpen, this was while I was getting set up. :)

boys and girls.

the ring, surrounded by beauty

the view from the hill.

from the house on the hill.

jolene takes her cleanliness seriously... (yes, she brings her broom with her to every trial..)

Lethbridge Alley

Home. No Mountains for us...


Pixel, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Pixel is yet again losing coat, or maybe she is growing more- I think it changes every day. I do adore the wispy hair she gets- on her ears, ruff, and feathers. Such a pretty girl.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Video

As I said, a few "almost" moments- a late front cross, an ignored threadle arm...but still we managed. lol. I love this dog- even though she is incredibly naughty most of the time.

Kimberley Details

What a weekend we had! As always the trial site was breathtaking. I will do a picture post later today or tomorrow- but believe me when I say it is beautiful. Camping in my van was actually pretty awesome! The dogs and I were pretty comfy, and it was nice not to have to drive to town to a  hotel. The dogs were able to run off leash on the property so it was nice to just hang out.

I think the "hanging" out part of this trial is what makes it so good. I mean, there is a social aspect to every trial but this one is just a bit more relaxed. Sittin' around enjoying each others company, talking dogs, walks with friends. It's all just part of the fun. :)

On to the actual agility news.

Wicca finally did it. We earned that last Q needed for our ATCH. It was on a tough Jumpers course. We had a few almost moments, but I managed to pull it together and reign in the wild one enough to Q. Not our best run- but I am still so, so proud of her. That one run really just signifies the whole journey- Wicca is not an easy dog to run. And we've certainly had our struggles- at the beginning of her career contacts were an issue, and then bar knocking, and then flicking away, and then more bar knocking, and then handling, and then start's all been an ongoing issue. lol. But over the years of running this dog I have learned (with the help of friends) to just give'er. Never handle to avoid. Never doubt. Just go. And that's what I did all weekend with her. I never thought twice about a handling path or strategy. And we had an awesome weekend. Not only did she Q in Jumpers but she also Q'd in five other events. Really.
We had a 106 point Gamble. Beat only by Gyp.
Her second Standard was brilliant. Q
The first snooker was fast and furious. Four 6's for 55 points. The highest overall.
The second snooker was a little crazy but we managed to Q.
And we finished off with a steeplechase run that was so fast I thought I had missed part of the course. lol
She is a brilliant dog, and I am very lucky to have such a great partner.

Princess Pixel was a bit of diva this weekend- having a little blip in almost every run. That damn dog walk contact. lol. I am frustrated, but at myself not my dog. She obviously has no idea what she is supposed to do. It's going to take some time to fix. I also made some stupid handling choices with her- got lost on a gamble. lol. Weird stuff that doesn't normally happen to us.  Tunnel discriminations (as in two tunnel mouths, make a choice) continue to defeat us. We got stuck in a tunnel vortex on a standard. She went in the wrong mouth three times before changing her mind. She did manage to Q in Snooker though- with a respectable 41 points. lol. But she was running fast, and had fun. Even the Princess has off days. :)

And little Vito got another Q! In Gamblers this time. He ran fast and had loads of fun, and then promptly became the lazy dog I know and love for the other two runs I had him entered in. He is so much work to get around a course when he doesn't wanna. I think he's a one run per weekend kinda guy.

And that's that. I still can't quite believe that Wicca did it. It's strange, how something so huge and so difficult is now just done. It's an interesting thing that I can't put into words. I am just so thrilled. What a girl.

And of course kinda like an acceptance speech at the Oscars I have to thank the people that helped us to get here. I couldn't possibly list everyone, and what if I missed someone?!! So, you know who you are. But know that I appreciate all the help over the years. And not only the help- but the pushing, and the bossiness. Having a great circle of friends is really important in this sport, and I am very lucky to have so many! I do have to mention Sarah though- without her help we'd still be in Starters Snooker for sure, and not celebrating an ATCH. So thanks. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011


We did it!!!!! :)

Friday, September 09, 2011

To the Mountains!

The dogs and I are off to my most favourite trial this weekend. Kimberley is such a beautiful place- and the trial is right in a little mountain valley. It is incredible. I will try and get some photos of the general area. I grew up in the mountains so going to this trial gives me an awesome "at home" feeling.

The trial itself is run by two people (yes, two people!) and is always awesome. It's a small trial with a fun atmosphere. A BBQ on saturday night, a huge bonfire, drinking, making fun of Aaron (Jolayne's husband), it's just a really great weekend.

The weather is promising to be agreeable, which is a very good thing as the dogs and I are sleeping in the van. Kinda like tenting. But not. :) There is a ton of room, and I think we will all be very comfortable. I tented a few trials ago and I wished I had just slept in the van- so we'll see how this goes!

I am leaving right after work to get there in the daylight to get set up and organised- it will be the farthest I have driven by myself. I am sure the dogs will be tired of my singing by the time we get there. :)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Tell Me Thursday

I'm all for fun blogging games. :) Jen at Crooks and Crazies has started "Tell Me Thursdays"- she posts a few questions on her blog, you answer them, and then post back to her blog. Easy peasy, and it's something interesting to blog about.

This weeks questions:

1. What is the biggest thing that grossed you out over the past week?
Um, this morning I vacuumed about 100 flies. The vacuuming wasn't too bad- it's the thought of them flying around in the bag that is disgusting. Oh, and the flying around your face. I am not sure what is with the flies lately! Just in the past week they have gotten bad everywhere- not just at work. Yesterday I used the flyswatter with mild success. This morning when they were cold and slow so I just sucked those little buggers right up. Way more fun. But still, Icky. 

2. What do you feed your dogs?
Dog food mostly. ;) Well, whatever they want really. My guys eat Acana Pacifica. And are doing great on it. Shiny coats, skinny corgis, healthy tummies. But they also get yummy things like yogurt, and cottage cheese, and carrots, and the occasional cucumber. And then the not so healthy, but still yummy- toast crust, kraft dinner, perogies- whatever's left over. It's like having four little garbages at your feet. 

3. If you could move anywhere where would you live?
I like living right here. It's a nice size city- lots of places to walk. Dog friendly. Kinda windy but no hurricanes, floods, or other crazy weather. 

4. What is the funniest thought that occurred to you (or thing that happened to you) this week?
The funniest thought was when I was vacuuming up the flies this morning I had a little chuckle when I pictured Jolene emptying the vacuum bag tonite and all the flies flying out. It was funny, and slightly horrific at the same time. lol. Seriously close to a 100 flies. Close your eyes and imagine that. 

5. If you couldn't have your breed of choice what would be next on your list?

If I couldn't have the breed(s) that I currently own then it would be a Kelpie. It was actually next on my list before Brit came along. I love the intensity, and the size. They are such a pure breed- and are incredible athletes. I also like the fact that like a border collie they have good on/off switches. Calm and Cool when you want them to be, and then crazy a second later. That's my kinda dog. 

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


I'm puppy sitting for a friend for a few weeks. I've had Catch once before- he has grown since then! But is still a midget Sheltie. I mean, he's so small!! I would guess him to be around 13" or so...small, but mighty! Catch is a Sheltie who is missing the "fear" gene. He is super confident, and very naughty- I love it. :) He has never been to the river before, yesterday I took him, Boone, and Wicca for a walk at the river bottom and gave them a chance to play a bit...he thought it was awesome. Ran right in (although had to be saved after he was a little too brave...), and the splashed and played around for an hour. The light wasn't great so the pics are a little odd, but you get the idea.

this was when he first ran in...he was kinda confused for a minute before he was sure he could walk...

a wet sheltie

tugging machine...
and a little bit 'o naughty...
playing keep away with his prize..

Puppies are so fun!
Oh, and a word about those ears. They will be glued tomorrow. Oh, to be a sheltie...

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Peanut Ball

Best Dog Purchase Ever. Serious.In only a few weeks I think that I'm already seeing a difference in the fitness and muscle on Brit. She thinks it's a great game, and it only takes a few minutes every other day. As part of a planned fitness/strengthening program I am very happy with it.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Will Work For Food...

Will Work For Food 35/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

We had a great time training this morning- both girls got to play scenthurdle a bit, and then we did a smidge of obedience after. I was hoping to do more obedience but no one really stuck around so we just puttered a bit before heading home. I did manage to snag a volunteer for my 52 weeks project this week. I wanted a working photo of her- either heeling or scenthurdle. I didn't manage to get my camera out for scenthurdle so heeling it was. :) Wicca loves to heel and is very good, although she is quite a forger when she is excited. She will work for anyone though- which is good because I am not talented enough to take a photo and train the dog at the same time. :) Thanks Liz! lol

Saturday, September 03, 2011

In the Groove

Today I had a great time training at the agility field. It was productive, fun, and it felt great to actually be working on some agility. It seems like I haven't really trained my own dogs in a while! It was nice to just train my dogs with a group of people, and get some good feedback. As an instuctor I usually train by myself, and rarely get any feedback at all....

We did a few handling sequences that Sarah designed- they were tough, and had some interesting handling challenges. Both girls did really well, and I was able to remember the way. lol! I also worked on contacts and distance with Pixel. She needs the work on both. I was able to send her through a set of twelve poles away from me- which felt great. We also worked on the teeter, aswell as some directionals at a distance. Her gamble skills are improving! Contact wise we did lots of backchaining. I am seeing improvement in understanding. But I know that it is not likely to be as good at a trial. What I should do is NOT run her at a trial on contacts until they are 100%, but that is harder to do than say.... I am okay taking the step back each time I trial her, and am realistic about my expectations. It will just take us longer to get solid contacts is all.

I only did the handling drills with Wicca- nothing extra. Her contacts and weaves are pretty solid, and she is a great gamble dog. I was happy with the handling exercises though- she was responsive, and listening. Two great things. :)

Brit came out and did some teeter games (the bang game)for the second time ever- she did great! She is not afraid at all of the movement or noise, which is great and thinks it's a fun game. She is having trouble staying on though- and more often than not slid off the side. This is due in part to her weak rear, and in part of her understanding what I want- she isn't bracing herself. We have lots of work to do still on muscle building.  We also did a few table games (tug-but stay on, and fast downs) And we did targeting off the dogwalk for the first time. I have been doing plank work and have made it all the way to the end of my progression chart- time to put it on the big dog stuff (or so I thought). She did pretty well. We did five reps- only three were perfect though, so I am going to do more plank work before putting her back on the full board. I find with contacts that if you skip ahead, or don't break things down enough that you often end up having to retrain the whole thing later on. (Pixel!) So this time I am making sure that I am 100% sure on my criteria, and my dogs understanding. I taught contacts to two dogs, (Wicca, and Boone) so I should be able to teach it to Brit to my satisfaction. :)

So yeah, a great few hours at the agility field. Tomorrow we are doing some Scenthurdle and Obedience, and we will do a bit more agility on Monday. Gotta love long weekends!!!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Let the weekend begin!

Today is Friday, which is awesome. 
And it's a long weekend! 
And, I don't have anything huge planned. 
And, I'm gonna have a pyjama day tomorrow and stay home all day. I can't even remember when is the last time I did that. 

Yay for Weekends at home! 

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Guess who came to visit?!!!


He lives far, far away now- but his owner was traveling through to visit family and we met up for a quick visit. Davie looks incredible- fit, happy, and in love with his momma. He didn't remember really, but that's okay. The look in his eye when he looked at her was all I needed to see. His confidence has grown and he spent the time chasing his jolly ball, or looking for squirrels (which we don't have any of..) It was so nice to see him, and hear about how great he is doing in his new home. It made my day, maybe even my week. 

Rescue is sometimes so draining. Not so much in Dave's case- but just in general. Sometimes I want to quit. Sometimes I want to pretend there aren't dogs being euthanized every day because there is no where for them to go. Sometimes I don't want to check my email to read about the 10 year old dog someone is trying to give away because they are moving. And just sometimes I want to turn a blind eye just like everyone else.  Recently I cut back in the amount I was doing in the hopes of relighting the fire so to speak. But it is stories like Davie's that really makes my heart happy. He is the reason I will continue to do what I do. Hard as it is sometimes, his happy face reminds me of the value in my heartache. 

So, three cheers for Dave's happy ending. May all dogs eventually find theirs.  :)