Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

from the gang at manymuddypaws ;)

Friday, June 29, 2012



Summer may have finally arrived. We actually had some warmth yesterday and no rain. It has been raining off and on for the whole month of June. So bring on the sun!!!

I finally brought out the dogs little pool and Wicca was kind enough to help me fill it. She likes the hose a lot and will run around the yard spraying the other dogs (and me). It's a good idea not to get too close to her. lol.

I've been looking online for deals for a big pool- an actual swimming pool so that the dogs can swim. The river is unpredictable, dirty, and well often inconvenient. If I had a pool in my yard big enough for the dogs it would be awesome. Good therapy, exercise and FUN! I've found some on kijiji- but nothing quite what I was looking for. I am going to go scope them out at Canadian Tire today.

This weekend is the Canada Day long weekend- we are doing Agility demos on Sunday so that should be a lot of fun. Wicca gets to come and run barrels! I am excited, and nervous. lol. It's running in a clover leave pattern so theoretically she shouldn't break. Pixel and Boone are going to stay home. Boone was going to come and be the star but with all the thunder we've had this week, combined with the random fireworks last night and he's a bit of a mess. And Pixel isn't ready for agility anyway so she might aswell stay home and keep him company. Vito and Brit will be the demo dogs for the day. :)

I have a little spotted visitor for a few days. Halo is a 5 month old Dalmatian. She is uber cute, and is keeping all the dogs on their toes. I will try and get some photos this afternoon to post. Puppies are cute, but spotted puppies are the cutest!

Monday marks the first day of Go Dog Go's (me and sarah) participation in a Horse 'n Hound camp. Yes- I will be working with children. I must have been having a bad day when I agreed to it. lol. Hopefully it will be fun- we've got some good stuff planned. It's only a few hours a day for a week- how hard can it be?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

For My Wall

Sarah took this stunning photo yesterday when we went out to AltaPete. 
I love it. And I'm pretty sure I'm going to get it printed for my wall. 

this one is also fantastic- but the sky in the other one blows me away. 

p.s yes, I know I said I wasn't going to go. But I managed to get my house mostly clean in the morning, and squished in brunch with my sister AND then as a reward went herding. :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Don't take life too seriously.... 25/52

Via Flickr:
Vito's Life Lessons #25

Don't Take Life too Seriously, there is always someone poking their tongue out at you.

Vito is a pretty serious dog- for about 49% of the time. The other 51% is spent doing funny things, and making me laugh. In this photo he was concentrating so hard on the sit stay that he couldn't hold his tongue in. lol. It made ma laugh, and it had to be my 52 weeks photo this week. ;)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Practice Makes Better....

For the past few months I've been trying off and on to get some good "herding action" photos. I've seen some pretty incredible photos, but have yet to figure out how people work the dog, watch the sheep, and get photos. But I still try now and again.

This morning Brit and I went out to AltaPete early- I wanted to be able to take my time and not rush. The sheep were very difficult last time Sarah and I went- it was impossible for us to keep the sheep from running back to the barn. With no gates and a huge field it is a little above our skill level. lol. (and by our, I mean the people not the dogs. lol)

So this morning I worked the sorted sheep in the round pen a few times before taking them to the field. This gave them a chance to settle a bit. And then all the way to the field I kept in front of them and Brit hot on their heels. It worked well and we didn't have one run back to the barn!

We worked on driving- and our outruns. She still struggles with staying out long enough. We worked mostly on our come bye side as that is the weaker side for sure. I stepped in each time, and threatened her with my stick until she would bend out more. She was starting to get it near the end. It was a good session with lots of work- her favorite part is the driving. She really settles in now.  That's how I got the below photo! Probably my best actual herding photo to date!


Walk Up.
Driving the Ewes and Lambs to the small pasture for sorting.
Outrun. On Balance Even!
I'm not sure. lol.
I probably won't get out again until next weekend. I really need to spend a day at home and clean, and sort, and throw crap out. So that's what I'll be doing on Wednesday this week. I'm sure I'll be thinking about sheep though. lol.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Penguins have landed!

I'm dogsitting my friends dogs for a few days- Scamp and Neena.  They are both super easy to have around- and they fit right in with my guys. I fostered Scamp actually- and I am happy to say he is doing awesome. He is a very happy guy- who has really blossomed with Jen's love and patience. 

With 7 dogs in the house I have to walk them all in shifts- so today I took them all to the field and ran them in pairs. The Border Collies together, Two Shorties, and the Boys. It worked pretty well, although I am exhausted now. lol. 

Getting all three of them to look interested was a challenge. Brit looks beaten. I promise she isn't. lol

the very cute Scampers! 

 Pixel- who was excited to be able to run free like a real dog! 

 Vito is looking very mature these days. 

 Wicca!! The toughest Corgi in the West. :) 

And Boonie! Who is sporting his new 'do. I was trying to grow his coat out. But wearing the Thundershirt all the time lately made for impossible hair problems... I gave him bell bottoms. lol.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wacky for Watermelon

 I discovered by accident that Pixel LOVES watermelon. Like goes crazy for the stuff. So just for a photo op I gave her half of a small one to finish off. She didn't dissapoint. lol

 she starts out relatively normal-like.

 and then gets more and more crazy-eyed...

oooh, yummy goodness!

 Nom, Nom Nom!

she was pretty dissapointed when I took it away. ...
more?? more? more?

Randomness that isn't about herding...

I swear that the dogs and I do more than just drive out to various Sheepie places. It just seems that way cause that's all I blog about. Here is a list of non-sheep things that we did this week:

the dogs went swimming- three times! 
the dogs got hosed off- 3.5 times (vito rolled in poo...)
we went to two different parks and did some obedience
pixel is learning signals. she doesn't get it. 
boone is working on some new tricks for demo season
i mowed the lawn. the dogs watched. 
i went through all my clothes and had two garbage bags of stuff to show for it. I wear the same 10 shirts over and over again so why I need anymore than that I am not sure. 
bought some groceries, and actually COOKED on my stove. It was just Kraft Dinner but still...

Busy week eh? It went by pretty fast when you combine that with three nights of teaching, and a real job in the day. I can't even believe it is the end of June already. 

Today would have been my Grandma's Birthday. I miss her so much. I will call my Grampa today. 

My mother is the most frustrating person in the world. Serious. If I wasn't so annoyed I'd give up. 

This weekend is a busy one, although I should be able to have one sleep in day. 
Some meetings, some obedience training, some fun dates with friends... and I am going h-e-r-d-i-n-g on Sunday, although I won't talk about how excited I am about that cause this post isn't about that.....

I've got some new Private lessons scheduled this weekend. Should be interesting. I'm almost done my training website. To make it more official like and stuff. I hate writing about myself in the third person. It's weird. And even more than that I hate trying to write about how awesome I am. lol. It's also weird. 

I have two weeks to round up enough stuff for a raffle table for my kennel clubs agility trial. Anyone wanna give stuff? lol. I'm going to work on that this weekend as well. 

And that wraps up some randomness for a Friday morning. I've included a Herding photo from the trial last weekend. It pays to be friends with the photographer, although I hear that the photos will be up this weekend...  ;)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More Herding!

Even the non-herding people will appreciate this video... :)

Sarah and I went out to AltaPete this morning for some training. We wanted to work on driving, inside flanks, and on outruns. Because we wanted to save their energy for the hard stuff we thought we'd push the sheep out ourselves. LOL. It actually worked pretty well. ;)

The actual work was hard- the sheep were not cooperating and it took quite a while to get them settled in the big field. We did manage to work on some of the things we had planned- but most of our dogs energy was used up just getting them in the field, and keeping them in the field. lol.

Brit's driving is getting better and better. She kind of understands but I think at this point it is still in relation to my body position. We are kind of just flying by the seat of our pants at this point as we have only had one lesson about it. Her outruns were better today- although we only did two. She is settling in at the top nicely and brings them to me at a controlled pace.

All in all a pretty great morning!

Oh, and as a bonus there was a new baby lamb!!!! Probably just born the night before. It was so tiny and cute!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

CKC Herding Trial Results

I am so proud of Brit. She was wonderful. I mean really wonderful all weekend. She worked hard, listened, and tried her best. I couldn't have asked for better.

We qualified in all four runs. Earning our Herding Started title this morning after our third run. She had one High in Trial, and three Reserve High in Trials! Her scores ranged from a 92.5 to a 97.5! She was very, very good. I had a few moments of Crap! but was able to fix the problem before it got out of hand.

The courses were interesting and all had challenges- particularily the course this afternoon that left almost no room for the dog to work the Y chute. But Sarah and I strategized, walked the course just like in agility, and planned smooth flowing paths for ourselves and our dogs. We were well prepared for the challenges, and at no time were we at a loss as to what to do. It felt great!!!

We lost most of our points on the inbetween stuff. The actual obstacles were not the trouble. Even the Y was pretty straight forward most times. I did have trouble with the settle- which is not surprising given the fact I've been having trouble even in training. lol. Brit is a very forward dog who likes to be in close. So the sheep don't really like to stop all that quick. Combine that with my slow thinking and well, often we had to redo that part a few times. 

On a whole the weekend was great- Louanne was a great hostess. There was a fair amount of laughter and drinking on Friday night. :) The trial itself was run really well, although a bit slow at times. And the company was great. Lots of visiting, and cheering for one another. I love that. On that note I was very glad that Gyppie was sound and could work this weekend. Sarah and I have been training partners through all of this so it was awesome to go together! The judges were super nice, although the scoring was a bit puzzling at times....

Our trainers have been spectacular, and we owe all of of our success to their guidance! Jenny Glen from AltaPete, and Louanna Twa from Phantomridge are super teachers who share their knowledge and passion for the sport with ease. Their support has been greatly appreciated. So a huge thanks to them for their time, teaching and patience!! It can't be easy to teach city folk how to work dogs and sheep! ;)

It's still hard to believe it's over. I mean, we've been working hard towards this goal since September!!!  But onwards to the next goal! We are going to be focusing on "big kid" stuff now- with the goal of competing with the big kids one day. I'm betting we are a year or more away from that. lol. But it will be great fun getting there!! This game is seriously addicting. Serious.

And because I haven't said it enough. I love this dog. Brit is just so wonderful. Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky.  <3

Here is a video of our last run today. A "bonus" Q, and a score of 97.5. The others will be posted tomorrow, but with no fancy music. (adding music takes WAY longer...)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wish Us Luck!

We are off to our very first CKC Herding Trial today. We've practiced as much as we can, and I'm feeling pretty confident. Brit is a good girl, so I just need to keep my head on straight and stay calm. (which is easier said than done...) I have been looking forward to this for a long time, and am super excited. It's going to be fun!!!

Wish us good luck and cooperative sheep! 

(photos are old, and from Sarah Novak)

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Pixel is doing well and is not limping at all. In fact there is no sign of any soreness so I'm excited about that!

We are up to regular leash walks, and off leash in the yard. But still no fetch or off leash coulee runs yet. Pixel is the queen of "run as fast as you can to outrun the other dogs and then turn around and do it again." -Not very good for a bruised or strained muscle.

Her recovery will probably be faster than I had thought but we are just going to play it by ear.

The cool photo is by Wendy- Paws on the Run Photography. Thanks Wendy! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dog People Are Awesome

I'm sure everyone in dog blogger/facebook land has heard about the tragedy that well known agility handler Elicia Calhoun has had. A car accident that ultimately took the lives of two of her six dogs, and a search for one in the desert.

I can't even imagine how she feels after such an ordeal. The accident, the safety of her dogs, the puppy who didn't make it, the missing dogs. All piled on top of each other.  It must be completely overwhelmingly devastating. After an overnight search for the last missing dog, I was thrilled to see on Facebook this morning that she had been found.

Facebook has been buzzing since yesterday morning about this. Kind words, thoughts, prayers even.  Dog people are the best. Someone right away started collecting donations, lots of great search ideas, and most important of all- support. People from far and wide, people that don't even know her or her dogs. But the one thing we all have in common is dogs. We love our dogs. Any dogs. And as a whole there is no better person than a dog person. We band together. Help each other. And in a time like this support is all you have. At the time you aren't aware, but when you can finally breathe it is like big comforting blanket.

I once lost Boone- 40 hours of hell. An experience that still haunts me. My friends helped me for two solid days. Putting up posters, driving around, walking around. It was awful. I was so scared for him. Boone is not a normal dog, and was in total flight mode. But all along I had my friends. Their support helped me to keep going. The last night he was gone I remember walking down alleys and seeing people I didn't know looking for my dog. People that just loved dogs, and wanted to help. I think my blog had the most comments ever that week. I am incredibly grateful for the well wishes, and the help. Without that we may not have gotten him back.

The story of Elicia and her dogs brought all of that right back for me. There is a photo circulating around of Elicia with her dog Tobie taken when she was found this morning.  It is an intensely personal photo- the anguish is clearly visible. It made me cry- and remember.  When I finally had Boone in my arms it was the most emotional I've ever been in my whole life. I can't even express what that feeling was like. Desperation. Love. Gratitude.  

So yeah. Dog people- give yourselves a pat on the back. You truly are an amazing bunch of people

(for the curious, who weren't blog readers at the time- you can go back and read through the blog posts- Sept 26/2010 is when I lost him. There are about 6 posts in total.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Smiling is Easy....right?

Vito thinks so. But sometimes it's not so easy.

I know that POSITIVE thinking, and POSITIVE attitude are things that are important to a healthy life.

But we all know that life is not butterflies and rainbows. Sometimes there are tornados, and thunderstorms.

I guess the idea is to wait for the rainbow after the storm right?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Brit's not good at all things....

Wicca wasn't the only one who thought the jolly ball was fun. Brit had fun just trying to pick it up. lol. She never really figured it out. ;)

it's a good thing she's smarter about Sheep. ;)

On a sheep herding note we went out to the farm today for some practice. It was raining sideways and cold and windy but it was awesome. Brit was so good. She took the flanks I asked her. There was no battle to get the Sheep through the obstacles and everything was just smooth. We had to retry the Y chute both times we ran a course. I need to really watch where to call her off so she doesn't push them too fast out of the panel obstacle. But only one retry is better than many! or not being able to get it at all- which has also happened. So yeah, I'm pretty happy today!! One more lesson next week and then the big day! I got the running order and I'm in the middle of the group each day. I kind of wanted to go first (fresh sheep, less nerves from watching etc.) but I am sure it will be fine. I just need to not let the nerves get to me! Stay focused and calm. Worked like a charm today!!! 


Kort is staying with me for a week. ;) 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Best Garage Sale Find Ever

My friend Sarah had a garage sale today so Wicca and I popped by to visit. Wicca enjoys coming with me on errands and such. She was pretty excited to visit with people and snoop through all the stuff. ;) I bought some books, and a pillow, and a chair for work- but the best thing was this jolly ball!

 I actually had bought it with work in mind. But Wicca LOVES it so I don't think it will be going anywhere. She has been carrying it around all day- moves it with her from room to room, and even manages to get it on the couch! I'm impressed because it is as tall as she is. :) I'm not sure what is so cool about it- I think she really just wants to get the little ball in the middle out.

 A new toy made for some fun photo this afternoon! Wicca hasn't gotten much blog time recently- she hasn't changed at all and we still are just puttering through life keeping her painfree and happy. It's a full time job really! lol. This toy is great because she can't really run when she's carrying it- and she is getting a shoulder work out when she paws at it. ;)

Friday, June 08, 2012

She's Gonna Live...

I haven't felt like blogging but thought I'd better write about our visit with the Rehab Vet.

Pixel is going to be just fine. Her shoulder is sore, and will take time to heal but there should be no long lasting effects. It is a soft tissue injury- a whole bunch of muscles are tight and sore. She is on a strict rest diet for a few more days and then we will start with the Rehab part- walking, trotting, stepping, stretching,  more walking, no sharp turns, swimming, more stepping. You know, all the stuff I've been doing with Wicca forever.

I am very relieved that it is a minor thing. Easily solved with rest, and then exercises specific to her shoulder, and then later on even more conditioning. For the injury to have happened in the first place there must have been some weakness there. I am a big believer in conditioning for our sport dogs. No weekend warriors around here. So it is just a little upsetting that I could have prevented this with more something.

But we are fine. Pixel is not limping at all, and is feeling pretty great after her appointment. She had some adjustments, and some laser. I'm taking her back in a week or two for a follow up and an okay to start the rehab.

She will be taking the summer off from trials, and training. No agility, no scent hurdle, and no obedience. We will start back maybe late August depending on how she is doing with the rehab/conditioning. I want to make sure she is really sound before bringing her back. The worst thing I have seen (and experienced) with soft tissue injuries is people thinking that the dog is fine once the limp is gone and then immediately returning back to stuff. That's how injuries end up chronic, and never ending. You need to give the body a chance to heal, and THEN rehab it, and then condition the whole dog again before you go back to whatever it was you were doing before. That takes time- not just a few weeks. I've learned that lesson the hard way.

So I guess this really will be the summer of the new. The summer of no agility. It will be weird. But I think we can find enough stuff to keep us all busy!

Brit and I will of course continue to putter around on the agility field this summer. We have no time frame, and frankly I am enjoying training for herding and obedience much more than agility right now. Oh how things have changed. ;)

This weekend we are just going to chillax. Some scent hurdle with Brit this afternoon, some sheep tomorrow. Oh, and lots of sleep.  It's going to be great!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Rock, Paper, Scissor?

Pixel and I enjoyed some Watermelon Sunday afternoon.

I may be the worlds worst decision maker. I waffle back and forth, back and forth. Which is the right choice. which is the wrong. It stresses me out. And it stressed me out more when it has to do with my dogs...

I will say that a full day of no limping from Pixel makes for a happy me. We managed to get an appointment in Calgary tomorrow morning- Veronica will make me feel better when she tells me to stop freaking out and that it's a pulled muscle that will heal up and be fine when you do a,b, and c.

Pixel is annoyed that I had to carry her down the stairs. And that she had to pee on leash. The Princess doesn't like not having control. ;)

Depending on what Veronica says tomorrow will make a pretty large impact on my summer. We could be continuing on in the 'year of the new" trend and have a whole summer of no agility. It would be strange, but maybe not all that bad. Veronica will make that decision for me. My dog is either going to take a few weeks, or a few months to heal from whatever it was that happened. Or maybe she is better already! (Wouldn't that be awesome. But completely unrealistic lol)

From there I need to decide when to start back, what to do differently, etc. That could take me a long time so be prepared to read about it. Do I take the summer off anyway- just to be sure it's all okay. Or do I ease her in slowly. Find some crazy coulees to climb to build up her front end. Lowering her to specials is a no brainer- a shorter AFrame will make me cringe less each time she goes up it now....

I did finally decide to take my name off the waiting list for the Denise Fenzi seminar. I was super excited about it, but at this point any cancellations are going to be super last minute and I can't plan my holidays last minute. So now I've got even more decisions to make. Do I stay around here- camp, camp at someones sheep farm (lol), tour around southern alberta, go to winnipeg to visit my grampa? Lots to think about.

I hate thinking sometimes. I miss the old days where my sister and I used to make all big decisions with Rock,Paper,Scissor- or my brothers Magic 8 ball...

Monday, June 04, 2012

Regionals Rollercoaster

No big event is without a rollercoaster of emotions. But it seems that bad luck follows me around....Friday we ran Steeplechase and Pixel was pumped and excited and pretty fast for a little Pixel. We had some weave pole popping and a refusal but a good warm up. In the afternoon we did one warm up run and Pixel tripped up the wall and did a face plant. She shook it off and seemed alright.

Saturday morning we rocked Jumpers and Gamblers. The Jumpers was awesome- fast and flowy. She looked great! The gamble was also pretty great- I had a good path with lots of points. She got the mini gamble twice AND the main gamble! Woowoo! That afternoon I was feeling the love for agility- my friends and training students are awesome. We have a great group and it was fun. Like really fun. I forgot about sad Wicca sitting at home and just enjoyed the day. The standard run Pixel tripped again up the frame (after taking missing it the first time...)- she stumbled but again continued on. We finished the run but I could tell something wasn't quite right. It isn't normal for her to have trouble with the frame.

So off we went to the on site chiropractor. Pixels left shoulder was very tight and sore. Jennifer reccomended ice and rest. And a recheck later that day. A few hours later after a recheck Pixel seemed good to go- the chiropractor suggested bringing her back in the morning after her first run. (on a side note her pelvis was also out- likely why I had been seeing crooked sits for the past little while...)

I was worried but she did seem fine. Her walk/play in the morning was normal. Her warm up great- I couldn't see anything at all. Of course Pixel refused the frame in the gamble that morning, and wasn't jumping well. I pulled her for the weekend. I am not willing to risk my dogs health for agility.

In any case there were of course some tears. I was upset that I may have risked more injury to my dog by running that gamble in the morning. I should have just pulled her. It really bugs me a lot when my dogs are hurt or in pain. And because of my past problems with Wicca I guess I am just even more sensitive about it. It left me with a rotten feeling in my gut. Sometimes I hate agility. I do understand that LOTS of things can cause injury, and that our dogs can't live in bubbles but it gets really frustrating to have injury after injury to my dogs.

Needless to say if/when Pixel returns to trials she will be in the Specials class- with a lower A-Frame. Up until this weekend it has never been a problem before but I want to minimize the risk as much as possible.

Up until the injury we were having a great weekend- she had run two classes clean and we were both having fun. Here are two of our runs from Saturday- the Jumpers and the Gamble.

Our students did amazing- LOTS of fabulous runs. Some clean, some not but each of our students rocked it and gave it their all. Running hard, digging deep, and trusting their training and their dogs. I love seeing that Relationship put to the test like that.  We are very lucky to have such an amazing supportive group.

Pixel is feeling a bit better this afternoon. This morning she was limping- whereas yesterday she wasn't limping at all. Just sore. I iced it this morning though and that seems to have helped. She will be taking it easy for a few days and if it's not better we will be off to see our vet in Calgary. It's like deja vu. :(  I do think it is nothing major. My fingers are crossed anyway.

So yeah. That's where it is at.

So send some healing thoughts our way- and while your at it send some to Gyp. She was hurt on the weekend as well. :( 

Bah. Agility. I love ya and I hate ya all at the same time.