Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Something Different

I signed up for an Online course yesterday and I'm pretty excited about it!

Denise Fenzi (who is an uber dog obedience trainer) is doing an online class about Play, and Building Relationships. As soon as I saw it on her blog I wanted to do it, but all the working and auditing spots were taken.. :( So I hummed and hawed for the last week or so about doing it or not. Without feedback, or communication of any kind was it really worth it? Well for $75 I'm going to find out.

As an Observer I still get access to read peoples questions and answers, watch the videos, get the homework, get the lectures etc. So I think it will be worthwhile. The information alone will be useful I think.

I already use play a ton in my training. Tugging, Shoving, Pushing, Food Tossing, toys that are food, Biting, Jumping Up, Nose touches..the works. Whatever the dogs like, I use.  I like a good attitude in the ring, and I've found the best way to get that is with lots and lots and lots of fun. The dog needs to want to be with you, and work for you. But I am missing something- there seems to be a gap in the transition from training to the ring. I know it is me, but I'm hoping that through the play games I can learn how to keep my dogs as up in the ring as they are in training.

Denise uses play in the form of food, toys, and personal touch. She is a positive trainer, who doesn't use harsh, or unfair corrections to her dogs and she still gets super high scores, and her dogs all have a great work ethic. I read every blog post she does, and would really love the opportunity to work with her in person one day.

In any case I am excited to learn some new things about building value, and putting it to use with all of my dogs! (although Brit will be the focus for the class). It will be an interesting experience!

The Class starts tomorrow- you can read about it on the Agility-U website.

I also saw that Kathy Keats is doing a Mental Game class. I am sorely tempted. I could definitely use that right about now.... Agility is something that I am still struggling with.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Whistle while you work...

and drive, and vacuum, and walk, and pretty well any where you go. Apparently that is the key to learning the stockdog whistle. Or so I've been told.

I've been practicing. A Lot! I started out not being able to make any noise. And now I can make lots of different noises. Except that they never sound the same.

And that is the problem. Much like a verbal command it is important that the sound be the same for the dog to learn what it means. And it is way harder than you'd think.

I have have the help of a trusty CD (borrowed from Lisa) that is permanently in my van. I listen to that sucker on every road trip and nearly every morning on my way to work. I can probably recite the damn thing word for word...minus the whistles.

It frustrates me. And makes me try harder. Which probably isn't helping matters much. Before I can teach the whistles to my dog I need to have them consistent. And I'd really like for that to happen.

Because I'd really like to do the "big kids" stuff one day, and whistles are a pretty important part of that!! When your dog is that far away a voice isn't going to carry as well- even mine (and I am a good yeller...)

Speaking of big kids we are hopefully going to do a series of arena trials over the next few months! We will be in the Ranch class- not Open, so it's not quite with the big kids, but at least it's in the same room. ;) I say hopefully because if they don't get enough entries it will be cancelled... I am hoping it isn't cancelled becuase it will be SO MUCH FUN! In the Ranch class you can leave the post once the dog has done the outrun and brought the sheep to you. The outrun is 200 ft- which is bigger than anything we've done so far. So we certainly have some training to do- but it is a good next step and will be a good experience for both of us!!!

So I will continue to whistle every chance I get. I'm hoping to record my instructors again on my phone. I have a Lie Down whistle on my phone, but it's too short. I need like 10 in a row. lol. I think that if I was musically inclined it would be MUCH easier. I don't really have an ear for tones and music... But I'm sure with practice it will come!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Pixel and Brit were awesome at a training match this morning. So happy with both of them. We drove out to Cowley despite the crappy (snowy) roads. There wasn't a big turn out but we took full advantage of the set up.

Pixel rocked in Open. 100% solid on every exercise. Happy Heeling, Happy Fetching, Happy Drop, Happy everything. Woo woo! I definitely feel as though we've turned a corner. I think she really understands each part of what I'm asking her.

Video Proof of her awesomeness!

And Brit did her best ever in Rally. No Cookies, and still super heeling, attention and focus through the whole course. I am very happy with her. She is such a dork sometimes and I know it is hard for her to focus that long. We have to work on our left/about turn as she really has not been taught that. And we both got a little excited on the fast. But otherwise her heeling was super. :)

Video proof of the super cute Border Collie paying attention

Friday, October 26, 2012

More Snow Fun

I met Jo and her dogs for a nice walk tonite. The dogs had a great time, Kort fits right in with the hooligans. The older Collie Tate just hangs out with us mostly, and pees on stuff. ;)

I took my camera even though it was almost too dark. It was very overcast and I coulnd't get the setting right so ended up on auto. Geez.

Anyway- here are some of my favs- Enjoy!

Leo and Kort have matching tails.

Tate is so cute. The older he gets the cuter he gets.

A Boone-Cicle...

Pixel waiting for the toy..

Wicca found a badger hole. Thankfully it didn't look occupied..

Leo can't hold his Licker

Super Model Kort

Thursday, October 25, 2012

On Letting Go

Piper, just one of many dogs I have loved.
I prefer the term "letting go" over quitting. I don't think of myself as a quitter. So it's hard to say that I am quitting. Instead I shall say Letting Go. Or maybe even Doing What is Best for Myself.

I officially have quit (theres that word again) Rescue.

No drama. Nothing horrible happened. Except that I don't care enough anymore. I don't have it in myself to pour my heart into "the job." It is time. Rescue exhausts me. Emotionally. Mentally.

It's one of those things that you either need to be "all in" or not at all. That is evident by the inability to keep (or get) good volunteers. It is hard to balance life and rescue. Not many can do it. I did it for a long time. I've been involved in rescue for 8 years or so. Starting one, and then walking away from it when personal, ethical differences made it impossible to stay. And then starting this one a few years ago with a few like minded friends.

This decision did not come lightly. It is not one of those things that is easy to decide. Lots of factors play a role.

I will be the first to admit I am a control freak. Rescue doesn't really work with that. I can't be in control each step, and yet I feel that it is my job to ensure that each step is done properly. Letting go, and delegating have never been my thing. Because even when it isn't my job, I still take responsibility for it. I feel full responsibility for each and every dog that I intake into our system. From the time they get dropped off, to the time they are adopted and everything in between. So when something goes wrong it feels as though it is a personal failure. Even if it really has nothing to do with me. Combine that exhausting mentality with the people.  I have never been a people person. And I am at the point where dealing with the people makes me angry and frustrated.

a baby Neena....
I love dogs. And I believe in the cause. Every dog deserves a chance. I have contributed to the happiness and quality life of hundreds of dogs. I remember every dog that stayed at my house- even if it was overnight. I remember countless happy faces (both human and canine) on an adoption. I am grateful to have been able to help as many as I did. Rescue dogs will always hold my heart.  But at this point I am just going through the motions. My heart, my passion is not there. Rescue is never-ending. There is always one more dog, one more sad story. I am tired.

The guilt is almost as bad as the decision itself. I feel tremendous guilt. The guilt of walking away from the people that started this rescue with me. Leaving a few also-nearing-the-edge-of-burnout people to deal with even more crap. It's probably the worst part at this point. Giving up is hard.

The guilt of giving up on a cause that I used to fight for. The guilt of not being able to help. There are SO MANY dogs that need help. Good dogs. Dogs that may slip through the cracks... It is tough. A hard decision. I think of all the dogs I've helped, and loved. All the work the WCCR has done. It is astounding that such a small group of dedicated people can do that. I am sad to not be a part of that anymore. But it is for the best.

Along with the guilt comes relief. Relief that it is not my worry anymore. But that same feeling just makes me feel worse.  :(

I will still help out when I can, on a much smaller scale. I don't want to get the emails, the phone calls, and the heartache. I want to be like everyone else, and just pretend that someone else will fix the problem. I will always take the hardluck cases as long as I have the space and time. Leo will stay with me until he is ready to find a home. He is getting there...slowly.

The decision has been weighing on my mind, and my heart for months.  But my own mental health and happiness needs to take a front seat. For once. And so life will go on. No one is irreplaceable. The rescue work will continue. Without me. I will hopefully be able to move on from the guilt. And work on building back the person I am.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The first snow of the year arrived in an angry swirl of snowflakes, wind, and cold. We woke up to a winter wonderland. Great fun to play in, not so fun to actually live in. lol

Day 1 over and already I am sick of shoveling...

In anycase the dogs certainly love the white stuff! I debated about braving the crappy roads to run them in the coulees, and when the sun was still peeking out after some housework the dogs and I headed out.

The coulees looks so beautiful covered in snow- and we were the first people to be out at our favorite walking spot! What could be better than fresh snow for photos??!!

Well, maybe snow that hadn't drifted two feet high...

I quickly discovered that a walk wasn't going to happen. The snow was too deep for the shorties. I worry about them bounding through deep snow, especially since both Pixel and Wicca have shoulder problems...

So we played in the parking lot and on the very edge. Where the snow wasn't too deep. The dogs had a great time running and playing. Lots of barking, and wrestling, and chasing. I was smart and wore waterproof pants so was able to sit in the snow and take photos/toss the toy once in a while.

on the hunt...

Look!!! Boone interacting! (his sweater gives him confidence...)

three's a crowd snow version

Wicca gets what she wants

handsome snowy Boonie

maybe if he yells loud enough she'll drop it??

Snow Leo

Proud of his find

a leaping Brit
 I now have a quiet house. Which is good as it is too cold to go out again. Tomorrow is my day off. I may stay in ALL DAY....

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Afternoon Excitement!

Well, I just sent off my entries for the Kennel club show in November. I waffled back and forth for a few weeks and today I decided to just do it.

Pixel needs one more leg for her CDX. One more leg. She still has bits and pieces of things that seem to falling apart. So I was really torn about even entering. I know she is capable of higher scores, but frankly my training just hasn't been what it needs to be. So we will just have to take what we get. In any case I entered her in three trials. Two Saturday, and one on Sunday. She has so much fun doing all the little exercises, I just need to put it all together a bit better. There has been no sign of a limp for a week now- so I will go back to doing a little bit of training every day.

I entered Brit in Rally Novice. She has one leg, from a trial last winter. Her heeling has improved a lot since then, as has her confidence. I'm hoping that all of our "obedience is fun" games will pay off! The nice thing about rally is that it is a great stepping stone- I can talk to her, and help her out as much as she needs. It is a good experience I think, and will help to prepare her for Novice.  She is slowly building up duration, so maybe by Spring she will be ready for real Obedience...

And the most exciting part of my entry? Wicca. She needs only one combined Advanced/Excellent Q for her RAE title. It's been more than a year since she has done anything fun (obedience or agility). She is fairly sound now unless she does something stupid like jump out of the van, or go bounding through the coulees. Or fetch. So I am hoping that she will stay sound, and that I won't be making her sore again by putting her in two times. There is a jump. Possibly three if the Excellent uses it twice. But it is 8 inches. And will be at a trot. I've spent the last few months working on teaching her to heel without looking at me. It was hard beacuse she really didn't get it. lol. But I think we've got it figured now. I still don't practice very much but Wicca is easy, and smart. She will remember the second we step into the ring. I'm really looking forward to being back in the ring with her. It's like an old shoe ya know.

So I'm excited, but oddly nervous.

Oh, and possibly Brit will be able to race at least once in Scenthurdle too!!! She is not super reliable yet with excitement though. I find it tough to run a practice and train my own dog. I need to make a point of getting her out for each of the drills and training. She needs that experience for sure.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Vito's Dirty Little Secret

Vito, Vito, Vito...

*and uh, as a disclaimer I was hollering at him as I took the photo.... He isn't allowed to go around humping dogs... But it's funny. Mostly because she doesn't seem to care (she's too busy staring at Pixel...)

Happy Weekend!

A Walk in Photos

Three's A Crowd (they often walk like this all together)

Ever get that feeling???

Vito says Hi!

On the Run.

Wicca, coming over to see why I'm sitting down on a walk...

Leo has the longest tongue...ever.

Happy Brit

and Boone. Who spends the whole walk by himself...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Gorgeous Fall Day

A Gorgeous Fall Day, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Wicca stops to take in all the smells that are blowing around. The dogs and I have been taking advantage of the mild fall weather.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Heeling, Heeling, Heeling

I took Brit and Pixel to the Cowley Hall this morning for some Obedience training. It is a busy place on training days- and today was no exception. Two "rings" going on at the same time side by side.

 I put Pixel in a whole routine. Due to her limp we have only done little bits of heeling training wise. It showed. lol. Her heeling was great- my footwork was the only little issue. She did every front and finish, but the she did not Drop on Recall, and She ran up to the broad jump and perched on it. SIGH. BIG SIGH. We already trained through that, or so I thought. But her stays were perfect and her attitude good. Lots of really great things today so I'm happy. Just more to work on...

 I did little bits of a Novice routine with Brit. She is no where near ready to do the whole thing, and any mega heeling. But I wanted to see what I got in a distrating environment. We are still using "the spoon" as a focal point to keep her head up (and not swiveled).  So we did a short heeling pattern, figure 8, a stand, and a recall

Watching the video I can see she needs more work on keeping her butt in. She knows how to "get in" but I don't want to remind her all the time so we will have to work on building up the duration of the actual position.  Also my friend Liz pointed out that I need to hold my spoon more still. lol. In the video I can see that wherever it went she followed. So if it moved too far ahead or whatever so did the dog. I may go back and try my armband stick thing, but it was just so uncomfortable. lol.

She had great attitude though- even though the distractions were pretty big! We have never had people as posts for a figure 8 so she was a little confused at first. lol. But the second one was beautiful!! Her Stand is solid, and her fronts are the best of any of my dogs... I think with more training, time and maturity she will be as good of a heeling dog as the corgi girls. I am pretty pleased with her today!!! It gives me an idea of how much we have to work on still.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Vito went to the beach yesterday with Wendy. He is still tired this morning. 
Thanks for tiring out my dog, and taking awesome photos!!! 

Monday, October 08, 2012


These four dogs in one house spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

I am dogsitting Jen's dogs for the weekend. It's chaos. Barely controlled chaos. You have three dogs (Neena, Brit, and Leo) all trying to control one another, and then Scamp standing in the middle a little confused. lol. Four Border Collies is crazy. Just sayin.

So to fend of the craziness in the house we have been walking- a lot. Between all the extra walks, and the "i-thought-i-was-gonna-die" sickness I had on Friday/Saturday I've probably lost a pound or two..

This morning we woke to pouring rain. So out we went. I put rain clothes over my pyjamas. lol. 2 hours later I had some tired dogs. The Corgi girls are mad they didn't get to go. But after the beach run the other day Pixel was sore again.. (sigh.)

Here are some more photos from our wet walk this morning...

Leo in hiding..
Vito in the lead...briefly
plotting trouble.
This is what I see for most of the walk. Zooming Border Collies.
P.S Jenilee I know that Scampie was supposed to stay on leash. But look into these eyes and tell him no.....

Saturday, October 06, 2012

A Beach!!!

A Beach!A real live beach. I had heard about this beach from a friend and took a few of the dogs to check it out today. Amanda. S and her little pug Izzie came along, and we ended up seeing Wendy and Marlin there too!

I think it is my new favorite place. Nothing for miles except sand, and water. The dogs had a freaking blast. Even though it was cold and windy they ran and ran and ran some more. It was awesome.

Here are a few of my favorite photos...

I left Boone at home with Scamp and Neena (Im dogsiting.) Because of Boones flight risk I like to scope out a new place before taking him. And I wasnt sure how the honeybadger (Neena) would be with Izzie so she stayed home.

But we will be going back very soon!!!