Saturday, March 30, 2013

We have a visitor!

 Little Nell, from Altapete Stockdogs came home with me today. She is going to be hanging out for a few days. Learning about life, and city stuff, and most importantly a little bit of extra socialising.

Nell is about 12? weeks old and is possibly the cutest thing ever. Not only is she adorable but she is full of sass, attitude, and go. Love her. She loves all people, and all dogs and is not afraid of anything. She is a little spitfire, and I love the edge she has. Trouble with a capital T!

However, She is very bossy with other dogs and needs to learn to respect her elders, and peers. lol She's a bit of a bully with the Altapete litter. And pretty much runs the show. She is smart though and knows exactly who she can bully, or how far she can push. Brat.

The other thing we are working on is housetraining. She has no idea about that yet. So I set up an xpen in the kitchen for her. For the times I can't watch her etc. Boone has decided it's just for him though. lol!

Puppies are a lot of fun, but a lot of work. I am tired after just an afternoon with the little beast. Off to wake her up though so that we can sleep tonite. ;) Tomorrow she will get to come to Easter dinner, and visit with my nephew and family.

(these are all iPhone pics except the top one..sorry. lol)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day One of Awesomness.

An absolutely beautiful day today. Agility this morning, a walk with the crew, and then out to the Altapete Farm for the afternoon.

I managed to snap a few photos while working Brit. She is listening so well these days! It is weird.

Look!!! Louanne!!! Driving. Sort of. If drunks drove. I mean...

She doesn't believe in Pace.

Double Trouble. Brit and her buddy Laddie
and a new tradition is born. The Easter Sheep.
And you know what is most awesome about today? That there are three more days left of the weekend. I am really looking forward to Easter this year. Nolen (my nephew) is a hoot, and I plan to get some family photos... maybe. lol.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Welcome Feeling.

Tonite it felt so good to train a dog in agility. 

Even if it was just one jump, some jump bumps and ground work. 

Leo's first night at agility as my dog. 

A pretty awesome (and welcomed!) feeling.

That is all.

Easter Corgi

Easter Corgis bring Cookies. Not Chocolate. 
Just an FYI. 

She is such a good sport. ;) 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sunny, Sunny Saturday

I spoil myself. I really do. Today I slept in. Like until 9:30!!!  Fed the dogs. And we were off for the day. A nice leisurely walk in the middle of no where. There is almost zero chance of seeing a single person. Today we walked for a good hour and a half. Took some photos- Leo got to participate in a group photo! He was very good. Unlike a certain Pyr Shep who would not sit still and had to be tied to Wicca... (see new header photo...)

puppy Dixson
And then down the road to Altapete where I played with puppies, talked dogs, and then worked Brit and Leo. I really, really enjoyed myself today. The weather was perfect. Brit and I held sheep for the first time today for someone else. We did not too badly. lol. She is not very good at patience, so we will work on that more.

I worked her on my own today while Jenny went in search of a long line and leather gloves for bad boy Leo...

We worked on "there" and I think she's got it. I made myself use a "there" instead of a liedown, and actually got her turning in on the sheep even off balance. We also did inside flanks, which she has very limited knowledge of. This worked good with the "there" stuff. I ended with just a few little drives. She is not confident with this at all but she needs to learn it's no biggie. The sheep were heavy and lazy though so it was hard on her little brain. lol.

photo by Jenny Glen

Leo is so good with a long line on! A little cautious. Which is a good thing. I've been struggling with him for the past month or so. He gets so fired up that a stop becomes a battle. The long line takes that fight away. He's starting to understand that I want a bend all the way around and we got some good distance. I am going to try and get a lesson with Scott when he gets back and see if he can help me even more. Leo is so different from Brit it is hard to re-learn everything.

Anyway, now here I sit. Tired dogs at my feet. It's going to be a movie night at my house tonite. And probably early to bed after being so busy today!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Winter Returns

Oh Winter. I was hopeful that the weatherman was wrong. No such luck. Although it was a great day despite it. A beautiful walk this morning with all the dogs- pre snow. A great herding lesson, after I got to play with puppies. A leisurely afternoon, and a quick snowy romp for the Border Collies +1...

R-e-a-d-y! Brit eyes up Neena for some chasing fun
Scamp, before he takes off into blast mode
A bit of toy play
dog pile
the dog in red. is Red. ;) A friends mini bull terrier that I'm looking after for a few days.
Although the snow is pretty I am really sick of it. We can't complain much though as we've had it pretty good for most of the winter. But still. It's supposed to be spring now. Bring on the green grass. And some sun!


Boone is a bit of a nut. He has lots of fears. Mostly irrational, and often uncontrollable. He has lots of frantic energy and can be a challenge sometimes. Unpredictable is a good way to describe him. He can go from happy, care free to a full out panic... When he is not being weird he is loveable, and sweet, and really easy to be around.

He wears his Thundershirt when the weather is iffy, or if we are traveling long distances. I haven't tried medication because for the most part he is pretty good. I work hard to keep his crazy temperament at bay with lots of exposure, and positive reinforcement.

When I was last at my vet clinic for Brit I saw a pamphlet for this food- Royal Canin Calm. I asked the receptionist about it, if they had sold much, what the response has been etc. They didn't know really so I ordered a bag to try.

I know, the ingredients are less than ideal. lol. But for me personally if it helped to take the edge off even a bit it could be beneficial. I don't know why it works, and can't explain it. But. It has been three weeks. And I *think* I am seeing a difference. For real.

Some examples.

For the last week he has fallen asleep in the middle of the living room. On multiple occasions. This has never, ever happened before. He is usually far too insecure for that.

He has been seeking out attention, and actually cuddled on the couch.

He played in the yard last week- even though it was windy and the trees were blowing around.

On our leash walk yesterday a bus passed us and he didn't spin, or shrink! That is pretty huge.

I also notice he seems happier, calmer, and just relaxed. Which is unusual for him a lot of the time.

I could be reading into it too much. Seeing things that aren't there. But I'm convinced enough to try another bag. I am only half way through the first one, and called to order the second.

I am not sure that I would keep him on the food long term. I may mix it with something of better quality and see if it still seems to be helping. Or maybe I'll just keep him on it exclusively. I'll be watching for signs of itching, or bowel problems, but so far so good. Nothing different- except his behavior....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tongues and Blue Skies

Today is the first day of Spring. And it actually feels and looks like it! That is until tomorrow when the snow storm blows in. But for today I am embracing it! The dogs had a great walk, and were actually hot!

We played in the mowed area of the field for about half an hour after the walk so they are all completely passed out now.

A Happy, Happy Boone
Brit, hot but still wanting to play
The bad corgi girls
Blue Sky Brit
Mr. Long Tongue
Pixel played the roll of the "pick up girl" if Leo wouldn't bring the ball all the way back. She liked that job.
Leo, not so graceful off sheep. lol
Boone happy, and hot.
Corgi's taking a rest.
Leo was so hot he had to take refuge in the only puddle he could find..
Oh, and you may have noticed the lack of Vito in the photos...He was on the hunt for gophers the whole time so I have exactly one photo...of his butt. And it's not in focus. lol. I assure you he was there though. ;)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Face of Worry

This is the face of a dog who doesn't really "get" how to be normal. Tense, Worried, Unsure.

In the 7 months that I've had him Leo has really come a long way. There are things that have improved dramatically. But he hasn't reached his potential yet. Not even close. In one word I can tell you what he needs. Relationship. He doesn't understand that it's okay. That it will be okay.

He needs to trust. He needs to know that someone loves him. He needs to feel secure. I know this because this is not my first experience with a dog like Leo.

I haven't been able to give him that. Relationship. This whole time he has not been my dog. A foster dog, a project. All of my fosters have of course gotten bits of my heart. Afterall I spend countless hours with them- training, living, teaching. But they aren't mine. If I were to give my heart to each of them I'd never be able to give them up. And I have fostered a lot of dogs. A lot of really fabulous dogs. And while I love them, it's not the same as your own dogs. Those that have fostered dogs know what I am trying to explain. It's a different feeling. And most dogs aren't affected by that partial relationship. They go on their merry way, ready for a new life.

But not this kind of dog. This kind of dog needs all of a person in order to move past this point he is at. This dog is sad. Except when he is working, or playing. Then he is fine. But in life, in the house, at my feet, in the neighborhood, wherever- there is a sadness. With this very expression on his face. Uncertainty.

And for good reason I suppose.

With the recent bite, and his unpredictable reactions to people it sure limits the chance of a perfect home coming along. How can I expect someone else to trust him if I can't. There are not many homes that are suited for a dog like Leo. And the ones that are don't want a dog like Leo. It is a catch 22. The good home he deserves isn't going to come until his behavior is better. But his behavior is not going to improve much without a real, genuine relationship. And even then he can never be trusted 100%.

I could never pass on the problem to someone else, or just forget about him and pawn him off to the rescue. Giving up on a dog is the last resort. I don't feel like his behaviour warrents euthanasia. He is not a bad dog. But he could be a dangerous dog. Whoever takes on a responsibility like that needs to understand the nature of that. This last incident is an example that it only takes a second. Even in the hands of someone who (mostly) knows what they are doing.

So. He will stay. Permanently.

I do not need six dogs. I do not need another dog with issues. His baggage could fill a room. I certainly did not intend for this to happen. I had planned for a puppy- four or five years down the road when my older dogs are old. But sometimes fate hands you something entirely different. He was just another scared foster dog who would be here for a while to learn about life. Just like countless others.

This has not been an easy decision. It has weighed heavily on my mind for a week. Is it fair to my current dogs to add one more? Can I do him justice being one of six? Do I have the time to give? Do I have the heart? Is it the right decision? Or is it the only option left? Is it a decision of convenience? Pity? Can I love him? Can I save him? What if he hurts someone? At what point do I draw the line? Am I willing to take that responsibility? Am I willing to make that last decision for him? Can I stand that heartache if that were to happen?

I don't really have all the answers yet. Time will tell.

So things will change for Leo now. The rules will change, the expectations greater, and even more time will be spent. Mostly I will let him in. I will build a relationship with him. And see where that takes us.

Who knows, maybe my next agility dog has been laying at my feet for the last 7 months...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Arena Trial

What a good dog I have. :)

The Highwood Stockdog Arena trial was this weekend and we won third overall!!!

It was definitely our best weekend to date.

We did manage to get the barrels the first run, but not the second. I should have stopped her and flanked her the other way to catch them... I debated seeing if she would drive them up to the top again, which what the wait was while I thought about that. lol.

Round 1

Round 2

Friday, March 15, 2013

Two Years

Two years ago one of the best things in my life walked through the door and into my heart.

What a life changer she has been. 

Happy Gotcha Day Brit. Here's to many more.<3

(her actual gotcha day was the 13th....I'm a little late)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Setback

Tonite I brought Leo to the agility barn while I taught. The first class is too big for me to be able to watch him but the second class is small and low key. He has come with me to the arena more than a few times and has always been very good. Mooching treats. Sitting for pets. Charming all the people there...

Tonite he nipped at someone who ran by. It was near the end of class. He was in a down, relaxed at my feet. She ran by and all I felt was the leash go tight. Followed by a tearing sound.

He ripped her pants. High on the leg. No puncture. But there will be a bruise. It was a nip with intent to grab.


I feel awful. On two counts.

First off for the person he nipped. Secondly for Leo.

The person he nipped at did nothing wrong- and she has been very good about it. Probably makes my guilt worse.

When Leo nips it has been completely motion based- its' not about who, it's about what. This is his issue. It is a real issue- not something that is going to go away really. And I know that. I know better. But I still blamed the dog. I was angry after he did it though and did get after him. Nothing major of course but he knows I was not happy with him. He is still slinking around an hour later at home...

This kind of setback is more mine, than his. I put him in a situation that had the potential for him to lose control, didn't watch him close enough in said situation, and gave him the opportunity to hurt someone. It is completely and utterly my fault.

In my defense, I truly thought that he was past the point of such impulsive decisions. I have worked very hard with him. And because he has been so good lately I guess I let my guard down. He is a good example of why this sort of thing is hard to manage. It doesn't ever really go away.

Lately I've been giving thought about what kind of home would suit Leo. And up until today I was thinking he could really go to just about anyone who has experience with border collie-isms, and the patience and time to help him adjust. I mean he is absolutely perfect to live with. He is smart, fun to train, and is eager to please. I've had him for seven months. And he has learned a lot in those seven months. He will soon be my longest "project" dog. After this today I am just not sure. My fear is that I will find him a "perfect" home and that something bad will happen. He will nip, or growl at someone, or his behaviour could get worse until he is back to where we started, or he will really bite someone.... I don't think I could live with the guilt of that happening.

Ugh. Just Ugh.

Tomorrow I will hopefully feel better about things. But right now I feel like shit.

I have no idea now what the plan should be. I guess back to the drawing board for more impulse control training. Thankfully I have good friends who are willing to be guinea pigs... Jen, you better get your carharts on...

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Hold it

Dumbbell 10/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

I'm working on a blog post that outlines all the steps I take to get a fetch, and hold. And maybe some video too....

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


I took my little lens today and shot from the hip (ankle) almost the whole walk. It's always a surprise to see what you get. lol.

I wish I could be more like my dogs- happy and care free, focused only on whats ahead and not in the past. Pixel especially. That is one happy dog. Yipping, and running around with a huge grin on her face. Thinking only about what pocket the toy might be in, and when Supper is.

Monday, March 04, 2013

After the Blizzard

Blogger is being stupid and won't let me upload any more photos for some reason...But here are some of my favorites from our most awesome walk today. The dogs are tired now and chilling at my feet. The snow was perfect today- not too deep, or too soft. They all got a good work out!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Best Ever.

Today was an action packed day- Obedience training at Cowley in the morning. There were LOTS of puppies in attendence, and two of my newer Rally students came out for the first time too. I worked Brit and Pixel. Brit did a rally course- her heeling is getting better although I constantly have to remind her to get in. Which is annoying. So I am going to go back and work on stationary, and one/two steps to see if I can include touching me in the criteria....  Pixel did a whole Open routine and her heeling was amazing. She missed her Drop though- but everything else- even the out of sights were great. So I left pretty happy!

The afternoon was spent at Altapete. Brit is making some real progress- today for the first time she actually looked like a trained dog and not just a yahoo Border Collie running after sheep 100mph. lol

This is definitely the best Outrun she has done to date- nice and deep, and at a good pace.

Leo worked today too. He continues to impress me. Today he caught a run away not once, but twice, and didn't give up. He's quite the dog. He is still learning his flanks, and about balance, and pace, and distance. But instead of learning about all of those things one at a time like Brit did he is being taught it all at once. He is a tougher dog than Brit and has no trouble with PRESSURE...

Weather permitting I'll be going out again tomorrow to play with puppies, and sheep. ;)