Sunday, September 29, 2013


Happy 4th Birthday Britty! 
Here's to many, many more. :) 

Saturday, September 28, 2013


I got an email last night that I won the gold scholarship for the class at Fenzi Dog Sport Academy! I am super excited about it!!! It means that I got a free spot at the Gold Level- which is a full spot. Assignments, Video Homework, and comments and discussion afterwards.

I opted for the Shaping Class with Sue Ailsby. I love clicker training, and think that shaping games build valuable learning skills. All of my own dogs are trained with the clicker at some point or another. Dogs are not born knowing how to learn- it is something that is taught as they grow up. The shaping creates a problem solving dog, one that can think things through, and figure out how to earn a reward rather than just waiting around to be told.

 This class will be a real challenge for me- something I am looking forward to!  I haven't been a student in a really long time. ;) And I don't always follow direction well. lol. But it's Sue Ailsby!! It's going to be awesome.

I am assuming there will be a clause in the class about not blogging details, video etc. But I will probably mention it now and again as I get into it.

It took me a bit to decide which dog to use. In the end it was between Pixel and Brit. Pixel is just so adorable. But of all my dogs I think that Brit can benefit from the extra brain work every day. She is my most active "hyper" dog. I will likely do more shaping with the others during the course of the class anyway, but Brit will be the project dog.

photo taken by an iphone, on our way home from a friends. the gold of the fields, and the dramatic sky was enough to make me pull over on the highway. lol. Sorry Jo. ;)

Friday, September 27, 2013

I have a Cold. And it's Friday.

I have a cold. And I have resisted whining about it all week. Until today. It's Friday and I have a whole weeks worth of stuff to do on the weekend. No time for being sick.

Today is the worst day yet. Hot and Cold. My head feels like it's gonna explode. Oh, and I can't breathe. It's fantastic.

Sick or not life goes on I guess.

So today even though I feel like crap I took them for a run. Except I just sat down on the edge of the coulee and took photos of the playing dogs. It was not as good as a full walk, but better than nothing.

I did manage some cute photos. The ones from the earlier blog post about Nell are from the same walk. I love fall colors. Our leaves are just starting to turn, so I'll head down to the river bottom in the next week to catch the oranges and yellows.

Sniffing for stuff

Camo Pixel

The one and only

Vito stole the toy

Pixel complained loudly about it...

Leo always looks a little crazy...

The Pest

Nell is a pup belonging to Scott and Jenny Glen. I am puppy sitting for a few weeks while they are at the National Finals in Virginia. I had her for a week or so when she was itty bitty too, so it was nice to have her again.

She is the sweetest pup. Very personable and friendly. And has a great little temperament. As with most puppies she is certainly pesty. She has earned herself the nickname of "The Pest"

Here are just a few photos from our walk today. Mostly so her owners can see that she is doing just fine. I think she's grown a bit more since she got here too!

pretty girl

happy girl

pesty girl

pesty girl II

windblown girl

more pesty (but respectful of mr. grumpy pants)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Advancement and Education

baby pixel. just because. 
Each set of pet classes I teach start off with an Orientation night. A one hour class that people have to listen to me talk. It's my favorite night. ;)

I talk about what the class entails, what to bring, what to expect, and most importantly I talk about dog training. How dogs learn, how to communicate with them, the importance of a balanced reward system,  and how all of that combined is the key to being able to teach our dogs stuff.

I also talk about myself, my experience, where I started, what I've done. And somewhere along the line I always mention just how far dog training has come in the past 15 years. I feel it is important for people to know- that 15 years ago it was the norm to correct your dog until it figured out what you wanted, but now- not so much.

In my opinion the dog training world is moving quickly in the right direction. Away from chain collars, and correction based training. More into fixing our dogs problems before they start, and using positive, kind methods. I think that mind set is becoming more the norm. Despite the tv personalities that contradict that- I do think that even the joe blow public is starting to get it!

When I ask people in class who has heard of clicker training almost every hand goes up! When I talk about the tools and collars I allow and don't allow in class I often get asked what a pinch collar is! (that is in the not allowed category) Advancement I say! And how do people (average pet owners) learn this? Education!

I recently applied for a Scholarship to one of Denise Fenzi's online classes. One of the questions it asks you is about what your passion is in regards to dog training. I can't remember what I said- but looking back after my most awesome orientation night I think it is Education. Educating the average dog owner that there is a better way. And I think that as dog people it is our job to educate as many people as possible. Because the more people that know and understand even the basics about how dogs learn the better! They will take that information and pass it on to their kids, their neighbors, their friends. And that is how we promote positive training!

I think that also goes for responsible dog ownership on a whole. Educating the public about where to buy puppies from, teaching them how to select the right kind of dog for them, show them that starting to train at a young age will prevent so many issues down the road. It is all connected, and all part of our duty as dog people. I firmly believe that.

If everyone of us- (dog people that is) shared even a bit of our knowledge to one person every day- think about how quickly we could make a difference! Wether in regards to training, or health, or being a responsible dog owner. All important, and all could make the life of a dog just a little bit better.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Not A Newbie

This past weekend I attended a Herding Clinic that was put on as a fundraiser for Herding Dog Rescue. It was at Louanne's place, and was a great weekend!

Even though I get lessons all the time from Louanne, it was a little different this weekend- in that I got four (five! actually) lessons over two days. So things that we worked on once, we worked on again not that long after. I think somethings really stuck with me.

My dogs have made pretty great progress over the summer. They both have their strengths and weaknesses, and I want to always be sure to keep pushing and challenging them and me. We still have so much to learn.

Herding is a challenging sport for a newbie. There is SO MUCH TO KNOW. It is unbelievable really. I feel as though I have just scratched the surface.

This weekend the clinic was for all levels- so there were lots of brand new people. And not Border Collies. So it was really cool to watch them over the weekend- their excited newbie-isms. I remember being there! The feeling of not having a clue but just enamoured with the sheep, and the dog, and really just being scared shitless. lol.

It is nice to not feel that way anymore. I think I actually kind of get the basic gist of things now. lol. Like I said- I have much to learn to still. But I don't get that feeling in my gut anymore- wondering if I am doing the right thing, or not really understanding what I am supposed to do. It's nice. To not be the newbie anymore. ;)

It has been quite the trip so far! And as I get more and more into it I feel that it is something that is in my heart. My soul. And maybe the thing that I've been missing- and I didn't even know it.

Each time to the field is met with excitement, and confidence, and knowing that me and my dog are going to do the best we can. I am so proud of my dogs. And I know I am gushing. But really. Brit and Leo are just so perfect for me and for where I am at right now.

I am a lucky girl for sure!

*photo credit goes to Cindy! Thanks for taking it! I LOVE it. And I don't often say that when I'm in the photo. lol

Monday, September 16, 2013

Getting Old

All of a sudden Wicca is acting old. I've been in denial for a while about it. Mostly because she is often a little sore now and then because of all her old injuries. So I usually just chalk it up to that.

But the other day she couldn't get on the couch. I think we were equally upset. She gave up and went and pouted on a dog bed. I stared at her for a long time and then tried to pick her up. She did not appreciate my help. Wicca does not want help- ever. She is so independent that I think this getting old business is going to be hard for her.

To fix the problem of the couch I now have a 5 foot long ramp in my living room. I tried stairs but she didn't like them either. The ramp she thinks is pretty cool. Although she will still jump off the couch rather than use the ramp... We will work on that part. I am just happy that she chose to use the ramp in the first place!

I am going to build one of my own, and paint it dark so that it doesn't a) take up so much freaking space, and b) stand out so much. It won't be hard and I think I can make it even a bit more secure.

It makes me sad to see her getting old. She is such a vibrant dog! I notice even on walks, and swimming and stuff that she doesn't have the same stamina she did before. But she knows that herself already so doesn't push herself too much. She just steals the toy from whoever went all the way out there and got it. lol.

Something's will never change- regardless and age and mobility! She rules the house- and now the couch again too!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

More Swimming.

I was not feeling well last night or this morning, and had planned to stay in bed and relax. By noon the dogs were driving me crazy. Like pull my hair out crazy. So we went swimming. Less work for me, more work for them. It is the easiest way to exercise everyone. I sit on the edge, and throw the toy. The dogs were in heaven- and again had a great time playing and swimming. My friend Cindy came with her menagerie so it was pretty chaotic. It made for some great photos though!

Wicca and her favorite toy. That we lost. :(

Crazy Face

Mud. Like slippery snot really. lol. I was this >< close to falling on my ass...

Man I love this dog.

Shaking and a-moving...

attractive no?

screamer (and sunar)

Sunar (who is Wicca's half sister)

Pike and his shifty eyes

shaggy monster

lol. I am not sure what to say really.
PS. I even managed to get a new header photo! I needed a group photo for the flickr group anyway. Boone of course didn't want to cooperate. But it totally made the photo even more awesome. lol. Off on his own- as usual. lol

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dogs being Dogs

I took the dogs to a new place today for a swim and nice walk. They had a BLAST! And came home filthy and soaking wet. Just they way the like it. :)

my friend Jen gets ready to throw

swimming. just keep swimming. Leo, Brit, Neena and Scamp in front. Vito trailing behind.

Eye on the Toy. Or something. lol

Go Woo!

Jen's dogs are dangerous. lol

Pixel, and V. lol


a rare smile from Wicca

Boone barked pretty much the whole time.

Vito. Looking extra cute all wet.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday, September 09, 2013


Oh big dark dramatic clouds how I love you. Too bad those clouds are sometimes a reflection of my soul.

We have had our fair share of ups and downs. Weather wise and personally. I'm about ready for the cool calm fall weather to get here!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Back to work

All the dogs are happy to get back into the swing of things. The Border Collies have been on sheep a few times already. I think the little break was good for them. Brit amazed me the other day with her confidence with the drive and the pen. I'm hoping to do the drive from the post at the next trial!!

The other dogs are back into the regular little training stuff. Just fun things like shaping and tricks. Pixel is doing bits of utility. But nothing too serious.

Leo is also learning agility. He is a really fun intense dog to work. But he is a bit of a challenge because he goes on auto pilot really quick. This week we've been working on rear crosses. I'm hoping I can get to some contact equipment on the weekend.

Fun Fun!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Fall Blues

I love fall. The crispness in the air is worth getting up in the morning for. Love it.

But for the past few years every time September rolls around I am met with a few days of sadness. And then I am over it. Moved on and into the cool, briskness that is fall.

The beginning of September has become a reminder of two great dogs that are no longer with me. And even though it has been a few years I still grieve for them. Not all the time of course, but somehow I have associated this time of year with them. One life was over this time of year, and the other a birthday. Two very different things but connected by loss and heartache.

Sam was a Cardigan, my second one. He was a rescue. Crazy, and happy, and loud. The BEST dog. Until he was gone. It was completely devastating to have to make that decision for him. I think that is why it has stuck with me for so long. I have lots of regret when it comes to Sam. If only I had been better educuated. Had more tools, more resources. More help. In my heart I know I did the best I could for him. And of course being a dog he was more than happy with his life. I only had him a few years. But he was such a special dog that he made a lasting impression on me.

Kate would have been 15 years old on the 2nd. Which is an impossible age for a shepherd. But nonetheless. Her death was not tragic, just old age finally catching up to her. But it hurt regardless. She was such a huge part of my life- forever it seemed. She was the dog that kept me in this crazy dog life. A dog who taught me many lessons, and was never easy. She gave me her heart- as only a shepherd can. They are frantic with their devotion- it is completely different than any of my other dogs. I miss her. A blog post about her last birthday.

Maybe writing about these things will help me to be less sad next year. To end the cycle. I know that writing about them has already made the pressure of the sadness release a bit. I have so much to look forward to these days. It's a shame to waste even a day feeling sad- especially about something that cannot be changed or undone.

So here's to feeling better tomorrow. 

Monday, September 02, 2013

Not to be left out...

Not to be left out I want to assure everyone that the three who didn't get to come with me had ample fun. ;)

Here are a few photos from their respective dogsitters. Thanks to Cindy, Wendy and Jo for helping out with the dogs. I knew they were in good hands!

Wicca stayed with my friend Cindy. Where she ruled over everyone with an iron fist. She was very spoiled- fed raw for the two weeks she was there, daily swims in the canal, ample couch time. Despite the spoiling she was happy to see me when I picked her up! That could be because of the trouble she got into now and again. Word is that she got into the fridge- even though it is the kind with the freezer on the bottom.... Apparently she used the conveniently placed freezer to reach even further into the fridge.
lounging on the couch. as the queen. 
the boss is on the left.

on the bed. of course
Pixel stayed with Cindy for a few days, and Jo, and Wendy. lol. She is the easy dog and had no troubles moving around. At Cindys she was an angel. At Jo's she was a little wound up, and at Wendy's she created her usual excited chaos. She seriously has insane amounts of energy. A few days of not a lot can make for a pretty nutty (loud, pushy, obnoxious, naughty) Pixel! Despite her naughty ways she is very charming though. She was BARELY excited to see me. Snot. lol

this very cool photo was taken by Wendy.
she stole the show at Wendy's. This is my most favorite photo.

at Jo's- hanging with the collies
and Boone. He was at Wendy's for the whole two weeks. And I have like a millon photos of him to choose from. I might go away more often!!! Seriously amazing photos. He had a fantastic time, and came home needing a bath but otherwise very happy, content and normal. Love that. He's such a special little guy. I worry about him when I am gone. So it was nice to not have to this time at all!