Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Great Dog Training Day.

Yesterday was a great dog training day. I was lucky enough to be off at noon and was able to enjoy the great weather. It was wonderful.

I took the dogs for an extra long walk at Park Lake (and narrowly missed being caught with 6 dogs off leash. lol). And then went herding.

I am feeling sort of stuck with Brit right now. She is and always has been a dog with limits. She doesn't take pressure well at all, and things need to be taught slowly and carefully to ensure that she understands. Herding is full of pressure, and grey areas. So it's tough for a dog like Brit. But we have done amazing things so far- things that even my trainer didn't think she'd be able to do. So I have hope that we can continue to move forward. But driving is hard when there seems to be this magical line that she can't/won't cross to push them forward.

Anyway, so because of our recent struggles I've gone back and am working on different things for a bit. Open flanks on the fetch for one, and a quicker stop. And my timing. So yesterday was great for Brit because she was confident on each thing I asked her to do. So we were both happy.

Leo is learning to drive. And so we worked on that mostly, with a few inside flank drills on the side. We also worked on keeping calm with the actual farm work portion of the day. It's his job to help me sort the ram from the ewes. I won't even attempt that with Brit because the ram always puts up a fight. Because of that Leo goes in- you guessed it- looking for a fight. So we went slow, and I kept him well off the stock and it was very smooth and calm. Perfect. He's a good boy mostly.

I also did some dogwalks outside at my friends- the snow and ice had melted mostly. I was happy to see that he was able to generalize somewhat from the place we normally train to this one. Our contact training is taking forever- he is so smart and would have it down pat already if I was doing it more. Cannot wait for spring!

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing little things with the other dogs. Wicca is LOVING the nose work. I mean, she's very good and is quite driven to find it. Pixel worked on some obedience, and Vito and Boone did some recall games in the backyard. Phew.

And if that's not busy enough Tuesday nights is my actual agility night- so Leo did his first few full teeters! His targeting is so good! I am looking forward to seeing how it transfers to a more exciting environment!

And that's a wrap, of a good dog training day.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wallys Beach

Some friends and I went out to Wally's Beach on the weekend. It is a reservoir lake that is usually pretty abandoned in the winter. In the summer it is the best beach in our area- including fine sand, and blue, blue water.

Winter is best though as it is great for dogwalking. :)

Vito and Boone didn't get to come- I was a bit worried about the lake/ice situation so needed dogs with good recalls. The boys unfortunately do not. So they got a coulee walk earlier in the day.

Anyway, I brought my camera and took a crap load of photos. It was a perfect day for photos- sunny, but not too sunny. And I even got the settings mostly right. lol

On an aside, I am really really missing my bigger lens.  But oh well. I'm stuck with the shortie for a while! The big one is broken. :(

Leo, who cannot pose.

Running dogs.

Corgis front and center (and a photobomb by Mud)

Okay! The release from a group stay.

Digging in the mud

Taylor, and Leo in the corner

Proof Brit was there. And you can see how open the area is!

Digging in the snow

Happy Pixel

Taylor- who is a Heinz57. Shaggy and Cute.

The best photo of the day.  I was trying to get a picture of Leo. And it became a photo of Mud. lol

Pretty Pixel

Handsome Leo

Woo <3

Parker, my friends one year old Flatcoat

Pike- looking goofy for a change!
It was a great walk. I wish I had time for more of those in my life! I love that peaceful, carefree feeling. I only get that once in a while it seems.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bad Kelpie

A little bad  blue kelpie to distract you!

This is Mud. And he's crazy. And mostly naughty. But sometimes there is a glimmer of a good kelpie in there. Somewhere. He's young still, so I assure his owner there there is hope yet. ;)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cute, and Perfect Too!

Bo has been staying with me for a few days while his owner is away. He comes from a long line of uber-fantastic herding dogs, and will likely grow up to be a uber-fantastic herding dog himself. In the mean time he is completely cute, and perfect. Puppies are fun, but really are a lot of work. I forget that I don't like puppies much, until one comes for a visit and I am glad to send them home. lol. Even mostly perfect ones like Bo. ;)

so smart, and eager to do the right thing. 

fantastic toy drive, not that that will be useful later- but it's cute now!

just enough crazy.

big noses run in the family.


and one more from a few days ago (pre-snow). 

he's practicing for when he's bigger...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fresh Snow

Our snow had all blown away, or turned into a solid chunk of ice. So I was happy to hear that we were getting more today! It's so pretty and white, and the dogs love it. It helps that it is pretty mild temperature wise too!

I took my camera out after work just while the dogs were playing in the yard. Tomorrow is my day off. We are excited about that. I think we will go for a long walk, do some herding, take my sister to a very important appointment, and then Scenthurdle practice. Phew. Nothing like a day off. ;)

Anyway, here are some photos from today! More puppy pictures tomorrow!

Pretty Pixel 
Catching Snow Balls

this is Bo. He is UBER cute, and quite the perfect puppy. More photos tomorrow of him!

Boonie pointy nose. 

Joe thinks snow is dumb.

Wicca thinks it tastes good.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Adorable Joe

I am dog sitting, THIS adorable creature.


he comes with a Border Collie puppy- who will get a post of his own tomorrow. Serious Cuteness around here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Scenthurdle Fun, Nosework, and the big "C"

This weekend was pretty busy- even by my standards.

on our way to scent hurdle!!!
Saturday our Scenthurdle team raced as two for the very first time. It went much smoother than I had anticipated. I was really worried about how it work with two teams instead of one. And really, I shouldn't have worried at all!

Both teams did a great job. Some kinks to work out- and it's a little tougher now to make sure the teams are balanced- but for the most part everyone was fantastic. The thing I like most about my teams, and even scent hurdle in general is the good sportsmanship, and relaxed atmosphere. We are all friends, and even the other teams are all very friendly and supportive. It's very cool, something you don't see very often in other sports.

My own dogs did so awesome. Brit especially completely blew me away. She was right on, which is unusual for her. lol. She was also super quick- and was excited and pulling at the start to go. I love her enthusiasm. Pixel of course was fantastic. She raced every race. Which is a lot. But we had no other choice. Thankfully the jumps are low, and there was quite a few breaks between our races. Because there were so many races it is very likely that every dog on our team earned their next title. It is hard to keep track of so Jolene does that. lol.

Sunday a friend and I planned a Nosework training day. We are trying to get (and keep) some interest in our area. We had brought an instructor here a few months ago to get us started, so yesterday we just built on that. And gave some newbies the run down. ;)

Wicca was amazing! I haven't trained at all. Like not once. But she is just so smart. She had a lot of fun. And we even did two blind searches (where i didn't know where it was hidden). The first one she rocked- the second was much harder and I need to be sure to keep her on track and checking things in order and not scatter around the room. lol. But she did get it. I have video of that on my iPad. I'll post it later when I get home. I am going to make more of an effort to practice at home because she really did have a great time, and it was nice to train something with her again.

And the big C. Cancer. I hate Cancer. It's not fair. The reason Pixel had to race every race is that our other height dog was diagnosed with Cancer- and went downhill so fast that he was at the vet on IV within a few days of being sick. Thankfully his owner was able to afford, and they had the option for surgery. He had a big chunk of his intestines cut out, and is finally doing a bit better after surgery. He is not out of the woods yet as he didn't do so well right after the surgery. But word is that he is up and eating finally. He will start Chemo in the next few days. Crawford is a very special little dog- and I love him as if he was my own. I fostered him when he came into rescue and am good friends with his owner. He is a little dog with a big personality (typical pembroke!) and was greatly missed at our race on the weekend. So fingers crossed that the surgery and chemo work and he will be back to normal in no time!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Beat Goes On...

Well we are home- and I've been spending all weekend trying to get back into real life. Yesterday was pretty much a bust, but today I had a good time at the Arena trial. I almost cancelled at the last minute, but I thought it would be better to keep busy. I am glad I went- it was fun as always. I just love watching dogs, we have some pretty talented dogs and handlers that participate- so it is always interesting to watch.

My own dogs were 50/50. lol. One of them was awesome, the other not so much.

Leo was fantastic. He was keen, and zippy but still listening and didn't stall out at all. I chose to not even try the drive part as last time it just wasted time. So I stuck to my plan of heading for the wall and being there to help him. It worked great and our time was fast enough for first place! Yay Leo!

Brit had a good start- nice outrun, and had a good pace at the top, but it went down hill on the drive. We could not get our shit together enough to get around the barrel at the top. Her sheep were heavy and pushing on her- and she was very unsure. I finally gave up and just continued on- I didn't want to make her have a bad experience as the last time something bad happened it took me a long time to fix it! We finished with a pen- so not an entirely bad run. But that driving stuff is hard for her. She is okay if it's easy and the sheep are just trotting along- but any pressure and she gets flanky and/or backs off. The run wasn't entirely her fault of course. I had some bad timing. lol. Oh well, live and learn!

I didn't think to take a camera, but Cindy recorded it on her iphone. Not the best quality- but still awesome!

Here is Leo's run. I still have to get Brits.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

His Last Sunrise

He waited for us. That's what I've been thinking for the last few hours.

We arrived at the house yesterday evening and spent most of the evening- and into the late hours at my grandpas side.

Holding his hand. Cherishing each squeeze. Telling him stories. Remembering.

This afternoon he passed away. At home. Surrounded by love.

I am imagining him with my Gram. Finally able to give her a kiss after all these years of missing her.

I am conflicted. Happy. And Sad. My heart is happy that he doesn't have to work so hard to take a breath. That his suffering is over. That he is reunited with my Grandma- the love they have is unlike anything I have ever seen.

But I am so sad. I miss him already. I am so grateful that we made it here in time. That he was able to hang on a few more days. He had told me he wasn't sure he could. So I am thankful. To have the opportunity to say goodbye. To hold his hand. To tell him I love him. That is the most important thing.

I took this photo this morning. Maybe I knew it would be his last.

Monday, January 06, 2014

A Journey

Leaving tomorrow to say Goodbye to my Grampa one last time. So hard. So sad. But one of life's challenges I suppose.

Please keep me and my family in your thoughts.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Wicca is 10.

Today Wicca is 10.

10 seems like such a big number. I find it hard to believe she is 10. I try not to think about it much. But 10 or not, she is definitely a senior citizen now. Not that she is treated any different- she has always been spoiled, and bossy, and pretty much gets to do what she wants. She is my heart after all.

I have noticed in the past year or so that she is definitely aging. Not only is her color fading- but her energy too. She used to be the first dog to the toy, and now Pixel beats her- but still gives it to her. ;) She is slow to get up in the morning, and on cold days will curl up by the heat vent. Her favorite spot is the arm on the sofa. She can survey her kingdom, but be comfortable at the same time.

Other than that she is the same old Woo. Waking you up by rolling on your head, grunting and groaning the whole time. Bitchy and Bossy- sometimes to extreme. I watch her carefully now though and get on her case if she pushes the big dogs around too much. I don't think she would fair well in a fight anymore. Still sooo smart. We still train and do stuff. We've been doing Nosework- which she is a big fan of. We don't do too many tricks anymore as she likes to do things fast so tires out really quickly. And she is still number 1 in my heart. I know we aren't supposed to have favorites. But I do. I can't help it. I don't love my other dogs any less- but Wicca holds a special spot in my heart.

In celebration of 10 wonderful years my friend Andy (of Blazingstar Flatcoated Retrievers) did a photo shoot for me. The photos are completely awesome. I love them all- because they show WHO Wicca is. In each photo he captured her personality, her temperament, her attitude. Fantastic.

Yay for Birthdays. A day all about me! 

I'm how old?

that means extra cookies right?

I can do anything. No, really. Even if that means acting like a flatcoat for a few seconds.  

I hate you. I may kill you in your sleep.

This is against the rules right? 
Here's to many more Birthdays. I can't imagine my life without her- so she better continue to stay healthy.