Saturday, January 31, 2009

Out walking

The other day I was out walking a client's dog. We are approached by another person walking two dogs. As always, I approach in a friendly manner when the dog I am walking is friendly, which this one was, and ask if the dogs may greet. This person finally blurts out that her dogs are NOT friendly, at which point the two dogs GO OFF aggressing at the poor little friendly dog I am walking! GOODNESS, why wait until the last minute, approaching me with NO indication the dogs are not friendly, then blurt out with no time to spare, that the dogs are aggressive? It is well known in the dog behavior community that the more dogs aggress, the better they get at it. Prevention is key and had she simply stated as we first approached that the dogs are not friendly I would have crossed the street and hopefully passed by without incident. When I am out walking Roscoe I clearly inform people from a safe distance that he is not friendly and to avoid us. This person, not only allowed her dogs to aggress, but put my poor little charge in a tough position, while he scurried behind me for protection. I was NOT happy! It took all my will power not to scold that person for allowing all the dogs to be put in that position. If your dogs are not friendly SAY so before another dogs gets within range of setting off your dogs. It's just common sense!

Friday, January 30, 2009

He's always starving!

I made such a comment last night at Rally obedience class. Another student said......"Your being sarcastic, right?" Roscoe is always starving. I suppose he would be like the person who just looks at food and gets fat. Roscoe has the slowest metabolism. He eats about 1/3 of what Colby can eat and she is only 1 pound bigger than him. It's tough, keeping him lean. He gets a lot of non-fat plain yogurt, green beans and canned pumpkin. Sometimes when we do a lot of training and he has gotten a lot of training treats, his meal might be some canned pumpkin, some yogurt and 1/2 plain rice cake. Poor buggar! I suppose his "starving" nature helps with his training. I am always joking he would jump off a cliff for a cheerio! He just might!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Old obedience videos

Searching through my files I found Roscoe's very first obedience trial. This was my first ever obedience competition and this is part of his on-leash heeling pattern. We got a score of 198 for this routine. They are scored out of a possible 200 points, so that is a VERY nice score. He won that class! My camera at the time only took 15 second videos.This is his off-leash heeling.

Snow, snow, SNOW?

Little Roscoe's world is going to get a whole lot smaller soon. At only 12" tall he already has to navigate the paths I make in the yard for him. I try like heck to shovel him an area down to the grass so he can do his business without freezing his paws on ice or snow. That is going to get smaller and smaller, I am afraid.
Yesterday we managed to get to OOB for a LONG beach walk!! On the beach his paws are fine, so we made it almost to the pier and back. We walked with Kathy and George, the border terrier, and my friend Mary and her two black labs. Mary owns the Nestling Duck gift shop on route 9 down there. Lovely huge gift shop you should check out if you never have. She is closed for the winter and Kathy was picking up her unsold baskets. Mary was able to sell more than half of Kathy's baskets!! Cool!! Kathy Maxwell makes the nicest baskets!
On our return to the vehicles over the dunes from the beach both MinPins ended up with cold feet. I picked up Colby and looked back and Mary was carrying Roscoe!!! :O Oh MY! I never heard one word from Roscoe! Mary knows Roscoe well and is unafraid of him, but that doesn't mean he would not bite her. She just know how to gently carry him so he doesn't complain and I think his feet hurt from the cold he was willing to let her carry him. Good little man! Brave little Mary!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obedience seminar form?

I decided to sign up Roscoe for an obedience seminar with Tibby Chase, an AKC judge who has a great reputation. It is a one day event that works on getting "excellence" in your competition routine. I have both MinPins signed up for a Rally Obedience trial the end of February and this will be the weekend before, so it seemed like a good event for us. Well..............I get sent the registration forms and start filling them out. When I come to the questions about my dog it asks some things that my answers will make anyone raise their eyebrows! "Has your dog ever snapped at anyone?" "Has your dog ever grabbed anyone?" "How does your dog react to strangers?" and they go on and on like that. My honest answers would make Roscoe sound like a monster, so I write the person in charge and explain my situation. I explain that Roscoe is all of 9lbs and I manage his behavior so that at these events no one even knows he is aggressive unless they attempt to pat him and I am VERY quick to blurt out......."He is NOT friendly!!!". I never let anyone try to pat him. I also make sure he is not approached by other dogs, so that he never aggresses. I have been in classes with other students who years later heard someone talk about Roscoe's aggression and they comment that they never knew. That's how much I keep control of him and manage him at public events. I explain this to the person and ask if we will still be welcomed even though my answers on the registration will not be good ones! Luckily, she says YES and to put my explanation on my form. Phew! I have never had a seminar form ask such questions and I would hate my answers to cause him not to be welcome. The work is so good for him and he is such a good competition dog. I am very careful and manage him well at such events. I have to, if he were to aggress at a big dog his life could be in danger. I have also learned to have incredible peripheral vision to watch for strangers who might try to pat him. He is SO cute many people don't even think before reaching to pat him and I have to be very watchful for that.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Roscoe's booties

In my desperate attempt to keep the MinPins in good condition in the winter I end up having to attire poor Roscoe in booties! His tiny paws simply freeze and this has been a COLD winter, so far, so we are doing the best we can. If time permits we head to the beach, where on the sand he manages. I do have snowmobile trails we can walk on, but if the temperature is below about 20 he simply can't do it. I feel so bad for him, but he LOVES his walks, so I dress him up and out we go. Trouble is sometimes he wanders off the path and snow builds up in the cuffs of the boots. I stopped that the other day by wrapping the cuffs with vet wrap! Poor little buggar probably felt so confined, but he managed. The sad thing for poor Roscoe is one of his issue and cause of aggression is he hates to be touched. He hates his clothing, hates his booties, but he does LOVE his walks, so he puts up with it.

USDAA Amherst NH agility trial

Yesterday Roscoe competed in the "Feel The Rush" agility trial at American K9 Country. This was a Master's only event. We are trying like heck to get his MAD (Masters Agility Dog) title. All he needs is one Master's Gamble run. Gambles are hard for him because he has to work at a distance from me. Since he is only 12" tall many of the Gambles at these trials are SO far away, it seems. But, I have hope because Roscoe has been willing to head out away from me on course lately. So much so that he is starting to take obstacles off in the distance that I haven't asked for. :O I should be celebrating that, but I really need him to take the obstacles I ask and not go wide or off course!!

However, even though he didn't get his Gamble Q yesterday he still came home with two first places and a fourth. While that sounds awesome, there were only 5 other dogs in his jump class, so while he was better than the others in those two classes, that's not SUCH an accomplishment compared to a first place in one of the bigger class heights. Still, I celebrate every first place, regardless. This is a dog who would totally shut down at trials. And yesterday some great dogs were there, like Nitro the Papillon! It always feels good to beat such accomplished competition!

He is really doing well, though, and I no longer feel worried that I will have a stressed dog on the start line. He is straining to run and running with enthusiasm and that's what it is all about. Good little fellow is finally learning that it is fun and he can do it regardless of the stress around him. I have to be quite vigilant about the crowds and other dogs, though. So many handlers are not aware of their dogs and if they might be sniffing MY dog. Roscoe needs me to constantly be aware and remind the other handlers that HE IS NOT FRIENDLY and to be courteous and give us our space. People with friendly dogs just are not aware and it is a constant battle for me. Roscoe has learned he can count on my to keep other dogs from getting in his face.