Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's new? Nothin', wet, damp, moldy, sloppy, wet........

Did I say wet already? Wet, wet, wet, wet, wet, wet.............it's just WET! Does this look familiar?

And they had not even been chasing mamma turkey through the tall grass. This was after a regular walk on the mowed path. If I was not worried about my camera getting wet I would bring it along to show all the snails that LOVE the grass clippings along the edge of the path. They must like the dying grass because they blanket those clippings. I mean, they are everywhere, but on the clippings they are like COVERING it!!! Last night after picking lettuce for our daily salad I had to wash off the snails. Ewwwwww!! That is one good thing, our lettuce is thriving!

After our walks, Roscoe doesn't like being touched (remember he is autistic?), so I don't towel him off. I can carefully wipe his legs and belly with a soft horse brush, but that's it. I just don't want him practicing aggression, so he doesn't get toweled off. However, he manages to "towel" himself just fine. These were taken as he rubs and rubs himself on the furniture and rug, rolling and shaking and rubbing off the damp!! This is a ritual that occurs after every wet walk!!!

And to show you that Roscoe WILL work in rain and wet, check out this photo from the Topsfield trial two weeks ago. Poor little buggar had to take off and land over that jump in about 2" of water!! Later that day they moved the whole ring to higher ground.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fog, rain, wet, damp, moist, soggy, moldy, I am going to cry

Spur in the fog.............

If I were prone to seasonal affected disorder, I would cry. This weather is so dreary!!! We headed to Alton NH today to play at the BARK camp agility yard, hoping to get Spur more comfortable so he will be able to handle doing agility there at camp. He did great, and we did a "teeter party", then we headed into the woods to explore the trails there. At camp I never have enough time to explore much, just a few trails close to the fields. Today we did the far loop WAY into the woods. It was, damp, wet, moist, soggy, moldy and wet, .........oh.....did I already say wet??? The mosquitos were ready to take us away, but with all that complaining I have to say we had a great time! The dogs were thrilled to go exploring some place new. They raced and raced through the woods with their orange vests on so we could easily see them in the dim, shaded, WET woods. I wore my rubber boots, thankfully because some areas we had to go through ankle deep mud. I am SICK of the wet!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Finally got Roscoe's Rally-O video from Steve!

I still can't really understand why the judge took 3 points off. Except for perhaps some of the very fast sits, maybe his butt wasn't on the ground long enough? And it does look like he marked the sniffing/lagging after the about-left-turn, where he goes around behind me and you see Roscoe sniffing the ground. We never work in dirt arenas, so I have to saw I was very pleased with just that one sniff. Even though we were SO rushed, he stays really focused and happy. LOVE that little dog!!!!
I could not get the video to load here, so click here http://www.youtube.com/user/roscoespur
and click on Roscoe Rally 6-09

Friday, June 26, 2009

It will stop, right? The rain!

So, I haven't mentioned my new jogging regime lately. I am up to 1.2 miles and it JUST ABOUT KILLS ME! I think I have been jogging for two months now and I feel like it should be getting easier and easier? I suppose it would if it was called an "easy-out", instead of a "work-out". It IS a work-out and I have to really motivate myself to do it. I do think it has mildly improved my running in agility, but I can not admit that it has made it so much better? I still have to catch my breath after every run, which lasts all of sixty seconds most times. I guess I can say the recovery is much quicker, so that's good. I do think I have improved stamina and when I am using the Jealousy Box with Spur I can manage to run a MinPin, then immediately run again with Spur, so that is good. I just struggle on that 1.2 miles. I keep thinking how does one prepare for a marathon? I would need to start going longer and longer and right now I just can't WAIT to get home and sometimes want to quit before home. OK, maybe I am being more dramatic than necessary, but it isn't easy! I watch The Biggest Loser, I know those grossly obese people push themselves WAY harder than this, so I should be able to do this, dammit!

The weather hasn't helped. The other day I checked my "trusty" radar station on the internet and it looks good. My run is all of 13-14 minutes, so I should be all set. Head out and it starts to drizzle. OK, no problem probably just a passing shower like we have had all day. No, it continues and starts getting harder and harder, until at my half way point I am completely soaked and even my glasses are getting wet, regardless of my hat!!! I am SOAKED!!!

This rain, it will stop, right?????

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Aphid Day at The Lady Bug Park

Doesn't that sound a lot nicer than Rabies Day At The Raccoon Park? Because lady bugs love to eat aphids. Or so they say. Who is "they"? Am I ever a "they". Do you suppose people think about little black dogs who get frightened and worried about teeter totters in agility and over-coming that is as simple as a few teeter parties because "they" said so and would I be "they"? "They" said all we needed to do was a few teeter parties and things will be all right and the voices will stop and the language will be clear and we will all sing A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood or We Are The Champions or Doe Rei Me. I am sure that happens now. Habca und Miriam from Germany posted here that it was a good idea, the teeter parties. See, in Europe I am "they". Habca und Miriam have 2100 hits on their profile. I hope Habca und Miriam are going to teeter parties now.

No teeter in this video of class last night, but I do think Spur looks like a Lady Bug during Aphid Day!! Happy, Happy, Happy to run agility. Remember, his tail crunch from the teeter meant that ALL agility sucked and that I was part of that deal. It generalized to jumps - good grief if a bar knocked he lost his ears and tail and slunk away. I admit to using a jealousy box now. I stick Spur in an x-pen ring side, then run Roscoe on the course. Spur barks his FOOL HEAD OFF the whole time, until he is nearly hoarse, then I shove a pile of treats into Roscoe's mouth, right in front of Spur, BARKING HIS FOOL HEAD OFF. Actually, I never have to shove any food item into Roscoe, he snatches them as if he is a starved, rabid raccoon. Then I swap dogs and run the crazed-with-jealously-FOOL-HEADED-Spur on the course!! Works like a charm! The nervous little buggar suddenly forgets his worries. World Team material, not yet, but I see a spark. My plan is working. Off to Raymond today for another teeter party! Yeah, that means no house cleaning, no honey mustard chicken salad with black eyed peas for dinner. Hannaford ready made quesadillas will have to do, teeter parties are a priority.

This first video is Roscoe, but you can hear Spur in his Jealousy Box!

And this one is Spur, enjoying Aphid Day At The Lady Bug Park last night at class -

And just for a comparison, here is Rabies Day At The Raccoon Farm earlier this spring. Notice all the sniffing on the dog walk, going to that special place in his mind, hearing those voices that often speak to Roscoe in a language all their own. Because, after all, they do ride the tiny little school bus with their brightly colored name tags, they are...... SPECIAL -


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Goodbye Tiny Quince

She had a few good days, then violent barfing ALL OVER her cage. Sucks, but I don't see putting her through a whole ton of further testing, which are all very expensive, when there are so many other feral kitties looking for places to live. We have already done every regular test with nothing conclusive. Stomach cancer is a consideration, irritable bowel, or some other auto-immune bowel issue, perhaps. All that combined with a heart murmur and not even 5lbs. is daunting. I had hoped for a different outcome, but that's how it goes some times. :(

Tuesday, June 23, 2009



For all you in the Cape Elizabeth area, mark your calenders! The Cape Elizabeth Farm Alliance is doing a "Strawberry Festival" this weekend!! From their website -

"Cape Elizabeth's 1st Annual Strawberry Fest will be held on June 26th and 27th - we need volunteers to help and would love additionalsupporters if you can help insome way. The evening ofFriday June 26th will be a"pot luck" dinner and SilentAuction (items include itemsfrom local fiber artists,paintings, jewelry, lobsterdinner for six) at SpragueHall. On June 27th from10:00 - 4:00 there will be various activities at the farms around town (a map will guide you to the locations and activities). We NEED VOLUNTEERS for two hour shifts and to help with children's activities -- If you can help in some way please contact Suzanne Martin-Pillsbury at suzannepillsbury@yahoo.com." Check it out further here http://www.capeelizabethfarms.com/

Kathy Maxwell picked me this box of strawberries last week! YUM!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Not a total wash

Well, Friday WAS, but Saturday was pretty nice and Sunday was OK. Friday was a deluge and while both dogs managed their jumpers runs during a break in the rain, their standard runs were in about 4" of water and it sucked. In fact, I would say that bummed out Roscoe, mentally, for the remainder of the weekend. He went to that place in his head that speaks to him things I will never know. Maybe it is a different language not even canine? His head voices speak their own words that only Roscoe understands. That's where he went for the weekend, inside his head listening to that language foreign to me, except when we did Rally-O. Thank goodness for Rally-O!!! Roscoe is "normal" when he does Rally-O! No foreign language head voices in Rally-O. Just normal, normal, normal voices and Roscoe and I click and understand each other and look normal. We LOVE Rally-O!!! Colby, however, doesn't get daunted by that stuff and Saturday had a bobble in her standard because of ME. She is so consistent and perfect. She's perfect!! She's normal. She sits alone in my canine pack, high up on her normal stool, looking down in wonder at the two weirdos who listen to voices in their heads. I think Spur hears some voices that Roscoe hears. He certainly goes to that special place in his mind sometimes. But Colby doesn't hear voices. She hears clear, normal, comprehensive English and if I can get it all out to her in time, she runs a prefect course!

Today she double-q'd with a second in standard and a fourth in jumpers. I spoke to her well today. Racked up the MACH points and now has only three more double-q's needed for her MACH. YAHOOOOOOOO!! Although, I really wanted THREE double q's this weekend, darn it. But, the weather was certainly challenging. We did Rally-Obedience on Saturday, but barely making it in time for our routines. I say barely since I had to RUN, dragging the poor Pin Heads to the obedience ring, put them through the routine with no walk through or warm up. Lost my way with Colby, noticing that I went from station 12 to station 14 just in time to go BACK to station 13, for a loss of ten points. Didn't do that with Roscoe, though, and he SMOKED it for a score of 97 - which I don't really understand?? The judge took THREE POINTS OFF??? For WHAT??? He was nearly flawless, but I haven't seen the video. My friend filmed it and I will have to watch it to say what "mistakes" we made. Roscoe LOVES obedience! Oxymoron - Roscoe, obedience dog. LOL!!

Here is Colby's second place standard run today. Rainy, but not down pouring. She was being careful, since this was the ring with 4" of water on Friday. Still, for some reason many dogs NQ'ed on this course, but it seemed pretty simple to us. She is a good little girlie!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rain ALL weekend????

NO!! It can't possibly rain ALL weekend. Especially during the times I will be running agility.

We set up our Easy Up tent tonight, ringside, so at least we will have dry accomodations. Already put two tiny holes in it and this is the second time we are using it. Can you say CHEAP! The instructions are not great, so we put loops where they were not supposed to go and pulled the attachments. Tiny holes right on the edge so it should not affect it's protection. Sigh...................

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Colby is 10 today!!

This photo was taken by her foster home when she was only 4 months old!
This was taken two winter's ago at Scarborough beach. She was just cleared to do some beach walking after having knee surgery in January that year.
She works hard hunting moles in my yard and when she gets too hot she likes to cool off in the bird bath. I then bought her a kiddie pool!!

Her favorite thing to do is hunt rodents!!

We modeled one year for Velvet. It was to honor Frannie Peabody that year, who loved boas. Unfortunately, the one thing Colby is afraid of are feathers. The cat walk was covered with little feathers that had fallen off previous model's boas. I had to carry her. She modeled a lovely wool coat with faux fur lining and collar and a leash and collar from Fetch!!

Agility is something she enjoys and is very good at! She is my best team mate!!! My best friend and the most wonderful little dog. A truly awesome representation of the Miniature Pinscher temperament! As a MinPin should be - bold, self-possessed, spirited presence and fearless animation. She is a gem!!

She has been a top 10 Miniature Pinscher in agility for the past six years! Competing in 07 at the AKC Agility Invitational in Long Beach, missing the finals by one tiny mistake!! She ROCKED out there!!

Born at "Love My Puppy" puppmill in MO, which is considered the puppymill capitol of the US, she was sold to a college kid from a pet store in RI. He soon realised she had WAY too much energy and got into the trash and wasn't housetrained and was too much for him. He gave her to rescue. She was never mis-treated and is the nicest girlie!! Just a wonderful gem of a dog, giving me so much these 9 1/2 years. We got her when she was 5 months.

Happy Birthday COLBY!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Must have good, positive vibes today for tiny Quince! And what's a runcible spoon?

They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon.

From - The Owl and The Pussy Cat

We headed to the vet's this morning. Barfing has been consistent and daily. Sadly, she has a heart murmur. UGH! She was such a good little scardy cat and let us handle her for a blood draw. We will start with a thyroid panel. If that is negative, continue with further blood work. If positive, I will have a decision to make and it won't be good. I will either put her down or return her to her trapper. I just can not see pilling such a feral kitty twice a day with thyroid supplementation. She is still quite thin. She eats well enough, but does barf up every day. She is only 4.7lbs. Stay tuned...............

What the heck is a runcible spoon?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Baby turkey killers!

What more can I say? Except that it was sweet little Miss Colby in her fancy pants coat who did it. The boys fended off the terrified mother who tried to attack her. They chased her off into the woods. Hopefully, she has more babies to take her mind off this senseless death!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Patricia McConnell and another Double Q for Colby!

The Patricia McConnell seminar was awesome. She is really great! Not sure I learned anything new, but I was reminded I need to maintain my work with Roscoe. More treats when visitors come to the house. Reminding him how great it is to have visitors. He would much rather bark and bite, but if I am shoving treats in his face, that bark and bite is long forgotten. He can't, after all, bite and bark while eating yummy treats. And the more I do that the more he thinks people invading his home land mean yummy treats appear for no other reason! That's a good thing and I have gotten away from it lately.

Today we had some good and some bad at the trial. It POURED rain for our morning runs and MinPins don't like the rain too, too much. They would rather be snuggled under some faux fur, listening to it through the window, maybe even with a nice woodstove going. But, NO, these are performance dogs and perform they WILL, rain or shine! It isn't cheap entering dog shows, so unless it is thunder and lightening or maybe snow, we run! Roscoe slipped and missed his weaves, then worried about them in his next run and missed them there, too. He did, however, get a nice FAST run in regardless of having to jump through puddles up to his wrists! Good little guy!! FAST is a new AKC class sort of like gambles in USDAA. We just started doing them. Amazing that tiny little guy ran in puddles two inches deep. They ended up moving the ring later in the morning to dryer ground!! Some dogs and people were slipping in the mud.

Colby ran clean and steady in both runs. She takes care of herself in slippery conditions and ran nicely, cleanly and in good form. Running her outside, even in rain, is like wrapping yourself in faux fur! She doesn't complain, does exactly what you tell her, gives it a good effort without being crazy. She's SUCH a good girl. She turns 10 in three days!! I love that little girlie!!

Here she is enjoying a DOUBLE FAUX FUR bed, with Spur bugging her to play!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Updates on Jewel, Quince, my weekend plans

Sweet Jewel is finally getting the muzzle thing down. In fact, a little too well. I may have to change her to the smaller hole muzzle soon. I kept thinking life was really going to SUCK for her having to be muzzled, but really it doesn't seem like such a bad deal. She is alive and that's good!! Her lyme titer was still high, so I have to do I/V tetracycline. I keep putting off ordering the supplies, but I really must do that soon. She just seems to be doing so well, I hate to mess anything up. But, I think it must be done.

Tiny Quince arrived Saturday and barfed every single night until two nights ago. I was all set to bring her to the vet, then she stopped. I cancelled the vet appointment because I am hoping this is just stress and taking her to the vet to be examined would certainly STRESS her out! She is VERY feral. She will not take food from me, even. She is eating OK when I am not around. I would like her to eat more, but she is eating. I thought she was drinking and peeing a LOT, but they said they tested her for diabetes. My vet gave me some granules to put in her box that will change color if there is sugar in the urine. Thankfully, they did not change....phew. I still have a vet appointment planned for next week just in case she starts barfing again over the weekend. Technically, she has one more week of confinement before being released. With feral cats it is suggested to cage them for two weeks before releasing so they know the area they are to live. Always a worry, but this one is especially tiny so an extra worry to me. She is the most feral kitty I have had here, for sure.

This weekend I am going to the Patricia McConnell seminar on Saturday at CrappyTails in Portland. I would not miss her for the world, even though I hate giving CrappyTails any money. I won't miss a chance to see/meet Patricia!! I CAN'T WAIT! She is talking on dog aggression. Hmmm, something near and dear to me. Sunday I am off to an agility trial in Topsfield. Nice, easy drive, nice spot, I look forward to it! Colby only needs five more double Q's for her MACH, so we are trying like heck to do that. She can do it and I think will have her MACH by the end of the year! She turns 10 next Wednesday!!!! "Are you Vulcan Crazy???", yes, you read that right, Colby turns 10!!!! This photo was taken when she was just two!! Looks like a major cliff off behind her, but it dropped down only about 4 feet. The orange vest is so we can see her when she darts off into the woods after chippies while hiking! They all wear orange vests when we hike so we can easily spot them. George the border terrier wears his even on his short farm walks. He is SO bad. But, with the vest on we can often spot that little, bright orange when he darts off to play like a hippo in the stream, covered with thick pricker bushes that we have to hike through to reach him and haul him out by his tail stub! BAD George!

Colby says........."I am NOT Vulcan Crazy, I AM going to be ten and proud of it!!! Being 10 means I can boss around everyone else!!! And if Ma calls me an ole lady one more time I am going to Vulcanize her!!!!"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How many teeter parties can we do??

This was the final "product"!! Wahoooooooo!

But, this was how it started - BIG PARTY at the end.........

I posted a request for teeter parties with Spur on our training list. I now have parties scheduled for tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday! We also have class Tuesday and Wednesday, which will also include teeter parties! He was much more brave at class tonight. Last week he could barely think about doing a teeter. He did have some melt down during a few other obstacles, but on the whole he did a great job tonight and it definitely did not look like Rabies Day at The Racoon Farm this week!!

Turtles and Pigs and Coyotes, oh MY!

This handsome fellow decided to come on through today about 2:00. I haven't heard them singing at night, so I wondered if they were around. Yep, sure enough, they are! I had a little chat with Zeus about it, but as we headed to agility class Colby ran straight at him and he never budged. I hope his lack of self preservation only holds for crazy little MinPins and when a REAL canine comes at him he finds a tree to escape up!! I love living in the country. The wildlife are everywhere. We do keep the tiny Pin Heads close when heading through the woods to the fields. It is a worry, though, at times when I see these ones trotting through the pasture, not really worried much about me!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pigs, cows, snapping turtles, oh MY!!!

I forgot to mention on our trip around Hillbilly Highway after our visit to Redneck City we ran into a snapper. There are several streams and a big pond that are included in our farm walks. The dogs like to swim in the pond and we have to check the edge for snappers. So far this year we had not seen any. Until this last weekend!!! One of the streams we let the dogs stop for a drink has a narrow, sandy path leading to it from the bank. I have never seen a snapper on that path, but there it was on Saturday!!! I saw if after Spur had already run for a drink. I don't think he even knew he ran over it. The only way back up without going through tough thicket is the path, with that snapper right there. I call Spur, hoping he just runs right up, which he does........phew. The turtle never flinched. Again, I don't think Spur ever saw it. Looked like a rock to him, which he jumped over without a care.

Last year we saw a couple baby snappers on Hillbilly Highway. I wish I had my video to capture Roscoe racing towards one, I suppose thinking it was a lovely dead rodent to eat, then..........chomp.......his teeth hit hard shell and he stepped back for another look, surprised at what just happened. The tiny turtle stood TALL on it's feet, trying to look impressive. Roscoe was unimpressed, since it was obviously not good pickin's, but he left it alone. Roscoe is not much of a hunter, but if it's already dead and laying there ready for consumption, consume it he does! Ick!!! And believe me once he starts chomping, there is no getting it away from him. I tried the ole......."Roscoe...........treat???..........Roscoe.........cookie?"............ THAT was a funny idea!!! I just let him munch away and routinely test him for worms. It is, after all, fresh, unprocessed food for him, right? My organic farmer upbringing says that's a good thing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Muzzled Jewel

Jewel seems to be doing well. She is sometimes a little ouchie on that left front foot if she steps on a rock. But, mostly sound when moving around and I have been riding some. The worry I had a few weeks ago has passed, I think. Her lyme titer was still high, though, which is a major bummer. It did go down, was 1:40,000 and is now 1:10,000, but that is still a very high score. So, they are suggesting I/V tetracycline. Ugh. I can do it, but it isn't without risk. If it gets outside the vein it can cause sloughing or abscessing of the area. But, I really think I need to do this. Double ugh. Triple ugh. Quadruple ugh..........OK, I'll stop, you get the idea. UGH!!!!

She is finally figuring out the muzzle. She can NOT have lots of grass ever again, sadly. Because of the risk of laminitis again caused by eating too much grass we have to be really careful. She was NOT even trying with the muzzle, so I bought another one and cut the hole bigger. With help, she finally figured out she could graze a little with it. She figured out the drinking thing no trouble, but with the smaller hole she was not even trying to graze. I will leave this one on for a while longer then switch back to the smaller hole. Poor thing, but really it isn't the end of the world. At least she is alive!!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Red Neck City

Note the tight leash on Roscoe who usually runs free on the farm!? I think he could squeeze through the squares on that fence!!
We have a new neighbor who just bought a small lot of land from the farmers and is leasing some extra land to raise meat critters. The pigs arrived, two cows and their babies arrived and the chicken house came. Roscoe would REALLY like to tangle with the pigs!! Have I mentioned lately that he is not right? Goodness, one charge from those pigs and Roscoe would be smooshed!!! Colby and Spur are interested, but just mildly. Roscoe.........he seriously wants in there with them and I don't think it is to play and socialize! We call it "Red Neck City" over there. Nick has his living trailer, two horse trailers, his ATV, all his tractor parts and accessories, piles of lumber for his new house. "Red Neck City". He had to cut trees down on his lot for his house and had it milled for lumber. The foundation has been poured and building will commence soon. Oh to be so young and ambitious! For the moment he and his girlfriend take the ATV to the pond and fill up buckets of water for the critters. Oh MY! However, yesterday I noticed a small generator and pump at the pond, so I think they are pumping it mechanically now. Phew! They still have to load it into barrels and haul over to the critters! She rides on the back, holding the barrels so it doesn't spill. "Red Neck City".

It is nice to see young folks starting to farm. A lost art in this area with mostly older farmers doing it. That makes me sad. Cape Elizabeth has a rich farming background and it stinks to watch the housing developments start to swallow up the farmland. GO NICK!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tiny Quince has arrived!

This photo is from her trapper. I won't be getting any good photos for a bit. It is very dark in the barn and I have her cage covered. She also has a crate in her cage, so I can lock her in that when I tend to her food and litter each day, so she won't escape. She must stay there for two weeks to acclimate to "home base" here.

I need some help with names. She is calling her Quince becuase it was a "QUINCEidence" that she trapped her. Honestly, I don't think she is being funny, this woman's emails are FULL of spelling errors and she may think that is how it is spelled! My feral kitties have had Greek God/Goddess names and my last one was Metis, Zeus' first wife. I still have Zeus, my old man feral kitty and here are a couple of Zeus' other wive's names that I kind of like - Leto Leda Themis Mnmosyne (pronounced Nemo-zini) - I could have my little Nemo after all. Considered naming Spur, Nemo momentarily. Semele (Sem-uh-lee) Then there is Juno, who wasn't Greek, but Roman. Kind of the equivolent to Hera, who was Greek. Juno was the Queen of the Gods, so that might fit. Zeus is the God of the Gods. Or Epona - goddess of horses and mules. That fits!

She is tiny, tiny. When trapped she was

only 3lbs, but maybe now she is about 5lbs? Tiny, petite little thing!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Spring time!

We have birds. Everywhere, birds!!! The mornings here on the farm are noisy right now. The swallows have arrived, which unfortunately means the bugs are plentiful, the blue birds are here, but sadly did not nest in the bird house like they did last year. The chickodees have hatchlings in the other bird house, the orioles are chowing on the oranges, and the cow birds are hanging with the horses. That's just to name a few!!! It is a busy place around here! I wish my camera had a better zoom, because this was the best I could get of the oriole eating the orange.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rabies day at the Raccoon Farm

Might be more fun than running Spur in agility class? OK, again I stole that from the funny chick in CA. (see post below) Is it still plagiarism if I give her credit? How about, cleaning the chicken coop on a 95 degree day because Mom said we had to do that before we could go swim at the cove. Might be more fun than running Spur in agility class? Cleaning the foot ball sized abscess from the 110lbs Newfoundland. Might be more fun than running Spur in agility class? I didn't steal those, I claim those as all mine!

Honestly, though, he seems to be getting more and more in a funk and it isn't fun to watch or be a part of. He is so great at home, has a really nice foundation, but just gets way stressed in class. It all stems from his tail getting slammed under the teeter and now the teeter, me - cuz I was there, and any other associated obstacles have generalized to being a bummer for him. Agility people have a saying........"If it ain't fun, we don't run",............and seriously I don't think it is much fun for little Spur right now. At least, away from home it isn't and I just don't know what to do about it. With Roscoe I could break him out of any funk with food. Spur just doesn't get as excited about food.

Next week I will set things up a little differently. Crate him or tie him to the fence and have him watch me run Roscoe. That might make him jealous? So he wants to do it too? Right now the other dogs are crated in the truck when he is working. I just don't know what to do. Take privates only so we can really spend the time needed? Will that be any better? I don't know.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Godzilla chows down on Buxton

I stole that from a blog in CA http://www.teamsmalldog.com/blog/index.html I love how she writes!!! Very funny.

Spur now thinks Godzilla Chows Down On Buxton. Last week at our Buxton agility class we did the teeter for the first time. Just when I think he is doing OK on the teeter, he has a melt down. We are going to be doing lots of teeter parties and last night I worked on my plan before we started class. Lots of clicking and treating for touching and bouncing the teeter at the end. Then lots of chicken for watching it recoil and bang. We decided not to do it during the course, though, because he started out not even wanting to take the first jump. Worry, worry, worry, he was stressed. My mind goes round and round, what should I DO, what's the BEST thing here, how to I snap him out of this? No one ever really has a good answer, but I know he just needs to SNAP OUT OF IT!! Finally got him over the jump and onto the dog walk. Lots of chicken. Then a fun tunnel, lots of chicken. Then a jump and A-frame, lots of chicken. Another jump, chicken, the weaves.........slowwwwwwww..........but still lots of chicken.......a jump........toss the frisbee and play, play, play. Put him away and waited for our next try. Much better effort the next time, but still slow and worried. NO teeter, but lots of chicken and frisbee.

It's frustrating, I know he has it in him, he just needs to work through this stuff. It's so mental with him. But, he is trying, he is doing the best he can for right now so I have to take what I can get. It sure is taking baby steps and sometimes like pulling teeth, but I DO know he can do this.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thuderstorm anxiety

Tis the season. Sunday we had some pretty strong storms come through. One of Roscoe's issues is noise phobia, which includes thunderstorms. He is also afraid of some power tool noises. We tried benzo's (Xanax/Valium) and while they did work for his phobia, it made him all pumped up and crazy! It was like he was on speed, he was bouncing off the walls, making us all crazy. That's how we found out it could help him for trial anxiety.

I tried the "Storm Defender" jacket. A thin aluminum membrane cape he could wear, theory being it defused the electricity so often associated with thunder storms. It seemed to help, but he hates wearing clothing and ended up just going to his crate to hide. So, not sure if the anti-static properties helped him or he was just bummed out having to wear something and went to sulk? At least he wasn't panting and drooling and pogo-sticking around the house with anxiety. Since I started to feel kind of mean putting the cape on him during storms I started to simply sit with him, snuggled in my lap, comforting him until the storms pass. Honestly, that seems to be the best thing for him. Stops his shaking and panting and seems to comfort him. When he hears thunder, he runs to find me and we sit together waiting for it to pass.

Does this comforting reward him for his fear? I think not, no matter what professional trainers disagree with me. I don't think you can reward fear. Fear is not rewardable, we reward behavior, we try to change emotions. I don't think because I comfort him during storms that it makes him more afraid. I am not asking him to behave differently. I think I simply comfort him. Fear is an emotion and if I can change his emotions during storms to make him feel more comfortable, I think that's a good thing. I am not asking him to change his behavior or nor am I rewarding him for being fearful, I am trying to change his emotion and make him feel better until a storm passes. How can that be bad?