Monday, January 31, 2011

Merry Malinois Madness and a Lu!

JR thinks he has Justice JR gets a mouthful from Justice

JR thinks he has Justice

Justice takes out JR
LuluLovely Lulu
JR, PT and Justice - group hug?
JR, PT and Justice
PT gives JR a mouthful
JR and PT share some snow

PT gives himself a mouthful.....of snow

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hopefully she is not sore any more, but I am!

All this snow has made it hard to get these little dogs exercised. And too cold on the days we make it to the snow mobile trails. But, Spur has had a few times out snow shoeing. Roscoe, nada. Just way too cold for him. Both Pin Heads made it to the back pasture gate one last week, but that was IT! Not enough time after work to get to the beach or the tide was too high. But, Rich plowed a big path to our wood pile, since we need to restock the basement and it makes for a nice ball tossing/chasing spot. Not icy, soft snow, contained to that area. I bring out Spur's Chuck-it ball and Colby's special. Roscoe just goes after a few tossed treats, but at least it's something. I toss Spur's chuck-it then toss Colby her special. Somehow I got mixed up one time and BAM! - Poor Colby got NAILED in the head with the Chuck-it ball! OUCH!!

OH, I felt SO bad!!! She comes to me for attention, looks fine, I think I just beaned her on the head and she is wanting her ball again. I mean, her special, it is SOMETHING to her. The only ball that she will chase and she LOVES that thing. Off she goes, shaking off the head beaning. Or so I think.

I bring the Pin Heads in and take Spur for a 1/2 hour snow shoe. Come back and there she is shaking on the chair, eye swollen and half closed!!!! OH, NO, what have I done??? The poor thing!!! I call the vet who thank GOODNESS can see me right away on a Friday afternoon. Phew! She looks closely into her eye, stains it for scratches, nothing, says it looks like there isn't any concerning trauma, but to watch it carefully and we give her some Meticam for the pain. Poor little thing is not happy, it HURTS.

The next morning she looks TEN times better and off we go to the dog show. Immediately I notice she has diarrhea. I am thinking from the Meticam? Bummer dude! Nothing worse than being at a dog show with a dog with the runs. It soaks into the snow, so it's miserable to clean up with a baggie. It continues all day as I worry about her in her crate and take her out like FIVE HUNDRED times. ACK!! This morning? She seems fine. She is resilient, but goodness me that was a tough day yesterday.

Now - trial report!!! OMG, The Spur-minator was ON FIRE!!! He started off a little slow first class, gamblers, but O-MY-GOD he NAILED IT!!! He sped up soon after his slow start, did great and we managed to be in the right place as the buzzer went off and off he went like a champ doing the gamble with ease!! Which completed his P-MAD!! Wahooooooooo!!! I can't believe The Spur-minator is a P-MAD dog!!!! Unfortunately, the only run we got on tape was his standard, but that was a GOOD one! Perhaps his greatest start off the line, ever. I am trying our new start line of holding him and then a slight push back and GO!!! It's kind of hard to see in the video, but watch how fast we start. I had to run with everything I had!!!! :D Then, dumb ass I am gets in his way with my blind cross after the tunnel!! I really wish I had gotten more video. It is SO helpful. But, also watch his teeter. O-MY-FREAKIN'-GOD, he ROCKED IT!!! Zoomed to the end, let it drop and charged off!!! It's always nice to have a tunnel or chute after the teeter. It causes the recoil to be forgotten and probably not heard, so that is always nice. Also, what his dog walk?? Not the fastest, but he does accelerate on the down and runs BEAUTIFULLY through the contact as I peel off!! Nicely DONE Spur Man!!!

We got snookered in snooker, but then he got another Pairs leg and WON his jumpers!!! Spur! Yes, I just said Spur WON his jumpers! This is a dog who is a little bit afraid of jumps. And it was NOT a great course for him. Lots of front crosses had to be done and I am not great with those. I think I did OK, so maybe it wasn't that bad a course. He was PUMPED!!!! What a good little Monkey Pants!!!

Roscoe? What can I say, poor Roscoe was definitely "second fiddle". He ran second all day and that just stinks for him. Spur can handle that much better, in fact it may help him to come out and run "cold", but there isn't anything I can do about the running order. Roscoe suffered a little bit, but I tried like heck to tell him how important he is for being there and trying. And he did try. He had a couple moments where he looked really good! Of course, one was during pairs and it caused an off course for us. And he looked great in Jumpers, but damn IT I forgot the course. How the fuck does that happen, I JUST ran it with Spur????? I felt like an idiot/novice/loser.

It was a long day. I am very sore. 10 runs on rubber makes me sore and with Spur I had to RUN like the wind at times!!!! I am NOT complaining, it is a lovely problem to have!!! :D He was ROCKIN' it yesterday!!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wow, he got metal!

I had to go look up what it means. It means he has 15 standard legs. Not sure what the letters would be to tag on behind his name. Sometimes I get emails from people who list their dog's titles. It goes on for like two paragraphs? They have titles in rally, obedience, agility, tracking, field trials, weight pull, dock diving, lure coursing and on and on.

Roscoe, I am not even sure how I would "letter" him.

P-ADCH Roscoe CD (amazing, he didn't bite the judge for stand-for-exam!!), MX MXJ, RX, FN, CGC (THAT'S funny!!), LAA - Bronze

I think that's it. ??? And I am not sure this "metal" would be listed as LAA - Bronze. Not sure how one would list a bronze performance dog?

I am pretty proud of him, regardless of how few letters follow his name. He is the most accomplished/titled MinPin in USDAA agility at the moment, I am pretty sure. There are a couple with some nice accomplishments, but as many as Roscoe. And he has been a top ten agility AKC MinPin for the past three years. That's pretty cool, too! For a dog who isn't exactly athletic!! LOL!! But, he has heart. He tries. He works for me.

What am I most proud of? That CD. That was SO hard for us. Competition obedience is HARD. Especially for a dog who bites. That he managed to deal with the stand-for-exam and the sits and downs with a group of strange dogs is pretty amazing.

I am pretty proud of this Bronze title, too. It was a surprise. I don't keep track of his Q's very well. Although, I did just check how many double Q's he has in AKC and he has 14, so we need 6 more for his MACH. We are behind on that because I jumped him at 8 inches in preferred for years trying to get him comfortable in the ring. Agility was a tough venue for him being dog-dog aggressive. But, it was also the best thing I ever did. He is now hardly a concern with other dogs. It's just awesome!! Of course, his happy pills have something to do with it, but not all!!!

Roscoe - good little Bronze dog! YAY for Roscoe!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's just plain COLD!

Hee, hee, figured out capturing a still from video again. I am becoming SO savvy!!! Love these shots. He is driving ahead, not looking at me good, solid hits. I can use these as visualization exercises, right?

Damn, he has crazy hair! The dry, electric air has his fur doing crazy things. I love his crazy, tossled look!!
Not sure why I like this photo. The dried corn stalks act like a snow fence along our path. I hope it warms up enough for us to go visit them again soon.
Although, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be yesterday. I armed my mittens with warmer packets, put toe warmers in my boots, wore my heavier lined winter pants, 3/4 length down coat with faux fur hood, I was fine! I managed to pick up poop without taking off my mittens. Not an easy task, but I got er done!! How silly is that to be proud of my ability to pick up shit with mittens on. It's a skill few people have, so I SHOULD be proud! And I trained myself to do it, so I take full responsibility on my awesome skill!

While it is warmer this morning.........4 degrees instead of -11, it may feel colder. There is no sun right now. In fact, it is snowing. OI!!!!

I know I complain about the heat in the summer because there is really no getting away from it. In the winter, when it's brutally cold, I can still get warm. Which would I prefer? Um, not really sure. I can actually DO things when it's brutally cold. I can light the woodstove and train the dogs inside, I can paint my mom a painting I promised her for Christmas, I can DO things around my woodstove! In hot weather, I totally melt. I melt into a complaining, sweaty, complaining, irritated, complaining hot grumpy, complaining bitch. I can't function in the heat. So, really? What would I prefer. Um, maybe not THIS cold, and maybe not with THIS much snow, that all adds up to dogs who drive me nuts because they can't get out to exercise, but the heat is bad, too.

So, if we had lovely fall weather all the time, what would that be like? Bliss? Maybe!! But, then we would have nothing to complain about.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spur's weekend running session

We can really only train on weekends now, with my dog walk buried deep in snow. Darn! Silvia wants me to try to get more speed from him and suggested lowering the dog walk so I can toss the ball as far in advance as possible. I was (before the snow) doing work on the flat and getting REALLY good speed in the yard, but on the full dog walk we have been working full height. And he has yet to be REALLY fast. Speed even at home on his home dog walk hasn't been what it can be and Silvia feels he will improve if he has more speed. It's a confidence thing, for sure and figuring out his strides. On his own, without props or help from me. It's an education.

OK, last weekend I lowered it to see what we have. We had about 50% jumps. YIKES! Strange, but whatever. It's a process, I know and I am committed. He improved as the session when on. He wasn't super fast, though. Really no faster? Maybe a wee bit.

Did another session on Wednesday, when class was cancelled we went over and trained, but my videographer was shaky and missed quite a bit. Faster, for sure, but still not super fast.

Yesterday! FAST! His fastest, yet, on a "strange" dog walk! We did have Douce tied up in the room making noises and I could tell that pumped him up. Social pressure? You betcha! Douce was complaining that he could do it faster! I bet he could!!! LOL!! Douce is a super fast shih tzu!

This video is last weekend's work. You can see as I remembered to really toss the ball very early he improved. Go figure? I have had lots of people gasping over such an early toss, hearing things like....."I would NEVER toss in advance!!"....or..."You will ruin your work tossing in advance!"......."How can you reward your dog if you toss in advance all the time?" and on and on. Gasping at the thought. Well, Silvia told me to!!! LOL!! She said with a dog like Spur to reward all efforts with the ball (thus the advanced toss), but jackpot the good hits and mark the jumps if possible. She wants me to be really careful marking him, though, because he could worry so I am not at all harsh. I might make a sound like "Ooooh" or "Wooooo" in a high voice and we start again. Good hits get a MAJOR party with chicken, chicken, chicken jackpot and telling him he is brilliant all the way back to the start!

Yesterday's work - MUCH faster!! 15 runs with three total leaps. A few hits really high, so those got some chicken, but the GOOD hits got a JACKPOT!!! Probably his fastest work, yet!! Good BOY!! You can see he is still working it out. He needs to figure out his striding and it is going to take some time since we have made a bit of a mess of it before, not knowing what we were doing. Silvia has offered to keep helping me, so we are going to get this right!!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

He looks so Angelic!

When he's sleeping.

Yesterday was cold, but Colby, Spur and I managed to head out for a snow shoe. I put her booties on. She did great, she handles the booties really well and runs and manages dealing with them great!! Roscoe? He stayed home by the woodstove and snoozed in his sun spots. It's just not worth it. Autistic boy he is HATES his feet touched, so putting booties on him is just not worth it. He is going to be out of shape soon, sigh.......
Poor Colby. She refuses to stay on the snow mobile path, cuz.......well.......there are rodents under that snow and jobs to be done, ya know! I haven't figured out how to prevent snow from gathering at the top of the booties. It then melts from the warmth of her legs and forms little ice balls. Poor thing, they hurt!!! I scoop them out as best I can, but then she heads off into the deep snow again. Sigh...........

At least, she was able to get some good exercise and her feet didn't totally freeze up. Today? It may be too cold, period.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I do NOT want to go out in the snow!

Heehee -

Roscoe didn't have to say anything, his posture was perfectly clear -Spur, HE wants to go!! Ready, as always!!Tell me he isn't pap/aussie mix?

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's a SNOW day again!

That just means I head out to walk dogs in the snow! :D OK, maybe a few cancellations will come in this morning, which is fine I suppose unless one wants to pay the bills. I could charge for cancellations, like some dog walkers do, but I have yet to find that necessary. I don't want to be like a big company and have to do that kind of thing. And, no, I don't get to add snow days in June. Nope, I just lose those days $$$$. Sigh........

But, I get to stay home and snuggle by the wood stove longer. And I probably WILL have a few walks to do. Always someone who has to get to work no matter what. Besides, the forecast says it should be over by the evening commute, so many people will make it to work this morning and need me for the doggies today. The BAT does fine, so it's not really an issue for me. And I enjoy the storms. Pretty, different, the dogs usually enjoy it!! My only complaint would be the small little neighborhood roads where people simply go TOO fast and I have to find a driveway to duck into with the dogs I walk. Slow down you rusharounds!!! Life will go on even if you are late to your appointment.
(BAT = Big Ass Truck).

I have the woodstove going for the Pin Heads. They BAKE on the bricks...... This was actually taken during the last storm, but the picture this morning is identical.......... And this is simply a favorite I took one day out walking the dogs. Not sure which dog it belongs to, the little prints all start to look the same. The poor Pin Heads are so stir crazy. We have been doing a lot of trick and obedience training in the house, but they really would like to get out for a run. I should have taken them yesterday, but I thought they would get too cold. Any amount of snow for their tiny paws to sink into makes them very cold. I took Spur. He had a BALL!!! I SO wish I had my camera. We came upon a bunch of little birds munching on seeds from the tall weeds sticking out of the snow. You could see their tiny tracks all around this field area and all around each tall seed headed weed. Spur LOVES to chase birds. These little birds just found him an irritant and circled and circled their little buffet. This went on for about 10 minutes!! It was AWESOME!! I was so glad to have a herding dog right them. He got a GREAT workout, thank you little birdies! Sorry to interrupt your dinner.

Last night at Rally class everyone did an awesome job. Our homework showed! Spur took a little time to warm up. I decided NO leash this night. He is a dog who does not generalize well. What he learns in one setting with, or with leash on, he learns, but put him in a different setting, remove the leash and you might think he was never trained! It's why our running contacts are taking so long to get going. Finding different dog walks to train on isn't easy! Especially in the winter!

There were not many people there last night, so we got a lot of runs and by the last one he was settling in nicely. No leash! I gave a lot of reinforcement. Lots. My dogs are all getting FAT! Not enough exercise and too much food, makes them FAT. Sigh.........time to get to the beach for some GOOD runs. Their meals are all during training time. Meals at the moment consist of green beans and blueberries. Maybe some non-fat yogurt. One thing about doing a lot of training and not enough exercise - fat little doggies! They love it. More FOOD please!!!! Roscoe is happy. Stir crazy, but happy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

For Laura and Elizabeth!

Check out this heeling work! -

She talks on her blog about teaching heeling backwards at first. She feels it is easier to get attention that way. She talks about "attention", but not eye contact. Not sure where the dog is looking when she is heeling backwards. Very interesting. I know she is a big Silvia fan, but she studies with Susan Garrett. Another one really into shaping. Shaping, shaping, shaping. That's all I am reading about lately. I have never felt like a good shaper, but I can see now that it is a very valuable tool. Helps get a low drive dog into drive because they have to think.

Interesting, I never thought of it that way before. The Pin Heads came with drive and luring worked so well for them. But, maybe they would have even more drive had I shaped more. Roscoe is VERY hard to shape, he offers so many behaviors and gets frantic and crazy! But, maybe if I had shaped more when he was younger he wouldn't be so frantic and crazy! LOL!

Silvia gets duration in heeling by withholding reward. That's when the dog who is trained by shaping starts to think.........oh something is about to reward.....something good is reward........YAY!!! Jackpot!!!

I worked on her beginning heeling last night with Colby. Started over, hoping to get her "shaped" better. My bad clicking has her stuck. The start of the work is to circle around an object with their front feet on it. Thus getting hind end awareness. They should end up doing a complete circle. Colby is stuck doing about half the circle. I rewarded too much at that part. So, back to the start again and I think I need to try on a higher object/platform. I will simply experiment and see if I can get it going for us. Roscoe, too, may need the higher platform, his feet get SO busy I end up delivering the reward and his feet are off the object. Such fun winter learning!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Luring, shaping, prompting, what??

OK, so I am freaky obsessed with Silvia Trkman's training style. I think she is the greatest trainer on earth. At least, the greatest doing any public training, so she's the one I know of. She is amazing. I bought her heeling DVD to tighten up my dog's heeling work. They heel really nicely. Especially the Pin Heads. They are beautiful, high stepping heelers. Spur, a little distracted, not so good off leash, not glued to my leg like Silvia's dogs.

I have watched the video maybe 20 times now. I see things she does I don't do. I see things she does that make sense. She has a process. 7 steps to perfect heeling. OK, I'm stuck on step one. In a sense, I mean, my dogs get it to a point. I have always taught hand focus. In formal obedience my hand is static while heeling. Glued to my side. It's their cue to heel. It moves only when I want an adjustment in position. OK, that's all well and good, but what Silvia has is EYE contact. They are totally focused on position and eye contact. I can see now where that REALLY helps.

How did I miss that. My heeling is really nice. My dogs don't get points off for heeling. They might get points off for not sitting or crooked fronts or slow down or something, but not heeling.

So, back to step one of Silvia's process. It's simple, get the dog to pivot around a platform. A full circle. Do it with shaping, don't lure the dog. dogs are SO hand cue focused they are really struggling to get that full circle. We will persist, but damn it is hard to undo years of work. I do want them thinking more on their own and less hand cue dependency and more eye contact. Will I get it? I don't know, the Pin Heads are nearly 12 years old and have been trained this way their whole lives. Although, I will say both have nice eye contact, too. Just not like Silvia's dogs.

We will persist. I am determined to get this.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Snow shoeing with The Littles!

My friend Cindy has five dogs. Two of them are under 15lbs, three are over 15lbs. "The Littles" are the two under 15lbs. She has her "Bigs" and her "Littles".

Our pack yesterday? All except maybe George, the border terrier who is around 18lbs, are all "littles". Spur and Douce, the shihtzu, are both around 15lbs, so barely making "little" status, I guess. Oh heck, let's just call any dog under 20lbs a "little"!!

Our pack of Littles out for a winter snow shoe! Colby forges on in the lead. Hard for her PRA deteriorating eyes to adjust and see in this kind of light, so she stays out of the pack craziness. She doesn't like being plowed into and just can't see well enough to protect her space. Roscoe's tootsies only got cold when we made it through the shaded woods. In the bright sun, he was OK.'s about 6 out right now and supposed to be high of 17. Maybe even too cold for Spur today. >:/ Yesterday, we had fun.......

Saturday, January 15, 2011


It may not look painful, but after that packs in really firm, melts a little so it forms an ice ball of sorts, it hurts!! Spur and I went snow shoeing yesterday and he had a BALL!! Damn, forgot to bring my camera! He was charging along in the deep snow!!
His paws were due for a trim, so he had more little fluffy hair there then I like anyway and it balled up quickly between his toes. Poor little guy did really well, but on occasion would limp along in frozen pain. So, we promptly got to work trimming and snipping those hairs when we returned. They looks kind of chopped now, but not too bad. I could trim more and make them look worse, but we will head out again today and see how this trimming does. I may also try the paw wax or hair gloss.
The snow shoeing was AWESOME and he had SO much fun. All by himself, charging ahead, brave soldier! He used to worry when I strapped things on my feet and would trot along behind me. Especially if I had to leave the Pin Heads home, which I did yesterday. Too cold for them, poor things. They wanted to go SO badly. They have been bored since our beach walk on Tuesday, but their tiny furless legs/paws simply get too cold and they are miserable. Hard to explain that to them as we head out the door, tossing them a dried sweet potato chew. Colby simply drops it and looks longingly at us. Sorry girlie! Not your time.

Friday, January 14, 2011


You know, I save things. Holly Hoarder. I saved this photo off the internet a while ago and forgot about it. Holly Hoarder.

Some things are worth saving. Holly Hoarder.

Does it generalize?

In the dog training world, generalize means something. Does a behavior generalize? Meaning, what you trained at home does the dog understand it away from home? What you train in the living room - is the dog able to do the same thing in the kitchen? Generalize.

Roscoe seems to generalize, everything! He's brilliant. A savant. Seriously, it is just something we hardly ever have to consider. Once he learns something, he's got it. Solid. He just needs to understand it and he's got it, anywhere.

Spur - doesn't generalize, much. Teach him sit in the house and then ask him to sit in the yard. He might have to think a little. It's not that he isn't brilliant (he's no savant, but he is certainly smart!), it's that he doesn't generalize. So, training him takes longer. He has to learn things and think them through. He learns in environments and changing his environment changes the whole picture. He is so influenced by other stimuli and affected by the situation. And I am not talking the Jersey Shore guy, losers! (if you don't know who that is, then you are not a loser! :D )

It's a learning process, teaching dogs. They all learn differently and for me, with the Pin Heads both being pretty good at generalizing, teaching a dog with trouble generalizing is a learning process. I try to move ahead too quickly and learn I need to step back and do some "generalizing". So, that's what we will do.
Generalize. Spur. Generalize.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I am an idiot!

I wonder if you did a search on this blog for posts with that title you would come up with a whole bunch? Probably. And that's simple, because I AM an idiot! I like to think I am such a know-it-all and have all the answers and am the time. I am bossy and bitchy and arrogant and a self-righteous know-it-all. That's just a fact, Jack! That is until I am an idiot.

Our weekly Tuesday beach walk was MOBBED. OK, so there were about five cars parked at the entrance, several people skating on the marsh, so maybe it wasn't exactly "mobbed". But, more than no cars, so to us that seems mobbed. We like no cars. We like the beach empty, except for us. Why? I have anti-social dogs. I have a dog going blind, who can be bitchy and self-righteous, too. I have.....Roscoe. 'Nuff said. I am anti-social. Think about it. I work........alone. Me and the animals. And we get along just fine. Sometimes I see people and I just put on my self-righteous game face. That's all,................. it's simple.

Yesterday, the beach was mobbed (OK, so there was one lady with a some goldens to the left and one person to the right, that we could see). We scan each direction and decide to head right. A couple dogs pass us as we round the corner, no trouble. I worry. Spur has been a little "self-righteous" lately. OK, a LOT so. He is my social misfit. It seems like it is getting worse. I spend months getting him out by himself, meeting new people. I walked him with Kojak every single morning, meeting other dogs, people, scenery. I took him out and about. We worked hard on it. Making him a social dog. Introducing him to social dogs. Well.........sometimes you can only do what you can do and there are dogs with personalities and Spur's personality is a bit reactive at times. Sigh..........haven't I paid my dues with that with Roscoe??? No? I have more debt to pay?? For being self-righteous and bitchy? I have to deal, A? OK, so I have to deal.

Yesterday I didn't deal very well and a fight broke out. Poor Spur, poor other dog. She was SO freakin' cute we were all just admiring her. She is a cattle dog mix of some sort with a nice young guy. He had been skating around the marsh with her and had chatted with us as we headed in. She was in GREAT shape and well trained. But, Spur took offense to her and I saw it coming. I saw the frozen posture, the hard eyes and tiny lip curl. And what did I do. Stood there like an idiot - the fight broke out. It was so handy she had that harness on, between the nice guy and me we were able to pull her off him. I apologized profusely, saying I totally saw it coming and was horrified I let it happen. I felt bad for her, only 10 months old, having to react like that. She really didn't deserve it. Yes, she is a confident, pushy self-righteous bitch, too, but Spur doesn't need to pick a fight with those types. I could have defused it, stepped in between and stopped his idiotic posturing. The good thing? He wasn't hurt badly. One tiny skin scrape that we couldn't even find until later in the evening. She wasn't hurt at all. And he said she has reacted that way before and once that happens all issues are settled. She and "her best friend" had an initial spat. So, the nice guy has his hand's full, but he obviously has her well trained. He has put her in a down stay as we approached with our pack of wee dogs. Good little girl, she listened at only 10 months with a pack of little dogs coming at her.

She was SO cute!!! -

Spur is saying something self-righteous and bitchy, I am sure -
We carried on, no real harm done. Spur stayed close to me as we passed a couple other dogs. He kept checking in with me. Not sure what he was saying, but he was a bit needy after that. We finally found the rest of the beach to ourselves!! And the coolest pile of rope -
Oi, poor little Spur. I MUST be more pro-active and stop him before he goes off on confident little cattle dog mixes who can easily kick his ass!! She was a good girl. She was fully ready to take him DOWN and had him on his back, grinding into the sand as we pulled her off him. Nice harness!!! He only has one tiny mark. I am sure he is sore, but she didn't sink in. Good girl!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lots of discussion going on lately and it's odd, just odd.

Odd discussions. Counting dead birds or strides on the dog walk. What? Actually, it seems like there should be MORE discussion about dead birds, but I haven't seen any. Why are all those birds dying?? And fish?? We saw birds at the beach today. I didn't count them.

Spur's strides are interesting to count. A this new place his striding is very different. I think ultimately I want a six stride dog walk. I think that's an attainable goal. I have seen him do that. Two strides up is pretty common. At HT's every time he was two strides up. Then on the top he would be either two or three. On the down I think we only had one that was two strides.

At FF, the new place? He wasn't that fast on the up or the top. I think maybe the jump was too close, too worrisome, perhaps I should have started him with a tunnel? Whatever, he did increase speed as we did reps. His strides down were three each time, but they were faster.

Slo mo -

Any ideas about the birds? I mean, seriously, Muffin Heads, dead birds are falling from the sky!!! It's just not right!!!!

Strides on the dog walk. Do you think that could be the title of a book?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Torture tags? Or license tags? Or some sort of joke, like how funny is that dog with the bullseye!!

It's like nearly 1/4 the size of his collar, for crying out loud!He might end up like the dog on the Grinch. Tipping over and walking on his front legs. It's a JOKE!!!
We never use tags. I can't stand clanking, dangling, clinking, obnoxious "jewelry" on my dogs. If I were a dog, PLEASE do not load me down with tags. Especially a 9lb dog!! Put a name plate on my collar, so I can live in peace. I know dogs get used to it, the sound of metal to metal, the whapping of their necks as the tags bang around, but seriously Muffin Heads.........Would YOU want that flopping around as you navigated life, every single minute you moved? Clanking and banging and whapping you in the neck? I think not. But, you - know it is the law. Technically the law. I keep my tags in my purse and have lovely little name plates with the dog's name and our phone number on them. To me, if I were a dog, that's what I would want. Sorry law.

Yesterday we did more running contacts at a new place. I have video, but I figured out how to capture stills from video. I am getting SO techno geeky!!!! Stills from video aren't that great, but he does LOOK fast, A?
We had moments of brilliance, but being this is a fairly new place - he has been here a few times before and been on this dog walk twice before - he was a bit slower and had more stride adjustments. Although, interestingly the stride adjustments occurred on the up and top. Down ramp had more speed and fewer adjustments. The last session at HT's he was two strides up and two/three on top, then stride adjusting on the down. He's an interesting subject, little Spur-minator!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Spur's obedience run-through today

Video is SO helpful! I see our gaps so clearly!! First, my footwork is in bad need of adjustment. That BIG first step I take is annoying and I do it out of the turns, too. I do want him driving out of the turns, but if he better understand the position I don't think that big step is necessary. Annoying!! Leaves the poor guy in the dust on the "forward". And Spur isn't ready for this much duration, and speed. I need to work on that slower and more progressively. Silvia's DVD addresses that, so we will be working on her steps more sequentially, slowly adding speed in smaller increments, and the jackpots for duration. And I haven't been as good about rewarding eye contact, but he seems to be doing OK with that. It could be better because he is a bit distracted wanting to visit the stewards and judge. Little social butterfly!!!

Still, he did OK for not having done this work in a while. We do Rally, but it is a bit different. Way more going on in Rally, since our Rally class is in the TINIEST rooms. We hardly ever do fast speed, and there is not much time between Rally stations. And he did this without the Pin Heads for support. Sadly, I left them home. That's my homework. Get Spur out alone on occasion as he seems so dependent on the Pin Heads for support. I SO wish I had Colby there doing the Utility. She SO loves that. And Roscoe would have LOVED an Open routine! Oh well. It was good for Spur. He did a little bit of tugging. I was off to the side where no one was around, but at least he did some. :D My New Year's resolution. Tug in strange places with other dogs around once/week.

Tomorrow, all three get to play at Shannan's.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The light!

It may seem cold and grey out this time of year, but on occasion the light makes everything GLOW!! It was cold. Roscoe was cold, but the sun may have warmed him a little. My fingers were cold, so I wasn't very good at steadying the camera and making sure the focus box was on the dogs, but still you can see the glow. Poor Colby had to nearly close her eyes, she was squinting so.........
Spur radiates...........
He is SUCH a pretty dog!! He looks so mature and serious!

The grass in the near pasture was never mowed one last time, so it's thick and full of smells and rodent caches and nests. The dogs find the craziest things. A hamburg bun the other day. A rodent cache or maybe crow cache? Not sure the crows cache stuff, but I know the rodents do. We will find little "nests" full of seeds and dried berries and hamburg buns!

Yesterday was a tough day, thinking about Deb and Nitro. Having had a tragic death before I know how difficult it is. I feel SO bad for her. She has told me she can't sleep and is having a really difficult time. I cried a lot for her yesterday. Nitro was definitely her neediest dog and loved her perhaps more than her others. I say that only because I have held her dogs while she runs the other and none are as jealous and needy as Nitro. He was over the top needy. And they were SUCH a great team. I know she was planning on the AKC Nationals with him this year. Big plans, ............all gone.

I think it has hit me hard because Nitro reminds me a little of Spur. They have the same facial markings, are the same size. Are screaming, crazy needy mamma's boys. Of course, Spur and I don't have that same connection, .......yet. But there are some similarities. I can not imagine losing Spur at 7 1/2 years old. It is just tragic.............

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Nitro, RIP little guy...........

One of my most favorite agility dogs to watch.......Nitro, the papillon. He and his person were such a wonderful team to watch. When little Spur was just a year old Deb and I sat Nitro and Spur side by side. They were the same height and weight. We decided Spur must have some papillon in him.

Nitro was hit by a car yesterday and passed away at only 7 1/2 years old. He has a LONG list of accomplishments. He was a champion agility dog and always a dog to watch! We hoped to be like him and Deb out there some day on the course. A wonderful team!! Nitro came from the same breeder who owned the famous Kirby, who won Westminster a while back.

I am so sad.....................the agility community has suffered a great loss and Deb has asked that everyone hug their dogs in honor of Nitro. Please, hug your dogs and be thankful for every day you have with them. Nitro left us far too soon and my heart is heavy today..................such a terrible loss.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It really IS good to have low expectations!

You know, like expecting me not to be the hoarder I really am. Those kind of expectations. Holly Hoarder. Has a nice ring! Until I can barely shove any more clothes into my closet. I looked at my closet the other day and wondered about those shoes? Someone gave them to me a long time ago. They fit, but really they are not ME and it's been years they have sat there. That was a LONG time ago, years. Holly Hoarder. They MUST go. Tomorrow.......

What is it about hoarding? It's easy. Why give away something perfectly good? Well, because the person you give it to might actually USE it! OH, I get it!! Holly Hoarder. I did watch that show one time. It did freak me out. Something about January and cold and winter makes me want to purge. Purge my closets. Purge my drawers. OK, so a few of my coats made it to my truck. And that's where they sit, Holly Hoarder. Tomorrow.

Oh dear, where was I? Low expectations!!! YES!!! I decided last year my failure to continue on the treadmill had to do with too HIGH expectations. I was consistently running three miles several times/week. Then the cold came. I quit. I tried the treadmill. I could barely do a mile and got discouraged and quit. This year........I am trying a different tact. LOW expectations. Instead of trying to run three miles, I will settle for one. One lowly, lame ole mile. Today, I looked at the number on the indicator and I had gone 1.3 miles!!! WAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! See!! Low expectations and I am PUMPED!!! So, what's wrong with that? I did over a mile on the treadmill today. And I was pleased. Pleased enough that I think I could probably do it again tomorrow!!! Low expectations.

Now if I can just find the time to deal with my hoarding issue. Tomorrow........I will start to toss out or give away a few items/week. I won't tackle a whole closet. Just a few things. And I will stop using the excuse that I don't have time to get to the swap shop or Goodwill. I will do it. Tomorrow........Holly Hoarder.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Patricia McConnell has asked about that on her blog. She suggested to be VERY specific. With 43 comments I think very few were specific. Mine? SPECIFIC!! I vowed to be specific and I was. I said my resolution for 2011 for my dog was -

Play tug with Spur once/week in the presence of a dog not in our pack. He is crazy tugger at home. In the presence of other dogs? He can barely do it. We have worked on it, but sometimes I just resort to using food rewards or tossing the ball. That was even hard for him, but he is much better about that now. So, I want to get his comfort level tugging in public increased.

I also have goals for myself, but they are not specific. Get in better shape. Friday's agility work showed how quickly I can get into poor condition. YIKES! So, we moved the treadmill back to the spare bedroom so I can watch TV while doing it. After our walk with the dogs this morning I did 20 minutes. What failed me last year was my goal of a 1/2 hour on it running. It really isn't a running treadmill, although it does go fast enough. It just isn't a wide enough tread area and I have trouble with balance. So, last winter I got discouraged and quit. This year I am going to settle for mixing speed walking and running and see how I do. I did great this morning. A full 20 minutes!! Success!! Lowering my expectations may sound weak, but it actually may work for me. I may meet my goals if I give myself goals I can easily attain!!! :D

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What made me so sore?

I forget how much exercise this is. OI!
This was two days ago and I am STILL sore! Running on rubber is different. Not sure why, but it is. Maybe I should go out for a run this morning? It helps me SO much, but good GRIEF, I hate it. I shouldn't say I hate it, because I sure do feel better when I am doing it, but I really struggle to do it. It just isn't ME, so let's just say I REALLY don't like running! But, it sure does help me and I sure do like running agility. I suppose I could make one of those New Year's resolutions. -

Run a mile or two, um.......what if I made it really reasonable and a mile once/week? Is that just really lame? Yes. But, if I give myself a very, very EASY goal it may be attainable and surpassable. Is surpassable a word? I don't think so, but who says you can't make up words? Something is better than nothing, right? And I do have to start somewhere.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goodbye 20-10, Hello 20-11

Not sure I have ever actually called it 20-10 and I am pretty sure I won't be calling it 20-11, but it looks good. It's like those folks who tell you their phone numbers...........799-19-50. I suppose if my phone number was nineteen and fifty I might say that? Nah.

Today is 1111. 1-1-11. 01-01-2011. My nephew was born on 8888. My grandfather on 121212. That's the coolest one because my nephew was actually born on 080888. Or really 08082008. And my grandfather on 12121912. Have I lost you?

So, what was good about 20-10? Not a whole lot, but some. It was the year Colby started losing her sight. That sucks. It was the year Roscoe got his P-ADCH. That's COOL! It was the year I figured out editing video. That's COOL, or not - because I just spent over an hour editing a video. Damn this old and slow computer. It was the year I felt old and slow. It was too hot and that makes me feel old and slow. I felt old and slow, a lot. It was the year I learned I was parimenopausal. Or is it pre-menopausal? Or just simply starting to get REALLY bitchy. That so very much excites me!! NOT! Although, it seems I am in very good company. Does that make me feel better? Oh sure!!!! NOT.

OK, so there are so many other things to note about 20-10, but I just can't seem to get all philosophical right now. It's just not in me. So, let me go over some of my favorite books for the year, instead, because reading always makes me feel better. Some GREAT reading in 20-10 -
"Wesley The Owl". Still one of my favorites, EVER!
"Cutting for Stone". Maybe one of the best books EVER written? Maybe not.
"The Beautiful Jim Key". Just finished up that one. REALLY awesome.
Those three really stand out. Read them, if you can. GREAT books!

My tough old Zeus kitty has recovered and while, yes, he is a drug addict he is fat and happy and looks GREAT heading into 20-11!! YEAH for the drugs! When I am old and sick and feeling bad, BRING ON THE DRUGS, Muffin Heads!!!!

20-10 seemed to be hard on little Roscoe. Yes he got his P-ADCH, but his aggravation at home has increased some. We have highs and lows and yelling at him and spraying him with water just doesn't ever work. Yet, I keep trying it. I feel like a horrible trainer at times and frustrated and wanting to strangle the little tormentor. Strangling tiny dogs isn't something I want to be known for. We carry on.

Training Spur in 20-10 sure had it's ups and downs. I know the ups are increasing, I just spent over an hour editing a movie, remember? But, we had moments that were so dreadful and discouraging and downtrodden. Times I felt my training was deteriorating and I was sucking into a big, huge, giant toilet. Yet, the little guy manages to recover and somehow at times he make me look good. We carry on. He is such an awesome little guy! Forgiving and sweet and such a pleasure. Love, love, LOVE him.

I have learned I can not leave piles of stuff on the steps, because poor myopic Colby won't see them and stumble and bang her chin on the floor. I learn these things that way, poor, sweet Colby. 20-11 I promise Colby I will be more careful. I will carry her up the stairs every night, so she doesn't have to navigate them blind. I promise.

20-11 has promise. I know it does. I watched Super Nanny fix little, obnoxious children who made me want to strangle them through the TV. If I can be like Super Nanny and find creativity and positive energies I'll be OK. But....well..... not really like a nanny. Using time out circles or listening to screaming all night long so as not to give in, but if I can be creative like SN........

......... then HELLO 20-11!!!