Thursday, July 30, 2009

Christmas in July

I said I was like a kid at Christmas, waiting for RoxAnne's photos to be put on her website. There here!! Check it out: Page 12 of the gallery. We're right after the border collie. They're awesome! I played them as a slide show and could really appreciate RoxAnne capturing the moment as one photo blurred into the next.

Now on to the hard part...how do I choose?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Proud Mommy Moment

Wow! I was *so* proud of my Mike yesterday...

Ever since he was a pup, Mike (see photo at the top of this page) was very body sensitive. If he was in a heightened state, excited or stressed about the environment and you touched him, he would scream. It was a cross between a yip and a yelp. We've always called it Mike's Squeek. As he got older, I could tell by the set of his ears when a squeek was coming. I would warn him that I was going to touch his belly or pick him up. He would suck in a breath and hold it, as if saying, "Oh! Go Ahead. I'm ready!"

And yet Mike is a very loving, sweet Sheltie. He just wasn't a pick me up and cuddle kind of dog. When people come to visit, we tell them about Mike's squeeks and that if he yells, don't feel bad. It's not you.

Now here's my proud mommy moment. We have house company (five people) staying with us this week. Last night I came out onto the porch to see the one person (a stranger to Mike) vigorously petting Mike's ears and head. First it was a stranger touching him. Secondly he was touching the most intimate part of Mike, his head. AND NOT A SOUND. Mike was not even doing that avoiding head slant move he used to make.

I gave him a treat and told him what a Big Boy he is! He then went to the top of the couch and hung out with us on the porch, watching the activity from above. I was thrilled that he never squeeked nor did he leave the busy area with people milling about.

Acadia One No Trump you are da bomb!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Fun Experience

If you're ever in the market for excellent photos of you and your dogs, you've got to get RoxAnne Franklin. I am fortunate that I live where she comes to agility trials to photograph the runs. The reason she is so awesome is twofold: First, she's got a great eye. She's sees just the right shot and captures it so you have the best memento of your dog running an agility course. Secondly, she doesn't just take the "mandatory tire picture" at trials. She goes around the sidelines, up in the bleachers, and outside where people are exercising their dogs. Here she captures just the perfect shot of your relationship with your dog. She photographs people snuggling with their dogs, having them do tricks to warm up for the ring, or saying thanks for a great run.

It was my good fortune today that she came to our agility training location, and we could schedule half-hour shoots with her. I have tons of agility pictures of Brisco (he's the first child, don't ya know!) and a few good ones of Mike and now Cosi. But I have no photos of Jenny. I also wanted a RoxAnne photo of all of us--me and my four dogs, a sort of family portrait.

She took the photos today; they should be on her web site within two weeks. I'm like a kid at Christmas! I can't wait! I took Cosi and Mike to her farm last spring and had the best time getting their portraits and agility pictures taken. Here's a sample of RoxAnne's glorious work. She truly is a gifted artist, a true dog lover, and a terrific person.

Photography used with permission. Pix Of The Litter, RoxAnne Franklin.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Sad Story (Reader Beware)

As I walked into work today, a co-worker met me with tears in her eyes. This is unusual as she is a very stoic person, not given to drama or excess emotion. She barely got out the words that her daughter's (an adult in her 20's) dog died yesterday. It turns out that the 3-month-old puppy had tags on its collar. The tags got caught in the crate and it hanged itself. When the owner came home at lunchtime to let the puppy out, she found it dead in the crate.

This is truly a heart-breaking story, but one I felt I needed to share. I have two "tips" regarding collars and tags. I've used Boomerang tags with much success. They fit flat onto the collar and have two benefits. First, they do not jangle; peace reigns in the house. Secondly, they are made of stainless steel so they don't rust or lose the lettering. I take all the dogs' tags--rabies, license, ID tag, etc.--and put them on the ring of their leash. That way when we are out and about on a walk, they have their credentials.

Please take this story to heart and take any dangling tags off your dog's collar, or remove the collar when you crate your dog. Let's keep our dogs safe.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Perspective

This morning as I was playing with the dogs in the yard, I noticed a dead very young bunny, one that would not have left the nest yet. Upon closer inspection, I found that it was half eaten. It was right at the bottom of the A-frame. I looked under the A-frame and found that a rabbit had nested right underneath and up against the plank of the A-frame. Some nocturnal creature (cat or possum) found the nest and killed and half ate the baby bunnies. Carnage under the A-frame--ewwwww.

From my perspective I didn't want to reward Cosi on a contact where there was the smell of dead animals. So I wanted to move the A-frame. I enlisted Jack's help, and he didn't like the idea. He didn't want to kill any more grass (The grass under the A-frame is gone.). *Sigh* Agility perspective vs. home-owner perspective--sometimes the two don't mesh.

Have you found that to be true too?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gotcha!

For years I've been bugging Jack to get an RV so that we can travel with the dogs in comfort. Here's the outline of my plan:

Jack would drive.

I'd be in the back having a nap.

And Jack would drive.

I'd be in the back watching a DVD.

And Jack would drive.

I'd be in the back having a snack.

And Jack would drive.

For some reason I can't figure, he just wouldn't get on board with my great idea.

Yesterday I really played a good joke on him. We were in the kitchen and looked outside when we heard this loud engine. Here a 37' RV (like picture below) pulled up at our curb. I calmly turned to Jack and said, "Oh good. It's here. I ordered it on-line." For just a nano-second, he looked panic-stricken, like,oh, God, she did! Then he grinned and got the joke. He said, "Probably from Amazon!"

I love this man.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mama's Helper

Since I've had trouble with my back and hip, I went to physical therapy. There I learned specific exercises I need to do to keep my pelvis in alignment. Keeping up with an exercise program is tough unless you have help. Well, I have Poodle Help--the best kind of help there is.

When I lie on the floor to do my exercises, Jenny lies right next to me. A funny thing happened when we were visiting my parents. Not funny Ha Ha but odd funny. Jenny rolls onto her back and starts to move her paws in the air as I'm doing my exercises. We tried to capture it in a photo, but it didn't come out as well as I would have liked.

Poodles are so smart, and Jenny is no exception. It's wonderful to have a Poodle companion, eager to share in my activities.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Crate Games


On of the *best* dog training (not even related to agility) DVD's I own is Crate Games by Susan Garrett. As we were traveling, it brought to mind how reliable my dogs are with their crates. Because of Crate Games, I can leave my dogs in a crate with the door open and know they'll just hang out. Here are some practical applications:

#1 - Dinner. My #1 rule is NO DOGS AT THE TABLE. And that means any table, not just my house. When we visit my parents, there are normally 8 people at the table and 6 dogs. That's too much traffic if all dogs are milling about. So when dinner is served, I give my dogs the command, "Crate!" They rush to their open-door crates and lie down. They stay there during dinner. As their reward they may get a tidbit from the people food we just had or a really good doggie treat that I brought along. It makes for a lovely supper, no drool down anyone's leg, and the dogs get a treat for working.

#2 - Feeding. As I'm preparing the dogs' dishes for supper, I don't want them jumping up at the counter, barking at me (my most hated behavior!), or driving each other into a frenzy. Crate Games to the rescue again. Before I begin to fix their bowls, I yell, "Crate!" if I have to. They're so conditioned that they head for the open-door crates as I head towards the dog food container. Smart Dogs! +:o)

#3 - Rest Stops. As we travel across major highways to and from my parent's house, stopping to potty and feed the dogs is critical. I know that I can open a crate door, look around for a leash, check for traffic, then give the release command. My dogs will wait for the release command and stay safe in their crates even if there are other dogs in the area. Handling four dogs at the rest stop becomes easy because no one is lunging out of a crate or flying into traffic.

If you haven't added this DVD to your collection, my recommendation is DO IT! It was a great investment of time and money for me...and the bonus is the dogs think it is f-u-n.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Air Travel

Wow! I read this article on the new policies on some airlines that allow pets (dogs and cats) to fly in the cabin *in a seat*! How exciting. I would never fly with my dogs as #1) they didn't fit in a crate that will go under a seat and #2) I would NEVER put my dog in the cargo area.

Check it out: Click here to read the article.

Now I'm thinking that nationals in a far-off place like California is totally possible!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Obstacle Training is a Thing of the Past!

To heck with all this jump, contacts, and weave training. I'm teaching Cosi numbers 1-20. Cosi is being very diligent and does his homework every night. Tonight in class he beagn with a Novice course map.

Upon closer inspection, he decided that we needed to do a RFP on the opening--which worked very well, thank you very much. =:O)

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Best Place On Earth

This post is written by Cosi, Mike, and Jenny. Brisco would contribute, but he's busy. See, here at Grandma's house the windows are only 6 inches off the floor. In a word: Awesome! A little Sheltie guy like Brisco can run from window to window to window, chasing all who dare to walk by the house. So at Grandma's house he's on guard 24/7.

We love it here at Grandma's! The cookies flow freely (not like at home where we have to work for them all the time) and the walks are fabulous. There's a park nearby where Mom lets us run and jump and bark. We don't like the neighborhood fireworks at night, but being allowed to sleep in a bed makes up for it. Here are some photos of us at Grandma's:


Cosi says the feature he loves the most about Grandma's house is the indoor surfing. See, Grandma has these lovely, slippery rugs on her hardwood floor. There's a straight shot from the front door to the back door. Here's my style: Look at yourself in the glass of the front door, pretend to freak out, then run like a banshee to the back door, leap and slide on the rug. Repeat at back door to front. Continue this process until Mom yells at you. Try it! Indoor surfing should be an Olympic event!


Mike says he loves Grandma's house because he gets so much attention and treats. He can relax here and enjoy being with his Jenny. Jenny says enough pictures already!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Funny Stretch of Highway

Whenever Jack and I travel I-70 West, we go through a manly stretch of highway. It starts with a billboard sign advertising a local gun dealer. Not long after that is an ad for Beer & Cigarette World Superstore. Go only a little further to see signs for fireworks, a gentlemen's club, and Hub Cap World.

By this time, we're out and out laughing. Everything a m-a-n needs in about 5 miles of highway: guns, beer, cigarettes, fireworks, women, and hub caps.

Life *is* good.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

4th of July Celebration

Having a sound-sensitive breed, I'm always anxious about this holiday. Seems no one is happy unless there are loud, booming noises.

I was reading Cadie Pruss' blog and found a wonderful article addressing this very issue. I urge you to read her 4th of July Safety Tips.

Click here to read the article.

Thanks, Cadie!

Happy 4th, everyone.