Thursday, October 30, 2014

Princess in th Fog

We had the coolest fog today! On our walk today I couldn't resist stopping for some photos... So SPOOOOKY, just in time for halloween...

Pixel was bored by the whole thing and would have preferred we kept playing and walking. ;)







Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On training for obedience...

I've been training training and training some more. Pixel, Brit and Leo are all in various stages of training for the obedience ring. So I try to squeeze in at least one session a day.

I typically train them all in the same session- and it is often a bit of a challenge for me. Switching between their personalities and needs is a lot of work. But it certainly keeps me sharp!

Pixel can work for long periods of time for one larger reward. She is able to switch between exercises and such quite easily and likes a lot of physical grabbing and tugging as rewards. Cookies bring her a bit lower than a toy- which brings out the best amount of drive. Especially for heeling. I normally start with her weakest thing and end on the easiest.

Brit is a softie and I need to always be sure that I am being clear about what we are working on. She is easily overwhelmed by challenges and would like to quit if the pressure is high. We work on short, fast bits of exercises. Rarely putting them together. Her rate of reinforcement is high- but super variable. I need to keep her guessing or she is the type of dog who thinks she deserves the reward and can sulk about it. The toy brings out the best- but it's a challenge to use it with her for heeling. She is so literal in her thinking that placement of rewards is super important for her- the toy clouds that a bit. I also need to be careful not to overdo my enthusiasm as it weirds her out.

Leo can work for longer periods of time but on one or at most two different things. He does not switch gears very well and struggles to change to something different. He can be a frantic learner so when I am teaching him something specific or mechanical I use food and a clicker as it tends to slow him down a bit. For heeling though we use a toy. For that I want pushy and in full drive mode so it works well because that's how he is when the toy is the reward. I have to be careful to not be too physical with the rewards or he gets careless and the lesson becomes about impulse control- not on whatever we started with.

All so different. And all so awesome. I love dog training!

I'm going to try and get some video this weekend of heeling. I love heeling. Teaching it. Training it. Watching it. Definitely one of my most favorite things.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cypress Hills

Last field trial of the year. First successful time in intermediate for Leo. Biggest outrun ever! He placed second both days. And first overall. I'm proud of us. It's been a lot of work. Like a lot of work. It feels good to have progress. Of course I want more progress. The driving especially. And for whatever reason he would not take a flank on the fetch. We will be working on that!

Brit was terrible. And then not. She crossed over the first day. I think she lost sight of her sheep... Second day was better. I sent her on the flat side- up the hill. Hard to miss them that way.

Good times with good friends. As always I had a good time. It was a small trial and everyone was super friendly and helpful.

I really need to remember my camera. Video of that outrun would have been awesome!

One thing I learned from the weekend. Whistles. I need them. Like yesterday. Too bad it's dark now at 6pm so I'm super limited about when I can train...







Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dogs and Sheep

Just some dogs. And Sheep.

:)








Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thankful



Today's Message. Be Thankful.

And not just because it's Canadian Thanksgiving. Well maybe mostly because of that. But also because it is important- to be grateful. For everything you have, and all the people, and pets, and health, and stuff, and just well everything. Don't be one of those people who complain about what they don't have. Take a second and look at what you do have. Appreciate it. Because there are always people who have it worse, or would be happy with even a 1/4 of what you have. So be Thankful. I know I am.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Instagram

I joined, I mean re-joined Instagram! Apparently I joined when 200 weeks ago, posted two photos and then never went back (I only know this because it told me.)

I've been actively posting away. I actually enjoy it only because then I don't need to bore all my Facebook friends with my obsession with sky photos. ;)

Anyway. Find me if you want. ;)


Thursday, October 02, 2014

Wicca

I love this dog more each day. As if that were possible. 







Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Frog in Underwear

Apparently this is actually a thing. A kids show, or cartoon, or something. Animals wearing underwear. It is a little creepy, and a lot funny. I bought it at the dollar store of all places. I figured the dogs would enjoy it. I didn't take into account the awesomeness of photos with the creepy little fella. lol

So I present the Frog-In-Underwear series.








That last one is highly inappropriate. But hilarious. Really.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Birthday Girl

Today is Brits fifth birthday! I can't believe she is five already. I got her when she was two so I sort of feel ripped off. Lol. Maybe I can just pretend she is three?

Today she got to do some fun things. And I even gave her some presents! The best part was that she got to come to class tonite as a demo dog and mooch food off of everyone. And of course we stopped for ice cream on the way home..

So anyways, Happy Birthday to Brit. The dog who brought forth many changes into my life. She is a great dog. And I am so lucky. <3



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sometimes things are hard

Sometimes things are hard. Life, work, family, dogs, stuff. It can all be really good. Or it can be hard. And lately for me things are hard.

It's not one thing. Or one big thing. It's a lot of little things. I relate it to something I refer to as "walking in the dark syndrome". You know, when you are walking in the dark and you think you hear something and then you are sure there is something and then every little rustle of leaves or sound freaks you out more and more until you are running home. What started as one little thing got worse. A combination of no recovery time, and not enough coping skills. (This happens to dogs too by the way- and I use this analogy a lot when explaining fear and reactivity. Lol. )

Anyway, I am not a "share my feelings" sort of person and instead internalize things. Keeping my worry to myself. This is not healthy. Lol.

Soin an effort to cope and recover before the next thing this is what I do. To help myself.

I use music. To express myself and work through stuff. I've been listening to lots of music. Some angry teenage-angst music, but mostly calming uplifting folksie sort of music. It helps quite a bit. Cheapest therapist ever, and it never asks you how that makes you feel. Lol. I appreciate that. :)

And words. Reading. Writing. It's all a great way to cope and work through stress and worries. The Internet is full of hidden gems. So here. I found this on the Internet today. It's my new wallpaper on my phone. A good reminder.

Here's to better days. And continued sunshine.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Busy weekend. Busy week.

I had a busy weekend. And even though its already Wednesday I'm gonna talk about it. ;)

Took my nephew and a friend to the corn maze. It was fun. Nolen had a fantastic time. It was creepy because it was sort of dark. I think it would be a lot fun and scarey! In the actual dark though. So I'm trying to convince some friends to come with me. Closer to Halloween....

Spent the weekend at Louannes. Helping with farm stuff. I love that stuff. I seriously could do that every day. Leo did a good job and was pretty tired at the end of the day. Lambs are difficult. And many lambs are even more so. It was a good experience for him though. We did just some training the next day. Brit was wild , so we worked on pace. Lol. And we are still working on driving. Driving and driving and driving. It's coming though. I got a few good pointers from Louanne. I'm excited about the progress! There is a field trial coming up. I entered Leo in intermediate for the first time!

This week has been busy. New classes started so I'm busy with lesson plans and organizing and such. It is a lot of work beyond what actually happens in class.

The weather has been nice. So we are cramming in as much outside training as possible. I love fall training. The brisk air. The crunch of the leaves. Perfect.

And some random photos from my phone. The app won't let me put them in place. So you'll have to use your imagination as to where they go. Lol







Monday, September 15, 2014

We are not dead. Just busy.


I've become one of those bloggers. That only blog once in a blue moon, and then just dump a whole pile of crap and go. I am going to change that though. Because this blogs true purpose is for myself, and my crappy memory. This blog started out as a training log- a place where I wrote down stuff about the dogs and training, and events and that sort of thing. I use the search feature a lot. For example type in Pixel Open Leg and you will find that she has two. That's the sort of thing I forget. 

Anyway, onward to the blog post. It's been a month. Or nearly a month. Do you know how much stuff happens in a month? A lot. Here's a recap. 

Pixel is still fat. You'd think that with all the swimming and stuff she does she'd be skinny as a post. But no. So we are working on that. She also refuses to hold an out of sight stay. Like barely at all. This frustrates me. So we practice every day. Otherwise she is cute and happy and her same old normal self. 

Boonie is mostly normal again. It's like the moon and the stars and the atmospheric pressure is all just so. I like Normal Boonie. No random spinning, no running away, no staring absently into a corner. Just chilled out, hanging on the couch Boonie. Maybe it's age. 

Vito is a badass. Doesn't listen, sulks around if he gets in trouble. Really hates the bulldog next door. Thankfully they are moving. Vito has had more baths this summer than I can even count. He has a thing about dead stuff. He can find it- anywhere. And then he smears himself in it. Dead things smell bad, and then Vito smells bad. It's quite gross actually. 

Brit is making up for Boonie being normal. She has decided that under the bed is the place to be. No idea why. But if I can't find her that's where she is. Strange. We have stopped working Obedience-well, heeling. Although I am tempted to start rally with her again. But she gets so sore after. It's depressing. Whereas in herding. She is barely ever lame after. Brit is a funny dog on sheep though- sometimes quite good and other times not so much. It is frustrating when she runs away from them however... lol. I am undecided about what the plan is. 



Leo is brilliant. He is a solid worker, with loads of enthusiasm. He is so much fun to train. Living with him is interesting, but I love him anyway. He is a very good agility dog. We've got the basics and then some. What he doesn't have is solid weave poles. I have never had trouble teaching weaves before. Not like this. He is completely bizarre. He leaps through them literally, or runs really fast by them and moves his head as though he is weaving. It is very strange. I blame myself of course- I wasn't entirely motivated when I started teaching him and I stayed at the same point for too long and now I've messed him up. Good thing I like problem solving. On sheep he continues to impress me. His driving is coming along in leaps and bounds now. He still occasionally gets sticky but that rarely happens now. And exciting news- I'm putting whistles on him and Brit right now. I am excited about that! Whistles will help things to be a little more precise- and as an added bonus I'll know that he can hear me when he's 200 yds away. lol

Wicca is mostly great. She has had a few bad days. But she is mostly great. And that's what I think about. I love her so much that it hurts. 

photo by Wendy Devent
And the rest of the stuff. Work is good. My training business is busy. But I feel like I have a good balance between all the stuff in my life. Work, Dogs, Life, Family, Friends. It is hard sometimes. But lately things have been pretty great. Just have to fit Blogging in there somewhere. ;)  I've actually been able to enjoy some downtime- and am not trying to fill every second of the day with stuff. Before the thought of just sitting at home for a day would completely panic me. But have decided that relaxing can be a good thing. It's only taken 30 years to come to that conclusion. ;) 

My dad and I went to Winnipeg for my Grandpa's burial service. It was emotionally draining, but I'm glad I went. It was nice to spend some time with my dad. He is the best ever. And although it was sad, it was nice to have some closure. For him and for my Grandma.

My family is all good- my sister and her kids are wonderful. Little Avery is the cutest baby ever. And Nolen is getting so grown up! It's amazing how smart he is. I've reconnected with my brother- which is sort of weird. We never really got along, ever. But it's a good change. My dad is okay, although I do worry about him. He spends so much time taking care of my mom. It's really hard on him. My mom is worse than ever. But nothing I can say or do will change that so I push it out of my head and heart. That's about all I can do- or I'd go crazy. 

Fall is here- we had the first snow- and although it was just a tiny bit it was pretty cold! I love fall- but am not looking forward to winter. This summer has gone by so fast! It's a blur really. I did a lot of fun things though, and don't regret any of it! I'm already planning for next summer. It involves a passport! 

And on that note, a very happy Pixel- on a mission as per usual. ;) 


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Herding Demo



My friend asked me to do a herding demo for a group of kids at a horse camp. I was excited but nervous. The sheep don't actually live there, and the fencing is meant for horses- not sheep. lol. I had fears of sheep running amok through the horses, and on to the highway, or down the coulee. Thankfully none of that happened and it actually went pretty well!!

I used Leo mostly- Brit is better with kids but was a little wild. lol. Leo was good though- he didn't even notice the kids until he almost ran into them.

We used the kids as obstacles- first as panels, and then someone had the bright idea to get them all to stand in a row and weave through them... talk about tricky. lol.  Kids don't stand still ever. And don't listen. You can see in the photo the kids are actually petting the sheep.

In any case it was a lot of fun, and I could be convinced to do another!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

So long little Nell

Nell leaves today to start her journey to her new home. I am thrilled for her. She is going to a fantastic home where she will be loved and spoiled for her whole life. Couldn't ask for much better than that. I wish her the very best in her future. <3

I've had a lot of foster dogs. Too many to count even. Some I remember, and some I don't. But sometimes there is that something a little extra special, and it draws me in. I think with Nell it is a combination of how long I've known her (since she was a baby!), and her temperament/personality. She is all the things I like in a dog. It's shame the timing wasn't better for me. 

But six is plenty thank you very much. 

Farewell little Nelly.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Scenthurdle

I am not a people person. That's why I am a dog person. So I am not sure why I torture myself with the whole team sports thing. Don't get me wrong. I love my team- we are team awesome after all. But it's hard to lead a team. Being in charge has it's perks. And it's not so fun times. Mostly it balances out. But lately I feel like I am not doing a good job of leading said team. So I am frustrated- mostly at myself. I am sure that once the busy summer months are over that it will all settle back down. But in the mean time I keep telling myself how much my dogs love this game, and how much I like it. lol

And on that note I think I can safely say that this is Brits most favorite thing. She is confident, and eager, and always ready for her turn. And getting more and more accurate (which I am sure my team is happy about. lol)