Monday, June 30, 2008

Pink Kitty MIA

The Pink Kitty has been missing in action lately. What should I discover today when I got home to walk the Bug? Ike has sequestered the Pink Kitty and the Frog in his crate!

Bug quickly remedied the situation while Ike was at the in-laws. Just as quickly he lost interest in the Pink Kitty and resumed playing with his fave toy - the duck!

Upon Ike's arrival home, in his stealthy-Schnauzer-way, he retrieved the Pink Kitty. Phew.

And I did actually practice today! Given the heat, every dog was allotted one cheese stick and that is it.

I had Ike practice Switch since I had the cone out and he was HYSTERICAL. Ike is absolutely happy as a clam and totally convinced he is about to get some cheese cause HE DID IT RIGHT! So funny. I love that he isn't as inclined to quit as he used to be - it blows my mind.

Carmen says, "this shot doesn't do my new cut justice," but it's the best I could do! I still have to thin the furnishings a bit, but eh - I am getting there.

And now for some gratuitous Bug shots.

Communications and C.H. #3

We had Bug’s communications class and Ike’s competition heeling class yesterday. While it wasn’t too terribly hot the humidity was a killer!!

Poor Bug is suffering from a bad mum who is not practicing enough! Whack, Whack - that is the sound of me hitting myself over the head with the screaming monkey. I need to get on the ball!

Bug has great eye contact when he is sitting in front of me, and is starting to search out eye contact but gives up a bit too soon. He thinks staring at me is good enough. I need to practice at home in a none stressful environment – not only in class which has been this month’s modus operandi!

Yesterday we started practicing the space game. Katrin felt Bug would be inclined to sit down when I asked him to back up, so she recommended starting by luring him into backing up by placing the treat at chest level and moving it into his chest. Considering how well he backs up when he is trying to get out of the way, I think this will end up being easy for him. He was starting to get it yesterday and definitely finds backing up in a straight line easier than Mr. Ike.

We cut class a little bit early because handlers and dogs alike were quitting – or our bodies were.

Ike’s turn!

I REALLY enjoyed yesterday’s C.H. class. Katrin gated off two thirds of the arena and invited one handler in at a time to practice “setting up.” She had us start with our dogs in front of us and lure them VERY far behind us using our left hand (which is the way Ike and I are accustomed to doing set-up). Multiple things became apparent:

1. I am not luring far enough behind me.

2. I am moving my hand too fast.

3. And Ike just loves to kick his little tush out.

Numbers 1 & 2 were easily remedied by Katrin telling me to slow down! Lure further back!

As to Ike’s little tush, Katrin went and got a board from her broad jump. She placed it about a foot (I have to measure the actual distance – 12” is a guesstimate) away from my left side. The theory is that having less space will cause the dog to sit straighter and tighter (to you). And it did! I guess it isn’t a theory. :D So I will be practicing at home with a 5 inch high piece of board. Home Depot here I come! (I need to make some short gates, cavalletis, and a liner [to train Carmen for ED] too.)

Next we practiced having our dog learn that they can plant their front feet and move their hind feet independently. Katrin and I thought Ike might have a bit of an advantage considering all the stool work he has done (walking around a foot stool using only his back feet). Nope. Ike kept trying all sorts of things but wasn’t quite getting it. But he was trying, multiple things!

To teach your dog to do this Katrin recommended taking a treat and moving it to the side – just far enough that the dog moves their head but not their front feet. The idea is they might move their back feet to adjust their position but because it is not a BIG change they won’t move their front feet. This is definitely an exercise to practice with a clicker handy! It helps with the set-up because the dog learns they can do a tuck sit and adjust themselves without moving their front feet. This is exactly the sort of exercise that Ike really enjoys, so I guess we will be working on it this week!

I have to mention that I was so focused on trying to figure out the mechanics of how this exercise works (it sounded more confusing than it is) that I didn’t hear Katrin saying not to practice it in heel position. So I was asking Ike to set-up and with just practicing two or three times with the board I noticed he was sitting MUCH straighter and tighter to me!! Woo-hoo Ike!

Given the heat I was very excited that both dogs were so happy to work for me. Upon arriving home neither dog moved the rest of the evening! The heat really sapped the energy out of them; that and the mental work-out.

This week’s agenda: MAKE TIME TO PRACTICE!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I groomed the dogs yesterday. I did Evil-Joey first because I usually do him last and am tired and feel like he doesn't get the full benefit of the doubt. He was horrendous. When I went to clip his nails he actually really, really tried to bite me versus snapping (which is bad enough). Ugh. Awful, awful, awful. So, for anyone that was thinking I was getting soft about e-Joey. FORGET IT!! He's still evil. And he has some weird scaly skin condition going on. The Schnauzers were good and I continue to revise how I do their furnishings. Bug got a bath and a blow dry!

My friend Marlene sent me this cute link. It's a webcam that you type in different behaviors and the Yorkie does them. I typed in bite, but the best he could do is bewildered! Obviously he is not as evil as Evil-Joey.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

5 Directions # 2

Thursday night we had our second 5 Directions class after a week off. We started class by reviewing “switch” and then segued into working on “Switch” + “get out.” Carmen is starting to understand “switch” - she doesn’t spin as much.

I need to work on her driving to a target plate ahead of me – maybe I could use a toy at home. When she starts to move ahead of me I will click and toss the toy ahead (straight line toss should be easier for me!). She adapted to “Get Out” much easier than Ike did when he was learning it, which is nice. It seems to be a much more natural behavior for her – I am sure it is her foundation.

Once we have practiced “Switch” on one side, Carmen insists that we are still practicing on that side regardless of my body language or where I am – that-that is what “Switch” is. I wonder if giving her separate names for switch, directionals I guess, would help her or add to her literalness. I think I would have a tougher time with it but it might help her.

I am now pretty confident that Ike would enjoy this class – before I wasn’t so sure. I might have to enroll him in it next time Katrin offers it. I have also discovered that while I can not always get my body to do what I want at the right moment I do have a MUCH better understanding of the mechanics of training “switch” and “get out.” I am very excited by this realization. For a long time I was extremely frustrated by my inability to “get it.” Always fun to recognize progress in both yourself and your doggies.

It was a nice class. Makin, Neil, and Lael weren't there (we missed them) and the class felt tiny! Everyone did really well and I was proud of Carmen and Iris; they were both very chill.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday Nite Class, More T-Storms!, Bug-Downs

I don’t think we have ever had as many thunderstorms in a short period of time as we have had this month. Or at least not in a very long time. Wow. Last night again…. thunderstorms! I really hesitated about bringing Ike to class because where I live the thunder was SO loud Ike was hanging in the bathroom. However the deciding factor was that he came out of the bathroom when I was cutting up cheese. After all, he doesn’t want Bug to get anything he doesn’t get! So, if he was more worried about Bug getting treats than the thunder I decided we were good-to-go for class.

We continued to focus on Switch and distance this week and Ike did really well, again! He is so happy. The first section of the course involved two jumps and a tunnel as a serpentine. The second time Ike actually took the switch – I almost fell over! What a good boy. On to the A-frame (no perching!) and into the tunnel driving out over two jumps. He was really moving and happy.

SUPERB class AFTER thunderstorms, driving in the car with Obi (Katrin’s FCR puppy), allowing Obi to sniff him all over without a single snarky look/noise, and letting Matt (Callie’s dad) pet him! WOW. If the class stunk I wouldn’t have cared. Puppies are a definite issue for Ike and I think Obi’s excellent dog skills combined with Bug are really mellowing Ike out.

Our final run Ike really wasn’t interested. I had to bribe him with rabbit just for walking with me! Katrin had left a 10” tunnel out beside the A-frame; considering Ike’s *love* of tunnels I completely expected him to take the a-frame. I guess the tunnel is the lesser of two evils (reminder, he doesn’t really like the A-frame either!) since he repeatedly took the tunnel. FINALLY he said, “Okay, you don’t want me to do the tunnel but I really don’t have the energy for the A-frame” and tried to go between the two. He was trying so hard to figure out a way to give me something that would make me happy without doing that dang a-frame! He did finally do it and we called it a night. If there is one thing we have learned with Ike – he holds a grudge! :D If we forced him to do the run again it would have been a disaster and next week would have been too.

I am really happy that he was so happy trying to figure out a way NOT to do the a-frame. In and out of the tunnel, happy as a clam. Not sure where this dog has come from but he is Ike with a big old helping off happiness and it is so fun. I think a lot of it is Bug’s influence/presence. Ike seems like he feels LIGHTER emotionally. Very cool.

On the Bug front, Honor-Bug has figured out “down”! It is not on cue yet but I saw his little lightbulb moment occur. I think there is nothing cuter than a cardi doing a fold-back down. Hysterical! Now to put it on cue and start changing locations. Right now we practice mostly in my kitchen. Gotta take the show on the road!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Communications and C.H. # 2

Yesterday Bug had his second Communications class. Having been through this class with two other dogs I was pleasantly surprised by how UN-distracted the Bug was in the stimulating barn environment.

We set up obedience ring style gates to give each student and dog space to work in which wouldn't be accidentally invaded by other handlers or dogs. The dogs were placed on a 15 foot long line and then we (the handlers) waited for our dogs to "check-in" by making eye contact. I brought Evanger's 100% Rabbit canned food and my clicker. Bug immediately started giving me loads of eye contact.

However when Katrin suggested I move 90 degrees and wait for him to make eye contact I "lost" my dog! :D He sat staring at my side. Eventually I moved and made it easier so we could set him up for success. I am happy to say on Dog # 3 I am much less of a helper-human. We have a lot to work on this week. I am really pleased with his willingness to work. It's interesting, Carmen with a lack of input/direction goes exploring or starts staring. Bug's default is to sit or lay down and wait for info. Both behaviors have their merits and present different long term challenges.

During Ike's C.H. class I was struck with an awful stomach ache. So while I watched the class I did not participate at all. Katrin closed off part of the arena and had the handlers take their dog off-lead. The handler walked as though their dog was in heel position (without actually asking their dog to be there or cuing it) and when the dog actually was in heel position they were rewarded. Otherwise there was no interaction between handler and dog. I would like to try this with Ike. I am very curious how he would handle this change; I am inclined to think he would get the idea pretty quickly.

The other thing we worked on are tuck sits. The goal is for the dog's front feet to stay stationary. So, ask for a sit but do not move your hand. Katrin suggested having the dog do a nose touch and a sit while holding the nose touch. Ike was hysterical trying all sorts of silly things. Ike got the tuck-sit idea very quickly. Considering a year ago when we did the competition obedience class at Masterpeace he would only sit 4 feet away from me it is safe to say we have made progress!

Good classes even with the terrible stomach ache.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Yesterday Honor-Bug, Katrin, Monty, Obi, and I went out to Two Shadows Farm to try our hand at herding. Colleen, the trainer, used to be located in Wrentham and now has a lovely place out in New Braintree - about 90 minutes away.

Katrin and Monty had their lesson first so I could watch. It was really excellent (and overwhelming!). Colleen is so good - as she was instructing Katrin she was also giving me asides explaining different things. Colleen uses a small children's size rake to direct the dogs from a distance. In my mind the rake acts sort of like a rudder directing the flow of the dogs movement. Colleen had Katrin use it to change Monty's direction and give the sheepies more space. The rake doesn't typically actually touch the dog.

Monty and Katrin seemed to have a really good time and on a couple of occasions Colleen commented on how pretty a certain get-out or get-around was.

When it was the Bug's turn I brought him out and let him play with some sheep wool. Colleen's sheep are what she referred to as "hair" sheep. They do not have to be clipped/shorn, they shed their wool. A quick google search told me that "hair" sheep are Katahdin Sheep. Katahdin sheep are a breed that was developed in the U.S. by a fellow in Maine. He saw pictures in National Geographic of some of these sheep in West Africa and decided to import some.

Bug LOVED the wool.

After Bug had an opportunity to play with the wool, Colleen told me to bring him into the pen. She said that the dog should NEVER enter the pen without your permission and should be under your control. I asked Bug for a sit, opened the gate, walked in and released him. I then asked him for another sit. Then Bug let out a low growl - so while he was not stressed he wasn't 100% with the sheepies.

I put Bug in a sit and asked him to wait. Then I walked partway out to the sheepies, turned and returned to Bug to reward him for a good wait. Eventually I walked out, touched the sheepies and returned to the Bug.

Then we practiced "get out" which involved walking around the outside edge of the pen, Bug on the outside and me on the inside. I asked him for four different behaviors while walking and then switched sides and did the same thing. Colleen then asked me to walk with Bug straight into the sheep. Bug put on the brakes. Colleen came in and picked up one of the sheep's hooves so that Bug could get a close sniff. He wasn't so sure he wanted any part of it.

Colleen had me chase the sheep with her holding Bug and following.

Since we wanted to work on Bug being more comfortable, Colleen had us start walking along the outside edge of the pen and slowly get closer and closer to the sheep. I kept treating Bug for his bravery. Thank gods Bug is a cheese whore! By the end we were REALLY close to the sheep and I was about to be sick with the dizziness! Big improvement.

Collen said she thought it would probably take two or three lessons for Bug to realize, "Oh, sheep are fun!" Part of the dynamics is how new Bug is to me and his softness. He has only been with me for a month and a half, although it feels like he has always been with us. I am sure as our realtionship deepens and he has more confidence in me he will become more confident.

After Bug's lesson Obi had an opportunity to herd too! He did awesome. On the ride home all the dogs were conked out. In fact, I think Bug is still tired from yesterday. Learning is stressful after all!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday Night Class, T-Storms, evolving relationships

Ike’s Tuesday Night class was wonderful!! Seriously, last night’s course was really fun. We practiced distance, switch, and layering. I think all of the handlers and dogs did a great job working it. It’s always so much fun to see how everyone is progressing and getting better at their respective jobs.

I screwed the layering aspect up each and every time because I was going with the Ikey-flow. I was nervous since we had thunderstorms in the afternoon and T-storms tend to turn Ike into a shaking, scared puppy. I was afraid he would get to class and not be able to focus. Nope, he was there to play!

The first part of the course was a serpentine sequence that went jump, jump, curved tunnel. Katrin had us do a switch after the second jump. I screwed it up the first time and then “helped” Ike out by doing the switch on the flat with him. He did very well. Coming out of the tunnel jump, jump switch into the near end of a curved tunnel. I tried to adhere to the distance tape Katrin set up. First run Ike said “I see jumps, you didn’t ask me for a switch.” My fault, slow human. After that he really nailed it. Not quite Katrin-tape distance, but stupendous distance for Ike and Julie. I am so proud of my boy and the distance he is slowly but surely picking up. I hope he someday thinks about trialing again.

Coming out of the second tunnel Katrin had three jumps set up in a chute. Wing jump on the side that the human was supposed to be on the opposite side of (layering). Each time Ike took the tunnel I was too happy to do anything but RUN with him RUNNING!! Thinking about it this-this a.m. I wish I had treated and then RUN!! (and tried to do the layering aspect of the exercise!) At least I am thinking about it. Maybe next time I will do it.

With Ike I find myself stuck in the crosshairs of choice. When he is showing speed, spunk, and initiative I don’t want to treat him because he is such a slow eater – I don’t want to put a damper on that momentum. However I need to treat him! I need to let him know that YES, this is what I am aiming for. Argh! This is a good problem to have.

Last night Ike was really moving. After our second run he RAN with me back to our water bowl and bag. Nancy (Remy’s mum) was there and Jenn and Steeler (new classmate with a young Dal)!! Holy dog gods! Such confidence.

Which brings me to the second part of my post, the evolving relationship between my two boys. Monday night we had a pretty awful thunderstorm and like I said Ike HATES T-storms. I saw him come out of his crate and scoot into the bathroom. It is so odd how many dogs choose the bathroom as a safe haven during storms. I went and picked him up and brought him to the couch. I put him between me and John and did some nice petting/massage. He wasn’t shaking. Hmmm…pretty massive thunderstorm and no shaking? Cool!

Ike stayed on the couch with us, obviously stressed but handling the storm much better than I have ever seen him. Then Bug decided he just had to join us and hopped up. Ike totally freaked and tried to climb behind me off the couch. I think I mentioned recently that Ike is a space-nazi? I took Ike and put him on my lap. He proceeded to curl up in a ball and fall asleep with Bug RIGHT BESIDE US – LEANING AGAINST MY LEG!!! He likes him, he really likes him.

Other recent firsts include sleeping on the bed together, grappling, and Ike instigating play with a stuffie.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Communications and Competition Heeling

Today new classes started for both Honor-Bug and Ike. Bug is taking Katrin's Communications class and Ike is taking a Competition Heeling class. I am SUPER excited about the C.H. class. I have no idea how to teach proper heeling step-by-step and since I think Rally might be up Ike's alley I really want to learn. Then I can teach the Bug and future dogs.

Communications was no dog today and went over how Katrin teaches eye-contact. Rather than explaining it again, I am going to search for an old post and provide a link. I am REALLY getting excited about doing this class with Bug. I have seen first hand how building your relationship with your dog in this manner can totally change the dynamics of your relationship for the better.

C.H. Katrin explained how she thinks about heeling and then we got down to work. The first thing we did was put our dog in set-up position. I kept fixing Ike's positioning and Katrin called me on it. How funny - things that you wouldn't do in one training situation (agility) you think nothing of doing in another.

Basically Katrin said I want Ike to do it right the first time, so if he doesn't do it correctly, walk in a circle and try again. We do not want to create a situation where Ike thinks being "fixed" is part of the job description.

Ike kept sticking his little butt out and it was (again) my fault because I was luring him into position and then moving my hand and the treat "up" when I finally asked him to sit. So, if I am going to do that I need to keep my hand down to ensure his butt doesn't kick out, give him a taste of the treat, put my hand in the proper position and then treat him. In this manner he gets the "correct" visual (my left hand at my waist).

Katrin teaches heeling with her inside leg moving first and since I have no prior preference I am going to follow her lead. She had us start by moving that leg forward and treating when the foot lands. Ike definitely picked up speed as the class went along. Initially I was putting no word to the behavior. I am so hesitant to put words to things - not sure why. It is a relatively new phenomena for me. I think it is because I accidentally "ruin" words! Anyway, I use "Let's Go" on walks to mean "hurry up" and don't want to ruin another word. I am going to use the classic "heel" command as it has never left my mouth before!

Ike seemed to gain confidence in his performance with the use of the word. Maybe it clarified for him that we were indeed doing something, not nothing? Anyway....

I have many things to work on with Ike - including getting him to sit straighter and closer to me. This is fun stuff for Ike though - we practiced this evening on our walk.

He was in great spirits at the barn - so happy and up. Even after the class had progressed and he wasn't "right" all the time, I felt like he was still having a good time.

Ah, I almost forgot. Katrin commented on how far Ike was sitting from me (as in, work on getting him to sit closer - to meet the reqs) and I asked about the distance for rally. The reason I asked was because I don't think Ike will be able to do capital "O" obedience. However, the second the question left my mouth I realized that even if I do not plan on doing Obedience, I do not really want to retrain his set-up if down the road he likes it so much I decide (again) to give O a try. Basically, all training is foundation for future endeavors. Train it correctly in the beginning and you'll have less remedial work to do. This should be drilled into my head with all of the difficult re-training of agility I have done with Ike. Sometimes I really have to be hit upside the head with something to "get it."

Excellent class. I felt like I learned a lot and I am so happy that Ike seemed to have a really good time. Now to practice with the Bug....

Dog and Cat First Aid

Yesterday John and I took the Red Cross' revised Dog and Cat First Aid class. I took the "old" version two years ago and was excited that they had revised the class so there would be some new stuff for me! It was a very full class and the people were nice (as most animal people are!). Baxter Black's mum Sandy was there, too. The instructor was a woman who is a vet tech, animal control officer, and lives on a 45 acre farm with horses, dogs, cats, and birds. Perfect!

We discussed how important it is to know what is normal for your animal and how to easily find a pulse. We learned how to muzzle a dog with whatever you have on hand, emergency breathing, cpr, the doggie Heimlich (which is just about the most important in my book!), and lots of other stuff.

I think the revisions the Red Cross made in the dog first aid book are excellent - the book is a much better resource the the old version. I think the dvd updates aren't so great. The biggest change was the instructor. I liked her and felt like she had more to offer than the previous instructor I took this class with.

When we were practicing CPR everyone was worried about remembering the breath to compression rate, and Liz the instructor essentially said not to worry about it. In a situation where a dog is having trouble breathing, you would do more harm by not doing anything than by maybe being one off in the ratio of breaths to compression. I think that is a very important thing to remember.

If you haven't already taken a pet first aid course, I once more HIGHLY recommend you take the American Red Cross' Dog and Cat First Aid class.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The 5 Directions #1

Yesterday Carmie had her first 5 Directions class. It went well. We worked on "switch" with gates and cones. Very fun. I like this method of teaching "switch" a lot. Essentially, the handler and dog walk alongside a cone and then the handler uses the outside arm to direct the dog around the cone, away from the handler. It can be done with an inside arm as well, as long as you then remember to treat with the outside arm!

It amazes me how much distance Carmen prefers. Katrin has to constantly remind me to give her more space that I am pushing her around/past things.

I was also happy that Carmie was pretty non-reactive last night. She went a little bit terrier on me when Baxter Black (Ike's fave LR) came into the arena, but I was quickly able to redirect her with some eye contact and cheese and that-was-that.

Homework for the week is to practice toy motivation and "switch." Katrin has new short gates that Blue made for her and I think I need to make some of my own. They would be super handy in all sorts of training situations - especially since Honor will soon be an agility-baby too.

Honor "Glamour" Shots

At the PRMSC Specialty the photographer asked if he could take a picture of Honor-Bug for his book (that he shows potential clients). In exchange for allowing him to take the pics he said he would send me free copies - and they have arrived! Now I must send a copy to the Bug's grandmum Holly. Look how handsome.

Yes, I forgot to take his collar off, but considering how impromptu it was I am glad I DID remember to take his leash off! :D

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ike Being Stressed

I think the way I have the crates set up in my car currently stresses Ike out. Huh, you might be asking. Honor's crate is behind the driver's seat. Ike's is behind the passenger's seat. The passenger side of the car is closest to the entrance to our house. This means when we exit the car I let Honor out first and he tears to the lawn which is an incline. He then waits on the lawn for Ike to exit the car, making him at almost the same level Ike is at while in the car. When entering the car Ike gets in first as his crate is closest to the house.

I have noticed that Ike doesn't like to get out of the car when Honor is already out - mostly because Honor wants to play and tear around and Ike is like, "Not now." Honor waits right there and Ike would be forced to almost jump into Honor - I typically intercede and have in fact started letting Ike out first or just continuing to the house because I know Ike will follow and that gets Bug out of the way.

This week I have been bringing Bug to work because the office is quiet (and the heat wave). Two morning in a row I noticed Ike doing some serious sniffing prior to jumping down to the driveway and jumping into the car. It is not his normal, "Let me check the p-mail" sniffing. Pretty sure this is stress sniffing.

Solution, move the crates. The other more potentially difficult-to-deal with reason behind the stress sniffing would be that he does not want to spend the day at the in-laws. I am going to start with moving the crates. Hopefully that will fix things!

Good-Bye Heat Wave!

Hooray! The weather in Massachusetts has been OPPRESSIVE since Saturday. Yesterday, FINALLY the air felt a bit better.

Needless to say, other than the earthdog training we have been doing a whole lot of nothing and that is just the way the boys like it at the moment! Dogs and humans alike have been lolling about in front of fans and Honor has been coming to work. Tuesday afternoon the heat index was 100 degrees, so class was cancelled. Ike said, "Thank the dog gods!"

Yesterday I took the Bug and Carmen to see Dr. Anne. Honor is just about finished with his adjustments and considering he is battling a Lyme infection I am amazed that it has gone so smoothly. I brought Carmen in for a "tune-up" after her first two trials and to find out if she is allergic to anything in her current kibble.

I think I mentioned that Honor tested high positive in his SNAP test? Katrin recommended having a C6 done so that if he went lame or started acting wonky we would have a baseline for his antibody count. Well....his Lyme antibody count came back last week and it was pretty high (at 325). This was completely unexpected. The Bug is not showing any signs of fighting an active infection - we just did the test for a baseline. Due to the high count, the vet wanted to start him on 30 days of double-dose doxy. I was really hesitant to do that where he is primarily asymptomatic. Nowadays they do not recommend treating for Lyme if the dog is not actively presenting signs of infection. Fortunately I had an appointment with Dr. Anne last Wednesday.

Dr. Anne felt where Honor's first chiropractic adjustment had held, even though we missed our follow-up due to Alley's death, that his body is doing a good job fighting the infection. It was the left side of Honor's pelvis that was out of alignment and that side is tied to immunological health.

Dr. Anne recommended a homeopathic regimen. I was really torn (that's why I did not post about it). On the one hand I really did not want to put Bug on 30 days of doxy. On the other hand I do not want to put his health in jeopardy! I spoke to my vet about Dr. Anne's recommendations, mostly as a courtesy as I was leaning towards the homeopathic approach. He said go ahead and try the homeopathic regimen and do a new C6 in 4 - 6 months. He told me if he felt I was kidding myself and Honor was showing signs that I was just refusing to see, he would tell me. HOORAY!!

And of course, if anything changes in Honor's behavior I will reconsider.

As to Carmen - she has held up remarkably well. Such a good girlie. Anne tested her food and she is not allergic to it or to grains. She feels her beard is more likely due to an imbalance in her gut and recommended a supplement called Canine Enteric Support which will help balance her gut. I told her about the WOW! Whitener and I am planning on bringing it and Carmen next week to ensure she isn't allergic to it. Knowing me, I will probably be impatient and try it before I see Anne, but I will try to hold off!

Carmen starts The 5 Directions class tonight, so I will likely post again tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ike's IQ Pics

Ike meets Ms. Rattie and says, "How do you do?"

Me and one hot boy (we had JUST gotten there!)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Intro to Quarry - GBAEC Training

Today Ike and I went to a GBAEC training session in Boxborough. The training took place in fields near a barn. When we first arrived we walked out to a clearing near where the dens are and set up crates. My mum and Nellie came to keep us company.

We got there pretty early and had the opportunity to help set up the Junior training. What that meant is, we lifted the liners up, piece by piece, while someone dragged the rat in its cage through the den. The dens are constructed out shallow trenches the GBAEC dug into the ground in the spring and then protected by a three sided wooden "liner." The liners appear to be constructed using lengths of 2"x10" board, giving you an underground tunnel that is about 9"x9" square. It was, of course, very important that no humans contaminate the rat scent.

Ike was the second dog to do Intro. I brought him into the enclosure where the intro den was which was a very simple and short "L". GBAEC members brought over the rat in its wire cage and we tried to get Ike excited. Well, I think thanks to the g-pigs and the birds Ike is immune to small animals - He sniffed a little bit but that's it! Oh dear. We had the woman who was waiting behind us allow her dog to sniff the rat so that Ike could watch and hopefully feed off of her dog's arousal. No luck, I think he was saying, "Mum, I am melting here."

We decided to try and have him go into the tunnel. Nope, he kept going OVER it. So, I have a lot of suggestions from people on how to get Ike more excited about rats and how I could train him to do earthdog. I don't think I will. I do think I will build a little tunnel and work with Carmen and dare I say it, Evil-Joey. I think they would both LOVE earthdog.

We met lots of great terrier people, and met Liz in person, which was very cool. Her dog Spot was dying to go work some rats! We ended up not staying for the senior training sessions (when Spot would be working) since Ike was starting to get over heated. Before we left I dunked him in the horse trough which definitely helped.

Food for thought - I continue to push Ike to *try* things. I don't think trying things is bad. I'll admit I am a bit disappointed he wasn't into it, but I think it is a positive that I am not building a den to train Ike to do earthdog! Baby steps, people.

I will definitely attend more trainings and bring Carmen or Joey. Ike can come to keep them company since that is all he really wants to do anyway.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Beard Saga

I have been trying to clean Carmen's beard. It has always been icky since the texture of her fur just sops up water. Lately it has gotten super disgusting.

The beard in question....

A few weeks ago I tried a baking soda paste with some results. Bear in mind I already use a whitening shampoo that Eliza (with three very white Samoyeds) recommended to no avail. So, I have been diligently researching beard whitening techniques. Some OES (Old English Sheepdog) people recommend equal parts hydrogen peroxide and milk of magnesia with corn starch added to thicken it. I tried this last night. The directions I found said to leave the paste on for 10 minutes.

Poor Carmen!!

The results.....

Definately cleaner looking, but yellowish. The yellow stain is definately a combination of dirt, food, and the enzymes in her mouth. So, I think we will be shortening her beard and waiting for the ick to grow out - and after that just trying to stay on top of it and buy even more expensive whitening shampoo - Chris Christensen here we come.

Friday, June 6, 2008

More Car Safety

I know I will be investing in more than soft crates for my car. Scary, but important!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Here is a rough course drawing of the Hoopers class. The four hoops over to the left were a bonus test. You see the red line? The bonus involved standing on the right side of the red line and sending your dog through those four hoops in a pattern. I can’t remember the pattern because I turned my brain off the second I realized I could focus on the regular tests! All the regular tests were bi-directional.

The four hoops on the right are the blue hoops – you had to do three of them prior to attempting one of the tests.

This is the course that Carmie and I ran, successfully!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Honor is HOME

Well, the ice has cracked – Ike now thinks Bug is his pal, his very own corgi. He is trying VERY hard to get Bug to play with him. Unfortunately Bug doesn’t quite understand Schnauzer grappling. He shouldn’t feel too badly, Ike doesn’t understand the herding dog mode of play either! Ike doesn’t appear to be giving up on the Bug though – yesterday morning he was spinning in circles trying to get Bug to play with him. Bug was trying but getting a bit freaked out by the grappling and noise. Same thing this morning!

Another break through – last night Ike didn’t go to bed early! He took a nap on the futon. Ike has “space” issues. Typically when we have a dog stay with us Ike retires early until they go home/are adopted/etc. Ike’s space issues extend to his people too, and his best dog pal Carmen. Just because he loves you doesn’t mean he wants you in his space!! Sometimes it is okay, sometimes he would rather go hang in his crate in peace. Yes, I know, somewhat odd in terms of how you expect a stereotypical d-o-g to act. Of course Ike is no stereotype, or maybe he is….the reserved Schnauzer!

Tonight I took all the dogs out into my in-law's backyard (including evil-Joey) on long lines. Bug and Joey tore around the most. Carmen and Ike grappled and tried to take each other out. It was very sweet to see Bug trying to get involved - he wasn't quite sure what to make of their vicious sounding play! So, he settled for herding Joey!! Hooray - this gives me hope for sheep!

Now Honor is asleep at my feet and Ike is asleep on the futon. I can only imagine how tired Joey is.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Sabrina (Visions Sabrina HIC) , Honor's half-sister, gave birth to four puppies this weekend. If you would like to see some lovely, happy puppies visit Visions' puppy page. Holly has a puppy cam set up! OMG!!

Be warned that Holly shuts the puppy cam down at night! :D

Addicted to Agility Trial

This weekend I entered the onion in a few runs at Addicted to Agility's second NADAC trial. It was held in Wrentham and the lovely location was just too convenient to pass up.

Saturday I brought HonorBug as travelling companion and entered Carmen in Tunnelers (all tunnels) and Touch and Go (contacts and tunnels). Carmen was great! She ran clean, fast, and happy for me. She Q'd and placed in both classes. Hooray!!

Touch and Go was the second class and she really thought about those contacts. I think contacts are really physically taxing for dogs. She worked with me though. Yay Carmen!

Nancy and Remy (AS) from class were kind enough to let us set up with them since I didn't bring my tent. They had a super day on Saturday. I think, and I might have this wrong, that they finished up a COUPLE of outstanding novice titles (Regular and Tunnelers), their Jumpers title, AND got their first Chances Q!! Woo-hoo! They are a fun team to watch play.

Sunday I brought Ike as the travelling companion and entered Carmen in Jumpers, Tunnelers, and Hoopers. Hoopers is a new titling class in NADAC that reminds me of a Snooker-type game. Totally different and yet similar. From the NADAC Exhibitor's Handbook:

The goal of Hoopers is to demonstrate the team's ability to handle and communicate effectively while the dog runs through a course consisting entirely of hoops (ground speed obstacles - see the FILES section of the NADACagility YahooGroup for pictures and design details).

The hoops are two different colors (Addicted's are red and blue). There are three "tests" which consist of patterns of red hoops the handler must guide the dog through. In order to do a "test" the dog must run through 3 blue hoops. Then the team can complete a "test." You have three chances to complete the "test" before the "test" is considered dead and you must run three blue hoops again in order to try another "test." Once a "test" has been completed successfully the handler/dog team must run three more blue hoops in order to complete another "test." For Novice, only two tests are required and then you run through the finish hoop. The real test in my mind is that this has to happen in 40 seconds or less (for Novice/small dogs - not sure about the other levels).

In our first run of the day (Jumpers), I got a bit confused and forgot which way we were supposed to enter the serpentine. I called Carmen to me too soon and then had to swing her around to start correctly. Unfortunately I did not take her wide enough and she hopped right over the jump, the wrong way (10 pt fault). Bad mum - this isn't Ike!! Other than my little foul up it was a GREAT run. Carmie was still feeling energetic and she made decent time.

By the time Tunnelers arrived she was POOPED!! It's a credit to Carmen's work ethic that she ran for me. The second day was really much harder for her. Her YPS was much slower and she seemed more tired in general. I see lots of conditioning in our future!

At the end of the day they ran Hoopers. Carmen must have gotten a second wind, she ran so well for me! She didn't care that there were strange hoops she had to run through - she was really "with" me. We Q'd!! Hooray Carmen.

For only her second outing she did fabulously, Qing in 3 out of 5 runs. And as always there are so many positive things to draw from the entire weekend. Just the fact that she is happy to work with me in a stimulating environment makes me happy!

PRMSC Specialty

Friday Bug and I attended the Paul Revere Miniature Schnauzer Club Specialty. I left Ike home because I knew he would have a lot to say!

Bug hung out and made many fans while I "worked" hospitality. This is the second year I have helped at the Specialty - I am not sure I really like the atmosphere. The Club has asked me to be the Steward next year.....can you hear the waffling?

HonorBug hanging out, gaining admirers

It was interesting, in-so-much that I could spend as much time as I wanted checking out the grooming of the Schnauzers entered and getting tips.