Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Love Letter to Ike

I haven’t been blogging very much lately. There is certainly reason to blog, some truly wonderful things are occurring. I think it is a combination of the new house, work, and having stopped obsessing about things quite so much (thank you mindfulness class – best money ever spent!) that is causing me to blog less. I don’t feel the need to over-analyze class and recount it in minute detail. I just don’t.  I am much more present (and that certainly pays off in agility class).

In our Tuesday night class Ike blew me away with repeated rear crosses, speed, and truly driving into tunnels. We have been practicing our rear crosses, but still! I wanted to jump for joy; I might actually have done just that.

I am so grateful for this dog! He has taught me so much it makes my heart swell. He continues to teach me daily.

It is amazing what a lot of elbow grease, re-evaluating your priorities, and acknowledging what your dog wants can do. It makes me flat-out giggle to think about the joyful dog I have now and the stressed dog who didn’t want to play agility that I did have. It is the difference between night and day. And Ike and I were able to do this together. He told me what he needed and I was able to listen.

Listening to your dog can be so hard. It is particularly hard when what they are telling you is not what you want to hear. Learning to listen to Ike was a huge life lesson for me. It meant setting aside what I thought I wanted and listening to what my intuition already knew and had known for some time.

As a result of listening to him we have SUCH a richer relationship and it has carried over into so many aspects of his life. He is much more dog friendly and is a flat-out flirt in class. He no longer carries the stress I placed on him of trying to do something for me he truly did not want to do (or at least in that context).

Ike has taught me to listen carefully and to persevere. I love him so much for it. My life would be 100% different if the little terrier with a mind of his own didn’t come into my life 8 ½ years ago.

Office Dog

 Being an office dog has its perks......

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Full Weekend

Wow, what a busy weekend! Saturday morning Bug and I had a rally lesson. He was a VERY good boy!! I had an attentive corgi for the full lesson even though I didn’t have time to cook him steak or pork due to being out late at the Maureen Hancock function. His heeling and halts are coming along. YAYAYAY!!!!

After Buggie’s lesson, Katrin helped me dremel Hush’s nails (I can’t find my dremel!!) and I helped her dremel Monty’s nails. Then we did a second meet and greet with Hush and Niche. Hush was fabulous. So fabulous we put Niche up and brought out Tom – and she could have cared less. Yay! Hush hasn’t known a lot of big dogs and I want to be VERY careful about introducing her to them in a positive manner. So far, very good! :) 

Then I took Hush for a bath. Holy cow does she have a thick coat. I cannot tell you how long I brushed her for and how much fur came out. After the bath, while I was blow drying her hair flew everywhere!! She looked lovely when it was all said and done.

My mum came down with her cocker/poodle mix Nellie in the afternoon. She has great doggie skills and got along well with Hush.

Sunday Katrin was doing a little lesson on dog distraction at a local dog park. I wanted Bug to go because I thought it would be helpful. I cooked steak the night before and was well armed. Due to the heat there were not that many people at the dog park. We stood outside the park and rewarded our dogs for reorienting to us. Bug was doing so well Katrin suggested I try some heeling. He was awesome! I was really pleased with my little blue boy. Next lesson Katrin suggested we set up a rally course. Progress!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bitey Face


Wow, I have been a bad blogger. Life has just been too busy.

Hush is settling in nicely. Bug adores her and she adores him. Ike tolerates her and she tries desperately to get him to like her.

Every morning starts with a brief 5am walk and then a play-fest between the two corgis!

I no longer have one corgi shadowing my every move, but two!!

Hush has been coming to work with me a couple of days a week and is a great office dog. She is very mellow and quiet and everyone comments on her beauty! She has no problems with the elevator which is excellent (especially since we use it 6 times a day!).

Saturday Bug and I had a rally lesson and for the first time in a few weeks I had my dog back. He was less distracted and working really hard.

We are no longer training pivots. I met with the PT and the chiro on the 7th and they feel because the movement is similar to abduction and adduction it is likely very difficult for him with the possible/probable microfractures in his hip. Fortunately, I do not need it for formal obedience and I will just have to lose points in Rally if pivots are included in the course.

We are working on our halts, set-up and having Bug drive into heel. I think he is coming along. We will likely avoid outdoor trials, at least initially, because my Bug finds bugs fascinating!

After Bug’s lesson we introduced Hush to Niche. Niche is a great dog. He was very respectful when he realized Hush was a little wigged out by the bouncing Flat Coat. :)

Yesterday Ike and I had agility class. It was VERY hot and humid. I wondered if my dog who hates any weather that isn’t ideal would want to work. Ha!! Agility is now SO reinforcing to him. He was ON. Towards the end of the night he had the fastest run I have ever seen him do. Wow! Take that heat. :)

The rest of the week should be pretty quiet. Everyone, humans and dogs, will be seeing the chiro on Thursday and that’s about it.

Oh, and on a non-dog related front, John and I are going to see a medium Friday. John’s friend has seen this woman (Maureen Hancock) multiple times, and apparently she has blown him away. So he bought us tickets to go see her! I have had a lot of loss early in my life (my father and my brother) so I am curious what will happen. It will also be a full moon!  I’ll keep you all posted. ;)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tired Puppies

This morning the dogs had me up at 4:30 and out of the house at 5:30. Hey! That sounds like a work day. As it turns out I managed to get a lot accomplished as a result. By 10 o'clock I had walked the dogs, had breakfast, done my checkbook, worked Bug on halts and heeling, and Ike on Switch.

Next up, taking Hush to the Wrentham Outlets to people watch! We saw lots of strollers, running children, moving kid rides, and women in hajibs. Hush could have cared less and made many friends.

After a short break at home we went to visit with my in-laws, followed by a walk after dinner for the pups.

Hush and Bug are currently sacked out. Hush is under the bed in the computer room/spare bedroom and Bug is flat out on the wood floor. I think it is probably safe to say they had a good 4th of July. I hope everyone else did too!


There are multiple blogs that I cannot seem to comment on. Very frustrating.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Special Visitor

We are very lucky to have a special visitor staying with us.


Today I met Holly in Chicopee and picked up Ms. Hush. Hush is going to stay with me for 4 - 5 weeks while Holly's bitch Snickers whelps her first litter.

Hush is 10 months old and I am very excited to spend time with her. Even though she is not a wee little pup I have so many thoughts about things I would like to do with a puppy, this is the perfect opportunity to try some of them out. I think we are going to have lots of adventures while she is with me!

Today we visited the Wrentham Dog Show and took our first walk on our street (which is pretty busy). In store for Ms. Hush are visiting with Katrin's "big" dogs Niche and Tom, attending some of my husband's softball games, socializing at the Wrentham outlets and much more (or as much as I can fit in!).

I will bring her to Bug's PT appointment on Tuesday and Ike's agility class on Tuesday. This will give her an opportunity to start seeing lots of different sorts of dogs. I also plan on spending lots of one on one time with her. Hopefully the boys won't be too mad at me! :)

We had an excellent introduction today (they met once before about a month ago). I had John put Ike and Bug out on the deck with an x-pen blocking the stairs. Hush and I sat on the stairs while Bug and Ike sniffed. Once everyone was calm I let Hush onto the deck. It was very successful!

Bug and John are quite smitten with her and Ike is not quite sure what he thinks.

MA Residents Take Note

Massachusetts residents, please take note. The MA Legislative committee is considering a bill on July 19th that will significantly effect training classes, dog shows, and any dog event with more than 12 dogs in attendance. Please contact the Committee and voice your opinion!

Massachusetts legislative committee will consider a bill on July 19 to significantly change the definition of kennel to encompass training facilities or any dog event with more than 12 dogs. All those meeting the new criteria would be required to comply with all state and local licensing and other regulations currently reserved just for large kennels.

Responsible dog owners and trainers are encouraged to attend the July 19 hearing and to contact the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure to express concerns with this legislation.

Tennis Balls and the Dog Show

Yesterday Bug and I had a rally lesson. I did not feed him beforehand! It was pretty hot and it took between 5 and 10 minutes for the boy to check in. Then he worked for about 10 minutes before he started to putter out (lesson is 30 minutes). We have a bit of a problem with bug chasing - they are a major distraction

The big piece I walked away with is I must be more exciting in my rewarding! I don't know if I unconsciously do not find obedience fun and that is translating into how I reward or if I am afraid happy-happy rewarding doesn't have a place in obedience? Either way it is a must change aspect of how I am currently working with Bug.

Katrin asked if Bug likes balls. Well, sure, he likes them. Ummmmm.....yesterday they very nearly caused him to lose his mind! So we have a new way to make heeling and halts more exciting for Bug. When we get some nice heeling or a nice halt he is then released to chase the ball. He was pretty pleased with this.

He is starting to get the sit at halt, but it isn't automatic yet. All in all I felt as though it was a decent lesson. The learning curve is a two steps forward one step back kind of thing at times and I don't feel we made as large a leap as the week before but that's okay.

After our lesson we went to the Wrentham Dog Show to visit. This is the show Bug finished his championship at last year. Bug made friends with some pretty Borzoi ladies that our chiropractor works on. They already have some Cardigan friends so they thought Buggie was pretty awesome. We also saw many young people which was a great experience for Bug. Ike is very reactive about children and we do not have any. That combined with herding seemed to make Buggie think children are meant to be herded. I saw zero indication he thought children should be herded yesterday! Hooray! I am thinking about bringing him to my library which is near the Little League Field. I think it would be good exposure to children and we can work on maintaining his cool in a very stimulating environment!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Don't Feed the Corgi!!

Wednesday I was reminded of a very basic dog-owner/trainer tenet.

Do not feed the dog before asking him to do something that requires a lot of concentration in a stimulating environment.

I brought Bug over to my friend Marie's to practice heeling against her fence line. Every other time we have gone to Marie's house it has been to romp it her giant fenced in fields. Wednesday we went to her fields to work. However, I did NOT set myself up for success. I had already fed the corgi, and my treat of choice was less than exciting (cheese).

Needless to say I worked hard to get some attention and do some recalls and then dropped it to play a bit of ball. Maybe I should have pushed harder, but I really don't feel like I set either of us up for success so I changed the plan and lowered my criteria. I want Bug to chose to heel and I want us both to enjoy it!

I WILL be going back to Marie's fields to practice, but I won't feed him beforehand and I will bring a rocking treat to reward with!

Tuesday Night Class

Ike and I made it to agility class on Tuesday. We missed last week because of a wake. To say Ike was happy about it is an understatement. He loves class and he definitely prefers when it is outdoors. He LOVES the big field.

I got some nice distance on some 270s and his running dog walk is looking awesome.

I am amazed by the speed he showed, even though it was humid and he needs to be groomed (therefor hotter for him).

I noticed both in this class and last class that I am naturally getting a lot more distance from him than I used to. I am not sure why, unless it is just practice, a lower level of anxiety about it from me, and practice! :)

Next week Bug has a PT/chiro appointment on Tuesday to try and get to the bottom of the tightness he is experiencing. Unfortunately the only day we could coordinate with both the PT and the chiro was Tuesday.

Kathleen kindly said I could come to the 8 o'clock class if I want. I am psyched because not only does it mean I will not lose the $ for the class, but it will be all new people and dogs for Ike. Translation - beloved location but stressful strangers. I am really curious how he does. I suspect he might be a bit more barky initially but that it won't impact his performance. We'll see if I am right!