Wednesday, November 30, 2011


A girl and her man. Now lets hope those ears stay up!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


On our way to the Cluster on Friday Katrin asked if I had put Irie on any agility equipment yet. Ummm, nope. We made plans to get together today and expose her to all the contacts and tunnels.

I had no fear that Irie would think it was anything but a fabulous game. We started with the teeter. Katrin's teeter has rubber contacts and Irie didn't hesitate at all to climb it. The first few times we controlled the tip for her, then we allowed her to control the tip.

Next up was the full height dogwalk. Missy scooted right on over it and got fed copious amounts in the contact. Same story in on the a-frame.

We scrunched the tunnel up and had her go through it straight, then with a slight curve, then a more exaggerated curve, finally in a "u" shape. She did have to do some problem solving with the "u" shape. She wasn't sure why she had to go through the tunnel at first since I was calling from right beside her.

She offered the a-frame a few more times and was very drawn to the teeter.

Irie also got to hear the leaf blower going in the front yard and gun shots from the gun club that is nearby.

We ended with a little play session between Irie and Uncle Niche (Katrin's Flat Coated Retriever).

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Yesterday Katrin and I hit the Turkey Cluster at the Big E in West Springfield. I go every year for the shopping, this is the 2nd year I have gone with Katrin. Hopefully I will be going in the future with Ms. Irie (agility) and Bug (Rally) to trial.

We got there in time to watch some of the Flat Coats (Katrin's heart breed) and the Cardis. I got to see both Irie's father, Shade, and her uncle, Magnum. It was nice to see what a nice mover Shade is.

Then we headed over to the agility building in time to catch a very pretty run by Kris and Bette (Bug's cousin) in Exec B Jumpers.

I had sent the boys' collars to EZUsigns to have new id plates put on them, so I picked them up. I also got a fabulous deal on fish skin chews. Victory Raw was there and they were her show special - 50% off. So I bought $20 worth, the pups are set for a while! I also picked up some freeze dried cod at the Bravo! tent and some dehydrated duck feet (the pups LOVE THEM!!!).

I guess I should revise the statement that I go for the shopping, I really go for the treat shopping! And of course it is lovely to run into other dog people that I only see at trials, etc. Oh, and I also picked up a little something to send with Cardi Claus!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Here is Irie playing the Nina Ottosson game "Magic" for the 2nd time. I wish I videoed the first attempt. There was no vocalization or frustration. She immediately went to work sorting it out and required no assistance from the human.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Everyone saw the chiro last night.

Both boys were very sore. Ike I am kind of surprised about, kind of not - in the last month he has crashed 3x in class and lost his pelvis (the 2nd time he crashed). I haven't made a vet appointment yet to have his eyes checked, but I am going to. Just to be safe. He was super tight on his left side which is incredibly unusual for him. He is the soundest dog ever.

Bug was out is stair position and in a sit. In a sit his right hip, which is radiographically better looking but overall much more painful (the vet suspects microfractures), visibly jumped with every adjustment. I wonder if that is part of the reason he has seemed a little down lately - that he is in pain. I know he is enjoying Irie's company, but thought he was depressed about less one-on-one time.

I also confirmed Bug is allergic to Cedarcide. I am bummed about that - it works so well!! I guess better to be allergic to Cedarcide than a protein. I bought the Cedarcide at the same time I bought some Bravo! pork. His eyes started weeping like mad - he constantly looked like he was crying. I was afraid he had developed an allergy to pork, which would stink.

Irie continues to hold her adjustments. Puppies totally bounce.

Today I am taking everyone to Dirty Dawg Wash for baths and to groom Ike. Should be a long day!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Middle Child Syndrome

Yesterday I took Bug to the farm stand. He was a hit. He needed some one on one time. He is not in class at the moment and I feel like he is suffering from Middle Child Syndrome.

I have to admit I don't really get that excited about Rally and I know it transfers to my dog. I am really not sure what to do with him. I am thinking about doing a few privates in Rally with Katrin and then putting him in Jenny's Rally class for a 4 week session. Before we stopped working, due to whatever was going on with Bug's health, Katrin had suggested it was time to start attending some matches. Jenny's class is much more like a run thru than a class, so it might be a good opportunity to try out what we worked on all summer.

The other option is Nosework classes, but good gods they are expensive. I am talking to my herding instructor about trying to set up a tracking seminar next year because I feel that is something Bug would excel at. I could also put him in an advanced manners class - just to work him but that seems rather silly at this point.


No Crashes

I forgot to post after Ike's Tuesday night class. No crashes!! Hooray!! Ike enjoyed himself, there were some pretty serps to complete. His weaves looked nice, and I got to run Darcy (SS) again.

We are at a bit of a plateau at the moment. We are much more confident with our rear crosses and his contacts are looking much better.

Act-Up is having Amanda Shyne out in January for two days of workshops (4 in total). I signed up for her jumping skills workshop because I think Ike will really enjoy it (I took one with Carmen a few years ago and got a lot out of it). I wanted to sign up for Building Speed and Drive workshop, but I am not sure it is a workshop Ike will enjoy. It took me a super long time to teach him to tug and I accidentally ruined it last winter. So, putting him in a situation where play is very likely to be a large part of the workshop doesn't seem fair. I wish I could do it with Irie! I will probably audit it and perhaps sign up for something else with Ike.

Performance Puppy #4 and Santa!

Thursday night Irie and I had Performance Puppy #4. What a great class. I in no way feel like I am keeping up with the class, but I am learning the training techniques for these skills and introducing my puppy to some excellent things. I figure this week, in which I have NO classes and very little work, I can really focus on training and start to catch up. Once class is complete I can perfect the skills.

On Thursday we introduced the puppies to buja boards and balance discs. Irie has no fear about wobbly surfaces. : ) Kathleen had three rows of buja boards set up. The first row didn't have that much rock to it, it was the introductory row. The second row a bit more and the third row - a patio table top with a decent sized hard ball attached to the bottoms. Surfs up!

Kathleen suggested we click and treat for the puppy getting on and then any movement they made. That was very easy. I was pretty quickly able to ask Irie to tug on the buja board. She had a blast. Off the buja board, tug stopped. On the buja board, TUG!!

She just as quickly adapted to the balance discs.

We had three stations set up Thursday night: buja boards and balance discs, perches, and the back-up station. Irie and I started with the buja boards and then moved on to perches. I have been using my body pressure to help Irie move around the perch but have decided to go back to basics and make it more independent. I think that will be more helpful if I want to do Rally or Obedience with her in the future, which is always a possibility (look at Bug!). Plus, I am having so much more fun with the independent back-up.

We did not practice our backing up last week, so class was only the second time Irie had ever done it. She seems to understand, on one level, that backing up is what is getting her the cookies - she is backing the whole length of the board pretty quickly, but she doesn't really "get it." She is not looking at me as she backs up, yet. So we will work on this during the week. It is a fun skill and as Kathleen said, it looks flashy to see a dog back-up by themselves without you moving.

Performance Puppy is an awesome class. I wish more places offered something like it. I am really lucky with my timing that a class was just starting up.

Now, on to Santa!

Yesterday I took Irie to have her picture taken with Santa. My friend Blue is a photographer and she has some photo dates set up with Especially For Pets, an independent local pet store.

Irie's "photo shoot" was scheduled for 1:15. It was a busy day at the store.  Amazing Greyz, a greyhound rescue organization, was there (20% of the photo proceeds went to their organization); a California Natural rep was there and there was a wheel you got to spin once you made a purchase (I won a key chain). I think it is safe to say that Irie won everyone over. The Cal Nat rep must have given her 5 Evo Wild Craving Herring Formula cookies. She LOVED them - needless to say I bought a bag!

She loved Santa and I have no doubt that Blue captured a super photo of her. I think her early exposure to kids and Darth Vader at Halloween has assured her that no matter what a human looks like, they are okay.

I am constantly amazed and feel so damn lucky by how confident she is. I hung around a bit to talk to Blue, and another friend showed up with their three dogs, so Irie got loads of exposure to other dogs and kids. In fact she was swarmed by a group of pre-teens and she was in her GLORY!!!

I know I sound biased, because she is my dog, but she really is special. There is a level of confidence and comfort in her interactions which I do not see with my other dogs, and in fact don't see with a lot of dogs. I am so hopeful that I can nurture this and not ruin it in any way! We spent a total of 3 hours traveling and at EFP - she was pooped afterward!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Performance Puppy #3

Thursday night Irie and I had Performance Puppy class. We walked into the training facility and what should we see?

Many different surfaces laid out for puppies to cavort on, with perches on the outer edges. Half of the class started working on their perch work while the other half introduced puppies to a variety of surfaces, including: obedience gating on its side, a pvc ladder, a ramp, a board with sandpaper on it, a crumpled up tarp, a sledding coaster (no idea what the correct term is for this – one was face down so it was like a little mound, the other was face up so it was tippy), an upside down trash lid (also tippy), an agility table top, and some big plastic playground pieces. I am probably forgetting some!

Irie had a great time exploring and had no fear of the tippy pieces. Yay!!

We also started working on back-up. Kathleen teaches back-up as a very independent skill. You do not walk into your dog, in order to have them back up out of your space. She set up two broad jump boards forming a narrow channel. We got the puppies comfortable walking between the boards. Once they were comfortable walking between the boards you stood at the end, with them directly in front of you and exerted body pressure into their space. Click for any rear foot movement. “Bowl” the treat, preferably between their front feet so they might back up again and get clicked once more for rear foot movement. The handler never moves from the end of the channel. If the puppy sits, ask them to stand with your body movement, click and treat and start again. Let me tell you, with a peanut of a dog it is tough to bowl treats between her legs! I was more successful than I expected though.

Friday, November 11, 2011


We had ears! I took Irie's tape off at lunch and voilĂ !

Unfortunately about an hour later the left ear started to look a bit like an airplane wing. So back into the tape we go tonight. The good news is they are very big and round!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday Night Class

Ike and I had agility class last night. We missed last week due to the power outage and needing to move the small animals back home.

I think I need to make an appointment to have Ike's eyes checked. Last night he crashed a jump again, landing in the exact same position as the last two classes. This time I really feel it was due to my movement. It was the last jump of the course, it was set up fairly close to the mirror and I dipped down to toss a treat before he finished the jump. However, this is the THIRD time he's done this in 3 classes.

My gut says there is nothing going on with his eyes, but given Carmie's PRA, I feel like I would be remiss if I did not have his eyes checked. I did have him CERF'd 3 years ago when Carmie was diagnosed and nothing was wrong at that point. I will not bring him directly to the specialist, but to his regular vet. He has a couple of old man lumps I want her to check out anyway.

Other than the jump crashing it was a good class. We have three new students and their dogs in class and Ike was barkier than he has been in ages. I think it is due to the change in pack dynamics at home and the new students.He said it was too much change!!

I also got a chance to run Darcy, the Standard Schnauzer. That was a lot of fun. His legs are at least twice as long as Ike's so handling him is very different. There was a serpentine (jump, teeter, tire) that I handled all from one side, which felt good.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Sunday afternoon Irie and I met up with Bosco and his socializer Amanda. The pups had a fabulous time playing and then we taped Bosco's little airplane ears. Poor Bosco! ;)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ducks and Sheep

Today Irie had her first herding "lesson." She was introduced to call ducks. Diane warned me at this age you often do not see sustained interest and not to worry. I should be happy if she showed any interest.

Diane went and rounded up 4 call ducks and put them into a vari-kennel. Irie had a chance to sniff them at the vari-kennel, then we moved to the control pen.

In the control pen Diane took one duck out and asked me to hold the duck facing me and pet it. When Irie came to smell its bum, I was to pet the duck then pet Irie.  We did this for a bit and then Irie started licking its foot.  At that point we released the duck facing away from Irie so she could follow it. Diane also released the rest of the ducks. I started moving the ducks and making funny noises. As soon as Irie came over I stopped moving and allowed her to continue to move the ducks. We did this quite a few times.

I was really pleased that she showed "sustained" interest in the ducks. When they were loose in the control pen she did not take her eyes off them and continued to move them.

Diane also had us drive the ducks back into the vari-kennel.

We stuck around to watch one of Diane's students work on a holding exercise that involved a chute. Irie was very interested in the sheep, too. At one point when the sheep were packed in the chute Diane suggested we put Irie on top of the ram. The first seminar I did with Jan she mentioned this was a common exercise people did to build the confidence of dogs and she used it a lot with Shelties.

We put Irie up on the ram and she just sat there sniffing, not worried at all. Diane moved one of the heads of the ewes close to Irie so she could sniff her. Then Irie decided she might as well lay down, since the ram was so soft and warm!

After Diane's other lesson we got to move the sheep back into the big field, I did most of the work, not Irie! Next lesson will probably be in early January as Diane will be trialing down south in December. We can work all winter because we will be working ducks and can use a stall.

It was a great "lesson" and I am so happy with Irie's interest!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Puppy Performance #2

Last night Irie and I had week 2 of Performance Puppy.

In week one, we worked on tug, recalls, and Doggie Zen/It’sYer Choice. The recalls are not your conventional recall, they are the precursor for “here.” Kathleen restrained the pups while saying “Ready, Set, Go,” at “set” the handler ran off dragging and shaking their tug. When the puppy caught up we played a game of tug. We worked this from both sides.

This week we brought our crates and started the class playing crate games. First we fed at the rear of the crate (either through the vent of a vari-kennel or through the wires of a wire crate), because most of the time good things only happen at the front of the crate. Then we practiced opening and closing the door of the crate and making lots of noise, while rewarding at the back of the crate. Finally we moved to opening the crate door and taking a step away, but not so far away you couldn’t close the door if the puppy made the wrong choice and tried to exit the crate.

Irie is too smart. When it was time to move on to the next game she wasn’t sure she wanted to leave her crate! Kathleen set up 4 perch stations and half of the class worked on It’s Yer Choice while the other half worked on shaping perch work. Initially I didn’t break it down enough for missy and I ended up with Irie sitting and staring at me. That passed very quickly and she started putting her little feeties up on the perch. At one point she offered her rear feet up on the perch! Even though that wasn’t what we were working on I immediately clicked and treated. I had a really hard time trying to shape Bug to move his rear feet onto the perch versus his front, and I am happy I captured it with Irie.

Irie understands the It’s Yer Choice game so well. We had already moved to treats on the floor. She is rock solid at that, so the next step is putting “get ‘em” on cue. Doggie Zen never allows the dog to take the treats, at any point, while It’s Yer Choice does put it on cue. Irie said, “No way, it’s a trick!” It took me quite a bit to convince her that yes, she could take the treats when I said “Get ‘em.”

We ended class with more recalls and tug.

We will have a busy week trying to keep up with our homework. I am looking forward to building on both the crate games and perch work.

Irie and Zoe (not the g-pig!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Favorite Position

Good Girlie!

Irie is not the biggest fan of being held (doesn't seem to be atypical for a corgi, in my limited experience). We did her nails 2 Saturdays ago and she was pretty good. She ate her string cheese for about half the time, whined the other half. We missed last Saturday due to getting ready for the Nor'easter that actually *did* happen, so we did her nails again last night. Well, guess what?? Little missy could have cared less that I was trimming her nails. All she cared about was her string cheese! Hooray!!

I need to locate my dremel (or buy a new cheap version) because I would MUCH prefer to do her nails in that manner. Once I do I will run it while she is wolfing down her dinner so she starts to make a positive association with the noise before I actually use it on her piggies.

Since she is still not the hugest fan of being held when she could be romping with Bug, John and I are going to practice holding her and feeding her nightly. This way she also will not associate it with nail clipping (which she doesn't seem to mind anyway). I am also going to start brushing her every few days. Since we aren't sure what her coat is going to do she needs to be comfortable with being brushed (she should be anyway). I do not want to have to fight with her for the next 15 years when I can lay a good foundation now.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Power and Ducks

We got power back on Monday at 5:30 pm. Hooray! We spent an extra night at my in-law's because the house was so cold. Last night I had to empty out my fridge and freezer of all the food that had spoiled. Very sad waste.

Saturday Irie has her first herding "lesson" - stock exposure might be more accurate. She will be introduced to ducks. I am very excited. I spoke to Diane and she recommends a lesson a month for the first 6 months to a year to maintain exposure if you plan on being serious about herding. We will have to see if Irie would like to be serious about herding!! Either way I am excited to see what she thinks.