Friday, March 28, 2008

four off the floor

amanda took this wicked pic of gyp today at our first outdoor session of the season - all feet in the air on the teeter, cool timing!!

we worked on proofing contacts, and I am proud to say that Gyp failed miserably! We worked through and with Amanda's help we made some progress in getting her to drive even harder to the bottom. By the end of the session she was really good with having the toy thrown past her, the tennis ball was still too much for her to take! Really her contacts are good, but I'm anal and they could be even better :)

Now that we are back outside I can work on different things each session, rather than one session. So today I worked mostly on contacts, some weaves and just overall handling, it was fun and we got alot done and had some fun challenges.

I took Jane too, I'm not sure what happened, she slipped off the side of the A-frame and started acting funny, then almost fell of the dogwalk, she ran with tail tucked and ears back, she wouldn;t even come out of the tunnel, after a couple of jumps, she tried to run back to her crate, so we ended it, and I think it is actually in her shoulder area she hurt her self, she just looked stiff. i was massaging her tonight and she kept trying to dart away when I worked on the area just behind her shoulders, i feel bad my my janie girl and I hope she is OK soon. She had a big boot around before we trained, and ripped around the house earlier with Gyp like a lunatic, so she might have just overdone it, UGGHH, I sometimes forget she is almost 9. She has been compulsivley licking at her one leg are rear area, I have thought it was her anal glands, but she was licking even more at her hock last night, so that might be the issue, pete thinks it could be a pinched nerve, and when it pinches she licks at it because it feels funny, I will be taking her into the vet / therapist to make sure all is OK.

K is still off too because if his ripped pad.

2 down - 1 to go - hopefully Gyp can keep avoiding an injury ....

The routine

This is Kaleb's morning routine for: a sliced pad, a hot spot and a rash on the belly = FUN!!!

Antitseptic and Polysporin on the Pad, followed by adding a fresh kid sock and vet wrap to keep it in place ...

Rubbing Alcohol and Panalog (Nystatin) on the hotspot ...

Antiseptic, Gold Bond (to stop the Itch) and Panalog (Nystatin) on the belly ... it is allergy season again, he only had a couple bumps, but it is itching him and he is starting to lick, so if the rash gets worse, I'll have to start him on Benedryl sooner than later. The goldbond really helps sooth and keep the itch away, and I can use it too to make my shoes smell better :)

I had to post this photo too of Gyp and K, she always lays on him, it is really cute, sometimes she lays like this using his belly as a pillow or she lays with her head on his head. You can also see kalebs cute little foot with the sock on, its amazing, he never once has tried to get it off.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

gotta get a plan

Well spring has sprung, and we are now working outside ... there is a lot of work to do with all the doggies, and I need to get it all written down and have a plan so I don't go nuts. I love this time of year, this isn't really that much more than I've been doing with the exception of swimming and the extra Agility I can now do will be on full equipment and not just weaves and jumps the other times a week. The retriever training is also added more seriously, in the winter after hunting is over, we just fool around with bumpers and work on basic things.

Maintenance mode, Agility once or twice a week, small short sessions, work on Gambles and Jumpers sequences in preparation for Regionals. Practice Obedience/Rally a couple times a week just to keep up with our teamwork. The daily walks, longer distance runs with me, run in the coulees 2 times a week.

Agility: 3-4 ish times a week, small short sessions, some long course work for Jumpers and Gamble work, directionals, discrimination, random reinforcement. Weave entries, contacts, jump patterns, and speed circles.

Field Training: 2-3ish times a week, 1 or 2 times a week in water. A couple short sessions in the park a week. Work on land and water doubles with more distance and time in between. Work on Honoring. Coming back straight in the water. Use decoys. Thaw out frosty from the freezer :)

Obedience: Heeling with more distraction a little bit every other day, work on straight retrieves - not coming wide - ad distraction. Maintenance mode mostly. Out of sight - no barking - seems to be better with that! Not even sure when I'll get in the ring with him for his CDX debut, but I might as well keep him going in the training.

The daily walks, plus longer distance runs with me, run in the coulees 2 - 3 times a week with hills, now we can add swim once or twice a week in replace of a coulee run

Agility: 3-4ish times a week, small short sessions, some long course work for Jumpers and Gamble work, directionals, random reinforcement. Weave EXITS, contacts (work on speed, proofing, quick releases, and holding), jump patterns, I really need to get a better feel for her and work on many scenarios before regionals.

Obedience: Heeling, retrieving and just messing around having fun.

The daily walks, plus longer distance runs with me, run in the coulees 2 - 3 times a week with hills, now we can add swim once or twice a week in replace of a coulee run.

I will be practicing running all three dogs in the same sequences and longer Jumpers courses to get a feel running all them in the same class, which I have to do now since they are all in Masters, I have to write out all of there strengths and RULES for handling each of them, and keep that with me as a reminder of how to run each of them, and it will help me focus better for each course and task at hand, whether it be at training, a trial or a regional or national event.

Oh ya plus teaching three nights a week, and working at my REAL job!!! COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

the queen

the queen
Originally uploaded by sarah ...

Cleopatra in her domain. She is 9 weeks old, she is a great pup she lives with 3 cats and another dog, and loves all she meets.

Like a Lab, she is very food motivated and she is brave like a Pyrenees. She almost reminds me of a Newfoundland pup.


Originally uploaded by sarah ...

K has been handling the limited exercise pretty well, kaleb's foot is healing nicely, he loves his Buffalo bones, which keep him busy. We bought the little kid socks age 1 - 3 years fit perfect!! He doesn't mind wearing them, they even have grippies on the bottom!

We spent the weekend at Gramma's - and there is still some snow there, so we had to put a plastic bag on top of the sock so he wouldn't get it wet everytime we went outside, it worked some of the time, but usually the sock got soaked, good thing there are 6 of them ... he went through 12 sock changes over the weekend!

The gash isn't seeping anymore, and has closed up nicely so far, we might go for a walk later, and I'll put on his winter bootie for extra padding!


Originally uploaded by sarah ...

120km can be dangerous, when you stick your camera out of the window of the car, to catch the beautiful sunset behind you.

We drove over 1000km this weekend, back to Saskatchewan to visit the fam for the weekend.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

the gash

here it is ...

It looks much better today, I;ve taken the sock off while I am here and it isn't oozing or bleeding anymore, I hope it heals up fast!

We've just been cleaning it with an antiseptic and putting polysporin on too. I'll soak it in Epsom slats tonight when we get to Sask. He'll have to keep a sock on though when he goes outside, an no long walks for a few days.

It still doesn't even phase him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

things to do when you "can't do nuthin"

poor K his pad is pretty sliced, it will be a few days until he can go for a walk, and he'll have to wear a bootie when he does, it is still bleeding a bit, but I have it vet wrapped and a sock on it so he doesn't lick and the compression from the vet wrap helps keep it all together.


chomp on bones.

drink beer.

ugggh, K deserves some time off , now he really is getting some!

Now the fun part - Kaleb in the house with no walks or runs.


Took the dogs for a nice long walk and played some ball in the park too, I went to come back inside and the dogs were standing at the door and I saw some blood, I figured it was K's mouth as he tends to cut his mouth playing fetch - that big 'ol tongue gets in the way of everything.

Nope not the tongue, I looked down a there were little pools of blood forming as he pranced around waiting to be let in.

His back pad is SLICED, probably 3/4" or so from what I can tell, I quickly soaked it, and put a towel compress on it.

I have NO idea when this happened on the walk, I true Kaleb fashion she didn't show any pain, or limp on the walk at all, what a trooper.

Time for lots of bones and kongs for the next couple weeks .....

Jane sliced her pad a few years back and it was a pain in the butt to heal.

I'll take some more pics later.

hugs to K-man, the only dog on earth HAPPY to wear a silly compress on his leg! He was still trying to run around like a hooligan!

It's a BIG event, when Jane has a bath ...

Kaleb and Gyp wait patiently at the door for her to come out .... one of the few times Jane is REALLY playful ....

Heeeeeere she comes ....
Intercepted by Kaleb ....



All that Jane chasing makes Kaleb a tired boy ...

I am the Walrus

I am the Walrus
Originally uploaded by sarah ...

Goo Goo Ga Joob ....

Lennon wrote most of this while tripping on acid. The up and down rhythm was inspired by a police siren he heard.

Lennon got the line "Goo Goo Ga Joob" from the book Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

how much is that flat-coat in the window??

the one with the waggety tail???

It was BATH DAY today ....

this is the before, I tried to take a picture of them wet, but my batteries died, Gyp and Kaleb look like drowned rats when they are wet, so better luck next time. I'll try to post some AFTER pictures.

Jane gets a bath today too, but she doesn't have to use a "public facility", she gets to bath in the comfort of home, come on people, would you expect anything less...


Amanda thought this would be a fun thing to blog about, so here you go!

When I started trialing Jane, I kept every ribbon, even placements, those are now in a drawer. But I keep her big achievements etc displayed in the basement in the back of my office.

When I started Trialing Kaleb, I kept the placements and Q, after a while I started just keeping Q's and Title Ribbons. So he has the other wall in the back of the office.

Now I rarely take the Q ribbons, just the Title Ribbons and I like to frame the Title Certificates ...

Jane's Wall

Kaleb's Wall

Gyp's umm errr .... I have run out of walls to put hers on, I'll have to do something about that ... maybe I should frame those too ... I'm such a slacker.

Monday, March 17, 2008

24 runs (8 each dog), 2 days = tired Sarah, tired pups

here is Gyps fantastic Steeplechase ran in 31.75 / 40 Seconds, 1st and Q. And Kalebs Steeplechase, he ran great - but we had a missed contact because I was pushing it - a little tooo much!! But I was really happy with the run!

Sountrack, by the White Stripes... lyrics seemed to fit just right!

Friday, March 14, 2008


Here is me and Skip, the last horse I rode western, this was 1992, he was a 3 year old Quarter Horse just starting training as a cutting horse, and I rode him in Classes. He was a great horse! I bought him that teal halter and matching blanket and wraps, we looked pretty snazzy!!

Thumbs Up! I think we had just won the Western Pleasure Class!! YEE HAA

And me and Rusty, the first horse I rode English, he was my friends horse, the one that got me into english riding.

So there it is, me in Wranglers, and a cowboy hat!!! I still miss riding, but the dogs fill that void and then some, someday I'll have a horse again, but I need a bigger yard first.

it all started with Horses.

For a lot of people I know, before there were dogs in their lives, they were addicted to horses. I was one of them.

My dad got me into horses, I started by riding western, I did lots of Gymkanas, started Barrel Racing and Western Pleasure classes. I was the Urban Cowgirl, I'll have to find some pics of me in Wranglers and a Cowboy Hat!!!

Then I had a friend I met in High School and we had similar interests in Horses, but she rode english. I went to the barn with her one night, and that was that. I got to try out the english saddle and I loved how much bigger the horses were, and this stable was impressive to me. So my mom signed me up for Pony Club, and so began the days of Show Jumping and Equitation. I was always so lucky to have people let me use their horses. We had School horses at our stable, but they were never yours, you came you rode and left. My first horse was Shane, a beautiful, 2 year Old, Black, Morgan, who was immature, but smart and pushy (sound like anyone you know), a young family had him and needed someone to take the challenge and spend some extra time with him, that was me! I'm not sure why they picked me to ride him, but I always felt honoured. In my first year of Pony Club, I got the "Most Improved Rider" Award, mostly because I was riding Shane, the young full of him self horse, but still managed to also beat the other more experienced riders and Horses to get the "Excellence Award" that year.

Funny that this is the first time I am writing about this, but I can now see why and how I am now with the dogs, is a direct result of my early horse years, I always like a challenge, interesting.

Blogging is therapy!

So Shane's family moved to Alberta, and I was horse-less. Until a nice girl who was in University saw me riding and saw how much I loved it, and knew that my mom wasn't in the position to be able to buy a horse let alone afford the $400 month stall. Most of the girls out there had horses that were 20K +, and some had more than one, and I won't even go into the cars some drove.

Enter, BJ, a 16.3 Chestnut Thoroughbred, who was never a racehorse - his big days as a Grand Prix Jumper were over and now was coming into a retirement, he was 15 at the time. So since I did Hunter (lower Jumps, based on form of the rider and horse, not speed) he was perfect!!!! It was like owning my own horse!! I also worked at the Stable to pay for my lessons, and my mom only had to pay half of the stall fee as our cost to let me ride him. I got full use of all of his gear and him. We did Pony Club together and local shows, clinics, schooling Shows and Pony Club. I also got into teaching Pony Club to the first year kids, and I taught riding camp too in the summer. Its interesting the things you can do when someone gives you an opportunity and you take it and appreciate it. We had some really nice wins, and unlike dog sports, we actually would win money which sometimes covered my fees, or some of my coaching fees which I had to pay each show!!!! I found out through a friend that BJ went to the big corral in the sky last year, he was in his late 20s. I still miss him to this day.

So that is my horse rant and a little insight to why and how I am like I am today, funny I've never thought that deep into it until now!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

bling bling

Here is K's new bling, it was his ATCHC gift, an Agility leash! I got the leash part embroidered too, it will look snazzy as he pulls me around on my ass. I have to have the collar part adjusted as it is a wee bit too big, well at least it looks nice :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

40 year old virgin.

40 year old virgin.
Originally uploaded by sarah ...


The K-man is 6 years old today 42 in dog years.

But I think 21 in flat-coat years.

Happy Birthday Bitsy Boy

Today my K is 6! My oh my how time flies, I can still remember sitting at work and getting an email from his breeder the day he was born, I ran around the office saying "my puppy is born, my puppy is born, people thought I was crazy!"

ALSO! Kaleb's mom Ramona turned 12 on March 8th!! Which is REALLY old for flat-coat!

Here is the email that got it all started:

Sarah Novak wrote:

> hi there, my name is sarah novak and i live in lethbridge. i was given your
> name by liz saunders. my boyfriend and i have been interested in a
> flat-coated retriever for quite some time now. we have a 2 1/2 year old jack
> russell terrier, who we compete in agility with and jack russell trials. we
> are interested in getting a retriever for search and rescue/ tracking and
> obedience, and probably some agility as well. i am originally from
> saskatoon, and most of my family is still there, i will be home over the
> holidays, and i was wondering if we would be able to meet (around the 28 or
> 29). we are trying to find out as much as possible about the breed. if you
> are available that would be great. we met 'puck' at the lethbridge kennel
> club show and he is beautiful!

> i look forward to hearing from you soon

(l - r)
Skippy (kalebs niece) - Ch Prairielight Skip a Beat CD WC
Ramona (the mom) - Ch Prairielight Abrakadabra CDX JH WCI AM WC
Ylva (sister) - Ch Prairielight Talk is Cheap CDX WC
Jazz (half sister) - Am Ch Prairielight Jazz Pizzazz WC
Lily (sister) - OTCH Prairielight Keep 'em Talkin' WC
and ... Kaleb

(l - r)
Kaleb, Ramona, Ylva and Lily

Monday, March 10, 2008

sore feet and a full brain.

Kiersten Lloyd came for a full weekend of Seminars ...
Friday Night - Shop for stuff for Seminar, get the building ready 6 - 8, Supper with Kiersten - 8 -10
Saturday - Obedience Seminar 9 - 5, run home for 15 minutes to drop dogs off ...
Saturday Night - Lecture and Presentation 6 - 9
Sunday - Agility Seminar 8 - 5
Sunday Night - Supper 6 - 8
So, I'm tired.

*BUT* I got a lot of great info!

Obedience, for CDX:
1. Heeling: Kaleb is a pretty great heeler, I just need help, being calmer with my body. Slow pace IS, long slow steps, not slow choppy. Go in with confidence and have K ready to WORK.

2. Practice fronts with dumbbell before I go into the ring, as well as quick drop on recalls, to keep it fresh in his noggin.

3. People laughing at Kaleb is never a good thing, he lives for it, don't encourage the class clown ...

4. Broad Jump, step out when turning, rather than a step back.

5. Keep practicing hard throws over high jump. Use **right hand***, not left, so I don't bean my dog in the head.

6. Out of sight stays this weekend had no barking, but he did get up as I was getting to him ** look past him**, not at him.

Hopefully we'll get in the ring soon and have a crack at that CDX ...

Agility Agility Agility:

My agility goals with my dogs lately have been to push the limits, run hard and go for it, trust my training. My deceleration and lateral movement has improved. I need to work on getting Gyp tighter on turns, she tends to push out a bit too much. I've been pushing my start lines with Gyp, and can now lead out to just about anywhere, I just had to teach her that - go figure. Her obstacle discrimination has improved greatly, Kaleb needs this work all the time, where as Gyp and Jane don't need as many reminders on discrimination, they tend to pick up on my verbal more than he does, he has more "tunnel vision" than they do.

Know your dog.

Soft but an Independent thinker. Fearful yet confident, and very willing to please me and generally she wants do the right thing. So depending on the situation and stress in it, I may get any variation of these combinations, which can be a challenge. She is SO QUICK to learn, can learn something in two or three times, but will challenge you and push the limits. She is very accurate and careful, and I can push for a certain level of perfection with her. She doesn't tolerate a ton of repetition, and gets easily bored. She is THE "What's in it for me dog". BUT she knows, she gets what she wants, IF she does what I want. Training her is VERY fun, and even at 8.5 hasn't really began to show her age, she is a true terrier.

VERY strong willed, but wants to please and NEVER gives up, whether it be good or bad. He is amazingly smart and sensitive to my emotions and body movement, more than any of the others. I'm calm, he's calm. I'm uptight, he's uptight. He can take A TON of pressure, physically and emotionally. Every physical therapist that has worked on cannot believe the physical pressure they can apply to him, without him flinching or being overly bothered by it, and emotionally he always has an excitement level that usually is so noticeable others around him can feel it - usually by leaving welts on their legs from his tail. I wish he had a little bit more off an off switch, but not at the cost of sacrificing his drive. So, I'm stuck with a fairly obnoxious dog. I honestly worry that he is going to give himself a heart attack. When he is on, HE IS ON. Underneath it all he is my big overgrown puppy - on speed.

Smart. Totally willing. Eager. Soft. Soft. Soft. Challenging this dog, is my challenge. She is so quick and never challenges me, just wants to do what I want her too. It is MY job to make sure what I am telling her is correct, or before I know it, I have taught her something I didn't mean too. I have had to let her be bad, silly and a wee bit naughty, to build confidence, she can now handle a correction and will be sassy with me, which is great, she'll even growl at me when tugging, and she likes when I smack her sides and grab her legs. She anticipates my every move. Gyppie is always willing to work and always give 110%, but she didn't come that way, I've had to work hard to build toy and food drive, I knew from the moment I saw her, she was something special. I have been able to push the limits with her in a very short time as far as my training goes, she is the kind of dog that makes me look like a better trainer than I probably am.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Goldilocks and the three packages of Oatmeal ...

I came home yesterday, and Kaleb had been in the corner cupboard - pulled the duct tape off, all they managed to get were 2 granola bars (so I thought), which Jane ate (the evidence ie. wrappers were on her bed).

There was also a bag of tortilla chips in the living room, but not touched, they only like those with dip apparently.

Then, last night when I went to feed the dogs, they went to their appropriate spots: Jane to the right with her feet on the line of the kitchen and the living room, Kaleb to the left by the water dish, and Gyp runs to her Kennel. I couldn't figure out why Gyp was sitting weird and propped up when I put her dish down in front of the kennel, so I looked in .... and there was the box of Instant Oatmeal, all three packages inside, not touched.

So this makes me wonder, did my little "can't do no wrong" Gyppie-girl, drag them to her crate?

OR did conniving Jane plant the box there to get Gyppie-girl in trouble?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Black Box

has arrived ....

stay tuned ....

Monday, March 3, 2008

a full weekend

Agility Seminar with Kathy Keats
Attending: Gyp and Kaleb

Lots of great feedback on the dogs. I challenged myself more than I ever have with Gyp, and she was amazing. We did a LOP (Lead Out Pivot), past three jumps and with the tire parallel to one of them, so she had to take three jumps before she got to me, but had to pass five, if that makes any sense at all! It was really cool to see if we could do it. I am proud to say that her serpentines were awesome at full speed, something we have been working on, as her speed throws me off since I'm not used to the speed she has at times. She was completely responsive, and took all of the challenges better than I could have imagined, I pushed my handling and her skills and I was really happy.

I Ran K in two of the sets, he was really good too! Once I got my footwork, arms and shoulders working together, we managed to get a successful push-through, after a few attempts. I said if I didn't do it next time, I would do ten push-ups, so we ran the whole sequence, did the push-through, and I didn't have to do 10 push-ups, thank god. We need a lot of work on push-throughs, only because we haven't worked on it much as compared to a threadle or serpentine, which we both understand pretty well.

So I just need to keep challengng my skills and my dogs skills, and keep pushing them and giving it all I've got in practice, running harder and no holding back, to simulate the intensity in a trial setting, so I be ready for that in a trial setting.

Herding Lesson
Attending: Gyp and Jane (attending for the prospect of mice and sheep poo)

Gyps herding lesson she was patient and focused and didn't even freak out (too much) when I put the stick in my hand, she even responded well to a bit of pressure, which I hadn't done yet, as she needed to "be a bit bad" to build her confidence. The first time I used the stick to the ground, she went and took refuge behind Scott, which was funny, then she got over it and realized it was OK and went back to work. We worked on her lie down and redirecting her to the direction I wanted her to go in but using the stick in the place I didn't want her, it was really interesting to see her respond to it, and I am learning so much about how to read her and I hope to get better about staying out of her way. She got to be "a bit bad" at the end of the session which she really enjoyed :)

Jane had a great time too, see Jenny's blog:

note: Kaleb was in the coulees for the afternoon with Pete, trying to figure out how to get the Geese off the frozen river.

Afternoon Run in the Coulees
Attending: The Three Amigos.
Horse poo, mud and flushing birds made for a fun time in the coulees.

The dogs were happy and tired by the end of the weekend :)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

busy body

too tired too write too much, but yesterday was a full day of Agility with Kathy Keats, K & G went, they were great.

Today Gyppie went herding and I brought Jane along for the ride, she also had a blast digging in mouse holes and rolling in sheep poo, the best day for Jane!

I'll write more when my brain is rested.

Time to go eat my caramel sundae...mmmm with Pecans yum!