Wednesday, November 24, 2010

matchy, matchy

matchy, matchy, originally uploaded by sarah ....

... in our faux fur :)

and equally bitter about the bitter -30c temperature.

Jane was looking for a new home last week when it turned stupid cold, well it hasn't let up yet, I think she was on to something.

Anyone want to adopt me?? Sometimes I wonder why the hell we live here.

So, like every good Canadian, I'll just bundle up: put on my longjohnns, -40c Sorels, a warm toque.... and suck it up until it warms up.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Find the Mama!!

When it's -30C, and the windchill freezes skin and paws in a matter of a few minutes ... we bundle up with booties, and coats but sometimes, it is just too damn cold. I get creative with indoor exercise and brain stimulation for the dogs ... for their sanity and mine ... we do Ball work, obedience, we play ...

.... but nuthin', I mean NUTHIN' beats a good game of "Find the Mama"!!

We'll play this for a good 30 minutes, sometimes it takes them a few minutes to find me .... I made a video in one of my usual spots that they look first ...

They are on to me though, even when I hide in the tricky spots, like behind the curtains or in the bathtub they find me much quicker ... soon, i might have to start hanging from the rafters.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


... Kaleb is so tired tonight, and is snoring so loud I can hear him from across the room :)

This weekend I had K-man entered in our local Dog show. We were entered over 3 days and did 1 Rally Excellent each day. We also entered 2 runs of Open (one Saturday, one Sunday). Kaleb came home with his second CDX leg, YAY!! And scored 100, 99 & 96 in his Rally runs ... earning him his Rally Excellent Title!

Friday K rocked, we just had Rally - and he scored a perfect 100 with a High in Class. A pretty good way to start the weekend.

He did his back up perfectly. I mean really great! Both days! It was 2 weeks since our last show where he got 10 points off for it. And well, you know me. I had to fix it, and I had to do it FAST! So everyday since then, we practiced about 5 times a day. Back to square one, retrained it completely. And well, it payed off.

... you can teach an old dog new tricks, afterall ...

His other two runs were awesome too. His 99 happened because his foot ticked the jump! Funny I thought :) His other run, I said "ready" then OK ... and he shot across the room like he was retrieving a bird, and stood over the food containers in the figure eight, and just looked at me :) so we got 4 points off because we have to redo the first exercise ... that he bolted past. How can you not love him, seriously.

Again, I am so proud of his efforts in Open - he earned his 2nd leg. Totally foreign territory for me, NOT at all my comfort zone, but Like everything, I had to make myself do it, or I would regret it. I honestly never thought we'd ever get into the ring. I've conquered my fear, and we are having fun. We've never had the chance to be in an Obedience club, and have never taken formal classes for it, so I've learned alot along the way from watching and friends who have pointers too. We could use a bit more polish and a spit shine on some of the formal parts of it, but dammit we can get in there and do the work like the rest of them. Yesterday he was 1 of 4 to qualify of 9 dogs entered. It was very exciting.

Today his run was not too bad, he balked at the broad jump and I had to tell him again to take it so we got a big fat 0 and on his down stay he had a scratch and ended up sitting, but never moved. Oh well!! We got through another day!

And the most exciting part of it all ... NO BARKING in his stays, either days. WOW that work payed off too. It took me the last 3 months of training at home, putting him in stressful places in the house (the bathroom the most stressful) to eliminate the barking. It's hard to mimic stress in places dogs are OK in, but I figured it out for us. I used to only be able to go 30 seconds until a bark. I would just reward him before I knew he was going to bark .... and he gets it. He really gets it. Even if he only barks once or twice I don't care, just not 10 times in 3 minutes please.

I have a totally different perspective with Kaleb these days. I trust him, he trusts me. I truly love him and love working with him. Something that has helped eliminate 75% of the stress when I go in the ring. The fact that he is here at all. Anything I do with him is just icing on the cake, and having fun and getting a Q is just more icing. I really like icing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

when the going gets tough...

the tough get fashionable.

please someone in a tropical place adopt me? Hell, I'll take anything above -5C.

I'm afraid for my life. I've been told I look like a baby seal. I need to get out of the Arctic STAT!!

Any Takers??

... sorry Jane, you're gonna hafta to tough it out :)

I'm at the beach, I'm at the beach ....

Friday, November 19, 2010

i. f*ing. luv. WINTER!!!

i. f*ing. luv. WINTER!!!, originally uploaded by sarah ....

yours truly,

- -

My idea of fun is NOT -20C, but dogs are sick and twisted creatures.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

simply the best

That is our group. They are the best. And I'm not just saying that so I get Tea and Timbits brought to us before class :)

We are hosting Terry Simons again in February. 3 days - 54 working spots. and in 48 hours every spot filled and we have a waiting list. And this is just our own students.

We are also bringing a holistic and rehab vet in December, and 12 Assessment spots filled in a day. The lecture portion is already bigger than we expected.

I am so proud of our group, and the care and dedication they have towards their dogs, and to each other. And of course trusting us to teach them and their dogs. Our group has grown from 5 of us - 5 years ago, to well over 30 and growing. Such a fun loving supportive group, it makes teaching and training a total joy.

You guys are, simply the best.

Jolene (One Collie) is Go! Dog! Go!s new Blog Master, and she has updated the blog with this fall's news .. check it out! >> godoggoagility

Sunday, November 14, 2010

portrait of the queen

portrait of the queen :: 45/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

a simple portrait this week, and like all portraits of royalty, a good profile shot is a must in one's collection.

A good friend of mine is an amazing and accomplished Artist, and I am lucky enough to have a few of her paintings - I wanted to showcase one with Jane :)

45/52 - 52 Weeks for Dogs

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How do they know?

the look of love, originally uploaded by sarah ....

This week was Gyp's first Therapy Dog session. It was not what I expected. I thought "oh, this will be a fun thing to do together, Gyp loves people, and I love seeing people smile when they meet any of my dogs".

Well, it was so much more. I didn't really factor in how it would effect me. DUH.

Most visits are supposed to be in a common room where people come to meet you each week. This facility has quite a few really elderly people who aren't very, or at all mobile. So they asked if I would do room visits. I said sure as long as it was OK with the residents. It is a neat place because of the variety in needs and ages.

Most of people all asked if Gyp ever had pups, and I got the same reaction from almost all of them "what a shame, she is so pretty and would be a good mum". Old people are funny :)

One lady wanted to give her a chocolate. One lady had her dentures in a tray. One man pretended not to be interested, but when we visited with his neighbor, he got out of bed and used his walker to observe from a far. The staff were quite amazed with some of the positive reactions towards Gyp that day.

It was hard going into the rooms and seeing the family photos, handmade crafts from grandkids or great grandkids, and the photos of the people when they were younger. It is really cool to see where people come from. One man is a very decorated War Hero and has his medals proudly displayed. I said "Wow, you've been all over the world" he said "In 53 years of service, sadly yes". What was even harder, were the rooms with no photos or only 1 or 2.

We met about 15 people, and the one that got me the most was the lady in her 90's she couldn't move all that well but her face lit of when she saw Gyp enter her room. Gyp put her nose close so the lady could pet her, then Gyp put her paws up on her bed and tried to get up. The Aide asked if she would like her on the bed - the lady nodded "yes", Gyp hopped up, curled up next to the lady and rested her head across her body, and just stayed there while the woman gently stroked Gyp's face and commented on her soft ears. My heart melted. At that moment it became so obvious what our dogs do for us, and in Gyp's case what she can do for others. We all had tears in our eyes, and honestly, it will be a moment I will never forget.

We met some really cool people, and I am excited to go back and get to know them even more. This experience is going to be good for my soul, I felt really grounded and at peace when Gyp and I left that day, Ice Cream Sandwich in hand and all (thanks nice nurse).

Thank doG I have my 3 dogs ... damn, I would need alot of therapy if I didn't have them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mama's boy weekend.

photo by Amanda and her iPhone :)

Just me and K-man this weekend. I think he really enjoyed being with his mama. And I really enjoyed my time with him too! I didn't even have to resort to strangling him!! Pete and the girls were at home - and good lord he spoils those dogs.... another post for another day.

I had K entered in 2 Open rounds and 2 Rally Exc.

I try my hardest not to get nervous - god, if only I could be as confident in the Obedience ring as I am in the Agility ring. But considering this was our 6th & 7th time in the Obedience ring EVER - I feel more and more confident each time I go in.

K got his first Open leg with a 187. I was really happy with his score - his heeling was NOT great - which is too bad, as he is an amazing heeler when I am not nervous. Of all my dogs, Kaleb picks up on the nerves more than anyone. So I know it is my nerves when he gets a little antsy. I will do better for HIM next time. AND Only 1 bark in his out of sight stays! YAHOOO!!! That is a long way from 10 barks!

His second day Open was even better - I revved him up more before we went in the ring - using my routine I do for Agility to get him focused, and his routine was much better - I like him peppy, up and a little insane - we just work good that way, seriously! He got through his opening - probably one of our best yet. But at 3 minutes on the Stays, he layed down as we were turning the corner BOO! BUT*** He DID NOT BARK ONCE in either stay, I know now a big deal you say, but that is the FIRST TIME EVER, he has not barked in a stay - he was the most relaxed I have ever seen him. SO that in itself was awesome. No Q but, honestly, I was more thrilled with that performance than the one we got the Q in! I honestly NEVER thought I'd get up the nerve to get in the Open RIng, and now I am enjoying it so much, I can't wait until the next time. I have a great group of supportive friends who have helped me - so thanks Amanda, Liz and Kim :)

We was really good in Excellent Rally - BUT he need to train the back up - 5 points off one day, and 10 points off the next. Somehow he managed 2 High in Classes - his lowest Rally Scores ever and he gets HICs?? Go figure.

I have 2 weeks to teach him to back up PROPERLY... and not like a drunk teenager, backing up a semi-truck in a dark alley. I hope you can imagine the visual ...

Any extra creative advice in teaching the back up would be appreciated - we are getting there, just a slow process.

Other weekend highlights:

Kaleb and his Harem of Flattie chicks ...

Wicca and the empty box of Timbits ...

Kaleb met his "cousin", stole her toys and his "uncle" gave him a big meaty bone ... this first family meeting went VERY well!!

Now back to reality ....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

springy autumn

springy autumn :: 44/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

It is November, but our weather has been amazing, +20C today, it feels like spring, I wish it was. I actually had to stop to think what time of year it was.

Jane has lots of pep in her step with this nice weather, and today we went to the woods, and she had fun exploring and looking critters.

I wonder how long it will be until my photos have snow in them ... I hope a while :)

Deep thoughts ... IMAGINE that.

So I stumbled upon this quote ... I was thinking of it more on the literal meaning of it, but given more thought, it works into so many facets of my life.

"You can't depend on your eyes
when your imagination is out of focus."

This applies of course to my day job - Artist, Graphic Designer, Art & Creative Director, Photographer ... all-round creative mad-person, and odd ball. Being a creative comes from a deeper place within me, it is a part of me, and always has been, and lucky for me I was encouraged to "BE ME" from a young age. It is not about the programs I design in, the computer I work on or the fancy camera I shoot with - those are all tools to produce the end result. Without IMAGINATION, I would be left with a pile of overpriced electronics I rely on to do my job for me.

I get creative blocks, times when I can't think beyond, my brain gets tried... that is why I have outlets to recharge me and use other parts of my noggin.

Enter part 2: DOGS

Upon further obsession, I realize this quote also applies to dog training. I am an analytical person - some might want to just call it just plain, anal :) But I don't like to do things without thought or a process - what's the point?

So in training dogs - no matter what you are doing - it requires Imagination. Have you ever tried to out smart a Terrier? Think faster than a Border Collie? Or wonder what the hell is going though a Flat-coats' mind? These things take some creative thought processes and troubleshooting AKA Imagination. And if you can't look beyond what you are seeing with your eyes only, you will soon be outsmarted and stumped. Then you are left with a cute dog who's possible potential has been hindered because we can't figure them out.

This really is seems to make sense to me when we train our dogs complex "tricks" and behaviours ... like weave poles. Again, everybody is given the same tools - and in the end, all Weave poles are the same - sticks in the ground with 24" spacing, sure the methods are different, but the same end result - enter on the left (i was meaning from the point of view of the dog - they enter on their left side to be clear, meaning they have to enter on the right side of the poles, as it was pointed out) - weave the poles - exit - but it is easy to mess up any method, really. Then all you are left with a pile of PVC and steel. If you can't think beyond what you are seeing out the outmost layer visually when training your dog, and your dog keeps making the same mistake, you need to look deeper - and use your Imagination, then your eyes will begin to see things differently.

See what happens when I get a good nights sleep?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Kaleb has had 6 weeks off Agility, and Gyp has only trained once in those 6 weeks. I needed a break mentally from training and teaching, and I think they did too - both mentally and physically. They haven't had any time off really at all this year (well except for K who had 9 weeks off earlier this summer after his surgery). It was stressful these past few weeks with Jane, so I am thankful I have ben able to spend lots of extra time with her.

Just in this last week, I was really missing agility, watching videos, seeing puppies, really made me want to get back to it. This year we are teaching 2 nights at the barn - we have 33 teams over 2 nights - amazing.

It was our first night at the Arena last night, we worked on specifics. Kaleb was a friggin' mad man, and I loved it. He had a hard time holding any sort of a start line he was so excited, but he remembered the rules and we were good to go. He ran great and had a lot of fun.

Miss Gyp was good as always. She is the kid in school that shows up for a test without studying and still aces the test, and everyone gives her dirty looks because she is a goody-two socks. It's funny, really. I worked a weave exercise and tried every possible angle, entry and distance with her, and I couldn't get her to mess up. It's nice that she understands her job I guess.

She also had a fun time catching up with all of her mooch buddies AKA jumping up on every person show might give her a treat .... and of course, they all do. Funny I would never let Kaleb get away with that, mama needs to be #1 all the time with him - it took a long time convincing ... and I KNOW Gyp loves me more than anyone ... even if she literally runs past me when I call her for the person behind me feeding their dog cheese .... but when it is work time, it is always game on with her.

We aren't trailing anymore this year, we have to miss our usual last trial of the year as we are heading out of town. I am excited for January the first trail of 2011.

But I am excited to have K entered in 6 Open trials this fall and 4 Rally Trials!!! That is the most Obedience we have ever done in our life! We are off this weekend to our first Obedience trial ... 2 Opens, 2 Rally. Should be fun!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sucks for you, Gyp.

A young contact on FLICKR asked if she could draw a photo of my dogs. She drew this photo of Jane and Gyp, it was too cute not too share. I think she summed up thier personalities perfectly - I love Gyp's pouty lip in the corner. I thought it was pretty sweet of her to do this.

"Jane is in the spotlight.

Here's the drawing! I thought it would be funny if I added part of Gyp on it, too. I just wanted to pretend that Gyp really wants to be in the spotlight :)" - Jess