Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#8: K, the Search and Rescue Dog

When Jane was a year old we got the opportunity to work with the Search and Rescue group - she needed LOTS of training, and we were lucky enough to work with the group doing obedience on a regular basis. Our trainer LOVED her and said she would make a great Search dog if she was bigger and wouldn't eat other dogs. So that led us to SEARCH for a second dog - we both loved SAR and Pete wanted to pursue it with a second dog. After looking at breeds: Tollers, Goldens, Labs ... we found the connection with the Flat-coat. We both loved the breed and were fortunate enough to get to know some here in Lethbridge.

We found our breeder and the litter we loved would have great working dogs ... so we waited for months .. and he was born. We requested a puppy that never gave up - persistent to no end, huge fetch drive and outgoing. I think our breeder knows what they are doing ... all those things are what we needed for a potential SAR dog.

Kaleb certified as a SAR dog with the RCMP CSDA one month past his 2nd birthday. To this day, he is one of the youngest - if not the youngest to ever certify in the program. Pete worked his butt off with Kaleb - atleast 20 hours of a week training: Scent work, Tracking, Obedience.

Kaleb in his Search Gear

Like everything Kaleb does ... he does it with a style of his own ...


Kaleb: the 2nd graders Science Project.

To this day ... he always defaults to SAR mode. Lose your Keys? No problem! Last year at the Agility field 2 people lost their sets of keys in 2 foot tall grasses in the adjacent field. They had been searching for them by foot for half an hour - I brought K in and even with the contaminated area of multiple people trampling through the area to find the keys ... he found them!!! He alerted, layed down on them, I asked his to show me, he picked them up and there they were!!!! I have witnesses. True Story. That is only one story of a few (I lost my cell phone once in a HUGE park ... he found it: )

Though super obnoxious and annoying most of the time ... he is a rather useful dog at times :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kaleb's top 10: #9

I still remember the day we picked the puppy we had been waiting over a year for .... he showed us how he could fetch his baby bumper and delver to hand ... there he goes ... even at 10 weeks old, he never gave up, and had that trademark tongue!!

Grammy was there when I picked him up ... she was the first one to hold him :)

Bryan my Bro was there too ... Kaleb still has the same waggy tail ...

and to this day, Kaleb still loves his Grammy more than anyone ...

i luvs her.

me 'n' my grammy

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The boy is turning 10.

Kalebs big 1-0 is in 18 days (March 12th to be exact). So every other day leading up to his BIG DAY ... I'll write a little post about K-Man. I still remember the day he was born and I still have the email from his breeder!!!

Hard to believe his double digit birthday is so soon. I feel so lucky to have him at 10 years old. He is healthy, happy and still full of the enthusiasm and obnoxiousness that he always has had.

K is from a litter of 10 pups and in his litter had his breeders first Yellow Flattie. I have a picture of her somewhere. The pups were DNA tested for the yellow gene. K doesn't carry it.

This is K's dad ... from Sweden (K was born through the magic of AI)

WW-98 NordV-99 Int Nord UCH Almanza Something To Talk About AKA "Leo"

This is K's beautiful mom Ramona who lived to be just over 13 years old.
Ch Prairielight Abracadabra CDX JH WCI amWC

Here is Kaleb with Ramona and his two sisters Ylva and Lily :)

Stay tuned for more Kaleb in the next 18 days ... the countdown is on!!

He is also taking requests if anyone would like to ask him any questions like "what the hell goes on in that head of yours, dude??"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cooking with Grammy ...

We spent the weekend at Grammy's ... and well .. Grammy makes dog cookies!! We had a great weekend, relaxing, full of good food and good laughs.

The Quality Control Crew makes sure they are full of yummy goodness ...

Weekend at Grammys!

Jane gets in for a closer view ...

Cooking with Grammy!



I love cookie dough too Grammy ...

Jane on quality control duties.

hurry up would ya?

Grammy's little helper.


cookies. mine.

pssst ... Hey Grammy ... i'm here too

Kaleb making sure there is enough for him :)

It was so warm this weekend that even Jane got to enjoy a walk with us in her "Queen Bag" she loved every minute of it. Weekends like this are just so special ... we have to cherish them.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Do you like your dog? Do they like you?

me and jane

Some relationships come easy, others you have to always work at. I find this applies in both dog and human relationships. I have 3 dogs and my relationship with each of them is different ... And all of them require work ... Some more than others (you know who you are).

They test our patience, they take us places we never thought we would go, they teach us to be more compassionate, and some of them comfort us and remind us to enjoy every moment and take nothing for granted.

And like our human relationships, our relationships with our dogs aren't always a natural perfect fit. I suppose that is why people stick within a certain breed of dog - or that is waht draws us to a certain breed. We like traits that should be fairly predictable knowing that is what drew us to that breed in the first place: not everyone wants a waggy and never-grows-up flat-coat, that would, and does drive people to drink. Not everyone appreciates the intensity of a Border Collie, or the antics and tenacity of a never give up Terrier.

I dont consider myself a "one breed" person ... I love my dogs not primarily because of the breed they are, but more for who they are. I couldn't imagine having a different combination of dogs. But again - the combination of the 3 compliment my multiple personalities umm errr personality well.

My human friends the same way - I have lots of friends that are are as different and random as my iPod music. And I love them all.

a little R 'n' R.

It all comes down to accepting them for who they are ... Both dogs and human. Dogs seem to accept us for who we are, easily, because they have no choice, really. But we can learn to do better by them and that shows if we sincerely accept them. I guess with humans we can choose to work thing's out or move on and find a new friend if they really piss us off. For the dogs we choose to bring into our lives, it's not that simple. My dogs are my pets first, they aren't true working dogs - that is a whole other relationship. The time we actually spend working is small compared to them just being companions, and the everyday things we do together - they do everything with us: car rides, vacations, family visits, being in public places, following me to the bathroom. So well I have dogs who are bred to work - I get them as pets first, so they are stuck with us for life. But building that working relationship outside of hanging out with us is work. My dogs have rules, they have manners (mostly), and we have mutual respect. They know the difference between lounge time and "doing stuff" time - this takes time, and I love the process and the journey. Knowing your dog and accepting them for who they are is for me a huge part of the key to getting the best out of my dog. It starts with play and having fun, and all of that is related back to me. My dogs would much rather play with me than eachother or other dogs. I play with each of them differently, because each of them require a unique set of play and energy from me to get the best out of them and the best focus possible when we need it, whether it's in competition when I need focus or we're walking in the park and that guy who lets his dog lunge at mine is there again.

I think sometimes in the formal training of our dogs, we get too caught up in the mechanics, the rules, being perfect, and we forget to "feel" our dogs. They aren't robots, they are living, breathing, drooling creatures. I see this lots in Agility - getting to caught up in a rule, a position and we forget to watch our dogs and feel that connection - and yearn for that connection. We don't understand what they are requiring from US so they can do their best, because we are not focusing on our dog. Then we blame the dog because it didn't conform ... when really it's the human not understanding the needs of the dog, and it's not just the needs in that moment - but perhaps it the needs in the entire aspect of the relationship.

The best relationships are those that make us a better person, thinking about how we can do better by our dog and learn to understand them, maybe even starting to act like them, rather than the thinking "you better do what I want or else", or pretending to be sincere and fine on the outside, when deep down you are angry because they aren't doing what YOU want, and that makes you mad - stupid dog. It works with humans, fake a smile and say things are fine, become resentful - and then we eventually believe them, because we trust them, or it's just easier that way. Thankfully dogs are too smart to fall for that, and if we aren't at our best, neither are they, and we can easily destroy that trust by lying to them.

I am by no means an expert in anything relationship wise ... i've screwed up my share over the years, but I am learning, and I've learned most of that from my dogs. My pooches have taught me more than ever to keep an open mind, love them for who they are, and not what I wish they were. For as much as I've taught them over the years, they've taught me the most.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Soundtrack on their lives ...

a couple little clips with soundtrack courtesy of the "Presidents" ... Feather Pluckin' and Kitty ... come on ... these songs were written for them :)

Here is a quicky run of Gyp in jumpers, I was really proud of this run - over 6yps and I felt so connected, and went for it.

This a couple clips of runs of K ... I loved his Challenge run even with the off course - great weaves, great enthusiasm. Something I tell my students is if the off course happens, keep going, as if it didn't happen, chances are it was you and the dog was just doing what he thought - in this instance, Kaleb found the straight line and I did nothing to tell him otherwise ... can you spot the error on the video?? The less I make a deal out of the error the better - for me and him - don't stress it, keep running, keep having fun!!!!

And I had to add his wonderful end Gamble ... :) Such a good boy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

crazy little thing called love ...

my lil' wood nymph :: 6/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

It was our first Agility trial of the year this past weekend. I had taken half of December and January off to give the dogs some time to recoup and refresh for the busy trial Season coming up. Just what we needed!! I HEART my dogs, I HEART Agility, I HEART my friends ... life is good.

I've been worried about K - I freak out as he is coming up 10 and I don't want to push him to hard if his body can't do it ... His first run of the weekend he seemed a little stiff in the poles, but otherwise a great run. The rest of the weekend - he was BANG ON ... managed his same times and YPS ... no knocked bars, no popped or uneven looking weave poles. I love this dog. I had so much fun running him this weekend - and all the comments I get on how great is running and looking are sure nice to hear. He got MEGA warm-ups - twice as much as normal, lots of tugging backwards to engage that rear end, massage 2x day, and extra work to his stifles and hamstrings. It seemed to do the trick .... judging by his performance. He brought home Qs in Standard and Gamblers.

And then there is Gyppie ... she was great too! We were honoured to wear Tag's Agility LEash into the ring with us ... the first run was a little hard ... I was thinking of him and we tried are hardest for him this weekend ... Gyppie even channeled a little of his naughtiness I am pretty sure! But thankfully she also channeled his brilliance! She was fast, fun and lovely. She brought home Qs in 2 Standards, Jumpers and Snooker.

Go! Dog! Go! Students ROCKED also!!! Lots of great moments, Q's and some titles to boot!!

I had my first ever "Hangs Head in Shame" moment on course ... Lets just say DO NOT CHANGE YOUR GAMBLE PATH LAST MINUTE without thought. Because what might happen is you do 2 back-to-back end obstacles in a row right off the startline TWEEEEEET!!! OMG it was hilarious ... I literally hung my head, and everyone was laughing - I got razzed about it for the rest of the weekend - it was pretty damn funny!!! I redeemed my self with Kaleb in the Gamble and he was one of the few dogs to get it!!! GOOD BOY!!

More on dog/human relationships this week ... and my observations at the trial ... i've said it before, it can't be faked ... and the true honest relationships between dog and handler are the ones who are most successful on and off the course. more on that later ...

Friday, February 10, 2012

simple pleasures.

Grammy got a new car. She took us for a car ride. It has a sunroof. Life is good!!

This week, Kaleb got a full Health Check, bloodwork the whole deal. Seeing as he is a double digit next month ... it was time for his "Old enough to know better, still to young to care" check up :)

He still wants to be active and runs like the wind when he gets the chance. But his body is finally starting to catch up with him. Its nothing major, but I want him to stay active. He can get a bit stiff and sleeps alot deeper after a big work out or a weekend of Agility. His joints are great for an older dog - he is in great condition - but I notice he does not having as much muscle as he used too - comes with any animal aging, even us humans have to work harder at that as we age - so we will work a bit harder now at keeping tone with extra ball work targeting the certain muscle groups I feel that need it, as well as more massage when he needs it too. He has a bit of possible arthritis in his right stifle, something from an old injury that might be showing up now as there is a bit of scar tissue in the area where I have noticed a bit of stiffness after lots of activity. We might treat with with an extra joint supplement as well we are upping his lipid mussel/glucos. supplement to a therapeutic level, and not a maintenance level.

His bloodwork overall was very good. Titres back with really good vaccine levels and his Thyroid is low - though he doesn't display classic symptoms of that - we will treat it homeopathically first and see what we get.

We feel so lucky to have him healthy, happy and still crazy at this age .... yep ... just one month ...and the boy will be 10 years old!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What drives you?


Do you ever just sit back and wonder why the hell we throw ourselves into this bizarre culture of "dog"?

It's a complicated culture full of religious beliefs, mantras and people with questionable fashion sense. People who look at you because you have a certain breed "you are a retirever person", "oh you are one of those Border Collie people", or because you support a certain "Brand" AKA "System" or you put a cross in a place where you might get struck by lightening if you aren't careful. Like in my real life I consider myself agnostic - I believe in many things, not just one ... I like to think that keeps me open minded in my life, and when training with mine, and other peoples dogs. This "dog" culture full is of people who judge us and we put ourselves in situations where we offer, and we even pay to be judged, It goes further than sport of Agility, or sports, really. It for me, goes back to being a pet owner in general ... it happens in all levels of owning a dog ... like the people who judge you for not taking your dog to Dog Parks "you must have bad dogs, maybe they would be more friendly if you took them there", or those who think I starve my dogs because they are not coffee tables, those people who give you dirty looks when you sit your dogs on the path instead of letting them visit. It is everywhere ... it's life I guess.

For me I throw myself in this culture because, it's all "For the Love of Dog" ...
• My dogs have made me a better person.
• I have made my best friends in life because of dogs.
• I have learned more with my dogs than I ever did in 4 years of College.
• They have taken me more places, and we have seen more things than I would have ever done if I didn't have them
• I love to learn, I love to teach, I love to be taught.
• I love to be loved unconditionally.
• I love seeing the special bond between dog and person, especially when it's true and sincere. It is not something you can fake. Those who are the most successful have this bond. It can't be forced, it can't be faked. Dogs are smarter than humans that way.

... yep, that's me, just another crazy dog person ...

Friday, February 3, 2012

hannibal jane, in the lead

hannibal jane, in the lead, originally uploaded by sarah ....

a random photo from 4 years ago that made me laugh today ... thought you'd enjoy it too :)

oh the good 'ol days when Jane needed to be muzzled on runs, don't let her sweet face fool you, she is all grit :) ok well maybe these days she isn't but she was :) you know the says "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog" ... that was written for Jane, and well she's still fighting, but in another way these days :)

and this one, because it's fucking funny... come on!

again muzzled on a river trip with at Blazingstar in 2009 ... Liz enjoys her flat-coats not having chunks out of them ... and well come on, how cute does she look in her pink lifejacket?

Poor Jane ... a double whammy.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

happy groundhog day

head in a hole., originally uploaded by sarah ....

Gyp - did you find him?