Archive for April, 2009

My How They’ve Grown

Friday, April 24th, 2009

OK – I promise not to turn this into a total Dane puppy blog. But I just had to post another page on the pups my friend recently had.

I visited them when they were 3 weeks old, and then again 9 days later. I couldn’t believe the difference!!! They were HUGE, and much more active – playing and battling with each other. Running across the floor – skidding into their siblings – chomping down on legs, and ears and noses.

Here’s a few more pics:

What a gorgeous little face

What a gorgeous little face



play time

play time



look at that pretty show stack

look at that pretty show stack



chow time

chow time



twins?

twins?



the dane-fest

the dane-fest


I had a blast with the puppies. I could just watch them for days. (Sorry if I’ve said that before). Not sure if I’ll go back to see them one more time before they go off to their new homes - I might be tempted to snatch one up and make a break for it!

Great News!

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

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The American Kennel Club (AKC) has always been a promoter of purebred dogs. That’s what they’re all about. All of the events that they hold (and there are MANY) are for purebred dogs only. They hold more agility, and obedience trials than any other dog organization that I’m aware of.

For those of us with mixed breed dogs, there are not that many options for performance sports. I’m pretty sure that USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association) would be the largest organization offering agility to ALL dogs, regardless of breed status, but I think AKC far outnumbers them in trials. As far as obedience goes, UKC (United Kennel Club) does allow mixed breeds, but they have very few trials (at least in my area).

I participated in a survey a couple of years ago, asking what exhibitors thought about letting mixed breed dogs compete in performance sports (obedience, agility and rally). I thought it was a dead issue by now, but then I was informed by a friend that they have indeed decided to allow them to compete in AKC events. Wow – that is HUGE! I’m pretty sure they’re doing it for the extra money they will make from the mixed breed exhibitors (and not out of any good will), but hey – I’ll take it.

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They made the decision in April and the mixed breed competition will commence on October 1, 2010. They will compete in a “separate but equal” class, but again, I’ll take it. It DOES make me curious though, why they can’t just compete with the rest of the dogs. Are they worried that the “mixes” might show up the “pures”? I’m not prejudiced – most of my dogs ARE purebreds. I just find it odd that they will compete separately and their titles will be slightly different. But again, really, who cares?

So the quest to seriously start working Micah in obedience has begun. I’m really looking forward to being able to be in a trial setting with him (on leash) so that he can get used to that. If he can get used to working in that atmosphere ON leash, we might eventually have a chance of making it OFF leash to do agility.

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Chalk up one big “atta-boy” for the good old boys of AKC. You Rock!


Dane Fun

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Today was a good day. I went to visit a friend who just had a litter of Great Dane puppies. They are sooooooo cute! The litter is 3 weeks old and they already range between 5 and 7 pounds. Since I’ve had 2 Dane puppies myself, I know that they are one breed that you can actually SEE growing EVERY DAY! ;-)

Anyway – there is just nothing better in the world than puppies. Admittedly, I’m a definite sap for them. I could sit and watch them and their little puppy interactions for hours. They are hilarious. They are just learning to get their feet under them at this point and their clumsiness only adds to their cuteness. You can probably almost smell the “puppy breath” just by looking at the pictures. The little groaning noises they make while nuzzling your neck – priceless.

Just wanted to share a few pics of the kids. Enjoy!


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Yea Me!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Now I’m sure you’re thinking, what the hell? A little self-absorbed? A little arrogant? Conceited? Not really – because you know why? Sometimes we need to cheer ourselves on, as well as other people. Sometimes we need to have as much patience with ourselves, as we do for others. So when we do something good, why not give ourselves a YEA ME!! (Can I get an Amen?) Let me explain.

The other day I had a birthday. I used to dread them, and pretend that they didn’t exist. Then I got old enough to realize just how lucky I was to be having them. I mean, consider the alternative. Now I embrace each year, and look forward to whatever new adventures it will bring me. However, this year I was feeling a bit disgusted at having done pitifully little in working toward my goal of getting healthier, as well as “lighter”. I wondered if I would be having the same conversation with myself NEXT year on my Birthday. So I decided to try to find something FUN that I could do for exercise, that I would actually DO. (I have a treadmill in the office, but it’s actually just holding up a table filled with crap). It dawned on me that big R and I played a little racquetball a few years ago, and I thought it was a blast!!! I’m not any good, but that doesn’t matter to me. It’s great exercise, and I’m sure it burns a fair amount of calories.

So I made it my quest for the day to find a decent racquetball place. Apparently racquetball isn’t as popular as it was a few years ago. Many of the health and fitness places don’t even offer it. I started to think it wasn’t going to happen, but then at the end of the afternoon I finally found the perfect place! I promptly joined up, went home to find my racquet, and came back to bang the ball around for an hour. I had to laugh out loud several times at how bad I was. Oh well – nowhere to go from here, but up!

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I reminded myself that my knees are a little “loose” so no scrambling for hero plays. I’m just burning a few calories here, and getting off my butt!!! I was so exhilarated when my hour was up that I made an appointment for the next day to play again. But due to muscle soreness that set in later that night, I sadly had to cancel. But I DID go back and play again today. When my time was up, I didn’t want to leave. I am LOVING THIS!! I am really hoping that this will finally be the push towards getting healthy that I needed, and that it works.

So again, I will say – Yea Me!! See if you can find a “yea me” for yourself. We all deserve one!

Work With Your Dog!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

I frequently try to explain to clients, how critical it is to “build the relationship” with their dogs. I often get the impression that they don’t really understand what I mean. They will say “oh, I have a great relationship with my dog”, but while they are saying that, the dog is off sniffing an ant instead of paying attention to them.

If done correctly, work = play and play = work. Dogs LOVE to learn and do things with you, and it helps them thrive mentally. Yesterday was a perfect example of how that works, and how to help that bond blossom.

Micah and I had pretty much fallen off the wagon with our 2×2 weave pole training (update on that at the end of this post). I had really wanted to videotape the entire process, but my camcorder was acting up, so we had pretty much stopped the training. I finally realized how stupid that was, so we resumed training a couple of days ago, sans camera. I took my own best training advice and made our sessions REALLY SHORT! So consequently, we did several short sessions throughout the day. Last night I could barely pry the little guy off me. If he had one of those cartoon bubbles over his head showing what he was thinking it would have said, “Are we going to do some more mom? Huh? Huh? Are we mom? Are we? PLEEEEEEEEEEASE Mom!!!”

This is the kind of stuff that great relationships are made of. If you want a dog that is responsive, pays attention, and wants to work with you, try devoting just a few minutes a day to working / playing with him. Teach him a new trick, or play 101 Things To Do With a Box. You will be AMAZED at how your relationship will flourish, and how attentive he will be. And isn’t that what we all really want?


Update on Micah’s 2×2 Training
I will probably have some video of our progress within a couple of days, but for now here are just a few pics of our recent progress. Just a few days ago we were still on our 1st set of 2 poles. We finally made the plunge and added the 2nd set.
Note: In case you’re not familiar with weave poles, they are a set of poles that are used in dog agility. The poles are in a line straight in front of the dog and they must enter from right to left and weave through the poles as quickly as possible, without missing any.

Susan Garrett, who is an absolutely brilliant dog trainer, has come up with a method of training weave poles called the 2×2 method. You use sets of 2 poles to train, and initially you concentrate on entry (to the poles) and then progress on, adding additional sets of 2, as the dog is ready. You start with the poles set up in front of you at the 9 o’clock and 6 o’clock position. The dog simply goes straight through them. Gradually you move the poles to the 8 o’clock and 2 o’clock position. It’s a whole process of gradually moving the poles to the 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock positions while adding more sets of 2.

Looking back, I think we spent WAY to much time on the 1st set of poles. But oh well. We added set #2 and I’m actually pretty happy with his progress. Many times he actually adjusts himself to hit his entry correctly. But not always. You’ll get a better idea when I get the video together.

This 1st pic is of Micah hitting the correct entry on the poles. Notice how far apart the bases of the 2 sets of poles are at this point.

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You can almost see the concentration on Micah’s face as he goes through this set. Notice that the bases of the 2 sets are getting closer together, and the line of poles is starting to get straighter.

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This is how the poles were set when we quit for the day. As you can see, he’s making some good progress. The line of poles is getting straighter and straighter. We’ll keep on practicing, and hope to have those poles mastered sometime in the near future. ;-)

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By the way, I think I deserve HUGE kudos for not glutting up the blog with “useless video crap only interesting to the momma”. Ha!