Friday, November 30, 2012

Quick Update

Olive is feeling good.  Actually had a good day.  Meds seem to be working.  Yippiee. Doing a happy dance!

Note:  Photo is from a recent day that we actually had sun.  Today was wet and rainy.  Most activities were indoor.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Oh Poo!

This past three weeks has been interesting. We go from a very sick dog to a dog that is feeling great.  A ton of chicken and rice have been consumed.  Six days into it, another incident.  Take a sample to the vet for analysis, they found nothing.

Five days later...last night.  Poor thing couldn't keep a thing down and more brown spurts. 

Today at the vet for tests.  Something has got to be going on with this girl.  I keep asking myself what am I missing?

Tested for loads of things.  All negative.  She is healthy.  She is thin but not skinny.  She is not dehydrated.  All vitals are good.  The only thing to do is to treat the symptoms. Since this is the 3rd event in as many weeks and I haven't been able to get her off of the chicken/rice, we are going with meds. 

So meds are given. Except for the incredibly toxic gas, you would not know that last night she was curled in my lap not feeling well.

Hopefully this will be IT!  We all want to go back to our normal lives...and I have work to do...don't need to be worrying about whether Olive has to go!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A little training update

Olive's training is moving right along.  Today was a weird day as a major system was down at work and I sat around waiting for the system to come up.  A perfect opportunity to get some video.  It was a beautiful day so I video'd some of the outside stuff we are working on:
  • Bang game - object is to jump on the teeter and make it bang.  Stay in position facing forward until released.
  • Look ahead and run to toy - object sit your dog and toss a toy out in front, get lateral to the jumps, wait for dog to look ahead and then release while you run forward.
  • Look ahead and turn tight to me - object sit your dog walk up to the standard and release, dog should run through both jumps and turn tight to you
  • Go around the tree - object, work on turning tight
These are just a few of the things we are working on.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lessons in dog training

My hobby is training my dogs.  I love agility and that is my primary focus for training, but also I have to train my dogs to just get along in the life that I lead. 

Training one dog is relatively easy (unless, like me you are lazy).  Adding a second complicates matters 2 fold.  Now you have to train the first one to do the things you thought you had solid and on top of that, you have to train the new one.  If you have dogs that bark, now you have two dogs barking at different things....or the same thing.

Let's say you've got those two trained and you add a third.  The first two are getting up there and are pretty easy, but the third is a challenge.  Jump ahead three years and add a spicy little imp.  Fin was the easiest dog ever.  She fit in right away and all the shelties agree, Fin is a keeper.

Adding the forth dog really gets to test whether you actually did a great job in training the first three... Nope, I didn't.  Even though I really thought I had things under control, I actually let things slip because everyone got along.

Now, 5 years living with four dogs.  Things are somewhat easy.  There are problems (of course), but nothing that bothers you enough to fix. 

Now, just because you've lost your mind, you add a fifth.  You are thinking, the first two are really old.... glass of wine (or two) is looking mighty nice right about now! How much trouble could it be??

Well loads of trouble as it turns out. 

Multiple dog families really test your ability to maintain the skills you have taught your dogs.  Interestingly enough in the 4 months that Olive has lived with me, Fin and Tazz have forgotten their recall.  Niether dog will sit on cue like they should, and basically bark a lot more then they used to.  When I ask Fin to lay down so I can put the food bowls down, she barks at me (hmmmm, wasn't she my easiest?).

On top of the training, I am currently dealing with personality differences that are testing my mettle. 

How do I do it?  Well, pulling a little rabbit out of my hat, that rabbit is holding a book called Don't shoot the dog... then the rabbit hands me Rough Love...the the rabbit looks at the five dogs, laughs at me, wishes me good luck, and jumps back in the hat.

We are back to the basics on the three youngest dogs (the old ones get to do what they want).  It is the little things that make a difference.
  • Wait until I release you. Consequences for not waiting.
  • No barking/reactivity at weird things (like changing the garbage or walking down the hall).  Consequences for barking is crate time-out or use crate as a preventative.
  • Sit means sit.
  • Down means down.
  • Do not get up on things unless asked (the hardest for Olive).  Ok, this rule is for Olive only.
Although rules aren't that much fun, they do make for a much better quality of life.   Rules are in place.  Damn rules.  Rules are hard.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Road Trip

A long time ago, Laura and I looked at the schedule and saw there was not much happening "agility wise" up in the bay area for Nov 17/18.  Then we saw that DART was doing a trial down in LA.  We thought, "it would be fun!"  Let's do a road trip.

In our minds we pictured a fun road trip.
The reality is much more concrete and desert like then green and sunset like. 
We did in fact question ourselves maybe for about 2 minutes...then we jumped in the car and headed out. Yes, rain was expected.  No, that did not stop us.  Yes, our husbands agree with you, "We are nuts."  

Left Morgan Hill around 3:15pm.  Drove for about 2.5 hours and then a quick gas break, bathroom break, and two of the 5 dogs needed a quick potty break.

Arrived at the hotel about 8:30pm.  Since Olive is in heat, Laura and I thought it best to get separate rooms.  A good idea considering Fireball is totally head over heals in LOVE!  Arriving in our rooms I see we have connecting doors.  I open mine, Laura opens hers.  I immediately get Olive and head back over to my room.  NOT a good idea.

Laura headed out to pick us up something to eat.  I baby sat.  I had the connecting doors open a crack so I could keep an eye on the dogs.  Evidently Fireball is not the only one smitten.

For the next 30 minutes Olive stared at the door.

I open it a crack and guess who is on the other side.

Poor Fireball.  Two more weeks and she won't know you exist.  Now stop that chatter and whining, mom will be home soon.

With an hour more driving in the morning, we got up before the crack of dawn, pottied and fed the dogs and headed over to the site.  A very nice place to hold a trial.  First up for us was Master Gamble.  Fin nailed it!!  Laura got it with all three of her dogs!  Yippee!  Fin now as her Performance Agility Dog title!  Yeah!!

Next up Grand Prix.  A very tricky course.  I made one mistake, was a little late on my turns causing some wide turn, Fin left the ring to find her cheese but came back, but over all, I'm happy with her jumping and would have Q'd if I had supported the jump after the tire just a tad bit more.  Good Girl Fin!

My third run and my last, Steeplechase.  Held her on her first contact so I could direct to the tunnel (wasted a good 2 seconds) but a great run on a course that was tricky but fast.

Olive was entertained the entire day.  We worked on her sit stay and tug, sit stay and get the ball, and we walked and walked.

Rule #1 when walking Olive:  Do not get distracted looking at ducks or the pretty view.  She will take the opportunity to roll in Duck Poo.  All over her head and nice jacket that used to be clean.  Not anymore.
Mom, I like duck poo even more than cat poo! 

Walking is always an adventure.  We worked with a long line so I could practice her recalls.
Recalls were great.  Even though the only reward was a good girly and off we went again. 

The view was really nice.
Olive was mildly interested in those ducks/geese.  

Started driving around 3:15 to head home.  (Sound familiar).  One stop for gas and didn't even potty the dogs, just drove. 

Good nights sleep and we are up and at 'em this morning!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trying to Catch all Five

Now that I have sit stays on all dogs, thought I'd try for a group shot on such a beautiful day.
Wait, what happened to #5???

Ahhh The ball is in the Olive, stay means stay.  Even if the ball is going to drown.

Fin is totally disgusted.  She does NOT want to be next to Olive.  Olive smells funny or something.  Sorry Fin.  Someone has to be next to Olive.  We need to break up the B/W girls.  Mom wants contrast.  Olive is that little bit of contrast...even if she is still looking at her ball.

Oh come now Olive.  It isn't that bad.  Tazzie what are you look'n at?

Ok, half way decent shot.  I'll take it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

When I came home to no greeting but a horrible smell...

Poor little Olive.

I went to powerpaws class on Tues morning.  I have been leaving Olive in her crate at home on Tues so she can sleep.  She needs to be used to being home.  Also left Rocks, Mads, and Tazzie in the house with the doggy door open.

When I arrived home, I was a little surprized as no dogs came running happily to greet me.  As I walked down the hall, I was asaulted by a horrible smell.  Entering my office, the first thing I see is a line of shelties staring at me from the other side of the sliding glass window.  The smell so bad, that they wanted nothing to do with it.

Looking at Olive, I find that while I was away, she was ill.  Both ends.  All over everything including her entire body.  She had a coat on so that was the first to go.  Imagine a brown dog with a shiny white body only where her coat was.  The question is, "how to pick her up to put her in the shower?"


Outside everything went.  Into the shower Olive went.  Heavy use of air freshener, lavender shampoo, hose, and beds in the washer. 

Holy heck, what a mess.

Chicken and rice for Olive.  Then for Fin.  Now for Tazz. ......... Ok, you guys.  Enough already.  Knock on wood that Maddie doesn't get it.  Rocks had the same thing about a week ago but I didn't think anything about it then.  Now the connection seems clear.

Olive seems just fine and dandy today.  Is eating the chicken and rice, drinking, peeing....all the normal stuff.

No, before you ask, no photos.  Tooooooo gross for photos. 

PS:  Punishment truly works.  Olive will be going with me everywhere!  I will never leave her home again :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

A fun weekend

Drove up to Nunes Agility Field in lovely Turlock California.  A great weekend celebrating ADCH's for both SpaceMonkey AND Fireball for my buddy Laura, as well as running some really fun Agility.

Fin gave me an early Christmas present and got us a bye for GP regionals.  Yeah!  Always wanted one.  Now I have it.
Even though I might have made two mistakes during the GP run, Fin just gave it her all and brought home the Q!  She is running really well.  Still some early jumping, but I believe her confidence is getting better and better.

We also did well in a number of other runs.  Maybe not all Q's, but really only the last run on Sat was not great jumping. 

Olive also had a great time.  She rocked her new rain coat, stayed warm, played, played, played, and interestingly enough seems to be getting ready to go into heat.  Showing her hussy side all weekend.  She does love her boyz!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Just do it already!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Mountain and a Mole Hill

This weekend had a mountain of chip delivered to the traning facility.  20 cubic yards.  Didn't seem like much when I ordered it at the chip place.  Seemed like an insurmountable pile when I showed up early Sat Morning to begin spreading it.

First sprayed the entire area with weed killer (hopefully this will help with our maintenance). Grabbed a shovel and filled in the squirrel, gopher, and mole holes.  Grabbed the wheel barrel and filled it with chip.  One barrel down and Rachel showed up to help.  Yippiee! Three barrels down, Laura arrived.  Fantastic!  Six barrels and counting, Cindy parks her car and says she is ready!

Slowly but surely, we loaded our two wheel barrels and one cart and pile by pile we moved chip from the pile in the parking lot to small piles surrounding the field. 

After we got a number of loads out to the field, I started spreading while the other shoveled and dumped. 

In a little less than 2 hours, Cindy was scraping the ground to pick up the last of the chip. I was amazed.

Thank you so much.  We'll do it again soon!