Sunday, December 21, 2014

Black and White Sunday: Peace on Earth!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday!

Hmmm...wonder what that's all about?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A fun little hike right out our front door!

Are we lucky or what?!? Last Saturday the weather was just amazing....68 degrees and super sunny. Mum calls it shorts and sweatshirt weather.

So what did we do? We headed out for a nice little hike right out our front door.

We live at the top of the mountain, and there isn't any traffic up here at all. The only cars we see are our neighbors or the bus twice a day on school days, and sometimes the occasional utility truck or gravel truck.

Mum spent the entire day on Saturday cleaning the cabin. She used her new HAAN steam cleaner and went to town on the floors and the rugs. She even pulled up the rugs, moved all the furniture and cleaned the dust bunnies out.

So come later in the early afternoon, we were ready for a break!

We headed down our road and passed our neighbors to the south. Just after their lane is a road that isn't maintained by the county and it's pretty washed out, just perfect for our hike.

Mum is still getting used to walking all three of us, as all of us are good pullers. She doesn't really mind that we pull because we can pull her up a mountain. It's a little more challenging for her when we are going down, so she uses the word 'easy' to tell us to let up and let her navigate going down a hill.

But Rach doesn't know 'easy' yet. So Mum and I and Gracie helped Rach learn on this hike what the word means and he picked it up about one half the way through our hike. What a good boy! Keeping Mum from falling is important to us and he's helping with that now.

We walked for a while and got to the part of the road that comes from the other direction (it's a loop) and passed by a couple of vacation cabins. No one home. Just then Mum looked down and saw a nut she didn't recognize. Rach noticed too as he is really into eating nuts (not a good thing that Mum has to watch about him). Turned out it was a basic acorn, but an acorn from a Live Oak which isn't that common around here. That's why it's so big!

We walked some more and came across an amazing smell, we all had to get in there!


The road we walk on and most all the ground up here is very sandy soil, which leaves lots of prints. We found this one and Mum had to take a pic because it was one of the largest prints from a raccoon that she's ever seen! About five inches long. wow....big guy.

On hikes like this, during this time of year when the leaves are off the trees, you can just see forever! So Mum likes to take stops and just take in all the scenery. We were happy to oblige!


Funny thing is we were all looking to the left, profile shots!

We kept walking around the loop and back toward our cabin, but we weren't done yet! We decided to head up the other direction and up the mountain just a little more. This is the path we walked a lot before we got our fence up at the cabin. Mum was pleasantly surprised that she didn't get winded at all going up and up and up. She's in better shape than she thought she was, good Mum!


We stopped to watch a robin flit and flight around. We were very close, just only about five feet, but we stayed quiet.

When we got home we had to spend some cool down time on the back deck and share some organic apples with Mum. This is Rach's first apple after a hike treat. What do you think? I think he likes it!

Oh's my turn, gimme some!

Gracie patiently waits for her bite....drooling all the way!

We hope you had a great weekend!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Black and White Sunday: Tower!

Rach loves to tower over you and let you scratch his neck, so this is a typical view of Mum's, BOL!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hind and rear end awareness!

One of the foundation goals Mum has for Rach is to learn that he has rear legs and a hind end (because when pups are young, limbs aren't the first thing on their mind, and they kind of 'fling' them everywhere).

So Mum has been teaching Rach some new tricks to help him be more aware of his rear end and back legs, along with other tricks that help him better understand his body.

Rach loves these tricks and they are games to him, but they have hidden reasoning behind them.

The first 'trick' Mum taught Rach relating to his hind end was 'back'! Whereas I like to hop back, Rach is really good at stepping/waddling back. And since he's not as 'wacky' as I am, he's been really good at learning back at a distance.

Mum tried teaching me 'back' at a distance, but throwing the treat between my front legs from a distance (a tip we got from Daisy Peel way back at one of the first Silvia Trkman seminars) just made me wackier. But Rach isn't as wacky and in many ways, he is a lot easier to train Mum says. Pppffffftttt! I say!

So here is Rach learning back. Now he can do it up to about 20 feet away!

Another 'trick' exercise that Mum has been teaching Rach to help him learn more about his rear and back legs is 'circus dog.' That's when Rach has his two front paws on an object and turns around his back legs, basically pivoting on the object; in our case a big heavy bowl (which was key as it doesn't move when Rach is learning, like a book would..

Mum for the life of her is still trying to teach me to pivot without moving her body, but as I am so wacky it's a challenge. But Rach learned it really quickly with Mum clicking the instant Rach moved his back legs in the direction Mum was looking for. He learned to go to the right very quickly, learning to go left was a little more of a challenge until Mum used her other hand/arm and Rach got it instantly.

So here is Rach being a little 'circus dog'!

Other hind end and rear end awareness exercises you can do with your puppy/dog are:
  • Walking through a ladder placed on the ground.
  • Placing jump poles on the ground staggered in a row and having your dog walk through them.
  • Using pods or other sturdy low objects and having your dog place their back legs up on them.
  • Walking over uneven and safe cushiony items like long couch cushions (I did this a lot when I was rehabbing from my broken foot).
  • Using bricks (for a little larger dog) to have your dog place a paw (their opposite front and rear legs up and alternating) on.

All of these 'tricks' are really fun for dogs and are not only great for hind/rear end awareness but are great for strengthening and conditioning, as well. Just remember that puppies are ready for some exercises but not all until their bodies are more fully developed.

Once Rach gets older Mum will be teaching him other body awareness exercises....more to come!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

New trick: Closing doors and drawers!

Rach has been learning a lot of new tricks.

While previously he was hesitant to try new things and Mum would have to encourage him, he seems over the teenage 'be careful' phase and dives right in!

Mum is loving watching him try new things eagerly and with lots of enthusiasm. And I have to say that he's not as 'wacky' when he's doing tricks and learning like I's actually a lot easier for Mum to help him learn.

And once he learns something he doesn't want to stop, silly pup!

So here is Rach learning how to close drawers and doors!


And oddly enough, Mum had never taught me this trick of closing drawers, so I got to have some fun too! Here I am after one little try before...


Monday, December 01, 2014

Puppies, stairs and joints, oh my!

We have an upstairs to our cabin. It's a large bedroom and an en-suite up there. For the first five or more months I carried Rach up and down the stairs.


Because studies are showing that going up and down the stairs for a new puppy can be damaging to growing joints.

In 2012, Norwegian researcher Randi Krontveit, outlined in a study that 'hip dysplasia (HD) in dogs is affected to a larger degree than previously believed by the environment in which puppies grow up. It is particularly during the period from birth to three months that various environmental factors appear to influence the development of this disease. During the puppy stage, preventive measures can therefore be recommended with a view to giving dogs disposed to the condition a better quality of life.'

And we would assess that other joint related problems could be prevented by not allowing the overuse of developing puppy joints which is why we, as well as other agility handlers and trainers, don't start teaching jumping skills and weave poles until puppies have fully developed, which in some cases may be one year and some 15-18 months depending upon the eventual size of the dog.

Now that Rach is seven months old, it is important that he actually learn about these stairs as we don't want him developing any fears related to them. So Mum did just recently teach him to gently walk up the stairs, but has yet to teach Rach how to go down them as they are a bit on the dangerous side as you can see. She doesn't even like me going down these stairs, even though I've got them down to a doggie science and only do them once per day in the morning when we head downstairs for the day.

Mum purchased some stair carpet runners for when it's time for Rach to learn how to descend the stairs as to help him better navigate them and not slip.

In the meantime, Mum lets Rach ascend them slowly and easily, he's got very long legs at nearly 19 inches tall, but she is still carrying Rach down the stairs every morning.

On occasion, Rach will get ambitious and climb the stairs on his own during the day. It happens about once per day and Mum can hear him whine just a little when he's ready to come down. Then she'll go up and get him and carrying him down.

It's a small price to pay for preventative measures to ensures healthy joints for Rach throughout his life!
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