Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Do you need a hug today?


Happy to oblige!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week three with Rach!

We're getting way behind on keeping you up to date on Rach! But we're trying to catch up.

So, the third week with Rach, he got lots more freedom out of hi pen., as he's really learned our routine now and knows the down/work times for Mum, and when it's time to play and eat.

His stay is really strong now too, and Mum can feed Wiggy just a few feet away and Rach will stay and respect Wiggy's space.

Now that his stay is getting stronger, Mum is working with him and and his stay when she gets a little 'out of sight,' and with movement. He's doing really, really well. And now that that is accomplished they are working on comes without movement, which is going well.

Rach is also learning a lot about leave it, as that's so important here on our mountain with snakes and scorpions and toxic toads....well you get the idea. He's getting there, but has much more to learn. Mum wants him to come to her when she says leave it....that's the ultimate goal.

He is really loving the tunnel. The second time Mum took it out in the yard, he offered it up immediately; remembering it from a week before. So Mum decided to place some ground jumps before and after and before the 10 minutes of play was over, he was taking ground jumps and the tunnel from about three feet laterally. What a good boy!

Mum and Rach have started learning 2on2off. As Rach will be larger, Mum's goal is to teach him a solid 2on2off with a super quick release. He's just mastered keeping all his feet on the board and looking for the treat. So they have a good start on contact training.

As Rach's stay wasn't all that good, and now that it is, she tried getting a threesome photo of us. Here are the results. He still doesn't feel completely comfortable sitting super close, but he's getting there. Some folks say in the out take below, he is giving them the stink eye. But he's actually making sure they are OK with him sitting that close. how curtious!



Rach is running zoomies at least once a day, and sometimes twice a day, with YoYo around the cabin, keeping them both in great shape.

He's loving his raw chicken necks and parts of backs, but they are sliding down way too quickly. So Mum is getting some larger necks for him to enjoy. And his moose antlers have become the best chewing babysitter ever!

Rach ended up 15" and 14.5 lbs at the end of his third week with us.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Loosing puppy teeth!

Over the past month or so, we've seen Rach loose some teeth, mostly just the front little ones.

We saw that they were missing the day he had a checkup not too long ago, and two days later, BOOM. we saw the replacement teeth. Wow, that's fast!

Yesterday, Mum was outside with Rach playing tug and chase with an old fleece tug of mine. Rach didn't want to tug much. So they switched to playing fetch.

Mum threw out the toy, said, 'get it!,' then 'bring it!,' and Rach did all those things. Then he gets treats for releasing the toy, and what did Mum find when she got the toy back? Blood on the toy, oh wow....got to be a puppy tooth mishap.

Here's a shot of the tooth all whopperjawed. With things like this you need to let nature takes it's course. So Mum kept an eye on it, gave Rach a cold wet wash cloth to chew on, and secretly hoped that he wouldn't swallow it (she wanted his tooth for posterity). And what do you know?....



We found it this morning after giving Rach the wet, cool washcloth again.


We can already see the replacement tooth and it's coming in very nicely! And the best part is Rach feels better...and Mum got one of his toofers, yeah! She put it in a baggie and labeled it, adding it to Rach's memory box.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Best Bully Sticks' Moose Antlers Rock!

The nice folks at Best Bully Sticks heard about us adopting Rach, and being the super great friends they have been of ours over the years, they were eager to send us something for free for all of us to enjoy in celebration.

We asked for Moose Antlers. Why? Because Rach, being a puppy, has a chewing problem. Specifically chewing appropriate things, or should I say inappropriate things.

Mum knew that the Moose Antlers would be our savior, our puppy chew 'sitter,' our saving Gracie (not to be confused with my sis, Gracie, although she's saved us a few times!)

So we got them the other day and they asked us to blog about them and tell you all how we liked them.

Well, I think the first photo of me with the package says it all....'can you please hurry up with the photos and open the doggone package?'

Finally, Mum opened 'em and I got my toofers on those pawsome antlers. We like Moose Antlers (specifically the slices) because they have a more shallow outer coating and you can get to the good part - the marrow - much more quickly.

They are super great at cleaning that tarter off a 10-year-old's back toofers. They are naturally shed and gathered so no animal was harmed in the process of my enjoyment. They contain no preservatives, no chemicals and no artificial anything, They don't splinter at all, are very safe, and they have some great health benefits too, like calcium for Rach's growing bones, and my old ones. (Hey. who wrote that? I'm not old!).


Oh and yes, these are for helping Rach with his chewing 'problem.' Hey he didn't do too bad for his first product photo shoot! Look at him chew. He loves them instantly...


Chewing angles are so important when you are a serious chewer.


And making faces while you chew gets you extra points for technique and degree of difficulty.


We want to thank our friends at Best Bully Sticks for sending us these awesome Moose Antlers. The only downside is they never last long enough (even though they last for days and days, it's never long enough, is it?)

Visit Best Bully Sticks and pick up your next chew, or treat, or toy! They have lots of them in all shapes and sizes. And don't forget to find them on Facebook too....we've seen that they post discounts now and then.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Week two with Rach!

The second week we saw a big mental growth spurt with Rach. The second week he was 12 weeks old.

He learned a lot about taking cues from YoYo and Gracie, when to play and when not to play. When it was play time lots of zooming and wrestling was going on. Three was still a bit of a crowd, but he handled both of them very well.

One on one is a favorite zooming around the cabin. He can't keep up with me (YoYo) yet, and squeals and grunts when he can't catch me.

During training sessions Rach started offering up lots of behaviors, Mum was able to capture a lot that first week, including wave.

He started really understanding what the clicker means and is learned to go bed, load up (in his crate) from a distance and even go mat at a distance. He offered up an immediate down, so Mum captured that, as it will be super great for the table when it's time to teach that for agility.

Potty training is very successful and he now makes sure to stop and pee and poo when Mum calls him in. He's great with the come when called, we're just going to continue to work on that with distractions, like deer, good smells and more.

Rach joined me and Gracie at agility practice on the Sunday of his second week and got to meet lots of other people and a few dogs. He seemed pretty overwhelmed at first, but once he hung out a bit, he became very comfortable. After YoYo and Gracie had their practice, we took a nice little mini hike.


This is the first time that Mum tried managing three on leashes during a hike and guess what?! She handled it like a pro.

The second week, Mum showed Rach the mini tunnel we have and he was a bit apprehensive at first, but Mum made it fun and before long he was offering up the tunnel.


At 12 weeks Rach was 14" and gained 1.5 lbs. Mum says he reminds her of me at that age. A complete sponge.  Hope she can keep up with him!


Sunday, September 07, 2014

Black and White Sunday: I'm an author!


This is a promotional photo for our new book, Raise A Green Dog! Mum thinks I look very distinguished, just like an author should, BOL!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Our first week with Rach!

As it always is when you bring a new puppy home, Mum didn't get a lot done that first week that Rach was with us.

The funnest thing that happened is that Mum found out that Rach tilts his head when she whistles, see the photo? Too cute for words!

I'm not the easiest pup to get along with (probably stems from two factors: the fact that I love Mum the best, and that I was attacked at the dog park when I was young). But Mum has worked with me a lot to help me understand being with other pups and with Rach here, being the 'never stop moving' pup that he is, she's helping me even more.

The first week, Rach was just learning how to be with us...our routine, how we play, how we eat, what's right and what's not so right. And it took a few days before he started to pay attention to Mum's cues, my cues and Gracie's cues about what was right and not right.

The first week, there was a lot of appropriate 'telling' going on, and it was just a few days that Rach caught on to what that 'telling' meant. Mum lets us all work it out and thankfully none of the 'telling' was aggressive, just appropriate re-direction going on.

Three playing at once sometimes became a crowd, so Mum directed us to play with Rach more one on one for a while, which helped a lot. I tend to be the sheltie police and she didn't want that policing to get weird.

The first week Mum just wanted Rach to understand that she is the most fun of anything in the world! They played, Mum let Rach chew on her, they rolled around on the floor and ran around the yard.

Also that first week Rach learned to sit, load up in his crate, how to walk on a leash and learned the potty spots and routine. All of this learning was with a clicker (which we love to help us learn). This is the second thing Mum wanted Rach to learn, that learn is super fun!

The main goal for the first week was just to learn how he best can learn. He caught onto the clicker very quickly, which was great. Mum realized during his learning that he really, really wanted to be right. So Mum encouraged and still encourages him to try new things and not get 'hung up' on being right all the time. She learned that from me and Gracie :).

Mum even gave Rach one of the super easy Nina Ottosson toys and it was an interesting thing to watch. When Rach didn't know what to do with it, he went into his crate and just looked at Mum. So Mum started using her 'cheerful interupter' ('You're doing great! Try again!) to help encourage him further. It worked just as well with Rach as it does with Gracie, and he tried again and again!

Rach was exposed the first week to the wobble board and had no fear, and he loves to tug. So Mum got out all the tug toys for him.

One thing that Rach came with that we are still working on is barking when he wants something, specifically his dinner, and sometimes when he wants to play. He'll bark, and bark, and bark, and sometimes right in my face when he wants to play. Mum is letting Gracie and I deal with the play. And she's working with him on the demand barking for food, which really only happens when he's in his play pen and she's getting dinner ready.

Mum had to give him a cold wash cloth a lot during the first week, as he was in a bad teething phase, but that's better now. Mum forgot just how sharp those puppy teeth can be!

And we learned that Rach loves Wiggy's toys! See it's Wiggy's Play Ball!

video

The first week Rach gained one lb and 1.5 inches, which makes him 13 lbs and 11" tall.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Off-roading and hiking at Tray Mountain!

Friday, June 6th, before Rach was twinkling in Mum's eye, we were off on another hiking adventure. Only this time, it also turned into an off road adventure too!

We headed out early and met up with our pals Rocco and his Mom, loaded into the Rover and followed the GPS to our destination; up Tray Mountain Road to the parking area where we were to pick up the trail up to the top of Tray Mountain.

We had heard there are some great views up there, and instead of hiking the difficult Blood Mountain trail to see amazing views, here you could drive up most of the way and hike another mile up 500' elevation to the top.

Blood Mountain is pretty challenging and we really didn't want to tackle something like that again so soon, but we do love a good view!

So off we went.

We started out heading up Chimney Mountain Road off 356, the road was nice and getting deep into the forest. We drove over a small stream and enjoyed this part of the drive very much.

Then a little further on that road it turned into Forestry Road (FR) 79 (aka Tray Mountain Road on the other side) which we didn't know at the time was a very challenging road and a big destination for off-roaders.

We had the Rover, so we felt pretty comfortable tackling a difficult road. But what we didn't know was just how difficult it was going to become! It was tough, and very stressful at the time. Now, looking back, we are feeling very 'puffy chested' that we tackled a very difficult off road experience and made it through with just a few little war wounds on the Rover.

Rocco's Mom and my Mum were real troopers throughout the challenge. Mum had never driven that type of road before except for taking the off road course offered by the Land Rover dealer (which she passed with flying colors, I may add). Needless to say she faced some of her toughest driving challenges of her life. And Rocco's Mom was the best, and I mean best, cheerleader of the day! Mum is not sure she could have made it through that challenge without Rocco's Mom, and really isn't sure that she would have been as good a passenger as she was (Mum likes to be in control, BOL!)

It took us about three hours to make it up the five mile road, facing cavernous rocks and ruts formed by the road run off. Rocco's Mom got out and spotted the car a few times and even said she saw one of the Rover's front wheels come three or so feet off the ground at one point! OMD!

But knowing Mum, and knowing Rocco's Mom, they wouldn't have put us in danger at any time. All three of us, Rocco, me and Gracie took the whole challenge like it was nothing. We got out a few times to stop to stretch our legs, get a little drink and water some green.

The entire drive was challenging, but looking back it was kind of an unexpected interesting, growth experience!

When the Mom and Mum had just about reached their limit, three older guys on motorcycles came down the road and told us that we had only about 150 feet left of rough terrain. That gave Mum and Rocco's Mom all the incentive they needed to finish out the road and get us all to the top. Funny how when you know more about what's on the road ahead you can deal much more easily!

And the Mum and Mom found out that there was another, much easier way down (which they kind of knew about, but weren't positive). Another incentive, let's get going! The three gentlemen watched as we navigated the last 150 feet, then we went back and visited for a while. They told Mum they couldn't have driven that last 150 feet any better themselves, how nice!!!

Both Moms were so busy navigating and driving that they didn't have a stitch of time to take photos or videos. But Mum found this vid on YouTube the other day of other folks navigating the road.


Yep, that's just about what the five miles was like! Wow, so proud of the Mum and Mom!!!

We finally reached the top and parked in the parking area, got out and what do you know, we hear thunder. Well, one place you don't want to be is on the top of one of the highest mountains in GA when a big storm is rolling through. So Mum checked her cell and she had a signal, pulled up Weather.com and saw that the storm cell was just south and heading southeast. If we waited just a few minutes it would all be past us and clear sailing, errrr, I mean hiking!

So off we went!

Here's the entrance to the trail. We met a lot of hikers that day, some taking 50 mile trips to get their Boy Scout badge with their dads, and some that we think were possible thru hikers. They were all nice and we didn't know it then, but we would spend a little time with them at the top.


The trail was steep, but not anything like Blood Mountain. It was an entire one mile of uphill climb, but very doable, especially with Gracie and I pulling along! Let's go, Mum!


We stopped a few times for the Mum to catch her breath, while Gracie took in the scenery.


We saw some amazing natural sculptures, like this tree, very cool!


And we met one of the largest Millipedes I had every seen, I think this one was just about 3-4 inches long.


Up near the top the Rhododendrons were still blooming. Very pretty.


When we reached the top, we met up with the nice hikers. I took a nice little break next to one of their packs.


Then Gracie and I posed a little on top of the big rocks. This was a tight little area, but the views were amazing, just as promised.


See! There I am at the top!


And there's the amazing view from one direction.


And vids from both directions...

video  video

Once we enjoyed the top and socialized with the hikers, it was time to head down the mountain. It was a fun hike down, who doesn't like to scurry down a mountain? We reached the car and headed down the easier road toward town.

On the road we passed a very cool little waterfall and drove across the stream of it.


We stopped when we saw this on the road, bear scat, cool!


And we stopped to enjoy the Hydrangea Arborescens, or some call Wild Hydrangeas. Not blooming yet, but almost!


Once in town we headed toward the nearest place for the Mum and Mom to eat, they were hungry.

The closest town, Helen, is a little Bavarian Tourist Town, filled with unique architecture. You can visit all the shops (we got some fudge for the Mum and Mom), and we were intrigued by the horses pulling the carriages.

Photo courtesy of 10Best.com
While they waited for their food, we got to eat ours and watch some of the tubers enjoy their trip down the Chattahoochee which flows through the town.

Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.com 
Gracie liked to bark at the ones close to the bank. There she is watching for the next one!


So all in all it was a very interesting day! And we're already planning our next adventure!
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