Thursday, January 31, 2008

Marley and Me comes to the big screen!

The book Marley & Me is coming to the big screen according to UPI:
LOS ANGELES, Aug 20, 2007 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Hollywood actors Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston have signed on to star in the big-screen adaptation of John Grogan's best-selling memoir, "Marley & Me."

The story is about a couple who decide to adopt a yellow Labrador retriever to see how they might do as parents before they start having children.

Although they get more than they bargained for when Marley proves to be an uncontrollable ball of energy, the couple also comes to regard the lovable, fiercely loyal canine as an integral member of their family.

"The Devil Wears Prada" director David Frankel is expected to helm the Fox 2000 film version of the beloved book when production begins next year, Variety.com reported Monday.
Filming is expected to start in the Spring of 2008. Click here to keep up-to-date on the movie's progress!


Marley & Me Illustrated Edition: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog

There's hope for my old Mum!

Mum was reading me an article about the 'growing sport of dog agility' (like I didn't know that, BOL!) on the KING 5 Seattle station website, when she suddenly gasped!

"What's wrong, Mum"? I said. "Get this JoJo," she said. "The article says...
The sport brings in all ages and abilities.

"We have handlers from 8 or 9 years old to over 80 years old," said Doug Ricks, co-owner of Seattle Agility Center.

Beryl Epling knows age has nothing to do with it. She's 81 and her dog Time holds nearly 40 titles. And there's no end in sight for this duo.
"Now that's cool," Mum said. "I want to be running agility when I'm 80!"

Me too, Mum, me too!

Read the entire article and watch the vid here! And read about Sigma who is up against a different kind of obstacle.
"She's totally blind on the right side and she can see a little bit over here," said Carol Hollenbeck, Sigma's owner. "And she's totally deaf. She was born that way."

Hollenbeck uses hand signals to coach the dog through the course.


That is so cool that they can work like that as a team, way to go Sigma and Carol!

AMBOR is back!

AMBOR is proud to announce that the American Mixed Breed Obedience Registration (AMBOR) is back. It is now in the hands of a group of five dedicated people that all have had ties to the mixed breed community for years.

Their leader group consists of Kate Cowles, Ray Czubek, Lissie Kaufman, Debra Lazaro, and Heather Sather.

They hope to bring back the best of what AMBOR used to be and add to
that our vision for what it can represent in the future.

They are keeping the original name and will be known as the
American Mixed Breed Obedience Registration (AMBOR). However, this is
more of a "tip of the hat" to AMBOR's historical origins than to it's
modern day focus. They intend to recognize the accomplishments in all
venues supported by AMBOR members. In addition to obedience this
would include Agility, Tracking, Rally and more. They really want to
hear from you and what events you are doing with your AMBOR dog so they
can better tailor AMBOR to what is important to their members.

They will be publishing a quarterly newsletter hopefully starting with a
Spring issue. If you have ideas for the newsletter please contact them and let them know.

Part of AMBOR's history has been that they have been instrumental in
getting mixed breed dogs eligible to compete in venues like UKC and
the now defunct Gaines Tournaments. In addition to the role AMBOR has
played on behalf of mixed breed dogs in the past they all feel there is
still a need for an organization like AMBOR today. There are still
more doors to open.

The new AMBOR web site can be found here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Recovery!

It's been a couple of weeks since I pulled that nasty muscle in my back (or was it my thigh or groin). Well anyway, I've been working on my recovery and it's taking a bit longer than both Mum and I anticipated.

The day after it happened I got a chiro adjustment, reiki and a bit of massage. Then about four days later I got another chiro adjustment after the swelling and most of the soreness went away. And Mum has been stretching me a lot and massaging me (see our video on our stretching routine).

The good thing is that we are going on some 1-2 mile walks now (weather permitting), and when Mum stretches my back legs I'm extending fully. But I'm still not to 100%. I'm not doing a lot of running, and just a little bit of zoomies, but I can go down the stairs and jump from the our low couch without any pain. So we are progressing. Mum says it's nice that I go and bark at the school buses and mailman again, that I'm doing just a bit of wrestling with my sis, and that I have interest in doing some foundation work and in my toys. She missed it!

In between my workouts, I'm resting on the couch and getting into my 'used' marrow bone.

Our focus now is on building my endurance. And we may try this weekend to do a little low jumping and weaves to see how those are coming along. Our goal is to compete in the next USDAA trial that we are signed up for on February 9 and 10, and to be able to do some good work at our seminar with Silvia Trkman on February 21 and 22.

But for now, I still have a bit of a ways to go. Who knew a little ole pulled muscle would get me down for so long?

Glasses!

I don't know if I told you, but my Mum wears glasses. And she has to get special ones for when she runs me in agility - ones that don't fall off her face if she bends over, is running, or sweating like she does when she runs me. That happened once at practice and it was so funny! Her glasses went flying when she directed me into the tunnel. I fetched them for her, BTW. BOL!

So she's always looking for inexpensive glasses to use as 'spares' she calls them. Just in case something happens to the new ones she got for agility. We found a site the other day that has Zenni Optical $8 Rx Glasses.

The Best Thing Found: Zenni Optical? The amazing price - starting at $8.00 you can get a pair just like in the pic. And the Great Discovery: Zenni Optical? They have a huge selection and the anti scratch, UV protection and lens edge beveling is free (that would come in real handy for Mum's thick lenses, BOL!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Taking great photos of your pets!

Visiting some friends around the Internet we came across a great article that the folks at Good Bloggie posted about and just had to share it. They found a fabulous article from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on taking great pics of your pet! Check this out:

Good photos of pet require a patient hand.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/06/08

Now that you've finally figured out how to use that digital camera, it's time to move on to another challenge — taking photos of the family pet.

They tend to resist posing, they hate flashes, and they don't care whether you get a good shot. But that doesn't mean you should quit trying.

So to help out, we talked to two pet photographers, Atlanta's Jeannie Bartow Hartman and nationally known New York-based photographer Jim Dratfield, who is working on his 10th pet photography book. They've offered a number of tips on how to get a good photo of your pets.

Their ideas should get you snapping away. You'll end up with some great memories, and maybe even a prize to boot.

• Have someone else dangle a toy or treat just above the lens to get the pet's attention. It will look like the pet is looking directly into the camera.

• Get pets off the ground. Put them in an interesting chair, or on something like a table or window sill. That way, it will take them a few seconds longer to decide to jump down and run away, which can give you a chance at a shot.

• Use props. Dratfield has used ceramic pigs, furniture, urns, statues and even a giant topiary of a giraffe. Look for something interesting in your home that your pet can sit on or next to.

• Work where the animal is comfortable. Don't take him to a strange park for the shoot. Work at home, or outside where they know the area.

• Most pets hate flashes, so instead try to use natural light. But too much sun causes harsh shadows and squinting. Overcast days can work well. Or work in a shaded, but still well-lit area. Inside, work in sun rooms, near large windows and in well-lit rooms. Or move lights to where the pet has landed.

• Try a few shots in black and white. It has a great mystique to it, and is often more forgiving than color.

• If you want to tire out a high-energy dog for the shoot, do it early, then give him enough time to recover. Otherwise, all your shots will be of a dog with his tongue hanging out.

• For cats, unless you know they can be trusted, work in an enclosed room, so they can't run too far. Pick a place with a lot of light so you can shoot wherever kitty lands.

• Most dogs have something that will make them focus. Find it. A toy, a word ("walk" "treat"), a noise. But be ready to shoot as soon as you say it. After you've used it a few times, they'll catch on and stop responding.

• If all else fails, have someone the cat likes sit on a couch. Drape a large piece of paisley or some other pretty fabric over them, then put kitty on their lap. With any luck, he'll curl up for a happy snuggle. Now shoot close and you'll never know there was a living backdrop. This also works well with small dogs.

• If the animal hates cameras, get two other people to come in and pretend to shoot them too. Eventually, he'll have to turn in your direction and you can get a shot.

• If people are in the picture, have them wear a color that contrasts with your animal's fur. A black dog leaning against someone in black pants will just disappear.

• Want a cute expression? Make a strange noise. Many dogs will tilt their heads and cats will often appear inquisitive.

• Try shots at different levels. Get on the floor with them, stand on a chair or ladder and shoot down.

• Do close-ups. Don't stand too far away. Get detail. When shooting people with animals, try to keep their faces close.

• Take a lot of pictures. It's much easier now with digital cameras. A few are bound to turn out.

• Be patient. Expect pets to move, run away, refuse to look at you. If you yell or get tense, so will they. Make it fun, relaxed, and you'll get the best shots.

Online logo generator!

We're always looking for great sites that can help us with our business - JohannTheDog.com.

We came across one the other day, that could be really handy for those starting a business, or needing a logo for a business or rescue/shelter organization. Logoyes.com's online Logo Design is really fun, easy and relatively inexpensive - just about $69.00 for a quick and easy logo.

They are a leading provider of do-it-yourself logos and other premium design products for small businesses. And they say they pioneered do-it-yourself logo creation, and received a patent pending for their unique processes.

They have all types of symbols and graphics that you can use to coordinate with any style - business, non-profit, or corporate. Just add the graphic along with your company/non-profit name and you have a new, and unique logo.

We gave it a try out with our RESCUE ME blog and you can see the fun, yet effective design we came up with. It only took about 10 minutes to complete. And we had the option of purchasing business cards. If you purchase a logo and matching business card design, you will receive a coupon for 100 free business cards.

If you're not a designer, or can't afford to have a professional designer put together your logo, it may be worth a try. And you can design before you buy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Contest Rules and Regs!

Entries for the Puppy Bowl I-IV DVD set will be accepted until February 1 at 3:00 PM ET.

CONTEST RULES

1. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older.
2. Entrants must provide an email address when leaving a comment for entry.
3. Winners will be notified by email on or before February 3.
4. Winners will have until February 5 to provide us with a mailing address so we can send the prize. If you win, and don’t provide us with your mailing address by February 5 at 5 PM ET another winner will be chosen.
5. Winners must live in the Continental United States.
6. Winners agree to hold Johann The Dog, Inc., it’s owners, affiliates, subsidiaries, licensees, sponsors, and agents harmless from and against any damages arising from their participation in this contest, and the receipt or use of any prize or prizes.
7. Winners agree to have their first name, city and state mentioned on the blog in a list of winners.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Stretch!!!!!

Mum has always been really good about stretching me out before and after my agility runs and practices, but she is stepping it up a notch after I got my pulled muscle a week or so ago.

Now, as part of my care in healing up from my pulled muscle, stretching and exercises have become a three times a day regime for me. And we will keep it up to keep me healthy and fit.

It's really difficult for Mum to take pictures of us doing our stretching routine, but we got busy and put together a little video of part of our daily stretching routine. We apologize that the vid is such low quality...we had an incredible amount of trouble getting the darn thing to work. But you'll get the idea.



There are some other great resources out there and we'll share them with you at the end of our post. But first...

The importance of stretching

Have you ever watched a pup after they get up from a nap? Nearly 99% of the time, they stretch - they bow down and stretch their front legs and back, then lean forward and stretch each back leg. Dogs are very smart, they know the importance of stretching after resting and before any activity. It's innate!

Stretching is vital to any dog, athlete or just a little active, young or old. It prepares the muscles for work, and working the muscles is a part of everyday life. But stretching is most important for the dog athlete, to prevent injuries and enhance performance. And it can also...
  • Relax the body
  • Promote circulation
  • Help with coordination, allowing freer and easier movement
  • Improve range of motion
  • Enhance the dog's body awareness
  • And improve health
Mum does several exercises with me, most notably:
  • Neck stretches - up and down
  • Front and back leg extensions and tucks
  • Cookie stretches - to each side
  • Toe stretches - pulling and rotating
  • Back stretches - creating a cat hump stretch for the back
All of these are designed to get me 'warmed up' for any activity - agility, herding birds, playing with Gracie, fetching, and more; and help me cool down after strenuous activity.

There are some great resources available for more information on massage and stretching. Here are a few of our favs:

Stretching the Performance Dog DVD

Canine Massage

The Agility Advantage

Building the Canine Athlete DVD


For additional resources visit my Squidoo Lens on Canine Athletes! And here are some good resources we found on the Internet:

Stretching for the Canine Athlete From Warm-Up to Cool Down
Canine Massage and Stretching – Improve your dog’s performance
Stretching

If you have any stretching or conditioning routines that you would like to share, post them! We'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Musical freestyle!

I just think it's amazing the routines that teams come up with for Musical Freestyle now. Here's one we found that we thought is just pawesome!



Musical Freestyle is a wonderful sport - and a great way to have fun with your pup. DogPlay.com has lots of links and additional information on Musical Freestyle - how to get involved, how to compete, how to train and lots more. And here's a great link on the history of the sport.

I think Gracie, my sis, would be an amazing freestyle dancer. But I'm not too sure about my Mum. Mum's creativity would come in very handy in making up routines, but she just may give Gracie a migraine with all the moves and music. Gracie's not too fond of some types of music, but she loves to move and is getting pretty good at leg weaves!

Donate your car or boat for charity!

You've heard about those ads that ask you to donate your car or boat to charity? We've never had a car or boat round to donate, but know that some folks do! We've been asked to post about a couple of sites that are right up your alley if you have the means to donate boat or a car to charity.

Check out these sites. They fund a wide variety of charities including:

Mountain States Horse Rescue
Takes horses that have been abused abandoned and are no longer wanted. Trains and rehabilitates and adopts them into loving caring permanent homes. 68% of their horses go to children with special needs.

Blount Animal Rescue Kennel
A no-kill shelter for animals in Blount County, Locust Fork, Alabama.

And Car Angel is a non-profit company that uses car and other donations to create religious oriented videos for kids and teens. They have given away over 2.4 million videos. All the money raised is used to make the videos! You can visit their YouTube channel here!

If you are a charitable organization, you may want to look at their site for more information on how you can become one of their registered charities.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cani-Cross, running with the dogs!

We found a great article in the London Daily Telegraph (online version) the other day, entitled:

The running dogs of cani-cross

Sophie Pierce writes about a new pet-assisted sport that is setting tails wagging. Here's what she has to say...
It's a beautiful winter's morning on a country estate in Wiltshire and about a hundred tails are wagging frantically. Their owners and accompanying humans are gathering in an atmosphere of fevered anticipation. The dogs, from the smallest Jack Russell to the largest Pyrenean mountain dog, are whining with excitement and the noise rises to a fever pitch as the countdown commences.

They are about to compete in a cani-cross race. Cani-cross - cross country running with dogs - is relatively new in Britain, but is gaining popularity with dog owners keen to keep fit and have fun. The sport has a competition season which runs through the winter months - summer weather can be too hot for the dogs - and races usually take place in forests or country parks.

The distinctive thing about cani-cross is that each runner is attached to his or her dog (it would be chaos if the dogs were all loose). Some use a conventional collar and lead but most fit their dog with a harness which helps the animal to pull from the chest, rather than the neck. The harness is fitted with a bungee cord, which is attached to the runner's waist, giving a hands-free, shock-absorbed run.

Cani-cross has its origins in skijoring, an alpine sport in which competitors ski with a dog pulling in front of them. Participants say the feeling of running with your dog ahead of you is very satisfying.
Read more!

And for more info on cani-cross, check out these links:

Canicross by Mike Callahan
The Bikejoring Blog
RunDawgRun
PointsUnknown - Canicross Hiking Club

And here's a vid of a competitive Canicross event!

Happiness!

Mum and I are optimistic sorts, pretty much happy all the time. Wasn't always that way...in the 90's Mum got really sick and it took a long time for her to be well. Through that time, she says she was very sad. But vowed after she got well, that she would never get that sad again!

Oh, we both have our moments of everyday life that are frustrating like everyone else, but get over them pretty quickly and move on. Life is just too short to hang 'down there' Mum says. And that's just the way we are now. But we have some friends that aren't happy and have trouble. We get sad for them sometimes.

There is a new movement making it's way through the blogosphere that we come across a lot lately. It's called the Sedona Method. The Sedona Method was discovered over fifty years ago by a man named Lester Levenson, who was battling depression and ill health. He developed The Sedona Method, followed it and lived a happy 42 more years. Hale Dwoskin, who was one of Lester’s students carries on Lester’s work all over the world.

Featured teacher from the Oprah loving mega-bestseller "The Secret," Marci Shimoff, writes about why she loves The Sedona Method and urges people to use this release technique to let go of negative thoughts and feelings in her new book, "Happy For No Reason" They have a Free DVD and CD for your to check out.

We thought this all sounded really interesting and wanted to pass it along!


AKC needs your input on the future of mixed breed participation in AKC events!

There are blog posts and emails circulating the Internet that there is a new survey from the AKC requesting input from mixed breed dog owners. We have been unable to find it on the AKC website, but we didn't want to waste too much time looking around.

Here is the link! - note, the link redirects to Zoomerang, a legitimate online survey tool and company.

According to the survey the AKC indicates:
AKC is considering a new program, offered by an AKC affiliate, for mixed breed dog owners. The new program, a club possibly named the "All American Dog Club," would give members access to an interactive website.

The website would include fun features like forums, dog care video downloads, picture contests, multi-media scrapbooks, multi-media games, access to expert advice, and more. Additional benefits would include round-the-clock recovery services to help reunite lost pets with their owners, a free initial veterinary visit, a trial offer of pet health insurance, and the latest information on dog care and training.

Members also would have the opportunity to earn the Canine Good Citizen certificate and AKC titles in Rally, Obedience, and the fast-paced sport of Agility!
With the formation of an "All American Dog Club", it could very well mean that mixed breeds would be competing separately from pure breeds, segregating them in competition in Rally, Obedience, Agility and more.

Thanks Dog-li-ness for the heads up!

Take the survey and voice your opinion!!!!


Moving and real estate?

Mum and I have been thinking we'd like to move. Not just down the street or out into the country, but maybe another state out in the country. And with her able to work virtually anywhere, why not? Maybe somewhere warmer, maybe where we could do more agility throughout the year?

So we've been lazily looking around on the Internet, taking our time and thinking about it. Winter is a terrible time to move (at least here in Indiana), but come Spring it would be a great time. And hopefully the real estate market will ease up a little by then.

There are several homes on our block for sale which wouldn't help us much. But some go fast and some take months to sell. We don't really have any ties around here anymore, with my Grandmum in a home now. So there is nothing holding us back.

We came across the The Real Estate Book, the same book that you see at all the groceries and gas stations. It's a nationally and internationally recognized book of real estate. So we're gonna go and check it out, along with the other Internet resources we've been reviewing. Heck we may even look at atlanta real estate, or South Carolina, maybe even California? If you could go anywhere, why not? Where would you go?

Runway dog!

We saw this in USAToday yesterday...
Southwest Florida International relies on an old-fashioned remedy for runway safety: a smart dog.

Since 2001, a 9-year-old border collie named Radar has been patrolling the runway and chasing away any birds in sight. Birds being sucked into aircraft engines is one of the most persistent safety problems at airports. Border collies scare the birds but don't harm them.

The military was first to use dogs to chase birds from runways. Southwest Florida was the first commercial airport to begin using dogs in 1999, says airport spokeswoman Victoria Moreland.

She says other airports have inquired about it, and some are adopting the program.

She says bird strikes and bird populations have fallen dramatically. Surrounded by lakes and wetlands, the airport draws a variety of species, including sandhill cranes, eagles, wood storks, turkey vultures, egrets, herons and ducks.
Read more!

Now that's a job I would definitely love to do, herding birds is one of my favorite passtimes!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Gettin' ready for Silvia Trkman!

Now that I'm feeling better, Mum is going to start back on my endurance training, slowly of course and with lots and lots of stretching before and after.

I've been doing much better, doing a little running, stretching on my own, and I'm even feeling comfortable going down the stairs without Mum's help, which is a great sign.

The USDAA trial is in three weekends (we need a STD Q for our MAD), and the Silvia Trkman seminar we're attending in Cincinnati is the following week. We really want to be healthy and fit for the two full day seminar (and the trial of course), so that we can learn and participate all we can.

Mum will be having Gracie stay with some Golden friends, and the kitties and house will be cared for by our neighbor. Mum and I are going to stay overnight in Cincinnati, so that we won't get overly tired driving the two hours back and forth. She needs to get on making those Hotel Reservations, pretty soon, so we can get a good rate.

Oops - yesterday was Squirrel Appreciation Day!

Guess I wasn't very appreciative of my furry frenemies, because I missed their big day. Yesterday was Squirrel Appreciation Day, how could I have been so insensitive!

So to make it up to you my little squirrelly dude, here is your very own post, a blogging plethora of all things squirrel:

Fish agility? You bet!

This was posted on our training Yahoo group today. Thanks for the heads up Lisa, we sure appreciate it!

First horses, pigs, sheep, goats - now fish do agility! And wow, check out those nice weaves!




New site with video classifieds!

Mum and I look at classifieds, we're always looking out for a bargain. And recently we've been looking at classifieds for a treadmill for me to help with my endurance training.

We found a site the other day that has, of all things, video classifieds. Listasaurus.com is the first online classifieds site that we've seen and it even pays you to list your ads, with their Pay Per Listing Program.

They have online classifieds and a business directory for all cities throughout the country. And its a great addition, we think, to the online classified sites we see on the Internet. They list everything from announcements, garage sales, free stuff, employment, real estate, rentals, vehicles and much more.

Here's how it works: You sign up, then list your classified (the option to add video may just help you sell a difficult item faster and more effectively, especially if it's a car or real estate). To find items you just browse and buy!

Certain ad categories are eligible for cash rewards, that's when they pay you for listing with them! And you can also make money by referring other folks to Listasaurus.com through their Refer a Friend program.

Once it gets going, it may be something to watch! We'll be watching for that treadmill.

Monday, January 21, 2008

For you flyball fans, here's an achievement!

Julie Anne Ines, a reporter for The Orange County Register barked this in to me today...what a great achievement! Big congrats Roxy!

Fountain Valley dog becomes first in West to hit 100,000 points to receive the Hobbes award for Flyball.
FOUNTAIN VALLEY – It's been said that every dog has its day, and 11-year-old border collie Roxanne had hers at Hidden Valley Park in Irvine.

At about 10:30 Sunday morning, Roxanne, or Roxy as she is known by owners Jane Horsfield and Dan Balza of Fountain Valley, reached the 100,000 points needed to get the Hobbes award for flyball during the O.C. Winter Games.

With that, Roxy has been inducted into the ranks of just 10 dogs who have ever reached the milestone for the sport, in which teams of dogs run a relay race to accumulate points.

It's "the big Kahuna of titles" in Flyball, said Horsfield, who was "sore and stiff, but still floating" the day after Roxy's big day.

At the beginning of competition Sunday, Roxy needed 302 points to get the Hobbes, according to Horsfield. She whittled the number down to 76 during her early morning races.

The first of five heats of the next race saw Roxy score 25 points. She scored 25 more points in the second heat, and five in the third.

After that third heat, Horsfield and members of the Orange Crush Flyball Club, which organized the tournament, knew that the oldest of Horsfield's three border collies would reach the coveted title.

Horsfield said that all racing stopped for a couple of moments, and spectators were called to the rink that Roxy was in for her fourth heat.

And to the tune of Roxanne by The Police, for which she is named, Roxanne became the first dog west of the Mississippi to pass the 100,000-point mark.
Read more!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dog sports title requirements!

Keeping up on the titling requirements for all the dog sports and sanctioning organizations can be pretty maddening sometimes. We found a site the other day that is doing a pretty doggone good job of keeping all of this info straight.

Front and Finish has put together an extensive list...here's what they have to say:
Have you ever wondered what the titles attached to a dog's name mean? By now you probably know N is for Novice, CD is a Companion Dog and if a title is followed by a Ch this dog is a Champion. But maybe you have met a dog whose credentials are Greek to you! We hope the following pages help you sort out the various titles awarded to canines in competition. These pages provide a listing of various registries and titles they offer to competing dogs.

Canine Registeries & Organizations

AAC - Agility Association of Canada
AKC - American Kennel Club
APDT - Association of Pet Dog Trainers
ASCA - Australian Shepherd Club of America
CKC - Canadian Kennel Club
NADAC - North American Dog Agility Council
NAFA - North American Flyball Association
TDAA- Teacup Dogs Agiltiy Association
UKC - United Kennel Club
USDAA - United States Dog Agility Association
WCFO - World Canine Freestyle Organization
Be sure and bookmark this page, keep it handy! And if you get a chance, drop them a note and thank them for compiling all this wonderful info! Nice job Front and Finish!

Oh, BTW, we're sending you a note in the hopes you add CPE!

Gold giver!

We were reading the other day about a troop of bell-ringing dogs that were helping the Salvation Army collect money at a Detroit area Wal-Mart over the holidays. These pups fetched a gold bar wrapped in a $100 bill. And this is the third year in a row that an anonymous donor had dropped a gold bar into the kettle.

One ounce gold bars can fetch about $800 on the market these days. Some say from the time of ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to more modern times, man has had an affinity for gold bullion; and in all ages, man has been fascinated with the beauty and magic of gold, and with its power as an investment.

Guess this anonymous donor was fascinated too! But I think it was the pups that encouraged him to donate - we have powers like that, don't we?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Big, big fans!

Something I forgot to tell everyone about the trial last weekend. I wasn't phased by it, but several pups were!

The trial was held at the training center here in town and it's located in an industrial warehouse, like many clubs are. Right in the middle of the ceiling of the course was a really, really big Industrial Fan! It was moving tons of air from the heater and circulating it throughout the indoor space, keeping it nice and warm inside throughout the building.
I had been there before and wasn't afraid of the fan, but some of the pups were not only kind of scared of it, but were terrified of it. Sure didn't help that the table was located just under the fan for the first run of the day.

Guess that's why it's important to be exposed to lots of different things, you just never know what you'll come up against on the course!

Rolled up newspaper!

I believe it was our friend over at Dog-li-ness who we found this from, they are very, very wise! Credit goes to: Author: from “Dog Talk” by John Ross and Barbara McKinney.
A rolled up newspaper can be an effective training tool when used properly. For instance, use the rolled-up newspaper if your dog chews something or has a housebreaking accident.

Take the rolled-up newspaper and hit yourself over the head as you repeat the phrase, "I FORGOT TO WATCH MY DOG, I FORGOT TO WATCH MY DOG." If your dog laughs at you when you do this, praise him.

Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is just around the corner...are you ready?

Mum's never been a big fan of Valentine's Day, at least until she got me. I'm her Valentine!

So while I've been recuperating, I've been wondering what she's gonna get me this year. Maybe a heart shaped carob cake? Maybe a nice new red ball? I need to give her more valentines gift ideas and hints?

Wanna help me drop some hints for my Mum? Tell me, who your favorite Valentine is and what you'll be getting them for the big day!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

This is one of the great reasons I blog!


We got a letter the other day from Ricky...
Hi Johann,

My name is Ricky and I am an 11-month-old Sheltie. I am my mom's first dog too. My mom and I read your blog every day, and we are so sorry to hear that you got hurt in your agility trial over the weekend and that you mom has the flu! But thank you so much for writing such a fun and informative blog. We are training in obedience and just starting agility. So we learn a lot by reading about your activities. We also watched some of your videos, and I learned how to "find target" and "go mat" from watching you. We live in OH so maybe we will see you at an agility trial some day!

Take care of yourself and your mom and good luck at your vet appointment tomorrow! Hope you feel better soon!

Ricky and his mom
Wow...all I have to say is this is one of the biggest reasons we blog. Thanks Ricky for your great letter, I am honored to have you as a pup pal and we will definitely have to look for one another at an agility trial soon!

I'm back from the doc!

I'm back from seeing the doc. Seems I really just have a badly pulled muscle in the middle of my back and it's taking a little longer to heal than everyone expected initially. I was a bit perkier at the doc's office which was a great sign. I was even offering up all kinds of behaviors to Aunt Bonnie (my vet), for treats. Mum was really happy to see that!

I got a nice Chiro adjustment. Then Mum and Aunt Bonnie talked a lot about how to best help me recouperate. Traumeel, three times a day for several more days; lots of fluids this evening to flush out the toxins from the adjustment; warm/cold/warm compresses on my back; and new stretching exercises.

One of the exercises is really interesting - called the cat stretch. Mum has me stand, then lifts me from my chest, making my spine curve inward some. They did it today and it felt so good I licked Aunt Bonnie face! So I'll get that three or so times a day, along with my other stretching exercises.

Mum always stretches me with cookie stretches, and leg and neck stretches before and after my runs, and she gives me a little rubdown; down my back. But she's always had trouble getting me to stretch my back legs, because I just don't like it. But Aunt Bonnie showed her a new way with me standing and Mum lifting my pelvis a bit, while pushing my legs back and straight. It's gonna work so much better.

Mum needed to practice this new leg stretch routine, so she got to work with Aunt Bonnie's Border Collie pup, Skye! Now she understands why Aunt Bonnie 'gets' me. Skye and I are a lot alike (even though I'm a sheltie)!

They also talked about my endurance program. Before I got hurt we had been doing long distance walks, along with agility. When I'm ready we're gonna try and find a place that is more hilly to add in some resistance. And Mum is still trying to find someone to trade her recumbent bike/elliptical for a treadmill. I'd love to do the hydro-treadmill, but right now it's cost prohibitive.

So they say I'm gonna be fine. And, I will most probably be back to my crazy self by the end of the weekend.

Oh, and Mum is much, much better today! She got a lot of work done, fever is gone, she's not coughing nearly as much, and she's not moaning anymore (BOL!). So we are all on the mend.

Thanks everyone for all your notes, care and concern. Can't tell you how much it means to me. We are still catching up, but hope to get back with all of you real soon!

Oh and if you want to know more about Traumeel, I posted about it on my Raise A Green Dog Blog today. Check it out!

This is something I could use right now!

According to Wired Magazine, Hungarian researchers have written a program that explains the meaning of dogs' barks. If we had this right now, maybe I could tell my Mum what's going on with me and why I don't feel good! That would be so great!

Here's what they are saying...

The software is still a bit buggy, but it's promising enough to suggest that computers could one day translate not only between humans, but between species.

For a study scheduled to be published this week in Animal Cognition, researchers from Eötvös Loránd University developed algorithms to analyze the acoustic features of dog barks. Then they recorded 14 Hungarian sheepdogs barking 6,000 times in a variety of situations -- greeting a stranger, picking a fight and so on.

Their program correctly classified 43 percent of the barks -- not exactly a staggering accuracy rate, but better than most humans achieve by sound alone. (Reassuringly, it was particularly good at tagging 'fight' barks.) It was also able to identify the individual dog behind each bark about half the time -- again not an overwhelming number, but better than people can do with dogs from the same breed.

Wrote the researchers, “The use of advanced machine learning algorithms to classify and analyze animal sounds opens new perspectives for the understanding of animal communication."
Read more...
Read the press release...

In other news, the Dog Wizard, Vladae Roytapel, weighs in on how he compares this year's presidential candidates to the K-9 world. Check out this interesting video!

I'm off back to bed now. Still not feeling well. Mum can't wait to get me to the vet and find out what's going on!!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Going back to the doc tomorrow!

I'm still not feeling too good. Don't want to get up off my bed, don't want to go outside, don't want to play, don't want to run around, not interested in toys. I'm eating well and pooing well, but nothing else is interesting to me. So Mum is taking me back to the doc tomorrow.

I'm not lame, I just walk with my tail between my legs, tentatively and slowly. Mum just can't imagine that a pulled muscle would make me act like this for four days straight.

It's making Mum really sad to see me like this. She wants my manic, crazy self back. Mum is feeling a little better every day. So she thought she'd feel up to taking me to the doc tomorrow. And she doesn't think she's contagious anymore. We're sure the folks at the docs office will appreciate that! She wouldn't wish her flu on anyone.

We'll keep you posted and thanks to everyone for your caring, kind words - we sure do appreciate it. Dog bloggers rock!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Still not feeling so good!

Mum and I still aren't feeling so good. Mum has a 102 fever, but she thinks it's finally starting to break now, since she's sweating up a storm. I still don't want to get off my bed much, but I'm walking around a little more and I'm not yelping when Mum has to pick me up to go upstairs to bed.

So I guess we are both on the mend. Neither one of us like being sick or hurt though. It's been a really long time since my Mum was sick. She hasn't had a cold, flu or anything since she's had me - tell ya the truth, I'm not sure what to make of all that moaning (she's a wimp, you know).

If we have to be sick and hurt like this, it sure would be better to do it in a place on a beach, where it's warm, instead of this 15 degree stuff we woke up to this morning. Makes it all so much worse!

On a fun note, we ordered our DWB calendar the other day and are supposed to get it in a couple of days. Oh, and if you're a member of Dogster, we hope you didn't forget to order and create your custom calendar with Shutterfly before the end of January! We ordered ours the other day and should be getting that one today or tomorrow too!

Monday, January 14, 2008

I got hurt and Mum is sick!

Well, it turned out not to be a very good weekend!

During my runs at the agility trial on Saturday, I didn't do well at all. Wasn't up to my usual speed and I didn't want to take the jumps. Mum wasn't sure what was up with me. But she found out later!

Came home on Saturday, took a nap with Mum, then went outside to potty. When I came back in I coward over into the corner and wouldn't come out. Mum went to see what was going on and I started panting really hard, wouldn't get up and my heart was racing. So off we went to the emergency room - 'cause Mum had no clue what was wrong with me and hadn't seem me act in that much pain in a really long time.

When I got there I perked up a bit (Mum thought from the adrenelin) and after a little talk with the vet tech, and a quick checkup they thought I had a pulled muscle. So Mum took me home and thought she would go to our chiro vet the next day at the trial. But still Mum wasn't completely certain what was wrong with me. And I shook and panted most of the night. Neither Mum or I really got any good sleep.

Then Sunday AM we headed to the trail, because our vet was going to be there. When I got there I was trembling a lot, my ears were so far back it didn't look like I had any! She looked me over right away and thought that I had a really bad pulled muscle in my hip area. So she thought I should see our massage/reiki person first. So we waited for her to run her dog and then she looked at me right away.

She worked on me for a while, gave me some Traumeel and I started to feel a little better. When my muscles were a little more relaxed, then my vet gave me a chiro adjustment and I felt even a little better.

So then we headed home to rest up. I still didn't feel very well and I really didn't want to go out in the cold to potty, but I did. Mum put my coat on me, so that I would stay as warm as possible and keep my muscle warm.

I slept a lot, all afternoon, in between gnawing on my bone. Then I slept all night. Woke up this morning and I'm still wanting to sleep and dose off over and over, and I still hurt.

My vet says I should be wanting to be back to normal in a couple of more days. But it's no jumping for at least a week. But they say I'll most probably be OK for my next trial and the Silvia Trkman seminar in mid to late February!

Then on top of that Mum got really run down and now she has the flu. So Gracie is bored silly, and Mum and I are taking lots of naps. But we gotta get well!!!!!

Back to bed for us!

Video social networking meets TV!

There's a new website getting some buzz today called YawpBox. YawpBox is a place to share your life experiences with others in the world, and keep a record of those experiences.

With YawpBox you can upload photos, videos, audio files, and create a journal about your life. Then you search and find other people who have had similar experiences and share with them what you have done. You can make friends and participate in social networking through the site. Sharing your life through videos has become a very popular things nowadays, and it was just about time that it would migrate to the living little screen.

Other Yawpers (as users are called on the site) can vote on your experiences. And to go even further YawpBox TV will take their user submitted content and showcase it on a television show in March 2008. If you and your experience make the grate you can be on TV!

Right now they have a Lex & Terry challenge going on that will be featured on YawpBoxTV - a 30 minute weekly "magazine style" show, filmed in Dallas. It will be the first television show with content completely generated by users of a social networking site.

When the show airs, Lex and Terry will show and discuss some of the most popular uploaded vidoes from YawpBox.com. Should be interesting!


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Off to agility!

We are off to an agility trial this weekend! Yeah!!!! 'Bout time!

Wish us luck!

Woofs, Johann

Friday, January 11, 2008

Free woof and meow ringtones from the ASPCA!

Did you know that the ASPCA website has free Woof and Meow ringtones? How fun is that for a dog and kittie lover!

If you are a Cingular/AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile customer, you are good to go!

Click here to sign up now to receive your free "meow" ringtone, "woof" ringtone, or ASPCA wallpaper!

In honor of the doo!

Oh, my poo is just fine - thanks for asking!!! For a little fun this fine Friday, I thought I'd share a video from my Squidoo Lens dedicated to the the big doo - The Scoop on Doo, a diddy about all things doodie!

Enjoy!

One more reason why dog parks just aren't a good idea!

Most of those that know me, know that I'm am not a fan of dog parks. Unless of course I am the only dog in the dog park!

I'm probably not gonna be very pupular writing this article. We are not here to judge or to preach, just to share information about our experiences and those of others that we read, know and discover. Maybe this information will help other pups and keep them from suffering the same fate (or even worse) than I.

We hear stories nearly everyday of dogs getting severely injured, attacked, and even dying from encounters or accidents occurring in dog parks all across the country. I was once one of those statistics.

Back in November 2005, when I was just about 16 months old, I was severely attacked at the dog park. I had been going there all summer, about 8 months at least 2-3 times a week and always had a blast. Never a problem, never a consequence. Then on November 6th, 2005, a beautiful fall, sunny day, we decided to go to the dog park for some fun and exercise.

That's the day that it all went horribly wrong. Mum let me in the park and I was greeted by a couple of pups, we made our way back to where all the humans and other pups were. Just then all the pups descended upon me, at first it looked just like play. But one of the pups bit me, and that's when all the pups ganged up. They bit me and they bit me hard. The human owners were much too far away to do anything. Mum took action and kicked the dogs off me and scooped me up and had to continue to kick the other dogs off her as they were trying to get to me.

She rushed me to the car, ripped off her sweatshirt and patted me down to look for injuries (I'm a black dog and injuries don't show up very well). She didn't find any blood, but there was an incredibly awful smell coming from me - a smell like the worst doggie breath imaginable. That's when Mum found a damp spot on me, looked more closely and found that I had a chunk taken out of my backside, right between my hips.

She sped to the emergency room and we spent 6 or so hours there as they looked me over, performed surgery and got me all stitched up. You see, when a dog bites, all the skin surrounding the place where they bite is pulled away from your body, creating a massive injury. So they had to stitch me up from hip to hip in a criss-cross fashion.

The next few days were touch and go. All the dogs biting on me had bruised my bladder and we had to rush back to the vet several times. Over the course of a couple of weeks, as I was mending, Mum found numerous places where dogs had punctured my skin, and the amount of bruising all over my body was just unbelievable.

But I was very lucky, each dog bite had miraculously missed every important artery and organ. All I needed to do then was heal from my surgery.

I have to say I'm a pretty resilient. Six weeks later with a still shaved, but fuzzy and scarred backside, I was well enough to compete in my first agility trial - a USDAA trial where I came away with 4 Q's out of 7 runs, with three 1st places and 1 second place. It was a good end to a tragic story, but it could have been so much different.

Mum and I learned the hard way the dangers of dog parks. I will never set paw in one again, guaranteed! Being my Mum's first dog, she didn't understand and I don't blame her - she's learned, I learned and we are always learning.

One thing that amazed us is when we talked with the docs at the emergency room, they told us that 80-90% of the injuries they see day in and day out either occurred at dog parks or at doggie day camps. That figure, we both have to admit, was very surprising. Maybe we hadn't been around the doggie world long enough and hadn't heard the stories, but until that time we had never heard of pups getting injured at either of these locales.

After the attack, I was pretty skittish around other pups, but came out of it fine in a few months or so. And Mum paid particular attention to re-socialize me with other pups in a more organized and controlled fashion. Luckily it didn't scar me for life.

Everyone talks about how great dog parks are; your dog gets great exercise, dogs like to play together, dogs love it, and humans don't have to get tired exercising us.

We know that many of our friends visit dog parks and do wonderfully, just like we did for the first 8 or so months. Perhaps they have friendlier dogs at their parks, perhaps the dogs' owners are more attentive, or perhaps their time hasn't come yet.

Now that we've been around the block, so to speak, we've heard way too many stories about injuries and deaths occurring at dog parks. And we've learned you really just don't know the dogs in the park, even if you think you do. You don't know if those dogs in the park are nice dogs, or a bad dogs, or if they are dogs that could have just been adopted, where their history isn't known. And you don't know how much control the humans will have over their dogs, or if they will be paying attention at all.

Dog communication is very complicated to humans. Many, many humans really can't read or understand what we're saying to each other. An innocent looking group play can turn into a gang up situation and dangerously escalate in a matter of seconds, even if you are carefully watching your dog and how the other dogs are behaving, like my Mom was. You can't expect any human to be able to read 10 dogs in a matter of seconds, and then try to break up something before it gets out of hand in a split second. It's impossible.

There is a lot of information found on the Internet about how great dog parks are for you and your pup. We read about it all the time. But what we don't hear much about are the dangers.

For more information about dog parks, check out these links about the dangers of dog parks and suggestions for pup owners if you decide to venture:

Dog Parks: Why they are a bad idea!
Dog Park Violence On The Rise
Dog collision kills pet at Sequim off-leash park
Pet death shows dog park dangers
Board Weighs Changes At Park After Dog Is Killed

Whole Dog Journal's Dog Park Etiquette

Decoding the mutt!

Our good friend Penny found this book recently and we wanted to share it too!

It's a fairly new book called The Mutt Book. Here's the synopsis:
Curious about the family tree behind your adorable mutt? You'll never know for sure, but you can at least make an educated guess about some of the breeds that went into his make-up. The Mutt Book will help you understand how you can look at your own dog and figure out what may be in the branches of his unique pedigree. Inside The Mutt Book you'll find:
  • A worldwide ancestry explaining which types of dogs come from which regions.
  • Descriptions of the most common kinds of heads, ears, tails, paws, legs, bodies, coats, colors, and patterns you're likely to find on dogs.
  • Which breeds display each physical trait.
  • Sixty mutts whose characteristics have been analyzed to give you the most likely breeds in their make-up.
  • Four designer dogs whose ancestors and pedigrees are known. Are they mutts, or are they new breeds?
  • A comprehensive list of resources for breed information, adopting a dog, training, and more.
May be worth checking out. I know from Mum's experience with me and Gracie that knowing more about the breed for which your pup is made can really help with training and having more fun with your pup!

ASPCA will hold online live animal assisted therapy chat today!

ASPCA ONLINE COMMUNITY EVENT: LIVE ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY CHAT

Greer GriffithHow do I know if my pet qualifies to be a therapy animal?

How do I get my pet started in animal assisted therapy?

Where are therapy animals needed?

Think a cuddle from your dog could light up an elderly person’s face? Maybe your cat’s company will help a child concentrate better on his reading. Whether you’re interested in getting your pet started with animal assisted therapy, or would just like to learn more about it, now is your chance to talk to the ASPCA’s Manager of Animal Assisted Therapy, Greer Griffith. She will be joining the ASPCA for a live chat Friday, January 11—that’s today—from noon to 2:00 P.M. EST. You’ll need to log into the ASPCA Online Community to participate.

P.S. Read up on the ASPCA’s affiliation with the Delta Society, a national organization that aims to improve human health through the assistance of service and therapy animals, and to get information on the ASPCA’s animal assisted therapy classes for you and your dog.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Agility bloopers!

Our friends over at dog-li-ness brought this to our attention with their post. Check out the bloopers from the 2007 FCI Worlds in Norway. Guess it can happen to anyone!

DVR Alert! This weekend has gone to the dogs!

There are quite a few great dog related programs on TV this weekend. You may want to set your DVR's.

Since there is so much to keep track of, we've added the TV programs to my Google Calendar, so be sure and check it out on the right sidebar of my blog!
  • Friday night is another episode of DogTown
  • The Wolf Within and Avalanche Dogs is on Animal Planet on Saturday
  • National Geographic will replay the episode of Be The Creature featuring the African Wild Dog
  • And your local PBS station will be re-broadcasting Dogs That Changed the World, an amazing documentary telling the epic story of the wolf's evolution, how "man's best friend" changed human society and how we in turn have radically transformed dogs.
You can also visit my calendar here, and add my items to your own Google Calendar!

Where we've been!

We've been pretty busy around here! Working away, playing and working on my endurance. Since the weather around here has been a lot warmer than the norm, we've gotten in some good miles of walking, as part of my new endurance training program. I'm doing great, but I think Mum may be suffering the effects of too much exercise!

First we start out in the front yard and have to check for any pee mails, of course...

Then is off we go, with Gracie going at a pretty good clip...

Then it's a quick check at the corner for more pee mails...

They we are both off for a good three miler...

Then it's a quick stop at the pond to check out the amazing duck poo...can't wade today, it's still a little frozen...Then we are off again for the last mile...

Then it's home to play with our new favorite toys we got from Christmas...

It's been great getting all this exercise. We even got in some agility training in the backyard yesterday. Mum was totally blown over by Gracie's weaves yesterday. They were practically the best weaves she has ever seen - fast, accurate, nose barreling through, striding and pulling herself leg by leg - she gushed over Gracie for that wonderful feat!!! Too bad no one ever gets to see Gracie's good agility stuff; well someday, we hope!

Mum and I did a little distance work - we're at about 25 feet lateral on the weaves now, which is great! Gotta get that gamble practice in when we can. We also did work on my teeter to get it a little faster; and weave speed, as well. So guess we are now pretty much ready for this weekend agility trial. Mum has to trim the nails a bit and she's vowed to give me a much needed bath. Just hope Mum can remember how to walk courses it's been so long - nearly 7 weeks since we had a trial.

And she has to rest up from all the exercise I put her through this week.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Mission: Find Beau!

Supreme Commander Stormy has called all Dogs with Blogs to action. Our mission? To bring Beau back home.

Only July 1, 2003 Beau was stolen from his home in Guanaba, Queensland Australia. His family has been searching for him for years. It is now time to get Beau back to his family.

My orders from Supreme Commander Stormy:
"Your orders for this mission are to do whatever it takes to locate Beau, and return him to his family!"
My first assignment is to post and get the word out about Beau. Here is his picture. If you have any information about Beau, please come forward and contact his family or visit this page for more information! This is Beau's picture and video, spread it around, send it to those you know. Beau could be anywhere - we need to leave no stone unturned.




My second assignment is recruitment. It is my request that anyone reading this blog, please help spread the word about Beau, by getting your own mission kit and joining in the effort. Post on your blog, print up flyers and spread them throughout your town, email on forums and message boards, do what you can for Beau.

Operation Bring Beau Home