Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Long Distance Recall!

Hey! Have any of you guys been working with the Susan Garrett Recall stuff? We didn't sign up for the full course, but we signed up for the free videos (I think there's a time limit on them until March 29th, today). Interesting info...

So here is one of my recalls from the pasture...we've been doing them pretty much every day for the last month from a sit stay (which is way different than recalling on the run). I do these very reliablly, only once in months have I broken my stay. And even doing that and veering up the ridge, I changed my mind and came back to Mum in mid run. I'm sure not going to need to click here with this great exercise, BOL! It's keeping me really slim and much more flexible in my back and tummy muscles.

So Mum's been working with me just a little differently after watching SG's stuff. (she's taken lots of notes from the videos and wants to work on it more when we have more time). She's been running with my recall, playing with me even more when I reach her, and rewarding with the food a little later. And guess what? Mum pulled me off going after a squirrel the other day! Can you believe that? She couldn't....

But I'm fairly easy when it comes to this stuff...Gracie, my sis, on the other hand has a lot of recall 'issues' as we say! So we are excited to take those notes Mum made and start working on them...

Mum has tried a ton of things to help Gracie with her 'run off' issues, in the pasture, on the agility course. Funny thing...when we started making a list of Gracie's reinforcers or 'cookies,' (as SG suggests) the first things on her list were other dogs, deer, and squirrels. Those are pretty big hurdles to get over, especially when there's just Mum, and no one to help with the restrained recall, (even though SG outlines one thing you can do if you don't have anyone to help, but only at a very short distance). The third video SG had didn't really give any ideas on what to do with major distractions, guess you have to buy SG's full program.

Mum transfered the restrained part with me with my good sit stay, I guess. That started way, way back at one year old when we started doing some of these long distance recalls, long before we saw the SG stuff. Worked with me...not sure it would work with Gracie, but we could try it with short distances at first...hmmmm...it's either that or we may have to wait till we can enlist someone to help us, which could be a long time!

So are you guys trying this SG stuff too? Do you have a good recall? What have you been doing with major distractions and has it worked? Curious...

The art of rolling in yucky stuff!

Gracie would like to show off the art of rolling in yucky stuff!

First you get a good smell, something dead, or maybe even someone else's poo, OMD! Stick your nose way in.....

Then you dive in head first...

Then you start rolling like mad!!!!

Back and forth, back and forth...

Until you get that yucky stuff smell all over you, head to tail!!! (And hope it's something that didn't partake in any hgh to make the smell even that more powerful, BOL!)

Then it's time for Mum to take a wiff of what you've been doing and immediately run for a wash cloth, some doggie shampoo, and start scrubbing away. And of course if you really get into it and it's super smelly and all over you, then Mum will put you in the tub for a good bath, noooooooooo!!!!!!

So, how do you roll in the yucky stuff? Inquiring minds want to know?

Those birds dog me so!

Ok, I have to say that those birds still dog me so!!!!

They circle, flying slowly, way up in the air over my head, just makes me crazy!

Those birds are definitely going to need a personal injury lawyers Tucson if and when I get a hold of them! Come closer big bird, come closer!!!

So do any of you have something like birds that dog you? Cars (oh, I know someone that has that little problem :), cats, deer, squirrels maybe? Let me know!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vibram FiveFingers KSO Trek Review!

Mum is so excited!

The super nice folks at Appalachian Outdoors, an online and brick & mortar store in State College, Pennsylvania, contacted us recently and wanted to know if we wanted to try out some of their products.

Mum went into action, checked out their site, and asked if we could try out some of the new Vibram FiveFingers shoes since she's been wanting a pair for a while now. They sent us a pair for free to try out and review!

So over the past couple of weeks Mum has been testing them out in various situations from running errands, to hiking with us, to a little trail and pasture running. And yesterday, she got to try them running both me and Gracie in agility! You can see her running in the blog post vids from practice yesterday.

She is loving them! Yes, it's true she's a FiveFingers convert now, just like several other agility and hiking friends we have.

At first Mum was wondering how she would feel about having individual slots for her toes, very surprisingly she says it feels great! Mum got the Vibram FiveFingers KSO Treks because they have a more solid suede upper and a nubby sole that would hold up and feel better in the different conditions that she encounters. She's really glad she picked this sturdier style.

One of the biggest questions folks ask is...don't the rocks, twigs, and debrise on the ground hurt her feet? Mum says that since the sole is so tough, she can feel the rocks and things, but it never has hurt her feet. She says she likes to feel what's beneath her feet and it kind of feels like a little massage, or like foot reflexology if you've ever heard of that. (She had a foot reflexologist work on her feet once, felt oooo so good!)

Here's a quick vid of one of our hikes with Mum wearing the FiveFingers:

Mum says that it's really important to get a good fit with the FiveFingers. We didn't get the right size the first time we received these, but it was super inexpensive to ship them back ($4.95 with our USPS click & ship) and get the right size.

She had a difficult time getting on the ones that didn't fit, but when she got the right size, they slipped on just like gloves! Oh and if your second toe is longer than your first, you need to adjust the sizing for that as well.

Also, she says that she has weird ankles, sprained each of them at least two times in her life. She was very happy because she is turning her ankles a lot less with these because there's just less shoe to twist (if that makes sense). She also says that she is slipping on the trail less because of the grip on the bottom soles. But they are giving her more of a workout, that's for sure, you really need to break yourself into these.

We are so grateful to the folks at Appalachian Outdoors for providing us the shoes free of charge to try and test. You must stop by their store, they have a great selection of active gear for humans....everything from brands like North Face, Bogs, Columbia, Keen, Ice Trekkers, Patagonia, Smart Wool, Teva, Marmot, Merrell, and lots more. They even have a great selection of new styles of Life is Good! Mum wants one of these that says...Mountain Dog, :)!

Great agility practice yesterday!

I am YoYo hear me roar!!!!

Lucky us, we got to go to an agility match yesterday just south of Chattanooga! And I had a howling good time!

We got up early, especially with the time change, and drove an hour south to just over the Georgia line and arrived at about 9:30. The folks at Chattapaws had a ring set up outside under cover with a USDAA course and NADAC equipment.

I hadn't ever seen NADAC equipment before, neither has Gracie, but after Mum showing us the dogwalk with no slats, I was just fine. Even got a couple of hoops with no training at all, ran right through them.

Mum's goal for me today was to make sure I was still running my DW fine, that I didn't run around any jumps like I have been in trials lately and that I was pretty speedy in my weaves and overall. I ran around one jump in my first run, but didn't even think about it after that, even with some distance with Mum. My dogwalk looked pretty good, although Mum thinks I could run more full out on the flat plank, and my weaves at 24" looked real good Mum thought. Overall my speed was pretty good.

So here's my second run....my first run was a little rough and we didn't get any video since we were the only ones there at that point. Mum was happy with my run! Ready for the AKC trial (and maybe a USDAA trial, too) in April!

Gracie ran too, we each got to run twice yesterday. Mum's goals for Gracie yesterday were to get her back quickly if she ran off; work a bit on her contacts DW and Frame - but more importantly keep her going fast on them, and get her to do her weaves in a strange place - since she doesn't like to stop and do them even at matches & trials, although she's crazy about doing weaves at home.

Mum thinks they accomplished those goals quite well. Gracie ran off a few times, so Mum called her, sometimes she came back right away, one time she got really distracted, so Mum threw the treat bag and had her target it, which worked really well.

Gracie made her DW contact, although she was baling big time on the teeter and frame, but she was running super happy which is more important.

She didn't want to do her weaves heading out to the view of the pond, but she did them fine going into the ring. Could be Mum's position, could be that she was just overwhelmed by the wide open spaces heading in the out direction (that's her biggest stress place). Mum worked her hard on the weaves, throwing in some tunnels and frame between since Gracie loves those too, and working to keep it happy. Gracie does have to learn at some point she has to slow down and do the weaves. So that worked fairly well.

Here is Gracies practice vid:

We had a super great time! The weather was amazing, about 70 degrees, nice and breezy. Mum got to run two of our four runs with her new Vibram Five Finger shoes, which we recently received and reviewed (watch for that review coming soon). She was loving them!

Also, we got to meet some new agility friends that are somewhat close by, which was great! Everyone down here is so nice. And we got to watch a little of the obedience match that was going on inside of the building.

Really fun day!!! Can't wait to run again!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Deer, possum and swollen streams!

After what seemed days of rain around here, we finally got to get out a bit yesterday and do a little hiking.

We headed up the ridge where we saw the stream had turned into a little river from all the rain. Very cool, literally! Nice wading after a nice hike. Here I am looking down on it from the top of the ridge.

Mum wore her regular shoes womens Avia's instead of the Five Fingers, (which we''re gonna blog about this week :), because she thought the trail was gonna be really wet. But it wasn't too bad, even after seven inches of rain in the past four days.

Then we headed down the ridge and around the ponds which are very swollen and filling from one into the other, into the other. Just then, down in the back pasture we saw some deer. Hard to see in the vid, but they are just to the right of the big pile of tree limbs in the pasture on the right.

Mum was really proud because this time I just barked my fool head off, but neither Gracie or I tried to pull her down the hill to go after them. After a little while, we just got disinterested and were ready to move on. What? Mum says....what a break through!!!

We walked around the pasture, then headed toward the bridge that goes over the creek because there is still running water going over the little road we usually use. Just then I saw something I've never seen before, a possum!!! My first!

The only camera Mum had on her was from the cell phone, and she only got one photo from far away before it waddled into it's hole. But you can kind of see it just the left of the other side of the bridge.

So that's what's been hiding down at the base of that tree that I'm always interested in!!! Mum had been wondering for weeks, maybe even months. Mystery solved.

The weather today is super nice, and we're off to do some more hiking this afternoon. Tomorrow we may be going to an agility practice match south of here! OMD!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's time for Crufts!

It's time for Crufts!

Crufts, the world’s greatest dog show, will be taking place from 10-13 March 2011 at the NEC, Birmingham.

Officially recognized as the world’s largest dog show by the Guinness Book of Records, Crufts 2011 looks forward to expecting almost 23,000 dogs competing in confirmation, flyball, agility and more.

Here are some quick links to keep you up on the action:

USA Team members participating include:
Obedience: Jeannie Dennard & Kicks, Celeste Meade & Sparky and Dave Maurer & Buster
Agility: Daisy Peel & Solar

Ring Schedule:
Thursday - includes agility large finals
Friday - includes agility team and small and single heats
Saturday - Includes agility large international, flyball and more.
Sunday - includes agility championships

Watch the main ring free live stream - free registration then click on the video to start the live broadcast.

Follow Crufts on Facebook for live updates.

Good luck to all those competing this weekend! We'll be sitting by our contemporary coffee tables watching a lot of the great agility, freestyle, flyball and more this weekend!

And special good lucks to Daisy, Solar, Jeannie, Kicks, Celeste, Sparky, Dave and Buster! Can't wait to see some video!

Notes: If we find any updates, we'll keep you posted here.


Daisy and Solar came in 3rd place in JWW, 1st place in Agility and 2nd place in the Finals!

Here's one of her vids (JWW, Agility & Final). And link to the JWW course, Agility course.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Happy Gotcha Day Gracie!

Today is my sis, Gracie's, Gotcha Day!!!

It was five years ago today that Mum and I went to a vet's office in Seymour, Indiana to meet Gracie and see if she was a good fit for our family. This is one of the very first photos Mum took of Gracie on the day she came home to live with us.

Mum found her on Petfinder and had heard that Gracie was taken from a hoarder that had 70 dogs just a few weeks before, and was staying with a vet's office along with nearly 20 other puppies. Very sadly the other 50 or so dogs had been put to sleep for health and aggression issues they told us. (The photo on the right, is Gracie's Petfinder photo).

It had been a bit of a long road to find me a playmate. Mum had worked with various BC rescue groups, but every time I met a potential candidate, either they bit Mum trying to get at me (yes that really happened!), or we just didn't get along well.

Sometimes, I'm not the easiest to live with. I have a bit of a reactive streak sometimes that surfaced after I was attacked at about one year old by a bunch of dogs at a park. But Mum thinks I continue to improve everyday and she helps me with my reactivity.

It was only about a year after the attack that I met Gracie. When I greeted her, I had to give her a little warning bark that I wasn't going to stand for any nonsense. She took it like a champ, turning her head to the side (a fantastic example of a calming signal for me). Mum knew she was the perfect match for me, because she took my 'stuff' really well. And we've been best buds ever since!

Mum thinks that Gracie is one of the best of the best at calming and making other dogs feel comfortable. We think that she learned that growing up in a pack of so many dogs and having to learn how to get along with all types. Even though Gracie is very good at hiding her feelings, Mum has learned many of her subtle signals and continues to learn from her everyday.

Gracie wasn't all that small when she came to live with us. As a matter of fact she was bigger than me in size even though she was only about eight months old. She was older than needing a baby jogger city select, that's fur sure! She has grown into a beautiful young 'lady' with the most amazing eyes Mum thinks she has ever seen.

I want to give a big shout out to our Gracie Girl! She's the best sister, playmate, agility buddy, friend, and confidant I could ever have. Happy Gotcha Day Gracie!!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The cat food problem!

Wiggy, poor kittie. He's a finicky one...

You may remember that Wiggy, my kittie bro, successfully switched to raw food just before we moved to Tennessee. Well, when the move was very close, Mum had to switch him back to canned food because she couldn't get the raw he and Wolfie were eating down here.

We've been trying to find a good, balanced, antibiotic free, hormone free raw mix with all the meat and nutrients he needs down here, but weren't having any luck. So he's been on canned for a while now.

Suddenly last week he started turning up his food, until one day he wouldn't eat it at all, and started the "Big D." We knew in our gut that something was suddenly wrong with that food. Yesterday we found out it has a voluntary recall, sigh...

That Wiggy, he always knows when something is up!

Mum quickly went into action. First she cooked Wiggy and Wolfie some organic chicken for dinner and breakfast, which very surprisingly Wiggy ate with a vengeance, and loved! We thought some other kittie had invaded the Wig-ster, 'cause he would never eat cooked chicken before.

Then Mum searched and searched for a somewhat close source for a high quality mixed raw so we could take this opportunity and try to get him back on a good diet. Mum remembered a friend of ours had mentioned Primal Pet, which meets our criteria, a full mix that is antibiotic and hormone free. We found a store about an hour away that would order it for us and that also had some very high quality canned food, so we could test out some foods.

So Mum, Gracie and I headed over there one day last week. We bought about three or four kinds of high quality canned and ordered the Primal Pet Raw from them, which wouldn't be in for a few days.

Mum and I were crossing our fingers that Wiggy would eat the new canned that we picked up for him. And guess what? He loved all three of the kinds we got, so did Wolfie! Amazing, who is Wiggy now anyway, and what did they do with the old Wig-ster? Who knows, but we are happy!

So we went back on Friday last week and picked up the raw food for Wolfie and Wiggy. And Mum also ordered us some chicken necks too, yum!!! We started Wolfie and Wiggy on raw on Saturday after it thawed out.

Wolfie loved the raw from the very beginning, yeah! Mum thinks he's part dog. And the best part is that finicky Wiggy is now up to 3/4 raw and 1/4 canned and gradually getting the hang of the raw thing. Mum's goal is to have him completely off canned by the end of the week and the Wig-ster is progressing very nicely!

We still have a case or two of good canned food on hand, just in case something happens. And we can still order our doggie kibble (in addition to the raw we eat) and the kittie litter, and standby cases of good, healthy kittie food from PetFlow.com, who we love, by the way! That free shipping is pawsome!

Needless to say, we are so excited that the kitties are pretty darn close to full out raw meat eaters, yeah!!!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

It's a big one!

Watch this!

We had a super big rain storm yesterday. After it cleared we went out and took a nice walk. Big storms bring out all kinds of cool new stuff, like downed limbs, puddles to play in, lots of birds going after worms that have risen to the surface. But our favorite thing these storm bring out are the turtles.

So what is it that's got us all riled up this time? A big, big, big turtle, one of the biggest Gracie and I have ever seen. He/she was about 1.5 feet long, at least!

We think he's a Chelydra serpentina, or common snapping turtle...just a bigger version of the ones we found last Spring. We found this handy, dandy turtle identification guide to help us.

He was barreling (well, for a turtle anyway) his way through the small pasture. He was going so fast for a turtle, we thought he may have to look into cheap car insurance, BOL!

Mum was very proud of us. After our barking, screaming fit (in the video), she actually got us focused enough to sit and stay (and be quiet) about 10 feet from the 'guy' so she could go over and take a closer photo. Even Gracie stayed, big moment for her!

He didn't like us very much, completely retracted his legs and head when we came closer. On the way back we found him on the gravel lane leading up from the pastures. He quickly scurried to to the ditch, retracted and hid like a rock, but we knew he was in there!
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