I put the dogs outside in the yard when I got home from work today so I could try to get some other work done. I just looked up and saw the novelty has worn off and they're REALLY asking to come in. Apparently it's cold outside with all that wind!

In other news that has bearing on the dogs, a job has opened up that I am very qualified for and sort of have an "in." My fingers and toes are crossed as much as possible. I need a real job and would LOVE this one. The waiting begins.


good bye Baby

Farm Cat Special

This kitty was a tough one. She lived outside for the first 12 years of her life and never really wanted to come inside. After being accidentally declawed by our vet at the time of her spay, we tried to make her a house cat. She wanted and had none of that. She was so very unhappy that we let her go outside again. In the winter she would occasionally come inside and curl up in front of the fire, but always wanted to go back outside.

After my dad died, I convinced my mom to try one more time as there was talk of moving. This time it worked. She happily accepted the warmth and comfort of indoor living. Her beauty and attitude have yet been unmatched, even by her son. My Rasza is her son from the second to last litter she had. He is handsome, but she was beautiful.

Every morning, since the day she moved inside for good, she would meow/growl at "the boys" as they all fought to be the first upstairs to watch me get breakfast ready. This morning, that is truly what I missed the most. There were no sounds coming from behind the basement door. Today when I came home, there were no sounds coming from behind the basement door. I keep waiting to hear her telling someone to move out of her way. She truly reigned the house and held her place as Queen up until the end.

A year and a half ago now, I thought we were going to lose her. Thankfully my vet and internet friends are wonderful and educated me about hyperthyroidism in cats. After checking all bloodwork, we discovered she was hyperthyroid. Once she started medication, she returned to her lively, happy self.

She was never a cuddler unless it was on her own terms. Ever dignified and surveyor of her kingdom, she did not stoop to "dog level" and thus did not allow unwanted human contact.

The reign of Baby has sadly ended, but she will never be forgotten.

Rest well my sweet Baby girl, say "hi" to Snowey (Snowey Morning at Kara Sea, Samoyed, died 6/1998) for me and enjoy wherever you two are. Tell her I still miss her. I'm sure you'll find your daughters Mischief and McGoo and your son Whiskers who sadly passed before you. Run free and have fun.

The only "family" portrait I was ever able to get. Taken the winter she finally moved inside for good.

Last photo ever taken of her. Summer 2009


Tracking Certification!!!!!!

Tonight Bailey certified in tracking and I now possess four slips of paper to enter tests with! YEEHAW!

I am so excited, more excited than I think I've been for any dog sport "thing" ever! It went so much better than last week, and last week wasn't bad!

Sending in an entry for October 25. Close to home. I'm crossing my fingers that we get in!



We've been working pretty hard the last two days (but ask the dogs and it's probably not enough) getting ready for a myriad of upcoming activities. Buzz and I are back to working with one jump again as he seems to have lost his stamina somewhere and at some time! Low jumps, lots of treats (CHEESEEEE!!!!) and fun. He does weaves happily (he bounces, never got the whole single step thing down) and is jumping easier.

Bailey and I are working on the pieces of Open because we DO get to show on Sunday now. Just now we came in from working recalls (3). About an hour before that she ran a shorter but aged track and was spot on. NO silliness out there, all business. GOOD GIRL!

I'm sure we'll work heeling later. Buzz likes to heel a lot but our starts are getting a little sloppy. I need to be rewarding him jumping out there a lot more. In related news--I think we're finally communicating at the start now about whether he should stay or follow. I've refined my cue and the way I hold my body and we only had one miscommunication in the last session. (We did 10 starts, so 9/10 is GOOD!)

Training dogs is fun... obviously!


Tracking Certification

Well... we almost did it!

Bailey and I "tried" for our certification last night (in the AKC you have to run a full length TD track laid by a judge and be "certified" before you are allowed to enter a test). We made it to the last leg!!!!! I was a good handler up until then. I'm very happy with how she ran despite the elements. The last leg I didn't notice her indicating the track (it went off at a 45 degree angle). The judge said she tried to indicate (a tug on her lead) and since I held my ground, she went birdy (sniffing around, but not tracking), she tried again, and again I stood there (not believing her...) and then went birdying again and I got called (for checking my dog). Judge was SO darn nice, and we set it up to try again for next week on Wednesday.

I know we can do it, and last night was the biggest lesson I've had about trusting my dog! We worked that last corner for about five minutes and then to not trust my dog... arg! She was goooood though!

Anyway, that means I pushed her elbow lump removal surgery out another week since we won't be ready for the hunt test anyways. We are tentatively running one day of the obedience trial then, so we'll see how it goes!

If she works like she did last night, I think we'll be just fine, very, very soon.

Tracking is fun!


Lovely, lovely, Fluoxetine!

Well, I love it for Bailey!

A short list of things we've been able to do since being on Fluoxetine that I A)wouldn't have let happen or B)would have ended very poorly, before Fluoxetine.

1. Tonight she HUNTED with another dog!!!!!! *jaw hit the floor... NO scuffles, and it was an INTACT BITCH*
2. At both trials the last two weekends, she has MET other dogs without showing signs of being uncomfortable.
3. I have had Rascal and Rasza upstairs without her muzzled three days in a row (under close supervision of course, but she's been relaxed while not under direct cue).
4. She has solicited attention quite a bit, but hasn't been pushy or overly possessive. A hard stare but no lift lip or growl. If I stop petting her she'll move around with the toy in her mouth and not continue to guard me.

I hope we see continued improvement, but I'm overjoyed with this short (but oh-so-impact-ful)

MORE field adventures!

Bailey and I had our second hunt training practice tonight. It started off quite badly. She did NOT want to work the quail, at all! Clung to me like glue and then I was told I'd talked my dog up too much and we scared her last time. That was very annoying as I made it very clear she hadn't done anything with me ever, and hadn't done any hunting in at least six years. ANYWAYS, after we got over that and he decided to "keep trying" things, we made a TON of progress.

She didn't want to go into the brush/woods, so we worked with a bird out in the open and she finally TURNED ON! She grabbed the live bird, held it tightly and was just GREAT! He threw it into the brushes/shrubbery a couple of times and she was diving right in after it.

He released another live pheasant and she became quite concerned again so he got his "old" dog Ty. She started to work with the other dog and by the end of that she'd flushed and snagged a live quail! GOOD GIRLY!

I came home with three birds this time, instead of just one...

We won't be ready for the October hunt test so we have to wait until spring, but I am SO excited. The day went from "you may want to give up" to, "let's hunt her with another spaniel next time." There WILL be a next time, she was really good!

Now I've been given strict instructions to let her hunt and not call her off things when walking... ARG! Back to very structured walks, and planting birds. We CAN do it though... we can!

We go back in three weeks now because he's gone next week (25th wedding anniversary) and she has surgery the week after (out for at least two weeks).


Celebration and Confusion

Bailey says "WHEEE!"

Buzz says "What is this THING?"
(apparently deer season has started/will start soon, so the boys must practice...)



Bailey and I ran AKC agility today. I've finally entered enough trials to get out of Novice! Her standard run was BEAUTIFUL! I was NOT a bad handler on the contact equipment and she did them sooooo nicely! Pretty running dog walk. I let her do her job and did NOT watch her every step, I used my peripheral vision (haha... thanks CZ for that reminder). I gave her distance to move, and she did. Nearly instantaneous auto down on the table (thank you Cathy a down on the table), nice low running contact on her a-frame and slipped right into the weaves. It felt SO good! Q/1st, new NAP title! We are finally into Open for Stanadard and JWW! Now I just need to uhh, not stop doing AKC again! I plan on going through Open at least, and we'll see after that. Jumpers was good until the weaves. She missed the entry but I figured if she kept weaving, we'd try them again and she did so we did but then she started hopping instead of single stepping. We moved on and it was an ok run after that but she wasn't feeling on her game anymore. Now she's got a break for quite a while. No more agility until surgery on the 22nd to remove the lipoma in her elbow muscle and then close to a month off for recovery. Hopefully some hunt stuff and tracking in October and then ALL of November off for Bailey (trialing at least). I want to get a picture tomorrow... I just need to remember to do it. Oh, and our judge for standard was the groomer at the vet I work at. I didn't know she was a judge! Too funny!


A raw fed hunting dog...

Oops! Last time I took out the thawing chukkar, the only progress we made was having her nose touch it and pick it up a little. Today I threw it (get the prey drive going) and she dove for it. A few c/t later and she was picking it up and carrying it.

That's all good, right? Yup. The next part is better though.

She thought the chukkar was some new FOOD for her to try. She started trying to de-feather and chew on her chukkar! AHHH! OH NOOO! After laughing for a bit, we worked on hold. I held the bird out, she grabbed, I c/t'd for holding it nicely. A few of those later and I threw it again, she went out picked it up, I backed up quickly and told her "here" and put my hand out (our 'deliver to hand' cue). First time she dropped it, but second and third and fourth times she brought it right to hand and held it. C/t ALL of those wonderfully correct responses!

Next time, I'll thaw the bird better so it doesn't seem like dinner (I feed nearly all frozen raw to slow them down a bit), but I don't anticipate an issue. We just need to do this again before we go to our lesson or I'll get hella for it!

Bailey-feathered frozen meat is NOT for eating, it is for retrieving!


Parade of Veterans

The MMBC NADAC trial had a Parade of Veterans. Each participant wrote a short bio of their dog and sent in a photo. At the trial part of the bio was read while the dogs did a short series of jumps and a tunnel. At the end we received liver brownies made by Lefty's mom... Buzz thinks they're the BEST THING EVER. The MMBC website will have all of this and more when the webmaster gets time, but I wanted to post ours here. Oh, and we got super cool shirts too!

Buzz is now eleven years old and his days are spent sleeping with feet sticking straight in the air. Despite his lack of activity during the day, he still comes alive when we show. I am so happy to be able to work with him, to feel good every time we come out of a ring, that was my only goal way back when. We are still learning new things together while continuing to play old games. He continues to love agility (at 12"), obedience, rally, and tracking. His favorite thing to do is curl up with me on the couch in front of a fire, as close to me as he can be. My heart dog who taught me about good training and how it can build a working relationship from nothing. Thanks for everything old man, you stuck it out with me and look at where we are.

The Bailey Dog is a goofy one. An odd duck from the minute she came home but, well, she fit right in. She is my mud princess who wishes she didn't get all that hair from her daddy for me to play with. My right hand gal on the funny farm, she always makes me laugh, and always wants to be a part of whatever ANYONE is doing. She doesn't stand by the "I can't do it" excuse, as she'll always find a way. She does agility, obedience, rally, tracking, and hunting but her all time favorite activity is chasing bumpers in the water. She will retrieve for as long as you will throw and never loses any excitement for the game. Bailey crept into my heart when I wasn't looking and it appears she's there to stay. She's my Novice A dog and we've come a long way baby.


I was good to my dog!

Not that I was perfect all weekend, but I was especially good on our last run of the weekend. Bailey and I were hanging out by the Great Dane Photos store waiting to go into the ring. I work very hard to keep her away from other dogs and yesterday, in the shade too. We were stationed next to a dog that didn't seem to bother her and there was another quite a ways away. She was focused on me, doing tricks and enjoying herself when a guy and his BC came up and sat down nearly right next to us. I got up quickly and moved her while saying "you're just fine." That got the attention of the guy and he said "did I scare her" to which I simply replied "yes." The truth is, DOGS scare her because she doesn't know what they're going to do! The experession on Bailey's face was great. She was very relieved and quite shocked I was "listening" to her. I think she's starting to trust me again that I WILL protect her, after our walks where I couldn't because the dogs were loose.

She met a few dogs this weekend, very briefly, and at all times she acted appropriately, as she's been trained to do. Once uncomfortable, she would look back at me and move away. She is such a fantastic little teaching dog. I'm finally starting to do right by her. It makes me very happy.


I have two ouchy dogs. Yep, two. ARG!

Buzz was entered both days, three runs/day. First run on Saturday and he was NOT ok. He was slow and pokey in tunnelers and we made it a very short run. Poor guy. I felt him all over, a little soreness in his rear but nothing too painful it seemed. The rest of the day was much of the same. I thought he was feeling better, so we tried weavers but nope... we left that one early too. Jumpers was a total bust, 3 jumps and then nodda. I made sure he knew I was NOT disappointed, and made it seem like the course ended where it did.

Bailey was running pretty well on Saturday. Her Open Regular course was GREAT, she was moving, having fun, and then... couldn't weave! Oh well, haha. She was so fun to show. Her contacts were quick, just like we've been working on. Open tunnelers, mom screwed up! I thought I could send her from the end of one tunnel far away into the entrance of another same distance away but instead she came into me and then took the tunnel backwards. Silly girly dog! Novice Jumpers was BEAUTIFUL! She ran SO well, speedy, in tune with me, we worked as a team beautifully! She Q'd with 3rd place for her NJC title. It was as close to a "zone" run as we've come in a while.

Since she ran so well and Buzz was NOT feeling ok, I was able to switch them around for Sunday.

Sunday she was feeling GREAT in Touch N Go. Silly goober dog missed a few hoops and leaped off the A-Frame but hey, we had a blast. I have worked hard to get the happy speedy Bailey I have in class to be the same one I have in trials. Touch N Go was a close second favorite run of the weekend, despite the 70 points we accumulated... Jumpers she was slow--friend said she may have been wincing after turning a certain way. We were 8 freaking seconds over time! That was not my dog. Tunnelers we were over time too. I had a friend tape tunnelers for me, so after I review that I should have a better idea.

Now I don't know if her elbow/shoulder is ouchy (she has a lump there but vet said to leave it until it starts inhibiting her movement or being painful) or if something ELSE went wrong after/during Touch N Go. Today is a holiday so I have to call my vet tomorrow and see what he thinks. The lump might need to go NOW. We'll see.

For now, we're all taking it easy and I'll call the vet tomorrow, about both.



Her foot hurts a lot more than she lets on. Tracking tonight was BAD, yes, capital letters. WORSE than tracking this weekend (yes, apparently that's possible). I couldn't figure out what was going on with my dog, she was NOT my dog.

My dog's foot hurts. Sorry kiddo!

She started limping on our walk after tracking and it's pretty tender. No more injured, but she is on strict rest. No romping in the field, no tracking... rest the darn foot stupid handler!

My poor dog. She tried, and looking back, demonstrated some very conflicted behavior. She knew her job but just couldn't do it.

She holds no grudges, and I'm sure she'll be ready to track like never before when given the OK. Our certification is being pushed out, but life happens. We'll get it!

A purist I was not...

Yesterday on the way to Costco, the boy and I stopped at Gander Mountain. I still hadn't found or constructed anything to use for carrying things in tracking or hunting, so I was on a mission. When we got there I realized I'd been meaning to get a Dokken (dummy) for a LONG time, but just hadn't. I found a multi purpose vest (ok, Kevin did) AND got a pheasant dokken. It is big, but not HUGE, so I figured it would be the correct size. It IS a little large, but not TOO large.

Last night I brought Bailey and the dokken to the cabin to work for a bit. I'd planned on shaping it, like I've shaped all of her retrieves. She picked up the parts that are designed to NOT feel good being picked up (tail, head, feet...) and was certain she could NOT fit her mouth around the body.

When I got home from the vet today I wanted to see if she really couldn't carry it. I opened her mouth, put it in (a tight fit in the VERY center of the bird, a good fit at both ends), and she did not appreciate that. I threw the bird thinking she may pick it up correctly... nope, by the string!

In the end I put it in her mouth quite a few times then c/t and let her release it. She still didn't like me putting it in her mouth, and wouldn't take it when presented, but I took her out in the yard and threw it. Wouldn't you know she went out, picked it up CORRECTLY and brought it back! Profuse praise and treats. GOOD GIRL!

One more throw and I got the same CORRECT response. VERY GOOD GIRL and we ran for more treats.

I don't know if it will last or not, but she CAN carry it correctly, and we still have LOTS of work to do, but it's a start.

Now lets hope her foot holds up and heals up well (and SOON)!