Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Jumpers run

Our Masters Jumpers run that was so close to being clean!

Basil's writeup

Simon is a gorgeous border collie with lots of white and big, expressive ears. A stunning dog, Simon is a nice blend of drive and relaxed - ready to go when you are and ready to stop when you are. He would make a nice sport candidate and is a well rounded, smart and social dog with good canine skills - and all around nice dog!


Simon was surrendered as a border collie cross but seems to be all BC to us! About 18 months old, Simon is an athletic dog with unlimited potential to be anything you want him to be.

Simon is an all around great dog. He has loved all the people and dogs that he has met. He is definitely a less intense Border Collie. When he is out, he will happily go the entire time (he is in great shape), but he doesn't pace in the house demanding exercise. He does play with and watch the other dogs in the house a lot, though, so that might be what's tiring him out. At this point he'd much rather run around with other dogs on a field than play fetch, and I think he would make a really good dog park dog. He is polite with all other dogs and meets them confidently. He also matches his play style to suit the other dog, which is nice. He does show some interest in chasing a ball or a Frisbee, but his main goal in the game is to entice the other dogs to chase him and play.

He ignores cats completely. He met my parents' dog-aggressive cat, and the cat was so shocked at being ignored that he didn't try to go after Simon.

He is very handler focused, and would make a great agility dog once he has been desensitized to all the noises and activity of an agility trial. He came with me to a trial today, and the frantic barking and yelling sent him running into his crate with his tail down. At the end of the day, though, after lots of treats, he was walking around happily greeting everyone and wagging his tail.

Simon has been very easily corrected the few times that he's needed a correction. A quiet "uh uh" as he started to jump on the counter has kept him from ever trying it again. He has impeccable house manners. He settles immediately on a bed, rarely jumps on people, only chews appropriate toys, and loves to cuddle.

He is very good about being handled (I was able to trim his nails with no problem) and he doesn't guard food or toys from people. He does guard his toys from the other dogs a little bit too much, but this doesn't seem too hard to work with. He also tried to resource guard me from the other dogs at the very beginning, but once he learned that that behaviour lost him the privilege of being near me, he didn't try it again.

He likes his crate a lot, and frequently goes in there for naps. He does cry quietly when he's left in there, but he's getting better about it. He is a Velcro dog and he follows me diligently every time I move around the house.

Simon walks nicely on a leash. He isn't used to city noises like buses and trucks, but he doesn't get so scared that he isn't able to respond to commands. I don't think he will take much time at all to get used to living in the city. In fact, he's a joy to walk in crowded places as he sticks close and doesn't get over excited about seeing other dogs. He would make a perfect running partner.

Simon is going to make someone an awesome companion. He is the kind of dog that you can take anywhere with you and he has a ton of potential to do basically anything.

Fun at the beach

Basil's profile is on the border collie rescue site, as Simon (that was what I originally wanted to call him, and it's confusing to change it too many times on the website). I decided that even though he is the most handsome, lovely, all around great dog, he is not the perfect one for me. My decision was reinforced once again this morning when I attempted to take both dogs to the field. Abby had one interest, as usual: the ball. Basil wanted to play with Abby and Mia, but neither one of the girls has any interest in playing when we're on a field. I decided to walk over the the more crowded side of the field, hoping that Basil would be able to romp around with some of the dogs there while I played fetch with Abby. Bad idea on my part, and bad idea to leave the long line at home. It was right there by the door...and I was just so tired this morning that I decided to hope for the best. There was a black lab playing an exciting game of fetch...and Abby went into extreme chase mode. When I say extreme, I mean that I could not get her back for at least 10 minutes. This may not sound like long, but it feels like forever when there is a fuming owner who is trying to exercise her dog before work but can't because of the yapping brown blur or a thing that you call yours....I walked into Abby; she circled the dog and darted away from me. I ran away from her; she ignored me. I played excitedly with Basil; she decided that Black labs might make nice squeaky toys (no, I don't think she actually touched the dog at all, but STILL). So anyway, when I finally got her on leash (and was furious with her, which meant that she walked home on a perfectly loose leash - she can walk so nicely but only when I'm angry! Gah!) I vowed to never take both dogs to the field before class ever again. Basil gets the morning, Abby gets the afternoon. It's really too bad that I can't have a dog who is actually social and likes to meet dogs and people....Well, I can, and I do want a dog who enjoys meeting strangers and dogs, but that dog also has to be fetch obsessed. Basil would take a lot of work and a bit more maturity, I think, before he became a fetch maniac.

We made up for our horrible morning by having a great time at the beach this afternoon. Wednesday is the long day for the dogs, when they are locked in from 8:30-4:00, so we made it up to them with the beach run. They had a blast! All three went swimming, and it was pretty funny to watch their different swimming styles. Abby has a love-hate relationship with water. She is so obsessive about fetching her toy that she'll go swimming way out to get it, but then she pounces on it in the sand for about 5 minutes before deciding she wants to chase it again. She barks hysterically from the second I pick up the ball until she is actually swimming, and the barking sounds to me like she's screaming, "THROW IT! NO NO DON'T THROW IT! THE WATER IS COLD! OK OK THROW IT THROW IT!". She is one confused dog. She also swims with her head a good 6" above the water so that it looks like she's thrashing all over the place and trying not to get sucked under by some evil monster. Mia approaches water like she approaches everything else - she plows right on in and dunks her head underwater to grab the toy. Her swimming style isn't very smooth either - she kind of looks like she's running underwater. Baz loves the water, but only went in deep enough to swim a few times (when he wanted to play keep away with Abby's ball). He is a very smooth swimmer, unlike the crazy girls.

I wish I had brought my camera to the beach. The sun came out just as we got there! Oh well, next time.

Oh, we also went to a trial on Sunday. It went pretty well - we did 4 runs, and Q'd in Advanced Team. Abby hesitated and spun on the weave entrance in Standard, so that was a refusal. She also popped up on the table, but I don't think that's a fault (not sure, though). Our gamblers run was a bit of a mess, and not a single dog got the gamble! Our Masters Jumpers run was so close to being perfect, until I got slightly ahead and didn't point to a jump. Ah, well. I'm going to try and put the Jumpers run video here, even though it makes me so annoyed with myself to watch it!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Such a sweetheart

Ok it's been 6 days...and he's still lazy! I guess I should still give it more time in case he is still coping with stress by sleeping...but there is no way the dog that I know right now is high energy! On a scale of 1-10 (10 being a working dog who can go for 24 hours a day and who would be happiest with a job to do all the time), I'd put Mia at an 8, Abby at a 7...and Baz, well, he's about a 5 right now! When we go to the field, he'll run around the whole time, but without any of the intensity that Abby and Mia have. I don't think he'd turn down a walk, but he definitely isn't pacing around asking for one. Half the time he'd rather rest on the bed than do training for treats! Maybe he was described as high energy because he was getting either no walks or just a short leash walk, and had no dogs in the house to play with. In this house, though - definitely low energy.

I'm not sure how I feel about that now that I'm used to high energy dogs. In a way, it's great. He's got perfect house manners; when I'm in the kitchen, he goes in the living room and sleeps on his bed. After a walk he settles down instantly and sleeps all day. He doesn't jump on people much, and he's only jumped on the counter once or twice. He's basically the exact second dog that I described. He has loved everyone that he's met, and is great with all dogs. He completely ignores cats, which caught Peppy off guard. Baz ran right by him and Peppy was so shocked at the complete lack of attention that he didn't even bother to attack Baz. It was amazing!

I don't know how well it would work for me to have a dog like Baz permanently, though. Abby is not and will never be a dog park dog. When we are out, she is all business - we play fetch and other dogs are ignored (ideally, since chasing is not an acceptable form of interaction!). Baz is a dog park dog. He wants to romp around and be goofy. He will chase a ball, but isn't really into playing fetch. If I can train him to be really into fetch, I might feel differently about being able to keep him. Right now, though, it's hard for me to imagine how I would manage two dogs that are so different. It's almost impossible for me to pay attention to Abby (ie. throwing the ball every 2 seconds) while also paying attention to Basil (ie. making sure he doesn't cause any trouble or run off the field).

I'm just going to give it time, I guess, and hopefully I'll get some feeling about what I want to do. Another minor detail is that Baz is quite a bit bigger than the dog I had envisioned. He is such a sweetheart!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

He's here!

And his name is now Basil (Baz). That was the name that came into my head when I saw him, and I even called him Baz accidentally, so it stuck (usually it takes me a long time to get a dog's new name straight).

Baz seems like a very sweet guy. He does a whole body/bum wiggle whenever you talk to him, and he's the biggest cuddler in the world! He slept cuddled up with me all night at the hotel. I'd planned to put him in the crate, but I could tell that he was too tired to even get up anymore and that he wasn't the type to chew things up. When we picked him up in the afternoon we put him in a crate in the car, then drove to an off leash area where we could do some proper introductions between him and Abby and Tycho. The introductions went way better than we'd imagined! Abby sniffed him, then went back to playing ball when it was her turn to meet him. Tycho went running up to him and decided he wanted to play after about 1 second of sniffing. Tycho and Abby both sometimes have issues with meeting new dogs, so we were very happy with the greeting that they gave Basil. All three dogs were racing around together within 10 minutes of meeting (with Basil on a long line and Abby and Tycho loose). At the hotel, they all had a great time jumping back and forth between the beds. Both Abby and Tycho wanted turns playing with the new guy! He fit in perfectly. Mia really likes him too - she met him last night when we got back.

So far Baz has behaved perfectly except for a few minor details. He greets people and dogs (big and small, intact and neutered) nicely - he is pretty good about not jumping on people, which is good. He is very easy to correct - a quiet "uh uh" stops him from whatever he's doing. He does seem to guard toys and laps from other dogs by snapping at dogs that come near. He was quickly removed from my lap when he did this, and had a toy taken away when he went too far with the snapping, so hopefully he will realize that nothing good comes when you are too zealous in your guarding. He also lunged at a kid who was running past him, but I'm not sure that he saw the kid coming. I have a feeling that he heard pounding right behind him, and lunged backwards without really thinking. He also growled at a wheelchair. The lunging at the kid had me the most worried, but it's too soon to tell anything yet.

Today we took Abby, Mia and Baz to the beach for two hours and they loved it! It was fun to watch the dynamics between the three dogs. Mia was definitely less into playing that Abby and Baz. She was more into sniffing and trying to convince someone to throw her toy. Abby and Baz raced back and forth across the sand and played almost the entire time. I tried playing ball with both of them, but Baz needs some work with that before it will go smoothly. He will chase the ball and bring it back if I throw one ball for both Abby and him, but if Abby gets it he tries to get it out of her mouth and vice versa, and some snarling ensues. If I throw a ball for each of them he doesn't bring his back, so we'll work on that. His recall was pretty good. He would pause for a second when I called him, as if he was remembering what to do, then he'd come racing back to me with his tail whipping back and forth (it keeps hitting Abby in the eye! Poor girl).

He seems to have nice house manners, and he settles well. I'm not sure if he'll have more energy once he is used to being here, but he sure doesn't seem like an 8/10 on the energy scale, like I was told. Maybe I'm just used to Abby and Mia? When I showed him the bed in the living room last night, he lay right down and fell asleep, and he and Abby have been asleep together on my bed all afternoon since getting home from the beach. I hope he stays this calm!

The only command he knows well is sit. He will lie down if he's lured into position, and he'll go into his crate but he isn't comfortable enough in there to want to eat treats (he spits them out). I'll have to practice leaving him in there so he isn't in complete shock when reading week is over and I go back to school.

I wonder what he's mixed with? He definitely doesn't have a Border Collie face. One of the people who helped with his transport thought he might have Pit Bill in him, but I don't see it - his nose seems way too long. He does have a big blocky head and face attached to a BC looking body.

What a cutie! *Repeating mantra: foster dog, foster dog, foster dog*

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Gah! I'm excited and it's only Wednesday! Actually, apparently it's now Thursday because I am up way later than I meant to be. I was supposed to have my midterm today, but the fire alarm got pulled so it got moved to Friday. Which means I still have four days and a midterm before the trip!

I've got a busy weekend planned, though, so the time will go by quickly. Friday night there's a Rally-O class, which is always lots of fun. Saturday I'm working all day. Sunday morning we're going to try to go on a big hike, which usually means 10+ dogs, and Sunday night there is a barn agility practice. Regionals for agility are coming up in a few months, so there are extra practices set up to prepare for them. I'm still looking for a summer job, and who knows where I'll end up working, so I'm not sure that I'll be able to bring Abby (to regionals - of course she'll come with me wherever I'm working!). I hope I can, though, because she is doing so well in agility!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

He's got freckles!

So I've decided that the next step in my quest for a second dog is going to be fostering. This is the perfect way to get to know a dog - I'll see what it's like to actually handle two dogs at once (training and walking Sam and Zoe and sharing that responsibility with my parents was pretty different than having full responsibility for Abby and brother), and I'll learn about any quirks that the dog has that aren't immediately apparent. I can see what he's like to train, how he is with people, dogs and cats, how much energy he has and whether he resource guards or has separation anxiety. I'll see whether it's even possible for me to focus on two dogs at once on a field, or whether my one track mind explodes when I even try. I'll also find out how Abby reacts to a full time sibling as opposed to foster siblings (she and Mia are only together for walks and play time, or when they are being 'babysat' together). And, if the dog is perfect for me in every way, and I decide that I can in fact handle two dogs - he just might stay permanently.

So...I pick up my foster guy on Monday! Next week is my reading break, and I'm driving about 5 hrs to go pick him up. Tycho and his mom will come with Abby and I, and we'll make the trip into a little vacation by staying overnight.
His name is Bandit, but when I saw his puppy picture, the first name that popped into my head was Simon. Now that I've seen his adult pictures, though, Simon doesn't seem right anymore.

Apparently he has an excellent recall, and knows sit, down and stay. He's a year and a half old. He is also an 8 for energy on a scale of 1-10, high drive, and got a 'bit destructive' when left outside his old home. Hopefully that was due to inadequate exercise - I'm not sure how capable I am of dealing with full blown separation anxiety, if that's what the issue is. Or it could just mean that he dug in the yard and chewed on stuff when he wasn't supervised, which I don't think is a big deal at all (the giant craters in our yard are testament to the days when I was too lazy to give Abby a proper run).

-I just got some more info on him from his current foster mom! She said that he crated well last night w/out any fuss, and didn't have any accidents when he was in there for most of today, with a break at lunch. She hasn't noticed any anxiety. She doesn't know how he is with cats as she doesn't have any.

If he thinks cats are fun to chase, I'm sure Peppy will help him realize the error in his ways!

It should be fun to work with another crazy dog! As always, I'm hoping he'll cuddle, but I bet he takes a lot of tiring out before he'll consider stopping for a rest.
Five days and a midterm before I get to meet this guy...sigh.

Here is my list of possible names, depending on what he's like:
-Sebastian ('Bass')
-Basil ('Baz')
-Bagel (ok, ok so I should save that for the unlikely day that I get a Basset or a Beagle or some goofy droopy hound)

Yeah, I'm not the best dog namer...
-Mischief, my first cat, was named by my parents (I was 5)
-Peppy was also named by my parents (after the cartoon skunk Pepe La Pew, but we pronounce it like we spell it)
-My hamsters, Houdini, Pelly and Kimmi, were named by me. Enough said.
-Zoe came with the name
-Sam was the name of the dog in my recurring dreams
-Abby was named by my sister because I thought that if I let her name the new dog, she'd be more likely to like the hyper puppy I'd brought home. It didn't work (my sister prefers cats, or older, sedate dogs...). I liked 'Abby' because it was better than 'Bambi', which was the other possible name choice...Actually my favourite was 'Scout', but my mom didn't like the name for some reason.
-Darla was supposed to be renamed Clio, but she got stuck at the transition name of "Darling Clio" and then went back to being Darla.

I did name Tryp, and that's probably the only naming that I've really liked a lot.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hard decision

I made the decision that Joey is not my perfect dog. I think if I didn't already have Abby he'd be great, but as my super confident never-met-a-stranger dog he isn't exactly right. He sounds quite a bit like a male version of Abby - very handler focused, driven, 'biddable', trainable - but without the bitchiness. He sounds like he is fine with strangers when handled correctly, but he isn't the type of dog who actually derives enjoyment from attention from everyone. I want a dog that I can bring anywhere without worrying about how he'll react and who will run straight up to people who come over without a second thought. That is the dog that will boost Abby's confidence, and that would make me happy. Joey also has to be reminded not to protect his owner, which sounds very much like Abby. I already have my 30 lb mini guard dog, so I think I'll be fine without another (or without one at all, but Abby seems to think otherwise). So, as hard as it was, and as much as it feels like I just broke up with Joey, I told his foster mom that he wasn't the perfect dog for me. I feel so bad for Joey, but as was pointed out to me - there are millions of dogs that need homes and I can only adopt one, so I should adopt the one that is the best fit. I really do hope that Joey gets adopted soon.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Ooooh Boy...

So, I told myself I was going to wait until May. In fact, I promised myself I would wait until May. But seriously, who was I kidding? I've been online perusing the rescue sites for months for another dog. I gave myself lots of reasons why it would be better to wait until the end of the year, but I've now found a solution to each of those problems. It comes down to...once you have one, how much more trouble is two?

-It's more expensive: food and vet bills double. For food, I just have to suck it up and spend more. Vet bills, luckily, are practically non existent since I work part time at the vet and get a very very good deal. Other than those two big ones, there are small expenses like extra collars, leashes, toys - but I already spend way too much on those and have tons of extras.
Oh - I just remembered that agility is the other big expense. I think each dog would only get to go once every other week, because it would just be too expensive to double the agility cost. That isn't too bad though since I have weaves, targets, jumps and a tunnel in the yard.

-It takes more time - but only in some ways. Two dogs do interact with each other a lot, and do tire each other out a bit. Training time is doubled, but at this point with Abby we mostly work on practicing the commands that she knows throughout the day (while on walks, while playing fetch, etc.). During the time set aside for training, I've run out of tricks to teach! No, I know that isn't true, there are always more tricks to teach, but I have been teaching her lately to ride a skateboard. Some people say I have a bit too much time on my hands when they see that one ;) So what I'm getting at is that Abby is at a point where she doesn't need formal training sessions during the day, so I have that time to devote to training a new dog from scratch.
The other time consuming activity is walks, possibly. This would depend on what the other dog is like. There would be the possibility that I would have to take each dog on a separate walk on weekday mornings, which would mean getting up at least half an hour earlier. Hopefully, though, I could manage them together on the field after a few weeks. Weekends aren't a problem because we usually drive to our doggy activities anyway.

And now, introducing....Joey:

"Date: 10-01-2006
Dog Id: JOEY
Gender: M
Age: 1 yr - 2 yrs
We are not sure if Joey is a border collie or a border collie mix, but we do know he has a border collie's energy level...medium to high. Joey is just a little over one year old and is good with other dogs, okay with most cats and adores his people. Joey has a docked tail and only weighs about 30 pounds which makes him a very compact little dog! He loves to go places with you, is house trained and crate trained. This is a very smart dog that learns quickly and would be great at agility or flyball and has shown an interest in sheep as well. "

He is just too freaking adorable! I keep going back to his picture because he reminds me so much of Abby! There is something in his face and his expression (plus he's her size and has a docked tail). I started emailing his foster mom, and I'm going to talk to her on the phone tonight or tomorrow. If he does sound right, I might go meet him during reading week.

This is, of course, a huge decision. I can't be my normal impulsive self, which is exceedingly difficult. This Joey dog just sounds so great...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Learning with a long line

I hope I don't have to take all this back tomorrow, but the long line worked wonderfully on the field this morning. We've actually had a very good week as far as training goes. Last night on our walk two little dogs on the opposite side of the street were staring at Abby as they came towards us, and when they got close, they went nuts barking and lunging. I asked Abby to focus, which she did perfectly, even though her ears were completely back and twitching in the direction of the little dogs. At the field this morning there were two dogs playing medium intensity games of fetch, so it was a perfect opportunity for training. Abby tried to take off after them 2 times, and both times I stepped on the long line a split second after I said "no, leave it" - so great timing. The third time, Abby stopped her break for the other dogs as soon as I said "no". So there is hope after all!

As I write this Abby is dragging (literally, by the scruff) Mia around my bedroom floor, and Mia appears to (miraculously) be loving every minute of it. They are so cute - Mia tries to copy everything Abby does. Abby lies down, Mia lies down. Abby shakes, Mia shakes. Abby grabs Mia's neck, Mia grabs Abby's cheek...errr that one doesn't go so well. It's neat to see how their play changes though as they get more comfortable with each other. Abby lets herself get rolled a lot more, and there is a lot more nice side by side wrestling.
Ok just as I wrote that I looked over and Abby was about to hump Mia...and then Mia ran into the side of the crate by accident. As long as they're both having fun!

Right now for training Abby and I are working on: perfecting 'by me' (walk away), learning to ride a skateboard (she'll push it around the room right now) and attempting to teach jump into my arms (good for after an agility run).

Cuddly sisters

Thursday, February 01, 2007


This just made me so sad all of a sudden...I realized that the second dog that I want so badly is Sam. I don't know how it didn't click before now that every characteristic that I listed was found in my wonderful, perfect Sam.I started thinking about him because I was reading some posts on a message board about peoples' favourite ear types on dogs. Sam had the best ears in the entire world. They were thick, squishable, and silky soft, and they stuck out at just the right angle.