Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another Wet Afternoon

Today after classes we went to the mud hole that was once a field. Abby and Ryan had to be hosed off afterwards since there was no way that they were coming inside after that...and hosing off makes dogs go batty:
This is their favourite yard game. Ryan runs through the trees and Abby ambushes him on his way out. They do this over and over.

Happy Ryan with a long lost toy.
A size comparison. Abby looks so small next to him!
Abby earned her FDCH this weekend at flyball and her team, Cry Havoc, came first in Division 4. We are being seeded in Division 2 at the next tournament - I am getting addicted to flyball!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Three Years

I just realized it was three years ago on March 7th that Sam was put to sleep. I've been thinking about him a lot lately. Sometimes Ryan reminds me of how Sam must have been as a young dog. I only had him as a mellow-er middle-senior aged dog but I bet he was a firecracker when he was younger. He was as happy and friendly as Ryan.

I miss Sam so much when I think about him but I rarely get that intense painful jabbing feeling that I used to get. It makes me really sad to think that if Sam had actually been 2 when I adopted him, like the shelter thought, then I'd probably still have him now.

Wet Feet

It was one of those disgusting all grey all day kinda Mondays. We went for a long hike and I slipped on a bridge and fell in a creek. I fall at least once per hike and the worst part is that I'm usually laughing too hard to get up and then the dogs all come and maul me when I'm down. Grey days make me not like Vancouver.

This was obviously not taken today since it's bright outside. Abby did this today though so it's legit. She spends at least 5 minutes making a bed for herself every time before curling up. It has to be perfect for back scratching.

I'm fickle about Vancouver, though. Last week was sunny and I was in love with the coast.

This is from 5 years ago . It's one of my favourites. We were on one of the best vacations on an island where Sam could be off leash the whole time.And now...I have these 2 beasts.

"Whazzat thing? I squash"
I play tug with Ryan and Abby just hangs on to the middle of the rope, not actually tugging.
If she does tug with him she almost always wins. Then she drops the tug (and he promptly grabs it) and starts humping him.
Abby spent most of that sunny afternoon lying behind the couch watching a spider crawl around on the other side of the glass. If it had been on the inside she would have delicately picked it up with her teeth and deposited it on the carpet. Then she would have watched it try and crawl away (she is like a cat!)...and then she would roll on it to kill it. She'd also gnash her teeth at it since everyone knows that spiders are killed faster with nasty faces.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Ryan Video

It's for his birthday - estimated to be March 18th but I made a birthday video this weekend so I'm posting it now.

We just got back from a long day at an agility trial. I'm exhausted and so are the pups. I measured Ryan while we were there and he is definitely going to be a 26" jumper - the measuring wicket didn't come anywhere near the ground when it was on his shoulders! I think he will be put into 22" specials since 26" seems awfully high to me. He's built a lot thicker and heavier than Abby and it seems like jumping will put more stress on him than it does on her (she jumps 4" higher than her shoulder height). I weighed him at work yesterday, too, and he is a skinny 44.6 lbs.

We also learned some good self-control games to practice. They were demonstrated to us by Ryan's (probable) half-brother, Zephyr. Zephyr is from a litter that came into rescue 6 months before Ryan's litter from the same area of the province. He is all brindle - the same colouring as Ryan's back leg. They look, act and sound a lot alike.

But anyway, I need to work on these games with Ryan. They are kind of like the 'doggie zen' training described here: Training Levels.

Zephyr won't bother at your closed hand for treats and he leaves treats that land on the ground unless told he can take them. He waits for treats to be offered right to him rather than shoving his nose towards your hand as you're offering the treat. Leaving the treats is the default behaviour - he doesn't need to be told to 'leave it'. I like these games for teaching self control. Ryan is very good about this with toys since we've been working on them since he was a little puppy. After realizing my training mistakes with Abby and toys (she has a definite toy ON switch but a very well hidden and hard to access toy off switch - ie. if the ball is in my hand, her brain has shut off) I vowed to teach Ryan that toys are only fun when I decide to make them fun. The result is that I can run around doing agility groundwork with him with a toy in my hand and he can still think. If I were to attempt that with Abby with a ball in my hand her brain would probably explode.

I really need to get Ryan started in agility. I want to start him really slowly which is why I'm hesitating to put him into classes yet. I'm teaching him 'left' and 'right' when we go play on the field. We're still working on his 2o2o contacts. He's been over contact equipment with his target plate at the end. It's so different than training Abby. He has very little body awareness compared to her and is way less coordinated. When he rushes down the dog walk to his contact plate his entire back end swings off due to the momentum and he doesn't even seem to realize it has happened. Such a typical boy!

He's been loose a lot more in the house in the past couple of months. He's really only crated now when I go out. Other than my e brake and gear shift, he has yet to chew anything inappropriate (knock on wood).

I switched him to raw 3 weeks ago and he's doing great on it so far! Ever since he was a puppy he had poop problems (diarrhea every couple of days) and his coat wasn't very nice over the winter. It got really coarse and dry. After the last bout of diarrhea I finally switched him to raw and the poop problems have disappeared! He's also way less stinky (breath and coat). I upped his fish oil in the hopes of making his coat nicer again. So far he's had chicken, turkey, beef and lamb and he's done fine with all of those. I guess he is either allergic to cooked chicken or to something else in the chicken kibbles I tried since his allergies haven't appeared again.

I love my boy so much. He is the happiest dog in the world but he has just the right amount of drive and seriousness. He really compliments Abby perfectly and when I walk them together she is much less reactive. He greets other dogs while she stands back and watches and that works out fine. She's quite serious, he's a goof. She is a one person dog, he is happy to see everyone. I really couldn't be happier with him! Plus he is just so very handsome :)