Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Exams are over!

The dogs are pretty happy about that!We went to the river today with Tyler and Toby. Tyler is the most handsome lab you will ever meet and he and Abby are eerily similar in some aspects of their personalities...they both flip to "brain has fallen out" mode in a split second and that involves a lot of barking and very little listening. Toby is the perfect small dog. He is so calm even when all the baddogs are freaking out! He doesn't like the water *at all*.
Abby tries the pitiful scream for a frisbee toss. This made the frisbee go away. She didn't mind too much. She just stole Ryan's Wubba instead.

And then screamed at Ryan for attempting to reclaim his Wubba.

Gimme! Abby always wins but Ryan loves her anyway.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The damn foot

I took the stitches out of Abby's foot today. They had been in for 10 days but at this point they weren't doing much. The wound is totally open and looks just as bad, if not worse, than it did at the beginning.

I guess we'll go get some more antibiotics tomorrow and I'll have to be strict about not letting her run or go in the water at all. Abby will not be impressed and neither will I!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Abby's foster cousin

My friend is fostering this cute little brown and white Chihuahua. Here she is playing with her foster brother Toby (Abby's mini-me!). The handsome black lab is Abby's boyfriend, Tyler.

Silly dogs

Instead of studying, I make pointless movies!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I've been paying attention to Abby's feet a lot lately because of her non-healing (urgh!) cut.

I like dog feet. Abby's are so petite and delicate and Ryan's are so very, very spotty.

Freckly feet
Shiny feet
Angry kitteh feet
Pile o' feet

Attention-seeking brother-blocking feet

Belly rub feet

Naughty spotty feet!
And a shnoz or two...

Or three...
(yes, she looks like she's wearing one of those old fashioned pilot helmets with the goggles and the chin strap)
(ok, so maybe it's just me)

Ryan's recall

It's missing. As in, his recall seems to have fallen out of his teenage brain and I didn't even know it until this afternoon.

We went for a walk in a nice forest-y park and as we were walking (well, I was walking and they were racing back and forth at top speed) I realized that I never really call Ryan. I practice having him drive towards me for toys (after a release word) and he is never out of my sight on walks. If I have to snap on his leash I usually ask him to "wait", and he does. If I see him about to take off after something (bird, squirrel, etc.), I tell him to "lie down". But "come"? Haven't practice that one in at least a couple of months.

So I tried it out - and got no response at all. He actually just stood 6 feet in front of me and stared at me. I ran backwards and he came to me...but we are obviously going to have to practice a recall again. How embarrassing to have a dog that will lie down on command wayyy out on the field but doesn't have a recall!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Breeders and Puppies

There's a poll right now on one of the boards that I read asking whether you would ever consider buying a dog from a breeder.

At this point, I can honestly say that no, I wouldn't. Based on what I want from my dogs, and on the kind of life I live, I know I could find anything and everything I want in a dog from rescue (shelter, etc.) The only purebred dog I could ever see myself owning is a border collie (I like dogs that have been bred for function, and of those, BCs are the only ones that I like enough to want a purebred). I think sheep herding is really cool and it's something I'd like to try out more with Ryan but I would be, at most, a "weekend herder" and to me that doesn't justify buying a well bred, working border collie.

My dogs have always been rescues and I wouldn't feel right having it any other way. I can see how people like having a guarantee (somewhat) of how their puppy will turn out but if I want my next dog to be guaranteed (size, temperament, etc.) then I'll go for an adult rescue.

But anyway, all of that "next dog" stuff is kinda outside the realm of my present reality since, barring any horrible circumstances, I have reached my self-imposed dog limit for the next 10 years at least (hopefully).

And speaking of that the heck did the dog that made me reach the limit grow up so freakin' fast??

From this:
To this:
From this:
To this:
Where's my puppy?? When he was a baby I wished he'd hurry up and grow up...and now I want the puppy back!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Abby's foot wasn't healing since the gash was so big so today she got stitches. I see dogs and cats under anesthetic all the time - I even helped with Ryan's neuter and with a minor surgery on Peppy. Somehow seeing Abby under anesthetic was wayyy worse. I think it's partly because she is never all relaxed and floppy, so it is really strange seeing her like that, and partly because she's my little Abby girl! She's on another week of antibiotics and she is *not to lick her foot* period. The stitches come out in 10 days and until then her foot has to stay relatively dry (not easy in this climate!).

Stupid piece of (assumed) broken glass!

Friday, April 11, 2008


Date? April 11th.
Time of school year? Beginning of exam period.
Amount of work? S**t loads.

And of course I'm updating my blog.

I have a problem and it's severe. I seem to have a dog specific form of buyititis. It's worse during times of stress and it's been ongoing for quite some time now. I pass a pet store...and I have to go inside. And once I'm inside I have to buy something. The products of the last few weeks:
-1 small pink kong wubba
-1 chuck-it frisbee
-1 chuck-it flying squirrel
-1 pooch ball
-1 rope toy
-2 doggy backpacks
-1 squeaky fuzzy stuffy
-2 (very pretty) dog tags-
-1 harness
...and possibly more. I need to get over this disease...unfortunately I'm pretty sure the only cure is 'broke', which I am very close to being.
The dogs are happier playing with each other anyway. Or with anything that I pick up and throw. The fancy toys are all for my benefit only!

Abby's entire head could fit in Ryan's mouth. *Nom*
Fail! Greenbone in prickle bushes.

Notice a trend here?

Yeah, Abby wins. And she knows it.
Actually, sometimes Ryan wins. But then this kinda stuff happens.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

They were an impulse buy, ok?? And they were only $10 each. And now Abby and Ryan can carry stuff for me on hikes...stuff keys! Yeah, keys! And their toys and water. Yup yup definitely a necessary purchase.

And the dogs love wearing them...see? Not stressed at all...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Poor Abby

We went to the dog park/beach today and it wasn't the best of outings. Within 2 minutes of arriving Abby had her back leg tucked up. I could see blood pouring out of her food - she sliced a deep gash in the tender part of her foot between toes. She didn't make a sound though. I realized just the other day that she's very stoic when it comes to hurting herself. I can't recall ever hearing her yelp (Ryan, on the other hand...).

Abby kept running after cutting herself and I figured it might be a good idea to clean the wound a bit with salt water. So she went swimming for her ball...and I managed to lose it after 3 throws. Then I guess Ryan felt neglected while I was searching for Abby's ball so he came and threw his big, sopping wet self against me. Ugh. That's when I decided it was time to go.

We stopped by the clinic (my work) on the way home and I cleaned up Abby's foot. It doesn't look like there's anything in the (very deep) cut. We could have stitched it but it will probably be fine as long as Abby doesn't get a chance to lick at it. And she's on antibiotics for a week.

She *hates* the cone so instead I put a loose sock over her foot (I didn't bandage it since I want it to be open to the air to drain better). She isn't too happy.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

To follow in the trend...

..of the "I love Abby" post, Abby was absolutely *awesome* at flyball today. Awesome enough to make me want to use an expression that I dislike - she rocked! She had been running only in our right lane races since she turns right on the box and we wanted to give her a higher chance of success (ie. not crossing over to chase). Today, though, she ran in 5 races (20 heats or so) on both left and right..and she never crossed over at all! She was fast and she came right back to tug her frisbee. Go Abby!!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I love my Abby dog.

She drives me crazy and frustrates me to tears at times, but I love her so much. That is all.


It's getting to be that stressful exam-time of year again and that training procrastination! This will be my last exam period for awhile (ever?) since I'm graduating with a biology degree. I'm not sure what the next year will bring - it'll be an adventure for sure. Back to the dog training - Ryan learned to "dance". That would be "beg" with a Ryan-esque twist (ie. he flails his 'arms' around a lot so I renamed the behaviour).
Notice the purdy coat? It got much nicer since the switch to raw.

We're also working on targets still. I want Ryan really driving in to the target plate and giving it repeated, hard nose taps. He's pretty good but he also has zero hind end awareness. So I'm also teaching him to just stand still on a plank with all 4 feet on it in the hopes of getting the idea of 'all 4 feet matter' into his head.He's also learning "flip" (turn away from me and take an obstacle going back the other way so that we both end up running back in the direction we came from). I used to call this 'left' and 'right' but I think a general 'flip away from me' is easier for me to keep straight! He's also learning to recognize "over", "hoop", "tunnel" and "bench" and can be sent to each individually from quite a distance. His agility foundation work is coming along slowly but surely. I'm in no rush - I really like training the basic stuff and I have Abby to work on the more advanced stuff with.

With Abby I'm working on automatic 180 degree turns. As in, if there are 2 jumps side by side and I stay on one side of the plane of the jumps, she should automatically jump over one and back over the other towards me without me using my arms. The clearer my handling gets, the less frustration barking she does so it's win-win.

Abby's AADC certificate arrived in the mail yesterday - I'm pretty sure it's the result of a mistaken Q on the website. I'm debating whether to take it or not. On one hand, what's the point of titles if they aren't legit? On the other, I keep remembering a run where we NQ'd due to my leg supposedly touching her in the weaves, which didn't actually happen (if I had touched her she would have popped out of the weaves for sure!).

I've noticed that Abby's self control has improved dramatically recently. There have been a few excited dog fetching incidents and she has ignored them. I'm thinking it's a combination of flyball training (she really got it into her head that her job is to get her ball and bring it back to me) and also the control exercises I do with her and Ryan together. I often play with one of them while the other has to stay in a 'down', or I put them both in a 'down', run across the field and release them one at time (this one's really hard to do!). Who ever isn't being trained at the moment inside goes into the crate but the door isn't shut - more self control. And I'll play an exciting game of tug but they are only allowed to tug when it's their turn. It's a lot easier to work on self control exercises with 2 dogs since the other hyped up, fast moving dog is a pretty big temptation. Now I just need to find a permanent stream of male joggers to run through the yard and that Abby problem would likely improve drastically as well :) Speaking of which, I'm thinking of investing in a citronella remote-control collar. More about that another time.

Both Abby and Ryan learned to put toys in a box. I'm still working on naming the toys. Abby gets easily frustrated and Ryan doesn't 'think' so much as 'do' so it's a bit of a challenge.

Last weekend was a good one for the dogs. On Friday after a run we went to the new(ish) Petsmart. Abby got a 'chuck it' frisbee that she loves (of course) and a fuzzy, squeaky blue ball. She had one when Ryan was a baby but he destroyed it. Ryan got a "pooch ball". It occupied him for so long on Friday and Saturday - a success for sure! Saturday was a normal work day - both dogs come to the clinic with me. Sunday we went and checked out the pet expo. Ryan came in but Abby stayed in the car - it's not her scene (little kids, out of control dogs, etc.). Afterwards, though, it was made up to her because we went to flyball practice. She loves loves *loves* flyball practice. We were preparing for the upcoming tournament this weekend.