Friday, November 16, 2012

This week

Well, I'm not doing to great with this word count, am I?  Of course, if you wanted to count my email and Facebook contributions for the month, I'm sure I'm well past my goal.  Because I'm a social media-aholic.  Blogger... not so much.

*What the h*ll is she talking about?*

In somewhat related, but not entirely related news, I'm tired as h*ll.  I'm quite happy the work week is over... who knew four days could feel that long?  While I love my job, it has been a long month or so.  Painful.

I suffer from the affliction of still being pretty new to my job (just over three months), and there's a steep learning curve.  I'm rarely thrown a problem that I just "know" how to handle, and more often than not, I have to teach myself a new function/syntax/language before I'm able to implement a solution or build anything.  This is okay in a lot of respects, but many of the clients are in their busy season, and I just feel out of my league.  Long days.

So I haven't done much with the dogs recently.  I took both Epic and Legend out to rally practice on Sunday, where they both did well.  We skipped flyball class because Legend had a gimpy leg for a while, and our Monday rally class had the night off due to the long weekend... so we've been pretty lazy.  I did work some basic rally stuff at home with the boys this week, but that's all.

Legend also finds himself with an affliction these days... it's called "being a 7 month old puppy".  He's terribly misunderstood.  He didn't pull the trim off the hallway floor... he was just helping me put my flooring tools away.  He didn't eat my work gloves, he was just saving me from washing them.  He didn't un-stuff all those stuffies... he was just looking to silence the squeakers so they didn't disturb us. He's a very helpful puppy.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Digital Writing Month

I have been reminded that it is digital writing month, so I thought I better get on here and update the blog again.  If you are unaware of DigiWriMo, check it out here.  The goal is to produce 50,000 words in the month of November, through digital media.  An interesting challenge, considering this is a medium that values clarity and brevity.

Consider this the start of my personal DigiWriMo challenge, and I'm 71 words in (courtesy of  this nifty word count tool).

As an update on the dogs, Legend is now approximately 6 (pushing 7) months old.  He's 22 inches tall at the withers, and I've absolutely lost track of his weight.  He weighs a lot though.  I know this, because it feels like I'm always man-handling the giant moose dog to 'get him off' this, or 'out of' there.  The once sleepy puppy has woken up and taken on an adolescent role.  Heaven help us.  This week alone, I've lost numerous socks, toys, a bed skirt, and a container of cottage cheese.  While I was standing at the microwave today, the puppy was standing beside me chewing on a chair leg.

To make him even more charming, he puked in the bed a few nights ago.  In his sleep.  Right beside my head.

In less disgusting news, he's also doing very well at rally, and is learning his beginner flyball drills.  Last I checked, he could go down over four jumps and back, at speed, without me having to support him.

Epic has been feeling a little under the weather lately, and seems to suffer from an empty stomach problem in the mornings.  To try and curb this I've been giving him a very substantial bed time snack and probiotics, but we haven't quite resolved the issue yet.  As of right now, he's fighting a bit of a virus and isn't very happy about eating at all.  Poor little fella.

Dixie is still very Dixie-ish.  She came in lame not that long ago, so we've been 'keeping her quiet', which is laughable.  Because it's impossible.

And finally, Bailey.  Bailey just turned 9 years old, and ran in a flyball tournament this last weekend.  He was, of course, as solid as ever, but we did learn that he'll only run for cheese.  Literally.  We tried hot dogs for treats, and apparently hot dogs cause him to leisurely stroll to the start line.

So that's the quick update.  I would hope that throughout this month I should be able to retell some more interesting, creative stories on this blog.  The dogs give me plenty of material; I just need to do something with it.

508 words

Monday, September 10, 2012

It happened

Six years.

I've been playing flyball with Benny for six years now.  Always as a start dog.  We've had some ups and downs in his career.  His ball drive sometimes tells him to do bad things, and up until last year, he was known to sometimes head off down the wrong lane on the green light.

In those six years, we've had some good starts... I remember a .001, and a .003.  I also remember some bad ones. The odd .400 and beyond ( O.o ).

Yesterday was day two of a local tournament.  Ben will be 11 years old next month, and we were running on a Veterans team.  Even as an overweight vet, Ben held sub-5 second times all weekend, and I couldn't have been happier with how he was racing.

And then, on our last race of the day, it happened.  What I thought was going to be our first false start of the weekend ended up being a .000.  After six years, at 11 years old, we got a perfect start.

We've had a lot of fun moments together on the lane, Ben and I.  But

The only thing I have that's close to photographic evidence of the start is this small video capture.  You can't see the zeros, but you CAN see numbers on the OTHER timing board, which is NOT ours :)  Ours is a blob of zeros.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Two weeks in

Legend is still around 18 inches, and 30 lbs.

Our favourite dog park is open again!!!  We gathered our friends and went for a romp this morning.

Also of note? It's Dixie's 4th birthday!  Time flies when you have a Dixie.

And for an Epic update:  The chiropractic appointment seemed like a success, and we're scheduled to go back in two weeks.  Epic's pelvis is out, and both hips are inflamed.  So he was adjusted, and is on anti-inflamatories for the hips.  Poor bean.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Walking, walking, walking

We've had a problem recently.  There is a new housing development going up around our normal dog park, and this had made it largely inaccessible to us.  We love that park.  It isn't well kept, but it's natural and has plenty of room, bush, and water to play in.  It's a LOT quieter than the other parks, as it is on the very edge of the city and isn't well fenced.

The other dog parks in the city tend to be overcrowded, and just aren't preferable for Epic and Dixie.  We've been taking Bailey and Legend this last week, because they can handle the crowds.

Side note: Today a pair of rammy dogs were hounding the puppy, and eventually sent him running in fear, and rolled him.  I was there to help him out (along with another dog we were walking with), while the other owners half-heartedly tried to call their dogs off from a distance.  SIGH.

As Legend has been getting quite a bit of special time lately, I took Epic for a leash walk this afternoon. I can probably count on one hand how many decent leash walks he gets in a month, as he is kept busy with other pursuits.  When I do take him out, it's usually just to the little park beside our house, where we kick around for 20 minutes.

So today I grabbed a long line and we made the 5 block journey to the *big* park.  This park covers a large piece of land, from 33rd St. up to the railway tracks along Circle.  It is under-utilized, because it's often too wet to mow properly.

Epic and I don't care.  We spent almost an hour exploring.  He chased ducks out of the slough and looked for mice in the tall grass.  He ran snapping after dragonflies, and zooming down rabbit paths.  Then we happened to wander to the other side of a stand of trees, and we found ourselves in-between the chain-link fence protecting the tracks, and the berm designed to block the train noise for local residents.

This little slice of park was empty, untouched, and extended for miles.

And for a little while, it was ours, and ours alone.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

3 days later

The puppy is 18 inches, and 28lbs.

He does a lot of zooming in the yard with the other dogs, and a lot of laying around the house.  This is, in part, because none of the other boys will actually let him *do* anything in the house.  Dixie has taken a strange liking to the beast, but no one is particularly willing to let him into their space.

He did, however, manage to worm his way into my bed instead of his crate last night.  We stayed there for 9 hours, with the massive puppy curled up at my back, and Epic against my chest.

There are no guarantees that tonight's sleep will be as easy.  Epic seems to be having some kind of back or hind-end pain that is causing him to limp occasionally, and be EXTREMELY cranky.  It forced my hand a little, and I gave him some metacam in hopes of making his night easier.  We'll try to get him to the chiropractor in the next few days.

In regard to training, Legend came to us with a decent recall, and knowing "sit".  I hadn't done a lot of training with him in the first few days, because I thought I'd let him settle in a bit.  Judging from his mischievous streak, he's settled now.  After a few 5 minutes repetitions we seem to have "down" figured out, although it of course needs some work.  We also have the makings of what could be a pretty spiffy heel!

I really hate this initial training period.  I'm lucky that Legend came from a great foster home, so his learning base is really good.  I just find myself wanting to rush through the "down" and "stay" stuff, to get to the fun tricks.  And of course, there is merit in teaching the fun tricks side by side with the boring obedience stuff, but the fun doesn't really start without the basics to build on.

I've also noticed a huge difference between the way I train Epic, and the way I need to train Legend.  Epic has always been exceptionally quick to learn, and our training sessions are rapid.  He has a great work ethic, but I need to stay calm and quiet when working with him, to keep him engaged and thinking.

Nothing about Legend is quick, although he is intelligent.  I feel like I spend a lot of time waiting for Legend.  This is fine.  He's IS getting it, and he can't really move that fast anyway, as his long noodle legs tend to betray him.  The challenge isn't the dog, but rather that it's a new set of skills for me to learn, and I have to flip the switch depending on which dog I'm working with.

The size difference between the dogs will also prove to be interesting, from a training standpoint.  I'm used to working with my compact little dog.  Legend needs a lot more room to manoeuvre.

And that's where we're at right now!  Puppy is growing, but slowing.  Epic is sore and cranky.  Dixie is in love.  Bailey is a Bailey.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

So I did something

Epic and I went to a rally trial the weekend before last.  Fantastic!  I saw his very best during the advanced rounds (although no Q), and we took home high in class in Novice Team with our good pal Spencer.  We had a PB score of 198/200, and I couldn't be prouder of those boys.

There was another special little boy at the trial.  I had visited with him before at drop-in classes.  He was a little staffy cross being fostered by a local trainer, and his name was Chaos.  The weekend of the trial, Chaos was going out to an adoption event.  And I got nervous.  I got waaaaay more nervous than I had any right getting, because I had no desires to get another dog.  So I tried to push him to the back of my mind.

He came home from the event on Saturday evening and he had a family interested in him.

I panicked.

His name is Legend now.  He's ~ 4 months old, and 17 inches tall (!!!).  He's currently at about 25lbs, and growing like a terrible, invasive weed.

He came home last Friday.  The first night was pretty normal around the household, because puppy was very tired from a long day of daycare, and very stressed.  By Saturday the rest of the four-leggers realized the puppy wasn't going anywhere, and they started teaching his *very important* puppy lessons.  These include subjects such as: 

"That's my toy, not your toy"
"You're not allowed to touch that"
"That's where *I* lay"
"You're not allowed to touch that"
"Don't jump on me"
"You're not allowed to touch me"
"You're not allowed to touch that"

Poor hard-done by puppy.  Dixie and Ep WILL run with him in the yard, but the house is still a bit unsettled.

So, while Epic is my heart dog, I've opened myself up and let a Legend in too.  He's sweet and snuggly, and he makes us smile.