Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!  

Monday, 17 December 2012

Fed Ex delivery

Who doesn't love a delivery from Fed Ex?! If that big brown truck is showing up at my house it's because something fun was ordered and is now arriving on my doorstep.  Today's little cardboard box contained three bottles of liquid.  Specifically the three scents you need for Canine Nosework. It wasn't supposed to arrive until after Christmas, so I was pretty ecstatic when I saw the truck pull up today.  I have wanted to do Canine Nosework for a while now, ever since I heard about the fun new sport taking over the U.S.  The problem was always that I couldn't get the scents up here in Canada.  Well last week I looked into it again and this time they had a Canadian dealer listed, so I went ahead and placed my order.

What prompted my recent Fed Ex delivery was the news that Denise Fenzi is offering a Canine NoseWork course through Agility University starting in January.  And unlike other training schools that start your dog finding food first, her plan is to teach the dog how to find and indicate to the three scents right from the very beginning.  That makes much more sense to me and I had to sign up!  I would love to offer NoseWork classes in the new year, so I'm pretty excited to get started with my own dogs.  And I'm happy to have something new to teach Strider.  It will challenge his mind to learn a new skill and keep him young without adding physical stress to his body. It is a great sport for young and old dogs alike!  Now the only problem is I have to wait until January to get started :(

I have also been doing a lot of obedience work with Spryte lately.  I find it gives us a nice break from agility.  I really need to work multiple sports with my dogs or I get burnt out.  And since the ground is covered in snow, it's time to move inside and work on Open and Utility.  Both are going well and we have mini breakthroughs each week.  I know we are improving because I have started adding distractions into our training. Things like heeling while I am swinging a rope toy around and throwing stuff , or fronts while I am squeaking a toy, or toys laid out with the utility articles and other similar types of distractions.  Generally when I add the distraction for the first time Spryte will struggle a bit and make a mistake. I always let her work through it and then we reach success and she is more confident in the exercise and what her job is.   I need to consciously remember to keep adding new challenges and distractions to each session, and not fall into the trap of being lazy and doing the same old routine. It is the only way she will improve and learn to work through anything that I set up for her.  Seeing her overcome a new challenge is one of the best parts of training in any sport.  It keeps it fun and exciting for both of us.

Here is a recent picture of Quinn (HyperHounds the Mighty Quinn) that was taken last week at a Christmas photo shoot. I had to share, he looks so handsome. Puppies are now 4 months old.  The other puppies are all doing really well too, I just don't have any recent pictures of them to share.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Dumbbell work

So I didn't end up entering the Cal K9 obedience trial. I really really wanted to, but the more I practised, the more I realised I need to work on Spryte's dumbbell mouthing first.  When holding a dumbbell she tosses her head back, rolls the dumbbell to her molars and chews and throws her head around at the same time.  Sometimes she just flat out drops in on the floor. It's ugly and I want to fix it.

So it's back to the drawing board for our dumbbell work.  I have started tying a string to it and teaching her to keep holding the dumbbell or I'll pull it out of her mouth.  And she knows that the only way you get a cookie is to have the dumbbell between her teeth when I say "yes".  When I first started this exercise any little bit of pressure with the string and the dumbbell would come rocketing out of her mouth. Basically she wasn't really holding it at all.  Once she realised that if she didn't hold it, the dumbbell would leave and all chances of getting  a cookie left too, she began to hold tighter and resist my pressure forward.  Now I can pull really hard and she clamps down on the dumbbell and doesn't let go.  I am excited about this progress, if she is holding it tight she can't roll it back in her mouth or drop it on the floor.

Next step is getting her moving with it and still maintaining the same hold.  I started this yesterday and it's going pretty well.  First I put her in a sit a few feet away from me. Then gave her the dumbbell with the string attached.  I backed up a few steps, start applying pressure and then called her to front.  Just as I expected the first few times I did this the dumbbell came hurling towards me as she relaxed her mouth while moving into front position.  She didn't know how to keep holding tight while in motion.  Again several repetitions later she realised what she needed to do and was able to move towards me and not drop the dumbbell.  Lots of cookies for Spryte!

It will probably take us a long time before her dumbbell holding is improved to a point that I can show her.  But at least we are making progress.  I wish I had of done more foundation skills initially with the dumbbell and holding tight.   But my last two obedience dogs understood quickly how to hold a dumbbell without any special training, and I assumed Spryte would be the same.  It has been a good reminder to me not to skip steps along the way and that every dog is an individual. I'll do it different with the next dog. <grin>  how many times have we all muttered those words!.

All the pictures in this post are from todays walk (Spryte is still very naked after having puppies!).


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A Great Success!

Our first weekend back at agility competitions and it was a great success! I guess I had nothing to worry about, Spryte is back to her old self again.  Well actually I think she is even more wound up at a trial than before.  Standing at the start line I always have my dogs sit in heal position before leading out.  Well Spryte would bounce and bark at me 4 or 5 times in a row before finally placing her bum on the ground.  She was just so excited to be back in the game.  From the way her line up behaviours started, I figured her rounds would be wild and out of control.  But the training stuck and every round she was attentive, her handling was bang on and she didn't blow a contact all weekend.  I was so thrilled.  Both Shelties Q'd 6/8 runs.  Spryte had a masters jumpers run that was 6.17 yards per second.  She was smokin!  The courses were really nice and they all flowed well.  Strider also earned his expert jumpers bronze and expert snooker bronze titles.

I have no videos to post. I have gotten a little superstitious about videoing my rounds. It seems when I video they don't go as planned, but when I don't video we Q more than we NQ.  So for now I will probably have no videos to post for a while, until I get over my little superstitious behaviour.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Something new for us

I am going to try Novice Intermediate (CDI) with Spryte.  I have never done it before, always going straight from Novice into Open. Problem was with Alaska and Strider it took two to three years before I was ready for Open after completing Novice.  That is a long time to be away from the obedience ring!

This time with Spryte I did it a little different.  From day one we have been working on all the exercises in obedience from novice through to utility.  They are all in various stages of completion.  With some exercises (directed jumping) looking very good and some that leave a lot to be desired (drop on recall!).  My plan with teaching everything from the beginning was to avoid big breaks between competition. It is working well, but we still have many months ahead of us before we are ready for Open.

I was a little disappointed looking at the upcoming trials, especially the Cal-K9 trial, thinking we are not ready for Open and I don't see the point in entering Novice again.  There was nothing for us to do.  Then it hit me, Novice Intermediate!  What a great idea to have a transitional class that works on Open exercises in smaller parts.  Things like a moving down in heal position, and a recall on the flat and over a jump with the dumbbell.  Looking at the rules I realised Spryte was ready for most of the exercises.  So I thought "what the hell, lets give it a try!".  So I have entered her in both the cal-K9's trials and the CKOC trials.  I'm excited to try something new, and happy we can come out and play while continuing to train for Open!

I had to share  this recent picture of Snap, she looks like she is really loving all this snow! 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

wow it's cold out!

My thermometer says its only -1 outside.  So I bundled up to take the dogs for a run. Wow how wrong the thermometer was! It is way colder with the wind chill, so our run was a little shorter than planned. But I did get some pics of the dogs having fun in the snow.

So now what...

Puppies are all gone now.  They all left on Friday and have settled well into their new homes.  I have been sent lots of happy updates and photos from their new families.  The puppies are all sleeping through the night, all of them love their kennels and have no problem going in for nap time.  All the puppies are making friends with their new canine siblings, and of course they all love their new humans immensely.  The puppies have successfully settled in and are beginning their new lives.

How am I doing?  I'm ok.  I miss my puppies, I think about them often. I remember all their silly puppy antics and I can't get over how quiet the house is now.  I have tons of free time again, and I find I don't have anything to fill it with.  I worry about my puppies.  I know they are not actually mine anymore, but it's funny how hard of a concept that is to accept. I know without a doubt that the new families are absolutely perfect and are the best possible homes I could have found for them.  But I still feel like their mother and I worry about their well being.  I know this will pass, it has only been a few days.  I take comfort in all the happy stories and photos the new owners share with me, it reaffirms that I did the right thing.

So now it is time to get serious about Spryte's training again.  Saturday we went to our first flyball practise since July.  She was rusty and we had to take several steps back.  Catching the ball out of the loaded box was tricky and took a lot of work for her to get her coordination back.  I know with some consistent practise she will improve quickly and be back to the level we were in the summer.  My goal is to take her to the february tournament.

I have also started our obedience training again.  I would like to get her CDX title this year.  Holding the dumbbell without rolling it around continues to be a big issue, so we will need lots of consistent work on that.  The other skills are decent (especially the jumps, that is always her favourite thing to do), but again a bit rusty because it has been a while since we have practised. It is time to start really proofing and adding distractions, and taking the show on the road. So we will focus on our training and meeting these goals.

We are also entered in our first agility trial this coming weekend.  Regionals was the last competition we entered.  Our agility practises have been going well, but I admit I am a bit nervous for this weekend.  I just hope the teamwork is there like it was in the summer and we don't have an awkward adjustment period.

here are pics of the puppies in their new homes:

snap enjoying the sun

Quinn hoarding his toys (something his mom did all the time as a puppy)

Quinn playing with his new toy

Cricket playing with her new sibling, Jerry.

Cricket playing with new toys

Izzy loving the outdoors

Izzy with her new princess bed, lucky girl!

Here is a video from flyball practise on Saturday. the two puppies on the team, Radio and Snap are playing tug and doing recalls

Monday, 15 October 2012

Day 58

Puppies turned 8 weeks old on Saturday.  They all go to their new homes on Friday.  I have 4 days left with my little fur babies, and I am spending every free minute with them.

 Mostly this week we are continuing socialisation and exposure to novel things.  They continue to have many visitors, and we go outside for big runs multiple times a day.  We have also taken a few more drives, and puppies are sleeping one to a kennel now at night.

The owner of Ace (the sire of the litter) came out for a visit today too.  Again here is another breeder with many years of experience and many Champions under her belt.  She too loved the litter.  Great bodies, great structure, nice heads, everything we want in a performance dog as well as a conformation potential.  It will be interesting to see how many of these puppies end up with titles on both ends ;)

I have also started recall work with treats.  I had tried a few weeks ago, but interest in food was kind of minimal at that time.  Today was a huge difference.  They LOVED the zukes treats and would come running from half way across the yard when I called.  There is nothing more adorable than four fuzzy puppies running as fast as their little legs will take them in my direction.  And once they got to me they were searching out their reward.  They are starting to understand that responding to a cue will result in a reward for them.

It is probably time for me to formally introduce all of you to the puppies.  The new owners have chosen their call names and registered names.  (pics and videos from yesterday)

Readers meet the first Hyper Hounds litter...

HyperHounds Capture The Moment   aka "Snap"

HyperHounds Isadora Blu by U   aka "Izzy"

HyperHounds Flying Cricket  aka "Cricket"

HyperHounds The Mighty Quinn aka "Quinn"

more pics from yesterday

Friday, 12 October 2012

Puppy Assesment

Leanne and her mom, Helen, came out this morning to assess the litter of puppies.  They have been breeding Shelties for at least twenty years and have had countless conformation champions and ROMC dogs over the years.  I doubt there are two people more qualified at assessing Sheltie puppies than these two.

I admit I was a little worried that the puppies might not meet their high standard of quality.  I love my puppies very much and to me they are all beautiful, but I might be a little biased. So what would an expert say about my first litter?  Well they loved them!

They had lots of wonderful things to say.  Beautiful thick coats, nice heads, nice full muzzles, good body, nice structures, good rear angulations, nice fronts.  Overall a very nice litter!  Both sables for sure could get their championship and if the large bi black girl stayed in size she could probably finish too.  They loved the small bi black girl, but said her face just "isn't enough". Just not full and round enough for the show ring.  I can live with that, it's what gives her that cute "cuddle me now" look. 

So I am beaming from ear to ear that my first litter so far has been a success!

here are the stacked pics and faces of the puppies (8 weeks old). it was hard to do, they didn't want to stand still, so they are not stacked perfectly, but at least you get an idea of what they look like.

sable boy

small bi black girl

sable girl

large bi black girl

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Day 52

Some pics from our outing today.

Monday, 8 October 2012

A family Affair

It takes a village to raise a child, so the saying goes.  But how many people does it take to raise a puppy (or a litter of puppies?).  According to Ian Dunbar it takes 100 people by the time the puppy is 16 weeks of age to properly socialise a puppy.  I'm sure there must be a 100 people in a  village? Well my family is not made up of 100 people, but when we are all together it is loud enough to be classified as a village! 

This past weekend the puppies and I headed up to Invermere for 2 nights for Thanksgiving dinner.  This will probably prove to have been the key socialisation exercise for creating stable, outgoing adult shelties.  The puppies drove 3 hours in both directions, kenneled together in the car.  They slept the entire way.  Then when we arrived the puppies were xpend in the kitchen surrounded by all my family members.  When we were all together there were 10 adults and 4 nieces (ranging in age from 2 months old to 5 years old).  At times it was absolute chaos.  Dishes clanking, people laughing, children screeching, babies crying, balloons bouncing, dogs barking (oh ya, the puppies also met 3 other dogs) and all the other activity that accompanies a large group of people. 

How did the puppies react? Well they loved it of course!  The puppies were cuddled and played with, they play bowed and barked at the family dogs, they chased the kids feet as they ran by, they played tug with anyone who would grab a toy.  They were the center of attention and they knew it!  I think I will need to do a visit like this with every litter of puppies :)

Here are some pics from the weekend and 2 videos from today:

my 5 year old niece with puppies

large bi black girl and sable girl

my Dad snuggling the small bi black girl

my nieces with the puppies

small bi black girl

sable boy

Spryte crashing after playing fetch and tug with my nieces