Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gold Rush

My house sits on a cul-de-sac at the end of a short road, maybe 3 tenths of a mile. My street lets out onto Manktown Road, which is fairly rural in the sense that there are no sidewalks, only sloping gravel shoulders. The footing isn't great, and the traffic rushes past faster than it should probably be going. In short, there's no good place to walk the dogs from my house. If I want to take them for a decent walk, I need to load them in the car and take them elsewhere.

The three spots I normally go are into Warren village, Thomaston, or the boardwalk in Rockland. Today I opted to take Elli to Thomaston, so we could take advantage of some steep hills to get a good workout. Elli could stand to drop a pound or two before Nationals next week.

{Elli would like me to say, in the spirit of honesty, that I could stand to lose MORE than a pound or two myself. Pot, meet kettle.}

Anywho, we had just walked up a nice steep hill, panting (Elli) and puffing (me), when a Golden Retriever spotted us from across the street. Totally ignoring the two adult humans and one child in the yard with it, the Golden rushed across the street and came after Elli. In hindsight, I don't think it was bent on death or anything, or there would have been bloodshed. But he did a lot of growling and air snapping, and I think managed to grab Elli's tail once. There ensued much yelping from her, growling from the Golden, and kicking and yelling of obscenities from yours truly.

After what seemed like forever but was probably only 15 seconds or so, the idiot owner of the Golden finally came and got her dog. Be proud of me: I didn't rip her face off. I did, however, remind her that there is this little thing called a leash law, and she needs to have her dog behind a fence or on a leash or tie-out.

I walked Elli back to the car, then drove by the house. There was no sign of the people or Golden, but I did take note of the address, then drove over to the town office. They gave me the phone number of the animal control officer. I called him and he was right down the street, so I drove down and gave him the information. He said he will follow-up with them and further impress upon them the importance of keeping their dog leashed. It was less satisfying but more law-abiding than me going postal on the person.

But next time I walk one of my dogs in town? I am carrying a BIG stick. And the next dog that rushes mine is getting the shit beat out of it. And if it's the same dog, then I WILL use the stick on the person too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Open - Ah, the possibilities (for humiliation)

Ian and I attended the Casco Bay Dog Training Club's obedience/rally trial yesterday. I figured it would be a good dry run for the Nationals, since I apparently suffered some sort of cerebral event and entered Ian in both obedience trials in Gettysburg. Also, we haven't trialed since last November.

The Good: Attitude was good, tail was wagging, heeling was attentive if sloppy. Figure 8 was good. Good retrieve on the flat - relatively straight sit (for Ian), no mouthing or playing with the dumbbell. Good dumbbell toss over the high jump by Yours Truly; nice and straight, good distance from the jump but not too far.

The Bad: No drop on the Recall. Ian clearly heard me, gave me that happy little look that says "I've never heard that word before" and came to front, sitting crookedly. On the long sit, he went down with about 10 seconds left to go in the exercise. And I ALWAYS practice longer than 3 minutes. Sigh.

The Ugly: Because Ian has always been only about 50/50 on the retrieve if I give a voice command, I use a hand signal instead. After my nice, straight throw of the dumbbell over the jump, I gave the signal just as Ian turned away from me to look at Grammy sitting outside the ring. Oops. Bad handler. And then: the broad jump. I took my spot and told Ian "Over!" He looked at the jump, looked at me, said "Aw, HELL no" and wandered over to stand in front of me.

Looks like we'll be doing a LOT of work on the broad jump this week. The recall is a tough one: if I over-practice the drop, Ian downs himself without waiting for my command. Also, I get a really slow, creeping recall. And contrary to his little charade, he DOES know what the word "Down!" means. I practice that a lot when they are in the house, running around the yard, etc. Yesterday, I think the lack of drop was just him "being a Cardigan." More long sit work. And more pounding it into my forehead that, if you're going to give a hand signal, WAIT UNTIL THE DOG IS LOOKING AT YOU!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Da Boyz:

Too bad they don't get along and all. ;-)

Friday, April 16, 2010

12 week photos

Not loving this whole stacking thing:

Hey, hotdog!

The side view:

This does not look very comfortable:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Faeries stole my puppy

You may have noticed that there haven't been many photos of Magnum in the last week or so. There is a reason for this: You've heard those myths of faeries stealing human babies and replacing them with changelings? My puppy has been stolen by the faeries. Or maybe an alien from outer space.

You know how some breeds just sort of gracefully grow from puppyhood to adulthood with a gentle maturing? They start out looking like miniature adults and just sort of get bigger? Cardis are not one of them.

My pretty, flashy, promising blue male has been replaced with a tube -- nay, a pipette -- with these long legs, huge hocks, big wide clumsy feet, and a ginormous goofy head. He's all gangly limbs flying in different directions, and he's as likely to trip over his HEAD and wipe out as he is to run or gait normally. His black ear is back upright and huge, while his grey ear is almost back up straight, and also huge.

Magnum is, nevertheless, a very happy little changeling. He dotes on his people even moreso than the other dogs, which was a pleasant surprise to me. He's confident with strange people and dogs. He's go-go-go, always ready to pounce and play. We have to sort of stealth cuddle him: wait until he's asleep or almost asleep and then transplant him to our laps. He is, quite simply, delightful. Even if he is a changling. Or a space alien.

I am still awaiting the arrival of the errant twin. We have a vet appointment tomorrow for his second shot, so I will have her poke around for it. I plan to ask whether a shot of testosterone would be advisable.

If it doesn't end up descending then things get hairy. My head says that there is only so much time/space/resources to go around, and if I want to have a breeding program/show home then I need to think long and hard about keeping something that can't be part of that program. But my heart absolutely adores this puppy, and I can't imagine him leaving.

Maybe the faeries could return my puppy WITH both balls?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hurricane Dog Show

Wow, 9-10 hours in the car to spend 4 hours at a dog show. I've clearly lost my mind. We drove down to Springfield Saturday afternoon/evening. By the time we got dinner and got the dogs settled at the hotel, it was nearly 10 PM. We had an 8:30 ring time, so it was a pretty early rising. Obligatory trip to Dunkin Donuts at around 6:30 AM, and on to the Big E.

Set up grooming area. Find people I know to kibbitz with while I drink my coffee. Take Ian out. Put him up on the table. Dampen him with a spray bottle, spritz on some I-don't-remember-what-kind-of-styling-or-finishing-spray-I-mixed-in-the-pink-bottle. Blow dry him while trying to slicker out the topline curls as much as possible. Wrap him in a towel to keep said curls from sproinging back to life before we go to the ring. Work some chalk into his rough and feet. Put in crate. Take Elli out. Repeat procedure, minus the curl wrangling since Elli has a nice flat coat.

Change into skirt. Pick up numbers. Watch ring until Pems get to BOB, grab dogs and return to ring. Take Ian in. Get dumped. Go back in for Reserve, get dumped again. Take Elli in. Get dumped.

Tear down grooming set up. Change back into jeans. Do a whirlwind trip through the vendors. Load dogs, head home.

Big score for the weekend: Discoverying that Cherrybrook now carries Chris Christensen products. I've been wanting to try some of those products, and they had these awesome little packs with like 4 or 6 oz. sample sizes of the day to day shampoo, a protein rinse, the After Bath, and the Ice On Ice -- for 10 dollars! So now I can try the products I've been wanting to check out without forking over a fortune for the big bottles. Woo!

The dogs were not impressed with the grooming products, but the elk antlers I brought home for everyone were a big hit.

And the best part: When I got home and brought the big kids in, Magnum was more interested in seeing me than the other dogs! Yay, people-focused puppy!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

2010 Point Schedule

I just looked at the point schedule in effect for Division 1 as of May 12. No changes for 1,2 or 3 points. For 4 points, it's now 6-8 rather than 7-8, so one less dog needed for a 4-point major. For a 5-point major, it's now 8-12 rather than 10-11. I guess we must be slacking off on dog entries here in the Northeast.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Yup. Still suck.

Since it was 78 (78!!!!) degrees yesterday, and since I had the grooming table out to comb out the big kids, I decided to try and get some stacked photos of Magnum. Aaaaaaand, newsflash: I still suck at stacking.

The good news is that, after the photo session, hubby made me a stacking stand. All I need now is some pieces of rubber matting or carpet to put down for traction on the foot bars, and it's good to go. Have I mentioned how wonderful my hubby is?

Other activities for the weekend: I and four other ladies rented the training center in Lincolnville so we could work on Open stuff in anticipation of the trials the weekend of the 17th. I also have Ian entered at both obedience trials at the Nationals, because why only embarass yourself locally when you can do it at the national level? Hey, go big or go home!

There were two Labs, two Goldens, and Ian. I felt like we were crashing a Sporting specialty. Ian did fairly well, considering that we left our dumbbell at home and he had to use a Lab-sized one. The retrieve is always a will-he-or-won't-he prospect, so we'll see. He was also cutting the corner off the broad jump, so I need to try and fix that before the 18th.

I had a little time to kill before the training session, so Ian and I got a good walk around Camden, and some quiet, cuddle time on a bench overlooking the harbor before we went. It felt good to give him some one-on-one Mom time, since so much of my dog time lately has been devoted to getting Magnum socialized and house-trained. I can't believe that there was ever a time when Ian wasn't in my life and in my heart.

In addition to the photo op yesterday, I took Elli for a long, brisk walk, one-on-one. She's perhaps eating a little too well on this raw diet, and she's carrying a couple of extra pounds I need to take off of her. Since Elli doesn't do cuddle time ("Ew, Mom, stop with the mushy stuff. Gross!"), this was good one-on-one time for her.

All three got individual, 5-minute work sessions in the house Saturday evening. You know you need a bigger place when you don't have space to set up the bar stools and do an adequate figure-8 in the house. :-/

As I was working on grooming, I'm now seeing a difference in Ian and Elli's coats as a result of the raw diet. It does seem shinier and healthier. Yay!! I'm glad I finally caved to Joanna's advise and undertook this, wiggins over the gross stuff notwithstanding.

I'm still not buying a beef heart and cutting it up myself, though.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What do Magnum and Office Supplies have in common?

This pen? Is a uni-ball. And right now, so is Magnum. He's only 9 1/2 weeks, so it's certainly not panic time or anything like that. He has time yet. But it would be really nice to check that particular thing off of the list of things that might possibly keep the little man out of the show ring, you know?

Now, I will be the first person to leap in the air and admit that I am woefully inept at locating these particular goods, at least on young puppies. I mean, they're sort of dynamic little things at this stage -- they're up, they're down, they're in, they're out, they're a whole freaking Katy Perry song. I'd locate one, feel around for the other, and not be sure if I had found the second or if the first had just made an end-run and popped up under my fingers again in this new location. It's like trying to predict where the whack-a-mole is coming up next. Using two hands is not an option; I only have two, and one needs to keep the exceedingly wiggly puppy in place. I'd recruit the hubby to help me find the dog's balls, but as wonderful as he is, there are limits. Trust me, at this point I'm going to find Waldo, Carmen San Diego, the Red October and the Holy damn Grail before I'm likely to find the MIA puppy bit.

Rather than make an almost 3-hour drive to Joanna's to go feel like an incompetent ass, I took Magnum over to my local trainer. I already pay Thom good money for agility classes every week to feel like an incompetent ass, so hey! Nothing new there. Thom confirmed that he could only locate one of the twins as well, so it's not just me. Or, Thom is also an incompetent ass. But I'm betting on the former.

So, if anyone knows any ritual, Native American Drop The Ball In The Scrote dances, now would be the time.

No big socialization outings to report over the last few days, what with the torrential downpours and all. While we were at Thom's, Magnum did have an encounter with a Wooly Mammoth, also knows as a rambunctious, adolescent Newfoundland. Typical Newf, the big guy was all "Puppy!!!!!!" and came running over to see Magnum. Magnum just sat, looked up (way up), and gave a doggy equivalent of "Dude!", then sniffed, wagged his tail, gave a little play bow, and would have started running around playing with the Newf if I hadn't held onto his leash. He repeated that behavior (minus the "Dude!") with a Lab mix, a Shih Tzu and a long-haired Dachshund. There was no fear, no spazzing, just appropriate greeting and a "Cool, let's play" in response to the other dogs, all varying degrees of bigger than him. I do love me a well-bred, even-temperamented (I know, it's not a word. shut up), well-socialized puppy.

So that's the latest from Casa Smalltyme. Next week my incompetent ass will most likely be making that trip to Joanna's for some adventures in ear-taping (see above re: the two hands thing). Expect to see subsequent pics of the cone-head in action. And if anyone encounters a stray boy-puppy bit, send it our way!