Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pillar of Strength: A Day for K

It has been a long time since I have posted on this blog, but I am still out there and have been following my blogosphere friends. And today I have a good reason for coming out of hiding: this is a day to honor the courage and strength of our friends K and KB at Romping and Rolling in the Rockies: http://romp-roll-rockies.blogspot.com/
K has been fighting the good fight against osteosarcoma, and together with KB, has been living life to the fullest every day. Pillars of strength, indeed. So, please take a moment to visit K and KB, and leave a word of encouragement or support!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Agility Piglet

Well, The Piglet is just over a year old now, and he has determined that he is going to be an Agility Piglet. Since I wasn't sure I was going to seriously train him for agility, P had to take matters into his own paws and start learning on his own.

P is really a pretty mellow, mild-mannered dog. He likes to wrestle with his sister, he likes to go hiking, he likes trail running with me, he likes to play ball... but none of those things seem to excite him nearly as much as agility. In fact, he rarely get super excited about anything, except for agility.

I haven't known many dogs who could learn so easily just by watching other dogs, but this is what P does. He watches B do agility, and then he runs out and copies her. I feel like a bit of a fraud... P has perfect 2-on/2-off contacts, and I never spent a second of time training them. He watched me work on B's contacts one day, and then he just did it. And did it again. And again. I would be doing yard work and realize I hadn't seen P in a while, and there he would be, stuck on the A-frame in 2-on/2-off position, waiting patiently for me to notice and release him.

And so started P's agility career. He won't be old enough to trial for nearly 6 months still, but he thinks he's ready for prime time already. And once we get his jump bars up to full height, I think he will be.

I made a decision to start training weave poles a little earlier than I usually would, because P was watching B and trying to copy her on his own, and I didn't want him to think that he had them figured out.

He learns so readily, and he loves those weave poles... it is amazing he can get that giant pumpkin-head of his through the poles so quickly.

I never would have guessed that my little baby piglet would grow up to be such a good, handsome Big Agility Pig. I think we're going to have a lot of fun!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Big Pig

So, half a year has somehow slipped by, and I have had a few people wondering what the heck has been happening over here in Geekland. For starters, our little Piglet has grown into a Big Pig - he's nearly 10 months old now. And I think he's grown up to be a handsome fellow.

He's much bigger and heavier than B now. He outweighs her by at least 10 pounds, but she remains undaunted. She likes playing with her "little" brother, but I also think she likes having an additional subject to rule over.

She still knocks him down at will, although she has to catch him first, and she at least has to work a little harder to catch him these days. (To be fair, she also allows herself to be knocked down on occasion, when she is feeling generous.)

I think P is the most mellow dog I've ever had. He's got a sunny little disposition and a remarkably even temperament. He's awesome with other dogs regardless of whether they are boisterous playmates, or whether they are fearful and need finesse. He loves little kids. He's so placid and untroubled that I have, at times, lulled myself into thinking of him as a bit of a simpleton. But then he'll do something scary smart and jolt me back to reality.

I hadn't entirely planned on doing agility with P - he seemed too mellow for it. But he had other plans - he went ahead and taught himself how to do most of it just by watching B. And he clearly wants to do it, so who am I to say no?

So, I'm planning on doing a few posts to catch up with how B is doing with her agility and obedience career, P's self-taught agility training, and how well Z is doing these days.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Grow, Dog, Grow

This month has been crazy busy, but I thought it was high time for some updates. First, about my special girl dog, B. We entered several trials this past month, and across all the trials this fall, B qualified in 32 out of 34 total runs, including a stretch of 30 straight Q's! I'm still keeping her at the Novice level for a while even though she has now finished all her novice titles, but will probably move her up to Open in a few months.

She has also been enjoying having a little brother to play with. She's been a remarkably good teacher, and it has been interesting to see her in this role so soon after she was the pupil. She is now teaching P all the things that L taught her not so long ago, and it makes me feel a little bit like his legacy is living on.

Which brings me to little P. By the way, for those who said that they will always think of him as "Piglet" - that's fine. We refer to him as The Piglet all the time.
P and B play very well together. They have plenty of wrestling matches which P only wins when B lets him.

But their favorite is to play chase. Some dogs like to be chased, and some dogs prefer to be the chaser, and then some, like B, are happy either way. So far in their relationship, it has mostly been P chasing B. Especially since whenever P tries to take off running, he only makes it a few steps before B catches him. I expect as he gets older and quicker, he may take some turns at being the chasee.

Z is mostly content to watch the youngsters run and play...

But sometimes he will still join in the fun. His gait may be a bit awkward, but he can still run! I think I caught him in mid-bark in this shot.

P has also been reaping the benefit of B having so many nice playmates - he has gotten to socialize with lots of other dogs. So far, he seems remarkably even tempered and confident with other dogs. Nothing much really phases him. He doesn't get overly excited and rude, and he doesn't get upset when he meets other dogs who are overly excited and rude, even if they are much bigger than him.

I took a few pictures the other day of a play date with one of B's friends, the pit mix, who is still just a big puppy himself. It was a smashing success.

P has been great in his puppy kindergarten class, too. He is calm enough that the shy/scared puppies in the class can deal with him, and he doesn't get rattled when the big rambunctious puppies tackle him

We actually have to watch B a little more carefully when her friends come over now - my former shrinking violet now sometimes has to be reminded to not get too rough. She seems to have some proprietary feelings about her little brother sometimes.

Having a puppy has been exhausting, especially with so much other stuff going on right now, but it has been fun, too!
Happy Halloween, everyone!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nevermind. I am crazy.

How embarrassing. Not even two months after defiantly declaring my sanity, it turns out that I am crazy after all. Dang! Really, though, it is all Mr. Geek's fault. Again.

Meet P. I think he looks like a little piglet, but that's not what the P stands for (although I will admit to seriously considering naming him Piglet.) He's kind of a funny looking little fellow, but I'm a sucker for big huge pointy ears. (Which I think might be how Mr. Geek tricked me.)

He is a little rescue pup, about 11 or 12 weeks old. He was listed as a cattle dog/border collie mix, which may be right - who knows? I definitely see some cattle dog in him, and we were told that he was relinquished to the shelter with a littermate sister who looked like a purebred blue heeler.

My first thought when I saw that big white head was that he was sure to be deaf. I told Mr. Geek that there was just absolutely no way I could take on a deaf dog right now. I guess that he took that to mean that if the puppy could hear normally (which he can) that he could get him.

B has been amazing with him so far. She plays so nicely and handicaps herself - sometimes I wonder if she is being a little too nice. He's a pretty confident little guy. B will correct him if he gets too far out of line, but she's been extremely tolerant so far.

Sometimes I feel a little sad for B that she is not the baby any more. But I'm also happy for her that she has someone to play with again. Since L died, hiking with B changed dramatically. The dogs used to race around non-stop, but when it is just B and I on the trail, she practically does the entire hike in heel position. So when we get back from our hike, I'm just as tired as ever, but she's barely warmed up! Perhaps this new addition will add some of that unbridled joy back into our hikes.

My little girl has grown up so much this summer. She has matured into a gorgeous, happy dog with some pretty good dog skills. (I hope that P will learn some good play skills from her!) Last weekend B and I went to another agility trial. Believe it or not, we had a perfect weekend and qualified in all 12 classes! The trial site was in a rural area, and on Sunday there were shotgun blasts sounding not too far away. Several dogs at the trial were scared or distracted by the noise, but I was happy to see that B didn't care at all - we worked so hard on her noise sensitivities, and it has paid off in spades.

Z is a trooper, even though I'm pretty sure he didn't see the need to get a puppy. He seemed to say, "really? Not another one!" But even Z gets in on the action sometimes, when everyone gets to running.

So, it looks like my course has changed again as P and I get acquainted, and a new chapter has begun. Maybe even a whole new book. It is a little exciting, and a little scary, and I'm not sure I'm ready for it. Rarely does Life wait for us to be ready, though, so here we go!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm Not Crazy

No, he's not mine. Because I'm not crazy. This little fellow was bred by a friend of mine. She has been trying to give him to me, but I have been resisting. I don't feel ready to take on a puppy right now. I think that B still needs some time to be the puppy in the family. She's doing great, but we still have some work to do. (She ran in her second agility trial a few weeks ago and got 8 Q's in11 runs, by the way - with a Motocross event going on right next door, no less!)

As it turns out, the puppy that my friend keeps trying to give to me is the only puppy left in the litter who isn't spoken for. He's an Australian Shepherd- with a tail. My friend bred this litter for performance, and she feels strongly that dogs have tails for a reason, so she does not dock them.

If we wondered how B would do with a young puppy, we got our chance to find out - my friend went on vacation for 5 days and asked if we could puppy sit for her. She was clearly hoping that we would fall in love with him while she was gone and decide to keep him.

B has been absolutely amazing with the puppy, handicapping herself and being so tolerant. She lets the puppy get way with anything

Z watches all their antics but doesn't usually join in. Just watching those energetic youngsters seems t tire him out.

I have to admit, he's a cute little bugger. And very sweet, too. I feel guilty about not taking him, partly because I know what a generous offer my friend is making, and I'm so flattered that she wants to give me one of her puppies. And partly because this is a very nice puppy, from well bred, good performance lines.

And B seems to like him, although I suspect that she might not find him as fun once he gets bigger and stronger and more coordinated. He's already pretty darn full of himself.

I've caught myself thinking about it a few times... it would be nice to get a puppy that doesn't come with issues, for a change. A puppy with agility in his blood.

But it just doesn't feel right to me. In my heart, I know I'm just not ready for another dog. And in my heart, I feel that when I am ready for another dog, I'd like to give another rescue a chance.

So, we've had a blast with our little house guest, and I will treasure the fun times we had with him, but his breeder is getting back in town and is coming to pick him up tomorrow.

Because I'm not crazy.