Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ending Our Hiatus

Well, hello there. Obviously I haven't been blogging much. Okay, okay, okay. Obviously, I haven't been blogging at all. We have been busy since I last blogged in March, but I just haven't sat down to the computer to say anything about it...until now. So, thus ends my blogging hiatus.

So, what's been up you ask? Here are a few highlights...

While we had a few warm days here and there...

...the snow refused to melt quickly and spring insisted on being late again this year.
Throughout the winter I spent a lot of time at our local shelter working with a special dog, Maverick.

Maverick was terrified and fear aggressive after being surrendered by his owner. I spent 4 months training him and worked hard to find him an appropriate home. A great family specifically looking for a Plott Hound adopted him in April...I hear he is doing awesome :)

Then I fostered this handsome pup...Patrick...

 I loved this little guy and very nearly added him to my family. He was everything that I would look for in my next dog. But timing was all wrong, so I reluctantly sent him off to a new family that loves him as much as I did.

In April spring finally decided it would sneek a peek at the world and melted much of our snow. The girls and I did a lot of hiking and having fun...

Then Holly went and injured herself, again. She spent 3 weeks solidly lame in her left front leg. I thought she re-tore her shoulder again, so off to the vet and the canine PT we went. Fortunately, her injury turned out to be some sort of muscle knot that refused to release. After PT, Chiropractic and Acupuncture work, she was sound again in just 5 days and has remained perfect ever since. I have no idea what she did or when she did it, but that's par for the course with Holly.

In May, Danee attended her second and third agility trials. NADAC added a Intro class to their lineup, which is basically a very easy pre-novice style class. The courses are very short easy sequences with no weave poles, so I entered Danee in several classes at each trial. My goals were for her to stay focused, to drive to each obstacle and to have fun with me. Success! Little Dog had a great time and she earned a few Intro Q's to boot :)
Photo by Joe Fisher

Holly got to play agility too and I was reminded of how much I miss doing agility with her. We had a great time at both trials and both girls earned many Q's and a few new titles. My job doesn't really allow me to do agility trials in the summer, so we won't hit our next agility trial until September or October this year. Hopefully by then I will have finished Danee's weave pole training.

Dog owners in my little town have only two options for getting help with training their dogs...take a short class on force based training with a local guy through the community college, or drive over 2 hours to another town for training that doesn't involve prong or shock collars. So I decided to offer some free help to those interested in learning how to be their dogs own trainer doing force-free training. The response was overwhelming! I am not a certified trainer, but I discovered that there were many people desperate for help in figuring out how to learn on their I did.  So once a week folks come up to my house and they learn how I chose to teach my dogs all that they know, and they learn a little bit of pre-beginner agility on the side. We are having a lot of fun with it and I am amazed at the transformation in the minds of some of these dogs has gone from forcing his dog to stop wiggling in excitement by physically laying across her on the ground, to having taught a default sit and a go-to-mat settle!

June arrived, work was busy, and my sister visited with her two dogs to help me celebrate my birthday...the big 40.

My family bought me a Treat and Train (aka Manners Minder) and it's the most freaking awesomely fun toy ever! I'm having lots of fun using it to train Danees weave poles and to counter condition Holly to not freak out over the neighbors horses.

I find it mind boggling that July is almost over already. This month has been very hot and very busy at work. We've spent most of my free time walking and hiking in the shady woods and visiting creeks, alpine lakes and the river for hot sun swimming.

I promise to become a regular blogger again...because who know what fun adventures August will bring :)