Friday, April 25, 2008

"The best water I've ever tasted"

According to Foxy the retriever.

Foxy is growing up quickly. She's outgrown her puppy jacket completely! Until I manage to find the time to exchange it for a bigger one she'll have to make do with walks on the street.

Soon she'll be bigger than Glory.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Shiny new wheels!

Dog cart prototype #3 is well underway, starting from the ground up with spiffy new 20" cart wheels from Lee Valley. Aren't they the most beautiful set of wheels you ever did see? I'm giddy with excitement over these wheels, crazy I know!

Stay tuned for more developments, I'm determined to create this cart 100% myself, by hand, starting with box joints. (Cart prototype #4 may get dovetails, I'm not there yet)

I'm building the carts, but the carts are building me. :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spring cleaning helper

My front yard needed help. The stone pathway had become so overgrown I figured it was time to save it before the stones were lost forever.

Bullet loves to keep me company when I'm working. Being a Velcro Giant he has to be right beside me, poking his head in my working space to inspect the job at hand. Protector would also be on his business card. Some people who walk by only get eyeballed silently, but others get the growl. Those who dare walk a dog past his property get woo-woo'd at.

We're getting there!

Friday, April 18, 2008

You just never know...

Some training nights are excellent from start to finish. Canine and human minds meld. You and your dog are in sync, working hard and exploring new boundaries with success. The progress at the end of the session is tangible.

Then there are the sessions when everything falls apart. You go left, your dog goes right. You wonder if you've actually taught them anything. Even your feet betray you by sending your body crashing into a wall.

What I've found is that it isn't always possible to predict when the training will go smoothly or badly. Some of my best training was done after an awful day at work or when I was under the weather.

After more thought, I figure it all comes down to my state of mind and expectations for that day. Going into a class thinking it's going to be productive can actually be detrimental. At that point if something falls apart my frustration builds. I'm not good at hiding this from my dog. Frustration and training are never a good mix.

The solution to my problem is simple. Get sick before training. This will dull my eagerness for progress and allow me to ease up on my dog.

OK, so that might be a little extreme.

How about I continue to focus on keeping it fun? Exercise my self-control and stop myself from getting frustrated? Practice makes perfect!

Probably a better strategy, eh?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

DANGER - Marrow bones.

Marrow bones used to litter my living room floor and backyard. The fear of the weight bearing bones slab fracturing their molars is what caused me to stop feeding them to my dogs. Bullet is a hard chewer and was showing damage to his teeth at a young age, not something you want with a Schuthzund dog, or any dog for that matter.

There is a new reason I will not give my dogs marrow bones:

Yeah, but what are the chances of that happening to your dog?

Great enough not to risk it I think. The first time I heard of it was last June when a friend of mine came home to find his dog in distress, displayed in the image above. Read Chico's full story here.

Two weeks ago the same thing happened to a friends 6 month old German Shepherd puppy. He required a trip to the emergency vet where the bone was sawed off under an anesthetic.

Today my copy of Shepherd Sports (the official publication of the German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Canada) came in the mail. When browsing through it I happened upon the article "The Most Expensive Bone Ever". Yep, you guessed it. A marrow bone got lodged over the jaw of this woman's dog.

If you do choose to hand your dog a bone, please make sure it is an appropriate size for your dog.

Training begins in earnest

Carting on a beautiful, crisp spring evening.

We're working on all the basics: gee, haw, whoa, easy, back-up, change of terrain, hills and eventually weights.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Foxy at the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival

I met so many people!

I saw horses for the first time...

You've got to be kidding me! I am NOT a pony.

With all my friends:

On the hayride back I had to not only step on the grate but I got to see the earth fly by underneath.

We were tired after our big day and slept head-to-head on the way home.

Big Feet?

How can Bullet go through the weave poles so quickly?

Is it because of his big feet?

I'm sure they help, but I think it has a lot more to do with his big heart.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Giant Schnauzers have PRESENCE.

There is no denying it.

Giant Schnauzers are a powerful working breed that radiates energy even when they are sitting still as a statue, silently watching on the alert. It is a joy to see them float over the ground at any gait, their muscles flexing with each step forward.

They also have a "Joie de vivre" that's contagious!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Woohoo! Tonight's the big night for Bullet and Glory!

Aftermath airs tonight in Canada at 8:00 and I finally get to see it!!! For those in Canada tune in to watch it on History Television. You'll get to see some flashes of Bullet, Glory and other dogs in action.

It was first screened in the United States and attracted 7 million viewers, the largest number for a single National Geographic documentary for a year which pleased everyone involved.

The facts in this documentary may seem unbelievable and horrifying. A team of researchers worked on it for months and it was then rigorously re-checked by National Geographic's special fact department, what they show is scientifically possible.

For more information and air times in Canada check out History Television.

National Geographic has some nice previews and a flash presentation.

Hagen Pet Supplies

I just got a call, at work, from Hagen Pet Supplies. ~Huh?

He asked for Tracy. Yep, that's me.

He called me to talk about the pet store I was opening. ~Um, no, I'm in advertising, not the pet store business.

Turns out it was a wrong number.

What an odd coincidence!