Saturday, December 31, 2011

We wish you a happy 2012!

Happiness is not so much in having as sharing. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

~ Norman MacEwan

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Bully ate today. Just not what I had in mind.

I came home to this in my kitchen:

Sometimes words fail me. This was one of those times.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

My dog has not eaten since Saturday

Lexis is in season and Bullet is going crazy... And he is driving ME crazy. No food and constant hyperventilating is making him lose a few pounds that he really doesn't have to lose. Eight meals totally ignored. Maybe he'll eat tomorrow?

Six months ago I changed jobs and no longer have the privilege of bringing him to work with me at these times. I have never seen him so anxious and he is a pretty high dog to begin with. He's peeing in the house and getting destructive. Chewing the wood on my sliding patio door among other things. One of us may not survive the week...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bite Club

Welcome to Bite Club. The first rule of Bite Club is: you do not talk about Bite Club. The second rule of Bite Club is: you DO NOT talk about Bite Club!

Fight Club. I haven't seen the movie in years and it's one I really want to see again...

"It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything."

"The things you own end up owning you."

"I want you to hit me as hard as you can."

"I don't wanna die without any scars."

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The sun will rise

No matter what happens in your life, each day is full of new opportunities. Make the most of them.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lex is 2

For her 2nd birthday Lex thought she'd practice Bullet's tip on Alpha Rolls.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bullet training tip #1 - How to get the most out of your Alpha Rolls

To bring your human to their knees, flip yourself onto your back and maintain that position. Bonus points will be awarded for a lolling tongue.

Just watch the human melt to the ground beside you, giving you the belly rub you know you deserve.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tracy training tip #1 - Sealed with a kiss

When your dog indicates an article on the track in a way you find pleasing, kiss them twice on the head.

The first kiss will let them know you are pleased, the second will help them retain the information.

Everyone has their way...

Entering the trail for our bike ride tonight, Bullet and I passed a woman with an Airedale. The dog was lunging at us as we went by.

The woman claimed her dog was friendly, but was a rescue that never learned to greet other dogs well. She was pulling her dog back while mixing "no-no-no's" with "tsssss's", pokes and "It's ok's".

I kept going.

On our return I saw the woman ahead with her dog dragging it's leash on the ground. I slowed down and waited for her to notice we were there - we had to pass them to get home.

Finally she noticed me and grabbed her dog. I couldn't help it - I had to stop and talk to her.

Her dog was lunging and barking at Bullet again (who was sitting calmly at my side, the bike and myself between him and the Airedale). The woman's reaction was the same as before, right down to the "oh, she's friendly, but she's a rescue". While she was dealing with her dog I asked a bit about it.

She was a rescue, 1.5 year old female, etc, etc. Did I mention it was a rescue? I swear it was in every one of her sentences. In praise of herself, to excuse behaviour, to elicit an 'oh, poor dog' in me.

Didn't work.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's fantastic when someone rescues a dog. There are so many out there that need homes.

The problems start when people cling to the fact they have a rescue, as she was doing. When people don't let it go their entire relationship with the animal is tainted. Our perceptions influence how we handle our dogs and can cause more problems than solve them. Creating sob stories and holding on to what can only be imagined as having happened in that dog's life does nobody any good.

This is a real pet peeve of mine. Because a dog shies away when you reach for it does not mean it's been beaten. After watching this woman, I can say that if she'd had this Airedale since it was a puppy it would probably still lunge at other dogs - it's not doing it because it's a rescue.

Animals live in the moment and adapt quickly. With any dog you need to build a bond, teach it basic obedience, self control and give it exercise. Puppy or adult. Focus on becoming a best friend - not fixing a rescue with problems. This tweak in perception can make a world of difference.

Anyway, back to the Airedale story.

After a minute the dog DID calm down and sit. What did the woman do then? She ignored her dog.

"Do you have any food?" I asked. "If I were you I'd be heavily rewarding that behaviour."

"Oh no. I don't train with food." She claimed. "Training with food causes dogs to steal from children." (I didn't even start in on that one)

"A reward doesn't have to be food, it can be play or praise. Something the dog likes." I replied.

"Well, everyone has their way." She was clearly set in her "way". Whatever way that was.

"Who do you train with?" I asked, curious.

"Airedale rescue."

Fair enough. I was just some stranger on the trail and shouldn't have said anything to begin with since it was none of my business. She was following what she had been told to do by people she trusted and I respect that. I only hope that what I saw was a clumsy interpretation of what they suggest, and I wish her success in the future.

Less swimming

More biking!!! With the cooler weather it's time to hit the trails.

I love biking with my dogs, partially because THEY love it. Finally the slowpoke human can keep up to them.

It does mean fewer photo ops though. Maybe I'll try and get some in motion, duct tape my point and shoot to my handlebars or something. For some reason I don't think that will work so well...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The warmth of September

September. The time of year when Nature squeezes copious amounts of orange and red onto her colour palette. Her brilliant glow smears the landscape but for a while. Too quickly overworked, warm hues mix to mud and fall heavily to the ground.

Maybe this will be the year Nature is content with her work? Perhaps she will not feel the need to repaint her canvas white for a fresh start in spring?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Beastie boy no longer



I'm not the world's greatest Schnauzer groomer, but it's nice having a clipped dog. If you think that Giant Schnauzers don't shed you are welcome to come sweep my floors when he's shaggy! Most of the hair isn't from Lexis unless she's blowing coat.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

KG North Regional Championships

September 17-18th

Another upcoming event that you don't want to miss is the KG North Regional Championships being held in New Lowell, Ontario.

For more information click here: KGNorthRegionals2011.pdf

This event is planned to start at 5:00 am on Sep 17, 2011 at 5873 Simcoe Rd. #9, RR#2, New Lowell, Ontario, Canada L0N 1N0.

GSSCC Nationals 2011

September 6-11th

The German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Canada National Championships and Sieger Show is being held in Niagara Falls, Ontario this year! Don't miss your chance to watch the best teams compete for the honour of representing Canada at the WUSV World Championships.

Hosted by Niagara Hundesport & Police K-9 Training Club

Visit for more information.

Playing in the snow

Here's a winter blog post that I forgot to hit the publish button on. Are you enjoying your summer and making the most of it? August is over half over!

Nosey girl

When I leave my house, Lexis hops onto the window sill, pushes the curtain aside with her nose and watches me leave.

I always wave goodbye with a smile.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I don't know what I don't know yet

Working with animals there will always be more...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mullet head

Cut the sides, don't touch the back! ~Beastie Boys

Black Bear sighting.

Bully's a hairy beast.

Except for when he gets wet. Then he's a hairy beast with toothpick legs.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I found the girls curled up together on the couch. As dogs usually do, as soon as you go to grab your camera they move, but I managed to get these shots before they did.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Perfect practice takes practice

My goal is to live the saying "Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect".

When I talk about perfection, I am not talking about the performance of my dog. It is about my own plan. Taking control of my emotions (a hard one for me as I can be an emotional trainer - not necessarily bad but not always good!) Watching my dog closely and responding as needed. Not moving too quickly, or slowly. Finding the balance.

Not that everything has to be perfect all the time. But I believe that perfect practice is a skill that has to be developed.

It's also not about always having the answers. As long as you are planning your sessions and reviewing your ideal finished picture, where you are in relation to that snapshot and your successes to date, then you are on the right track.

The other day I found a note to myself in one of my old sketch books. Alone on it's own spread, it read "I know what won't work. Doing nothing." Being a perfectionist, I have found myself in situations where I don't even try because I am afraid of failing. Now THAT is sad!

Perfection is not a place anyone can stay for long. But some people reach it more than others and that's simply because it's part of their working plan.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The big plan for Lexis

Lexis will be 2 years old in September. Wow. Already.

Up until now I've been puttering around with her, not really training for anything specific since Bullet has been my focus.

Now that Bullet has his 3, it's time for that to change. It's time to get serious with Lex. But the big question is... What sport?

Agility? Rally? CKC obedience, tracking, etc? No, no and no. Not agility. Rally has never interested me. And since I let my CKC membership lapse over 5 years ago I have ZERO desire to ever have anything to do with them again. Not only do I dislike the CKC, the thought of the exercises bore me. Not that they aren't challenging in their own way, but you see, they aren't Schutzhund.


Yes. Lexis will like that.

What can I accomplish with her if I actually train regularly, with focus and organization? Hmmmm, interesting.

The truth is, I may never know the answer to that question since I don't have the ability to sustain my focus. But I can't underestimate the power of one training day at a time.

Even if we never trial that's ok with me. You see, I don't train to trial. I trial because I train.

And that is my big plan for Lexis.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bite me – Day 2

Day 2 of the National Helper Seminar at Capital City Schutzhund Club.
The focus of this day was how to properly catch a dog. Then came the certification test.

They warmed-up, and then practiced the skills without the dogs.

After that it was show time.

I brought Bullet out to help... Marvin earned his National Trial Helper Certification with Bully, congratulations!

The participants of the weekend.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bite me

Capital City Schutzhund Club hosted a National Helper Seminar this past weekend with teaching helpers Darin Clarke and Howie Jackman. It was HOT, but that didn't stop anyone from having a great time.

Here are some pictures from day one, July 23, 2011.
They focused on the hold & bark, escape, drive and reattack.