Friday, April 29, 2011

All Creatures Great and Small

For the past couple of weeks I've been engrossed in the old British TV Series "All Creatures Great and Small". What a fantastic show! I read some of the books when I was much younger and I'm happy to have stumbled across this on Nexflix.

The characters are hilarious, from the vets James, Siegfried and Tristan all the way down to the clients and the animals. It gives you an appreciation for situations your own vet may need do deal with.

I would love to see the show modernized. How many clients would start off a conversation with "I read on the internet..."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lions Foundation Dog Guides

This makes me miss fostering. Great promotional video for Dog Guides.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

The water retrieve

The wait


The release


The takeoff


The touchdown


The disappearance


The strike


The return


The emergence


The shower

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Everyone's out enjoying Easter Sunday

With gas at $135.3/litre I'm sticking close to home! Crazy.


So this morning I took to the trails with Bullet.
Others had the same idea.

The horsewomen with their horses:


The mountain bikers:


The families with their dogs:






Have a happy Easter everyone!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Scamp (Aug 1995 - Apr 2011)

Last Tuesday we said our final goodbyes to Scamp. He lived a long life and was much loved.





Scamp was the family dog. He was born just before I entered college and when my brother was still in high school. He was there through our graduations, weddings, the death of my grandmother and mother and the birth of two children.

He was around before my first digital camera, I had to find and scan these photos!





After I moved out we'd steal Scamper on the weekends and for camping trips. When we bought our house and started fostering his visiting tapered out. He never became comfortable with the company of other dogs, I often wonder if this had to do with the fact he was a singleton puppy.



My brother inherited Scamp after he got married and my niece and nephew have not known life without him. He was a pretty good first dog for them.



The twist in this story is that Scamp decided it was time to leave us while my father, brother and family were on vacation.

My aunt called me when he stopped eating, drinking and was having a hard time breathing. I spent all day agonizing over the vet visit that was scheduled for that night but then relaxed. We all knew this was a possibility. My brother and I had talked about it before he left, for which I was extremely thankful. He almost made the appointment before leaving but just couldn't.

We'd leave it in the hands of the vet.

The vet knew my brother was back in 5 days yet did not feel Scamp could be made comfortable for that long. That was enough for my aunt and I, we said goodbye for everyone and let him go peacefully.

Run free, Earls Little Nipper, run free.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Money

Our dogs cost money. Buying them, feeding, training, vetting and even giving them a peaceful end costs.

A good friend I met through Aussie rescue asked that I submit a guest post for her blog (You know... that Blog!) which I gladly did by updating "The Cost of Responsible Dog Ownership". Check out her blog! :)

I like to calculate how much things cost me. For example, going to my friend's house to train on a weekend takes half a tank of gas in my Matrix. Let's make it an easy $25/trip in gas. The toll road costs $20 one way which I usually take home to avoid the traffic through Toronto. That's $45 just in driving. Let's say I train once a week for a year: 52weeks x $45 = $2340. Meanwhile I'm racking up the KM's, shortening the life of my car and getting oil changes more frequently.

If I drive the London way there is no road toll, but club costs are more and it takes 3/4 of a tank of gas.

Times have been tougher lately so I've really cut down on Schutzhund training. I hate spending hours on the road and the money it costs me to get there. Schutzhund is one of my favorite things to do but I'm conflicted because the questions "Can I afford this?" and "Is it worth it?" are ALWAYS there.

And it's not only the costs of the car. It's club fees, equipment, trialing. Fear of my dog getting injured (getting jammed, broken teeth, etc.) requiring thousands in vet fees freaks me out. Bullet is an accident waiting to happen! I'm not convinced it's worth it.

I was planning on entering the Ontario Regionals in June with Bullet but since we haven't trained since the fall I don't think that's going to happen. We'll see. Maybe I'll suck it up for another year, get his SchH 3 and then quit the sport. We've come this far already and it would be nice to finish what I started.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Overcoming your obstacles and facing your flaws.

An impeccable recall is one of THE most important things you can teach a dog.

My dogs have what I would call pretty damn good to excellent recalls. They are explosive and fast. I can call them out of a rough & tumble doggy wrestling session with one word. Lex has turned mid stride in the middle of chasing a squirrel on my "Here!". When I first release them on a walk they turn into frantic beasts, tearing down the trail and screaming to the world that they are alive – it took some practice but I can call them back when they are in this state of mind.

So I signed up for Susan Garrett's 5 Minute Formula for a Brilliant Recall.

Why?

It's simple. There is so much more to the perfect recall than the "come". The flip-side is teaching the dog self control. Through games this is covered in Susan Garrett's course.

I'm really good at creating 'drive'- speed, power, energy. I'm also super-duper fantastic at teaching my dogs to fidget, forge, creep, whine, bark, push... and this must end. Like now.

These self control issues limit what I can accomplish with my dogs and until I tackle this challenge head-on I will forever be less of a trainer. This course is pointing out holes in my training and giving me the motivation to face my flaws and overcome my obstacles.

Let the games begin!