Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yay It's Snowing!

Okay I'm done with snow. You can make it go away now.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winter Hike


One of the great things about the area where we live is that I can leave our house in Virginia, and after a ten minute drive and a fifty minute hike I can be standing on a cliff in Maryland looking across the Potomac River into West Virginia. This trail is called Maryland Heights and it is BRUTALLY steep. But you are rewarded with a spectacular view at the top. Both Winnie and I needed the exercise (I discovered that precisely half of us are woefully out of shape) and although it was cold, it was sunny and pretty pleasant once we got moving.

Most of the time when we're out, I am always training. I try to keep it fun, but we work on heeling rather than always letting her wander around - I put her in a heel when people approach or just every now and then. The rest of the time it's leash manners, and I throw in some other commands to keep her thinking. But I must confess, today I did not correct her for pulling on that leash uphill! I'm not sure I could have made it to the top without her assistance.

One more note. I'm not sure when the puppy 'terrible twos' starts, probably six months. She's definitely been testing me lately, wondering how serious I am with commands and whatnot. I think adequate exercise is a key, and I look forward to warmer weather and longer days so I can do more outside with her before and after work in daylight. But I do still want a snowfall, so I'm not ready to abandon winter just yet!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Six Months Old

Winnie turned six months old yesterday. Hard to believe it's only been four months since we drove through that awful hurricane to get her. She's so much a part of my life now it seems like she's been here forever.

Speaking of that rainy weekend, I was looking through pictures of that trip and I keep stopping on this one. It's one of my favorite photos of her because it's so easy to recall the emotions of the moment. Happy, the day was finally here and she was all mine. Nervous, did I know what I was doing and are we even going to be able to get home through this intense storm? Well four months later I still am not sure sometimes if I know what I'm doing, but it has become clear that if I don't, she does. And all the challenges that lie ahead will be fun to figure out together.

Winnie at six months old...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chris...

My friend and Winnie's breeder Peg sends pictures of her dogs to me (though not NEARLY as regularly as I flood her inbox with pictures of Winnie!). This is Winnie's littermate, Chris, showing how easy it is to relax in a comfortable and loving home. He looks great, what a beautiful coat! I can't wait to see him and Bitz and hopefully some others from the litter this Spring in Michigan at the National Specialty show!

Buck Tries a Saddle

We found a nice saddle on eBay and bought it at a good price, and today we brought it over to test the fit on Buck. I'm new at the whole horse thing, so I might not be able to properly read equine body language. But from the look on his face, I think what Buck is trying to tell me here is that he very much enjoys the saddle, thinks he looks great in it, and he very much looks forward to the day when I put my clueless fat ass in it and start bossing him around!

But since it was only on him for a minute, he forgave me. Well, I should say that since it was only on him for a minute and I shoveled a few pounds of horse cookies into his face, he forgave me.

Honestly he seems like a really sweet horse. He definitely knows me now and comes over to me when he sees me. (I know it's the treats. But still...)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Canine Good Citizen

As part of the show, there were AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluators there testing dogs. We had a long break between needing to be anywhere so we decided to give it a try. There is another program for puppies under one year, but Winnie did the adult test even though she's only six months old. I'm proud to say she breezed through the test and is now a certified Canine Good Citizen! (Although I knew it already!) For more information about the CGC program, click this link.

First UKC Show!

As self-portrait-averse as I have been on this blog, I feel compelled to show this, Winnie's first official show photo, because I am so proud of her.

Having never been in that show environment before, I was worried she would be stressed and anxious. Turns out that was just me! Because she settled nicely in her crate and was relaxed most of the day. Even fell asleep a couple times. Then when it was our turn to hit the ring, she was focused and did everything I asked. This is the Puppy Novice class, so it's really just for fun and practice. But she did great and won plenty of ribbons for her first day showing!

She got SO much attention. Everyone commented she was a great mover and when we walked by people I heard lots of people commenting about how pretty she was and guessing what kind of dog she was. The judges paid her great compliments as well.

I was also impressed with how she paid NO attention to other dogs as we walked among them. If I was leading her somewhere, that's where her focus was. I don't know how she does these things I haven't taught her, but she is something special.

So she'll be six months old this week. Any subsequent shows we enter in now will be for real! But for now, it was fun watching her settle into yet another new type of activity comfortably.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Long meeting...

These doodles are the most useful thing that came out of a 3-hour meeting this morning.

Top left was early, maybe an hour in. Winnie looks angry that her time is being wasted. But an hour or so after that, notice the ears are gone. She is no longer listening. And her face has more of a resigned look, like, "just let me know when it's lunch time."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Must See Vizsla TV

This video offering from Magyar-Vizsla is pure genius...hope they don't mind me posting it here!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Chilly Friday...

The field near my house where I've taken Winnie now and then to run around and pretend to look for birds has been cleared a bit more since we were last there. But still plenty of room to explore and pretend.

I love this picture above, and I am glad to get a good one in her current hair-state. Tomorrow she's going to the groomer for a little touch up in preparation for a UKC show she's entered in. Puppy Novice is the class, and it's for dogs under 6 months old. I checked and they also allow clumsy new handlers who have never done conformation shows before. So anyway, things like the whispy hair around her ears will get stripped off, and that's puppy coat which probably won't grow back to the degree she has it now. I can't wait to see her, but I'm nervous too because I love the way she looks now. Tough thing for a girl to pull off: simultaneously beautiful and ridiculous.

I wish I could tell you she was 'on point' in this other photo. She's just sneaking in to investigate some deer poop or something. But I thought she looked great doing it.

Housebreaking's going pretty well.

Now if I can just get her to check to see if the toilet paper's stuck to her foot when she's done...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bang!

video

I've never taught my dogs tricks, I'm not sure why. But in our dog obedience class last week we were given an assignment to teach our dogs one trick for this week's class.

Our friend recently taught his Chihuahua to play dead when you point your finger and go "Bang!" He said Toby picked it up pretty quickly, so at the risk of failing and having to contemplate life with a dog less intelligent than a Taco Bell dog, I decided to try to teach this trick to Winnie.

First thing this morning, before breakfast even so she'd be extra hungry for treats, I spent about ten minutes repeatedly putting her in a sit, saying "Bang!" and then guiding her into a down with the treat in my hand, then gently rolling her on to her side and giving her the treat. Probably a dozen times doing that and then I left it alone for several hours.

Later in the afternoon we were doing some other training in the yard and I finished up with a few more of the play dead exercises. At this point she was already beginning to anticipate being rolled over on her side, and she would lie down and list to one side. I knew we were close!

So I brought her inside and in two more attempts with Sandy witnessing, sure enough Winnie rolled over on her side all by herself!

Whether she'll do it in class or not is a different story. Maybe I should bring my laptop in and just play it for the class...

Some of Winnie's Siblings...

The last time I saw any of Winnie's siblings was the day I picked her up. That's Winnie in the yellow on the left. But as Winnie has grown and changed and inexplicably gotten dorkier, her brothers and sisters have grown up too. Peg, the proud breeder of this beautiful bunch, sent me some recent pics of some of the others. You can see them all on the Seraphim Kennels web site.

Schnitzel.

Gracie.

Chris.

Bitz.

Annie.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Stacking is Hard!

Before digital photography, how did anyone ever get a photo of a puppy stacked up showdog style? We took about forty pictures of Winnie and this mediocre shot is the best of the bunch. Certainly would have been a couple wasted rolls of film in the old days. Her back feet are pointing at my two next door neighbors and her tail is actually missing.

Anyway, trying to practice because, just for fun, we'll be entering a UKC puppy novice show in a few weeks. All of a sudden, a few weeks doesn't seem like nearly enough time! Maybe we'll luck out and there will be a Personality phase of the competition...