Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chip off the old block...

I sent this picture of Finn to his breeder, Carolyn at Vidor. She returned the favor by sending me this picture (below) of Finn's mom, Lenke. Two great looking dogs, don't you think??

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Big couple of days for Finn...

Finn and I spent a couple of days at Rose River Farm with my friend Douglas and his Spinone, Enzo. It was a great time all around, but the highlight would certainly have to be Finn's first bird! He had never been introduced to birds before today, and he did great. I'm so proud of him!

But the hunting wasn't the only great thing about our visit. This was the first time I truly let him, with confidence, off leash to run great distances. Enzo showed him the ropes and they had a blast together!

Yesterday was so bitterly cold and windy, if it was like that today there was no chance we were hunting. But we went out at dawn to check things out and it was pretty pleasant out, compared to yesterday.

Douglas is at the other end of the check cord - I didn't want Finn to run over the bird before he even smelled it. He eased into it nicely though, and froze over it. I took a shot with my camera, then flushed the bird and shot it again - this time with my 16 gauge!

What a happy sight. I'm so proud of my boy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A little off leash play

Tonight I was putting stuff away in the garage and I let Winnie and Finn into the garage to 'help.' The door was open and I let them wander out to the driveway and continually called them back in. Finn stayed nice and close, so then I let him follow me around the back of the house while I rode the ATV back there to put it away. Again, nice and close, then we found a couple tennis balls that had rolled off the deck above so I picked them up and started playing fetch, each time calling him excitedly back to me. It all went really well so instead of pushing my luck I ended on a positive note and just went back to the garage and then put them into the yard. So it was a nice off leash exercise, although I think he never even realized he was off leash!

Not the most earth shattering blog post I know, but we have a lot of space here and I'm excited at the prospect of having both the dogs out with me while I'm working in the yard or just walking around.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bath Time

Managing multiple dogs, especially larger ones, can be a challenge at times (like when they're so excited to go for a walk they can't even sit still to get leashed!). But I'm really lucky with these two that they stay calm and still for grooming. It's chilly here so the smelly dogs got bathed in the barn where there is hot water but also horses, cats, and all sorts of new smells. But they both behaved great, and now they smell great!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Grass is Always Greener...

If I open the door in this situation, Monkey goes outside, Finn and Winnie come in, I close the door and they all go back to staring at each other through the glass wondering what happened.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Dogs

The autumn colors haven't been great so far around our place, maybe it's too early or maybe the summer was too dry. But I wanted to get a few shots of the dogs, I didn't have any of both of them without Finn being on a leash. But he stayed put nicely for this one!

It looks like one is pointing and the other is honoring, but trust me, one's probably staring at a horse and the other at a cat. I got lucky to get their heads pointing in the same direction.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Off Leash

Making great progress with Finn off leash! He's a good boy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Finnegan West!

This handsome Zoldmali boy named Finnegan lives in Sacramento, CA. His proud owner Angela contacted me a while back asking about the breed and now they have their very own! Finn, welcome to the U.S. And Angela, welcome to the wacky, wonderful world of Wirehaired Vizslas!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Appalachian Trail Hike

On this strikingly beautiful October morning I wanted to take Winnie and Finn on a little hike to someplace they've never been before. So we headed up the road to nearby Gathland State Park in Maryland. The Appalachian Trail runs through there, and it's a beautiful stretch of trail. I definitely want to head back there once the leaves turn color, but we had a lovely hike today. Didn't start to see people until our way back, so next time I'll go earlier in the morning.

The dogs are really getting very good at walking together on two 6-foot leads. They never cross, don't pull (much) and they each wait for the other if one wants to sniff or pee or whatever. They are very polite.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

3rd Annual Oktoberfest!

Finn got to join Winnie this afternoon as she attended her third annual Oktoberfest celebration at our town! Having both of them there was really fun, and they got SO much attention! I loved it, of course, despite the common guesses of Labradoodle and Otterhound and Wolfhound. They were extremely well behaved with everyone - dogs, kids, whatever. We listened to some live music and they each got to sample just a taste of Dominion Oktoberfest! (As did I, of course!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Alpha Dork

Even Winnie - Queen of the Dorks - thought this move was pretty dorky.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Catching up...

I just got back from Montana, and got the warmest canine reception I've ever gotten in my life. Winnie especially was just SO glad to see me!! That's why we do it, isn't it? Wow.

If you're interested in seeing photos from my Montana trip, here's a link to a slideshow.

Since I've been away for almost a week, I took the dogs on a nice four mile walk along the C&O Canal path near our house. They did great, though they both needed near constant reminders not to pull on the leash. And when a jogger or bicycle came by I put them both into a heel (Winnie on the right) and they did great!

This is from this afternoon's training session and is noteworthy. Finn isn't big on 'Stay.' So we worked on this a while and got to the point where I could get pretty far back and wait a good while before either returning to him or calling him in. It's clear I think that, for now at least, his training sessions need to be pretty short. I could tell he was losing focus even after a few minutes, making it increasingly difficult to 'end on a good note,' as they say.

I was emailing with Peg, Winnie's breeder, about Finn's hunting potential (which is unknown). But he really looks like he's made for the field! Anyway, I happen to have a chukar wing in a plastic baggie and decided to hide it in a patch of tall grass I haven't mowed this year, and see if Finn could find it.

Sorry about the camera, I'm trying to walk and watch him, and couldn't see the screen on the camera anyway because of the glare. But I'll say this, he found that wing immediately!

And then he peed on it.

But then he grabbed it and brought it straight to me!

But then he tried to eat it along the way.

So I think at least he's tuned in to birdlike things. Not sure what my next step would be, but this is a promising start. Better than not noticing or caring there's a bird there.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Side by Side

I am so proud of Winnie, she's being such a good girl in accepting her new brother. They are really getting along extremely well. Here they are on our pre-dawn walk this morning, side by side, loose leads, no tangles, no problem. A simple, yet joyous way for all three of us to start our day!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Finn Explores his Home Water

We knew Finn liked the water, and had seen him swim in the Shenandoah the day after he arrived. But tonight he took his first trip down the steep hill to his home water, the Potomac River where we all call home.

He of course took to it right away. I err on the side of caution before I let a dog off lead, so he stayed connected to a check cord while he romped. And he's too tall and the river's too low for him to swim, but he enjoyed running around with Winnie.

I couldn't be happier with how Winnie is accepting him, they are really getting along well. And while I know I tend to project more complex thoughts to my dogs than are likely taking place, it looks to me like she's getting just a bit of enjoyment out of showing young Finn the ropes. This is where we walk. That sound means he's home. This way means we're going to swim. Those are deer and trust me, he won't let you chase them. I asked.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Meet Finn!

Big news this week as we welcome our new boy Finn, who we are thrilled and lucky to be able to adopt. He handled two solid days in the car to get here without a peep, and he's adjusting well to his new home. Winnie and Finn have shown tolerance and respect to each other, and I am confident that friendship will soon follow.

Thank you to friend and photographer Denise for the cool photo above and the one in the new banner at the top of the page. More of her wonderful photos can be seen on her site.

I will soon have many fun photos and stories, but am very busy this week trying to get him settled and me ready to head to Montana for a greatly anticipated vacation starting Saturday! Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kayak Trip with Winnie

Conditions were right so I took Winnie on her first kayak trip today! Up till now we've only practiced right around the house but I thought she was ready.

And sure enough she hopped right in and was ready to go!

She settled right down and just observed the hundreds of geese and ducks we passed along the way. We even got a nice patriotic fly-over from a bald eagle!

She really seemed to be having fun! We went about 3/4 of a mile upstream to that bridge, then turned around and came back.

Every now and then she'd look like she was going in after something but she never did.

Most of the time she'd lie down, facing the back, and just watch. This is also what she does in the car, face the back and watch where we've been. She is odd.

When we got back to the house she didn't want to get out!

So we played fetch for a while.

She STILL didn't want to get out! While I was getting the kayak and gear out of the water and changing my shoes, she sat down in the water this far away and just waited. What a dork.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tulsi Tubtime

Thanks to Gayle for sending me this impossibly cute video of young Tulsi who, evidently, really wants to take a bath! I love this.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Seat Upgrade

Here's Winnie asking for permission to get on the couch, a regular occurrence once Sandy and Gromit go to bed.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday Hike

Chewbacca says "I want to go for a hike!"

"Um, okay, next time do we have to go up such a long, steep hill? Yeah the view is great but I'm tired!"

Cooling off down at the river, much better!