Friday, November 19, 2010


The drop in temps, along with a dusting of snow, brings out the endless capacity for play that dwells in these three, and takes it to a whole new level. :-)

The interesting thing is that it's not the youngest, but the oldest who usually initiates..As he enters his 9th winter, Mick's Puppy Racing rivals anything that Chase has shown us so far. And the others are more than happy to join him!

Even ever changing "Frankenpup", new to the whole winter thing, was game to jump in with the big boyz in their play this morning :-)

I'm not exactly sure when I lost my child-like, magical love of snow and winter, but I can certainly tell you the day some eight years ago when I got it back :-)... These guys have a way of bringing you into their realm...

Winter days are the most precious in our memories, filled with skijoring, snowshoeing and just running in the snow!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Power of love

Although none of the boyz is certified for therapy, they seem to know what to do in that area, as they had their first unofficial group therapy visit yesterday.

We stopped in to the Pet food store in town, and as usual, one or two of the boyz gets to go in with me. Today was Chase's turn. He calmly trotted into the store and located the treat bin where then sat and looked expectantly :-). Good boy!

When we were walking back to the vehicle, I could see three bikers standing on the corner, leaning on their motorcyles. These guys were hardcore -- full leathers, colours, the whole nine yards...Now I'm not one to judge a book by it's cover, but I have to admit, these guys were intimidating. I did a quick look around and there were lots of folks close by so I just kept heading to the vehicle.

The bikers all turned their heads as I approached the Santa Fe, and then one starting walking with determination towards us. Chase, who hasn't met anyone who wasn't a friend, was doing his best to get closer to the approaching visitor... Then something very special happened...

As he approached, the biker said, "That's a bearded collie!" and knelt right down in the parking lot to let Chase work his magic with a good mugging. Well, for one thing, not many people can identify a beardie puppy, and secondly, his demeanor completely changed as he lost himself in the puppy kisses! This big rough, tough looking guy looked like a little boy playing with Chase.

The gentle, loving expression on this guy's face was heartwarming.... I tried not to notice the tears that dampened his face as I opened the back hatch of the Santa Fe and presented Mick and Bryce in their crates... With one hand on Chase, he leaned forward and let the other boyz kiss and nuzzle him through their crates. We chatted about some of the activities the boyz and I do together and he seemed to not be able to get enough of them.

Beaming, he turned to thank me, and told me that he'd grown up with a beardie, rescued from the Humane Society and never got over losing her at 16 yrs...Life changed for him after that, and he acknowledged that his lifestyle now wouldn't be fair to a dog, but he missed having one in his life..

We said our good byes, and I went away with two thoughts... Everyone has a story, and it's worth the time sometimes to hear it, and secondly, never underestimate the lasting power of love between humans and the doGs that own them.

And then there were three!

I'm WAY behind on updates to the blog, but with good reason. On August 1, the boyz and I welcomed another brown beardie boy to the fold -- Chantilly's Thyme Moves on of XTC (Chase).

What I discovered right away, was the at he boyz and I had settled into being fairly complacent about our training and routine :-). Chase brought us the fresh energy we all needed to jumpstart our lives again.

He's a joy, and has settled in beautifully. We had the "good cop, bad cop" thing going on for a while, with Mick being the ultra tolerant good cop, and Bryce providing the laser sharp corrections when required. Let's just say, Chase doesn't use HIM for a tug toy ;-).

As the baby's grown and changed, so have the dynamics... Mick is now starting to put up with less, and Bryce is encouraging more rough housing and running games. Just this week, Chase has been brave enough to even join the big boyz in their after meal wrestles!

And me? Well, I've had to step it up a bit in terms of organizing my training. In some ways it's easier, and a great opportunity to take everyone back to the start and work foundation... The BEST thing about a new puppy IMHO, is that I get to see my world again as new :-).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New frontiers

While the early Spring weather is teasing us into dreaming about outdoor training sessions and the ability to sport fewer layers, it also brings about another round of birthdays for the boyz, and a reminder that time is precious, and needs to be used wisely in the life cycle of canine training.

We're forging ahead with our quest for sychronistic communication in the agility ring, and also in the sport of Rally. The time has also come to revisit our love of obedience. We've enlisted a masterful guide for this journey who is proficient at reading the boyz. Mick's a "Backyard Champion" and can perform all the required exercises up to utility... He just can't find me in a ring located anywhere else ;-). Bryce is a blank slate, and although he has his RN, has no formal training in obedience at all (so no bad habits either ;-).

Mick's a funny one... He never misses a chance to let me know that I'll never really know him completely :-). Even at almost 8 yrs old, he still leaves me with my jaw hanging some days. Like today. Obedience assignment for this week is to take attention training on the road. No sweat, we're out all day today. Sooo... we get to the building center and I pop open the crate and invite Mick out to join me. The goal is to get even a nanosecond of attention in a new environment. OK, so it took 5 minutes, but we actually even got in a few steps of heeling. Success! But wait... I forgot about the uncanny ability that beardies have of drawing a crowd in a public place... I REALLY didn't expect to push him with asking for attention while ignoring other people and big scary trucks in the same session, but it happened. Then a very strange thing happened... As soon as Very Nice Lady came up to say hello, those wandering fawn eyes became glued to mine and I felt like I had another appendage attached to my left leg! Very Nice Lady was duly impressed with the "well trained boy" and I scratched my head and tried to process what just happened :-).

Bryce also sent me an interesting message vis a vis our new journey... Turns out he's the model of focus and patience when we're AWAY from home, but in the safety and privacy of his domain, he bounces around like a flea with approximately the same attention span for heel position?! What the??? In the parking lot, at the agility training center and at the butcher shop, I not only got attention, but actual heeling... Couldn't shake him. We floated across the parking lot in joyful unison...In the basement at home after dinner, it was as though I was asking for something completely unreasonable when I asked for a sit at heel postion, let alone a step INTO heel position?! I could feel his frustration levels rise so we cut it off and went searching for that nanosecond. After a few minutes, we got it, and once we got past the hissy fit about paying attention to ME for a minute, he glided into our companionable dance.

The communication was more familiar for everyone during our agiliy training session where it was inspiring to see how well we're beginning to read one another. Starting (back?) into something new has it's benefits :-).

I should catch up on our quest to learn a trick a week that we did all winter, and I our new adventures with the scooter! Stay tuned....