Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I've been putting the dogs out to play in different groups-by age, energy level, size, etc.

Putting the pups out together first seems to work best. The go out, piddle, run off some energy without the added burden of having to behave. Then the elders come out and their energy level pretty much matches the pups and they all play nicely until they are tired.

Prissy and Cody seem to be less domineering if the pups have toned it down some. This means less discipline is needed and it's better for everyone. I really think Ollie is such a soft dog because Prissy and Dottie and Lily just bossed the living crap out of him.

Lily in particular is blossoming-if I group them by size or sex she's always with Prissy-the boys are far less domineering. She's become far more confident and outgoing, and Prissy is coincidentally less of a bully.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Random Update

I moved the crates out into the sunroom (that I'm having heated this week for winter.) I'm trying to organize my house and get all the dog stuff in one area, instead of everywhere.

The sunroom has less of a "den" feel than the bedroom, but they have their crates and I don't have to parade through the entire house which is a problem with messy paws-although, honestly, my dogs are angels about not detouring and not jumping on the furniture when muddy.

It opens to the front part of the house where they can see me more and it allows me to expand my various experiments with them. It's still a crated zone for now, although when it gets really cold I've tiled part of the floor for the little dogs who struggle with snow. I've also put down some rubber flooring stuff for a training area-more for me than the dogs. Heel work and such on concrete is tough on my old bones.

They've done really pretty well with the transition-which involved shuffling crates as well. Greta and Lily had a bit of relapse on the idea that I could walk by and there should be no barking etc, but they figured it out pretty quickly. It never ceases to amaze me that someone will have a wonderfully trained dog that they can't leave crated while they work another dog. "He just loves me too much".....uh, no, he doesn't respect your wishes enough.

Moonie was funny as heck with his crate training. He got the concept immediately, would willing enter the crate, then protest.......and protest.......and protest some more. The fearful part was over quickly, but the bratty, let me out stuff lasted a looooooooooooong time. I had to make the rule that I never entered the room and released him when he was bawling-ever ever ever, even if it meant he piddled in his crate. Even if someone ELSE piddled in their crate. Oi oi oi.

Then I generalized it to the other dogs-no crate door is opened if there is noise. Even Lily, the deaf dog, and sure enough, when I started demanding the behavior from her, she started giving it to me.

The next phase is pulling the dogs in one at a time, in the Xpen in the kitchen where the crated dogs can see THAT-and then getting all parties to relax, even if the Xpen dog prances to make sure they are noticing. My goal is to make the Xpen kind of a status place for the dogs-which will be oh so helpful for the ones who travel.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rainy Day Training

Rainy days are good for setting up an X pen in the kitchen and rotating the dogs in and out. That's really pretty much it. The idea of the exercise is
1. We don't always do every thing in a pack
2. I am the decider
3. Howl all you want, but I am going about my business
(not everyone howls)

One of my pet peeves is people's pets who will not stay quietly in a crate or a pen even if the person is 2 feet away. Seriously, don't wait till you hit the campground to work on the skill.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Riddle

What do you get when you take one part Sage:

Add one part Vibe

And mix them well? You get

Blastoff Blue Moon Doggie, bred at Blastoff Border Collies and now residing with me.
He's an amazing puppy, truly amazing. He already knows sit, down, heel (not the walking part, just calling him into position). He's going to give Oliver a run for his money in who can learn the fastest-but Oliver doesn't mind. He's grooving on having another able bodied, ready to rumble kiddo to play with.

Prissy shows off her flashy Blue and White Coat to the newcomer.

More about Blue.

Another comment.

Oliver is not a bit jealous.

Like big brother Oliver, Moon was the house child's favorite. Krystal did a great job of making a socialable, easy going little fellow. The right kid is such a plus when it comes to puppy raising.

As you can see, after losing two of our senior members this year, the crew is really excited about this new pup. And so am I.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Listening by looking

It's fascinating, at least to me, to observe my deaf dog Lily and try to figure out what visual clues she is using to tell herself to growl or bark or run. Now, if the other dogs are growling, barking or running it's pretty easy to suss out.

Tails are problematic-Greta's tail is curved. Cody has a magnificent tail, but a lot of nervous energy and ambivalence, so it's usually waving no matter what the situation. Prissy's tail is in a permanent state of asserting dominance.

Oliver's scruffy tail seems to be the one she watches for clues. His tail is the most fluent for expressing what is going on in the world of the hearing. It's also the biggest and easiest to spot after dark.

Now his ears, not so much. It's pretty hard to tell what movements are intentional and what is just flapping in the breeze-but the rest of the gang has very expressive ears.

Another interesting thing I've noticed is that the other dogs have clued in to the fact that Lily barks when she sees something she doesn't understand, which is to say she barks at a lot more things than THEY do. Anyone else's bark is usually given at least a look see by one or more of the guys. Not Lily's.

It will be interesting to see if she works out what is bark worthy and develops some street cred, or continues to vocalize. She is actually a month or so older than Oliver, but size and handicap has made her very much a follower-but not an unhappy one.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I'm going to take a break from doggy updates for awhile (but not from the dogs).

Whew! Shade!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I left it here somewhere.....

River Dogs

I took Greta and Oliver to the river and let them splash around. Greta demonstrated it is possible to get tangled up in a life jacket and potentially drown. She is talented. Oliver took the whole thing in stride in his stoic, solemn manner, but seemed to have a good time. particularly in the mud at the edge of river. Who would have thought that much mud existed in the entire world?

I was really pleased-there was a granpa fishing with his two grandsons, but my dogs stayed focused on me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

belly up to the sun

happier than you will ever be

(Bit of my favorite dog haiku)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Make Up Class

I took Ollie for a "make up" class to see if he could replace Prissy for the rest of the class sessions. He passed with flying colors-such a clever boy.

Living under one set of rules here and visiting my mother several times a week is just too hard on Prissy-and keeping Priss away from Mom is just too hard on Mom.

Oliver did really well in his first Petsmart visit and formal class-he should be star of the class by next Thursday.

Best picture EVER

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bottom matters too

I didn't think Bitty's departure would make any difference in the pack-but the bottom matters too, especially when no one wants to BE the bottom. I was hoping that spending a day or so alone would help Prissy and Lily get along better, but I am pretty certain Priss is going to try to assert herself and NOT be the bottom.

If she would stop with the ear biting, Lily would probably let her boss-but Prissy never knows when to stop. Eventually I think she'll figure it out, and Lily will gladly follow Priss and use her as her ears, but it's going to take a few go rounds for it to all work out.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bye Bye Bitty

Bitty is taking her last ride tomorrow. I really had hoped she'd just go in her sleep. Old age has taken it's toll-she has trouble walking without pain, going to the bathroom is painful, even eating isn't much fun any more. While the big dogs were at the kennel she perked up for a few days (she doesn't care much for them) but old age is just relentless and I feel mean keeping her around.

I will take her and hold her as I have all my dogs, so that her last breath is in the arms of someone she knows. I always felt like she liked me as much as she was capable of, but her heart belongs to her first mother-who I hope hears this and will be waiting for her on the other side.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Training the trainer

We practiced a group sit. Since Lily was part of the group, to be fair, I tried not to use words. Prissy got a little frustrated because she figured out the game first, but Lily eventually caught on too.

If I said sit, and Prissy sat, I gave her treat-no need to penalize her for my mess up.

Friday, July 4, 2008

I can't believe it

Last night at class there was an Oliver dog and I have spent the morning mooning over my dogs that aren't here. I'm pathetic.

But, I have done a good job of teaching my kids boarding is fun and to be enjoyed. I never mope when I take them-and they are always eager to go see their friends. The one exception is a solo trip-it rarely happens and is never a pleasing thing. At least a solo trip to the kennel. A solo trip with ME is a huge treat (go figure).

Back a few dogs ago, Dottie had to curtail her travel schedule because Cody didn't like being left alone. Now, as far as I can tell, any member of the pack will do.

I do draw the line at taking in a companion for someone having surgery-but honestly, I've considered it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Sound and the Fury and the SHAME and GLORY

Prissy had a major meltdown in class tonight. We ignored her and she growled so loud and so long people from all over the store came over to watch. I seriously thought about leaving. Then we played pass the puppy-and Prissy came back a changed dog. It's like the exercise triggered something in her head "oh yes, this is a class, there should be other dogs", and after 3 months with no class she hit every command.

Said meltdown was likely due to being (once again) the only small dog in the class-we had a pit bull, a lab and rottweiller nearest to us. But, we can't quit every class because there are no little ones, so I just let her melt it all out.

Somewhere after the embarrassment I remembered to be a calm leader and that transmitted itself down the line to Priss. She and (Dottie) are my best barometers to my own inner strength-cause if I show any weakness she will exploit it.

Next to Lily, who is deaf, Priss has to be the most challenging of my dogs. Now, remember, she was raised by my mother who catered to her every whim, and now Mom lives right down the street-so it has to be confusing....yeah, right. That little girl knows exactly what she's doing, systematically learning commands then testing limits with unerring precision. What a punkin head.

I signed Greta and Oliver up for a small dog/rescue dog meet up. Many of the dogs are pugs (I believe Greta to be a Chug, not a chi) and Oliver is just a sturdy, goodnatured fellow who will enjoy the outing.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Uh Oh

I forgot to cancel the reservations I had for this weekend. I feel awful, so I am taking three of the dogs in. The kennel says that wasn't necessary, but honestly, when you reserve for 6 dogs on a holiday weekend....She said she hadn't had to turn anyone away. OOOOH.

So, I'm taking in Greta and Cody, who despise fireworks, and Oliver, who doesn't like to be too far from Cody. Lily and Bitty can't hear them (Bitty doesn't hear well either) and Prissy could care less-besides, she has a class tomorrow night.

It's funny, no one is bothered by fireworks when they are crated in the house-it's the daytime poppers that really get my dogs going. I don't like them very much either.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Let's see what the fuss is all about.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


This post from a forum, about a Doggie Yurt leads me to believe I am not the only person who likes small dogs.

No, I am not building them a yurt, I am too busy working on the coolest parrot stand ever seen by human kind.

But I do like the whole picture frame idea......

Snacking on a Tree

Or the grass underneath a tree.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Congratulations Artist-AP Groomer of the Year

I bawled like a baby when he won. Yes Artist has a great work ethic, yes he is a wonderful role model....but he's also a fantastic groomer and he deserved it on talent alone. Out of the 7 dogs, he blew the other fellow away with all but one (the cairn).


Can you tell I'm facing the breeze?

Floppy ears are good weather vanes

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Prissy does not share

Even if the ball is too big for her to pick up.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Look at ME...NO NO ME..NO ME ME ME

Fun last night. Same angle, same shot, same cute dogs. There are worse things in life than endless cuteness.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hmmm, flooding issues

That's what the weather guy is calling it. Looks like I'll be pulling out the piddle pads. I actually had to carry Oliver outside-he was having none of it.

What's funny as heck is all my dogs love water, love mud, love to splash. But rain on their BACKS? That just aint right.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Gang in Da Hood

The gang disciplines its own.....

This is the crib....mostly used for "home base" in games of chase.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Snow on the chimney

Little old, little bent, some snow on the chimney, but still a beauty. Can't make a long term committment? Find an old dog that needs a home. Many beloved pets are becoming displaced as their owner's age.

Animals do not fear their own death, or bemoan their failing selves. Taking in an elderly dog may teach YOU more than you ever thought possible.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What a difference

A little time and love makes so much difference.

I was sitting outside with the dogs and having us all together is Greta's favorite thing. She was just so happy we were all there.

When was the last time you made someone soooo happy just by being there?

Monday, June 9, 2008


Lily is starting her flashlight clicker training. Since she can't hear, I am using a flashlight to communicate with her.

It's been raining here since 4 am and it's now 11 am. The kids have pottied, ran, eaten and are now snoozing-what's a dog to do on a rainy day?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Foraging for Fun and Food

Several members of the pack came back too hefty for me to feel comfie having a carnivore Sunday-but I did relent and scatter low fat dog treats about the back yard. My guys love love love to forage, but the problem is, those that need it the least are the best foragers, and I didn't want to put the round pen up for Cody because I may mow today.

For a single dog, measuring and scattering a bit of kibble in the grass can be fun and entertaining. I often think that poor backyard dogs would enjoy their food scattered rather than placed out in a single bowl. At least they'd have something to do for 30 minutes of an otherwise boring day.

Friday, June 6, 2008


The delivery men came to install my stove during Oliver the Parrot's chatty time. He amused himself making phone noises and the mimicing a one sided conversation....then he got quiet. Next came the sly chuckle and then FAAAAAAAAAAAART followed by a maniacal guffaw and another explosive fart.....and more laughter. "OOOOOOhhhhh" he howled, "YOU FARTED"

The delivery men looked a little shocked, so I laughed and told them it was a bird, not a human being. I didn't realize till later that I forgot to tell them I'm not the one who TAUGHT the bird that trick....

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Service delays keeps the pack away. Oliver and I miss the "slims".

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rise and Shine

It's much easier to get up and get moving with a parrot to sing you awake. Oliver must have been reading this blog though-he mostly farted and belched until his music came on-now he's dueting with Patsy Cline.

The pack is due back today-I'm getting some appliances this morning so they are staying at the kennel till that is sorted through.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Little dog, big

Little Dog Big Tree (Rusty blows in the wind)

Little Dog Big Air Compressor (Bitty hides from the wind)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Farting Dog

After yesterday's tirade, and since I am posting this in advance, I'm going to post a picture of a farting dog.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Puppy Mills

I missed the Oprah show on Puppy Mills the first time around, but I DVR'd it and sat and cried through the entire thing.

Yes, those religious people "view animals differently"....so that's supposed to make it OK? They know enough about the world to know what breeds sell well, what the people are buying them for (pets) and how to pick up the money and put it in the bank.

Bullshit to hiding behind religious beliefs but then cashing in on a "worldly" thing-people keeping pets in their houses...same person was shocked that the rescued dog was allowed in the house with "the family".

I hope there is a special hell reserved for pious people who nonetheless support themselves with suffering and abuse-they may be cashing in on "the world's obsession with animals" but THEY are the one's who are imprisoning and maintaining creatures in cruel conditions.

I have more respect for the bastards who are plainly doing it for a business and out for a buck. At least they know what they are.

Ok, I've sat here for a good 10 minutes trying to be non judgemental about this, and I just don't have it in me at this time. Wear your funny hat and your beard and all the rest-rock on with your religious beliefs-but KNOW that you are the bringer of suffering to helpless beings and be glad MY judgement cannot harm you because if I could I'd lock you in one of those hot cages with 10 of your smelly, frightened friends until you saw the error of your ways.

Friday, May 30, 2008

What it takes to leave

Dogs are easy. Take them to the kennel, and pay a lot of money. For several days prior to that make sure they have extra outdoor time and exercise (even though they get it at the kennel as well).

Pasht Cat-clean litter box, leave enough food down for twice the length of stay (cats freak out if they can see the bottom of the bowl and the owner is gone) and 10 times the water.

Oliver Bird-set his CD player to go off, clean cage, layer his food in his bowls so that he gets surprises. Leave extra water and "lunch bag" of toys for him to tear into.

Carolyn Slowsky-leave plenty of water, hose down her enclosure (not sure why, in the wild if it didn't rain she wouldn't get wet)....hide food to encourage her to move around and hunt. There actually enough natural food in her enclosure to hold her easily for the length of time I'll be gone, but I added a couple of tomatos, peppers from the garden and some dried straweberry's for her to find. I wet down some kibble that either she'll eat or will draw ants and she'll eat the ants-her choice.

Snakes-feed a couple of days before leaving, make sure they have water, thermostats are functioning.

Feeder rats/gerbils-feed and water-ok, I brought them so clover too. They might as well live high on the clover while they live.

Water well and remulch all the plants.

This is a short trip-three full days, home early on the fourth. Temps are ok so no back up contingencies for power outages etc.

And Mom wonders why I wait till the last minute to pack.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I took the bigguns to the kennel a day early, to divide and conquer. I want Priss to spend some time with Lily and see if we can resolve some of the issues. Part of the problem is Lily doesn't hear Prissy's warning growls, so she is completely shocked when Prissy goes after her. Prissy gets frustrated, and the ears get bitten and then Priss gets her ass WHOOPED by Lily.

Today I was defending the meter man and Prissy was the only one who had trouble settling down-so I know where my work is best applied. I am sure the meter man will have a funny story to tell his wife about the fat lady in a tank top who went out and said "I own that fence and I own that meter man-so back OFF"

Moving next to my parents has been hard on Prissy-her power source is two houses down. Worse, keeping her away just makes Mom miserable. So, we'll forge on-she definitely has the smarts to work out what she can and cannot get away with and with whom. But dear lord, it's been over a year and a half now.....not giving up on her though.

Peeps-dominant dogs and elderly ladies are a dangerous combo.