Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rip is a STAR!

Look at the sparkle in his eye... how can anyone deny that he's a star?

Even the AKC agrees!

Yes, Rip completed puppy class (The Husband took him to this class), then passed his STAR Puppy test on the last day of class.

This program is relatively new to the AKC, and contains tests/verifications on basic puppy care, puppy manners, and (very) basic obedience elements.  It's a nice precursor to the CGC, then on to obedience & agility titles if desired.  Sure, it's not an official title, but who wouldn't want a puppy who's a STAR?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Iowa winter math

30 degrees + no wind = SUMMER!

Yesterday was a lovely, sunny day in my part of Iowa.  I put on the snow boots, snow pants, insulated coat, gloves, and wooly hat.  I grabbed the Trio and we set off for a long walk.  By the time I was a few steps away from the house, I realized that I was too warm.  I walked back and dropped off the hat and gloves.

Two blocks away, I walked by a neighbor who was outside shaking out his floor mats.  Wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  We smiled at each other and he said to me, "just like summer, isn't it?"  My answer was, "It really is, I didn't even need my wooly hat and gloves!"

Then I started to think.  When does 30 degrees start to feel balmy?

After weeks of snow and temps that didn't reach the legal drinking age.

Perching on the table isn't quite as much fun in the winter...

Our "summer" was short - we've had 8" of snow so far today...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This picture represents the pack well

Rip is a running, leaping blur.
Maggie is barking her opinion.
Ziggy is looking happy, sweet and calm.

Such is life with the Trio of Trouble.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Oh, that didn't go exactly as I'd planned"

I have a new favorite phrase.

Today The Husband and I were cleaning up in the kitchen when I dropped the soap and knocked over a stack of dishes in the sink.  Instead of cursing or fretting, I said, "Oh, that didn't go exactly as I'd planned."

The Husband cracked up.

Then I started to think about other applications of the phrase.  Said with a slightly incredulous tone, it can be used to lighten up many situations (you have dogs, so you know the type  situations I mean).  You can even play around with where you put the emphasis during the phrase to best support the situation.

Some examples*:

You're in the ring and your brace team decides to frap during the off leash heeling.  Instead of looking mortified and feeling embarrassed, why not just look at the judge and say, "Oh, that didn't go exactly as I'd planned."?


Your puppy gets loose during his STAR puppy test and goes to greet 3 other dogs standing outside the ring.  You could hang your head in shame, but why not just say, "Oh, that didn't go exactly as I'd planned."

If you're really disciplined with the phrase,  it can be used to lighten even more serious situations.  For example, if you are going too fast around a corner and put your car into a snow bank while pulling into your child's preschool.  When a helpful fellow motorist pulls over to help you, instead of apologizing for being stupid enough to try to take the corner so quickly, why not just say, "Oh, that didn't go exactly as I'd planned."

I encourage you to try the phrase.  You just might like it...

*Please note that none of these situations is fictitious.  Unfortunately I didn't use the phrase for any of them.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

35 Cardis and 1 Pem

Today I got into the Christmas spirit and baked frosted sugar cookies using the cookie cutter I got from Cardi Claus.

The final tally is 35 cardigans and 1 pembroke (ok, it was meant to be 36 Cardis, but one of the tails broke off...).

We will be giving a dozen of them to our veterinarians as an end-of-year "thank you" from the Trio.  I'll also be taking a few to some "crazy dog friends" at work.  The rest will be happily eaten by The Husband, The Child, and me.

Maggie is mad that I didn't follow Penni's advice and make cardi cookies FOR the Cardis.  I promised her I'll do that during Christmas break.

Ready to go in the oven

The first batch is almost done

Frosted and ready to eat.

I tried to make one that was colored like a Cardi.
The Husband asked if The Child had decorated it.
Thanks, sweetie.  
I realize that my fallback career will not be decorating cookies.

What's a project without a helper corgi?
Rip hung out with me to "help" with baking and frosting.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sh*t my dog eats

As I've had many posts recently about Rip ripping into various items, I feel like I should change the title of my blog to "Sh*t my dog eats."

Here's the most unexpected, or perhaps most amusing, thing he's eaten so far.

My bra. 

Yes, my dog ate my bra.  Now mind you, this is not just any bra.  It's my most expensive, most comfortable, and (previously) most often worn bra. 

Now take a close look at where he chose to tear it up.  If this conformation/obedience thing doesn't work out for him, I think the boy's got a career at Fredrick's of Hollywood...

Naughty indeed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Travel Tuesday: San Diego!!

FINALLY I get smart when planning business travel, and hit the right geography at the right time of year.  Yesterday I left home - where the temp was below zero, and landed in San Diego, where the temp on arrival at 7-something PM was 70 degrees!!  Lovely, beautiful, balmy weather!

This morning it was a bit cooler, but my meetings started in late morning, so I had a chance to go to the beach.  The ocean and beach are special, and especially appreciated when one lives in Iowa.  Here are a few pics from this morning (before the fog burned off).

A bit of a grey morning, but lovely regardless.
The sound of the sea, the fresh sea air....

In the grey light, the rocks looked beautiful

I thought these 3 were sweet. 
And I loved the patterns in the sand.

These patterns in the sand were even more impressive

Looking for breakfast

Another local resident

In the afternoon it cleared off to a gorgeous blue sky.  We even got to eat lunch outside!  What a treat for a midwesterner in December!

Tomorrow it's back to the office for some meetings.  I'm hoping to finish up early enough to hit the beach for sunset...

Remind me again why I live in Iowa?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A vacation to see Denzil. Errr I mean to see my family...

Such a sweet, sweet dog

Last week The Husband, Child, and I went back to SW Washington to have a week of holiday celebrations with my family.  As I've mentioned before, an added bonus of visiting The Family is that we get to see Denzil.

Unfortunately Denz was not doing well when we got there.  He was very happy, but toe-touching lame on his right rear.  Apparently the day before we arrived,  he went outside  and came in lame.  Who knows what he was up to.

After a couple of days of rest Denz showed no improvement, so my Dad and I took Denz to the vet.  Diagnosis - just a bad flare-up of his arthritis.  The vet gave him some extra pain meds (compatible w/ his regular Deramaxx), and he had a laser treatment.  This seemed to help him feel more comfortable, but he still wasn't pain-free.

This week Denz went back to the vet for a tooth cleaning.  We had the vet take another set of knee x-rays while Denzil was "out."  The good news is that the vet didn't see much of a change in the past year or so.  And, apparently, this last bout of lameness was relatively short-lived, as my Dad tells me Denzil is doing well enough to rejoin my Dad on their daily walks...

Denzil in "his" 1.5 acre yard.
Apparently he likes to just lay in the yard and look at the critters.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Naughty by name; naughty by nature

The blog post title is The Husband's favorite quote when referring to Rip.

In case you're wondering if Rip is living up to his name, here's what happened when I was out of the room for mere moments....

Maybe mom won't notice the ripping noise.
After all, she is down the hall...

Maggie says, "Move away from me. 
 I want nothing to do with your naughtiness."

Ok then, I'll just settle in to chewing.

Lest you think that this bag is the only bag that suffered, I also found these "victims"lying on the floor:

Bag #2

The Child's school papers.
"The dog ate my homework" applies here...

Mr. Naughtypants did himself proud while I was putting The Child to bed!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cardi Claus came!

Many thanks to Laura, Ricky, and the Lyberty Gang for a great Cardi Claus package!

Cardi Claus was good to us!

The Trio got many yummy treats and I got a Cardi cookie cutter.  The (human) Child saw it and decided that we're making Cardi Christmas cookies this weekend!

Here's The Trio's reaction:

Treats!  Treats! Treats! I can't contain myself!

Mr. Naughtypants will have the whole stocking, thank you!

And, meanwhile, the dogs that I've trained....

Please mom, please.  We're giving you our best stares....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rip's pup-sonality

Please click on the link below to play music while you read the post...

This is the song I sing to Rip around the house... it's so fitting. Related to Carolyn's post earlier in the week - this is definitely, no question,  Rip's theme song. If you've been reading the blog for the past couple of months, you know why I chose this song.

In case you want some more proof points, read on:

1 - He's even too wild for Border Collies
One of my agility friends got a Border Collie puppy about a month after I got Rip. A couple of weeks ago on training night, they brought the puppy with them. "Wouldn't it be fun for Rip and the puppy to play together?", we thought. Rip thought it was a great idea. The BC puppy, not so much. When approached by Rip, the puppy hid behind his human parents with his tail between his legs.  Hmmm.. my puppy is even too wild for energetic breeds...

2 - "The Energizer Bunny's got nothing on Rip"
This is a direct quote from one of my agility friends after watching me train (when other people and dogs weren't nearby) - or try to train (when people/dogs were close) Rip.  The same friend laughed and mentioned that Rip may be a case of "be careful what you wish for."  After all I did want a dog w/ more drive than Ziggy.

3 - Ziggy lost six pounds
About a month and a half after Rip came to live with us, Ziggy had a checkup with the vet.  Ziggy had lost six pounds in the few months since his last trip to the vet.  I keep Ziggy lean, as he does agility and obedience, so the six pound loss had Z looking quite "greyhound-y."  Ziggy is now on increased rations, and his weight is looking good again.  Z has no parasites, so I can only attribute this drastic drop in weight to the nearly non-stop play with Rip.  Sometimes putting Rip or Ziggy in a crate is the only way to stop the play.  Sigh.

For more proof points, just keep reading the blog.  I'm sure I'll have more wild stories from Mr. Naughtypants very soon.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cardi Claus is on his way!

Cardi Claus picked up a package in Iowa today.  He's all set to deliver it to the East Coast sometime next week.  He just hopes that he won't have to deal with any stink bugs....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A great book: The Wave

The Wave by Susan Casey

Curse you, Susan Casey, curse you!  ***

Curse you for writing the book "The Devil's Teeth" that I enjoyed so much that I had to read your new book "The Wave" as soon as I heard about it.

Curse you for writing a book that caused me to lose sleep at night because I just had to stay up and read one more chapter, then oh, maybe, just one more after that!

Curse you for writing a book that caused me to bore The Husband (and my co-workers) with with wave facts and stories.

Curse you for writing a book that makes me think that maybe Iowa is a good place to be for the long term (no waves here).

And, finally, curse you for writing a book that I was sad to come to the end of.  The book I'm reading now pales by comparison.  I'm ruined until the next great book comes along (which might be a LONG time).

As the subtitle of the book says, Susan talks about giant waves.  She follows then from 2 perspectives:  the surfers who seek out these waves as a way to push the boundaries of their sport, and the scientists who study waves.

If you want a great read, get this book.  Read it.  Love it.  It may make you reconsider buying oceanfront property, but you'll likely enjoy it. 

*** I really don't want to curse Susan Casey.  I just want her to write another book. ***

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I'm sad to say that two of my dogs are breed-ist.

What is breed-ism?  When a dog dislikes other dogs based on their breed alone.

Both Maggie and Ziggy have breeds they dislike, but Maggie is the biggest breed-ist in our house.  Maggie doesn't like Miniature Schnauzers.   They're nothing but trouble, in her book.  But there's another breed that Maggie really doesn't like....


Why doesn't Maggie like Whippets?
My cousin has Whippets.  Lovely, friendly, good-with-kids Whippets.  Her oldest Whippet, Penni,  is a bossy female who is a year or two older than Maggie.  Maggie met this Whippet when Maggie was only 8 months old.  Penni, as the oldest bitch around, felt it was her job to put the interloper Maggie in her place.  She soundly told Maggie off (no injuries - just insults).

When the two met again a couple of years later, Maggie (who was by this time a bossy bitch in her own right), immediately peed and rolled over.  Maggie has never done that before or since.

Fast forward seven years.  Maggie and I don't really see any/many Whippets when we're out and about (they're not exactly a ubiquitous breed at obedience and agility trials).  We finally do see one at an obedience trial.  I think nothing of it.  Clearly Maggie is thinking something about it - but she doesn't give a clue to her plan...

Maggie and I are next in the Open ring.  I'm doing some heelwork to get her ready.  She's heeling along very nicely - perfect focus on me, right by my side.  Suddenly there's a little tension on the leash.  I look over to see her giving an air snap right by the Whippet's nose (the whippet was just standing there doing nothing).  In the next stride, Maggie is back by my side, heeling perfectly with a big smile on her face.

The Whippet owner was aghast (and that's putting it mildly).  I apologized, but inside I was secretly smiling.  I thought it was hilarious.  Maggie is one sly bitch.  Seven years later and she still remembers that Whippets are trouble, and she decides to exact some revenge...

Are any of your dogs breed-ist?  If so, what breeds?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Better than TV

We have to be ready when he drops a piece of cereal...

Ziggy and Maggie take their job as floor cleaners very seriously.  They know that The Child is prone to dropping cereal while he watches TV, so they hover like vultures to retrieve anything that hits the floor.  

Ziggy is using the ottoman to get a better angle.  

Maggie is taking the "closer to the ground equals closer to the food when it hits the ground" approach.  

Rip is in his crate otherwise he would be on the arm rest of the sofa with his head in the bowl (the cut to the chase approach, if you will).

Now if I could just figure out a way to get this much attentiveness in the ring.  Maybe if I could bring a bowl of cereal with me...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rip supports recycling

Today is recycling day for us.  Yesterday The Husband took the container of plastics out of the cupboard, and set it on the floor in the kitchen before taking it out to the curb.

I heard some strange noises.  Then I saw this:

Maybe if I trot quickly into the other room she won't see me...

Oh no!  She saw me!  
Maybe if I look cute she won't take it away.

Milk cartons make great chew toys!

(Mr. Naughtypants strikes again!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The boys at a Saturday show-n-go

Today the boys and I were out of the house by 6:30 am and made our way to Cedar Rapids for an obedience show-n-go.  Now you must know that I am NOT a morning person, so getting out of bed early on one of the only days I'm "allowed" to sleep in is a big deal.  I figure, though, that since I just posted about Ziggy needing to go to new places I should heave myself out of bed and go.

It was a great morning, and even worth getting up early and driving a long way.  Here's how it went:

My goal for Ziggy was to have him be comfortable and have fun in a place we've never been before!

What we did:
  • Hung around outside of our crate for about an hour total -- this helped him get used to the environment, meet new people, and relax
  • Before we went in for our run Ziggy and I played games - wrestling and running through my legs.  I looked like a fool, I'm sure, but he seemed to enjoy it and it got him wagging and playing
  • In the ring, I had his breakfast in his "supper" bowl sitting on a chair. I didn't have any food on me.  At various points in our heeling pattern, I would tell him how great he was and we'd run back to the bowl for a jackpot.
  • All heeling was on lead and Z seemed pretty happy 
  • I ran to all new positions between exercises - especially the set-ups for recalls.  What fun!  I get to chase mom around the ring!
  • We were off leash for stand for exam - and Z was really good and didn't seem too worried.
  • Our recalls were great - he ran back to me quickly on both of them (I had him run through my legs on the first one).  The second one was more formal - he was quick, his front was straight, and the finish was quick and straight!
  • Stays were great, too.  I went back to him to reward once during the sit and twice during the down.  He didn't look worried, and stayed in place very well.
Relaxing between our run and group stays.  
I thought I'd get some pics.

One of the workers thought she'd help by making a hissing noise to get Z's ears up.
What came next?  ROO! ROO! ROO! ROO!
("WARNING MOM!  That woman's making strange noises!")
To "fix it" we went up to the strange hissing woman and had her pet us and give us some steak.

Z watching a really high drive golden do its run.
Hopefully he's taking notes on how to have drive in the ring.


My intention with Rip was for him to meet people and dogs, and play in the ring (rings with judges are fun!).

What did we do?
  • Met every human at the trial.  He was a popular puppy.  I warned them that he is shy and calm. (NOT).  
  • He got lots of compliments on his cuteness, energy, and boldness.  Performance people don't mind a cheeky wild puppy.
  • We also met the puppy-friendly dogs.  Rip particularly loved one of the goldens.
  • We played and hung out outside of the ring.
  • When hanging out, Rip got a stream of treats/kibble when other dogs went by.  I wanted him to connect mom=food=look at her  --  instead of other dog=pounce it!
  • In the ring we did a very basic heeling pattern interspersed with lots of tug toy and mom-interactive play.  Again, I looked like a fool, but I want Rip to think inside the ring is FUN!
  • We also had the judge do a sit-for-exam from both sides.
  • Rip came out of the ring thinking rings are fun and judges who follow us around are nice, too.
  • A successful outing for a pup!
 Look how cute I am...
Any more treats for me, mom? 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rip's first conformation class

I finally got myself in gear tonight and made it down to my kennel club for conformation class with Rip.  

It was a night of firsts:
Our first time ever doing conformation.  
Rip's first time on the table (with me, anyway).  
Rip's first time in his show collar.  
My first time even trying to do this conformation thing "for real."
(I don't count my other try at conformation as "real")  

Thankfully, nobody else showed up for class tonight, so we got some great one-on-one attention with the instructor.  She was very helpful.  I told her it was my first time at this, and I basically know nothing, so bring it on!  I think she felt a little bad at first, since she had to tell me how to do everything.  And when I say everything I mean that she had to show me how to hold the excess lead, where the collar should be placed when moving, the best way to place the legs on the table, the types of patterns I'm likely to see in the ring....  Well, you get the picture.  

I also talked her into getting some pictures of Rip.  Even though he was a little squirmy on the table (Rip says, "Just how long DO you want me to keep my feet in one place, mom?!") I wanted to get some pics for  his other mother(s).  So here you go.  None of them is a perfect shot, but hopefully you get the idea...

(this one's my favorite)

P.S.:  I've got one ear back in tape.  It stays up about 90% of the time, but it gets a little "lazy" sometimes and folds back, so I've put it back in the tape for another week or so to see if that helps.  At least there's no crown required...

PPS:  Oh, I almost forgot, our instructor said Rip was a STAR for his first time out!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ziggy is a chicken

Ziggy enjoying a sunny weekend outing

As you know from my blog posts, I've been working to build Ziggy's attention and enthusiasm for obedience and agility.  He has been my most challenging training partner by far, as his favorite activity is sofa-warming. 

The other day I had an "ah-ha" moment.  I think most of Ziggy's problem is that he lacks confidence - particularly in unfamiliar locations and/or situations.  Z has a very expressive face, and I've noticed he gets this "oh no!!" look on face more often than I'd like.  In familiar places (the 2 club buildings we go to regularly, at home, etc.) that expression rarely appears.  In new situations the worried expression is there, and it doesn't go away quickly (or sometimes at all).  He also doesn't "bounce back" very quickly if something is a little off.

An example:  A few of weeks ago we were training and I accidentally hit Z in the head with a fleece tug toy.  This was not an injury, mind you - it was a fleece toy not moving quickly.  Now he refuses to play with toys at all. My months of toy training seem to be down the drain - sigh.  Toys are the opposite of a motivator now.

For about a week he was also afraid of my hand coming at him quickly (I just want to pet you...), and the loop end of the leash when we were on walks.  Really, anything approaching quickly from above.  We seem to have worked our way through the worst of this, but toy phobia remains.

The boy needs more confidence.  So what am I trying?

Continued socialization.  I've been taking him more places with me, and really decreasing what's asked of him when he's there.  Only very familiar and fun exercises (down, turning circles, nose touches, etc.).  He also gets lots of clicks and treats.  

Agility.  I'm also working him mainly in agility.  I'm hoping that agility trials will help build his confidence in new situations without the stress of more formal obedience.

On leash obedience.  We'll continue to practice obedience, but only on leash - where he seems to feel more comfortable.

Any other ideas??

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mr. Naughtypants

I have a new nickname for Rip.  Mr. Naughtypants.  You can probably guess - at least generally - how he got that nickname.  To make the point well, let me share a couple of examples.  Both of these incidents occurred today.

Story #1:  Home Alone

The Husband was working away from home today, so the petsitter came in a couple of times to let the dogs out.

When I left home, I put Rip in the expen so he'd have a little more room to move around.  Here's how things looked when I left home:

Puppy in his pen with nice resting pad and lots of toys

When I arrived home to let Rip out of his pen, here's how it looked.

Flattened pen with no puppy

Thankfully, the puppy was put back in his crate.  Also thankfully, we've learned to keep any moveable, chewable objects on the "non-dog" side of the baby gates.

The note from the petsitter started with "All three met me at the (baby) gate.  Not sure if you wanted Rip out or not..."

Our petsitter knows us well enough to know that naughty little puppies aren't allowed to roam around unsupervised in our home, which is why he was back in the crate.

I guess this means no expen when we're out of the house anymore.  Either that or I need to pull out the extra heavy duty "child expen" we bought when The Child was still a baby.

Story #2:  Who needs toys?

...when you can just chew on the basket.

I was finishing up a few work emails after putting The Child to bed.  Rip & Ziggy were in the family room, keeping themselves busy.

Then things became strangely quiet, and I heard an unusual gnawing noise.

I peered around the room screen to find one naughty puppy chewing away on the side of the basket where the toys usually live.

Mr. Naughtypants caught in the act!
Note all of the toys are out of the basket.
Floor is covered in toys, yet puppy is chewing on the basket.

To tell the whole story, I'll crop the picture a little differently...  Notice Ziggy on the sofa to the right.  He was intently watching Rip destroy the basket.  Ziggy says, "A naughty puppy is better than TV!"


At least Mr. Naughtypants is cute and smart....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rip learns another important lesson

It's all well and good learning to sit, down, and walk on a leash.  But any self-respecting Cardi in our home also needs to know how to politely sleep on the sofa.

The Husband was away from home one night, so it was just the Trio and I to enjoy some evening TV.  Ziggy was already up on the sofa, and Rip wanted to join.  I lifted him up, and after a bit of shifting around (which Ziggy reprimanded him for - good job, Ziggy), he settled in nicely.  I had to keep a close eye on him to make sure he didn't launch himself off the sofa,  but otherwise Rip's first foray as a sofa dog went very well.

The down side of this is that the little naughty boy is now big enough to jump up on the sofa.  I just caught him up there starting to drag the box of tissues off the side table.  So much for unsupervised time in the family room...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We've got ears - say Cheers!

Since I haven't done an ear post lately, I thought I'd share the latest...

It's been a couple of weeks since our last round of ear taping (which lasted two days).  And here we are -- We've got ears!!

Sorry for the poor quality picture.  It's incredibly hard to get an ears-up picture of a puppy who is either in motion or asleep.  The only way I got this picture is to put my hand in his collar.

Here are some other tries:

Wrestling the bone away from his brother

See how quickly I can "down?"  
But I won't stay there long

Ha!  Try to take a picture of my ears now!

Yes, the ears are up now.  Rip does like to slick his ears back like his Aunt Molly when he's moving, though.  If he's heeling or ready to pounce something his ears are up - otherwise when moving they're slicked back against his head.  I think this makes for less wind resistance when moving - which should enable him to shave valuable fractions of a second off his agility course times.  

P.S. - You get bonus points if  you caught the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse reference in my blog post title.  This means that you likely have preschoolers at home....
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...