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??
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