Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Puppy Pictures Part Deux

Even more pictures!!!

This is Ty's (Tank) most frequent facial expression.

The pups have discovered the doggy swimming pool and LOVE to play on/in/around it.  Here Zoey and Diva are having the time of their lives.

Zoey, also affectionately known as "The Imp" looking so very innocent and cute...

My little Grace always has the most serious walk.  Until she decides to chew on you - then gets the wild eyed look...

Chloe, taking a break from racing and wrestling, watching the action from a safe distance...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Even MORE Puppy Pictures

Finally I was able to get my pictures up!!!!!!!!!

Here's Luke... sittin' pretty.  

Ty (on the outside) - formerly Tank - racing with Chloe.

Diva - realizing I'm trying to take her picture - racing in for the kill.

My current favorite - Chico - who needs a name.  He's super sweet.  Just adore the little boy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Training Break

Roxy is home on a training break.  It feels like she's been gone for forever!  This has been a new and somewhat strange experience for me.  Normally, I'm the one starting, riding and finishing my horses.  This time I bowed down to more experience and knowledge and am letting someone else do the dirty work until competition time rolls around.  

Its hard.  Very, very hard.  I feel disconnected from my horse.  But at the same time kinda excited.  This time next year Roxy and I will be at the Canadian Supreme competing in cutting.  I'm happy to have her home.  The whole futurity thing and starting horses at two freaks me out.  And I worry.  A lot.  About her being physically able to do the job.  About her being mentally strong enough to handle the pressure.  But I've committed.  And no matter how awkward it makes me feel I'll stay the course.  

But I am super happy to have her home.  Where she can roam the pasture and be a horse.  Where she can take a break and let any ouchy spots heal up.  

Where I can watch her and dream about what may actually become reality.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quietly Plugging Along

I am fully and completely exhausted.  My day off from work involved cleaning both the inside and outside puppy pen.  Getting feed and water set up in both puppy pens.  Playing with said puppies.  Going to my Mixed Martial Arts class (great fun), zipping into the grocery store for more goats milk (final week), loading up Tessa and Reba, driving the 2 and a bit hours to Bowden, working dogs, watching dogs getting worked, having a great visit, driving the 2 and a bit hours back home, checking on the puppies, cleaning their inside pen again, feeding the puppies and feeding all the adult dogs. 

Now I've settled to blog... perhaps bed would be a wiser choice... but I have had the most fabulous day... and wanted to share it... but forgot to take pictures... sigh...

Today I was validated.  Today a highly respected dog trainer and breeder (Abe Marshall) told me I'm (yep ME) am doing a wonderful job training my "very nice bitch".  Wow!  What an amazing feeling.  He was incredibly impressed with the dog, so much so that he kept commenting on how NICE she was.  Plus she was a superstar.  No snarling at strange dogs - one of her biggest issues.  Outstanding listening.  Keen but quiet and responsive.  It was a GREAT day!  

Today I was told to keep doing what I'm doing because I'm doing good!  He even told me I could leave her behind when I was loading the dogs to leave!  That I should be proud of the dog I have.  Sometimes it's nice to hear you're not the only one who thinks the dog is something special.  

Today I feel outstanding!  Like dancing on air!  *beaming smile*

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Sad

Today I'm happy sad. I'm happy I sold a pup. I'm sad I sold Tank/Rocky. You see, this person had expressed an interest in him BEFORE I decided I wanted him. And ethically I just couldn't justify keeping him. I think - THINK - it'll be a good home. It's a knowledgeable owner, ranch home, with kids to play with.

My reasoning in keeping him is I kinda sorta wanted to see what type of a trial dog he'd make. He's so tuned into people and so quick to learn that I hoped he might be able to become a superstar. And who knows - maybe he still will be.

Either way I will ask that if he runs into trouble, can't keep the dog or the dog just isn't working for him to let me know and I WILL buy him back.

Tough for me to say goodbye though...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Puppy Names - The Final Verdict

All of the furry babies now have names! Here's the official version - these are the names that will go on microchips and registration papers. The names seem to suit the babies and I'm happy with them.

In birth order:
  1. Chloe
  2. Dixie
  3. Luke
  4. Zoey
  5. Grace
  6. Chico
  7. Rocky (There was quite some objection over leaving poor Tank to be called that for the rest of his life!) Thanks Lynn for the name ideas!

On October 13, the puppies plus Reba all go into the vet clinic for their shots. I needed to have names for microchips and registration papers because as soon as the pups have their chips I'll send away the paperwork to CBCA. In addition, Reba's Optigen blood work will be done and sent down to the states for her DNA testing. Reba is currently registered with the American Border Collie Association and I plan to have her registered with the Canadian registry making her eligible to compete in the Canadian Finals. (We likely won't ever make it because of my work schedule - but just in case!) I figured if I was paying for and doing paperwork I might as well do it all!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yikes! I've Gone and Done It!

Originally, when Reba was bred I had not intended to keep any of the puppies. However, with a second case of mastitis on the go, and an early wean planned to stop the wear and tear on my lovely Reba, things changed. I may not breed her in the future. My normally healthy dog has not had a pleasant mothering experience. This means I may keep back not one, but TWO of the pups. They are all such NICE creatures I'm having trouble deciding on who to keep.

The front runner right now is Tank. Which is strange for me because I'm not a male dog fan. But I have a feeling. I have a feeling this dog will have star quality. And for that reason I'm wanting to keep him. I like how drawn to people and I like how his personality is developing.

The second dog I'm loving is Runt. (Thinking Diva or ?.) She's a regal little girl. I love the look of her. Feminine, and mostly black. I also quite like how she's been dealing with the world around her. She's curious, playful and brave.

But then again the other girls are lovely as well. And wide blaze face is outstanding! For that reason alone I think I have to sell him because I can see him being such an amazing dog for someone wanting to trial or work and have a nice family dog. He just has a stellar personality. I'm thinking he's going to be Luke. It seems to fit him.

Puppy two is going to be an outstanding working dog. She has so much drive and energy. Puppy's one and four are top notch. They are both so nice that I want them to go to people who will appreciate them. I can't keep all the great ones!

Ah! It's just sooooo hard to choose! I love and appreciate them all. It just makes finding the "just right" home all the more important to me!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Puppy Names

My darling MacBook has died once more and is off getting doctored so no new pictures for a few weeks. Please accept my apologies!

With time ticking away I've started thinking about names for my little puppy family. With one puppy sold to a wonderful couple who passed my quality controls, I've been trying to fit names with the personalities of the pups left.

Girl puppy number one, who is on the couple's short list, I like to think of as Lucy. She's kind of spunky, gives great eye contact, is people oriented and brave. Also high energy.

Girl puppy number two, I still have no ideas for names. She's mostly black and is spunky, likes to bark, and while small tries to play with the big boys. She's also a bit of an explorer and has no problems wandering off by herself. I've toyed with Dora and Stella but am not sold on either name.

Boy puppy number three is a rolly polly short backed big boy. He has stunning markings with a wide blaze going into his collar. He's also the quietest, most easy going pup who stays out of the pecking order fray. I"m thinking Luke but am not sure it fits.

Girl puppy number five, who was the runt but is now about the same size as sister number two is the most black and adorable. Tonight while I held her she spent her time licking my hand. She's also pretty spunky and brave. She's the one I'm having the most trouble finding a name "fit". She's also the one who I (and my family) thinks will make an awesome dog. She's got a nice medium temperament.

Boy puppy number six, who has the spotted head and seems to be the lowest on the pecking order got his name idea from one of my students. Today, while discussing writing ideas one of my students blurted out that I should name a puppy Chico. I think Chico just may suit this guy. I still want to see what Chico means, but it may be a fit.

Boy puppy number seven has had his name almost from day one. Tank, is still Tank and will always be Tank. This is one solid large puppy. But he also seems to be mellowing. He's also the undefeated boss of the puppy pen. I'm pretty sure his size helps him out on that one!

Ah, name dilemma's...

Any good ideas??

The Value of a Great Coach

This weekend I took a break from my puppy filled craziness and took a trip to Ken Mackenzie's place in Drayton Valley. From my years of riding I fully and completely understand the value of great coaching. While I'm somewhat competent working and training dogs on my own now, it's still nice every now and then to go and get a tune up. With Northlands big arena trial looming in my future and Tessa exhibiting some red flags I called up Ken and made a doggy date.

Poor Reba had to stay home and take care of her babies, but Tessa was loaded into the truck for the trip. Once there I touched base with some of my concerns and had Tessa show him. This is where the value of a great coach, that extra set of eyes, and another brain to provide training strategies is invaluable. He even stepped in and worked Tessa so I could watch him complete the exercise he thought would help us. He also validated my concerns and thoughts and gave me some feedback on her condition. (Which is awful!)

Tessa and I have until the beginning of November to get ready. So out to the field we go - every day. I'll also be making a pit stop at the vet clinic to toss some ideas around her body condition and medical issues - and how best to deal with them to help her get into shape.

On the plus side we worked last night and had a GREAT work! We've been working on short flanks and outruns. Because the trial is an arena trial we aren't looking at huge distances. Instead we're working on cleaning up her fetch - hitting the sheep dead middle and not slicing corners off. The slicing of corners is also our short flank issue. She really likes to run a straight line rather than rounding the edges. So now I work the sheep along a fence and use my body pressure to bump her out when I give the flank.

The game plan is to be nit picky and work in close until she's responsive and correct once more. Here's hoping it works - Northlands will likely be the last trial of her career.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Puppy Play Pen

Tomorrow is the day the puppies turn three weeks! Reba is doing much better and I'm only feeding the pups around three times a day to help her (and them) out. They had become rather adept at escaping from their whelping bed to chase Reba down for food this week that I had to get creative and develop a new pen. Ideally, the pups would have been moved outside this weekend but with daytime temperatures hovering around 13 degrees Celsius, and night time temps hitting the freezing mark, the pups remain inside until developmentally they are able to regulate their internal temperatures.

The picture is of the "final" modifications I made to their pen. I'm using a tall dog play pen, and have attached two panels from a wire shelving unit. This enables Reba to hop in and out to feed and clean but keeps the pups contained. I had been trying to get the pups to differentiate between potty and sleep areas with little success. So I thought I'd move a crate in with the hope it creates a clear difference of space for the pups. On the floor I have puppy pee pads (hate the concept but ran out of newspaper), part of which are covered by my foamy bath mats.

I also hate being able to see the pee mess. The obsessive compulsive parts of me want to clean it immediately - even though I know to encourage peeing in a specific area you're supposed to leave it, and keep the sleep area clean. The pen still gets a major clean in the morning and before bed. But I may be moving that to just in the morning - If, and big if - the pups keep the crate area clean. We'll see how it goes. This theory is supposed to speed up house training and crate training. (According to Cesar.)

It amazes me how quickly they learn. The crates been in there for about five hours and they're already starting to sleep in it. It helps that Reba loves the crate and feeds in there. On my list of things to do is to buy a larger crate to help Reba spread out when it's meal time.

Cat or Dog??

Up until the time Tessa came into my life I had always been a cat person.  When I moved away from home it was with tears at leaving behind my beloved farm kitties Tigger and Squawk.  Serious discussion and contemplation had gone into bringing them with me to my new home on the prairie.  It was only the knowledge that my farm cats who were used to the run of the farm would not be content in my new 900 square foot house.  And I couldn't do that to them.  So they stayed behind and I contented myself with visits home where I would sit in the easy chair and read while Squawk relaxed on my lap.

Tessa was my first house pet - ever.  My mom had firm beliefs about having pets in the house so there were none.  Squawk an orphan was allowed in part time for cuddles, as he had been a temporary resident until he was big enough to fend for himself outside.  With Tessa I discovered the joy of having a dog companion with me.  I was able to see, grow, learn and love with her in the house.  I was never lonely with my furry friend so close and we often spent the evenings sitting together with her sprawled on her back between my legs on the couch while I read, worked or watched TV.   With no one to watch Tessa when I was gone I quickly learned to adapt my lifestyle to meet the needs of the dog.  Tessa went everywhere with me.  She has been to rodeos, roping's, bars, big cities and small towns.  (I lived 2-3 hours from anywhere with any facilities - meaning I had no choice, I would be gone too long to leave her in the house.)  Now I can't imagine life without having a dog with me.  Often when I'm not at work you can find a dog riding shotgun as I complete my errands.

I do have a cat.  Moxie was a dumped cat.  She quickly wormed her way into my heart.  She's not snugly but she has such a zest for life and is so spunky you can't help but smile.  She also thinks she's a dog.  She plays with the dogs, comes out into the field to help us herd sheep, rides the horse, and is an all around PITA.  (Pain In The Ass)  She has also taken a keen interest in Reba's puppies.  On Friday, the puppies and I were basking in the sun out in the yard.  I could see Moxie checking out these strange and wonderful creatures.  She stalks off.  Then reappears.  With a dead creature in her mouth.  She looks intently at the puppies, walks towards us, and drops her prize.  Giggling, I shook my head at her antics.  

Yesterday, I left the puppies in the yard unattended (Reba was out with them).  When it began to cloud over I went to retrieve them.  By the Rubbermaid tub I used to transport them I discovered another surprise.  A dead mouse.  Neatly delivered to the box, beside the pups.  It appears Moxie has struck again.  Apparently she thinks they need some extra vittles and wants to helps.  

Best of both worlds, a cat who thinks she's a dog?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thank God for Good Family

I am blessed with my family and the way they are willing to support me emotionally and with time when it comes to my animal obsession.  Wednesday night the puppies were very loud.  I chalked it up to Reba not wanting to nurse (she had an ouchy on one of her teats).  Thursday I came home to chaos.  

Reba was limping and had one massive teat (or boob as I've been calling them).  Walking through the door and straight to the phone I immediately called the vet.  Of course at this point in time it was 5:30 meaning we were wracking up ANOTHER emergency vet call.  Sigh.  Sam asked us to meet her at the clinic.  Where she was kind enough to confirm my fear.  Mastitis had struck!  Mastitis is basically an infection in a teat.  While not overly severe it is extremely painful for the dog and can progress into the potentially fatal milk fever if left untreated.  My poor Reba received shots of pain killers, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotics.  Because she is nursing we had to take great care to ensure everything she received was safe for the puppies.  Not that it mattered because she was in so much pain she wasn't expressing any milk.

Armed with antibiotics, probiotics, pain meds and milk replacer we headed home.  And I turned into Not The Mommy.  Mixing the milk replacer I sat with a pup on my lap and fed them.  Poor little farts were hungry!  I fed at 10:30, 1:30 and again at 3:30 all before I got up for work (and feeding again) at 6:00.  My father stepped up to the plate while I was up at work.  Carefully he measured and mixed and made sure everyone was safe and fed.  When I returned home I found a much happier Reba and content pups.  

It's going to be a battle but these pups will be cared for.  Reba is feeding more but still not enough to keep them satisfied.  At three weeks we have one week of milk before we can start working at moving them onto food.  To help stretch the milk we had been mixing some Cream of Wheat porridge in which they seem to like.  I also inadvertently discovered just how sharp their little teeth are when one latched onto a finger.  I learned at G & E Pharmacy (vet/animal superstore) when I was picking up more milk replacer that I can feed baby rice porridge and the pups will have less chances of upset tummy because it's easy to digest.

So far all my babies are healthy.  And I plan to keep it that way!  ...I just may be a wee bit sleep deprived while I do it...