Saturday, January 31, 2015

Something New

Today was vet day.  It seems vet day gets increasingly expensive.  However, it needed to be done.  The dogs had their yearly exams.  Both dogs are healthy, however one is intermittently puking.  Not sure who - but I suspect Diva.  So I being the person that I am, took pictures of the puke.  After the vet reviewed she felt they looked like Bile.  Did you know that dogs can get the equivalent of Acid Reflux?  Learn something new every day.  Now I'll be feeding a handful of kibble each morning to help them feel better.

I also picked up dewormer, and meds for both Ryder and Diva.  (Anxiety and Incontinence.)  In the spring when Diva heads into heavier work (stock) I'll need to add a different med as she tends to be leaky when she's tired.

Both dogs have lost some weight.

Diva is now 46 lbs.  Ryder 50.6 lbs.

The vet says these are good weights to maintain on.

It's good to have healthy animals.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

It Was A Good Weekend

I kicked my weekend off with a bang.  Friday night I did my standard three classes of agility basics.  Woot!  Went much better than last week as last week we had a wee bit of a situation.  I may or may not have needed to change my drawers...

You see, during Ryder's "crate" time, a lovely male Pit Bull got the Zoomies and accidentally banged into Ryder's crate, dislodging the pin that holds the door closed.  Ryder being Ryder, came out like his ass was on fire and went after the hapless Pit.  The hapless Pit reacted like he was under attack.  It ended with Ryder running back into his crate.  Thank the good Lord there was no damage to either dog.  Mostly noise was produced.  But very scary for me.  (And I'm sure the other owner.)

This week there was no near deaths.  Put a check in the WIN column.

Up early on Saturday, I hustled out to Drayton Valley.  It was back to basics for the dogs on stock.  I really want to fix some things I noticed during the November trials.  This was the first time both dogs had been on stock in ages.  And by ages I mean since the beginning of November.

It involved Ken speaking firmly with me and me running through the melty, sometimes icy and shifting snow.  Can we say buns of steel?  (Our weather has been freakishly warm this month!  Melting!!)  We began with Diva.  And she worked and I worked.  We worked some more.

I created this little video of her.  Please let me know if you can't view.

I found it humorous. (Ok - so it works on my computer... maybe not yours??)  Note Diva peeing as I walk to Ken and give him shit for still recording.  That girl has got to go the moment she gets any exercise!

Ryder was his soft and sensitive little self.

I just love his expression on the sheep.  Ken commented that he doesn't upset the sheep.  They seem to like him.  He also felt that Ryder showed more confidence on stock than he has in the past.  I'm wondering if the break was good for him.  

Because Ryder is terrified of the horses, Ken rode one of his colts while I worked Ryder.  I was very impressed with how brave Ryder was.  The filly was super cute too!  

To bring the end to my weekend, today I had a jumping lesson.  I think I have a perpetual smile on my face now.  I really, really needed this time with the critters.  Feeds my soul.  

This is Frank.  He's the lesson horse I jump on.  He's old and a character.  Probably one of the only "push" style rides I've ever had.  (Hey - I grew up on Arabs - and mine required very little leg!)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Social Experiment

In my household, Ryder is a ball hog.  We jokingly call it his soother.  He carries a ball around everywhere.  Diva, for the longest time showed little to no interest in playing.  Over the past six months she's started stealing the ball from Ryder.  She proudly carries it off.  Then Ryder chases after her and takes it from her.  

Tired of the sibling bickering over the ball.  I went to PetSmart and bought two, identical balls.


Because I have a sense of humour...

I wondered if each dog had their own ball would they still fight over them?

How did my little social experiment turn out?

Well, it turns out the ball is most desirable when the other dog is in possession of it.  Basically, they don't care that there are two identical balls.  I can even try to play with both.  One dog will drop a ball to play with the other one.  In other words, only one dog and ball is in play at any given time.

It was worth a try...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pictures: Finally!

It's been rather chilly the last few weeks.  Today the farrier came out to trim the horses.  I bundled up and had a great visit with him.  While the horses got their pedicure the dogs ran wild in the yard.  They raced, and raced, and raced.  I thought I'd be smart and bring my phone so I could snap some pics... well... the phone froze.  So no pics of dogs but I did put it in the house to warm up so I could grab some horse pictures.  It was a balmy -18C here this morning.  (About 0 F.)

I love how fuzzy the girls are.  They are snuggly and cuddly.  I would have hopped on Marnie for a ride but I'm not flexible enough to get on bareback in all my winter gear.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ryder: A Story of Contrasts

It's funny.  As a kid I hated puzzles.  Any and all puzzles.  Now, as an adult I can't stand not having all the pieces fit.  Having odds or ends that seem incongruent make me nuts.  I have no qualms researching to the point of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Ryder is a puzzle I haven't been able to put together.  He is, in so many ways, a story of contrasts.

He was the 6th pup out of an expected 4...

Born August 15, 2010

When he was born he was adorable.  While lower on the fight for food spectrum than his brothers he would have been middle of the pack.  As a baby he was higher energy but more reserved than some of his really outgoing siblings.

He drove me nuts running out to the corrals with Diva.  Rattling the wire along the bottom of the gate and barking madly at anything that moved.  It was an epic feat to keep him in the yard for "free play."

I was actually relieved to sell him.  Thinking to myself there goes the toughest pup out of the litter.  At this point in time he wasn't interested in interactive play with a toy and human.

When he came back, I took a deep breathe and prepared to work my arse off training.  What I got was a dog prone to accidents in the house.  A dog who flipped out when I hollered at his mom.  He leapt over the baby gate, ran up the stairs and jumped into my mother's lap.  A dog who lost his everliving marbles if you held a stock stick in your hand near him.  A dog who was supposed to be crate trained but who woke me crying each night.  I eventually caved and let him sleep with me.  He would push his body against mine.  If I moved, he'd shift so he was once again touching me.  For months he would only sleep if he was touching me.

Because he was having accidents from being left at home I looked into Doggy Daycare.  Found a new one and tried it out.  It was a failure in the sense that I think they let him down.  I think they allowed other dogs to beat him up and destroyed his confidence around other canines.

I had quite a few offers from people interested in purchasing him.  I couldn't sell him in good conscience.

I began coaxing him to work.  He struggled with any amounts of pressure.  Progress was slow.  But progress was made.

I put him into agility classes.  This bolstered his confidence and he demonstrated a keen enjoyment of the activities.

Between the sheep work and agility exercises he had plenty to keep his brain working.

Yet things were not always perfect.  In fact, at times they were downright awful.  And this is where I began to gnaw on the puzzle that is this dog.

In the beginning he was horribly reactive to men.  He was good with other dogs but that changed.  I neutered him thinking this would help reduce his reactivity.

Here is the puzzle.

1) Sometimes he is beyond awesome with other dogs.  He used to clean Tessa's bum and ears as she neared the twilight of her life.

Walking in the grazing reserve, Tessa is behind him.

He happily and wonderfully played with the Boston Terrier I was dog sitting.  He did not have a prior relationship with this dog.

Other times, he reacts and freaks out at any and all dogs.  It does not matter the size, breed or sex.  He does tend to do this more than anything at all.  We've been working very, very hard on this and have definitely made progress.  But he is most definitely not "cured".  

2) He is the biggest wimp out there.  He is scared of grocery bags, blankets flapping, noises, thunder, doesn't travel well anymore, and so on, so on.  He is so bad that when Honey fart's, Ryder runs out of the room!  True story!  It leaves me baffled because his mother wasn't like that.  His sister isn't like that.  It has taken forever to get him to accept the 12 year old child that's now part of our lives.  He still doesn't like him and mostly tolerates or avoids him.  This is not good.  He really is a horribly anxious dog.  

In his ThunderShirt.

It's funny, as a pup he showed no interest in playing fetch.  He would watch me play with Tessa until one day he joined in.  Now he is inseparable with the ball.  

He even sleeps with a ball.  We jokingly call it his soother.
Even though he no longer sleeps with me, he will always be my sensitive cuddle buddy.  

If dogs could talk, I wonder what he would say?

My question for him: why are you so good in so many ways and such a challenge in others? 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Fall Back, Bounce Forward

Fall back.  Bounce forward.  This seems to be the story of my life.  It is most definitely the story of the dogs lives.  One thing I have learned over the years is that you can't change the past.  Make your peace with it and move on.  Quite literally, it is what it is.

One thing I've been pondering is how to improve.  The quality of my life.  The quality of the dogs lives.  The quality of the horses lives.


In 2015:


  • Go to Yoga.  Regularly.  
  • Investigate a course or two to pick up.  Ideas I'm tossing around are Canine Massage Therapy, or even another Masters.  Maybe even a PhD.  Something to stretch my mind.  I've gotten obsessive compulsive with investigating peer reviewed research regarding dog nutrition.  
  • Ride.  Run.  Work Dogs.  Do things I love.  These things make me happy.
  • Make regular trips to different places to work the dogs.  Ken and I talked about Diva and her not listening to me.  He raised a good point.  Tessa had had way more consistent work at his place before her first trial.  I need to get back into that groove.
  • Continue with the agility "cross-training".  It makes the dogs happy and gives me something to do on long dark evenings.  
  • Commit to entering trials and clinics.
  • Continue to ride Marnie.  Refine her skills to turn her into a killer arena horse.  
  • Maybe, just maybe horsey babies?  We shall see.  
  • Whiskey - help her over the rainbow bridge before winter 2015.  On this I won't budge.