Dog in need of saving

June 12, 2010

I hope someone can help with this. There’s a dog in need of a good home. Here is info from the vet who’s the go between (Lisa Wiggins): “I have an elderly gentleman that adopted a dog (4 years old) from shelter and cannot keep it. I think it has border collie in it. It does herd and bark and have lots of energy so is too much for an elderly man. This dog has an incredible personality and I think would do really well at agility…lots of energy, drive and heart.If I cannot find a home for this dog fast, he will likely be euthanized because it is too much for an old man. Dog is neutered and up to date on vaccines.”


Fairs – Demos Season!

September 7, 2009

I just finished my usual Labor Day Weekend fair “tour“.  Every year for the past 6 years I have done dog agility demos at the Scottish Games ( at the Altamont Fairgrounds.  This year Steve Capporizzo, the Channel 10 weatherman and local rescue dog champion, was back to emcee.  Last year he was notably absent, and it just wasn’t the same without him.  This is always a big event, there’s a big crowd there to watch agility; but also in general there are tons of vendor booths, food, drink, and clans/societies, and of course the bagpipe bands.  The weather was wonderful, and we had Border Collies, Shelties, Cairn Terrier, Golden Retriever, and even Scottish Deerhound to perform agility during the dog show.  We also had an unofficial show earlier in the day (a warm up, really, without announcing to the crowd, and open to non-Scottish breeds of dogs).  Any time you start running a dog over the agility course crowds form!

On Thursday, for the 5th year in a row (if my memory serves) I also held demos at Kids Day at the Columbia County Fair in Chatham (  This is a great local event, and we have 2 45 minutes shows each year.  The crowds were, as usual, large and appreciative, and other than the scary ferris wheel just 20′ from the ring that unnerved a couple of dogs and a brief outing by one dog to get some food a spectator had about 25′ away, all the dogs did very well and really entertained the crowd.

Thanks to all who helped me with both shows.  These are a lot of work for me to organize, get participants for, and haul/setup/takedown equipment for.  I really appreciate all of my friends and students to come out to help me put on a good show every year!

Lucy Update

April 21, 2009


I wanted to get you a quick update on Lucy, even though this week I’m swamped with my CPE trial prep stuff.

The results came back and she does not have Lepto.  So much for that theory!  The liver failure was cauesd by was either infectious or toxicity.  My best guess is that it was all those toys she ate the first week she was here… you know, PVC/plastic hollow balls, squeaky toys, plush toys.  So much came out the other end of her, but perhaps some stayed in her.  And, I read that many of the dog toys on the market contain DINP, which is a chemical used to make hard PVC plastic soft and pliable. 

Here’s a link to the article I found about this:

AKC and Mixed Breeds

Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard that AKC will soon “allow” mixed breeds to compete at agility events.  I, like many others, have no wish to do this; there are plenty of other venues out there that don’t discriminate against our All Americans.  I found this blog this morning and just had to share.  Too funny!

One step forward…

April 8, 2009

I’ve had Lucy for about 3 weeks now.  She’s settled in nicely in the home.  Jart and her love to play, and Buddy tolerates her, and sometimes even seems to like her!  Wow…

I have seen her become more comfortable, and then start to get into trouble: chewing up all of the rubber toys, eating pieces of them as well as tearing apart squeaky soft toys, and getting into food in the pantry and bags of misc things on the shelves (not always food).  We’ve “puppy-proofed” places and things she might get into, and now watch her very closely. 

The problem is most likely that it’s time to give her a job!  Although, part of the reason is that she still is hungry and I’m still trying to put weight on her.  It turns out she has Cocchia, an infection somewhat like worms, and easily treatable.  This is likely the reason that, even though I’ve been feeding her 3-1/2 cups of food a day, she hasn’t been gaining weight and was trying to getting into food on shelves and the like.  She’s on meds now, and we were forced to totally clean up the poop in the dog yard and back yard, quite a task since nothing had been done all winter!

What have I done for training?

I have done hand touches, she picked up that very quickly.  We’re also working on stay and down (she has sit pretty well down).  And, of course, recalls.  I’m still trying to get her to go potty on command, a necessity when we start trialing and take it on the road.

She has done a few jumps, and put her paws on the dogwalk and A-frame, but I’ve only asked her to do a few jumps, nothing else official yet.  I was going to start agility training this week, but we had a bit of  a setback over the weekend.

I took her to the Y Agility USDAA trial in CT on Sunday.  She got to hang out in the crate in the van and came in a few  times with me to get used to the atmosphere in the place.  She loved it, as she loves both people and dogs – I had trouble as she wanted to greet every dog and person that came close!  I gave her a hollow bone with the Kraft Squeeze Cheese in it, and she loved it; it kept her busy when she was in the crate hanging out.

On Sunday, I had some private lessons on Stephentown.  I brought all the dogs with me.  She seemed a little lackluster as the day wore on, and vomited on the way home.  That night she was clearly not feeling well; she ate dinner, but didn’t want to play or run around.  The next morning she vomited again after eating only half of her breakfast.  I took her to the vet in the afternoon, and she vomited a couple of times on the way there. 


We figured out that she had gotten some old cheese (wow, the expiration date on the can was June 2007…. such a bad Momma!!…), and had a reaction to it. 

Now, lest you think I’m a thoughtless and bad Momma (really!), let me explain a bit more.  I had had this tube of cheese in with the dog’s travel food container for at least 3-4 months.  I thought it had come off of my parents pantry shelf before that, but I now think it was actually an older can of mine that I hadn’t used for years.  I used to often fill hollow bones with cheese (I called them cheese bones!), for Buddy, Sandy, Crystal, when travelling in crates or in hotel rooms.  I haven’t done that for years, so when I got Lucy and saw that she loved bones, I knew she’d also like something stuffed in them to keep her busy when I wasn’t around.  I checked the cheese when I squeezed the cheese into the bone on Saturday – it smelled fine, looked fine, and I even took a bit myself so know it tasted fine.  I just never thought to check for an expiration date.  You know, many items like this have a very long shelf life.  Well, lesson to me, always check just to be safe!

They gave her shots and pills to take home, and she is now on a plain rice and chicken diet.  She’s eating better, but after 2 days is still not fully back to normal; she has some of her energy back but is still not eating with her normal gusto (and doesn’t like her regular food, only that good chicken will do!).  She has started to play and chase Jart just a bit, but I don’t want to do any training yet with her until she’s back to normal.  So, I continue to read about foundation training stuff I want to do with her, and think about which obstacles I want to start her on (tunnels are next!).


ADPT Rally O

February 10, 2009

Last weekend I attended a Rally Obedience trial at High Goal Farm in Greenwich. 

I had a blast doing level 3 for the first time with Buddy.  I rarely practice with him, and yet he’s always spot-on as if we practiced a lot – he makes me look good !  He was entered in level 3 all 4 runs and level 2 for the AM runs each day, and Q’ed 3 times in level 3 and 1 out of 2 in level 2.  The NQ in level 2 was my fault.  I reached towards my pocket (not even the one I give him treats from!) in the middle of the course, just before 3 married signs – halt sidestep right, halt 180 pivot, and then halt leave call front while running.  He kept looking at me as he thought I was about to give him a treat as we did the first 2 signs, and when I left him in a stay and ran away, he followed me.  He was wanting that darned treat!  In retrospect (since of course I noticed him looking at me for a treat on the 2 signs before) I should’ve treated him even though I hadn’t planned on it. 

He was really nervous on Saturday for some reason – maybe he was feeding off of me, I don’t know.  On Sunday he was much better, but particularly in the afternoon run his prey drive was in full force and he ran a few steps towards and barked at a few fast moving dogs outside the ring (someone practicing fast heeling was one trigger, I can’t remember the other).  In the past year this behavior, whether it is called prey drive or reactivity (which I think in Buddy’s case both apply) has been happening more and more.  I’m not sure if it’s because he’s got arthtiris and isn’t always as comfortable physically as he used to be, or perhaps it’s just because he’s getting old and cranky…  But he sure keeps me on my toes, that’s for sure.

Jart… well, he had his usual fears, which he usually overcomes rather quickly when playing agility.  But Rally is quite new for him, and we have done very little of it – and none in public other than small classes.  The first run he pulled me halfway around the course!  There was no connection between him and me, he just wanted to pull me towards an exit or the corner of the room (where he could back against a wall and observe everyone else so nothing was behind him; he never wants anyone behind him sneaking up on him).  Our afternoon run on Saturday was much better – I stopped in the beginning a few times and refocused him, and for much of the course he was willing, happy, even his usual bouncy self (when he heels with me in practice he’s a jumping jack at times!).  We failed in the PM on the sit-walk around, he always gets up partway around to keep an eye on me; again, he doesn’t like anyone, even me behind him.

Sunday was a repeat of Saturday – he was bad in the morning, much better in the afternoon.  I almost got around him on the sit-walk around in the afternoon trial, he got up just a bit at the very end.  So, no Q’s for him.  But it was a good experience for him, that’s for sure.

I wish I could get to more Rally O trials – just no time in my schedule with all the agility showing and judging I do.  It seems like all the local trials conflict with dates I’m already booked.  High Goal Farm plans on another rally trial in July, the date isn’t set yet.  I’m already booked for most of July, so hope to hear the date soon to see if I’m available!

New Dog?…

February 5, 2009


I am starting to look for a new dog.  Buddy, now almost 10 years old, will be retiring in the next year or so.  Jart is in his prime.  It’s time to get another. 

Problem is, Buddy doesn’t get along well with most dogs.  He has no social skills, and is reactive and prone to herding-type behaviors.  Plus, he suffers from a lack of confidence.


This afternoon I went to check out a dog at a local shelter.  She’s a young (less than 2 years old) Border Collie Jack Russell Terrier mix, really cute, really energetic, named Spring (what else?).  Yes, she can jump about 5′ high in a single bound! I had gone to see her already, and knew she was over the top for energy level.  But, they had said she was good with other dogs, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

It went as I had predicted it might.  Jart was fine with her, even though she was rude – always pulling to get to him, pushy in nature.  By the way, they do a great job there in letting new dogs greet – we walked the 2 dogs first on opposite sides of the road, then let them come together briefly, then apart awhile, then together again if all goes well the first time.

Then I put Jart away and got Buddy. He could sense her boldness and rudeness right away and lunged/reacted to her before we got them within 5′ of each other.  We walked them for awhile, and didn’t even let them try to get closer, knowing it wasn’t going to work.

I fear it will be very hard for me to find a suitable third for my dog pack; Buddy’s unique needs may nix lots of dogs that otherwise would do fine in my household.

Buddy needs a confident, yet not overly assertive, dog who is dog savvy and on an even keel temperament and personality-wise.  So, for those of you in the Eastern NY/Western New England area, this is a solicitation of sorts.  I am looking for a girl; size doesn’t really matter, but I don’t really want a dog over 21″ or so; and I would prefer 2 years or younger in age.  I want her to be a playmate to Jart, be a calm dog around the house, and be one of my agility dogs.

Some of you know I am also considering an Aussie or Aussie mix.  I think their personality type will be compatible with Buddy’s needs: happy-go-lucky, not bothered by much, can just hang around the house without bouncing off the walls, yet can turn it on for agility.

Basically, I’m looking for a dog with a good off switch, plus one that can snuggle with me at night; I miss that…

If anyone knows of a dog in Eastern New York or New England, please let me know.  And please pass the word about Spring, she’ll make someone an excellent agility dog!


Jumpers Course – Jan 25 2009

January 31, 2009

Here’s the Advanced Jumpers Course designed and judged by Dave Bozak on January 25th at the Feel the Rush trial in Amherst NH, at American K9 Country. 


There are 2 things I did with Jart on this course that were APHS inspired.  First, let me say, handlers were really focusing on the 13-14 area as a problem area.  I would’ve done a front cross and fumbled to get out of Jart’s way and then had to perform a hard shoulder turn to get him around the 15-16 turn before attending the Jenn Crank seminar.  However, I had an easier solution, plus one I thought (hoped) Jart would read nicely.

First, earlier on course, 8-9-10, instead of pushing into the pocket to get the turn to 9 and 10, and then possibly falling behind for the line of jumps 10-12 and onto 13, I chose to decelerate while giving Jart a verbal Jump and nice hand signal, keeping myself heading straight forward.  When he committed to the jump, I turned and ran the other way, making a clear, straight line for him from right to left on the course as drawn.  This worked like a charm!

I had decided that getting the #13 jump would be easier if I was on Jart’s right for the line going into it, so this worked perfectly as the previous move kept me on his right.  I then did a second deceleration with verbal Jump and good hand signal, again keeping my body square and pointed straight at  the jump.  The tough part here was making sure he was taking the jump and was turning to the right, then doing a 270 degree turn and taking off in the new direction, towards #15.  I got a nice turn over the #13 jump, but started to take off a split second too early and Jart pulled in a bit, coming past the #14 jump.  It took me a bit to get him around it and back over it in the correct direction (we walked in circles around each other a couple of times), and we ended up 8 seconds over time because of it. 

BTW, the next move, a sharp rear cross at #15, worked really well, then we were home free, me laterally pulling him around the slight left turns and then taking off for the last 2 jumps and the finish line.

I was very happy with our run.  We tried and successfully used a brand move for me, which of course Jart read effortlessly because it was natural him to read and respond to my body language.  The only problem on course was me, my timing was a little off.  I’ll forgive myself, this trusting my dog and not putting in extra cues/shoulder turns/verbals/etc is new to me!