Saturday, September 27

Cleaned out the bird room

Well, my bird room needed a really good scrubbing, so today i took everything OUT, washed the windows, walls, and scrubbed the floor (a couple of times) and then stuck everything back in. It took about two hours. I'm just sad because my little area rug I throw in there, I could only air out.. my vacuum burnt a belt out yesterday and the SO hasn't replaced it yet. Sigh... but I rearranged the birdies as well, so everyone is in a totally different spot! I really need to organize the sink area, but I'm too pooped to pop just now...

I'm taking all the dogs (except Murphy) over to my parents' house today. They have a very large, fenced-in backyard that Roofus can actually get to a full gallop in, unlike my house! I've been walking them everyday but I did not get to it today, so they can run around like maniacs over there.

Thursday, September 18

Learning the Weaves - Part II

Okay, I've tried this new weave pole method - and it's awesome!! Popper doesn't have that "what the heck does mommy WANT??" look on his face anymore. I can just walk beside the weaves, and he automatically starts weaving now. Better than last week, where I had to lure in, lure out, lure in, lure out. We practice at least once every other day (I'm shooting for twice a day, it's hard with all the other dogs around) and he drastically improves each time. I can't wait until we're running through them!

The method I keep referring to is at BAD Agility, the bearded collie agility website. If you think about it, it makes total sense! I love that it's something you can do at home, that it relies heavily on YOUR body language, and that there are no stupid wires or guides required. Since I'd been using food luring, it only took Popper two times before he caught on to what I was doing and now he wiggles his way through, prancing the entire way. I'm going to work on stepping it up a notch now. Hopefully I can get a video on here to show his weaving skills! I'm so proud this is one agility obstacle I have taught Popper 100% on my own.

Dog Fighting - My Solution

On the episode of Bones last night, Dr Brennan and Booth were investigating a dog fighting ring and a death to a human from a dog. Turns out the dog was ordered to kill a person. They made it clear the dog was very nice, but was forced to kill and hurt people to please its master.

Now, I'm sick and tired of all these jerks killing people with dogs and fighting dog against dog. It's just sickening. If anything has been made obvious, it is that the penalties for these crimes are far too lenient. And who suffers? The dogs!

So, my solution. Henceforth, all dog fighters will be rounded up and thrown into a barbed wire pit, in a gigantic fight to the death, until there is only one person remaining. That one person will be the lucky one who gets to decide if they want the bullet in the back of their head, or right between the eyes.

Now, it may seem a little extreme, but be honest - would you engage in dog fighting if that was the penalty? Right now, they either get little slaps on the wrists with fines, or a bit of jail time. Now, the jails are overcrowded and it costs US money to keep these idiots alive. If we simply eliminated them and their violent tendencies from the gene pool, there would be a lot more happy dogs and pet owners. AND, best of all, the punishment fits the crime.

Agree with it, or don't. I think it's a workable solution.

Friday, September 12

Learning Weaves

So I have been taking Popper out nearly every day, a few times a day, trying to get him to do the weaves consistently, and most importantly, on his own. He's caught on to the point where if he isn't quite sure what I want, will start weaving in and out of a few poles to see if he gets rewarded for it. He hasn't caught on, unfortunately, to enter on the right side. I found a webpage that had some great tips for teaching weaves, but I'm not coordinated enough at this point to follow them. I'm working on it, though, because it relied HEAVILY on body language, and Popper definitely follows my body language intently.

Since we've been focusing so much on dog agility, I made a bunch of general dog agility tshirts and other cool products. They're all cartoons, and the dog in them isn't breed specific (though I did base him on my Popper!). The crying dog at the teeter totter, in particular, is Popper... he really REALLY does not like the buja board so far! I'm hoping we'll have more success with the teeter since it only goes ONE direction.

So please, check out my cool agility apparel. Starving artist here! :D

Tuesday, September 9

Not all fun and games...

Just sometimes!

I get asked a lot about dog aggression in my multi-dog household. While it rarely occurs, the fact is, it does. Anyone with more than one dog can report a scuffle from time to time.

Last night, Popper had a really, really off day. He's normally only ball aggressive, and he's not *horrible* about it, and he has a couple other minor issues where if he gets frustrated or bored, he takes it out on one of his brothers. I know this and so it's not too difficult to keep him in check.

Yesterday was "attack Blossom day." TWO dogfights and one quick nip. The first time, it was over food - food not even in his dog bowl, food in a bowl he can't even reach. Didn't matter. Blossom mosied over to grab a few bites and he launched into beagle warfare on her. I had to restrain him for several minutes after it was finished, because he was still visible and audibly upset. Blossom was quite a scrapper in her youth, but has mellowed considerably in her old age. She was shaking pretty badly but was unhurt.

The second time, I was working with popper on weave poles in the back yard. I was tossing treats to all the dogs. Blossom missed hers and started sniffing around for it. Apparently that offended Popper, he again attacked her. I was only a step away and curtailed it REALLY quick.

The quick nip was before bedtime, when Blossom was on my bed, Popper in Roofus's bed, and Roofus also on my bed. Roofus leapt off the bed because my SO was being annoying to me (Roofus is my gallant knight), which startled Blossom (who is deaf) so she too leapt down - unfortunately right next to Popper, who had just been trompled by Roofus. Popper nipped her in the face. :(

I have seen absolutely NO trace of this aggression today. Normally he ignores B, and B ignores him. That's how it is again today... though when I fed Blossom a little extra in Roofus's bowl as a treat, and to watch and correct Popper, she did eyeball him several times before she would eat from the bowl. Popper was fine with her.

I attribute most of Popper's behavioral problems to the half of his pedigree that makes him such a great agility dog - the Australian cattle dog part. They are known for a tendency to be dog aggressive, and have extremely high physical and emotional needs. They need a JOB to be completely happy, which is partly why we started agility in the first place. I actually don't care for cattle dogs at all, and never expected to own even a part heeler, but now I find myself thinking that as I am becoming more and more familiar with the breed, I may just keep getting cattle dog mixes. There's tons of them in pounds and rsecues.

Wednesday, September 3

Popper is an agility pro! And Halloween design...

We had another agility class last night, it's the second session (out of seven), so hopefully Popper finishes up next year... sure hope so, since he'll be getting older and older. I actually kinda wonder about this place, because it takes a good year and a half to train your dog going just once a week, with nearly a month break between classes. I can't imagine a lot of people do that - you're losing a lot of "prime of life" time, in my opinion. Well, hopefully when I one day get my farm, I can own the teeter and a-frame and not have to worry about it any more.

Popper is absolutely amazing - it is I that sucks. One thing, though, was the building isn't air-conditioned, and it was ungodly hot last night. When it gets hot like that, Popper gets unresponsive and doesn't want to do ANYTHING. I saw him slowing down... we got on the dog walk, and he started slowly trudging onwards... until he decided he'd had enough, and jumped off in the middle. I made him do it again, and the instructor gave him an insane amount of treats at the end. She made me do it one more time, and this time he raced to the end like he normally does.

I was thinking about Halloween coming up. Every year except last year, I passed out candy. I kinda hate to NOT pass it out, except I don't have any kids, don't plan to have any kids, and there are so many children in the neighborhood that we easily spend $50+ on candy, and we don't have the kind of money that $50 is easily spent. However, we do usually spend less if I let Roofus sit outside with us. He's so big, a lot of people are scared and as such keep walking (but I still see their costumes!). If they were REALLY smart they'd be scared of Merlin or Popper. Anyhow, I made a cute little corgi Frankenstein design. It's fairly spooky, I think, or as spooky as a corgi cartoon can be made. It's got bats and a jack o' lantern and I think it's adorable. I am going to buy myself one on a black t-shirt.

Monday, September 1

Easy way to Exercise your Dog(s)

If your dog likes water, that is!

Go into the backyard with the hose, and just slowly turn in circles so your dog has to chase the water. I always keep it *just* out of their reach, with an occasional dousing to keep them interested. I don't have a treadmill, so doing this I can keep my dogs running for 15 minutes or more at a time - and not worry about overheating! Plus it's just a fun summer activity for when it's too hot to do anything else.

Never exercise your dog 2 hours before or 2 hours after eating a meal.

Happy September everybody!