Wednesday, September 29

Smoochie smoochie!

Dax has this annoying habit of standing on my center console while I drive, the one in between the driver's and passenger's seat. It is irritating not only because he randomly sticks his big wet nose in my ear as I drive, but because he's tall enough that I can't see over him, so we could potentially die in a 60mph fireball of death.

Normally I keep him crated in my car for this very reason. He knows that "off" means to get off of what he's standing on, but being a young, bullheaded cattle dog, he may or may not actually oblige depending on his mood. He's a fairly anxious dog in the car anyway, and repeatedly telling him "off" every thirty seconds in an increasingly exasperated voice doesn't really induce a calming sensation.

He's learned that he can avoid the center console completely, and get into the passenger seat, by shimmying himself between the seat and the car door. Today he did just that, and then proceeded to stand on the center console again, except his back feet were in the front seat (say that five times fast). I opened my mouth to chew him out, when he looked at me, and gave me a big, fat, wet slurp all the way up the side of my head. I was so stunned, I remained silent. He then jumped down into the passenger seat, sat down, and stared at me.

Well played, Dax. Well played. I'm pretty sure a cattle dog just gave me the doggie raspberries.

Friday, September 17

New Breed Specific Address Labels

We are proud to announce the addition of dog breed address labels to our Zazzle store! A fantastic selection is available, from silhouettes, to kawaii cartoons, to photography! Agility, flyball, Christmas, and just plain adorable doggie return address labels. Below is a small sampling of the enormous amount currently available - and we're adding new ones every day.

Beagle Silhouette label
Beagle Silhouette by MenagerieMayhem
Awesome monochrome Beagle address labels for the modern dog lover. A gray breed silhouette stands stacked in front of a silver paw print, with a squiggly background.

Kawaii Pink Gingham Boston Terrier label
Kawaii Pink Gingham Boston Terrier by MenagerieMayhem
These adorable Boston Terrier address labels have a pink checkered background. A cartoon Boston Terrier is on the right, and you can instantly personalize the name and address found on the right. Very cute pet lover products at Menagerie Mayhem.

Winter Cartoon Fawn Bullmastiff label
Winter Cartoon Fawn Bullmastiff by MenagerieMayhem
These original Bullmastiff address labels are perfect for not only the Christmas season - but all winter long! The background is blue with big, puffy snowflakes falling everywhere, and to the left is a fawn cartoon Bullmastiff. Awesome breed-specific holiday address labels for dog lovers, but can be used any time it's cold outside (or you wish it were!).

Kawaii White Bull Terrier (Eye Spot) label
Kawaii White Bull Terrier (Eye Spot) by MenagerieMayhem
Cute White Bull Terrier return address labels for dog lovers! Sparkly blue design has a cartoon of the white dog breed with an eye patch on the left, and you can instantly add all your own information, printed on the right. Other coat colors are available.

Brittany Spaniel Reindeer Christmas label
Brittany Spaniel Reindeer Christmas by MenagerieMayhem
Fun Brittany Spaniel Christmas address labels have a dog breed silhouette, with reindeer antlers and a bright red glowing nose. The background is a cheery holiday plaid with reds and greens. Personalize the Name and Address easily with our customizing tools.

Santa Old English Sheepdog label
Santa Old English Sheepdog by MenagerieMayhem
Adorable photo of an Old English Sheepdog wearing a Santa cap in front of colorful Christmas lights. Excellent Old English Sheepdog address labels for the holidays! Instantly personalize the information to your own.

Tuesday, September 14

Dax Goes to an Agility Trial, Merlin Conquers All

Sunday was a Flashpoint CPE trial - an outdoor event, which is a fun time for everyone in dog agility! Happily, the ring is completely fenced in, or I might have some doubts about running my dogs there. :)

In addition to my agility dogs Popper and Merlin, I brought along my Roofus and Dax. Roofus has an APDT rally trial coming up, so he needs to get used to the atmosphere, and Dax just needs to get used to being around people, dogs, and, well, trials. :)

This was Popper's first time in Level 3 Jumpers and Colors, and he was absolutely amazing - even though I forgot the course halfway through Jumpers, I managed to save it and Popper got not only Q's for those runs but first places as well! His last run was Level 2 Wildcard, which was NOT very inspiring, particularly when he stopped on the dog walk and began admiring the judge. His tail was going a mile a minute - not sure of the attraction of this particular judge, Popper has trialed under him before with no problems. He managed to Q, but his "fan club time" cost him first, and he netted third.

Merlin was entered in only two runs, and he managed to Q in both of them. He ran with a spring in his step and a smile on his face, so really, he could have not Q'd and I wouldn't have cared in the slightest. :) He was the only dog in his level and height class so he obviously got two first places. Merlin, unlike Popper, did NOT like the judge, and he too stopped on the dog walk - to shoot the judge a look full of hatred. Good job, corgi.

I was unable to get anything at all out of Roofus, except for a couple of distance downs. He just refused to work, he was too full of excitement. I'd excuse it if it weren't for the fact that I always bring him along to outdoor trials, and always work on rally stuff in-between dog runs. This is the first time he has refused to work at all. It doesn't bode well for our October rally trial. :(

Dax had all kinds of positive experiences! He met lots of people, who had lots of mom-supplied steak for him, and he met a lot of dogs. I made sure he met one of my agility pal's big black dog Oscar, who is as mellow as mellow can be, to help him get over his fear of big black dogs. Dax was terrified of him, but at the same time, wanted to play with him. Throughout the day, Dax had happy tail, and to me that was better than all the Q's and first places we could have gotten.

Curiously, people keep mixing up Popper and Dax. Popper has drop ears, Dax has prick ears. Popper is a deep red with white speckles, Dax is white with light red speckles. Popper really wants to see you and give you kisses, Dax would rather sit nearby and be ignored. Granted, sometimes I'll confuse them if I glance quickly, or can only see their legs or snouts, but seriously? Not sure how everyone keeps confusing the two. :)

Wednesday, September 8

Dax Meets a Borzoi

Today one of my agility pals brought her enormous Borzoi to the play yard to meet Dax, and show him that big dogs can be perfectly nice companions. When I saw enormous, I mean he made Roofus look like a normal sized dog. He must have been 36" at the shoulders. I'm not familiar with the size range of Borzoi, but this boy was easily the size of a regular pony.

However, Dralion has a nice gentle spirit, with very good doggie manners and calming signals, and while his size intimidated Dax at first, Dax was soon quite comfortable running around him and sniffing at his leisure. Once, he ran up to Dralion in a move to initiate play, which Dralion would have been more than happy to comply with, but as soon as he stiffened up to pounce, Dax took off like a chicken. LOL Can't say as I blame him, that is a lot of dog to play with! :) Dralion was very good at giving Dax space so he didn't feel pressured or stressed.

I had Merlin in there too, and he's iffy about giant dogs, so it was a great experience for him as well. Hopefully we do it again soon!!

Monday, September 6

Playgroup, Fearful Fido, Training

Friday I took Dax to a playgroup with Merlin da Corgi, as a comfort dog. Things started out a little rough, with Dax having a definite case of the "OMG!!"s and zooming everywhere. Then came the butt biting.

It didn't matter if the dog were running or standing still, Dax decided all butts looked tasty and sunk his chompers in. It wasn't an aggressive action, so much as a "play with me I'm an outta control puppy and you've gotta play with me and I'll keep biting you until you do!!!" Needless to say, he got ejected from the small dog playgroup, and we decided to give him a shot in the big dog playgroup, as none of the small dogs would correct his behavior. (Merlin would rather let Dax crash and burn)

Big dog playgroup was a bigger disaster - entering a play yard where there are already a dozen or so dogs, all of which are bigger, and all who wanted to sniff Dax at the same time, was just a bad scene for him. Tail tucked, running in circles, and as his last resort, showing the teeth. So, that ended Dax's night of playgroup. I walked him outside along the fence and gave him a ton of treats to try to end on a positive note.

The next day we had Fearful Fido class, just for dogs with fear/anxiety issues. I'm happy to say that Dax was one of the least fearful in the class - but he was very much like the most fearful one just a few weeks ago! He has more issues with men than women, usually allowing women to at least feed a treat without shutting down, sometimes even a neck scratch. I don't know if he's scared of big dogs, black dogs, or big black dogs, but so far all the big dogs he's met besides my own have been black also. He really, REALLY wants to see these dogs, but after a sniff or two, darts away, then squiggles back in for another sniff, darts away, etc etc. Maybe he likes to scare himself, or maybe he's just playing it safe. One of my doggie pals is bringing her large Borzoi on Wednesday for Dax to interact with (very, very calm dog), and as he's mostly white, we'll see if it's big dogs or big black dogs. At any rate, it should be a positive experience.

Today I was working with Roofus and Popper on their Dog Scouts stuff - stays, leave its, heeling, and some distance downs with Roo. I decided it would be a great time to start some more intense training with Dax, rather than the casual "down" I tell him every once in a while. :) I read that crazy dogs should be kept moving, so I started by teaching him to weave through my legs, which amazingly, I thought he'd be hesitant doing, but he has no qualms about it at all. Then we moved on to heeling.... which is a bit trickier. He gets really nuts and starts jumping up and biting/mouthing, and no amount of "crying" is going to deter him from it. I only treat for all four feet on the ground, and when he starts biting, I simply turn away. Sometimes I get dizzy, because he can go on for a while. We also worked on stays, which are sooo hard for puppies, and hard for cattle dogs too! He's up to about 5 feet, in just one session. :) I also introduced the tire jump, set at about 6", which for him means he can just step through it. He didn't seem overly thrilled about it. Probably because stepping over things isn't too exciting. I'll raise it up a bit, but he is still a puppy so I don't want to go too high. Just a  short session doing this outside (about 10 minutes total), and he's taking a nap. :)

I'm strongly considering switching Dax to clicker training, especially with his jumping up and biting issue. I've tried every method known to man - even scruffing him, which was slightly more effective than the obnoxious crying thing you're supposed to do. He thought that was a fun game - bite Mommy, she cries! What a great toy. Look, I can make her cry again! And again! And again! He is not very treat motivated, but I think he'll "get" the clicker much more quickly.