Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Low Bar for the High Jump

Today Winnie and I took out the Agility Starter Kit.  It's only been a few months since we got it but you know... better late than never.  Winnie spent a long day in her kennel while both my husband and I were at work so I thought "What could be a better way to stretch our legs and use are brains that to try something new?"  

I know what this means!
The first thing I did was go and get my treat pouch.  This is more or less a little nylon bag with a stiff mouth so your training treats are easily accessible and your pockets don't get all crummy with kibble.  I don't love this "clip on the pocket" model but it gets the job done.  I think I would prefer something more like a fanny pack.  I always seem to be bumping this one with my arm. 

Pish... can you say cake walk?
Next, we set up the "high jump."  Obviously, because this was our first time we set a "low bar."  :-)  Winne can jump surprisingly high for a corgi.  She can get on our bed, with a running start, which is 30 inches tall.  (I don't encourage her to do that by the way... but sometimes she can't be stopped.)  We set the bar at 6 inches just to get comfortable with it.  I put on her leash and showed her a treat then while moving the treat over the bar (and preventing her from going around the bar by holding her leash) said "over" while she jumped. 

I did a good job!
She did a good job although I could tell she wondered why she just couldn't go around the obstacle.  We repeated the jump about 10 times then I let her off the leash for a victory lap.  Who doesn't love a victory lap?  :-)

I amended this last part after Kelly left her comment asking "Was the Agility Kit worth the money?"  My long answer is in my responding comment but the short answer is this.  If you want to get started right away, get the kit.  If you are a creative person that likes to build stuff then get the book I reference in my blog post Dog Agility Step 1: Read The Book and build your own kit.  The book, however, is worth every penny.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Take Your Dog to Work Day (Unofficial)

I'm one of those people who are lucky enough to be able to come home for lunch.  This is nice for several reasons. 
  1. It's a short commute to the office. 
  2. I actually get to eat the leftovers we always say we're going to but never do. 
  3. I don't actually need to decide what I'm going to eat until I open the frig door and look inside. 
  4. I get to see my pretty pup. 
Today, I came home for lunch and after I had eaten it was time to head back to the office.  I put on my shoes and grabbed my bag and Winnie looked so sad that I was leaving I couldn't stand myself.  So, I took her to work for the afternoon.  When she saw me get her leash she was all smiles!

So am I an intern now?

She gets to take this dogie field trip about once a month.  I make sure it's a slow day without too much foot traffic or hard deadlines so if there's a problem I can manage it but so far so good. 

What do you mean I'm not getting paid?
Her favorite place to plop was in the hall between my office and my co-workers.  She keeps an eye out this way so she doesn't miss anything. 

Hey!  Don't you have work to do?

And no one could help getting/giving a good scratch.

What can I say?  They love me!
All in all, I love days like today.  :-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Last Days of Summer

These are just a few shots of Winnie in the backyard.  It's a warm evening so we're taking advantage of it before Fall and Winter arrive.

As much as I would like to make a "Stop and Smell the Flowers" comment here Winnie was actually just investigating some bees. 

The bees

Peek-a-boo Corgi. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Feast of St. Francis

The feast of St. Francis, for some of the Christian persuasion, is celebrated on October 4th this year.  The nutshell bio of St. Francis is that he's the patron saint of animals.  If you think about it, you've likely seen statues of him in gardens around your neighborhood before.  Anyhow, being raised  protestant I'm not the type that gets overly excited about celebrating saints but this particular observation is pretty fun for us pet owners. 

Blessing of the Animals
Many churches will hold a special service that celebrates St. Francis and also has a Blessing of the Animals.  Some are huge and some are modest.  (I heard the Catholic church in Minneapolis had an elephant from the zoo show up last year!)  But it's pretty common to have several services like this in a city.  Let's be honest here... regardless of your background in religion I think it's safe to say that we've all at one point felt a little disconnected from it.  Like the ritual and our lives sometimes don't line up.  For me, at least, this is one time when my life and my church line up.  I plan on taking Winnie to the Blessing of the Animals where I live and I thought if this was something you might like to do with your pup, I'd give you enough heads up to find a service wherever you are. 

A priceless picture of a cat hissing while being blessed.

I guess he needed the holy water, too.  The rest of us didn't get that.  :-)

Here are some more photos from 2009.  Winnie was barking so much that the priest actually ad libbed her into his sermon!  What a good sport.  I'll be sure to blog an update for 2010.  :-)

The little stinker wouldn't hold still either. 

She looked great in her Episcopal Shield leash though!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Smells Like a Bath. Yuck!

For all that dogs and humans have in common, an opinion about what smells good is not one of them.

There is something about trash, poop, and rotten vegetation that dogs (and Winnie in particular) just love.  Well to make a long story not as long, my darling little bundle of fur took a nose dive into a big pile of stinky you-know-what on our walk today.  By the time it occurred to me what she was doing I was far too late to stop her.  She had started at her nose and worked her way down her entire long, low, body rolling joyfully in poo.  Gross.

Of course, I crashed her party of one and killed her joy with a single word.  "Bath."  After the chills made their way down Winnie's spine she reluctantly made her way downstairs to the laundry tub and let me go to work.

But what did I do to deserve this!?
I wet her down and lathered her up with a "powder fresh" scented puppy shampoo and wondered... Dogs likely roll in this stuff because it smells great to them.  And if poo smells great does "powder fresh" sell gross?  Maybe a dogs reluctance to get a bath has less to do with the bath and more to do with the smell?  Who knows?  It's just a thought. 

Powder Fresh... more like Powder Nasty!

About time!  Towel me off and get me out of here!

A side note... if you don't have one of these rinse aids (the white hose attached to my laundry tub) to help squirt down your pup you are working WAY to hard. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Bark Park

Winnie and I are lucky enough to live next to some pretty cool parks.  Most of them offer some pretty cool walking trails that when you get back far enough you don't feel too bad about letting your pup off leash.  (shhhh!)

Winne on the trails this summer.

We do have one specific dog park though and I'm always a little conflicted when we go.  On one hand I want Winnie to be exposed to other dogs, learn to behave nicely around strange animals and people, and really open up for a good old fashion game of chase or fetch!  On the other however, I'm confronted with dog owners that have different standards for what "behaving nicely" means.  They don't keep a very close eye on their dogs and I sometimes feel like the trip just wasn't worth it that day. 

Being a dog parent can be tricky!  You see people punish their dogs for the owners mistake, people that just don't pay attention, and then those of us in the middle... that want to share the time with their dog and like minded dog people.  We bring toys and have conversations.  It can be a really lovely time.

Winnie at the Bark Park

Winnie with her best buddy Miguel.  Miguel moved to Texas this summer and we miss him!
My question for you guys is this:  How do you get the most out of outings with you dogs?  Do you stick to the dog parks?  Go on the lesser used trails?  Participate in organized events like obedience training?  Or take on the really risky business just taking your dog to people places and seeing how many folks complain? 

My world would be much happier if well behaved dogs were welcomed to more places and I think more dogs would be well behaved if they weren't stuck in the house all day!  But until then, this is what we've got. 

Okay... what do you do?  Be specific.  :-)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Partly Dog

I read this quote the other day and it really stayed with me.
In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog. ~Edward Hoagland

I find getting on the floor helps.