Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hard Rock Cafe

This week is our "staycation" vacation. We're taking day trips--today was D.C. with lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe! Of course, I had to get some pictures of the logo and bore our wonderful server, Morgan, with the story of Hillcroft Hard Rock, whom we call Gibson. I asked if there was a Gibson guitar pin available and she was off like a shot to check. She came back with a great deal--I could have a collectible Gibson guitar pin if I bought three more! Hard Rock Cafe is doing some charity drives, so this was an easy choice. I bought pins supporting breast cancer and leukemia research and one with the Hard Rock logo for Gibson to wear on his leash. The collectible pin I will wear for his show in Millwood at the end of the month--hopefully it will bring him luck!

Gibson's pin
Gibson's collectible pin

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Brilliant Gibson

Gibson has been off all summer and we've been working on getting him over his ring jitters and general phobia about new situations. It's been a two step forward, one step back process. At the Dog Days in August this past Saturday, one of the vendors was a "dog communicator." While I'm not desperate about Gibson's fears, I would like to get him past this stage and thought it couldn't hurt to have him visit her and maybe I could learn something. I know these things generally have a disclaimer--"for entertainment purposes"--but while this person is great at observing people and dogs and picking up clues from a conversation, she certainly doesn't know animals!
Gibson had been calm all morning, even while we put up the tent and banged things around--stuff that usually makes him roll his eyes and pace. He was laying in his crate, just watching and seemed interested in all the activity. He wanted to meet other dogs, was very interested in the HIC testing (wish we had had time to have him tested), got up on the grooming table when I wanted him to and didn't even shy away from a little guy who unexpectedly lunged at him and hugged his head. When I took him to the communicator, he tensed up for the first time that day and wanted to get out from under her tent. It was supposed to be a 10 minute reading but we barely got five. In that time, she told me Gibson is a nervous dog, would always be a nervous dog, I shouldn't breed him as he will pass this trait along, and, if I insist on showing him, I should pick a ring far away from people (like I can choose my ring!). She also said that Gibson loves living with us, much better than his first home--not that he was mistreated there but our home is better. When I told her he never lived anywhere else, that we had bred him, she didn't have a ready answer--perhaps someone in my household has treated him roughly? She then quickly changed the subject and said he was telling her he has a beautiful sister (could she have seen us walking Gibson and Jewel together?) to which I replied he has two--perhaps he doesn't think they are both beautiful! The communicator told me that Gibson misses his favorite toy, that it had disappeared and he doesn't know why, perhaps it was his tennis ball? I said he doesn't seem to like tennis balls, that the only toys that have disappeared are the ones he and Twister rip up. She told me he like to work his jaws (what insight--he's a dog!) and that's why he wants this one toy back, he would chew it and it would squeak. She put her hand on his back one more time and said he loves his food--well, he glows with health so that should be obvious!
Just for the heck of it, I asked if she could communicate a message from me to Gibson, that I had heard it was possible for some communicators. She practically jumped out of her chair and said no, if someone tells me that, they are just taking my money! (I wanted to ask what she was doing) Dogs can't think (really???) so even if she could communicate back to Gibson, it would do no good, he wouldn't understand. It would be like telling a 2 year old not to be afraid of spiders so she couldn't tell Gibson not to be worried about new situations. I thanked her for her time, gave her ten bucks and took Gibson back to the club tent.
I really started watching him after that, my "nervous" , "non-thinking" boy. He was watching Jewel intently, then started doing everything she was doing. When she got up on the grooming table, he did. When she stuck her legs in the ice water, he did, too. When she confidently walked across the field past moving cars, well, Gibson didn't have a problem with it either. I think I finally discovered the key to Gibson that I had been looking for all summer! Sure, I can't show him that new experiences aren't to be feared, but his sister can! Since Saturday, he's been a different dog--tail wagging constantly, shiny eyes, eager to do anything with me. I'm going to do a solo trip with him this Saturday and see how well the lesson stays with him. His next shows will be the end of the month and Dixie will be making her debut. If another dog really calms him and helps him learn the new situations, then I'm the one who hasn't been thinking! He's been hinting at every instance where there was another dog--the Farmer's Market, the vet, the dog park--that he's more comfortable and takes his cues from that dog. Dogs don't think, indeed--I think Gibson is brilliant!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dog Days

Gibson and Jewel went with us to the Dog Days in August in Berryville this past Saturday. They enjoyed themselves, we got to educate some people about smooth collies and met up with some friends. We were tired and sunburned by the end of the day, but we didn't get the thunderstorms that were called for and it was a great day!

Gibson chillin'

David holding court with Jewel and Gibson

Jewel made a new friend!

Waiting for the event to start

She's Really Ours!

I stopped procrastinating last night and finished Dixie's AKC registration. I've been saying her name is Hillcroft Heartsong but what if her name wasn't available? It was, her registration is now complete and she's officially a Hillcroft collie!