Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mass Exodus

  With Lauren and Mosby now having their storm phobias, they readily escape their kennel when a storm is nearby.  Or, sometimes, they get out when it's just raining...or it's windy..or, who knows???  We moved them to the puppy/senior yard which is escape proof (we think) but frequently bring them inside at night.
  But then, Phoebe started barking at several periods during the night for no apparent reason.  So now she also comes inside.  And, because Claire thinks she needs to go wherever her sister goes, she sleeps in the house, too.
  Then, Dixie discovered her kennel door has an opening that she could squeeze through and started to leave her kennel at various times.  She doesn't have a storm phobia, doesn't bark at the wildlife or even try to get out of the main gate.  My husband says Dix is only getting out because she knows she can!
  For the others--what is going on???  Why don't the dogs like their kennel house anymore???  Obviously we need to repair some fences, which we are hesitant to do until the storm season is over as we don't want to take a chance that the dogs will hurt themselves trying to escape during an electrical storm.  I don't mind dashing outside (or sending David) to bring in the dogs when we see the clouds coming up from the valley.
  Actually, I don't mind having half the dogs in the house at night!  Phoebe though, has let me know that she is now house dog status and I've complied.  Her time in the kennel is a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening.  The other dogs have not picked up on the fact that I readily acquiesce to what they want so we currently have the upper hand.  But...stay tuned!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Garden Dog

  I have to be careful on the dog match-ups when it's play day in the big yards.  The girls get along with anybody, but the boys get prickly with each other.  Ref and Gibson are fine to be together but sometimes they get irked with Jackson.  Gibson and Jackson will frequently fight with Mosby and Ref cannot stand to have Mosby near at all.  Even the girls seem to find Mosby annoying some times.  Poor Mosby!
  Since Mosby seems to be frequently standing on the outside, watching the others play, I have found another way to give him quality time.  He helps me garden!
  I wish I could have Mosby in the vegetable garden with me to help discourage the rabbits that keep trying to set up a home in there, but he would rather sleep on the plants than the mulch paths.  We have plenty of gardens, so there are many other places he can plop down while I dispatch the weeds.  Recently, Mosby settled under the hydrangea while I worked nearby.  I wish I had my camera then!  His blue merle coat under the blue hydrangea flowers made a very pretty picture!
  We've had to take a break during this recent heat wave.  The weeds are taking advantage of my absence and are trying to take over!  Fortunately, I can get back into the gardens this week and Mosby can join me.  When he sees me put on my gardening gloves and pull out the wheelbarrow, he starts to bark and dance, ready to come out and "supervise"!

Settled in, ready for a weeding marathon!

Taking a break to roll in the grass, in the sunshine!

Aahhh, life is good!
A nap is always in order after weeding!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Grandma's Little Helper

  We had our 11 month old granddaughter, Taylor, stay with us for three days while her parents took a mini-vacation.  What fun to have a baby in the house!  We played, read books, sat on the porch swing and blew bubbles and had lots of cuddle time.  Our time together brought back so many memories of when Taylor's father and uncle were little ones.
  But, I also quickly realized how our lives have shifted away from little people and their needs.  All the electrical outlets have covers, of course, but I had to move the trailing plants, pick up the cats' food and water, make sure the pantry doors were closed tight.... (Grandma was pretty tired by Friday night!)
  The biggest adaptation I had to figure out was how to mesh Taylor's schedule with the dogs' schedule.    When our sons were little, we lived in a subdivision with two collies.  I would just feed them on the deck right outside the kitchen door.  But, now, our dogs are in a kennel a short distance from the house.    Taylor wakes up in the morning right about the dogs' breakfast time and her afternoon nap time is too early for their dinner.  David, my husband, has a new work schedule which doesn't mesh with the dogs' regular feeding schedule, either.  How was I going to work this out?
  Fortunately, Taylor's stroller was here.  I would carry Taylor downstairs, fix all the food bowls and place them at the back door.  Then I'd carry Taylor back upstairs, secure her in her stroller and we'd walk around to the back of the house, pick up the bowls and walk to the kennel.  There, I'd park her at the kennel door while I fed the dogs.  I'd reposition her stroller while I cleaned kennels so she could always see me.
  I have big dreams that Taylor will develop a love for dogs, collies in particular (her dad thinks a lab is in their future--where did I go wrong???) and become a junior handler.  Since I had Taylor's undivided attention, I explained everything that I was doing, why some of the dogs had long hair and some short, which dogs had their championships and which dogs were in the shows last week-end.  I'm sure Taylor will remember everything I told her!
  Taylor did enjoy her dog care chores.  She would wave to the dogs as we got close to the kennel and wave "bye-bye" when we finished.  When the dogs started playing, she'd laugh and kick her feet.  When the dogs barked, Taylor would imitate them, making funny sounds and jumping up and down in her stroller as much as the straps belting her in would allow.
  The dogs adapted to the presence of my helper very quickly.  They were curious Wednesday night about the little person and stroller outside their door.  By Friday evening, when they saw the stroller being loaded in the car for Taylor to go home, they got excited and started barking.  They thought it was dinner time!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Show Results

  The fat balls worked!  Both Ref and Jackson put on weight in time for the shows this week-end.  Ref was in perfect weight and Jackson was close, then the heat wave hit.  He was only picking out the fat balls from his food, so at least he didn't lose weight but he didn't quite hit the goal we had hoped for.
  As far as the shows themselves, mixed results.  Both boys showed well, improving each day.  I was very pleased with that!  They both had great movement, Jackson doing a better job of standing while the judges went over him.  Ref didn't act like he enjoyed the show at all on the first day and I drove home thinking his show career was finished and we would need to look for a companion home for him.  The next two days showed dramatic improvement (thank heavens!)  Then, by today, his eyes were shining, he jumped up on me, he wanted to play and acted game for anything I asked of him.  Ref was obviously not today's judge's cup of tea, but yesterday he was Winners Dog for one point!  I was hoping the major would cross over but I couldn't get him to "show"when it was needed. I did learn some valuable tips that I used today so I improved also!
  Jackson did not win or even get Reserve in the four shows, which was very disappointing as he responded very well to Ellen (our handler), had lots of fun and looked great.
  Ref's past issues of car sickness is now history.  Jackson didn't travel well the first day but improved each day.  That's something I need to work on with him so I think long distance shows with Ellen will be put on hold for a bit.  Both dogs were relaxed at the show site, sleeping most of the days and generally quiet, even when the dogs in the next set up were barking or their handlers were eating lunch behind our crates.
  Proofreading my post makes me think maybe this was a better week-end than I first thought!  I didn't have to clean up car sickness, the dogs had fun, I had fun, I visited with friends, I learned some handling tips, discovered a grooming comb I've been wanting is still available and Ref got a point.  Yeah, this was a good week-end!