These are the chronicles of two Shetland Sheepdogs and their adventures in rally-o, obedience, flyball, agility, tracking and therapy dog work.
Also including information on raw feeding, canine epilepsy, positive training, and lots and lots of Sheltie hair!

Friday, October 31, 2008

All Things Spooky on this All Hallow's Eve!

The Feast of the Dead, Samhain, All Hallows Eve, Day of the Dead, All Hallowtide, Festival of the Dead, Hop-tu-Naa, Nos Galan Gaeaf


Whatever you call it, I hope you all have a ghouly, ghosty, creepy, freaky, spooky and kooky night! Stay safe and have a wonderful time!

A few pet precautions for this festive night to keep your furry family safe and happy:
1) Door bells, wee ghouls of all sorts, yelling and costumes can be pretty scary for some dogs. If your pooch is nervous about strangers, maybe it would be best to keep them safely confined to a back room or their crate. Fill up a nice Kong or pull out a chew treat to keep them occupied and happy and away from open doors.
2) Remember, chocolate is toxic to our furry friends! Keep bowls of candy and chocolate well out of reach.
3) There are a lot of creeps out there, and Halloween seems to bring out a rash of pet "disappearances". Keep your beloved pets safely inside the house, don't leave them unattended in the yard.
4) Pet costumes are a lot of fun! But always be sure to supervise your pets when they are wearing their spooky outfits. Ensure that they cannot get tangled or caught up in the clothing, and remove the costumes when leaving your pet unattended.
5) Tomorrow morning, be sure to do a quick walk around of the yard before allowing the pets outside for their business. Bits of costumes, candy, garbage, or worse is often tossed over fences during the night's activities. Make sure your yard is clear of dangers.

In the spirit of all things spooky, today's post edges towards the creepy and kooky!
Included below are three bone shaking, terror-full tales. All true ... all occurring this Halloween day ... coincidence? WoooOOOoooOOO!

Spooky tale #1: Attack of the Zombie Chickens!

There once was a grad student who worked at an agricultural university full of mad scientists! These mad scientists conducted unspeakable experiments, pushing the boundaries of science to their extremes. None was so extreme as crazy Dr. Leghorn. Crazy Dr. Leghorn endeavored to produce an army that could penetrate the rural landscape undetected and, upon his orders, TAKE OVER THE WORLD! What creature would be so stealthy, yet so lethal? ... none, but the mighty mutant chicken! Crazy Dr. Leghorn toiled day and night, working on his line of mutant chickens, but then things went horribly wrong ... Crazy Dr. Leghorn lost control of the mutant chickens, they escaped their pens one night and waited, waited for Crazy Dr. Leghorn to arrive again in the morning to continue his evil plans. When Crazy Dr. Leghorn did arrive in his mad scientist lab the next morning, the mutant chickens ambushed him and killed him dead. It took the full force of the local police department to subdue the mutant chickens, only finally succeeding in killing them by chopping them into bits and scattering their limbs far across the city. The grad students were called upon to help in this effort, each being willed to take 5kg of mutant chicken to their respective homes and destroy it. Fearing for her life, one grad student arrived to pick up her 5kg allotment. Wrapped in many layers of tamper-proof plastic, she rushed the mutant chicken to her car and raced to the safety of her home.

Upon arriving home, she enlisted the forces of her two faithful guard beasts to stand guard as she prepared to dispose of the mutant chicken.

Her faithful guard beasts patrolled the kitchen as she quickly separated all the chicken pieces, mostly legs and a couple of wings, into small portions, shoved them all into a protective plastic vessel, and immediately rendered them immobile by flash freezing them in her (convenient) industrial freezer.

For now ... the mutant chickens are no longer a threat ... But what will happen when they thaw out?!


Spooky Tale #2: Festival of the Elderly

A brave and noble young knight by the name of Sir Gio was called urgently to a local retirement home in the afternoon of All Hallow's Eve. Something wicked had possessed the residents, and only he and his fluffy good looks could save their souls.

Donned in his protective red Therapy Dog cape, Sir Gio steeled himself for the potential assault as he approached the front door of the home. As he entered the building, it appeared deserted, but he could hear eerie music issuing from deep within. An upbeat tune, not unlike a Halloween waltz performed on accordians, was piping through the hallways. Sir Gio stealthily crept along the hall, following the eerie music. Rounding a corner into the common room, a ghastly sight met his eyes! Dozens and dozens of elderly people were gathered, some cloaked in witches robes, others with pointy hats and garrish wigs, still others wearing what appeared to be human bone necklaces around their necks. All were gathered in a large circle, some sitting in wheelchairs, some leaning on walkers, all of them clapping and singing as still more twirled in the center of the circle in some evil demon dance!

Stunned, Sir Gio had to think quickly how he could possibly penetrate this crowd. As brilliant as he is, Sir Gio thought up a devious plan. He would disguise himself as one of them, join their ranks and destroy them from within! Sneaking back out into the hallway, Sir Gio wrapped an orange and black bandanna around his neck and hoped that he would blend in to the dancing crowd. Assuming a casual face, he wandered confidently back into the crowded music room, pushing his way into the center of a large group of people, grinning around evil-y. Then, Sir Gio unleashed his secret weapon ... With all the charm of a used car salesman, Sir Gio donned the puppy eyes and wowed the crowds with his cute puppy tricks. Again and again he preformed his tricks until he was panting with exhaustion. Finally, when he thought he could not go on anymore ... the evil spell possessing the residents of the retirement home broke! Their grins were no longer evil, the demonic accordian waltz slowed to a calm and easy tune. The day, and their souls, were saved!

Spooky Tale #3: THE VET!!!

EEEEEEK! It doesn't get any scarier than that! I realize there may be young pups reading this, so as not to terrify them (and bring about lawsuits from outraged dog parents) I will leave out the horrific and gorey details.

I will mention only that both Gio and Romeo visited their new vet this afternoon (before Sir Gio's heroic actions at the retirement home). Romeo needed a vet signed health form so that I can submit his final papers to become a St. John Ambulance therapy dog. Gio was due for some bloodwork. It has been about 6 weeks since he has been on his new thyroid medication for his seizures, and he was due for some blood level tests for Potassium Bromide and the Thyroxine.

Because vet offices are SO SCARY we practiced some tricks for treats in the waiting room and in the exam room before and after the vet poked and prodded everyone.

They survived ... Though according to Gio, it was "barely".

Romeo: "Don't know why you are so nervous, Gio. You are such a wuss!"
Gio: "Shut up, fluffy. You don't have to get the needle jab!"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We're Having a "Handsome Day"

Nothing really new today ... just the boys being their normal handsome selves.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Raw Food Diet: Our Average "Menu"

One of the most common questions I hear from people starting their dogs on a raw diet is some version of, "So, what exactly do I feed?" I know this was one of my first questions when I was starting raw as well. It's all great to do the research, learn about proportions and percentages, understand why your dog needs X, Y, and Z ingredients. But when you get to the grocery store and stand amid the meat aisles, it can be a little intimidating and confusing. So here is a general run down of what I feed the boys, where I get it, and how much of each I feed.

Please note: Every raw feeder will compile a slightly different raw diet for their dogs. How often you feed bone or organ will depend on the individual dog. What meats you include in the "menu" will depend on your geographical location and the mix of ethnicities found in your community, as well as the price of each item, as price varies greatly from one place to another. This is to serve as an example only, and should be tweaked for your individual dog and the meats available to you.

The General Overall Diet Plan

I follow a Prey Model Raw (PMR) diet for my dogs. The PMR diet consists of roughly 80% muscle meat, 10% edible bone, 5% liver, and 5% other secreting organ. These percentages are modeled after an average prey animal that a wild canid would catch and eat.

Variety is important, not only in species of animal fed, but also in cuts of meat. I attempt to feed about 50% white meat (chicken, turkey, fish) and 50% red meat (beef, pork, venison, bison, elk, etc.). For organs, the majority of the organs that I feed come from beef or pork. For bones, I feed only chicken, turkey, fish, and some pork bones (ie. small ribs).

What to Look for at the Grocery Store

First, I look at the price tag. I like to keep things under $2/lb if at all possible. Being in Canada, the prices are somewhat skewed, so many raw feeders that I know in the US aim for about $1/lb. For the sake of variety, I will occasionally go over $2/lb, but have been lucky enough not to have to do that too often.

Common items that find their way into my shopping cart include:
stew beef
beef roasts
beef heart
beef liver
beef kidney
stew pork
pork shoulder
pork hock
pork roast
pork liver
pork kidney
pork ribs
pork brisket
whole chickens
chicken drums
chicken legs
chicken hearts
chicken gizzards
chicken livers
turkey wings
turkey drums
turkey thighs
salmon heads
whole trout
pollock fillets

Items that are too pricey in my area, but may be available readily in other areas, include:

What About Wild Game?

Definitely! Make friends with some hunters and ask for the scraps and organs from hunting season, or pass the word around that you are willing to buy last year's frozen meat to make room for new meat from this year's hunting season.

You may be able to purchase boneless or bone-in elk, deer, moose, etc. from butchers, and that is fine as well. I find that it is more expensive that way, but take advantage of any deals you can get your hands on.

If you are taking fresh caught meat from hunters, be sure to freeze it all for at least one month to kill off any potential parasites. This includes wild caught fish as well.

What Exactly Counts as "Organ"

An organ is anything that "secretes". These include: liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, thymus (also called sweetbreads), testicle, and brain. Items that we often associate with organs, but more accurately count as muscle meat when taken in the context of a raw diet, include: heart, gizzard, tongue, tripe, stomach, intestine, and uterus.


There are a number of extra items that I include in the boys' diet. These include eggs (shells included), green tripe (available raw in patties or chubs, or canned), canned fish (sardines, tuna, salmon), and chicken feet (great natural source of glucosamine). I will generally offer one of these items once or twice each week.

An Example Menu for One Week

(This is an example only. The actual cuts and meats that I feed each week will vary depending on what I have in the freezer at the time.)

Monday: chicken drumstick, boneless beef
Tuesday: beef liver, trout
Wednesday: turkey wing, boneless pork
Thursday: chicken hearts, boneless venison
Friday: pork kidney, boneless beef
Saturday: chicken quarter, chicken gizzards
Sunday: boneless beef, green tripe

I offer organs about twice per week, with the amount of organ in each serving equalling half of the daily amount of food. How much organ you can feed at a time will depend on your individual dog. Some people give a small amount every day, others can get away with feeding a whole meal of organ. My dogs are fine if they do not have bone every day, but some dogs require at least a little bit of bone each day to prevent loose stools. There is some trial and error when deciding what will work best for your dog. Don't be afraid of a little bit of loose stool or constipation. Pay attention to the dog's stools and adjust the diet accordingly. Too loose = feed more bone. Too loose after an organ meal = feed less organ at each sitting. Too firm = feed less bone at each sitting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gio takes a number of medications each day due to his various medical issues. One item that has a great effect on him is Dog Gone Pain. It is an all-natural herbal supplement, designed to improve joint pain due to chronic injury or old age, arthritis, etc. Gio has an unidentified "leg issue" ... maybe "back issue" ... who knows, from years and years ago. It's actually the main reason that he had to retire from his beloved flyball. He's had X-rays and nothing shows up, the latest guess was a partially torn cruciate. The advice given to me by the vet that suggested it is that we just have to wait and see what happens. If it tears completely, then we do surgery. But until that point, there is not much we can do. I'm not convinced that it is a partially torn cruciate ligament, but have no better suggestion to give. I began giving him glucosamine and chondroitin daily in hopes that it would help, but didn't see very noticeable results. It was eventually suggested to me that I give Dog Gone Pain a try. I did ... and it is amazing! He no longer limps, unless he has had a very hard run or play session. He no longer favors his hind leg, and is able to participate without issue in numerous dog sports and activities. It's been a miracle worker for him!

Anyways, getting back to the point, I recently ran out of DGP and had lost the website link that I had previously ordered it from. I found a new website with a decent price and placed an order. iHERB is a distributer of nutritional and dietary supplements. I believe it is primarily geared towards human supplements, but it also has DGP, and a number of other natural health products for dogs and cats.

My shipment of DGP arrived today, along with a little insert advertising their Rewards Program. Here's the deal, as a new member, I have been given a referral code. I give that referral code to friends, and if you are a first time shopper at iHERB, you get $5 off your purchase when you use my code. I then earn credit towards iHERB products for each time someone uses my code. Since iHERB seems to have the best prices for DGP that also ships to Canada, I'll likely be using them again. So if you use my code, you will be, indirectly, helping Gio's gimpy leg! *snicker* But, the real deal, is that you get $5 off your first order, whether you use it for dog products or human products. So check it out.

My product code is

Monday, October 27, 2008

Excuse me a moment of nerdiness ...

Anyone else as excited as I am?

Agility - Advanced Beginners I

A couple weekends ago, Romeo started his second set of agility lessons with D&S Dogs of Course. His first set was Beginners, essentially the class that weeds out the people that really want to continue from those that are just curious. It was a fun set, but I can't say that we really learned anything. Just a lot of playing with the equipment, introducing the dogs to all the different pieces, etc.

This second set is much more intense, and as I really enjoy training, much more enjoyable for me. I can completely understand why they set things up this way, so no complaints there, I am just really excited to be moving on to some real technique and groundwork training.

The first class (two weekends ago), we worked on tunnel entries, finding a tunnel entrance from all sorts of angles and distances, and building tunnel value. Lots of fun because, really, what dog doesn't love the tunnel?

This past weekend was building value for the jump, working on a send out to the jump from different angles, building value for the table, and sending to the table from distances and over jumps. Since Romeo has done the flyball thing, the set-up they had for the jumps and table was a breeze for him. We had three jumps in a straight line with the table at the end. Starting at the first jump, we took turns getting our dogs all riled up and racing them to the table, where the instructor had their reward (a ball, toy, tug, food, etc.). Then from the second jump, then the third, quickly weaning the toy out from being a lure and using it just as a reward for getting on the table. Also having the handlers stop short of the table, at a distance of 15 feet or so, so that the dog learns to work away from the handler. Romeo's previous flyball training really helped, the set-up was familiar so he knew exactly what to do and I didn't need to run up with him at all, though I still raced him to the second jump to get his speed up a bit.

The jump differentiation game was fun. Starting with just one jump upright, click and treat for the dog going around behind the upright, working on sending both directions. Apparently, I have been teaching Romeo bad habits by treating across my body (ie. if he is standing on my left hand side, I will occasionally reach across my body with a treat in my right hand to treat him, or vice versa). I didn't even realize I was doing it, so will have to work on breaking that habit. Once the dog got the hang of running around the upright, add in a bar to make it a jump and continue the game. Then start gradually moving backwards and varying the angle at which you send the dog to the jump. Romeo did really well and enjoyed the game a lot! We would break the monotony a bit with value-building games. Essentially, a lot of quick jumps with a treat as soon as the dog lands the jump. So I would stand very close to the side of the jump, and every time that Romeo jumped without a command, I would quickly bend down and treat him as soon as the landed over the jump. Back and forth and back and forth, until we were both puffing!

I really should price out some PVC pipe some day so that I can make a couple of little jumps to practice with at home. We have the make-shift weave poles, the stairs for contacts, and I use a large suitcase for a pause table. Just missing out on the jumps ... and maybe a buja board, too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pet Expo Day 2

Day two ... is it over yet? My feet are screaming and I just want to curl up and sleep. Wow, this has been a long weekend!

This morning, the boys and I put in a shift at the River Runners flyball booth. The boys were ready to go again, and eager to make more friends. I was a little worse for wear, though. We were joined at the River Runners booth by Tucker, a Husky x Border Collie cross. Tucker is a real social butterfly, and especially loves children. He spent most of the morning like this ...

Begging for belly rubs. What a suck!

After the flyball booth, we headed off for another shift at the St. John Ambulance therapy dog booth. Romeo spent much of his time like this ...

Tired, tired puppy.

I did have to wake him up for a picture, though. Yesterday I forgot Gio's therapy dog vest and Romeo's bandanna at home. I remembered today, so had to document it on digital film!

The boys were both acting quite tired, seeking out peace and quiet behind tables and under chairs, so I thought it might be a good idea to zip them up in their crate for a bit of a nap away from the crowds.

Sounded like a good idea ... but the boys wanted none of that.

They eventually wiggled their way out of the hole in the crate and were back to socializing and visiting. So much for their nap.

We ran a couple of rounds of Rally-O in the demo ring, where the boys did wonderfully. Then on to the parade of breeds where we represented the Shetland Sheepdogs of the world. Then quickly home to a cold drink of water and my sweat pants. BLISS!

I have about an hour to relax, before we are off to agility this evening.

At least now the boys are taking my advice and having a nap!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pet Expo Day 1

Today was a very long day! But lots of fun.

It was day 1 of Pet Expo (see yesterday's blog post) and the boys and I had a couple of shifts at various booths throughout the day. In the morning we were at the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog booth. The boys had a great time being greeter dogs, checking everyone out and gathering all the pets and hugs.

They both behaved very well and were great examples of therapy dogs. Each of the boys had a particularly shining moment during the shift. Gio's was about part way through our shift when a small girl, maybe 2 years old, ran up to him at full 2-year-old-speed, grabbed his muzzle with both hands and started shaking his head up and down. What a good boy, he just stood there and let her man-handle ... err ... child-handle? ... him. He is so endlessly tolerant, it's almost pathetic! Romeo had his big moment near the end of our shift. He was chilling out beside the booth when a pair of children approached him. One started petting his head very politely, but the other small boy decided that he really wanted to rub Romeo's belly. So he proceeded to try and flip Romeo over to get to his belly. I would have expected Romeo to jump up and try to get away from the boy, but he just resolutely lay there, refusing to be rolled over, but still being very calm and polite about it all. Of course, I'm much less polite than Romeo is, so I told the boy to bugger off and not to treat dogs like that.

After our SJA shift, we went and practiced some Rally-O in the practice course that they had set up. Since Rally-O isn't really a spectator sport, they didn't give it a designated demo time, but they did rope off a corner in the back and allowed us to set up a Novice course for whoever wanted to give it a go. There were enough Rally-O dogs present that we had a pretty good flow of Rally-O demos going most of the afternoon.

Then it was on to the Hub City Kennel and Obedience Club booth for our second shift of the day. This was a fun shift as many of the boys' "friends" were around so they got lots of socializing in.

Gio and Romeo with Tetley, their English Cocker Spaniel buddy.

Part of the Cairn Terrier crew. Piper, Zephyr and Rascal. Then Rascal again, and Duncan.

The Miniature Poodle twins, Katie and Gina.

Duncan took a shining to a small girl and decided to entertain her with his gopher impression.

By this point of the day, the boys were quite tired. They spend a while laying behind the tables and staying out of the crowds.

I put the boys away in their kennel for a while to allow them to rest. Previously at an obedience trial, Gio had scratched a hole in the front of their soft-sided crate in attempts to get me to work with him instead of with Romeo. Romeo quite likes this hole, and finds it nicely convenient allowing him to rest in his crate while still watching what is going on around him.

At the end of the evening, the boys participated in the parade of breeds. They gather a couple dogs from all the different breeds that they can find at the Pet Expo, and parade them around the demo ring one at a time as the announcer talks a bit about what the breed is like. It's lots of fun, and afterward the crowd is encouraged to come forward and meet all the dogs. So yet more pets and cuddles, and lots of comments on how handsome the boys are. It's good for the ego, and I'm sure the dogs enjoy it as well.

Back tomorrow for some more Pet Expo fun. It's a shorter day tomorrow, only lasting until 5pm. So that should be much nicer, and still allow us time to get our stuff together for agility practice tomorrow evening.

Another fun moment from today, I got to pick up the prints of the Halloween pictures that were taken last weekend at the agility club. I've already posted the individual pics of the boys because they were posted online. But I also had a double photo taken that wasn't posted online. Please excuse the quality, I had to take a digital photo of the print in order to get it up here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year ...

No, not Christmas ... PET EXPO WEEKEND!

I love the Saskatoon annual Pet Expo, always a good time out with the boys.

Sadly, the expo seems to be getting smaller and smaller each year. Likely some bad business planning, they charge way too much for commercial booths, effectively cutting out many of the small local pet businesses that might be interested in attending. Non-profit organizations get cheap booths, but there aren't enough of those around to fill the place up. But I guess that is how these things go.

Anyways, even with the expo getting smaller, I seem to be getting busier! I'm working at three booths this weekend: River Runners, Hub City Kennel and Obedience Club, and St. John Ambulance. There are a bunch of demos happening, but I'm not participating in any of those this time around. Though there will be an area set up for Rally-O demos throughout the day, so I will take the boys over for a practice in between my shifts.

If you are in Saskatoon this weekend, you should definitely stop by Prairieland Park and take in some of the festivities! Clicky on the linky above for info. See you there!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How did they get in my room!?

This was posted this afternoon to a Sheltie forum that I frequent.

My question ... how the heck did they sneak into my room and take this picture without the boys waking up?

It is creepily accurate, right down to the dog toys scattered on the floor. While the dogs in the picture outnumber my two by a total of five, Gio and Romeo easily fill the spots indicated. Gio generally occupies the spots in the picture that have tri-colored Shelties, while Romeo rotates between the pillow-sleeper, leg-sleeper, and flanker. And the little sable bum under the bed, well, Gio used to sleep under my bed when he was able to fit. He likely still would if he could get under there!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Pics and Rally Practice

Last weekend the agility club that I take classes with, D&S Dogs of Course, held a Halloween photo shoot. I took the boys over for some festive pictures. They were posted to the website today, and I'll be able to get the actual prints this weekend.

You can see all the photos HERE. What a good lookin' bunch of dogs!

Tonight was rally-o practice, and the boys had a wonderful night! We set up a couple of Excellent courses for some run-throughs. Both of the dogs were really on top of things tonight and performed wonderfully! Normally, I will work them each individually on some smaller elements, then run about 2 courses each. They were doing so well tonight, that we ended up running 4 courses each and they still weren't faltering! I'm so proud of them! Gio took his spread jump without issue and even pulled off a couple of "moving stands" by the end of the night. Romeo kept his head up all evening and didn't have any of his normal issues with lagging. It really feels good working them when they are "on" like that. Hopefully we can keep this streak up and carry it through to the CARO trial in Regina in 3 weeks.

Afterwards, they had a good tear-about with some of the other dogs there. Two Shelties, two Border Collies, a Cardigan Corgi, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, and two Whippets ... that was a LOT of craziness! The boys really want a Whippet now, they both took a shining to a pretty little female Whippet and I'm sure they would have been glad to bring her home with us.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weave Pole Practice

Now that I have (sorta) gotten used to seeing my big bum on video, I've become quite a fan of video taping the various practices and trials that I do with the boys. I find that by watching myself on tape, I can see many things that I don't see when I'm actually working them.

Romeo has only been training in weave poles for a short while now. I think he is doing really well, and once I get my act together, he could be really good! (But maybe I'm just a little biased.)

I notice, now that I can watch from a different perspective, that there are a couple of things I want to clean up. He looks at me after every second pole, so I've really got to work on patterning more than two poles at a time. I do eventually want to phase out the hand signals, as well, but for the time being, it keeps him from popping out too soon. I also think for the that next practice session I'm going to chuck his treat back after the last pole so that he fires out away from the poles instead of looping back to me.

I am impressed at how well he is catching on to the off-side entries, though! He isn't anywhere near consistent yet, but he'll get the off-side weaves about 75% of the time. After all those little things are cleaned up, I'm going to start adding distance and send from different angles.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Piggy Wrestling ... Romeo Style

Step 1: Spot yourself a piggy

Step 2: Sneak up on the piggy and grab it by the back leg

Step 3: Get a good grip now ...

Step 4: Now, in one smooth motion, roll to onto your side, effectively
rendering the piggy incapable of escape.

Step 5: Now the tricky part, a perfectly executed Piggy Crotch Grab (patent pending)

And with that, my friends, you have subdued yourself a wild piggy!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What I won't do for the dogs

I was absolutely run off my feet today. Or at least it feels like it now.

The agility group that Romeo is taking classes with was offering a Halloween photo shoot this morning. So I took the boys out there, decked and bedazzled in their Halloween bandannas. The pictures, what I saw of them on the small screen of the digital camera being used, looked great! They should be printed for next weekend and will eventually be online for little a "Vote for the Best" contest. I'll be sure to post them here when I can.

After being gorgeous super models, it was off to Rally-O for a couple of hours. I worked the boys on a couple of small house-keeping things for the quickly approaching trial in November. Gio has crooked "stands", so when he goes into a down from a stand it is even more crooked. So we have been working on cleaning those up. Romeo just got worked lightly today, some heel patterns and focus work. Then I taught a puppy class. It was graduation day so we played a couple of games and relay races, had some cookies and an off-leash play time. Following that was a beginner obedience class that is taught by a couple of other ladies in the club. And finally, followed by another Rally-O time, where I worked Gio on his Versatility level exercises. He is really coming along nicely with heeling on the right side. Still likes to have crooked sits, so we are practicing along a wall until he gets the gist of it. We're slowly working on his hind-end movement to the right. He has beautiful movement to the left, but it doesn't flow as nicely on the other side. I'm starting with heeling in big clockwise circles, then gradually making the circles smaller and smaller to trick him into moving that hind end of his. Got a couple of really nice breakthroughs today!

After Rally-O, we came home and I put my feet up for about an hour and a half. Then off again to agility! Romeo started his Advanced Beginners I tonight. The first class was dedicated to the tunnel. Building tunnel drive (like Romeo needs any more of that!) and proofing entrance recognition. So a lot of releases to the tunnel from funny angles, then pairing it up with a jump, forcing the dog to fire out over the jump then loop back around for the tunnel. Romeo did really well and thoroughly enjoyed himself! By the end of the night, I could tell he was getting tired, though.

We're home now, finally. Fed, watered, and peed. And it is definitely time for bed!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crunchy Dog Cookies

I normally don't give the boys hard dog biscuits, try to avoid as much grains in their diet as I can, but sometimes a cookie is a good thing. I am sure to make my own though. They are easy to make, and you avoid all those horrible ingredients in commercial cookies.

Following along with my normal requirements, a recipe must be quick, easy, and have ingredients that I am likely to have laying around the house. I don't like having to go to specialty stores to get ingredients.

Here is a recipe that I found over 10 years ago, I forget where.

1 cup veggie oil OR meat drippings
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 beef OXO cubes OR 2 tsp powdered soup base
2 cups rolled oats
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (white flour works fine, too)

Heat milk, water, oil/drippings, and soup base in a pot. No need to boil, just heat it enough to dissolve the soup base completely.

Combine flour and rolled oats in a large bowl.

Add liquid mixture and mix well.

Press onto a cookie sheet and cut into desired shapes. The dough works well for cookie cutters, so try some fun shapes! It doesn't spread much, so don't worry about it dripping over the edges.

Bake at 300F for 2 hours. After 2 hours, turn off the oven but leave the cookie sheet inside overnight. This will allow the cookies to harden.

I made this batch for my new graduates tomorrow. The kennel and obedience club that I belong to is currently holding a puppy class, beginner obedience class, and Novice rally-o class. Graduation day is tomorrow, so I said I would make up some cookies. But there are lots left over for Gio and Romeo to enjoy!


There's this cool site that will scan your website or blog and make a piece of word art out of the terms found there!

Check out

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours

My buddy Reilly started a game titled I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. We're talking dog toys here, people! What is your dog's favorite toy?

Gio has had many favorites over the years: the Boodah cow, the rubber duckie he stole from his buddy Bailey (it had to go on the shelf because he became somewhat obsessed with it), and tennis balls ... any tennis ball. He will play with anything, but more often than not, he will grab his big sheep when told to get his "baby".

I won the sheep in a raffle draw at a flyball tournament in Lloydminster. Romeo was the one running in the tournament, but when we got home to show off all our prizes, Gio claimed the sheep and it has been his ever since. Poor sheepie has had a couple of surgeries. One of the ears has been amputated and he's had his stomach re-sewn a couple of times now. Romeo can be blamed for the de-stuffing adventures, but Gio is to blame for the tears and ear-loss.

Sheepie in action.

Romeo's favorite toy is the squirrel from his Hide-a-Squirrel game.

The stump that the squirrels hid in is long gone (thanks to Gio and his tugging obsession). But the squirrels are all still alive ... to varying degrees. Romeo is a big fan of anything fuzzy, and the fuzzy squirrel tails are just perfect. He carries the squirrels around by the fuzzy tail, and will lay down and chew on the tail mindlessly. Surprisingly, the squeakers have all survived, but the whiskers have all been chewed off.

Squirrel in action. Cool Dog Site of the Day

The Sheltie Hair blog has been chosen as the Cool Dog Site of the Day!

Thanks so much to the creators of DogMark!

At the end of October, you will be able to vote for us for the Cool Dog Site of the Month. I'll be sure to post more links to that when it is available.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Homework? Really?!

I haven't had this much "homework" in ages! And I haven't even been working on school work.

Saskatoon Pet Expo is coming quickly, and preparations for it are well under way. Pet Expo is an annual trade-show-like event in Saskatoon. It takes place at Prairieland Park and includes various pet related booths, displays and demonstrations. I love Pet Expo, it is a great time! But this year is busier than ever.

Normally I just participate in the booth and demos that my flyball team enters. Take a couple of shifts, help out with the demos, and wander the trade show for a couple of hours. But my dog life seems to be exploding, and as such, Pet Expo is going to be a non-stop weekend for me! I have shifts for the River Runners flyball booth, the St. John Ambulance therapy dog booth, and the Hub City Kennel and Obedience Club booth.

Tonight I have been making up class sign-up sheets, raffle entry slips, and informational brochures on how to select a purebred dog and how to find a reputable breeder for the Hub City booth, making up the booth and demo schedule for the River Runners booth, and getting all the boys' health forms together and ready to fax off so that they can come and enjoy the fun as well.


It's not even 8pm and I'm absolutely wiped! But I got MOST of what I had planned finished this evening. Still have to make some dog cookies to take to puppy class on Sunday for the people and puppies that are graduating, and I need to trim Gio's feet up for his therapy dog visit tomorrow.

Now for a trip to my happy place ...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shop With Us!

I was browsing through CafePress this afternoon and couldn't find the Sheltie items that I was looking for! There are loads of Sheltie items available there, but not quite what I wanted. So I thought, "Fine then, I'll do it myself!"

And now I have a store on CafePress.

So far, it is just a "basic" store. That means that I can only have one of each "item" available. I've designed 3 different images, but I can only put one image on each blank item that they offer. I've tried to make some t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, and miscellaneous items for each image, but you can only do so much as a basic. I will play things by ear and see how sales go for the next couple of months. If sales are good, then I will consider upgrading to their "premium" account, and that will allow me to offer all of the images in all of the available items. More selection for everyone looking for Sheltie paraphernalia! YAY!

I'm also open to feedback! If you like what you see, let me know. Want something else? I'd love suggestions. Have a preference for certain items? Drop me a line. Leave a comment somewhere here on the blog and I will find it. It's the whole supply and demand situation ... if demand picks up, I will supply!

The link to my store is in the left-hand column. It's also right here.

Here are the images that I am currently offering:

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