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!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We Blew the Power Out in the WHOLE City!

Okay, so maybe that is a teensy little bit of an exaggeration. Here's the whole story ...

This afternoon, "grandma" had a couple of hours off of work so the boys and I helped her decorate for Christmas. The tree went up and all the lights ... lots of lights ... many many pretty sparkly colored lights. The boys were great helpers, as always.

Headless Duck and Van Gogh Sheep lent a hand as well.

Gio mostly stayed out of the way.

While Romeo preferred to be right in the middle of the action.

And, of course, the obligatory "dress the dogs up in the Christmas decorations" event.
"Smile for the camera!"
"I will not."

"Come on, just a little smile?"
"You are an embarrassment to me."

"Wha?! ... DAMN! Fell for it again."

Romeo was significantly easier to decorate. Though he is more naturally ... err ... flamboyant. If this dog were a human, he would be Elton John. Think rhinestone glasses and sequined jackets ... Yeah ... That's Romeo to a T.

After much work in covering the small artificial tree with as many lights and bobbles as possible, the task was done. Lit up, the tree is gorgeous! Though I am a sucker for a bright Christmas tree, any one will do!

Later this evening were our regular flyball classes. Currently, we have one beginner class and two intermediate classes, plus regular club practice, every Saturday evening. The first intermediate class went well and it is followed by our second intermediate class. As everyone was gathering, mere moments before class began, the power went out. The training facility that we use was pitch black, even though the East wall is nearly all windows. That doesn't help much if the street lights are all out as well. Being as innovative and crafty as we are, a couple of people turned on their cell phones to use as small spots of light, and a couple of us trainers slowly maneuvered out way to the front of the building, avoiding stepping on dogs or tripping over jumps as much as possible. We arranged our cars in the front of the building and turned on the headlights so they shone through the large floor to ceiling windows. It was enough to light a good portion of the room and we were able to continue on with class as usual! Of course, the plan was altered a bit so that no one had to go running off into a dark corner, but we were able to work on some close box work. At least it wasn't a complete waste of a night. We did cancel the beginner class and the club practice, though. Didn't want to kill any car batteries or run anyone out of gas just to light the building!

From what we heard, it sounded as if the power was out for a good portion of the North end of the city. One of our club members is from Hepburn (about half hour out of the city) and she recieved a text message saying power was out there as well. We adjourned to a Tim Horton's on the other side of the city for coffee and donuts, again not a bunch of people that are willing to waste an evening! I had to head back up to the North end to get home a couple of hours later, and the power was back on.

Think it must have been all the Christmas lights on our tree ... yeah ... that must have been the problem!

And speaking of Christmas, another e-card arrived this evening! This one from LeeTal and CoCo.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Doxie Holiday Card

Just received another DWB Christmas e-card. This time from Cayman.

Back to Normal

Excuse me a moment of non-dog-related rambling.

Today I defended my Master's thesis in Holstein coat colour genetics. It's been a long time coming, 2.5 years of research and endless hours in the lab. But it's all over now, it's official! I'm slowly collecting as many titles as the dogs have ... though I highly doubt I will ever catch up!

These past couple of weeks have really been difficult. Lots of studying and preparing for the "big day". I'm absolutely exhausted and feel as if I could sleep for a week. But I'm excited to get back to a normal life, and I'm sure the boys will be happy to get their routine back to normal as well. We are off to rally-o practice tonight ... I feel as if I want to just stay home and veg with a bowl of popcorn and a stiff drink. But I need to make it up to the boys, they've been somewhat neglected for the past while. So I will postpone the popcorn and booze night until this weekend.

I think this is all over just in time ... It feels as if I am being closely pursued by a scratchy cough situation. My throat has been scratchy all day, but it could be all the hours of talking this morning. Nothing that a swig of Buckley's and a glass of Ginger Ale can't cure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Apologies and More Christmas

Hey all. First, I need to apologize for the pathetic upkeep of the blog this past while. Non-computer-related life has been CRAZY, and I have had neither the time nor the energy to be witty or intelligent or entertaining. I PROMISE to get back in the swing of things soon ... like tomorrow, when all this craziness should be over.

They boys are not enjoying this new life of "neglect" either. I fear they may have sunk into depression due to the lack of movement of their toys.

Romeo has even threatened "squeakicide".

"Play with me or the squeaky tug lion gets it!"

Soon, boys, I promise!

In the mean time, we got another Christmas e-card from the DWBs Christmas card exchange. This one from Rusty and his mom, Sharon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

First Christmas Card!

This morning the boys received their first Christmas card from the DogsWithBlogs exchange! It was a very pretty e-card from Amber-Mae, Faith, and Chloe. Thank you ladies! It is beautiful!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Howliday Giveaway!

We'd sure appreciate a vote ... or two, or three.

Johann's Howliday Giveaway!

Johann is holding a Howliday Gift Giveaway and we are entered! Anyone can vote and you can vote as often as you like! Please consider sending a vote our way.

Also, while you are in the voting mood, a while back the Sheltie Hair blog was chosen as site of the day on Voting for site of the month is still open, and you can vote for us every day until the end of November! Only a few days left!

Winter Care for Dog Paws

During the winter months, there are hazards to our dogs as they venture outdoors. The area of the body that seems to feel the cold the most is the paws. Even just playing out in the yard or at the park can result in snow balling up and freezing to the paws causing pain and discomfort to the dog. There are a number of steps that you can take to ensure you keep those paws as warm as possible.

Firstly, proper paw maintenance. Be sure to trim the hair on the bottom of the paws and between the toes to prevent snow from clumping and freezing. There is a misconception that leaving the paw hair long will provide natural insulation against the cold, but this is incorrect. Long paw hair allows snow to clump, where if the hair is trimmed there is a lesser chance for snow to ball up and cling. Check out a previous article for instructions on one method of paw trimming: Grooming Those Sheltie Feet.

There are also many items available to help keep the snow off of the paws. The most common is likely booties. There are many styles of booties to choose from, all with varying price tags. I have not had success with booties, they never seem to stay on properly, and if they do then it alters the way that the dog walks and their ability to get grip on slippery surfaces. Instead, I prefer products such as Musher's Secret Paw Wax. This stuff is amazing! It is roughly the consistency of firm Vaseline. Smear a thin layer on the bottom of the paws and between the toes and it forms a waterproof breathable layer that keeps the moisture away from the paws, prevents snow from clinging and balling up, and also blocks against road salts and chemicals. Road salt and chemicals can burn and irritate the skin, as well as cause serious health problems if ingested after the dog licks their paws. Musher's Secret keeps the chemicals away from the skin, then a quick wipe of the feet before re-entering the house clears them away completely. The wax is not overly greasy, I haven't had any issues with it staining carpet or furniture. Though on indoor flooring, it can be a little slippery so be sure to wipe the feet when coming back indoors.

Be sure to also monitor your dogs while outside. Take cues from them as to when it is too cold. Your first sign will likely be if the dog is holding their paws up out of the snow, also reluctance to walk or play or constant running back to the door signals time to go back indoors and warm up. My rule of thumb, if the dogs are playing hard with no sign of discomfort, then there is no need to worry. Watch the body language of your dogs, they can't tell you verbally when they are cold, so you need to be an honest judge.

Once back inside, check the dog over for hidden ice clumps. Chest/neck hair, armpits, inner thigh, and up the legs are common "clump" areas. If you do find clumps, use a dry towel to melt the clumps enough to gently remove them from the fur. Some dogs enjoy chewing the clumps off themselves, but allowing that risks the dog breaking or damaging the hair itself and may irritate the skin. It's better, then, to help your dog out and melt the clumps with a dry towel.

Enjoy the Snow!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

RMBs and Christmas Cards!

I love Saturdays. Lazy, casual Saturdays.

This afternoon I gave the boys each a big raw marrow bone and let them gnaw away in bliss as I worked on some Christmas cards. Dogs With Blogs is having a Christmas card exchange, so I thought I should get a good start on things. 144 dog bloggers are signed up! I can't afford postage to send to everyone, but I'm trying my best.

Holiday cards with shiny seasonal stickers.

Doggy version of an ice cream cone ... mmm Moose flavored.

"Nom nom nom"

"There is this darned hard stuff covering up my marrow. How frustrating!"

The height of RMB laziness.

Friday, November 21, 2008

PetLand and Puppy Mills

As if we didn't already know that the Yorkipoos, Puggles and any assortment of other dogs sold at PetLand stores across Canada and the USA are from puppy mills. Well, now there is proof.

I have received a large number of e-mails with links to the articles and investigation reports over the past couple of days. Instead of passing them on to my e-mail list, I thought I would post it here. My site is getting upwards of 75 hits per day, so what better way to get the word out! I don't have that many people on my e-mail list.

Here are the links to the various articles that I have received:

MSNBC: Investigation Ties Pet Chain to Puppy Mills

HSUS Video

So what can we do?

I decided long ago to never shop at a store that sells puppies. So I've never spent a cent at PetLand, myself. I think that is a decent start. If we don't shop there, we don't support their mistreatment of dogs. Spread the word, encourage others to find different more humane stores to spend their money at.

If you prefer the large chain stores, then consider PetSmart. They do not sell dogs, rather they partner with local SPCAs and provide visibility for adoptable dogs in the shelters. Better yet, support your small local businesses! If you are in Saskatoon, I strongly recommend Critter's or Early's.

Snow and Splarts

Gio was scheduled to make a visit to his ladies at Stensrud Lodge this afternoon, but we had to cancel. On therapy dog days, I leave work at noon so that I have time to get home, have some lunch, and groom Gio up all handsome before our visit. I pulled into the driveway shortly after noon today and could hear Gio barking from the basement where his crate is. That only means one thing ... someone has got to go poop!

I quickly got into the house and let him out of his crate and he ran straight to the back door, no time for "hey how are ya"s. Poor guy has a bad splart situation happening. It is likely due to his potassium bromide levels again. So I'll knock his medication back a little bit this evening. After our last blood work, the vet recommended that I cut back his potassium bromide a bit as it was slightly over the recommended therapeutic level. Since it wasn't over by much and there weren't any side effects, I decided to leave it where it was. But now that there are side effects it is time to cut back.

We had to cancel our visit as I'm sure Gio's ladies don't want to cuddle up with a stinky poo dog, and Gio has to run outside about every half hour, so it wouldn't be fair to make him work for an hour with no relief.

Aside from the stinky bum, Gio's spirits are high and he seems to be feeling fine. He and Romeo took some time out of their afternoon naps to have a game of chase in the back yard. Chase games between Gio and Romeo are always hilarious to watch. Gio puts his Cujo Face on and both dogs make "I'm gonna eat you" noises. But it's all for show, they are best buddies in the end.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Is a Shetland Sheepdog Right for Me?

Here are a few questions that I often hear from people who are considering adding a Sheltie to their family. They are important points to take into consideration so as to ensure that both you and the dog are happy together.

What type of homes do shelties thrive in?
Active homes that are willing to not only include the Sheltie in daily activities, but also dedicate a significant amount of personal time to the Sheltie to take care of its mental and physical exercise needs.

Are shelties good with kids and other pets?
Like any breed, they can be good with kids and other dogs, but not all Shelties are. If raised with kids that know how to properly handle a dog, they are a kid's best friend. But grabby or pushy kids are generally not accepted well by Shelties.

How much exercise do they need?
They are working dogs, so need a lot of physical exercise every day (more than just a walk or two). They also need a JOB ... some structured, routine activity that allows them to use their brain. If you are considering getting a Sheltie, decide whether you are interested in participating in agility, flyball, obedience, rally-o, tracking, herding, therapy dog, freestyle, etc. for the life of the dog. If you fail to give a Sheltie a mental job to do, you may run into a dog that is destructive or develops unstable obsessions or behaviours.

How much do they eat?
Not a lot. They are very easy keepers and will gain weight very quickly if fed too much food or poor quality food. Effort needs to be taken to ensure that the Sheltie does not get overweight, as they pack on the pounds very easily.

Do they shed a lot?
Yes. There is no way around it, a Sheltie will shed. Grooming is not difficult and can be done at home, though does require some dedication to keep the coat and dog healthy and clean.

Are they easy to train?
Yes. They are a very biddable breed, willing to work with and please their owner. Training a Sheltie does not, and should not, require force or threats, or else may result in creative a nervous dog that "shuts down" under pressure. Positive training techniques and a light hand are preferred.

How much will they sleep? How long can they be left home alone?
These two questions can be answered together. The amount of time that they sleep and the amount of time that they can be left alone are directly proportional to the amount of time you spend working and training with them. My evenings and weekends are completely full of training and competition time with my Shelties. As such, they are happy staying at home for 8 hours while I am at work during the work day. But if I did not spend the large amount of time training and working with them that I do, they would be very antsy and unhappy being at home alone during the day. Shelties are people focused dogs and bond very tightly to one or two special people in their lives. They should not be kept separate from their people.

Do most shelties have a lot of health problems?
Shelties are generally healthy and hearty dogs IF you purchase the dog from a reputable breeder. Be sure that the breeder has done testing for hips, eyes, thyroid, and von Willebrand's. Epilepsy is also somewhat common, along with skin and coat issues.

Are they one person dogs or family pets?
All of the Shelties that I have had have been VERY bonded to me, but content with the other members of my family. They are not overly social or accepting of strangers.

Do they still have strong herding instincts?
Many still do. They will attempt to round up all their toys, other dogs, people, etc. If not given an appropriate outlet (refer back to the mention of a JOB) this can manifest itself in nipping and obsessive behaviours.

Are they big barkers?
Generally yes, though it can somewhat be managed with training. But it is quite rare to have a completely silent Sheltie. Even the Shelties that I have had that do not technically bark, are big talkers.

Other points that I am always sure to mention to anyone considering a Sheltie ...

- Shelties require serious and intense socialization very early on in life and extended throughout adulthood. Shelties have a tendency to be fearful, shy, and timid and if that is not addressed very early on it can get way out of hand. Scared Shelties tend to tuck tail and run, and you will not catch up with a scared Sheltie. You just need to hope that it eventually gets its wits back in order and finds its way home. I have known too many Shelties that have not had proper socialization and exposure to "real life" that get startled and bolt from their owners. Only a few stories wind up with a happy ending.

- Shelties require a delicate balance between strong and confident training, and a soft hand. Shelties do not respond well to harsh training methods and will shut down completely if someone is too rough with them or if adversive training techniques are used. Smack a Sheltie once and it is nearly impossible to regain its trust. That said, they do need a solid, confident owner to bring them to their full potential. And knowing that Shelties are sensitive is no excuse to avoid training all together.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Pictures from the Rally-O Trial

Here are a couple more pictures that didn't make it into yesterday's story.

As I was getting everything ready to load in the car, Gio decided that he had better stay close by so that I didn't forget to pack him, too.

Piper, a little Cairn Terrier that trains with us regularly, is just the cutest little thing. He did really well this weekend, especially considering it was his first trial!

Ty, my favorite little Corgi. She LOVES Rally-O, and prances her way around the ring.

First thing to do when you get to a hotel ... test out the bed.

Friday night I ordered some pasta and pizza bread from Boston Pizza. The boys practiced their best "Starving Puppy" impressions.

Don't you just LOVE hotel room decor?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

KAOS Rally-O Trail

We're back!

KAOS did a great job of their first CARO Rally-O trial. It was a lot of fun, and ran very smoothly. Thanks so much to the KAOS group for hosting the trial, and for our judge, Renee Will, for coming out from Manitoba to pass down her judgment on our dogs (and our handling).

Gio and Romeo had a couple of successes each, and a couple of brain-farts as well. But that is pretty much par for the course.

Saturday Results

Romeo was entered in one Excellent round. He did very well, was really on top of his game, and took High in Class with a score of 192. This is his second Excellent leg. He got a fancy ribbon and a really cool treat bag filled with Innova treats, a new clicker, and some "human" goodies.

Gio was entered in one Advanced round and one Excellent round. His Advanced round was FEO, as he already has his RACL title. I just entered him for a warm-up. It wasn't his best performance, but he still qualified with a score of 185. It would have been a wonderful round if it weren't for the "Send Over Jump". Making excuses for his poor performance, the jump was angled oddly so that it looked as if it led into a corner. So when I sent him to the jump, Gio in his infinite wisdom, made the judgement call that I couldn't possibly mean for him to go to the left and the jump was really to the right. So he took off running and barking to the right of me, looking for the jump. It took a couple of tries for him to believe that the jump really was to the left where I was sending him. If it weren't for the jump fiasco, he would have wound up with a score of 194. And if I had shut my mouth and not given unneeded double commands, he would have wound up with a 198!

Gio's Excellent round was just about the same as the Advanced. The Excellent course was nested in the Advanced course, so the jump was still in the odd place, except replaced with a spread jump. So another beautiful run that was cancelled out by his insistence that the jump really wasn't were I told him it was. We disqualified that one as redoing stations is not allowed in Excellent.

Sunday Results

During the night, the boys switched brains. On Sunday, Romeo was entered in 3 rounds, one Excellent and two Advanced. I had him entered in two Advanced C, under the hope that if he qualified both Excellent rounds (earning his Excellent title) the Advanced rounds would count towards his C Stream Bronze title.

His first round of the day was the Excellent. He did really well, considering that he was dragging his fuzzy butt as slowly as he possibly could. When we got to the jump station, he took off like a bolt of lightening, but at the last second I made the mistake of turning my shoulders ever so slightly and pulling him away from the jump. So I had to resend him. As "redos" are not allowed in Excellent, that disqualified us. If it weren't for the jump, he would have Q'ed with a 181. In all, it was probably best that we did not qualify that one. His previous Excellent scores are 194 and 192, so a 181 really isn't something to be proud of with our previous track record. This way, we can hope for another 190-something score at the next trial and finish the Excellent title off with a nice looking record!

Since he did not qualify the second Excellent round, the Advanced rounds I entered him in only counted as FEO, not C Stream. I did one of the Advanced rounds with him, qualifying with a very sloppy 181. Again, not something I am proud of considering how well I know Romeo can work. He just didn't want to be there at all today, and it showed in his performance. Oh well, we all have our off days, right? I pulled him from the second Advanced round, it would have only been FEO and since he didn't really want to work, I didn't want to push him and ruin the idea that "ring = fun".

Gio more than made up for Romeo's lack-luster Sunday performance. Gio was entered in only one Excellent round on Sunday, and he blew it away with a 188 and High in Class! 4 of the points he lost were because of "handler error" (I didn't allow him enough room on two stations and he ended up sitting on top of the signs), so really, he performed to a 192 standard, I just cost him 4 points. A pretty ribbon and a bag of goodies for Gio, too. We now have more clickers than I know what to do with, but with my track record of losing and/or breaking them, that is probably for the best!

The Fun Stuff

Of course, out-of-town trials are more than just the trials. It's a lot of fun to take off on the road with just the boys. Relaxing in a hectic and crazy sort of way. Since someone, not naming any names *cough*Romeo*cough* decided that he needed to pick up the habit of leash chewing and chewed through his leash when I left him in the car between rounds, we needed to take a little trip to a pet store.

There is a great huge pet store in Regina, called Cowtown. It has an amazing selection of dog treats (lots of really nice high quality chew treats), toys, and food. I picked up a new red leash for Romeo, a couple of bully sticks to keep the boys occupied in the hotel, and a cool new toy.

Saturday evening I went out for supper with some of the members of the host club and our judge. Good food, good drinks, and great company! Laughed a lot and got way too much pesto stuck in my teeth.

Back at the hotel, the boys christened their new toy.

And then chowed down on some bully sticks on the nauseating hotel carpet.

A couple of things I noticed about Regina ... Apparently, the fine residents of Regina 1) don't fill their cars up with gas, and 2) are illiterate.

Firstly, I say that they do not fill their cars with gas due to the complete absence of gas stations along Victoria Avenue. Victoria Avenue is a very commercial street. It has a lot of hotels, big-box stores, and shopping centers. When I left my hotel this morning after checking out, the plan was to find a gas station and fill up before going to the trial venue. Across Victoria from where my hotel was located there was a Petro Canada station. Instead of crossing the busy Victoria, I decided to travel along as surely there would be another gas station on my side of the street within the next couple of blocks. There was, a Shell station ... that was closed. And then that was it. No more gas stations until I reached the trial venue. Now, maybe Saskatoon is just overrun with gas stations, you have your fair pick of stations scattered every couple of blocks. But I find it somewhat ridiculous that one of two "main" commercial/hotel streets in the city is noticeably void of gas stations! How does that make sense at all? If people are travelling from a distance to the fine city of Regina and staying in one of their fine hotels, would it not also make sense that they might need to fill their gas tank after the long journey? Why is it is difficult to find a gas station in that city?!

Secondly, about the illiterate comment. I packed a book with me for the trip, knowing that I only had a couple of chapters left in the book, but also knowing that my hotel was smack in the middle of a very large (large for small-city Saskatchewan) commercial area, so surely there would be a book store close at hand. And even if there wasn't a book store along Victoria Avenue (the concept of which was baffling to me), I knew how to get to Albert Street, so there would surely be a book store there as well. I looked in the City of Regina yellow pages for a book store ... what a let-down. There are something like 8 entries for bookstores in the whole city. 5 of those entries were for "spiritual" book stores, 1 of the entries was only for second hand trade in books, and the other 2 entries were on the other side of the city. And seeing as I nearly got smooshed by a city bus trying to find my hotel, I didn't like my chances trying to find a bookstore, that may or may not stock the books that I was looking for, on the other side of the city.

The drive to and from Regina was pleasant, though. I dug out a couple of old CDs that I hadn't listened to since my high school days. It was a good trip down memory lane (also known as Highway 11), singing along to the "classics" of my day at full volume. I'm sure the boys didn't appreciate it as much as I did, but they survived. Romeo slept through most of it, and Gio sang backup to a couple of the really good ones, allowing me to take lead vocals. Most played included the "Clumsy" CD by Our Lady Peace, and a couple of really good mixed CDs put together for me by my best friend at the time.

Here are a couple of good ones, for old-time's sake. Enjoy the trip down memory lane. I now understand how my mom will occasionally break out singing when some random song is played in a movie or as background music in a shopping center. These are the songs that I will refer to as "the classics", that someday (probably already today) many people younger than I am will never have heard before, and will never really appreciate. I'll be the old lady in the the nursing home humming Our Lady Peace and Matchbox 20 songs.

Our Lady Peace - Clumsy

Our Lady Peace - Right Behind You

Greenday - Basketcase

Oasis - Champagne Supernova

Matchbox20 - Damn

Friday, November 14, 2008

Playing Catch-Up

Hey folks! The past couple of days have been quite busy, so I haven't had time to update the blog much.

A quick run down of what we have been up to ...

Wednesday night there was a St. John Ambulance volunteer open house in town. Basically a recruiting session for new SJA volunteers, to learn what the organization is all about and how to join up. They wanted to have a therapy dog team on hand to answer any questions, so I volunteered myself and the boys. We were out for a couple of hours, gave a really short presentation on what the therapy dog program is all about, and answered a couple of questions from prospective therapy dog teams. It was a good time, and the boys love being out in the spotlight. Romeo made a couple of new best friends when they found his special scratch spot just underneath his collar. And Gio just like showing off all his tricks and how attentive he can be (ie. how long he can stare at me without blinking) ... it really seems to amuse people.

Last night we got together with a couple of friends for some last minute practice before the Rally-O trial this weekend. We rented the training building for two hours and set up a couple of Advanced/Excellent courses. The building that we are currently training in is great for trial-proofing dogs. It is small, essentially a concrete cube with very high ceilings. As such, it is really echo-y and confined, so the courses are really tight and any mingling people or dogs serve as great distractions. I think if a dog can do a course successfully in that building during regular club training time, they will be able to easily handle the hub-bub of a real trial! At least, let's hope so anyways. The boys did really well last night and I have confidence that they will do well this weekend, too!

This afternoon I am leaving for Regina with the boys. KAOS Dog Sports is hosting their first ever CARO Rally-O trial this weekend. They are bringing in a new judge that I have never trialed under before, but I have some friends that have met her and have passed on a few little tips that she likes to throw into her courses. One being that she likes to place the "Off-Set Figure 8" with the food bowls close to the "Send Over Jump" station, so that the dog may be tempted to go for the food when they are sent out away from the handler for the jump. I think my guys should be fine with that, they rarely even notice the food bowls anyways. *knock on wood*

The trial this weekend has 3 Novice rounds, 3 Advanced rounds, and 2 Excellent rounds. Both of my guys have their Advanced titles already, so we are primarily working on Excellent. Romeo has one Excellent leg, so only needs two more. I have him entered in both Excellent rounds in hopes of finishing off that title. *fingers crossed* I am being hopeful and have also entered Romeo in 2 Advanced rounds on Sunday. IF he finishes his Excellent title, then we can start working on the new C Stream addition to CARO. C String is a new titling scheme implimented earlier this year. It involves collecting a certain number of Advanced/Excellent/Versatility qualifying rounds all above a certain score to gain new titles. After you finish the Excellent title, you can start collecting towards the CRB (CARO Rally Bronze) and CRS (CARO Rally Silver) titles. The CRB requires 5 qualifying scores of 190/200 or higher, with at least 3 of the qualifying scores coming from Excellent or Versatility levels, and the remaining ones can be from Advanced level. So ideally, Romeo would be able to finish his Excellent title AND collect his two Advanced legs for his CRB this weekend. That, of course, would require that he qualify every leg that I have him entered in, so that might not happen knowing my tendency to mess up in the handling and Romeo's tendency to flake out for at least one leg each trial. But it's a goal to aim towards anyways.

Gio doesn't have any Excellent legs yet, so the best he can do this weekend is earn 2 of the required Excellent legs towards his RX. I have Gio entered in one Advanced leg on Saturday, just as FEO for a warm-up. Advanced his Gio's favorite level, he always seems to have so much fun with the stations, so I like to enter him in legs just for giggles.

So this will be my last blog entry until Sunday evening (or Monday, depending how tired I am). But rest assured, we will have pictures and stories to tell when we get back!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Puppy Pedicure

I've been a little slack on trimming the boy's feet lately. Normally I will trim their paw hair once a week or so, just to keep things neat and tidy. But I haven't now for about 3 weeks. I know, I'm so negligent!

Tomorrow night Gio is working a St. John Ambulance volunteer open house, so it is definitely time to trim the feet. And this coming weekend, both boys are entered in a Rally-O trial in Regina, and I always like to have them spiffed up for public performances. All of that means that tonight was Foot Night! Since their feet were so dirty and so unkempt, I decided we might as well take advantage of the Foot Night and get those paws nice and messy. What better way to get feet dirty than to pull out a couple of big, bloody RMBs!

YUM! Beef was on the menu tonight, thanks again to my boss for providing the goodies for the boys.

Gio's RMB method ... Dig right in and squish that meat really deep between your toes. Be sure to smear it all up your legs, too.

Romeo's RMB method ... Utilize your contortionist abilities in attempts to avoid getting your paws messy. Then realize that your big brother is beating you at the RMB carnage and resort to ysing your paws.

"Um ... Gio? ... Your tail is touching my snack."

The result ... Very messy feet!

After a foot-bath and some clipping and trimming, the paws are sparkly white and cute again!

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