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, February 28, 2009


Today was day 1 of a CARO Rally-O trial held locally. I have both dogs entered and they both did wonderfully for the first day!

Romeo finished his Excellent title with Magna Cum Laude (RXMCL)! The Magna Cum Laude means that the average of the 3 qualifying scores required for the title was over 190/200. His final Excellent leg today was a 199/200 and 1st place! He also earned one Advanced leg towards his CARO Rally Bronze (CRB) title. The CRB requires that a dog earn 5 additional legs of either Advanced or Excellent level, 3 legs must be of Excellent. They need to earn a 190/200 or higher, no re-doing stations, and the owners only have 2 minutes to walk the course. So one Advanced leg down, only 4 more legs to go for his CRB! Tomorrow he is entered in one Advanced round and one Excellent round, so if he qualifies those with 190/200 or higher, then they count towards the CRB as well.

Gio needs two more legs for his Excellent title. I had him entered in one Excellent round and one Advanced round today. He didn't qualify the Excellent round ... just too darned excited about those weave poles! But the rest of his work was beautiful and he would have wound up with a 188 had it not been for the weave re-do. Tomorrow he is entered in another Advanced (for warm up) and another Excellent round. Hopefully the Excellent won't have weaves tomorrow, then maybe we can pull off a nicer show of it! haha

They boys are both pooped now, sleeping under the computer desk and recharging for the games tomorrow again!

Friday, February 27, 2009

They are enjoying the fruits of MY labor!

Last night I finally got around to offering the boys some of the sheep that we chopped up on Monday.

Thank the Raw-Gods, they LOVED it!

Pure enjoyment ...

And THIS is how dogs brush their teeth. Tell me that chemical laden, artificial chicken flavored doggy toothpaste on a rubber knubbly thimble is better than THIS!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sheep Carnage


What follows includes pictures of graphic carcass dismembering. No animals were hurt maliciously, just your run of the mill culling and subsequent dismantling into dog-meal-sized pieces. But if you are squeamish or hold a belief that animals should not be food (even for other carnivorous animals), then stop reading here.

Really ... You have been warned. If you keep reading and then make a mess on your keyboard and have nightmares for 2 weeks, it's not my fault.

Right then.


The campus farm was culling 6 nutrition trial sheep, and since they were fistulated they couldn't be sent for slaughter. So to prevent them from going to waste, a friend of mine took all 6. It was a case of where if you bring a truck and take them away, they are yours for free. So she jumped at the chance, then started making phone calls trying to get rid of the extra ones that she couldn't store in her freezer. She called me, and I made a couple of calls, and in the end all sheep were spoken for. I claimed one and another couple of friends took three between the two of them. For a mere $40/sheep for the gutting and skinning, my freezer is now full! The catch, I had to dismantle my sheep after it was skinned and gutted.

This was my first "dismantling", so the friends that took the other 3 sheep agreed to show me the ropes. It was a lot more work than I imagined! Who needs sculpt class when you just need to tear at a frozen sheep carcass?! Honestly, I was feeling it this morning!

Now, for the gorey carnage shots ...

The sheep before the saws came out.

A sheep next to it's yummy organ bits.

The dismantling begins!

My artsy ribcage shot.

This is the horrible hack-job I made trying to get the front leg off. Yeah, it probably would have been neater if I had used my teeth to tear it off. Luckily, the boys don't care about how their meat looks.

This is what three dismantled sheep look like. The fourth sheep remains intact ... we were just too tired.

And this is all the meat that Gio and Romeo get to share! Plus a large garbage bag full of organ bits.

When I got home, Romeo was enthralled with all the gooey wonderfulness on my shoes. And he so kindly offered to help me clean them up.

Monday, February 23, 2009

More Weekend Photos

A friend of mine, Liz, sent me a great photo this afternoon that she took of Gio in the obedience ring.

Look at my handsome boy, being so obedient!

Thanks Liz, I love the picture!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

SKOC Obedience Trial

Thank you to everyone for the crossed fingers and positive thoughts! It sure paid off, Gio did wonderfully today!

I had him entered in two obedience rounds at the SKOC trial. He qualified both with scores of 191.5 and 189.5. Not his finest work, a little sloppy in some portions of the heel and forgot a few sits, but other than that it was really nice looking! And he nailed BOTH long sits! The mats weren't all that slippery this time around, and I was able to position him on a seam where two mats met for extra traction. That earns him his CKC Novice (CD) title, with an extra round as "gravy".

Here is a video of the 191.5/200 round. Thanks to Jae for filming for me.

As a whole, our club (Hub City Kennel and Obedience Club) made a great showing at the trials! We had five dogs entered and all earned legs today, with two (Gio and Lily) earning their CD titles. Here is the happy bunch ...

From left to right: Liz with Cairn Terrier Lily, Elaine with German Shepherd Dog Harley, Gisele with Miniature Poodle Katie, Dayna with Shetland Sheepdog Gio, and Jeannette with Cairn Terrier Piper.

Elaine and Liz are entered in more rounds tomorrow, so here's hoping they do just as well tomorrow as they did today! Good job, everyone!

And a neat little tidbit, the two Cairn Terriers, Lily and Piper, are related. Piper is Lily's dad. So the whole family was in on the winning today!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Obedience Gong Show

This weekend is the SKOC obedience trial. As with most CKC obedience trials, there was a fun match scheduled for this evening. It serves as a fund raiser for the club, and also allows people entered in the show the next day to bring their dogs to the building and get them aclimated with the new surroundings.

I have Gio entered in two trials tomorrow as he only needs one more leg for his Novice CD. I took him this evening so that I could introduce him to the new building as he has never worked there before. The building that SKOC rents for this purpose is a community Metis center. Apparently some wires got crossed somewhere along the line as, come 6:00pm fun match start time, the building was still not unlocked. I don't know where the mix up was, but regardless, there was no way for us to get into the building for the match. Calls were made, and after much bitching and complaining and debating "What to do now", everyone went their separate ways. Some people went back to the SKOC training building, others spread out to the Paws n' Train building, and still more decided to heck with it and went home. I am part of the latter group. Since the sole reason for me to go to the fun match was to introduce Gio to the new building, there was no reason for me to trek across the city to a familiar building to practice. He doesn't need the practice, if he doesn't know it now then he certainly won't know it tomorrow in front of a judge. So we are home now. I can't say I am completely upset by it. It's been a long week (even though I only went in to work for 1.5 days!) and I'm quite tired for some reason. Looking forward to a quiet night at home with a bowl of popcorn and a good strong Cesar (the yummy drink, not the crazy dog "trainer", or should I say "behaviourist" ... same BS either way).

I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow at the trial. I am confident that Gio will do wonderfully and give 110% as he always does. The only questionable area is the long group sit. It's not that "stays" are a problem for him, but with his messed up back end, the sits are a cause for concern. On the slippery trial mats, he just cannot keep a grip and really struggles to remain sitting up for the required minute. More often than not he ends up sliding into a down at about the 40-50 second mark. We've been working on conditioning hoping to build up some muscle in his back end to help with the sits, but his legs are just getting worse as he ages so it isn't helping much. It's a shame really, as everything else he does in the ring is stunning! It's just that darned long sit ... and I can't even blame it on a training issue. He just can't physically do it. Poor guy, he tries so hard. I have decided that if he does not get his final leg tomorrow, we are going to call obedience quits for him. It's not an important title for me, and there is no question of us moving on to Open or Utility. The CKC jump heights are ridiculous and there are no allowances for disabled dogs. I'm not going to put him through that, what is it going to prove? So if he gets his CD tomorrow, great! If not, no big loss. I will just stick to Rally-O, tracking, and therapy dog with him. At some point in the future, I may decide to toss him into another Novice round and see what happens. But it is certianly not going to be an active pursuit.

Wish us luck tomorrow, anyways! If he can just hold a sit for one minute with minimal sliding, this will all end on a positive note! If not, he'll still get his cookies and cuddles because I know he will work his hardest.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New House Update

I thought I should probably update everyone on the unpacking situation. It's coming along quite well, actually! Almost everything is put away, and nearly all the blinds are hung up. Here are a few pictures of that place that are somewhat more presentable than the last ones.

Okay, so maybe the dog room/office isn't QUITE presentable yet. But I think it is a vast improvement over its previous state!

The boys are fitting in quite well. Romeo has already figured out where the door to the fabulous outdoors is. He's an idiot when it comes to being outside. He would live outside 24/7 if I let him. The mere mention of "You gotta go outside?" sends him into spinning jumping Sheltie circles! For the first day or so, he spun himself towards the front door, now he has figured out that he needs to spin himself down the hallway to the back door. They love it out there! And lucky for me, they show no desire to go wandering off. The yard is fenced on three sides, but the front opens up to the driveway. Once the ground thaws, I plan on fencing off the front as well. But for now, the large snow drift is serving as a barrier. Of course, I still stand in the doorway while they do their business to make sure they don't get the urge to run out front and check things out. But so far they haven't even tried. I'm going to borrow some snow fence from our flyball team (we use it to divide lanes or areas when dealing with distractable dogs) and fence off the front area so I can at least close the door when they go outside. It's getting a little chilly standing there in my pyjamas, and I'm sure the neighbors don't appreciate it!

The boys have also been systematically pulling all of their toys out of the duffel bag they were packed in.

Gio's system ... Stick your head in, grab whatever is on top, then run around the house squeaking/shaking/tossing the toy.

Romeo's system ... Crawl right into the bag, dig around until you find the specific toy you are after, then run around the house squeaking and shaking it around.

And, of course, lots of time to cuddle and relax when I eventually collapse on the couch at the end of the day.
We are off to rally-o drop in tonight, and then I'm back at work tomorrow. I think we will all appreciate a return to semi-normality!

Monday, February 16, 2009

We're Home!

The new home, that is. The Shaw guy just left after hooking up my phone and internet. There were a few tense moments when he couldn't get a signal off of the mystery cable coming from the wall in the spare room/office/currently full of boxes room. He muttered something about having to crawl under the trailer and that he was not willing to do that with the snow drifts outside. I had a small panic attack as my brain ran through the potential of not having internet until spring-time! But he is an internet-wizard and got it all figured out. PHEW! Anyways, as priority dictates, I jumped right online as soon as he was out the door.

Yesterday was moving day, complete with attractive young males with strong strapping backs. Fabulous!

Gio and Romeo have settled in well with the help of the almighty Kong.

The unpacking situation is a little scary ... Everywhere I look there are boxes.

I'm slowly making my way through the boxes. Finding new homes for all my crap ... err ... I mean "very important stuff".

Romeo has decided that it is safest if he stays out of the way:

Either in a different room chewing on a toy

Or camping out in Gio's crate.

Gio, on the other hand, has to be right in the middle of the activity. Nothing exciting is going to happen without him knowing about it!

And, when nothing exciting is happening at the moment, he parks himself right in the doorway of the room I happen to be in to ensure that he is alerted to impending fun.

Once all my stuff is assembled in a somewhat presentable fashion, I will post update pictures of my new place!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Very Happy Sheltie V-Day to You!

I know, I know. I said the other day that I wouldn't be posting until I was in the new house with the new internet. I lied, okay? I'm addicted to blogging! I couldn't let Valentine's Day go by without a gaudy display of pink and red plushiness.

So here it is ...



Thursday, February 12, 2009

Moving Day is Nearly Here!

Just wanted to give a heads up ... Don't be expecting any new blog entries from the boys until Monday at the earliest. Moving day is finally upon us!

Technically, my possession date isn't until Sunday, February 15th. But I have arranged with the seller and my lawyer to have everything finalized by tomorrow, Friday the 13th. I'll likely pick up the key tomorrow after work, and start moving stuff over on Saturday. The movers are booked for Sunday to take care of the heavy stuff. Then the phone/internet company is coming on Monday to get me hooked up in that area. So no internet for me until then. How will I ever survive?!

As soon as everything is hooked up and working, I promise to log on ASAP to update you all about the move and show how the boys are taking to their new digs.

See you all Monday! Don't have too much fun without us!

Monday, February 9, 2009

AKC's Most Popular Dog Breeds 2008

Every year the AKC releases a list of the most popular dog breeds registered with the organization. This is the time of year that I dread, anxiously awaiting the list and hoping that the Sheltie remains off the list for one more year.

Again this year, my wish came true. The ranking is as follows:
  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. Yorkshire Terrier
  3. German Shepherd Dog
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Beagle
  6. Boxer
  7. Dachshund
  8. Bulldog
  9. Poodle
  10. Shih Tzu
Now, you may be wondering why I cross my fingers each year that the Sheltie does NOT appear on the list. Well, I will tell you. This list seems to guide the buying habits of many people, both in America and other countries. If a dog appears on the list, then more people are alerted to it's "greatness". As demand for a breed increases, the number of breeders increase to fill that demand. Now we all know that there are some fabulous breeders out there, dedicating their lives to improving their chosen breed. But unfortunately not all breeders are responsible and have the best intentions for the dogs in mind. There are those people out there that will try to make a quick buck off of a dog, and having a "most popular" list just adds to that problem. It encourages people to think along the lines of "Wow, my Fluffy is a popular breed. I bet I could sell some of her puppies really easily and make a buck." or "The AKC thinks these dogs are most popular, it must be for a reason. We should have more of them around."

I much prefer that the Sheltie remain comparatively "unpopular", remaining under the protection of responsible breeders intent on preserving the wonderful stability and temperament of the breed. There are plenty of horrible Sheltie breeders out there already, breeding without a purpose or goal in mind, thinking that more Shelties should be bred for the purpose of making "pets". The breed certainly will not benefit from those efforts. The longer that the Sheltie remains off of the "most popular" list, the longer we can hold out hope that it won't go the way of the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, or German Shepherd. One on every corner, and very few of those that have stable conformation and temperament.

(For the complete list and explanation of the AKC's list of Most Popular Dogs in America, see the AKC Website)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Romeo's Girlfriend

Romeo's girlfriend was at rally-o practice tonight. Nikki is another tri-colored Sheltie, and with the exception of their faces, the two of them could be twins! Nikki has a somewhat sharper face, while Romeo's is a bit fuller, but they are nearly the same height and have the same mannerisms, especially when playing. Normally, Nikki's owner and I let the two of them tear around a bit for some play, but the drop-in session was packed with dogs tonight so there wasn't any extra space. I had Romeo and Gio tied to the gate separating the course area from the waiting area, so poor Romeo had to do all his flirting on a tether. Maybe next time there won't be quite the crowd so Romeo and Nikki can get their romp in.

Gio just stood back and tried to ignore the silly little Shelties.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gio's Long Lost Friend

I did another batch of packing tonight (things are really starting to look sparse!), and guess what we found up on the bookshelf?!

Gio actually stole duckie from his flyball buddy, Bailey, a couple of years ago.

This is Bailey.

Before practice one evening, back when Gio was still running flyball, duckie fell out of the back of Bailey's mom's van. Gio swooped in and stole it. We laughed, played with duckie a bit, then I tossed it aside so that we could practice flyball. Well, even though I had tossed duckie out of the way (and out of mind), Gio could not forget his new friend so easily. After every flyball run, he veered off to the spot in the grass where I had tossed duckie, dropped his ball and switched. He was so immediately smitten by duckie, that Bailey's mom told us to keep it as none of her boys were overly attached to it anyways.

The other boys being Sam and Tucker ...

So duckie came home with us and joined the army of other well-used toys. I expected Gio's infatuation with duckie to wane after a while ... but it didn't. To the point where he would carry duckie everywhere with him. It was an obsession, an addiction. Eventually duckie found his way up on the shelf and there he has sat for the past couple of years. Gradually forgotten by both Gio and me.

Tonight's packing spree resulted in duckie landing on the floor, immediately rekindling the love affair! Gio is thrilled to see his long lost buddy again!

They played ...

They sat and reminisced about old times ...

And then they curled up for a long nap together ...

A continuation of a beautiful friendship.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dog Walk

Seriously. It's a little pathetic how much he LOVES that dog walk!

Last night we had another agility class. I don't know if it was because of the Super Bowl or the windchill, but class attendance was quite low. Normally, there are three groups of dogs at different levels all training at the same time. Each group is about 6-10 dogs, give or take and we have class for an hour and a half. Last night there were still three groups, but my group was very small ... only Romeo and one other dog, a gorgeous young Border Collie named Cinder. So we essentially had private lessons, fabulous!

We haven't done much work on contacts in class, though Romeo and I have been practicing at home with the stairs to the basement and a board that I prop up on a box. Needless to say, I was excited when we pulled the dog walk out. A nearly private lesson on contacts, YAY!! I have dreams of Romeo having rock solid contacts, and he is bright and eager enough to figure it out, if only I could get my act together. Romeo had seen the dog walk only one other time and he seemed to enjoy it. But the past exposure to the dog walk didn't come close to giving me a real sense of his budding obsession.

You know how some dogs are tunnel suckers? See a tunnel and just HAVE to tear through it again and again ... and again? Well, I have a feeling that Romeo is going to be a dog walk sucker. He just couldn't stay away from the darned thing! Started physically quivering when I set him up in a stay in front of it for the first time.

And even better ... all that contact practice we have been doing on the stairs has paid off! He is well on the road to a beautiful contact! I can tell him to touch when he is half-way down the sloped end and he will race to the bottom and nose touch to the ground. He only missed one contact all night and that was when I cued him too late so when he slammed on the brakes it ended up toppling him off the side a bit. It was a one-footed contact, so at least he tried!

His one downfall so far, his attention on me. I knew this was going to be an issue. He has such intense focus on me, it is hard to get him to look away. As such, he tends to turn to look at me after he does his touch and that angles him off a bit. Nothing major right now, but if I let it go it could become an issue later. So now, our task is to get him to look straight ahead, no matter where I am, or at least consciously work on keeping his body straight at the end of the contact. We did a bit of work on that with some jump bars forming a channel at the bottom of the contact. That worked pretty well, but he is so narrow they aren't enough to keep him perfectly straight. But it is a start. I am thrilled at how well his at-home contacts transferred over to the real equipment!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I warned the boys what would happen if they got in the way ...

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