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!




Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sheltie Hair Review: Pawsitively Purrfect

The boys and I are going to start a new aspect to the Sheltie Hair blog, a review section! In our various travels and adventures in all-things-dog, we often come across products, services, or businesses that really make an impression. As we discover these items, I'm going to make a point of posting a review here. If the Shelties approve, maybe your dog will, too!

The idea for a review section of Life is Better with Sheltie Hair came to me this past weekend on a trip to Brandon, MB for a CARO rally-o judge's seminar.

This first review is really a DOUBLE review ... so to avoid being too long winded (more than I normally am, anyways), I'm going to split it in two.

I have been attempting to get my hands on some Nina Ottosson dog toys for quite a while now. An online acquaintance from the USA started her own pet boutique a while back and last year started stocking the Nina Ottosson toys. Wanting to support a new business owner, I decided to order some toys from her, risking potentially higher prices or shipping fees to help out a friend. Well, 9 months later and multiple e-mails back and forth ... still no toys.

Since no one (to my knowledge) stocks Nina Ottosson toys in my home city of Saskatoon, a training buddy recommended a place in Regina, SK called Pawsitively Purrfect. Knowing that I would be traveling through Regina on my way to Brandon, I checked out their website and saw that they have LOADS of really great stuff! I sent the owners of Pawsitively Purrfect an e-mail asking about the Nina Ottosson toys and they promptly replied with what they have in stock. Last Friday I stopped in at Pawsitively Purrfect during a break for lunch and a refill of gas in Regina. I was very pleased with what I found!

The store appears quite small, but this is likely due to the hoards of product that they have on display. Everything from high quality pet foods (grain free and raw ... none of that grocery store Purina crap or, even worse, the "vet recommended" Science Diet BLECH!), to toys of all sorts, grooming supplies, and health supplements. They have a couple options in the line of corrective training collars and electronic devices, which I would rather not see associated with a business that seems to be on the right track in all other aspects. But I guess you can't have it all. Also to be mentioned, an on-site grooming salon that is WIDE open to the store. You can see exactly what is going on while the dogs are being groomed, no question about whether your pup is being treated well after you hand them over!

I didn't have the amount of time I would have liked to browse through the store, but on my quick run-through, I encountered a couple of the employees. One employee was on the phone with a customer giving food recommendations based on what appeared to be some very specific requirements on the part of the customer. Selecting the perfect brand and agreeing to have it all packed up for the customer when they arrived. Another employee helped me find the Nina Ottosson toys (to be discussed in an upcoming review article), indicating that he recalled my e-mail earlier in the week. I purchased two Nina Ottosson toys, both of which were very well priced, and he threw in a baggy of PureBites liver treats (sure to go over well with the dogs!).

A point that definitely begs mentioning ... THEY SHIP! I was assured that, should I ever want anything else, they would gladly ship it out to me.

In summary, Pawsitively Purrfect is a lovely pet supply store with friendly and helpful employees and an apparent real concern for the health and total well-being of your dog!

Sheltie-Hair approved!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Back At It

Agility, that is.

Romeo started trialing late last summer in AAC agility. And by "trialing", I mean that he was entered in a couple of trials, not that we are particularly ready for trials. We had limited success in the two trials last year, earning one Starter Jumpers Q and a bunch of ring experience.

We took a bit of a break over the winter (due to the group we were training with at the time upping their class prices), and got started back in classes with this spring with Saskatchewan Agility Association (SAA).

When SAA hosted their spring trial, I decided to give the ring another shot and see where we stand. Since agility is not my primary focus (that belongs to Rally-O), I'm taking a very laid back approach to it. We'll do some local (or at least provincial) trials, play around, have some fun, and hopefully earn a few Q's along the way!

On Saturday, I helped out as ring crew and gate steward all day. Then on Sunday Romeo was entered in two Starter Snooker runs and one Starter Standard run. I had never tried Snooker before, but with some help from some awesome agility friends, I was able to figure it out. Have to say, Snooker might be my new favorite agility game! It was so much fun! I really like the strategy involved, and being able to improvise if your intended course doesn't go completely as planned. And the class moves along very quickly, so not a lot of waiting around, which is a big bonus for the impatient people like me.

Romeo totally rocked it today! He earned his first Starter Snookers Q and his first Starter Standard Q (that one with a 1st place in his division). He was doing awesome on his second Starter Snooker run, until I stuck myself a little too close to a jump and forced him back over a previously completed "red jump" (a no-no in Snooker). My fault completely. So three really great performances from Romeo, and two passable performances from me!

I didn't get any pictures, apart from this one of Romeo's private abode.


It was SUPER HOT this weekend (I have the lovely patchy red sunburn and vague outline of sunglasses on my face to prove it), so much effort was made to build a shady cool spot for the pooch to hang out in between runs. There was, of course, a doggy paddling pool available for cool-downs, but the little princess doesn't like getting wet, let alone sharing bath water with other dogs, most of which weren't even Shelties ... FOR SHAME!! So the watery cool-downs were forced, usually consisting of me trying to lure Romeo into the pool, then resorting to picking him up, dunking him in the middle and slopping water over his back before he made a mad dash for freedom. Little drama queen.

A friend got an awesome video of Romeo's Standard run. I'm going to try to get my hands on a copy, and will, of course, post it here when I do!

Friday, June 18, 2010

On Strike!

Past tense.

Blogger was being a stupid-head and wouldn't let me post pictures the past few times I tried. So I went on strike. That, and I have been super uber crazy busy lately and this is my first free moment for blog writing.

So, a summary of the past few weeks ...

Rain.

Rain.

A brief pause in the rain, in which I frantically shot a couple of pictures for Gio's photo project.


Rain.

More rain.

Another rainless hour or two for another photo.


Rain.

More rain.

Then there was today, when the clouds finally parted for what we HOPE is longer than a day!

I took the boys out to visit Romeo's breeder again, where we were greeted by 5 MONSTERS!


These monsters were VERY mean. They taunted Romeo until he cried.


Except for this little monster. He is the Cutest Puppy in the World!

GRABBY HANDS!

Meet Charlie. No, he is not mine. I wish. He is just the cutest puppy in the world, and he stole my heart as he ate my face.

Prior to our puppy visit, Gio had his monthly therapy dog visit to Stensrud where he shows off for his ladies. He felt the need to reiterate that he really is a Super Dog.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rally-O Videos

At the CARO Rally-O trial held at Paws n Train in mid-May, we were fortunate to have Sophie Brunet available to take some video of the performances! I always enjoy seeing my boys working, and videos like these show me a completely different perspective to their performances. I get to see what they are doing well, and what I miss when we are actually working.

So HUGE thanks to Sophie for putting these videos together for me!

Gio

Gio was entered in one Excellent round and two Novice Team rounds.

Here is his Excellent run, qualifying with a score of 197/200 AND completing his RXMCL title!

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Here are Gio's 2 Novice Team rounds. This was our first attempt at Team events, and they are a lot of fun! How they work is that a normal course is split into two roughly equal halves. Two dogs/handlers are paired up, with each dog/handler taking one of the two halves. The first dog completes the first half of the course, and then the second dog completes the second half. They are scored as if they were one dog, with a qualifying score being the usual 170/200. In CARO, there are Team events at the Novice, Advanced, Excellent and Versatility levels, but both dogs need to have earned the appropriate level title before attempting that level in Team. The Team category is quite new, and this was the first time that it was offered in Saskatchewan. So everyone was starting out at the Novice level!

Gio was paired up with Buddy, a poodle-y type mix. Buddy is a super fun little worker, so they were a great team!

Novice Team round 1

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Novice Team round 2

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Romeo

Romeo was entered in 2 Novice Team rounds, 1 Excellent C round, and 2 Versatility rounds. Since he qualified his first Versatility round of the weekend, he was able to complete his RV title and the second Versatility round counted towards his C Stream Gold title.

Here are Romeo's Novice Team runs. Romeo was paired up with Bent the Border Collie. I have to say that Bent is probably my favorite Border Collie. Ever. Ever ever. Super sweet little dog and really fun to watch working! Romeo and Bent were a great team, taking a perfect 200/200 score on day 1 and a still respectable score of 190/200 on day two.

Novice Team round 1

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Novice Team round 2

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Here is Romeo's Excellent C run. The qualifier goes towards his CARO C Stream Gold title.

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And finally, some Versatility runs! Versatility is the 4th standard level of competition in CARO. It consists of all of the Novice level signs, plus weave poles and tunnel, in addition to 7 new stations that direct you to switch heel position from left to right. So the dog must be able to perform all stations on the left and the right, while switching back and forth between left and right at least 4 times.

The first video only shows part of Romeo's run. And, while the title of the video says "Novice Team", it is in fact Versatility. Mistakes happen, deal with it! Anyways, this run wasn't beautiful ... Romeo was having a drama queen moment. But it was good enough to qualify and earned his Rally Versatility title! HOORAY!

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This second video is a much nicer Versatility run! The qualifier goes towards his C Stream Gold title.

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