Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012!

Happy New Year from all of us!  Wishing you a happy and healthy 2012!

As you can see, we are a house full of party animals...

The pups both fell asleep watching Kathy Griffin make Anderson Cooper feel awkward.  I guess they just don't appreciate comedy gold.

Have a fun and safe New Years Eve, however you spend it!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Introducing Pretzel!

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Saturnalia, FSMas, etc.  Despite a rough start to December, with unexpected surgeries amidst the usual holiday shenanigans, we actually had a rather nice Christmas.

Emo-Hoagie doesn't care about the pretty Christmas tree... or he could just be staring at Daddy holding a cookie behind the camera...the world may never know.
Much good food and quality family time was had by all!  The pups were quite happy in their jaunty jingle bell collars, chewing on new squeaky toys.  Hoagie's cousin Cocoa, was very pleased with her new light bulb shaped squeaky.

Cocoa thinks she heard another squeaky on the beach.

All this talk of happy holiday pups may lead you to the question, "But Carol, in your last post you had a picture of two adorable dogs in front of your Christmas tree.  Who was that dapper little scamp in the green sweater?"  Well, my astutely observant friend, let's have another look at that idyllic scene of holiday cheer.

Why there is a new little face in that picture.  Awww... the cuteness is almost painful.
I'd like to formally introduce the newest edition to our family:  Pretzel!

"Sad puppy-dog-eyes" is his super power.
Pretzel is a 9 month old super-mutt (mutt + mutt = super cute mutt).  As far as I understand he's a Chi-Peka-Shihtz-Terrier-mix.  He came from a co-worker who, due to some unfortunate circumstances, was unable to care for him anymore.  We've had him now for about 5 months (I know, I know, I'm a bit slow on the updates.  The pups keep me pretty busy.).  He's a bright little dude with a lot of personality, and we are happy to have him as the newest member of our furry family.

Pretzel is currently enrolled in his first "big pup" class, Elementary Clicker at Gentle Touch.  He's doing well, but it's very clear that he will provide plenty of fodder to interesting training posts.  His terrier nature makes him a very different type of dog to train.  He's already taught me a lot!  In addition, he's my very first puppy, and this is my first time having two dogs.  I've certainly got my hands full now!  I just received my copy of Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household by the always awesome Patricia McConnell, Ph.D. and Karen London, Ph.D.  I think I may also have to re-read my copies of Control Unleashed and Feisty Fido.  They don't call 'em "Terrier Terrorists" for nothin'!  All in all though, Pretzel is a fantastic little guy, who I look forward to enjoying for many happy years. 

Our new little couch warmer.

On a different note, I have a few housekeeping things: 

First, I'd like to welcome anyone from BlogPaws to my blog!  Secondly, a while back I added an RSS feed button up top, so if you are interested, be sure to add me to your feed or reader list.  I've also made a facebook page for the blog, so be sure to like short paws or share a post or two on facebook!

Thanks for reading and have a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
Just a quick note to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our home to you.  Wishing you and yours much health and happiness in the coming New Year!

Much love,
Carol, Stew, Draco, Pesto, Hoagie and Pretzel

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"What a summer!" Part 2:

In which Hoagie makes his Mommy very proud...

And now for the long awaited good news! (Sorry it took so long to post this!)

Applause for good news!
On July 17th Hoagie and I competed in our first Scent Work trial.  It was held at Camp San Luis Obispo at the Officer's Club and was hosted by Gentle Touch Pet Training (the folks we take scent work classes from).  We woke up early, packed up the car for a long day, and headed down the hill.

The day started out with the vehicle search.  Hoagie just about dragged me across the parking lot, directly to the truck where the hide was located.  He didn't even take a second look at the other two vehicles!  He made it obvious early on, that he was on his game!

"Duh Mom!  It's right here in the trailer plug!  Give me something harder!
 We then went on to the interior search.  Hoagie did a fantastic job of "working to source."  He narrowed down the search area to pinpoint exactly where the scent was.  Score two successful hides for Hoagie!  

I later found out that we earned a P for Pronounced on the two morning elements.  That means that the judges thought we did especially well working as a team on the vehicle and interior searches.  Go team Hoagie!

After lunch came the hardest part of an NW1 trial (at least for Capt. Distractible): the dreaded exterior search! *Duh dun DUUUN!*  

Hoagie, however, did spectacularly.  It was a really big search area, and he worked through the whole space, all the way to source.  He did take his time getting all the way around, and made me little a nervous.  When I got our score sheets back I found out that we only had about 31 seconds left of the three minute time limit!  Hoagie certainly cut it close!

So we were 3 for 3 going into the last element; the container search.  The pressure was really on!  

On the way into the container room, the trial photographers snapped my favorite picture of Hoagie doing nose work.  The picture shows just how excited Hoagie was about getting to work.  He's blown pas the start line, and even got his tongue out, licking up the scent!

"Lemme at 'em!  Lemme at 'em!"
About 42 seconds after the above picture was taken, Hoagie earned his very first title!!!  Yay Hoagie!

Proud Hoagie is proud!

So Hoagie ended his summer on a high note, with an NW1 title, and a very spiffy ribbon!  

"Check out the spiffy ribbon I earned!"

We worked hard, had lots of fun, and will continue to work towards NW2 along with his other obedience work.  Stay tuned for lots more nose work fun to come!

Feel free to check out more pictures of the trial on the NACSW website here.  Greg Lugo Photography also took the great trial photos above (the vehicle and container search photos).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy 2nd Adoption Anniversary Hoagie!

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the day we adopted Hoagie!  What a 2 years it has been!  In honor of his special day I am just going to post some of my favorite pictures of my wonderful pooch Hoagie.  Enjoy!
This is one of the very first pictures we have of Hoagie.  This was taken on the day we adopted him, right outside the SLO County animal shelter.  He looks very happy to have a new home!
Hoagie lookin' awful cute at A Dog's Day 2011

One of Hoagie's favorite spots in the house: surveying the backyard for the invading squirrel and lizard hordes.  Draco often supervises.

Another of Hoagie's favorite spots: lounging on the couch, preferably belly up for better belly-rub access.

Hoagie lookin' super sharp at an obedience run-through with his Doggles.  You wish you were this cool.

Hoagie doin' his sniffing magic at the nose work demo at this year's Wiggle Waggle Walk for Woods (yesterday).
Hoagie sportin' his new Italian Hoagie Sandwich costume at Wiggle Waggle.   Everyone had to take his picture in his cute new getup.
Wiggle Waggle was a blast this year.  Hoagie did great with all the other dogs and was a perfect gentleman. He once again proved how far we have come together in only 2 years!

Now on with the anniversary celebration!
Hoagie looks slightly less than happy about his anniversary hat.

That's much better.  Lookin' proud in his hat, and hungry for his special cake.  

His cake is a frozen dog treat from Doc Burnstein's with two duck jerky candles.  They did a great job with the recipe for their frozen dog treats, Hoagie loves them, and because they are soy and tofu, they don't upset his delicate constitution! (Doc Burnstein's people ice cream is a-m-a-z-i-n-g too!)

Hoagie nomming on his anniversary treat!

So all-in-all, it's been a heck of a couple years, and we look forward to many more years of fun together!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"What a summer!" Part 1:

In which Hoagie visits his happy place and doesn't invite Mommy...

Holy patootie!  What a summer.  Full of dog related ups and downs!  I think because I have so much to tell (and because I have a slightly sub-par attention span) I will split this up into a couple posts.  I'll start with the not-so-great news.

Sad Hoagie doesn't like bad news.
In my last post mentioned the COAST ASC trial in Cayucus.  This was our very first Rally-O trial, and well...Hoagie and I bombed.  Hoagie essentially shut down.  After lots of thought, I believe there were two main reasons behind our double NQ (two non-qualifying scores).

First, I think the trial environment was way over Hoagie's current distraction threshold.  We were out on a working ranch, with a herding trial going on in the next field over.  In addition, Hoagie had the spectacular "luck" of having two cows walk right by the trial ring just as we started our first run.  *awesome*  In addition, the coastal wind through the little valley we were in was incredible; like sent-a-soft-crate-with-cattle-dog-inside-tumbling-across-the-field, incredible.  That poor dog may never trust his soft-crate again. 

Evil crate is evil.
The wind was so bad that the judges started taking down their shade tent during my second run to prevent it from blowing away.  The environment was definitely not ideal for a first trial; however I really don't think that was the main issue.

Unfortunately, I think the main problem was that I was way too stressed out, and Hoagie picked up on that.  I couldn't get him to pay attention, on- or off-course.  Poor guy wouldn't even look me in the eye, and I could tell he was feelin' my nerves.  It really would seem that Hoagie said to himself: "Wow, Mom is super stressed about something.  I guess there is something to be nervous about, so I am going to send lots of calming signals to everyone and everything."  He averted his eyes, sniffed the ground, and simply sat down mid-course and wouldn't move.

Between the environment and my stress, Hoagie demonstrated the doggie equivalent of: "screw this b.s., too much drama."

Exhibit A (please excuse the hiney picture.)

I tried everything to get him to pay attention, or even move, but he wasn't having any of it.  Thankfully the judge was really nice about it and told me that I got the persistence award.  I kept my cool, gently encouraged Hoagie, and never once pulled on his leash.  All my friends competing, even my Rally-O instructor, Cindy, said that I did the best I could, given the circumstances.  It just wasn't Hoagie's day.

So, moral of the story: I know what went wrong, I know what we need to work on, and I know that in the end, it was an educational day.  I won't pretend that I wasn't really disappointed.  That's probably why it took me so long to get up the nerve to write about the trial.  I learned a lot form the experience however, and I got to watch some great dogs compete.

Congrats to Cindy Decker who got High In Trial in the morning trial with Slick, and in the afternoon trial with Twill.  A very talented trainer with some spectacular dogs!

Yay Slick and Twill!
So, I shall save the good news for next post, and leave you with a picture Cindy took of one of the rare moments that Hoagie was actually paying attention.  At least he looked good in the pictures...

"Oh shoot, someone's taking pictures.  I better look like I'm paying attention."
*Hoagie: Selective Attention Pro*

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Busy Spring!

Hey guys!  I'm still alive!  Really!  And man have Hoagie and I been busy!  Last time I mentioned that I would keep you updated on Hoagie's progress in Scent Work.  (I know, I know, 5 months of no posts isn't exactly keeping you "updated."  Cut me some slack on this one!)  We completed Nose Work 1 and 2 classes, as well as 6 weeks of continuing nose work through Gentle Touch.  Best of all, on the 13th Hoagie passed his birch Odor Recognition Test, and can now go on to compete and work towards NW1

 Check out that birch sniffing machine!  Yay for Hoagie!

I have to say that it has been a blast and our instructors Katie and Darcy have been super knowledgeable and a great inspiration.  It's a great new dog sport that is absolutely perfect for "reactive" dogs like the Hoagster.  I would recommend nose work to anyone with any kind of dog.  I've seen everything from Dachshunds to Newfoundlands have a great time using their noses!  Even if you don't plan on competing, the activities are great boredom busters.  Searching for scent among plastic Easter eggs was Hoagie's favorite activity in class. (Here's a video of Katie's dog Brenna doing a similar egg hunt.)  Plus it's fun getting to watch a dog just be a dog, using his nose and working for his treats!  Check out the NACSW website for more info or to see if there is a group or class near you!  It's a new sport so there aren't too many folks teaching it yet, but keep an eye out cause it's spreading fast!

The other thing that has been keeping us busy is preparing for our first Rally-O trial!  Hoagie and I will be competing Memorial Day weekend at the ASCA trial in Cayucus put on by COAST ASC.  We've been practicing really hard, and Hoagie is doing great.  His attention is much closer to where I would like it, and I'm working on making sure I know all the ASCA signs (which are of course different than AKC and UKC signs).  As long as I can get him to focus, and I don't screw up too badly, we should hopefully do alright.  Keep your fingers and paws crossed for us!  I'll post how we do after the trial next weekend!  Till next time!

In the mean time enjoy some pics of us practicing hard at a run through at Santa Rosa park:

Hoagie looking at Stew taking pictures instead of focusing.  Such a ham!

Hoagie doing a good job ignoring distractions!

Trying his best to look cute for treats.

Lookin' cool in his shades after a good practice.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fun day and fun videos

Hey all!  Hope you had a great holiday season and New Years.  I know many of us said it last year, but hopefully this new year will be better than the last!
Lots of good news on the dog-front.  Hoagie and I are looking forward to starting a nose-work class through Gentle Touch Pet Training this week.  We'll keep you updated on how that all goes, but it looks like it should be fun!

Hoagie has been making lots of progress in his training.  We've been working hard on fostering calm behavior at home and out-and-about.  Also, I am learning that calming myself down greatly helps in calming Hoagie.  If I'm annoyed and frustrated with him, he gets annoyed and frustrated.  It sounds silly, but I've had to remind myself that having a dog is supposed to be fun, not frustrating.  No matter what I do, he will still be a dog, still be imperfect, and like all our furry kids, a little weird.

It would however, seem that my new outlook and all the hard work is paying off.  Attention level is up, calm is becoming the norm instead of the exception, and everyone involved is feeling a little bit more sane (myself included).  Today at the SLODOG run-through I could have sworn someone switched my old dog with some new, well behaved doppelganger.

He wasn't snarky to any of the other dogs, even the three puppies taunting him with excited wiggles and puppy whines.  He was focused on me for a great Rally-O run through, and was so relaxed during the 3 minute group sit-stay that he decided to lie down (even though he was supposed to stay sitting) with a puppy not 2 feet from him, doing it's best impression of a 10-year-old hopped up on Mountain Dew.  Hoagie was a trouper today and made me really proud.  We've worked hard, and it's finally showing.  People who have known us for a while compliment us on our improvement, and people just meeting him see an even-tempered dog and a relaxed owner.  I couldn't be happier with his progress!  Even as I write this Hoagie is curled up on his bed like a little angel, enjoying a well deserved nap.

In celebration of a successful practice today I thought I would include some fun videos.  I have found that some of the best and most useful training help can be found on YouTube.  There are a lot of great trainers online doing some amazing stuff with their dogs.  Some of my favorites are the videos by Emily of Kikopup.  Her videos are really clear and well put together.  I also love that she only uses positive reinforcement techniques.  I found the video below to be especially useful in fostering calmness and sanity when I'm not actively working with Hoagie.

Be sure to check out kikopup's other videos if you want great dog training tips or just want to watch some fun dog videos. 

This next video is by Sian on her channel zsian1.  She is another one who does great dog training videos.  This one features some great training and canine freestyle practice footage.  Makes me laugh every time I watch it...


So enjoy some YouTube silliness, and most of all enjoy your dog.  The minute I remembered to do that was the same moment I got back a little bit of my own sanity (and a better behaved dog to boot)!