Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rally Time

In order to make sure I followed through on Lacey's obedience training, I started taking her to some Rally-O classes. She does really good as she pretty much follows the cookie around and goes wherever it does. I have to crouch really low though to get her to heel so it is a bit akward. We were going to take some video of her last night but the batteries were dead. They are all fully charged waiting for next week though!

In between courses, we practiced our sits, downs and stands. She finally laid down for me without following a cookie or my hand! I swear she didn't have a clue what the word "down" meant until last night. In a few more days she should have it nailed.

We've also been practicing "waiting for our dinner/breakfast". We just started this last Friday and she has already figured it out. I still hold my hand out to block her if she tries to make a move but she sits and looks at me until I say "Alright". We trained Coulee to do this really early because she was so bouncy at dinner time and we knew she would knock the dish out of our hands if we did't control her. We've really, really enjoyed her knowing this, especially when we had other dogs in the house. We could put down the other dog's food and know Coulee wouldn't try and dive into it. The only time it is annoying is when you are on the phone and feeding the dogs at the same time. You need to pause your phone conversation just to say "Alright" so she can eat. I've tried nodding my head and looking really encouraging but she is too well behaved (I know, hard to believe!).

As I didn't have any pictures from last night, the pictures from this post are from when the Prairie Dog Rescue first got the pups.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I was so proud of Coulee last night. We went to an agility class the horse arena. It has been over a year since Coulee has been in a horse arena and it didn't seem to phase her one bit. We had a bit of an issue walking into the arena though. We were coming around the corner and almost slammed into a strange woman. I jumped, she jumped, and Coulee freaked! She was barking and lunging like crazy. I eventually got her calmed down and she seemed to instantly forget about the strange lady the instant she saw the agility equipment.

Coulee had great start lines (for her anyway!) and we even did a stay/recall where dogs were called out of their stay before she was and she didn't break. She twitched a few times, but didn't budge. She seems to be working really well for baby Cuz. If they ever stop making baby Cuzes, I'm going to have to purchase a whole bunch before they are all gone so we have a never ending supply. Her obsession with it is very weird but I'll use it to my advantage.

We worked on contacts and she was great at the base of the wall - she rocketed down to the target and stayed there - 2 feet on, 2 feet off while Amanda fed her. The teeter was okay - she went flying over it the first time, so Amanda stopped it from tipping which kind of freaked her out. It took a few tries but she eventually made it over nicely. It will definitely take some more work though.

It was nice to be back on contact equipment and to have lots of room to run.

The pictures are from our one and only agility trial last summer in Lethbridge.

Monday, February 25, 2008


We first met Lacey as a foster dog. Before I had even seen her, Amanda asked if we would foster a pug cross puppy. Marlin and I had been struggling with the whole foster thing - we would fall in love with all our foster dogs and it was getting harder with each dog to let them go. But when I heard they were pug crosses, I said no problem - I am NOT going to fall for a pug. Don't get me wrong, pugs can be great dogs but I personally prefer larger dogs and on top of being small, pugs have pushed in faces which doesn't allow them to do lots of exercise as they can't cool down as easily as other dogs. We want our dogs to come hiking and camping with us and that pretty much cancelled out a pug as a family member.

The litter's name theme (there were four puppies left behind at an auction - you can see their orignial story here) was "shoes" so we named her Lacey, after Laces.

Marlin stopped by the daycare to pick up Coulee when the pups were being dropped off. He tried to get out of fostering because he took one look at them and knew we were going to fall in love. Were they ever cute!!! Not only in looks but in personality too. Lacey was confident and sassy, yet is content to sit on a pillow and chew a bone while Coulee raced around her fetching toys. She was cuddly and loved to nibble on our noses and ears. We were smitten. And in our defence, she didn't have a pushed in nose so she can hopefully keep up with everyone on the hiking trails. It was a few weeks until a suitable application came in for her. Amanda called to let me know and Marlin and I made a quick decision. She was staying with us.

We are still working on potty training but she is doing pretty good. She'll let us know by walking towards the door but if we don't happen to notice, she doesn't hold it. She is wonderful in a crate - even in the mornings she doesn't cry to be let out when we are getting out of bed. She is as quiet as a mouse in the car and is content to sleep wherever there is a soft surface.

We did a puppy class already and she is GREAT at sitting (it is her default for everything) and she has finally learned down and is learning to sit patiently and wait for her breakfast and supper. We are also doing Rally-O on Wednesday nights and aside from not being able to heel, she is doing quite well.

The last few weeks she started acting weird around people and dogs that we met on walks. So we've been out for more walks, well laden with treats to try and improve her confidence. She had a big day this past Saturday - she went to the indoor dog park and met lots of people, including a few kids. We went for a walk in the afternoon and she saw more people and dogs and then we went to a friend's place for a BBQ and they generously let her stay the whole time (I was just going to bring her for 15 minutes so she could meet the people and see a new place). She did really good and only occasionally barked at someone if they did something "scary" like leave their chair. She did kept hopping up on their couch though...once we brought down the dog pillow though, she settled on that.

I'm really looking forward to watching her grow up!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


We got Coulee from an ad in the paper. They were advertising border collie/retriever crosses for $50. (I know now, that isn't necessarily the best way to adopt a dog!) I really wanted a golden retriever as that is what I grew up with. Marlin wasn't as convinced and he wanted a shorter haired dog that didn't shed as much. We had looked at a few golden retriever/lab crosses the week before but there was something "off" about them - they were 8 weeks old and didn't even want to play. They just sat there looking sad which was no way for a puppy to act.

When we went to meet Coulee and her siblings I was pleased to see them all racing around like maniacs. Marlin barely noticed - he was too busy checking out the mother (the border collie) who didn't stop vertical jumping the whole time we were there. While we were looking at the puppies, another man came to look at them. He hadn't been there for more than 30 seconds when he asked us which one we were taking. We told him we hadn't even decided if we were going to take any of them. When a puppy ran towards him, he just scooped it up, passed over his money and walked out the door. You could tell the sellers were a little shell shocked (as were we) but they took the money and didn't say a word. So that left Coulee and her brother (who had already been "reserved").

Marlin and I went for a walk to talk about what we wanted to do. He was quite concerned about the mother's energy levels and I assured him that she looks like her father so that she'll probably be more like him. I know, I know - stupid.

So we decided to take her. We left her there, ran to the pet store and bought a crate and collar and leash and dishes and food and treats and toys and... so much for being a "cheap" dog. We couldn't fit the crate in the car so we had to go home and get our other vehicle just so we could get all the stuff home. We picked her up that night and the fun began.

To say that Coulee was a difficult puppy is a bit of an understatement. We could rarely give her enough exercise to even take the edge off her. We would go to the dog park for an hour and she would run the entire time after a ball and that would calm her down for a few hours. Every night she would act like the devil for about 10 minutes and then crash - much to our relief. We finally figured out that she was just over tired and that if we could stand it for those 10 minutes it would be over soon enough. She made us laugh until we cried and was a lot of fun except for those times when we wanted to kill her.

She seems so grown up and "old lady-like" to me now that she is 3 years old. If we skip a walk one day, she no longer drives us insane and she can even get by with a leash walk in the neighborhood.

She developed some people and dog issues as she aged. We started to struggle at the dog park as she became protective of her toy. So we started to stop throwing it when other dogs were around. She quickly figured out the pattern (other dogs = no game) so she started to get mad at the other dogs in an attempt to get them to leave so we could go back to our game. So then we had to stop throwing things all together. She still gets a little weird when we go to Popson (which is where we normally played fetch) but seems better at the other parks where it wasn't as routine. She likes to be the dominant dog and will not back down if another dog snarks at her. She does okay at the daycare on most days but we need to keep an eye on her and she gets riled up whenever I am in the play area with her.

The people issues are a little less clear cut. She doesn't like people at the dog park without dogs but usually if they have a dog she is fine. She loves people that come to the door, even if they are total strangers but is a little scared of strangers on the street. If people "unexpectedly" come around a corner on a hiking trail, she gets freaked out and starts barking but if she sees them coming she is usually fine with them. She pretty much doesn't like the unexpected or anything out of the norm.

I started agility with her about 2 years ago. I think she is great at it, but I don't really have the passion or the time, to train to her potential. I just do it so she can use her brain and because she seems to enjoy it. I never had plans to compete, I just wanted to give her a job.

Apparently I could go on forever. :) But I'll stop there for now and will write about Lacey next time.

Digital Scrapbooking

I've decided to set this up for myself to essential create a digital scrapbook of my two dogs - Coulee and Lacey. I just wanted a place where I could write about their activities - good and bad and where I could put pictures so I could watch them change over the years. I'm not very well organized on paper - it seems so much easier to do it on the computer.