Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ready to Rally.......Not!.....Opinions Please!

So, I've been putzing around with training Rally Obedience to both my guys. I am doing it at home, and just practicing all the basic Novice moves. I don't have the signs set up in a course or such. Wilson has had one class over a year or so ago. Jimmy is brand new to it, has never had a class, but is catching on very quickly!

The reason I started tinkering around with it is 1) it's winter time and it provides the boys with something to do in the evenings, 2) I am toying with entering them in the Rally competition at the CWCCA Nat'l Specialty , and 3) In order to earn the boys their Versatile Cardigan Certificate from the CWCCA, a Rally title should be a reasonably easy way to earn some of the needed points/categories.

This past Sunday, I was signed up for my very first Rally run-thru given by the Capital Dog Training Club. It didn't go as smoothly as I anticipated. Each boy had 2 runs through a Novice level course. Jimmy went first. He had to sit at the very beginning and was confused when I didn't lead out like I would in Agility. He sassed me quite a bit, his heeling was a bit rough, and he jumped up looking for treats. Basically, a bit rowdier than what I see at home. Wilson definitely gave a calmer performance, but also was too treat focused. Obviously, I need to get my food rewards faded out! They are both way too eager for the food! On the second time through, both boys were noticibly calmer/better, but we still had the food issue. For Wilson, I removed my treat apron, and that helped alot. For Jimmy, I only rewarded a couple of times, which seemed to help.

As for me, I had a few questions about how to perform the signs, but wasn't too lost. There was nothing presented that the boys didn't know how to do, although a couple of the signs definitely need more practice such as the exercise where you call your dog front, back one step, front, back two steps, front, back three steps, front. That was definitely ugly!

If you are still reading after all this time, my question to you experienced folks out there is:

Do you think I can get the boys ready for Novice A in time for the Nat'l Specialty at the end of April?

Keep in mind these factors:

All my training will take place at home, maybe finding one more run-thru.

I am not a perfectionist, I just want to qualify.

The entry fees are hefty, I don't want to burn them up for nothing!

And my number one biggest concern is the schedule at the National. Rally starts at 9am and Agility starts at 10am. I am concerned these "almost sure to overlap events" will stress me out too much, degrading my abilities, and therefore degrading what the dogs do.

Entries close on March 28th, so I still have time to practice and decide.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

It was a Sad Day for Jim.....

On weekends, I have enough time in the morning to take an extra long walk. This means I can head in the direction of Jimmy's beloved Rope Swing . He always remembers where it is, and automatically takes the right turn that leads to the stream. Today was no different....but unfortunately, it was totally different. From a distance, I couldn't see the rope swing, but a lot of times it's hooked on the tree. Jimmy ran ahead of me and started barking, jumping, looking up into the tree, trying to find it. When I caught up, I looked too, figuring it was really snagged in a branch. But, alas, I turned toward the stream, and this is what I saw......

Arrrgghhh! Say it's not so!
...someone had cut the rope swing down, and thrown it in the stream! Oh, what a devastating blow it was for poor Jim!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Little Too Close for Comfort

Ever since the very first day Jimmy came to live with us, he has been the boss of the resources. At 11 weeks old I brought him home, and took him straight to the back yard to meet Wilson. Wilson had a stick he was chewing on and Jimmy marched straight up to him and snatched it out of his mouth! Now I am sure Wilson was just respecting Jimmy's "puppy license" on that day, but unfortunately it set a precedent. Jimmy took it to heart and decided everything Wilson had, he would take. Jimmy does not not resource guard whatsoever where people are concerned.  I can take anything away and he will not protest. Over time, we have worked on it, and they can chew bones, etc., together. But heaven forbid Jimmy finishes his first. He barks his fool head off protesting that Wilson still has some. The one place where Jimmy absolutely draws the line is with moose antlers. They are his most prized possessions and Wilson is not allowed to chew them. Usually, Wilson won't even consider it. He wants them, but they just aren't worth the risk. The other morning, he must have been in a mood, because he plopped down on the dog bed and grabbed an antler. "Oh, no you don't!" screamed Jimmy, and ran over, grabbed it out of Wilson's mouth, and started chewing with an "in your face!" attitude. Well, as it happened, there was another antler lying in the bed, so Wilson just switched to that one. Like a greedy character out of an Aesop fable, Jimmy dropped his and took away Wilson's. Since they were lying close together on the same dog bed, Wilson just picked up Jimmy's discarded antler and started chewing it, and the cycle began again! I noticed Jimmy was start to amp up, very annoyed that Wilson wasn't respecting his "antler rules". We have had a few fights in situations like this, so after a few rounds of swapping the antlers, I stepped in and took both pieces away to preempt a bad situation, but not before taking a few photos, of course!






Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Where's a Camera When You Need One ?


Most mornings before work, I try to get the boys out for about an hour or so of exercise. My most frequent path is the W&OD park/trail that runs directly behind my house. It offers both a paved bike trail and a gravel horse path which are separated by a thin swath of trees. Much of the park is also lined with houses, schools, and businesses because my area is a very developed suburbia. Fortunately, in my section, there aren't any close-by roads. This gives the boys an opportunity to walk off-leash on days when the trail traffic is very light. Early mornings before work/school are such times. So Wednesday morning, we headed east. After about a mile, it brought us to that nice wooded patch you've seen in recent blog posts. We left the park trail and followed along the stream. It eventually just brought us right back out to the same trail, at which point I headed back west toward home. On walks, I always try to keep up a nice fast pace in order to get my heart rate up, and let the boys dawdle along behind, relishing the smells, peeing endlessly on every twig, eating deer poop, you know,  the usual dog stuff. I do keep an eye out to be sure they don't fall too far behind. So, I turned around to check on them, and saw both boys with their heads buried in the grass on the side of the trail. Nothing new about that. I whistled for them, and both came running. Imagine my surprise when Jimmy's mouth was far from empty! He headed toward me with a huge, headless rabbit in his mouth! It was at least twice the size of Jimmy's head, and quite obviously missing it's own head. Nothing but a bloody stump where it used to be. The rest was fully intact. Jimmy was very proud of this fortuitous find, and really, really, really did not want to give it up! Needless to say, I was rather loathe to touch it when a loud "Drop It!" failed to get the desired result. It required grabbing his collar, stepping on the rabbit's hind legs, pulling and prying them apart, in order to release the prize from Jimmy's grip. Lots of mornings I carry my camera, just in case.....But, of course, not this time, so everyone is spared a somewhat gory picture of Jimmy carrying what he strongly hoped was going to be breakfast!

One final thought: Red foxes are the dominant predator of rabbits in my area. So it appears this bunny met it's fate at the hands (paws? jaws!) of such a critter. This leads me to ponder if my area is populated by Zombie foxes, as only the bunny's head was eaten, and if Hollywood has taught us anything, it's that zombies only eat BRAINS!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Camo-Carpet

When dealing with copious amounts of shedding corgi fur, it's best to select rugs that can naturally disguise the fallout. It helps to cut down on time spent vacuuming.


Dreaming of his next snack.....

This rug is located between the stove and the kitchen island. This is a common and popular lounging spot for Wilson. It keeps him close to the food and ensures he misses nothing during nap time! And, yes, we have tripped over him on more than one occasion, thus spilling our food, and achieving his goal!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Similarities?

See any similarities?



The top image of Kilroy is actually etched onto one of the walls in the relatively new (2004) WWII Memorial in Washington, DC .

Earlier posts along this same Similarities theme:
Wilson's post
Jimmy's post



Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Footloose!


Loose, footloose, kick off your Sunday shoes!
I don't know why, but as soon as I saw this photo, it made me say Footloose! Maybe it was Jimmy's happy expression as he barrelled toward me, or all four paws drawn up in the air. I'm not sure. So I googled Footloose (the original one, not the current re-do) and saw lots of images of feet in the air. I watched the original music video featuring a very young Kevin Bacon and haven't been able to get that song out of my head for days! And speaking of Kevin Bacon, has everybody heard of the trivia game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon ? It's a pretty fun game if you are a movie buff. (And just mentioning it is very likely to send my blog's search stats way up! Wink, wink!)

At any rate......

Everybody cut everybody cut
Everybody cut everybody cut
Everybody cut everybody cut
Everybody everybody cut footloose!



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jimmy and Wilson....

.....Sitting in on a tree....


K-I-S-S-I-N-G !

OH! WAIT! That's just not right!!!!

Here's hoping you get to spend
 Valentine's Day with your "heart" dog! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Come to the Land of the Ice and Snow......

With the pleasantly mild winter we've been having, I have a feeling the paltry little flurries we had this weekend might be all I get for winter photographs. (Having just temped fate with that last statement, I probably just guaranteed a full-on blizzard in March!)  Today was a more typical February day, windy, just 21 degrees, and quite brisk!

Just a little icing around the edges.



Looking quite dapper




Wilson blending in nicely in a Bev Doolittle style photo.


Jimmy, not so much! Did you even notice Wilson in this picture?





Follow, follow, follow, follow....Follow the snowy white road!
 Alas, I did not end up in Oz, despite travelling with Munchkins.



Watch out where the Cardis go, and don't you eat that yellow snow!




Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dogs vs Cat

Even with the two-against-one odds, I don't think Jimmy and Wilson have a chance of beating this cat.





Friday, February 10, 2012

Fun on Friday


Yabba-Dabba-Doo!


VFD: Volunteer Fire Dog!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Playing with Light

I follow a blog called the The 7MSN Ranch. Linda is an amazing photographer and also has a great talent for telling a story from seemingly everyday life photos. If you are not familiar with her blog, it is really worth your time to explore her website/blog.

The other day, she posted a photograph of her dog Smooch taken against the sunrise. It's a lovely shot, and it inspired me to go out and play with the morning light. I don't have her technical skill yet, so I definitely didn't get quite the same drama, but I had fun trying. Here's what I got.....


No backlighting, but still the light is pretty......


 
Next, I posed Jimmy. The sun had risen further by this time, so the light had changed. I found these amusing because Jimmy's attention was drawn to a hawk that flew over us.

Jimmy: This sucks! I hate posing. That big eye freaks me out!



Jimmy: Oh, wait! what's that?!



Jimmy: Ooooooh!


Jimmy: Wish I could fly...I'd so be outta here......


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

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