Thursday, July 30, 2009

2x2 weaves, Day something

I've done it. I've found the toy. The toy that will motivate Winnie [almost] no matter where she is. The toy that I will now use to teach 2x2 weaves.

I haven't been able to do weave training every day, either because I have been busy or because I haven't found the right "moment" to train. Winnie can get really picky when it comes to motivating her with toys. Since I don't want to train 2x2 weaves with treats (they're hard to find in the grass), I've been trying to increase her tug motivation. Unfortunately, her desire to tug is unpredictable. Sometimes she'll be really enthusiastic about tugging and other times she will look at me like I'm crazy if I try to reward her with a game of tug.

Outside it's even worse. Once she goes outside she completely loses interest in the toy. She sometimes goes after her chuck-it tennis ball, but again she's very picky about when she wants to chase after it. She prefers to sniff around and/or run and play with the other dogs. neighbor has these squeaky soccer balls that she throws for her 2 Yorkies when they're outside. Winnie LOVES these balls and will chase them nonstop no matter where she is!

Today I happened to be near Petsmart so I bought 2 of these glorious soccer balls. Winnie went nuts for them, and even as I type she is sitting by her "toy collection" waiting for me to play with her. I don't think she has ever been this excited by a toy!

Staring at the ball from several different angles...

I did some 2x2 training with her tonight using the soccer ball and we made some nice progress.

This is the stage of training we are at now:

I'm now confident enough to move her training to the grassy area, either to the one in our apartment complex (something I don't want to do because I'd have to carry the poles back and forth from my apt) or in my friend's backyard (ideal, because we already have a set of 6 poles at her place). I want her to start gaining some speed, which she can't do in my apartment because I lack enough carpet space.

I'm hoping that by next week or so she'll be able to do 4 straight-up poles from all angles.

And that was my nerdy agility blog post for the day!

Monday, July 27, 2009

NomFest '09

Some highlights from the Sterling Renaissance Festival. Dogs weren't allowed on the festival grounds so Hansel's mom watched Winnie for the day.

Yes, we ate a lot.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Because everyone needs a coat during the summer...

I hope everyone had a nice Saturday! It was super hot today. I took Winnie for a walk to the barn, and unfortunately it turns out that she's scared of horses. A total bummer since I love horses and riding. Looks like we've got some work to do with de-sensitizing her to them! I haven't been riding in a while, but once I start riding again she'll get to familiarize herself with the smell of horse-y boots and breeches.

During the afternoon we took the dogs to the dog park for some running and playing...

(Ava and Brandt went too, but I didn't get any pictures of them)

After the dog park we went back to our friend's house and made breakfast for dinner- Belgian waffles, chicken/apple sausages, and scrambled eggs. Nom!

It also turns out that our friend had once bought 2 horse-blanket-style winter coats for her dog Ava (who has really thin skin and gets cold easily). She bought them on clearance sale for $8 each at SmartPak Equine. Unfortunately, the 1st one is too small for Ava and the 2nd one is too big, so Ava can't use either of them.

We decided to have Winnie try the smaller one...

and whaddaya know, it fits perfectly!

We put the 2nd, bigger one on Juneau, and that one fits her nicely as well. Poor Ava got stuck with 0 coats in the end!

So today Winnie came home with a brand new Weatherbeeta winter dog coat. I'm really pleased at how well it fits her and the fact that it only costs $8! The coat retails for about $30 normally.

I had planned on getting her a horse blanket-style coat for the winter anyway (upstate-NY winters can get pretty darn harsh, and Winnie is only used to the CA weather), but this worked out perfectly in the end.

Winnie is now knocked out from a long day and I'm pretty tired myself. I have to get up early tomorrow to head to...

*drum roll*

...the Sterling Renaissance Festival! Yay!

Friday, July 24, 2009


I figure 5 or so days is long enough of a "hiatus" before I should make another post, LOL.

Winnie has been doing much better- all the swelling has gone down. Now her bottom eyelids are lighter in color, probably as a result of the bleeding. Hopefully it'll turn back to a normal color soon.

White-eyed Winnie, Friday morning

In other news, my 2x2 weave poles arrived on Wednesday! Yay! I dropped off 6 of them at my friend's house and kept the other 6 here so that I could work on them with Winnie.

Last night I started Day 1 of 2x2 weave training. I don't think I'll move on to Day 2 just yet- I want to build more drive for the poles. However, so far I'm extremely pleased with her progress because I achieved one goal- to get her to accept the tug toy, instead of a treat, as her reward.

I've been trying to increase her tug drive for the past couple of weeks so that I can rely more on toys than treats. Last night I managed to mark and reward her successfully via tugging without her ignoring the toy and staring at me for a treat- yay! I don't have any videos soon but I'll probably take some later and upload them on Youtube.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bad weekend

Ugh, this past couple of days has not been the best weekend. Yesterday morning I semi-totaled the university's fleet car on the way to a horse farm (a measuring trip for our research lab's equine size study). I, like a complete idiot, made a really bad turn and crashed into the telephone pole at 7 in the morning. Can I emphasize enough that I was a complete idiot?

Thankfully neither our dear lab manager nor I were injured (save one or two bruises and a sore neck). Needless to say, our trip for that day got canceled. In the battle between the Impala and the telephone pole, the telephone pole walked away with a small scratch. I don't think I'll be driving anymore fleet cars anytime soon...

And then today (Sunday), Winnie decided to go into the grassy/weedy/marsh-y/ravine-y area (I really don't know how to describe it) next to the grassy area in our apartment complex. The grasses and plants in the ravine are so tall that you really can't see ANYTHING. Winnie refused to come out of it for a good 10-15 minutes, despite my calling and whistling. All I could hear was the rustling of her collar as she made her way through the marsh doing dog-knows-what. There are rabbits and other critters that wander in this area so I think her prey-drive had kicked into high gear.

Anyway, when she eventually did come out I saw that she was BLEEDING from her bottom eyelids, as well as slightly on the sides of her nose! I freaked out and called my friend (Hansel's mom, the 4th year vet student) to come out and take a look. It was just the strangest thing ever. Her bottom eyelids were very swollen and bleeding, even though her actual eyes looked completely fine. Hansel's mom and another friend of ours eventually decided that it was a contact allergy from whatever plant she was going through while she was in the ravine. They were still pretty stumped, since it's not common to start bleeding from the bottom of your eyelids. Crazy.

I wiped off the blood with some water and gave her a Benadryl pill per my friends' advice. She's acting normal, and now I'm just waiting for the swelling to go down. I'm just really glad that she's okay. I don't think I'll be letting her off-leash in that grassy area anytime soon, which really sucks because it's like a mini-dog park within our apartment complex. Sigh.

What a weekend! Here's to hoping for no more car accidents or weird eyelid bleeding.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It is 4am. I got back an hour ago from the 12:10am showing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (I'm a huge Harry Potter fan/nerd).

It is 4am, and I am blogging. What better time to do it? Poor Winnie's sleep schedule has been completely distorted- I just took her out to pee and now all she wants to do is play tug and fetch!

In other news, I received my CafePress prizes in the mail today! They're awesome- I can't wait to use them :) Thanks, Kelly and Gibson!

So, um...I should probably head to bed now.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Agility nerd

I'm so excited! I was finally able to purchase a full set of 2x2 weave poles. To go with it, I got Susan Garrett's 2x2 weave training DVD and Susan Salo's Foundation Jumping DVD. I'm super disappointed that the beginning agility class got canceled this summer (not enough people who signed up), so I'm hoping to at least get a full start on clicker training the weave poles.

I'm going to set them up in my friend's (Juneau/Ava's mom) house- she has a huge backyard. She and Hansel's mom are willing to buy a few jumps and a tunnel as well so that we can make a non-contact agility course in the backyard- sweet!

It'll take a while for the actual poles to arrive (I ordered them from a separate vendor). In the meantime, I'll be doing some serious DVD-watching!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Remember that giveaway from Gibson's Corgi Butts blog? Gibson's mom randomly chose the winner...and we were chosen! She generously gave out a $25 gift certificate to her Corgi Butts store.

I decided to get a mug:

and a tile coaster:

A big thanks to Kelly of Corgi Butts for holding this giveaway! Winnie sends Corgi kisses and thanks :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday :) I had a lovely 3-day weekend- I got Friday off, woo!

Just a cute picture of Hansel and Winnie that I had to sneak in this blog entry.

Winnie and I headed over to a friend's house for some barbecue and a 30 Rock marathon (my newest favorite show, although The Office is still in the lead!). Some grilled turkey burgers, garlic mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and chocolate cake + tired dogs + 30 Rock makes for a pretty good weekend :)

On Sunday, the 5th (today, actually) we headed over there again for a repeat of last night, LOL. More food, more dogs, and more 30 Rock.

We also bathed all 5 of the dogs (in a record time of 45 minutes) before dinner.

Post-bath prancing.

There was a ton of post-bath zoomies and chasing!

Winnie and I are both exhausted. This is Winnie after we got home tonight:

11:30 PM

12:00 AM

Friday, July 3, 2009


We have a little routine during the work week. I get up, eat breakfast, then take Winnie out to pee and run around for about 10-15 minutes. I then put Winnie in my room and leave for work. This has become so predictable that by the time I get my keys to leave I find Winnie already in my room, laying on my bed.

Before I even close the door to my room, she peeks outside to watch me leave. It's really amusing. A couple times I have closed the door to my room and then opened it again to see her staring out through the window even though I'm still in the house!

Funny dog, this one.

Does anyone have fun plans for the 4th of July weekend?