Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm Back!

Yes, that's right, I have returned! And this time, I hope to make it a permanent return :D

At this point, I'm planning on two posts per week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'll see how I go with that - it may drop back to one, but it WILL be at least once a week. I'll keep you posted (ah ha, ah ha).

I never reported on our first non-city show because - alack - we didn't make it there in time. We arrived just as the labs were finishing up for the day, which is a little tragic since our friend and fellow-show-er-of-labs thought we'd have had a good chance at picking up some points.

Yes, I am still kicking myself.

December has been busy, as to be expected, and January promises to be just as bad, but in February we'll be back in the show ring, with four shows in the month. We have a shiny new dog crate and are looking at getting a tent-shade-thing, so we'll be all set to look like pros :D And hopefully, with some of the country shows, we might just pick up some points! :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Intelligence

So, when a dog who knows better mouths you, what do you do?

Ordinarily, the answer would be somewhere in the vacinty of yelp and stop whatever game you're playing. Biting hurts others, and ends fun games.

However, if you're me on a really intelligent day, here's what you do: bop the dog on the nose. Sounds harmless, right?

Check out the photo.

Yes sirree, that's my arm four days after said nose-bopping incident, with the lovely puncture mark where her canine tooth went in, and the impact bruising around it. Yep. I'm a clever girl indeed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Uni is really eating me alive at the moment. I've had no time even for the poor puppy, let alone blogging about it.

The situation is likely to continue until the middle of November, when I'll be able to report back here with news of our first non-city show :o)

Until then, the blog is officially on hiatus.

Thanks :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Catch Up, and Tests

Sorry about the lack of posts this last week - it was a bit of a shocker. I'll try to be a bit more organised in the future so I can at least post some photos if I don't have time for a 'real' post :)

Today, however, is another information post. This morning was Laura-moo's obedience trial at advanced level. The levels go beginners, intermediate, advanced, transition, and I think novice then open after that, though I could be wrong. Most people don't go beyond advanced unless they want titles, and the advantage of passing advanced if you happen to live in the A.C.T. is that registration fees for your dog are very significantly reduced.

This was Laura's first proper obedience test; beginners don't do an 'official' test, and we missed the intermediate one due to out-of-towness and did it with three others on the next normal training night. She's been to the grounds before during the day, though, so I didn't anticipate that aspect of it being much of a problem.

Overall, she did very well. I went into it with mixed expectations; on the one hand, if she's having a good day, she can be brilliant - but if she's not, she's a wretch. We didn't mind if she didn't pass, since we plan to do advanced again anyway - we don't do anywhere near enough practice to be able to keep up in transition, and if you pass advanced three times you qualify for the letters C.D. after the dog's name :)

First up was the loose-lead walking. Eh, this was so-so. She didn't yank, but she wasn't exactly with it, either. The heeling was about the same, sadly. Quite a bit of sniffing, not much eye contact... just generally distracted. She turned well, and did all of her default sits and the drop while heeling fine, but it just wasn't... snappy.

The position changes were okay. She drifted forward a little on the stand, which she always does. We've been working on not drifting so much for the stand, and while she did take a few steps, she didn't make it all the way to me, so I suppose that's something to be happy about :) And she didn't really drift at all for the drop, so that's happy :)

The stand for exam - can I just say, Wow?! She did not budge a single toenail. She was perfect. Absolutely, 100%, could not have been any better, perfect. I am SO happy about this one, so, so happy!

The recall was lovely, no comments really to make. I thought for one heart-stopping moment she was going to get distracted by a yummy smell and wander off to the side, but she came over, and all was well :)

Stays were great, though I lost marks because of the way I was standing. I usually stand with my fingers splayed, but apparently this counts as an extra signal to stay, for which they dock marks :( But I know for next time.

All in all, I was pleased with how well she performed given how distracted she was. I don't think I got a single 'look' when I asked for one *grumpgrump* and she spend ALL her spare time in the ring looking over at the other dogs... Oo, dogs I haven't MET! I MUST go play with them!

*sigh* :)

The instructor's comments were to work on keeping her attention (OH yes), and try to phase out the food, since as soon as I turned to the food, I had 100% attention. (I didn't, but the instructor seemed to think so, so yes :D). Also, I have to make sure I give her time to perform the task - which is odd, because a couple of times, I deliberately held off giving a second command and waited, and she did it. I obviously didn't wait a few times though, because I lost a few marks for the double commands I had to give for some of the drops etc.

A pass mark is 75 (out of 100) and we ended up with 81, which is not brilliant, but it's respectable, and hey, we passed! We're a third of our way to our first title :o)

Congratulations also to Abbi, who not only passed intermediate, but also tied third in her ring and has a lovely shiny yellow ribbon :) Well done!

Coming up this week: some cute puppy pictures from the day we got the monkeys :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

About That Dirt....

Recall this post, and the charming state of my dog. Recalled? Right.

So, on Tuesday I found out how the little dear *grind teeth* is managing to get so filthy without, apparently, digging up much of the garden. Apparently.

There I was, sitting on the spare bed, enjoying the sunshine while I did some homework, when I heard this strange noise. I looked out the window. Nothing.

Then it sounded again.

Imagine my surprise - and yes, I confess, absolute amusement - when I saw the paddling pool, which is currently living upside down in the corner of the yard (notionally to prevent pup from digging there - OH the IRONY), wriggling. Yes, that's right, wriggling.

Alas, by the time I (very quietly) raced out, located the camera, and inched the bathroom window open, the Dreaded Yellow Labrat had made her way out and was staring up at me with a quizzical expression as I peered out the bathroom window. And, naturally, she wouldn't do it again all afternoon.

I did, however, nearly catch her in the act.

Yes, that's right. We haven't noticed her slow destruction of the yard because she's been hiding it under the paddling pool. Here's an earlier one of her dragging it over the edge of the retaining wall so she can later wriggle under.

Whatever shall we do with her?


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Night Training

So, every Thursday we go to obedience classes, and last week I thought it would be cool to post on here to keep track of how we're going. But of course, I'd already figured out my schedule, and Thursday nights didn't figure...

Tonight, I say :P to the schedule!

These posts will probably be fairly dry for those of you that aren't madly keenly insanely interested in the training of my puppykins, and for that I apologise. I'll be sure to make the other posts extra fun to make up for it! O:)

Tonight our highlight was the recall. We started the night in a circle and did some position changes at a distance (~2m), which weren't too bad. Last week, Laura was still edging forward with every change. This week she was only edging forward with most changes. There were a few moments where she definitely stayed in place, so this is good.

Then we did recalls, only this time in a circle (facing out!) rather than in a line. We braved it, and went with the group this time (have done it individually every other time), and woohoo! We were perfect! My dear Mini Sis took a video of us doing a recall last week, and as soon as I get the footage I shall post, so you can all see and cheer :o)

Static turns were reasonable, though not as snappy as she has done before. Her heel position overall was sloppy tonight - last week she was getting really good at coming and sitting /right/ next to me. Tonight, she was a bit all over the place :S

Heeling was very good the first time. She managed some beautiful left turns, and did exceptionally well with slow pace. At the end of the night though when we tried again Laura went to worms - too tired, too distracted. The last straw was when one of the kelpies crossed right over our heels, and Laura went WOO! DOG!! and that was that :|

Stand for exam with /me/ touching her is nearly feet-perfect: I can run both hands down from her head to her shoulders, feel all around her shoulders, move down her ribs and examine her haunches most times without her moving a foot. I'm not as slow or thorough or firm as a show judge, but still, I'm quite happy given that two weeks ago she wouldn't even do a stand stay while I walked in a circle around her.

With the instructor touching her she's a bit more finicky - the first two attempts she bent around in a circle and snuggled up to her *goggle eyes* Mind you, at least we are not JUMPING now. Not during class, anyway. We still do plenty of leaping on people outside of class (*ponders* though not nearly so much as she used to; I think she only jumped on other dog owners three or four times tonight during free time?). But the third time she held still while her head was patted, and the second time the instructor managed to run her hand down Laura's neck. So, good. Progress.

After there though, we feel to pieces a bit. I really struggle to get Laura's attention back on me once she's distracted; if she's concentrating, she'll do what I want perfectly, and I have no doubt that she would do excellently in the test. When she gets distracted, however, (new dog comes close, interesting smells on the ground) the only way I can get her attention back is to either run so she /has/ to come, or touch her face.

Well, not quite - 'Look' usually works. I just get frustrated when it doesn't and she ignores me.

Loose leading was okay; the lead was loose for probably 75-80% of the time, and a few times I deliberated walked close past another person to see what she'd do with the distraction.

Stays - I don't think we did a sit stay. I don't remember one, anyway. The down stay was okay; she broke once when a loud sound like a shot or a car backfiring or something rang out from the main road across the paddocks. The sound didn't bother her at all, but the next dog got a fright and jumped up... Laura nearly stayed - I thought she was going to - but then she was sniffing the wind, and stood up to follow the fun scent. Harumph.

But never mind.

All in all, she's doing reasonably well. I see a definite improvement this week on stand for exams and position changes at a distance, and she only started to flake out about 2/3s of the way through class. And really, since she doesn't get walked at the moment, I can't blame her for all the extra energy :S

For Want Of A Dog...

So, I thought the best place to be would be a collection of the random journal entries I have regarding our decision to get a dog.

Basically, what happened is thus:

The first semester of last year was hell at my husband's uni. I'm not exaggerating; at least two or three of his classmates were put onto anti-depressants because it was so terrible. I shan't go into the details, but suffice to say, my Boy was feeling pretty blue.

In keeping him company one long evening (as they all were then), I stumbled across an acquaintance's blog, where she talked about getting a new puppy, and clicker training him. Clicker training? I thought. What is this? And thus began stage one: infatuation. I devoured everything the internet had to offer about clicker training in the space of about three days, and decided that the time was right for a dog - not least of which because it would provide Boy with a loveable distraction, and a reminder that he was loveable too :)

There was never any question as to the breed: in Boy's mind, it was a lab, or it wasn't a dog. So we began looking....

A workmate of Mum's had a pedigree dog who had had puppies - and they were ten weeks old, and there was one left that the potential buyer had withdrawn from because she wanted a show dog, and his testicles hadn't fully descended. His name was Irish Creme, and I fell in love...

Thursday 7 June 2007 @ 10:03pm

Irish Creme will probably, sadly, prove too much too soon. He is an absolute DARLING, but we can't really afford him right now. He may not even be available after all; the breeder who was initially interested and who paid a deposit contacted Gai again. We'll know either way on Monday. BUT Meg, Irish Creme's mother, has had several litters in the past... and one of her previous pups is pregnant :) She's due late next week. Woo! Sooooooo, provided they check out (hip scores, eye scores, pedigrees etc), we'll aim for one of those pupples. So we get a puppy in 9 weeks time!! Yay!! Something actually exciting to look forward to!!! Whoot!!

Friday 8 June 2007 @ 10:08pm


So, we talked to Robyn tonight (the owner of Bella, daughter of Meg, mother of Irish Creme... confused yet? :D) and the puppies are due next Wednesday or Thursday. Bella's hip scores are 4 and 5. The father's name is Catraz Razz's Encore (see pictures here), hip and elbow scores all 0 (can't get any better than that!!) and his eyes are clear. Bella had an ultrasound yesterday, and she's having a small litter. The father is a chocolate lab, carrying yellow genes. The mother is yellow carrying chocolate genes. Thus, the litter (genetic probability-wise) will be half yellow and half chocolate, and they'll prob all have chocolate noses (rather than black). Nose thing is a bit of a bummer, but yellow is good. We'll probably end up getting a female, because we're both interested in breeding... So yeah.

Which just goes to show how educated I was; yellow-furred brown-skinned dogs are not permissable in the show ring, and if you wish to breed both yellows and chocolates, it's advisable to keep two distinct lines. So, it seemed we were set for a puppy in nine weeks. And then we found an ad in the paper for far less money, but still microchipped etc. We investigated, and they were pedigree pups after all. And so....

Saturday 30 June 2007 @ 7:33am


WE are getting a DOG!!

Damo's just been given 5 nights of night duty (der, as opposed to days of night duty??), and has thus agreed that we can get puppy after all. Provided it's a nice dog, that is :)


Monday 2 July 2007 @ 8:50pm

We're getting a puppy, we're getting a puppy!!

Just got off the phone from mum, who just got off the phone from the puppy man. He is too sick to drive, but his father is going to bring them down for us to look at!! Wednesday 4:15 we'll see them... and we can take them home then if we like them :)

He'll register them for us if we want, but it will take six weeks, so we'll prob get the pup and then he'll register them, and then we'll pay him for the registration. Added bonus here is that we get to choose their registered names!! Yay!!

The girls are thinking of Avantha as the registered name, so it will be Rose Delight Avantha. (Rose Delight is their kennel name, so we have to have that). Avantha is quenyan for shadows. Appropriate, since dog is black :)

I want to call ours something to do with sunshine. We're only supposed to use 10 letters after the kennel name, and sunshine is eight... We can go over a bit we think, coz the father's name is 13 letters... So, thinking of something like My Sunshine, or May Sunshine (she was born in may).

AND, mum talked about the fact that we want to show our dog etc, and Les (dog man) says that he probably wouldn't bother showing the black one, but the yellow one is good. Of course, mum thinks this is wonderful, as they have no interest in showing etc, and we do :)

So all in all, things are good. Puppy on Wednesday... As mum says, why does everything have to happen at once?!! Damo was like - we can't get a puppy on wednesday! I don't know how to look after it!!


Oh yeah, and he brings them up as outdoor dogs once they're 4 weeks or so, so that no matter what home they go to they'll be comfortable - so no crying coz of sleeping outside :)

Which is most definitely mostly good... but a little sad too. Would have been a bit nice to have it inside. But can still have her inside during the day :)

And that was how we came to find Laura :)