Welcome to The OBay Shelties blog! Our blog is an honest diary of our life with our dogs along with news from Obay shelties around the world.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

It had to end...

...it is raining again! After almost a full week of lovely sun and a dry agility field. Oh well no agility today! Plus I skipped out on my yoga class which was really naughty of me. :-(

For those interested: Hob-b is definitely not pregnant. She would have been due to whelp this weekend and there just ain't nuttin there. So Hob-b is going to head off to Denmark for a few months to do some breed showing with Johanna. She will come back to me in the summer and be bred one more time in the hopes that we can get a proper sized litter as I really want a puppy from her.

Zen should be just about 3 weeks along. No signs yet and I have to keep stopping myself from checking every few hours! It is times like these that I hate breeding!

What a depressing post!

On the positive side: I took Hex swimming again yesterday and she really enjoyed herself. Hopefully the extra exercise yesterday will make up for the fact that we probably won't get out for a walk today.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Continued Crufts 2008 Training!

Well according to Johanna it is only 38 days until Crufts! Wow!

So I am making a concerted effort to do more training and exercise with Hex. Damn, Zen better be pregnant as I am not training her at all! I had two good days of training with Hex this week thanks to some friends. On Friday I went to Nancy's and considering her garden was UNDER water last week; it was in great condition. We set up this sequence from Jenny Damm's DVD: Sequence 15. It was a good sequence to work on for me as it had some long lines of jumps. We spent lots of time working the sequence in different ways which was really good. Karen came up with the best way to handle the beginning sequence and we were all suitably impressed that we could do it that way! I cannot tell you how we handled it as that is a secret and I would have to kill you if I told you! hehe

We followed up the training session with a nice walk for Hex and Hob-b along with the crowd of Border collies, shelties and one lone poodle. They are all so well-behaved together; considering at one time there were at least 12 dogs walking together. More good exercise for me and Hex (I won't talk about the pub lunch that I was walking off!)

On Sunday Dennis and I took a good walk with Hex, Hob-b and Pax. We met with Tim and Marion (who are the most fantastic "walk designers!) I think Tim was trying to kill me as he said it was only a gentle incline....well yeah it was gentle but it went on and on and on....I was feeling very fit after doing it until Dennis and Tim started jogging up and down the path while I could barely walk it! Geesh.. show offs! The walk was beautiful as always and one of my most favorite areas of the South Downs. Yeah we stopped half-way at the pub but Marion and I were most reserved and only had soup! We had to then watch Tim polish off the soup, bread, chips and a few beers and still be able to jog up and down the path!

Today Lisa came over and helped me set a new sequence from the Jenny Damm DVD. We actually set it up in the muddiest part of the garden which was silly of us. But there ya go! We set up Sequence 4. If you are interested in seeing the course, just note that the #4 jump should actually be the other side of the jump. This is what she showed on the DVD. I like when Lisa has off from work as it is a great help to have someone else to force me to train! We followed up the sequence training with a few jump chutes from the Susan Clothier Natural Jumping Method book. This chute is taken from the "Problem Solving" Chapter and the lesson on One-Stride Distances. I didn't want to take the time to change the chute distances for Hex, so they are set for Chi's stride length. So obviously the chute is more difficult for Chi. The heights were changed between the two dogs as Chi jumps 43 cm and Hex jumps 35 cm.

Enjoy the video.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Now everyone is doing the 2 jump minuet!

Even in Denmark! Here is Johanna and One (OBay Singular Sensation) with a little clip of baby 9 month old Speck (Toven Stars and Stripes)doing his sendaway training.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Video of Chi working on two jump drills

I guess it is obvious that Dennis is away; I post on the blog more when he is gone! HA! Zen was really funny while I was putting these two videos together tonight. She could hear the barking coming from the computer and would lay in her bed going bark-bark-woo-woo-woo. After tomorrow's animal communication workshop hopefully I will know what that means....although I already think I know. She was saying "I wanna do agility! I wanna do agility too!" I did little bits of work with her today but overall she need to just relax until we know those babies are in there! I do not agree with running a bitch in agility while they are pregnant. Really...just why risk it?

Here is the video of Chi working on the same exercises that I did with Hex. He is just starting to get back into training since his major surgery last month. Chi certainly has not lost any enthusiasm during his hiatus. I think he will be more than ready to strut his stuff at Crufts in two months time. Woo-hoo!

Finally some agility training!

It didn't rain today! So I took the chance to go out and do some training. After running the course I set up yesterday with Hex and Zen, I was running out of inspiration. So I set up this two jump exercise that I had seen on two blogs that I read. It was originally posted by Bud Houston on www.agilityvision.com as something called a "Minuet". Basically the idea was small sequences that you can repeat over and over and then see how many you can do in 50 seconds. The idea is that by repeating an exercise you can sometimes get away with small handler errors at first; but then they start to compound after a few repetitions!

I then saw a post on another blog called The Agility Nerd. In this post the Agility Nerd has some videos of different ways to handle this sequence. I liked the idea and set it up for my dogs. Lisa stoppped by and I asked her to video for me.

Here is the course. Not very long as you can see! Once you try each handling method; make sure you run it the opposite way so the dog works on turns both ways. Lisa also ran Chi over the sequences and I hope to get his video up later! For now, here is Hex!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sheltie HTM Training day

Last weekend we went to the Working Section (of the English Shetland Sheepdog Club) Heelwork to music training day. It was a nice day; very relaxed and fun to watch all the shelties prancing around. I did a little with Hex; but she was little off that day. I recently have taken her back swimming and have realized that 1/2 hour in the pool is too much to start out with and she seems really tired for a few days after.

Anyway all the shelties worked well. It was especially nice for me to see Zoe (Zen's puppy from her first litter with Tazz) work as I haven't seen her work before. She is a little pistol but I was amazed to see how concentrated (and quiet!) she was when she was doing little bits of training on the floor. She has really matured. She is so tiny and petite so it is hard to believe she is Zen's baby!

I was surprised to see a really sweet sheltie there who has DM (Sheltie skin syndrome). I had been under the impression that DM was not seen very often in shelties in England. This little girl had a really bad case but she still wagged her tail and worked well with her owner. Bless her little heart! I hope and pray that they come up with a DNA test for DM soon!

My first try at doing a video for the blog. It is usually Dennis job! I don't really know how to trim the videos so unfortunately it is longer than I would have wanted. Well you will get the idea of what was done during the training!

Dog and Wolves

I finished the Susan Clothier Book (If Bones Would Rain)and really enjoyed it. To me that main point was the obvious..."listen to what your dog is telling you". and don't be afraid to ask your dog "What can I learn from you?" I am officially a New age doggie person and I am going to the animal communication seminar on Sunday. We will see just how far my new ageness progresses! HA!

So now I have moved on to a book that I have skimmed often before but never actually sat down to read cover to cover. It is Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behaviour and Evolution. It is an interesting book but a little controversial (see reviews of the book on Amazon). I haven't gotten thru the controversial parts yet (and am sure I will have to put the book down and scream on occasion!) but found the part about wolves/scavenger dogs very interesting. I will post more when I have finished the book!

With "The Dog Whisperer" becoming so prevalent on TV; this stuff on "pack" dynamics is back again. So the beginning of Coppinger book is interesting to me right now as it discusses the idea of where dogs developed from and actually how close is dog behavior to wolf behavior really? I do watch the C. Milan show on TV and am amazed at the results the guy gets; yet want to cry when I see some of the ways he gets those results. What happened to the "Positive" way of training? I know that some of these people are at the end of their ropes with these dogs and I guess, at least, he helps them be able to keep their dogs. I must admit that watching the show has reminded me of a few basic ideas to help keep my guys calmer in the house. The idea of being "a calm leader" to your dog is not bad. But I just cannot recommend going backwards to that physical type of training. Prong collars, choke collars and all...sheesh... The problem is that people start getting immune to seeing the abuse and then think that is the "way" to train dogs...

I do have some videos from the Sheltie club heelwork to music training day but Dennis is away in NY and I need him to download the videos to the computer. I keep asking him to walk me thru it but I think he is afraid that he will then not be needed! The videos are not much but they are cute clips of little Zoe (one of Zen's pups) learning some baby HTM moves. I will post separately about the day when the videos are done.

Dennis bought me two new CDs before he left. I love the Amy MacDonald CD called "This Is The Life" and he also bought me the new KT Tunstall. I love both of them and I must get them onto my Ipod! It is a Bummer I cannot play them in my car as my car still only has a cassette player! Don't you think I need a new car??? hehe

I had some plans for some agility training today and tomorrow but I need for it to stop raining!! Lisa did come over and help me set a course. I am judging at C-side in two weeks and wanted to get the course up in my backgarden to make sure it will fit in the arena. It went up well and I like the course; hopefully those who run it will enjoy it as well! Now that I got that done I am really looking forward to judging.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy 12th Birthday Jordan!

Happy Birthday to Jordan!
Twelve years old and gorgeous as ever! Jordan is the sheltie that thinks everyone is her best friend and knows no strangers. Just look at that face; how can you not love this dog?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Honeymoon is over!

Well I think they are finally finished! This evening Zen gave Tazz a growl for trying and he backed right down saying "Yup that's done!".

Zen and Tazz bred 6 times over 4 days! The last two days they bred both in the morning and the evening. I know "serious" breeders do not usually to let them do that; but I figure what the hell he is here, she is here...let them get the full experience!

It has come a little late to be of a great service for this breeding but this afternoon the microscope I ordered from ebay was delivered. It is a child's microscope and only cost 7 pounds with shipping included! I want to learn how to check to make sure that the sperm is alive and also to see if I can learn to check the bitches cells to see if she is ready to be bred. I remember learning this many years ago but since Pre-mate test came around most people stopped doing it. Considering Zen's last premate test cost over FIFTY Pounds; I think it is time to see if I can start doing the slides again! It will feel strange looking thru a child's microscope but I didn't want to pay for a real one!
It will be a bit different from our Histology and Pathology classes back in college! (wow I just had a flash back to one of our Histology professors; he was a typical college lab professor nerd. I wish I could remember his name as he was a cool guy).

So there ya go! Now we wait!

The weather had been pretty iffy lately. Today for my lessons I had to stake down all the jumps so that they didn't blow away! After a lesson, I took Hex out and we actually did some training! She was happy to be working again.

This week I also took her to the doggie pool down the road for some swimming. She hasn't been to that pool since she was young; but she got right back into the groove of swimming. She shared her half-hour session with two big labradors but they all ignored each other and did their own thing. Oh except for Hex who would occasionally steal the Lab's toys if they did not swim out fast enough! HA! The labs were clueless and they would just keep swimming around looking for the missing toy. Hex really enjoyed jumping in and fetching a rubber pig that was almost as big as herself. Next time I will get a photo of that. Hex is funny about getting into the pool. She could just walk in down the ramp or steps and swim out. Instead she gets part way down the ramp and launches herself in with a jump and a splash! Anyway I thought we would do once weekly sessions until Crufts to try and keep her fit. If we are able to go to Crufts (ie: Zen is not imminently due for whelping!) Hex will be doing alot of agility over that weekend. Crufts is both physically and mentally tiring for the dogs; so I want to make sure she is ready for her 1st Crufts experience! The pool is so convenient as it is right down the road and charges 10 pounds for a 1/2 hour session.

Hex and I are going to the Working Sheltie Club Heelwork to Music training day on Saturday. I have no intention of joining Johanna or Mary in taking up "Doggie Dancing"! I just think of it as a good way to work on tricks, polish our heelwork and keeping Hex and I working as a team.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tazz is DA MAN! (warning more sheltie sex talk)

OK I owe Tazz a big apology. Up to Sunday morning I was really annoyed with him for not getting any breedings. Then Sunday morning he tried and didn't get anywhere; so I was really annoyed and told him he was useless!

Actually it is obvious that Tazz is stud dog extraordinaire and knows exactly when the girl is ready to be bred. We got breedings Sunday night, Monday morning and this morning (Tuesday) which is exactly the same days (14,15,16) as last time. This morning was a classic...I brought Zen down, let Tazz out of the crate and they were tied within one minute! Tazz doesn't even mess around; he acts like he is NOT interested up to the point that he gets on.

Zen is a real tart and so very easy to breed. Probably too sexed up for sure as when Tazz isn't around she wants the girls to breed her or she will try and breed them! Hmmm....probably more than anyone wanted to know! The other interesting thing about Zen is that she is very vocal during the tie; she moans and whines the entire time. And then afterwards she barks a really funny whiny bark for about ten minutes! Zenny is such a funny girl; she does nothing by half measures!

My guess is that this was the last breeding. So know the waiting begins! Pups would be due beginning of March (CRUFTS WEEKEND!). Last time it was easy to tell that Zen was pregnant and I was pretty sure by week 3. Hob-b on the other hand is showing NO signs and driving me crazy. Unfortunately, I have my doubts that she is pregnant...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sheltie sex!

Yeah, Zen and Tazz finally consummated their relationship in full. I don't know why I was worried (well other than I worry about loads!) as the last time we bred Tazz a nd Zen they bred on days 14,15 and 16. So what day is today....Day 14! Tazz is nothing but quite accurate! I won't go into details but just to say that I was sitting outside on the gravel tonight in the rain IN MY PJs holding two shelties that were tied together.....quite a picture I am sure!

If we get another breeding tomorrow I will be one very happy breeder!

Yesterday I organized a training day to raise money for Lisa to help defray the large vet bills they incurred on Chi's two cancer surgeries. It was a success mainly due to Nancy donating her time to teach the training day and to Sue for loaning out her sand school and equipment. I could have filled Nancy's training session over quite a few times as everyone loves her training days. Everyone who came was more than generous and we raised quite a bit of money. It only makes a dent in Chi's vet bills but hopefully it just helps Lisa a little. Lisa did not know about the fund raising and I think she was quite surprised. But what was her first comment....."I wish I could have done some training too!" The bitch! hahaha

The day was made extra special by the lunch that was provided by our friend Lynn (who is a professional caterer and make the best food!). She gave us two trays of lasagna (one veggie and one meat) and two huge salads. The worst thing was that after I picked up the food on Friday; I had to drive with just baked lasagna aroma filling my car for the 45 minutes drive home! This was not conducive to my continued low carb diet!

The training day went really well and it didn't rain as it was forecast. We had sun all day which was fab. Nancy trained everyone from 10 to 1pm. The training went great and was even better considering there were FOUR shelties working amongst the border collies. Sheltie power! Then we stopped for that yummy lunch of lasagna followed by Dennis' famous Swedish Almond Cake. (I was very good and I resisted all the carb filled food) After lunch everyone ran a course that Andy set for us. It was quite an evil course as it didn't look difficult at first but had some sneaky difficult bits. HA! I love those kind of courses.

Here are some photos from the day but you can see all the photos at Nancy Hudson Training Day January 2008

Can you believe the look on Timmy's face? I think there was a bit of turning in mid air going on!

I LOVE this photo of Todd!
This photo is not totally focused; but I thought the positioning of Jessie's back legs was unbelievable! It is amazing how these dogs work to turn!

Today we took another good walk with Lisa and Tony and 7 dogs. The hike was around 4 miles and just over 2 hours. I wasn't feeling very perky as all I could think about was Tazz and Zen not having bred yet! The walk was good to take my mind off this and keep working on our fitness. The walk made us all, people and dogs,nice and tired; I need to make an effort to do more each week.

Dennis played around with his camera and got some good photos. Here are a few of my favorites.
I love to see groups of shelties flying around together!

I had to include this photo of Grandma True actually running! True usually likes to meander along behind especially if she can get a nice snack of horse poo!

And Chi must be feeling better as he is back to torturing Grizz when she is trying to do her lurcher run!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Agility secrets

At least twice this year, in speaking to agility people, I have been told that their "methods" were secret! How lame is that? No mutual sharing of ideas for some! Geesh.

Just for the record; I am always available for discussion on different methods. But of course I am not an "expert". Blah.

The reason I was thinking about this was that I am a Blog addict (yes like all of you!) and found some fab blogs where they actually discuss training methods! Hurrah! And critique training DVDs! Double hurrah! No one loses when information is passed around. We all continue to grow and learn. My friend Diane G. once said that she was an "agility sponge" which I found hysterical but it is such an apt phrase. I also like to be an "agility sponge" where I can just absorb good information and squeeze out what I think it bad.

I am continuing to read "Bones would rain from the Sky". It is certainly NOT a training book but really philosophical about communication and letting the dog communicate with YOU. I am also thinking of going to an Animal communication training day so I think I am going all "new age" in my old age. HA!

Now I wish Tazz and Zen would communicate in a more hmmm....sexual way....as I am getting ansy as she is on day 11 and I want puppies this year! No signs with Hob-b yet....

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year 2008!

It has been nice having Dennis home all week since Christmas. We have done quite a few walks with the dogs; so we all have been getting the good exercise we needed! We got to take a walk with Nandy (that is my new name for Nancy and Andy as when I try to say their names fast that is how it comes out!) and their doglets. I want to borrow Murphy because he is the perfect dog to walk with shelties. He can get them running yet is so careful with them. We also took a few walks this week with Lisa and Tony (can shorten their names into anything fun?) and their crew. I loved when we are walking with so many dogs and you can hear people whispering "they have seven dogs." Haha Poor Zen didn't get to come to any of the walks as she is in season; we just took Pax, Hex and Hob-b. I figured even if Hob-b is pregnant she could use the exercise. New Years itself was uneventful other than the fact that we actually stayed up to midnight! Ha!

Resolutions for the New Year:

  • the normal get in shape and shed some pounds! We have actually started early (5 days ago) and Dennis and I are on a Low Carb diet to get a quick start on losing some weight. Nothing like good old Atkins to get the weight flying off. (don't worry boys and girls we still eat our veggies; we just totally cut out sugar, alcohol, bread, potatoes and pasta!)
  • We are trying to take more walks with the dogs to not only get ourselves in shape but also the dogs! Hex has two months before Crufts so that is a priority to keep her fit while we are slowing down on agility training due to the mud. I am also going to take her back swimming once a week just for fitness.
  • As always try to enjoy my dogs for just being them. Not to get carried away with winning this or that competition as those wins are just fleeting moments in time; my everyday life with my dogs is my biggest joy.

I haven't done anything agility-wise. I will get back in the swing next week if the weather holds. We are still watching and waiting for Hob-b to show any signs of being preggers. I wish she would fatten up so that I could be sure! Oh well; time will tell. Zen is now on day 9 of her season; hopefully we will get a breeding towards the end of the week. Last time she bred on day 14, 15 and 16. I am praying that the breedings go as easy as they did last time. Watch this space!

When Dennis and I were out in town before Christmas I was looking at the books in the charity shops ( my favorite past time!) and found a great dog book for ONE POUND! I have already started it and it makes me cry reading it; which I guess means it is hitting a spot in my heart. Anyway, I can pass it on when I am done and see if anyone else feels the same as me. There are people out there that I see competing with their dogs and I just want to shake them to get them to see how hard their dogs are trying for them. Yet they are never satisfied; always complaining about the dog and their so-called mistakes. I don't know if reading this book would help though as sometimes people are just not ready to see.... Anyway, I am only into chapter three so I will let you know if the book continues to be a good read. The book is called "Bones Would Rain From The Sky: Deepening our Relationships with Dogs" by Suzanne Clothier. If nothing else for me it was certainly worth the cost of one pound for the first two chapters!

So here is a silly short and loud video clip of one of our walks. Just to be clear, Tony is yelling at Billy the Bastard dog for trying to run away as usual.... not the shelties! hahaha Between the plane overhead and the shelties barking it looks like a crazy walk! But really they all settled down eventually; it is just takes about the first 1/2 mile for them to burn off the excess energy!