Saturday, December 26, 2009


I live in an excellent dog friendly town-Livermore. Within minutes are parks to teach tracking or other parks to practice obedience.

After Christmas my tracking buddy and good friend Sherry and I met at a local park to lay track. Whisper is training for her TDX this year with Lyric waiting in the wings and Echo is just starting. Since TDX is so time consuming to teach generally I focus on one dog only at this level. Whisper's track was TDX length 800+ yds with plenty of obstacles and road/path crossing although was only 1 1/2-2 hrs old. Normally when training, we only practice either age or length but rarely both at the same time.

While waiting for Whisper's track to age we worked on Echo. She did super and is now doing short 15 minute old tracks with turns.

After Whisper's track aged we ran her and she did awesome. No mistakes and tremendous enthusiam. I feel she is ready to enter a TDX trial. The video below is of a TDX type track but warning it is a long video. Most if not all my dogs complete their TDX in about 30 minutes. This is an 8 minute video but shows tracking at its best. My brother is videoing and didn't realize his comments were being recorded. He is a good sport but not a dog person.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Becca's Obedience Career

Becca just completed her 10-week advanced obedience class with a pretty decent performance at graduation, especially with her doing a double suspension gallop toward Donna on the recall. However, her "brakes" were not working too well and she didn't sit in front of Donna after she ran in toward her. But Becca did exhibit that much sought after enthusiasm when called so the rest will fall into place in time and with training. Donna plans to continue with Becca on a drop-in basis when the next advanced obedience class starts in January; she'll additionally try some rally classes and continue her conformation showing.

Here's a brief video of Becca doing her "victory" dance after graduating.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

How They Grow

This was almost a year ago.

This was yesterday. Poor Shine.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pearl and Poppy

All of Lyric's puppies are natural retrievers. Sometimes it comes in very handy. It must have come from Lyric's side of the family since Merlin hated retrieving. Teaching him to retrieve the dumbbell in Open was an ordeal. His motto was "You threw it You retrieve it"

Below is Poppy and Pearl's story

It is a bit of a challenge to keep Pearl exercised. You see, I am disabled. One day I picked up Pearl's cousin Angel's ( she died three years ago at age 10) frisbee and threw it off of the deck. Pearl went flying off the deck after it. The game has begun. Pearl chewed a hole in one side of the middle so that she could flip up the frisbee over her snout and eyes and wear it like a kind of hat as she runs. I get the biggest kick out of her when she does this.

Since stairs are a challenge for me. I wait until Pearl is at the bottom of the stairs to throw the frisbee and then off she goes. She catches it about 70% of the time now. She is so good about bringing it back and letting me have it without a fuss so that I can throw it again. I know when she has had enough when she comes back and instead of coming to me she goes up to the upper deck and looks at me to go into the house for breakfast.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Agility Again

We went off to our last agility trial of the year. It was memorable and not just in a good way. The first day was excellent for another QQ and 39 more MACH points. The weather was cold which made the dogs run fast.


The next day however I made a really dumb error-I locked the dogs in the car and had no spare key. I found out the car was locked as I went to get Whisper out of the car for her jumpers run. No one at the agility trial could jimmy the door open so I had to call AAA. Everyone from exhibitors to show superintendent were wonderful about helping deal with my nerves and getting the car open. Even though it was about 34 degrees outside and the dogs were in no danger of overheating I was panicked with worry. Getting my run was the least of my worries but I so wanted to try to do the course. AAA(who I highly recommend) arrived with seconds to spare of the club rebuilding the course for the open dogs. I got Whisper out of the car and ran to the start line. My hands were shaking at the start and I barely recall running the course. Many of the exhibitors knew what had happened and crowded ringside to watch the Wisp run. As we completed the course I collapsed and hugged her for being such a wonderful dog. You can hear the clapping from the observers in the background. We ran our fasted time ever in a trial


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Snow Days

But it got here about midnight last night.....snow, and lots of it!!!! It took all night to deliver, but we woke up this morning at 7am to a Winter White Wonderland. Happy Birthday Stripey Boy, if a little belated!!!! I'm not a morning person, but this was too much to resist.

I quietly snuck out of the bedroom and made coffee, grabbed the camera and got Pre Greyhound Plowing photos. Then, almost on cue, the Birthday Boy was at the back door wondering where the MomLady is, and what the heck is all this white stuff?????!

One hour, 2 flash cards and 4 exhausted dogs later a fire was built in the fireplace and everyone curled up to dry out and take a morning nap. Darby will retrieve ANYTHING, snowballs included. Throw it out, chase it down, bring it back, please throw it again! He's just very delicate with the snowballs, they break easy you know!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

First Title

Most of Lyric's puppies went into show/performance homes. Becca owned by Donna passed her CGC(Canine Good Citizen)test at just under one year old.
Below is Donna's write up.

Four days short of being 1 year old, Becca passed her CGC (Canine Good
Citizen) Test!!! She and Donna had been preparing for this with their Advanced Novice classes. For those of you unfamiliar with this test, it involves 10 exercises for the dog, involving some basic obedience and

1. Accepting a friendly stranger--Evaluator approaches and shakes hands with handler who has dog on a leash; dog is not touched.
2. Dog is asked to sit politely for petting by evaluator. Dog must show no shyness or resentment.
3. While still sitting, evaluator brushes dog, exams dog's ears and front foot 4. Dog is walked on a leash by handler while being directed by evaluator to do right and left turns, an about turn and halt 5. While dog is on its leash, the dog and its handler walk through a crowd of people. Dog may show casual interest, but not jump up.
6. Handler has dog do a sit and a down; then handler leaves the dog in either position, walks away 20 ft and then returns immediately to the dog.
7. Dog is attached on a long line and told to sit and stay; handler walks out 10 ft in front of dog, turns to face the dog and then calls the dog to come to the handler.
8. Handler and dog walk toward another handler and dog; dogs are asked to sit; handlers then shake hands. Each dog and handler continues on their walk in opposite directions. Dogs can show casual interest.
9. The dog is presented with 2 distractions and is not to panic or show aggression. In Becca's case, it was a chair being dropped nearby and then someone using a walker in front of her.
10. Dog is on a 6-ft leash and given to an evaluator; dog is asked to sit or down by handler, but dog does not have to stay in that position. Handler goes out of sight of the dog for 3 minutes. Dog is to remain quiet and calm during this time period.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Whisper's Weekend

After the conformation shows the previous weekend, an agility weekend was next. Whisper is trying for her MACH(Master agility champion). The courses can be challenging but fun. Whisper is such a fantastic dog to run-she is so responsive. Running her is like handling a Ferrari car, a slight shoulder rotation can turn her in an instant. A call of her name can immediately turn her off an incorrect obstacle. We have been training weekly in agility for about 2 1/2 years along with conformation,tracking and obedience. I never dreamed we would be competing at this level already.

She earned another QQ and 25 points that weekend.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday!

The puppies are one year old today! It's quite a milestone! Here is a picture of each of the puppies celebrating their birthday.

Echo played with all of her toys.

Pearl ate special birthday cookies with a fancy birthday hat.

Becca was showered with gifts and treats.

Tanner had a party with his parti friends.

Darby ate frozen yogurt with cool birthday sprinkles.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Cat

After the hike at Ft Ord the dogs and I went to a local rescue group Town Cats . It was overwhelming. Cats were everywhere. There must have been at least 100 to chose from. It is a no kill shelter that pulls cats from local kill shelters as well as taking turn ins from owners.

I was looking for a middle age male to go along with my female cat Miss Cleo. After spending an hour looking at the cats-and getting confused by so many I had my choice narrowed down to three cats. We brought all three cats into the office and one by one I introduced each dog. The cat that was bothered the least- the lucky one- was a handsome grey boy Genki. He had been at the shelter/rescue group for 1 1/2 yrs. So home he went with a new name Genghis as in Genghis Khan.

After living with about 100 cats, a few dogs were nothing. Very little seems to faze him.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


My favorite place to hike with the dogs is the old army base in Monterey-Ft Ord. It is thousands of acres of basically nobody and nothing but wilderness. Old trails go through valleys and fields. The coast oak trees are covered with spanish moss. Lupine and grass fields are home to meadowlarks as well as a multitude of birds. I have seen deer, coyote, badger, cottontails and jackrabbits in the area. The dogs can run until their hearts content. As long as they come back off leash it is a very safe area to run. Over the years I have used it as a place of mental healing for me. The quiet, the beauty and the solitude help clear the mind and make tough decisions easier.

When the dogs do something special for me(like obedience titles or championship titles) I try to give back to them. What they love most in life is running free. Moving has made the trip to Ft Ord longer but not impossible.

What the dogs didn't know that day was a new cat was being added to the household. So off we went to let them run themselves into exhaustion before we went to the rescue group to pick out a cat.

They had fun with hours of free running and alittle water play. By the time we got back to the car they had run for miles and were tired. In the right frame of mind to meet and adopt a new cat. More later on the rescue group.