Sunday, January 25, 2015

Merry Christmas In January!!

I love Christmas and I don't think I've been all that subtle about it. ;)  I love the time of year.  I love all the ridiculous warm fuzzy feelings that come out with the holiday.  I love that there's so much warmth, love and happy feelings and memories associated with this time of year for me, that I really have a hard time holding myself back through the other 11 months!  My favorite colors are even red and green!  This December was pretty crazy for me between work and various other obligations.  I was burning the candle at both ends and wearing myself out.  Work got crazy busy trying to finish up projects by the end of the year.  And outside of work, there were all the various holiday gatherings, events and things to do and see that didn't leave me a whole lot of time to sit back and really enjoy the season as much as I normally like to do.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have cut anything out that I did, but I would have greatly appreciated a lighter work load during that month that would have allowed me the time to better fit in more quality time with everyone.  It's the time of year for being thankful for everything that we have.  To really realize all that we do have, be grateful for all the positives in our lives and try not to focus so much on the negatives.  I realize it's a little cliche to say keep Christmas in your heart all year long, but it honestly is a good message to be mindful of.  Be thankful for all that you have, spend quality time with the amazing people in your life and just keep those warm fuzzy feelings flowing!

To keep that "spirit" going, I really wanted to do a sort of Christmas celebration each month leading up to the actual holiday itself.  Granted, October does have Halloween and November has Thanksgiving and those holidays should be given their due.  But that still leaves the other nine months.  So starting this month, I'm celebrating the spirit of Christmas each month.  Conveniently enough, since I'm so behind in my blogging, it also allows me to get caught up on holiday pictures with the dogs.;)  So, I'll be posting pictures on the blog of the dogs during our previous Christmas to go along with the theme.

This month I'm going with pictures from our Christmas card shoot.  While I was more prepared this year with treats and toys for the photographer to get the dogs' attention with, I underestimated the antsiness of my "little" puppy.  The number of shots it took to get some decent pictures was pretty hilarious.  Getting Miley to hold still long enough, get everyone facing the camera, and keep Heffner from making faces; took a longer amount of time than I had anticipated.  And I even took them hiking that morning to burn off a little energy!!  Anyhow, without further ado, here are some of the out takes as well as some of the shots that almost made the cut for the actual card:
Last night, in honor of Christmas Eve in January, I celebrated with a friend of mine.  She cooked the dinner, I made reindeer cookies from a recipe that I found on Pinterest and we watched Scrooged while drinking wine.  It was pretty great!
So regardless of how you feel about the holiday or what you celebrate, cheers to warm fuzzy feelings, amazing four legged kids and the many fantastic people that we have in our lives!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Happy 9th Birthday Heffner!!

I love him.....I love him.....I love him......
Here's to more good times ahead!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Off With The Cone!

About a week after I picked up Miley, it was time for her ears to be taken down from the cup and put up into "big girl" ears.  Since this was my first time dealing with a cropped puppy out of the cone, I drove down to Salem to my friend Karen's house.  She has a lot of experience in the breed and obviously with cropped dane puppies, and she was kind enough to help me out.  The final product is the pretty funny picture that you see above.  I think she looks pretty stinkin' cute!  Then again, I pretty much always think she looks cute. ;)
Since Salem is so close to Silverton, I decided to combine the taping trip with a little visit to my parents'!  Miley got to meet my mom, dad and sister as well as Jazz, my parents' golden retriever.
Jazz wasn't really sure what to make of the little pipsqueak.  Miley was polite at first, but once she had said her nice hellos, she really just wanted to play.
Since picking her up from her breeder, that was Miley's first big outing.  It involved an hour and a half car ride, getting her big girl ears up, visiting a new house, people and dog, and then another "long" drive home.  She was pretty great for both car rides.  After a couple minutes of crying initially, she settled right in and slept.  And for the drive home she was pretty much out as soon as I put her into the truck.  Ridiculous, ridiculous adorableness!

As I mentioned last week, starting on the 15th, I had Miley entered in the big Rose City Classic dog show for all four days of the all breed competition.  The show itself is a bi of a mad house.  It's great exposure and is usually a major in at least one of the genders each year, but it's also a little bit nuts.  I'm very proud to say that Miley took it all in stride and handled everything like it was no big deal.  She was her normal goofy self outside of the ring and thoroughly enjoyed all the attention that she was getting.  She was unfazed by kids tromping around on the metal bleachers.  She handled the commotion of tons of dogs, tons of people, noise, rain, and one very long day on Saturday like a pro.  I honestly couldn't be prouder of her!  She's also really understanding the difference between how she's expected to behave inside the ring versus outside of the ring.  Everyone has their own individual expectation for their dogs, and obviously I'm not different.  I really want a dog that I can grab from any where, doing anything and immediately take them into the ring and have them unruffled by it. I would love to have that for the performance ring, but that's also a little unfair to the dog.  For the conformation ring, I feel like it's a fairly easy mental switch for them.  And Miley is definitely meeting my "expectations!" (I say expectations loosely because she is a puppy and I don't expect this delineation to occur over night)  She can literally go from being a goof ball, rolling around on her back outside the ring, to all business and getting into the line up.  She also was a super star at holding for the judge's exam all four days!!  We did have one bobble with one judge where I didn't quite understand what he was wanting.  Turns out, he wanted ME to show him the bite and that's what his hand gestures were for.  Miley got a little excited and thought he was encouraging her to come say hello.  Other than, she was great!  She didn't have any competition in her class, so we got the gimmy warm up class.  Then it was on to the winners bitch ring where we got more practice.  Miley is young and she's been going through some awkward growth spurts lately, so I didn't expect her to do anything this show.  I'm just thrilled with how well behaved she was!!  She's a little rock star and I love this puppy to pieces!!

On one of the days, we popped by Bobbie's booth so that Miley could try out the large Dog Tread treadmill.  I'd been really wanting to try it out with one of my dogs so that I can get an idea of how well it can handle the full stride of a great dane.  I am happy to report that the treadmill doesn't disappoint!  It also takes up less room than I expected.  That little gem is now firmly on my want list!  Bobbie had her booth partner snap some pictures of Miley while she was on the treadmill too!
Miley was hesitant at first, but once she got the hang of it she started to relax.  Due to it being her first time and how crazy the venue was, the speed of the treadmill stayed pretty low so the "action" shots of Miley aren't super crazy.  Here's one of them:
The show was exciting, exhausting and fun, but I'm glad that it's over.  It was so great to see everyone that I got to see, to hang out, to talk dogs and to enjoy all things dog show related.  But I was seriously beat by the time we were done showing on Sunday!

I hope everyone is having a good week!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More Video

Continuing on with Miley's first week, I was pretty obsessed with this puppy.  And it wasn't difficult to be so.  She had all this personality wrapped up in this little package!  She did so many of the funniest things!  She was so willing to try new things and really wanted to interact and play.  And for crying out loud, she was a PUPPY!!  And I had a whole week off of work to do nothing but obsess over her.  Naturally, I took a lot of video and a lot of pictures.  In addition to the videos that I've already shared, I strung together a bunch more that I had taken.  I apologize in advance for the ones that are sideways.:-/  I have no idea how to correct that.  In this video are random clips of Miley playing, Miley in random sassy moments and Miley discovering the mirror.  Here ya go:

After Miley had about 24 hours to start settling in, I started introducing her to the dremmel.  Her toe nails had all been trimmed when she went in to get cropped so nail trimming wasn't a dire necessity.  But since I do tend to obsess over toe nails and I knew that getting her used to the dremmel was going to be a prolonged process, I started almost immediately.  The first day I just took her into the bathroom and treated her while the dremmel was turned on.  I did that probably three or four times that day.  The next day I started in to actually touching her toe nails.  My goal was to do one toe nail a day.  I knew it would be a slow process because I didn't want her to get stressed out or upset and it's a pretty weird sensation for them to get used to initially.  She definitely wasn't thrilled about it, but with lots of breaks and lots of treats after each time the dremmel touched the nail, we got through it.  So began the nail process.  We gradually moved up to doing two nails a day.  Then one paw a day.  Then two paws a day.  And now she's totally fine getting all four paws done at once.  The length of time spent at each phase grew longer the further we progressed.  I didn't want to rush things and have her build up a negative association.  She definitely liked getting the treats.  And she would readily of her own volition walk into the bathroom.  But once the process started, she would get twitchy.  Now she's pretty good about the whole process and really only gets twitchy on the second paw for some reason.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any video of her throughout the process.  It would have been really cool to clip it together and see the progression.  I do want to take some video of how she is now and especially what we're working on now, which is her holding a stay in the bedroom while I do Heffner's toe nails.  Her current favorite thing to try if not redirected, is to either sit on Heffner while he's getting his nails done.  Or squash herself in on the bed right next to him so that she can't be ignored by anyone.  We've been working on the down stay during this process and it's definitely coming along.  That's another process that I wish I had started video taping at the start so that I had something to compare it to now.  I'll try to remember with the next puppy. ;)

Tomorrow starts the all breed portion of the Rose City Classic and Miley and I are now off to bed so that we can get a nice early start to hopefully beat the morning traffic.  Happy hump day everyone!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The First Week

I really want to keep the blogging momentum going!  And I do have a lot of Miley pictures and videos to share, so I'm going to try to start from when I brought her home and do a bunch of posts that will bring things up to the current time. :)  Laura's comment got me thinking that I should just go for it, so thanks Laura!  This also helps me fill the time while I'm baking some bait for the show this week. ;)
The timing for getting Miley worked out pretty perfect.  Since I was going to be up in Washington for a Backstreet Boys concert (yes, you read that correctly), I met Miley's breeder roughly half way so that I could pick her up.  Things also worked out really well with my project load at work and I was able to take the whole first week that Miley was home, off of work!  It was fantastic!  And exhausting!  Puppies are amazing and wonderful.  And it's that amazingness, wonderfulness, and sheer ridiculous cuteness that lull us all into remembering the puppy phase with rose colored glasses.  I will admit right now, and I admitted it throughout her itty bitty puppy phase, Miley was a really easy puppy, so I really lucked out.  Within a couple days, she would go running to one of the doors when she needed to potty.  She didn't have any poop accidents in the house.  Yes, that's right.  Zero poop accidents.  The number of pee accidents that she had inside my house I can count on one hand.  This puppy was ridiculously easy.  Because the weather was so nice when I brought her home, a lot of the time I would just leave the sliding door to the back yard slightly open and she would go running outside whenever she needed to potty.  Easy peezy!  But man, puppies pee and poop A LOT!  Every 20 minutes that little thing needed to go out.  But she also got tired really quickly, which offset the frequent peeing.  I think it was about three or four weeks after I brought her home, she was already sleeping all the way through the night without needing to get up to pee.  I decided to try letting her sleep when it was to the point where I had to crawl into her crate and physically pick her up and carry her outside for her middle of the night pee.  Like I said, this puppy was really easy on the potty training!
The day that I brought her home, I put up my 5 ft. tall x-pen to separate the kitchen and crating area from the rest of the house.  I knew that Heffner was going to take some time adjusting and it was going to be a process of letting him getting to know her with a variety of barriers in between.  After the first 24 hours with her home, I would open up the x-pen when Miley was in her crate.  This way Heffner could watch her and she could get to know him under very controlled circumstances where neither dog would get potentially injured.  As you can see from the above picture, Heffner did a lot of watching this new little creature inside his domain.  I'd already been through the introduction process with Ruthie, so I had a pretty good idea of how this was going to go.  Heffner likes control.  Anything that doesn't fall into his expected outcome for the situation, he wants to control completely.  The first phase that he goes through with a new dog in the house is that he doesn't like any uncontrolled movement or vocalizations.  No joke.  Vocalizations upset him and movement upsets him.  The first 24-48 hours are always the worst.  He acclimated to Miley much quicker than he did to Ruthie.  He got over reacting to her various vocalizations pretty quickly.  Within the first 24 hours he wasn't feeling the need to control the situation whenever she made a noise and he was okay with her moving around inside her crate without feeling the need to regulate her.  By about 48 hours, he was just watching her through the x-pen when she was loose in the kitchen and crating area.  There were limits though.  If she had the audacity to come right up to the x-pen when he was standing there or barked directly at him, he went into regulator mode.  Those first 48 hours were tiring for all of us!  

Miley got comfortable very quickly where ever I took her in the house or outside, which also meant that her boldness and sassiness started really coming out.  I will fully admit that I loved/still love this about her.  It cracked me up constantly how sassy this little pea of a thing was!  Heffner just had no idea what the heck to do about her.  At one point, I took a video on my phone of an example of the interactions they would have through the x-pen.  Here's a sampling:

Heffner went from a previous household where the other ladies respected him to this little upstart who was ready to take on anyone and anything.  He was bewildered and not exactly thrilled.  Thankfully, as I mentioned, the puppy tired quickly, so splitting my time between the two wasn't a struggle.  But it was tiring making sure that the puppy got as much interaction as she needed, while also making sure that Heffner got a lot of mommy time and didn't feel jilted at the appearance of the new addition.

Also in Miley's first few days, I started introducing her to the various stability equipment that I work with the dogs on.  I put together a little video of a bunch of clips I took at various times within those first few days and here they are:
Since Miley would eventually need to ride in the back of the truck, I wanted to start getting her used to the ramp from the get go.  It is also conveniently similar to the dog walk. ;) I wanted things to do with the puppy and the puppy was game for anything, so why not capitalize on having an entire week off to play with my new toy!  I mean, the new puppy. ;)

And with that, my liver is now done and I need to get back to paying attention to my dogs.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and video and there will be more to come!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Where To Begin...

Busy, busy, busy and unfortunately the blog is always at the very bottom of my priority list.  I honestly don't know how so many people are able to keep up with everything!  I think I know too many people who epitomize productivity.  There are plenty of dog people I know, with multiple dogs, competing in multiple dog sports, while holding down a full time job and taking care of a family.  My hat is off to them!  I just have myself and my two dogs to be responsible for and that often has me desperately trying to find more hours in the day!  Oh yeah, did I mention that I have a new puppy? :)

Meet Miley. :) Her registered name is Icon's Came in Like a Wrecking Ball.  I thought both her call name and her registered name were quite amusing.  At the time, with an 8 week old puppy, I thought it was hilarious how sassy and bold she was, so why not give her a name to match!  Needless to say, that sass and boldness is still there, but now in a nine month old great dane puppy's body!
She is ridiculously cute, ridiculously sweet, still quite sassy, has an opinion about EVERYTHING and thinks the world needs to know, is scary smart and most importantly, has been exactly what Heffner and I needed.  She is wonderful.  But also a little bit of a shit at times. ;)
As you might guess, I have a ridiculous amount of pictures and video of the now not so little, squirt.  I thought about over loading this post with a smattering of pictures from the past several months, but that's really a lot!  At the request of some non-dog friends who were horrified at the picture onslaught that they knew was coming, I created a separate page on Facebook for Miley. :)  It's actually kind of nice having her own page and has worked really well.  So if you'd like to see pictures and video and you're on Facebook, you can check out Miley-SassyPants Bader.  Which reminds me, I still have more pictures that I need to upload to that page!

You might be wondering how Heffner initially handled this little bundle of back sassing joy.  To put it mildly, he wasn't thrilled.  As I mentioned, Miley is sassy.  She is also bold.  I absolutely love that in her, but it is also two personality traits that will piss Heffner off.  It took a full three months before I could have them loose together both inside and outside the house.  We went through the two different heights of x-pens that I have during this process so that he could get used to her and adjust to her personality while inside the house.  I knew that they would eventually get along and they are now pretty freaking adorable together, but it was a process and it was not easy.  It was one of those things where I knew what the eventual positive out come would be, but it was going to take as long as it was going to take and there was just no way of knowing how long that process would be.  But it was oh so worth it!  She keeps Heffner hopping and playing.  Bringing a new puppy into the house is definitely not for everyone's situation.  I know very well what I'm dealing with when it comes to Heffner.  I've also accumulated a lot of dog related equipment over the years and was able to set up my house to accommodate the extended introduction process.  I was also really invested in making sure this worked for all parties involved and I'm very happy to say that it has.:)
It's difficult to sum up the past several months in one blog post that attempts to not be a novel.  There are so many hilarious Miley stories, so many personality quirks, so many awwwww moments, as well as some "how'd she figure that out??" moments.  My intent with Miley is to show her in both conformation as well as a variety of performance sports.  I still plan, and to some extent have already been, to do all the regular hiking, running, swimming, traveling, etc. with her that I've done with my other dogs.  Once she's old enough and her growth plates have closed, she'll start going running with me.  She already goes on hikes with Heffner and I and loves it.  We've gotten back into private obedience lessons already and have been going for a few months now.  Twice she's been used as a training aid in Bobbie Lyons' Train the Trainers sessions.  We've also had a private lesson with Bobbie to go over some age appropriate exercises that I can do with Miley.  And finally, Miley has already been in two conformation shows, with her third coming up this month at the big Rose City Classic.  We still have agility classes to start and there are a variety of other sports that I'd like to start into with her as well.  First and foremost, she is a fantastic companion and I am thrilled and feel fortunate that the circumstances were right for me to get this puppy. :)

So, new puppy.  Yay!!  Heffner time now.  I will be completely honest, before I got Miley, I was afraid that I might lose two dogs in the same year.  Heffner had a rough winter with his malignant nerve sheath tumor and it looked like he was getting arthritis in his front feet.  Then he became an only dog.  I noticed my boy age in front of me and it was hard to deal with.  Having a puppy in the house was a lot of work and a lot of splitting my time, but it did jazz him up.  And once they were able to be completely loose with each other, the old man had an ever ready playmate!  So while he is still not the same agile boy that he once was, he has definitely perked up.  But I did take him in to see the vet in December to do something about his arthritis.  While he was more mobile, I could tell that he was uncomfortable.  We ran some blood work just to make sure everything else was fine with him and Heffner got a prescription for meloxicam.  The blood work came back with everything looking great and the arthritis medication has given him back some of his old spunk!  My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.  The old man is ripping around the back yard with the puppy, they're wrestling inside the house, he has no issues with certain types of terrain while we're hiking, and is generally a happier boy.  And he turns 9 this month!
I hope that all is well with everyone that I miss out in blog land!  Thank you for holding out hope that I will eventually get around to blogging again!  And thanks for reading!  I hope everyone had a great holiday season and here's to more blogging in 2015! :)