Friday, July 31, 2009


Well, since I've had Das Boot on (and will hopefully get it off on the 13th of Aug.!!) and have been otherwise pretty busy, I won't be getting in all of my monthly focus blogs. However, on this last day of July, I'm able to get in post about conditioning!

Another form of conditioning that I find really enjoyable is swimming. It's so great for you and your dog in so many ways! You can get more of a work out in a shorter period of time than you can on dry land, and with zero impact on the bones and joints! Some of the benefits of swimming (I'm pulling these specific points from here) are:

*Increases cardiac output by 30%
*Increases respiratory output by 40-60%
*Increases superficial skin circulation so is excellent for dogs' coats
*One minuter of pool swimming is equal to 15 minutes of rigorous walking
*Warm water increases muscle relaxation to reduce trigger points
*Buoyancy porperties of water decreases concussive forces to joints to dramatically reduce joint stress and allows for greater range of motion
*Swimming increases muscle tone and strength and works the trunk and core muscles that are not used as much with land exercises

In a nut shell, it's just REALLY great for you dog and something you can both do together! Some of them REALLY love it. Others not so much. It's really up to you to be in tune with your dog to figure out if swimming is something they'll like or absolutey won't do. With some dogs, it may just take a little bit to get them in the water. Others, it just may not happen. Right now, Heffner LOVES to swim. He may not be jumping off of a dock just yet, but he deifnitely enjoys swimming after his toy and swimming around with me. Bess, I'm not really sure if she's going to be a swimmer. Right now, of her own free will, she prefers to only wade in up to her chest and that's all. I even have life vests that both dogs wear to help boost their confidence in the water and it doesn't seem to do a whole lot for her. I've gotten her in the water twice and she's swum, but she didn't really look like she enjoyed it.

Swimming is also something that you can do year round, but you'll have to do some looking in the colder months. Indoor doggy swim pools are becoming more and more popular. Near us we have Unsinkable Dogs. I haven't taken either of the dogs just yet. Right now I'm taking advantage of the warm weather and the "free" access I have to the lake near us (I do have to pay a $5 day use fee). However, in the fall and winter I plan on getting the dogs out there. It's great conditioning for them in the colder months and really would spice up our routine. Unfortunately, it's not cheap, so I definitely won't be going as often as I would like to. My plan is that if Bess isn't swimming on her own by the end of the summer, I'm going to try some assisted swims there and see if I can get her swimming with the aid of another person. We'll see!

And speaking of swimming, I took the dogs out to the lake this morning! OMG, it was beautiful out there! The water level was still waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay higher than it was at this time last year, but the water temperature was incredible! It wasn't the perfect kind of warm. Bess ran around on the beach and managed to occupy herself plenty running hither, thither, and yon exploring things and having zoomies in the tall grasses. Meanwhile, Heffner and I did some swimming. I had him do some just normal retrieves of his favorite water toy (the same toy that I've used to try and entice him into the water at the dockdogs practices). Then he and I just swam around in the lake and had some fun just going around. After a while of that, I upped it a notch. I had him pull me back in to shore. He really prefers that I swim back with him any how (he's a total momma's boy and will worry about me if I go out too far without him). At first, he kept looking at me like "what are you doing?" After a few times of that, he just kept trucking me back to shore. Where Bess was usually crouched down waiting to pounce on him in the reed grass! For whatever reason, she got a total kick out of pouncing on him whenever he came out of the water. Usually that would kick start some zoomies and chase games from both of them. Then it was back into the water for Heffner to "rescue" mommy. I took some pictures of the munchkins while we were there. Unfortunately my batter died after only about a half hour, so I didn't get as many pictures as I would like, but here they are!

I've gotten pretty crafty at finding off the beaten path areas to take the dogs around the lake so that I can let them off leash and not have them bothering anyone. It's kind of like our own private beach!

Bess keeping watch from her reed grass "hide-out" And then she pounces!

Heffner likes to do these big funny leaps into the water when he starts to swim. And he does it every time! I tried to catch a little bit of that on camera.
After relaxing for a bit at home, I decided that the dogs and I needed some new summerish nail polish!!:O) Originally my plan was to do a golden yellow base coat and then paint a black sun on each nail with a polish "pen." However, the polish pen had a much thicker brush on it than I was expecting and I had to improvise and do black french tips. I could have just left the nails a pretty golden color, but I wanted more! So each nail gotten two coats of the gold color to make sure that the color really came through. Then I did black tips using the polish pen. The final coat was a top coat to seal everything in.

I used a blow dryer to help get them to dry quicker. I don't care how quick drying the nail polish says it is. When you start doing multiple layers, no matter what it's going to take a while to dry unless you don't care about it smudging or getting completely wiped off. Heffner is great about getting his nails painted. He usually almost falls asleep while I'm doing them. Bess isn't as pleased. She prefers to stand up while I'm doing them and I've been letting her do that, but it makes things really difficult. So this time I got her to lay down like Heffner does. She just doesn't have as much patience for staying in a down stay like he does. Even under normal cirucumstances her down stays aren't nearly as strong as her stand stays. But we made it through!! The next time that I feel like getting creative with their nails, I'm just going to buy a really find paint brush and use that to do decorations. So yes, there will be more to come!;O)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

IFCC Dog Show

The IFCC Dog Show is not a traditional dog show. It's a gallery show for dog loving artists who use different media. Heffner and Bess were photographed by Andie Petkus to be part of her photography section. It was a lot of fun and she definitely got some great shots of both dogs (I purchased a bunch of them)! It was a little bit hot in the studio, so both dogs were panting, but I'm still really happy with the shots that she got! You can browse through the pictures here.

Andie also has a blog! And she's even posted pictures of H & B in it!!

I am absolutely planning on attending the opening party with Bess on the 13th! I just can't pass up an opportunity to take at least one of the dogs to a fun event like that. Heffner will be staying home because handling two of the them in a confined space with many other dogs, all by myself, would be pretty stressful. And since Heffner is the reactive one, he'll be hanging out at home, relaxing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why Wednesday

Why won't my dogs play in the sprinklers with me???? I bought the sprinklers specifically to help cool them off so that they could go outside and run around in this wretched heat and not overheat. But will they run in the spray with mommy? Of course not!

The first sprinkler that we tried out was a swirly-thingy that shot plastic balls out of it when you sent them down the swirly tube.

Take note of the dogs playing at the OPPOSITE side of the yard.

Since that one wasn't working, I decided to also put out the water spraying inflatable beach ball. I thought that surely they would like this one since they both like to hit around balls and play with them. And I could interact with this sprinkler a little bit more. That just wasn't the case.:(

I was able to lure Heffner in for treats. So he at least got some refreshing. Bess wasn't having any of it. I think I got her in just far enough for a few sprinkles to hit her head and then she was off to our porch couch. I did manage to take a little video of them playing in between me setting up the beach ball sprinkler. It was starting to cool off. Although, when your starting point is 110 degrees, cool is really relative!

My next toy to try out with them is the Slip 'N' Slide! I just happen to have a Star Wars one that I've been dying to get out. Unfortunately our lawn is pretty hard and lumpy, so I'm going to have to figure out how to work around that without bruising myself all up.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blogger Tuesday

My blog pick for this week is The 'Splorin' Wolfies! I love reading about these gorgeous wolfhounds! They get to go to some of the prettiest areas and the pictures are just breath taking! You should really check them out!

In other news, it's bloody hot in our neck of the woods. We're still in triple digit temperatures and it's just miserable. Thankfully the dogs aren't going out of their minds just yet. I've been letting them out in bursts so that they can get some running in, but they get hot fast and it's back inside for some air conditioning. During the week when I'm working it's hard to get them any where to cool off and run around. Transporting both of them isn't possible inside the air conditioned truck cab, and there's NO WAY that I will even think about leaving one of them back in truck bed! So we're trying out ways to stay cool at home.

Yesterday we tried out this adorable little Care Bear sprinkler that I've had for a bit, but never actually put into use (I LOVE Care Bears!).

Unfortunately, the sprinkler wasn't really optimal for playing in. There was one hole in the head of the bear that water shot out of (as well as some water around the fittings that I wasn't able to get tight enough). And it just went straight up into the air.
Since that didn't work and I was bound and determined to get a sprinkler going to run in, we pulled out our regular lawn sprinkler. Heffner enjoyed it and ran around a little bit with me.
Bess preferred to stay on our red neck porch couch with daddy.
I stopped by the store today and picked up what kiddy sprinklers were left and will be trying them out as well as the slip 'n slide since we've still got more very hot days to come. Since the weather has been so hot, most stores are selling out of any water toys that they have. There was a woman in the store who bought the same two toys that I did and she thought it was funny that I was buying the same stuff for my kids, assuming that I had human children. I just let that one slide. It was too hot to fully enjoy the weirdo look that I would have gotten!

Monday, July 27, 2009

We're back!

This could be a long post, so bear with me! I'll start from the very beginning. Bess, Violet, and I left the house Wed. morning to head up to the dog shows in Surrey, BC. On the way we picked up Hunter the ridgeback, and a little while later, Sydney the great dane. Georgia, Bess and Violet's breeder, was showing Hunter at the dog show and Sydney was boarding at her house. It was a GREAT drive up! Hardly any traffic to speak of. Just smooth sailing. We got to Georgia's, and I unloaded Sydney and let the other dogs out to run around and potty and do their thing. Once everything was loaded up, we were on our way with Jack, Georgia's husband, hauling the trailer that we were going to stay in while up there.
I was a little nervous about how the border crossing was going to go since I had a dog in my truck that wasn't mine. This was going to be my first time going into Canada since I was very young. And I was hauling dogs, which made things more complicated. As of June 1 of this year, you also had to have a passport in order to get back into the US. I had all of my things in order including proof of rabies for the dogs. Thankfully there also wasn't much of a wait getting through the border crossing and we sailed on through it.
The show was being held at an RV park in Surrey. Plenty of room for RV's (and it's REALLY convenient if you're travelling for dog shows to be able to stay on the grounds for so many different reasons!) and areas to walk the dogs. It was actually a really cute little RV park. There was a swimming pool, put-put golf course, and a little duck pond (for the residents). The weather was even shaping up to be quite nice! So we got the dogs unloaded initially into crates while the trailer and x-pens were getting set up. Then it was some nice relaxing time after that!

Staying with me in the trailer I had Bess, Violet, Hunter, and Georgia's puppy Kitty, who's a month or two older than Violet. The puppies did really well through the night and it was actually Hunter that was whining and wanting out in the morning. Getting all four dogs pottied, walked, fed, and settled down in the morning was quite the endeavor the first morning. It was just me and I had to figure out a schedule. Once I got into a routine, it was MUCH easier. When everyone was settled down, then I got to use the facilities, make myself human again, and eat some breakfast. The puppies had to be walked again shortly after breakfast so that they could pee and poo outside of the x-pens. Something that Kitty was VERY stubborn about doing with me. One of the days I had to clean out her x-pen three times!!! After everything was ready it was show time!

Bess and I got totally dumped on Thur. We ended up with fourth out of four in our class. A little disappointing considering I had heard from other sources that Canadian judges were better about ignoring the natural ears (and yes, this really is a factor if you're going to show a dog that traditionally has cropped ears). These sources were wrong and also not the most reliale sources as it turns out.

Fri. we did a little bit better and got a second placing in our class. The weather was also starting to warm up a wee bit. That night we had dinner over at one of the exhibitor's houses. That was a ton of fun and FABULOUS food! Seriously!!
Sat. was a VERY long day. We had the great dane specialty for the first half of the day, a special lunch at the specialty, the all breed show in the afternoon, and then a big dinner and auction in the evening. Like I said, it was a VERY long day and the weather was getting much warmer. Thankfully we got the ring that had the most shade around it!! I gotta tell you, the Western Great Dane Club of British Columbia throws a FABULOUS specialty! It was so much fun! They had gift bags for all who were entered. They had HUGE ribbons. And lots of fun non-regular classes. And Bess and I managed to get a Reserve Winners Bitch!! Please believe that we waited around to get a picture of that. It should be here in a little while.

Here's the Brace class:

And the crazy Team class (yes, that's FOUR danes!):

After the specialty we were able to take a bit of a lunch break and then it was off to the all breed ring that we were showing at for the afternoon. We ended up with 2nd in our class there, but the judge had a very difficult time choosing between us. When we got our ribbon she commented on what great shape and condition Bess was in and said that I had done a great job with that. That made me really happy! Not quite as happy as if we had gone Winners Bitch and gotten some points, but second to that.;O)
After getting things in order after the final show of the day and taking care of all of the dogs, it was off to the dinner and auction. I really have no idea what it is with me, but I go to these smaller club auctions and I just want to bid on everything! It's ridiculous! I did keep myself in check some what, and didn't bid on EVERYTHING, but I did manage to get the doggies some good toys and things!:O) While we were at the dinner and auction, a wonderful thunder and lightening storm rolled in with lots of rain! I LOVE thunder and lightening storms!! Unfortunately, we had left everyone's beds out in their respective x-pens when we left the trailer (the dogs were all in crates inside the various vehicles so that they could stay cool and we could keep an eye on all of them), and they got drenched. It didn't stop raining all night, so we also didn't get much of a chance to actually dry them out. The rain was refreshing, but it led to a very muggy, hot day on Sun.

Bess wearing her new Canadian collar:

Danes weren't in the ring until 1:00pm on Sun. Right when it was especially gross. Just hot and sticky. We again got 2nd in our class. After that, we had all of the dogs inside the air conditioned trailer and started packing everything up. Very sadly, I had to leave Violet with Georgia. Adam wasn't quite ready to deal with all that's involved with having a puppy in the house when she wasn't actually ours (do you see how I could turn this to my advantage if I work him over?LOL). I loaded Bess and Hunter up and we headed to the border crossing. We were in line for a little over an hour. While it had been heating up at the fair grounds, there was a lovely wind while we were in line that kept everything at a pleasant temperature. Then we hauled our way home!

I dropped Hunter off with his mom, and ended up getting to my house right around 9:30pm. It was a fabulous weekend and I really enjoyed the show and the company!! Now I'm stuck in Hillsboro with triple digit temperatures today, tomorrow, and at least through Wednesday. I'm pretty much going to be miserable. And I'm going to have to figure out what to do with the dogs. I think we're going to be finding some kiddy water toys to play with in the backyard. What better time to go on a Slip N Slide with a great dane than when it's too nasty hot to do anything else?:O)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Outta Here!!!

In just a little bit I'll be heading out of here with Bess and Violet in tow for some dog shows up in Surrey, BC!! I'll be gone through Sun. and won't have an internet connection during that time, so I won't be able to give updates. But I'm sure that I'll have plenty to tell when I get back!!:O)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blogger Tuesday

My pick for blog of the week is Diva the great dane! I just love watching a great dane puppy grow up!! Since I'm on puppy time right now, things are going to be short and sweet!

Monday, July 20, 2009

What A Weekend!!

Oh my goodness! What a busy weekend we've had! But, thankfully, a good kind of busy.:O) We started Sat. morning with the dog show in Portland. Bess didn't end up with anything. We also got to see two of the puppies from Bess' breeder's most recent litter. They have the same mom as Bess, so they're half sisters! And of course, the puppies are ridiculously adorable at 10 weeks old!! After the dog show and adorable puppies, I ran home to pick up Heffner for the photo shoot with Andie Petkus. The dogs were very well behaved and she got a lot of what I think will be great shots! I can't wait to see them once she posts them!! Then later that night Adam and I went off to watch the new Harry Potter movie with friends.
Sunday was the really fun and big day!:O) It was another day of dog showing, but Bess didn't get anything that day either. Afterwards, Bess' breeder asked me if we would watch one of the puppies until I head up to Canada on Wed.!! Um, YES!! I had to double check with Adam just to be sure, but he agreed. So we got to bring home little Violet, who is an adorable brindle girl. We also had some ridiculous intermittent power outages through most of Sun., which made it pretty much impossible for me to post with all of the pictures and video clips that I have.>:( But boy do I have pictures! I've narrowed them down a fair bit to make it easier on me. Enjoy!

And here are some pictures and a video of the BOB ring from Sunday.