Sunday, January 31, 2010

Product of the Month

Last month I did a general review of the different coats that I have for the dogs and what specifically I use them for. This month I thought I would do the same thing only with dog booties that I've tried so far. Again, these are just the booties that I personally have tried up to this point. There are other brands and styles of booties that I have not as yet tried. These booties are also listed in no particular order. It's just how I happened to snap the pictures of them.


First up on my list are the Bark'n Boots Grip Trex by Ruff Wear.



I have a pair for both dogs. I have to say that these are probably the most durable boots that we've tried to date. They hold up to pretty much everything that the dogs have put them through and there isn't any noticeable wear on any of the boots. The down side of these boots is that they do take a little bit of breaking in before they form more to the dogs' feet. They also pucker a little bit at the back, which unfortunately will allow snow to sift into the boot and periodically a snow ball will form inside the boot. However, I have found that if you readjust the tightness of the booties a couple times within the first 20 min. or so of the dogs wearing the boots, the snow going in is greatly reduced. Readjusting the Velcro straps a few times will also allow for a better fit in general of the boot to the dog's foot. I've found that by doing this, I have less of the boot getting twisted around on the dogs feet so that the sole is on the front instead of the back where it should be. These boots are also on the upper end as far as cost at roughly $59.95 for a set of four. However, considering how durable they are, I don't find the cost so bad. You can also occasionally find the boots for cheaper on REI Outlet when Ruff Wear changes up the colors of slightly changes the design and REI needs to make room for the newer models. Aside from the boots taking a bit to break in, I give them two thumbs up! And they absolutely fit dane sized paws!

Next up are TrAction Dog Boots by Ultra Paws.

On a whim I decided to try these booties out on Bess first. They were fairly inexpensive at $16.95 for a set of four and they seemed decent enough. I tried them out on Bess during a little skijoring class that I was giving. The snow conditions were pretty icy and there was no way that I was going to let her run on that stuff bare foot. The boots held up surprisingly well on that crunchy snow with her running all over the place and pulling me behind her. A big bonus was that she wasn't able to kick a single boot off! The fit was great and I was pretty happy with them. The second time that I put them on her, they did not fare so well. The snow conditions were better, but the padding on the sole of the boots came undone on three of the boots.
Granted, this didn't happen to all of the boots, but three out of four isn't all that great. At least the fleece material held up.

Next up are the PawZ Dog Boots. I decided to pick up a set of these booties because 1) they were relatively cheap at around $12 for a set of 12 and 2) I had read about them from a fellow dane owner who that they were great for certain circumstances.

I've had them for about a year now and only today got around to actually trying them out on the dogs. My first concern was that the top of the booties was going to be too constricting for at least Heffner. The boots are no good to me if they cut off circulation to the dogs' feet. As you can see from the above picture, it's a snug fit around only three of my fingers and I can assure you that Heffner's ankles are definitely larger than my three fingers combined. However, I was slightly surprised that the boots did seem to adjust once they were on the dogs feet. While it was still a snugger fit than I would normally like, they didn't feel so incredibly tight that I would be concerned about leaving them on for an extended period of time.

Unfortunately I'm going to have to give these booties a thumbs down as far as durability with great danes. This is the first time that I have tried these booties on the dogs and while I used the same two boots on each dog, they only wore them for a total time of about five minutes with hardly any walking around and most of that was on the soggy backyard. When I slipped the booties on Bess after Heff wore them, there were already tears in the fronts of both boots from the very limited wearing that they got. And I can't blame toe nails on this because I'm a bit of a toe nail nazi with the dogs. Their nails get religiously dremmelled once a week and keep them quite short. There is NO toe nail clicking on the floors in my house. So no, the toe nails were not so long that they punctured the booties.
These booties would probably work fine for indoor use on non-carpetted floors if you have a dog who has a hard time maintaining traction on this type of flooring. That's what I had originally heard of them being used for was for traction purposes with an older dane. For that type of use they're probably fine. However, these boots didn't even last five minutes with my guys walking around in the back yard. For that, I will have to give them two thumbs down.

And moving right along to the last brand of booties that we've tried Toughtek 9000 booties by DogBooties.com.
These are a pretty solidly strong material that does seem to hold up well to the minimal use that Bess has put them through. I did buy these specifically for Bess for skijoring. The cost is $2.50 per boot, which I find to be quite reasonable. These boots are not meant to last forever, but I feel that they are well worth the cost for the wear that you can get out of them. And they do fit dane feet. The fit is more ideal on Bess than on Heffner. Here's the fit on Heffner;

And the fit on Bess:

As far as cost versus durability, I think these boots are a great buy for snow use. I haven't tried them out on any other type of substrate, so I'm not entirely sure if they would wear out faster on pavement or other more abrasive substrates.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Scrapbooking Day

Ahhhhhhhh......I had a wonderful time sitting on my butt for the majority of the day getting back into the whole scrapbooking thing!:) We started around 11am and I continued on, finishing up the pictures that I had, until about 4:30pm. And that was just covering the pictures of Bess from April of 2008, which was the month that we brought her home. Since we don't have a scanner (and I'm not entirely sure how well these pages would scan anyhow since they're larger than regular printer paper), I just took pictures of the pages that I did today. Here they are:









I have to admit that it's been really great to have a day to sort of be lazy and recharge my batteries, as Margie put it!:) I definitely needed it. To give you an idea, my step count for the day so far is only just over 3,200 steps. Yes, that's definitely down there for me, but I'm pretty okay with that at the moment as I sit back and continue to relax.:)

Tomorrow is our Work Out With Your Dog class and I'm really looking forward to that. We missed last week due to the Rose City Classic. We'll see what Bobbie has in store for us this week! I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that the weather up on the mountain stays at least decent this week because I would like to get up there next weekend and get some practice in. We've got a skijoring race at the end of the month barring any weather complications such as lack of snow again.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Flickr Friday

This is my week 4 submission for the 52 weeks for dogs on Flickr. I was just kind of screwing around trying different angles with the lighting that I had to see what I could get. And low and behold, I got a shot that I liked! I like the close up on his muzzle and those wonderful lips. Even though he's my dog and I could do it to him right now (he's lying by my feet), I still want to just grab those lips and squish them!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Had an Epiphany!

......or more accurately, a DUH! moment. I had Heffner out on his morning walk and we were working on some heeling at one of the local grade schools that we walk to. I've been a little daunted by his sits. He reads me just fine as I'm slowing down to a halt and he will stop with me. However, when I ask him to sit, he usually backs up a step or two and always ends up behind me so that I have to tork myself around in order to treat him (which I realize I shouldn't do because he's not in proper position). I couldn't figure out just how to go about getting him to stay right next to me where he stops. And then it hit me! I needed to actually fully take in and utilize some of the tips that I've been picking up from others' blogs!

The primary tip that I'm thinking of is quite simple. I need to pay some stinkin' attention to my body cues! Specifically how I'm dropping my shoulders or torking my body around. If I drop my left shoulder, it makes sense that I'm essentially pushing him back. If I drop my right shoulder, I'm pulling him in. The thing is, I've been holding the treats in my right hand and treating him while he's on my left. This causes me to twist around and DROP MY LEFT SHOULDER. In essence, Heffner is doing exactly what I'm asking him to do. And sure enough, I switched to treating him out of left hand and his sits were right square next to me! I seriously felt like smacking myself on the forehead!

My primary goal now with any obedience work that we're doing is to REALLY pay attention to my body position and what I'm saying to the dogs. I'm also going to over exaggerate my shoulder drops on my turns. I practiced a little with Bess this morning doing some weaving around a set of four chairs in the back yard. This morning was ball work morning for Bess (once Heffner's totally off restricted exercise, then he'll get to slowly go back to that), so I didn't do a whole lot of obedience related exercises with her.

I have a question for those of you working on obedience with your dog(s). How did you go about starting to train the finish left? I haven't touched finishes yet with either dog and I'm trying to get a feel for some good ideas on how to go about starting to train them. Any help is much appreciated!

Vote For Us!

Okay, so I don't normally join in on all the different competitions and games that get passed around the blogosphere. Mostly because lately if I don't write things down, I don't remember to do them! However, I have officially entered my blog in the TrainPetDog.com 2010 Dog Blog Award contest. It seems really easy enough and basically doesn't ask for any effort on my part other than to officially enter my blog, make a post about it, and try to get others to vote for me. Simple enough! So if you would hop on over to TrainPetDog.com and enter our special blog code arLQe, we would really appreciate it!:) The prizes do look pretty cool!

P.S. I promise not to get too obnoxious about this. Well, I'll mostly try. If we're doing well, the topic may pop up here and there.:)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book of the Month


My pick for Book of the Month (still going with the whole snow sport theme!) is “Mush! A Beginner’s Manual of Sled Dog Training” by Charlene G. LaBelle. This is probably the go-to book that I would absolutely recommend for those not only wanting to get involved in dog powered sports, but those who would like to go beyond the individual dog and do team sports. It’s not terribly complex when you’re running just a dog or two. It takes some getting used to when you’re first starting out, but you’re pretty directly connected (literally and figuratively) to the dogs you’re running at that point. Once you switch to running a team, a lot of things change.

LaBelle also goes into more specifics about the various details of owning, running, and caring for a team. The first few chapters involve background on the basics of dog powered sports. The history behind it as well as the dog breeds and how they came about. The topic of how to go about acquiring a member(s) for your team is also discussed.

After that, it’s all about the equipment. From the type of housing that you will need for multiple dogs right down to the types of collars that are recommended.

Once you’ve got your team picked out, you’ve got your housing figured out, and you’ve got all the equipment you need, it’s time to train. Depending on what your goals are, you’ll need to think about things like what kind of trails you should be training on. The types of races that you will be running will help to determine the types of trails and length of trails that you should be training on. If you’re doing this for recreational purposes, then the types of trails that you would LIKE to run on and your own personal goals will determine what trails you should be training on.

LaBelle has chapters on the weather. That all important determining factor that seems to make or break a run. In our case more recently, it cancelled an entire racing weekend because of the lack of snow. Along with weather comes temperature considerations. Depending on what breed of dog you’re running and the time of year, temperature is incredibly important.

There are chapters on the different training areas. How to go about training a puppy. How to go about training an adult. And most importantly, how the heck do you get the handler trained??:) It may seem like you just hook the dogs up and they just go, but that’s not really the case. Certain animals are suited to specific positions along the line. Some dogs are really best as wheel dogs. They’re good and being the steady powerhouses closest to the sled who are great at absorbing the shock in the line that gets slowly diluted as it moves to the front of the team. Training a lead dog(s) is incredibly important. There is a lot of stress and pressure placed on the leaders shoulders. Not only that, but you sure better have a dog in the lead who can follow commands or else you’re bound to be in a whole lot of trouble if you’ve got a fresh string of twelve dogs who want nothing more than to just RUN!

The many nuances of racing are also discussed. How to go about preparing for a race. Where to find the race rules. How do you register for a race? What are the governing bodies and how do they differ? She also gives some advice on being a spectator. I think it’s much easier to be a spectator once you’ve been in a race because you know how to stay out of the way (hopefully!)!

Overall, it’s just a great book with a ton of great information in it. I think that it’s a great idea for anyone who wants to get serious about a dog powered sport to read this book. She really touches on every aspect of owning a dog through competing with them.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blogger Tuesday

My pick for Blog of the Week is The Story of Savage! He's a good looking 4 year old blue great dane. Currently, my favorite picture is the one of him wearing the bright orange hunting thingy on his head! Cracks me up. So head on over and say hi!

Tonight we were back to agility classes and Bess was soooooo full of it after a weekend of dog shows and only on leash exercise. I did take her to her favorite foresty area on Sun. when she could get as dirty as she wanted to and I wouldn't have to clean her up again. Unfortunately it was really raining for the half hour that we managed to trudge around. She stayed mostly dry thanks to her rain coat (which is so perfect for this weather!), but she wasn't as enthusiastic about running around in the down pour. It's therefore pretty understandable that she had some zoomies that needed releasing. And boy did she! There was not one single run that we did tonight without her taking off at some point. Our instructor totally understood because she was showing her collie in agility at the Rose City Classic all weekend as well.

There was one particular run that we did that was especially hilarious. It involved a jump to a tunnel, wrapping around and going over three jumps. When Bess is in a zoomie kind of mood, for whatever reason, tunnels tend to rev her engine. She took the jump nicely and then just took off running in a huge zoomie loop. I pretty much just stood there waiting for her to come back to me. She looped around, entered the tunnel at the correct entrance, came flying out of the tunnel and continued on another zoomie loop. We were all amazed that she took the correct tunnel entrance and of her own free will. But it was time for her to come back to me and settle into the rest of the course. She came flying by me and for lack of any other word that would work on her, I pulled out the "woah!" command and sure enough, she does this crazy turn on a dime pivot on her rear legs (while still in full zoomie mode) to come to a beautiful stop facing me. And panting like a crazy hell beast.:) I really wish I had it on video because it was just too funny! She's a crazy girl and agility definitely makes her happy.LOL

Monday, January 25, 2010

Challenge Monday!

Alrighty, the challenge for this week is to take your highest step count day from last week and try to improve on it by 2,000 steps at least one day this week! Yep, it's going to be tough! Take the dog(s) for some extra walks or make their walks longer. If you've got a house with stairs, you can get quite a workout by yourself just going up and down them. Or you can get exercise with your dog by going up and down the stairs. If your dog(s) are prone to leaping up the stairs and try to cover as many steps in one bound as possible like mine, you'll want to get them to take the stairs one at a time. More of a work out that way and also teaches them a little more control on the stairs. I know it's tough, but you can do it! I'm going to have a heck of a time this week. I need to get at least one day where my step count is 27,000 steps or more. Ouch!

I think this week I may attempt attaching one of the Nintendo DS activity monitors to one of the dogs' collars. I REALLY want to see what their daily activity looks like, but for the first day or two, I'd like to have it on them when I can sort of keep an eye on them. I don't want them killing the monitor on the first day. And I also want to make sure that they're not going to be too rough for it!

And with that, I'm off to finally clean up the ball studio so that I can actually go back to using it with the dogs. Heffner still has two more weeks before he can really do anything in there, but Bess can definitely use it. I just hate all that saw dust on my balls.;)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Magazine of the Month


My pick for Magazine of the Month is Working Dog Digest! As is probably obvious, the Working group is definitely my favorite group! There is such a variety in breeds and the dogs are just all so awe inspiring that it’s hard not to admire this specific group. The Working Dog Digest is a breed group publication. There are articles on judges, breeders, and highlights on specific dogs and their achievements. As with any breed publication, there are lots of adds. And I will happily admit that I love looking at all those beautiful dogs!:) This is a magazine that I actually received free at a dog show this past summer. A lot of times people are just handing out some of these magazines at the shows and this was one of those times. Since I have no intentions of putting an add in this publication it’s not one that I’m interested in having a subscription to, but I’ll happily take a free copy!:)

Today was the final day of the Rose City Classic and I have to admit that even though it was a fair amount of work and plenty of getting up even earlier than I normally do during the week, it's also kind of a rush and part of me is sad that it's over. We had over 50 great danes entered each day. Several of which finished their AKC championships. Aside from the showing part of things, I really enjoyed being able to see and chat with my dog show family.:) There are people that I generally see at every show that we're entered in and I love seeing them each time. And there are also people who I only see occasionally, and it's a special treat to get to see and chat with them in person. I think that 2010 is going to be a very exciting year for our extended family that we have. There are quite a few up and coming and fabulous looking puppies who are either just starting their careers or waiting in the wings. We've got several people who are undertaking various performance events with their danes. An upcoming breeding (and no, it's not Bess). The Marmaduke movie coming out (more on that later ;) ). And the national specialty in Oct.! I believe there are going to be a fair amount from our group heading out that way which will make for an entertaining (albeit LONG) road trip and a fabulous week of danes shared with good friends. Yes, I believe that 2010 is going to be an exciting year and I'm looking forward to all of it!

I'll end this post with a funny picture that I found I hadn't yet downloaded off my memory card. I think the red eye on Adam pretty perfectly fits the picture!LOL

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday Heffner!!

Wow, my baby boy turned 4 years old today! He's still on restricted exercise and I'm sticking to it, so I couldn't take him any where super special to run around off leash. However, he did get to go on a short car ride to a business park near our house for a fun walk on a lovely day. The weather was just beautiful with mostly clear skies and temperatures in the low 60's (VERY bizarre for this time of year). I figured this would be not only the perfect opportunity to get some shots of him on his birthday itself, but I used the above picture for our 52 weeks of dogs entry (and no, I did not stack him, he free stacked himself). It was a really lovely walk and I know that he enjoyed getting out and seeing some new scenery. We're kind of running out of "new" paths to take on our short walks. Along the way, we stopped by one of the ponds so that he could get a little drink of water. He ended up getting more water than he intended to. The rocks along the bank were a bit slick and I didn't realize it until too late. The poor boy slid right into the pond! I tried encouraging him to get out an easier way (the water was only about chest deep on him), but he was determined to climb out the same way he went in. Once I realized he wasn't budging, I did what "most" people would do and snapped some pictures of him while he was in the water!:)

While I admittedly didn't really feel up to cooking him a birthday cake today, I did go out and buy him some of his favorite yummy meats for a special dinner! His dinner consisted of raw steak, anchovies; all of which was sprinkled with grated cheese. Yes, he was one happy dog!

Alrighty, Pedometer Challenge time! Hows everyone doing with theirs? Yesterday I hit 20,392 steps. For those of you going along with this, keep at it!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Osteopath

There are many different modalities for canine health care. Osteopathy is one of them. Here is the definition of what an osteopath is from one of the web sites that I will list at the bottom of this post: “Osteopathy is a system of evaluation and treatment of the musculo-skeletal system (the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue). It combines scientific knowledge of anatomy and physiology and clinical methods of investigation.” Basically, it’s a way of treating the dog for an injury or ailment while taking into consideration the entire dog.

I first heard about this through the canine massage therapist that we used for Heffner. As you may have picked up on by now, I’m a worrier by nature when it comes to my dogs. As I mentioned previously, prior to Heffner having his first visit with the rehab vet, I’ve been wanting to have his overall conformation evaluated by someone in the know for a while, just to make sure that I’m being as mindful as I can. He really hasn’t given me any reasons to doubt his abilities, I just get paranoid and his conformation isn’t as great as Bess’ is and I want to look out for his future. When I mentioned all of this to Ruby, she mentioned that seeing an osteopath might be the way to go. While I never did get around to taking him to see an osteopath, it was one of those moments that got me learning about something that I had never even heard of before.

While I have no personal experience with this branch of medicine, it does seem like a pretty cool idea. I thought it would just be something great to talk about in the blog and possibly give others who, like me, may have never heard of it before, a little something more to learn about.

Like I said, unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) I don’t have any personal experience to speak of, but I did find a couple of web sites helpful for just reading and learning a little bit more. Here they are:

http://agilitynet.co.uk/health/osteopathy.html

http://www.hawkesburyosteopathy.com/default.html

In Rose City Classic news, we are having at least one dane finish at each show. Sometimes two! Today, a Laurado bitch handled by Katie Edwards not only finished, but finished by taking breed from the classes! And yes, that is pretty spectacular when you consider the fact that in order to do this she had to beat out several very nice specials. One of which is a Top 20 dog. The dog who took WD, BOW, and BOS also finished, from the 9-12 month puppy class. Today was a big finish for those guys. It was also a pretty long day. We've got so many danes entered that judging is averaging two hours to get all the way through breed. Oy! Bess behaved beautifully today, but for whatever reason didn't get much of a look. She's being handled by her breeder, Georgia, for this show and she's just able to bring so much more out of Bess. It's kind of nice to stand back and admire my own dog in the ring.:) Not that I'm done handling! Please believe, I'm definitely hooked!

I also fought the urge to be a slug after my nap yesterday and took Heffner for his second walk and Bess for a run. Which allowed to me really rack up the step count! I finished the day off with 25,091 steps! That's my highest so far! We'll see how I do today. I'm trying to figure everything out based on when I'm going to get around to eating dinner and what time I want to get to bed tonight. We've got another early morning tomorrow and since it's a weekend, it's going to be a hectic day. Weekends at Rose City see a whole heck of a lot of spectators. Which is great for the sport of purebred dogs, but it adds a whole lot of stress to those of us who are trying to move equipment around in addition to getting the dogs who are competing where they need to be. People who come just to watch tend to not realize how in the way they are until they're asked repeatedly to move. Space is tight as it is and it makes things a whole lot more interesting when you have a whole bunch of random people milling about to look at the purdy dogs. The show is so big that I kind of wish it was closed to spectators. I know that sounds horrible, but if everyone could fully understand the amount of time, effort and coordination that goes into showing these dogs and the limited space that we're given to do it in, I think they'd be more understanding. It's a heck of a lot easier for people to come and watch smaller scale shows and have room to mill about than it is at this show. I actually go so far now as to discourage people like my parents and husband from attending. Anyhow, I kind of went on a tangent there!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Alfalfa

I’ve kind of gotten off track with my monthly nutrition blurb, but I’m getting back on the wagon. As you can tell from previous posts, my dogs get other additives to their meals to further keep them healthy, strong, and hopefully live forever.;) I try to continue reading information about various different supplements that I can add into their diet to keep them on this track and hopefully prevent the eventual breaking down of the body as long as possible.

One of the supplements that I started adding to their diet was alfalfa powder. I actually purchase it in the capsule form, but then I break open the capsules and sprinkle it over their food. Works like a charm! Initially they weren’t totally sure, but now they totally ignore it. I gradually worked them up to an adult human sized dose of three tablets per day by increasing the number of tablets by one a month. They get one tablet in the morning and two in the evening. I prefer to kind of break it up like that. It’s far too easy for me to just give everything in the morning, but better for them if I spread things out a bit so that they get the full benefit all day long.

The primary benefit of adding alfalfa to their diet is that it helps in the prevention of arthritis and helps alleviate complications due to arthritis once they have it. Since my dogs are quite active and I want them to continue on this path, as the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

In addition to alfalfa being an arthritis preventative and symptom alleviator, it’s chock full of beneficial vitamins and minerals! It contains vitamins A, B1, B12, C, D, E, and K. With regards to minerals, it contains calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, and zinc. It’s also a good antioxidant source as well as an anti-inflammatory.

For further reading, you should check out these sites:

http://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/alfalfa.html

http://www.doggiesparadise.com/medicin.shtml

http://murphydogs.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/alfalfa-as-a-remedy/

Once again, I forgot to post my pedometer step count, so here goes before it slips my mind. On Tue. I hit 20,268 steps and yesterday I hit 19,271 steps. I'm plugging right along!

Today was another nothing day at the dog show. I did get to show Cabo and did really well! His mom Kim was there and video taped him in the ring, which is immensely helpful to me for tomorrow. There's a few things that I want to do differently because I didn't really like how I had his rear stacked. I'll play with him some more tomorrow before ring time and work on that a bit.

Bess got second in her class today, so nothing there. A group of us went out for brunch afterwards to kind of unwind and finish relaxing. I think we're all still a little tired after yesterday. We went out for dinner last night and I was needing caffeine to keep me alert! Once I got home today and took Heffner for a walk, I totally crashed and took a three hour nap. It felt sooooo good! Bess was pretty content to nap on the bedroom floor while I slept, but Heffner has been napping all day and was not entirely understanding of my need for sleep. At one point I wasn't sure if he was trying to wake me up or suffocate me. He came over and just draped his lips over my face! It would have been a lot funnier if I wasn't so groggy at the time.;)

And with that, I'm off to grind some toe nails and go to bed! Tomorrow danes don't show until 1:20pm, but I'm getting there much earlier to ensure a parking spot at the expo center and to watch a lot of the other stuff going on.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 1 Under the Belt

I have officially survived another Rose City Classic double specialty day! Oy! I learned quite a few things from last year that definitely helped me out for this year. For starters, I'm on my feet a LOT. Walking dogs, doing hand offs, setting up crates, taking down crates, moving crates, loading dogs, unloading dogs, and you get the general idea. Last year, I just came to the show wearing my show shoes, which are cheap flats that I bought specifically for showing. They are NOT meant for a lot of wear and my feet found that out very quickly. This year, no sore feet because I wore my regular tennis shoes all day. Yay! I actually had Bess' breeder, Georgia show her today, so I didn't have to change into my show shoes at all!



Things went pretty smoothly today. I think the first specialty was a little rougher on my part because I wasn't really sure how things were going to work time wise with getting dogs ready, walked, pottied, and where they needed to be. The second specialty went a fair bit smoother.



Unfortunately Bess didn't do anything today. She did win her class during the second specialty, but that's it. On the up side I got to see a lot of people that I haven't seen in a while!:) It's kind of a hectic time so I didn't really get to chat with everyone all that much, but it was great to see everyone so far!:)



I'm pretty beat right now. I was up at 4:30am to make sure that I could get all the dogs taken care of here at home, get myself presentable, and get to the expo center by 6:30am. Tomorrow will be more of the same, except a shorter day with only one all breed show. Depending on how things work out, I'd like to possibly watch a little of the obedience and agility. We'll see how everything pans out.



I'm going to head off to the shower and bed here in just a bit, but I thought that I would leave you with a picture. For each of Bess' class placements today she got a little stuffed dog toy. When we got home, the dogs each got one to eviscerate and enjoy. Heffner, for whatever reason, temporarily put his down and Bess claimed it. It amused me no end to see her parading around the upstairs of the house with two stuffies in her mouth, doing her little wiggly happy dance, and making her funny little growly pants noises (she makes these noises a LOT when she's got a toy that she wants you to try and get away from her). It was pretty adorable and Heffner just looked at me like I was the one who was supposed to do something about her stealing his toy!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Challenge!

Alright folks, it's time for the first real challenge of sorts in the Pedometer Challenge! You may be wondering if there's any sort of guidelines as to how many steps are recommended to hit each day depending on your activity level. As a matter of fact there are! Here are the general guidelines that I picked up from Active Living:

* Under 5,000 steps/day, you are not getting enough physical activity.
* 5,000 - 7,499 steps/day is "average" for most people but is not enough to provide all the health benefits of walking.
* 7,500 - 9,999 steps/day is moving in the right direction and would put you in the “somewhat active” category.
* 10,000 or more steps/day is a good target and puts you in the “active” category.
* More than 12,500 steps/day puts you in the "highly active" category and ensures you are attaining many heath benefits.

I've seen different step quantity break downs, but I think these guidelines kind of give you an idea of what to strive for to reap the benefits of healthy activity. I also like the site because I think it has plenty of helpful pointers. Granted it's a Canadian site, and I'm in the US, but I thinks it's a great site regardless. And the aim of the site is to get people out and more active. Hence why their step counts fall where they do.

The challenge this week is for everyone to figure out where they want to fit in on this scale and set a goal for your minimum number of steps that you want to hit each day. My daily step goal is 10,000 for now. Obviously I had a little harder time hitting it this past weekend, but that gives me something to work towards. And I have no idea how this week is going to go. I should theoretically get in plenty of steps, but we also do a fair amount of standing around at shows which seems to wear me out a bit more. We'll see. I'm going to shoot for hitting at least 10,000 steps every single day this week! What are your step goals for the week?

My step count for yesterday was 11,788 and that's because I made sure that I hit it by lengthening the walks that I took the dogs on! I'm also THRILLED to say that I finally have Heffner back on just a regular collar for our walks instead of the gentle leader. Now that he gets two walks a day and longer ones, he's settled into a groove and isn't hell bent on taking ME for a walk! Our walks are back to being the pleasure that they were before.:o)

And I'm sooooooooooo looking forward to the Rose City Classic this week!! I'm really excited to see my extended dog show family!! It's such a neat group of people with great dogs. And it's been about a month and a half since our last show, so I feel like I haven't seen a lot of these people in forever.:)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

So Much Fun!!

OMG! Bess and I had sooooooooo much fun at Bobbie's Work Out With Your Dog class this morning!! I totally loved how she had the class set up. Everyone got to pick a spot on the matted floor to sort of set up their own personal area. I brought a covered pad for Bess to lay on in addition to a yoga mat for me, some light hand weights, a 6 lb. medicine ball, a light stretch band, and some water. We were totally set and ready to go! Around the facility there were seven stations set up. At each station there was a dog focused exercise. For instance, one station was an on the ball station where you got your dog up on one of the balls (we picked the peanut shaped ball because I've been pondering getting one of these because they seem longer than the egg ball that I have now) and put them through a series of stand to sit to down and back up again with some resting in between sets. Another station involved different sizes of "steps" that the dogs were to back up onto. The set that Bess and I worked on were a series of step aerobic steps that gradually got bigger. She wasn't too keen on backing up on those. I think it may have been because there was some space in between the steps. Something to work on at home!;) All the stations were really neat and fun to work through.

We started off the class by jogging around the facility to warm up. Once warmed up, we put the dogs in a down stay and the humans did lunges near their dogs. Each time we went down we would treat the dogs for being good and staying while we were doing our exercises. That was the additional bonus of the class. While the humans were doing their specific exercises, the dogs were learning to hold their stays. We alternated between human exercises and dog exercises. So one would get to rest while the other worked and vise verse. It was fabulous! And Bobbie is so great at tailoring the exercises depending on the abilities of the handlers!

I will say this too, it is definitely a work out! I was sweating at various points throughout the class. Some of the exercises I will continue to work on in between the classes because I don't want to be such a wimp. Bobbie had me pairing up with her helper for some partner push ups. I haven't done push ups in a good long while. Let me tell ya, I can feel it in my shoulders and abs right now! Basically the partner push ups are where you are facing another person and as you're both coming up you do some variation on the high five so that you have only three appendages supporting yourself. It's tricky and I had to actually go down to my knees for the last set that we did. I also did partner sit ups where we passed a medicine ball back and forth as we came up. That was working my abs too. Which I really need right now. I've been having some lower back pain at work with some of the stuff that I do and I know it's because my core muscles aren't supporting my back like they should. I needed a kick in the pants to get me doing the exercises that I know I should be doing and this class is definitely it.

I just love everything about it! Bobbie is so positive and great at instructing the class and coming up with fun things to do. Bess gets to do all sorts of exercises and get a work out along with me. And I definitely get my fair share of strength training! Bobbie has another series of classes scheduled to start after this one and I'm going to try and do the drop in classes again because I think it's so fantastic. It's going to be a little tricky because the next class will be starting right around the time that Bess should be going into season again, so that kind of sucks. We'll see!

Shortly after we got done with the class I met up with Obelisk and his dad to do some conformation training. I'm really pleased with the work that he's done.:) Obelisk is standing still better while I hand stack him and isn't terribly bothered by me moving his back feet around. Puppies can be a little unsure about that, but he's doing quite well. I also brought along a show collar for him to use with Obelisk when he's working with him so that he can get used to it. A lot of times, the first time you put this choke style collar on a puppy, they fight it and make all sorts of awful noises. He totally didn't! He just went right along with it! Happy as a little clam.:)

After that, it was time to go to Craft Warehouse with my friend Tilly. She's going to join us on the 30th (I'll be sending out the info. email this week) to try scrapbooking for the first time! After going in the store I remembered why I always had to have a game plan and stick with it. There are so many neat and new things out there that I can EASILY go over budget in a big way! I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to scrapbooking! I'm holding myself back and waiting until the 30th to start. Not that it's terribly hard with the Rose City Classic coming up!

And speaking of that, next week is going to be a doosy! I've actually been preparing some of my blog posts ahead of time because I know it's going to be hectic. I'll be working on Mon. and Tue. and then the show itself will be taking up the majority of my time Wed. through Sun. I can pretty easily put in as many hours at and around the show as I would normally at work. As they say, "no rest for the wicked!";) I'm really excited about it though!! Wed. is the double specialty, so a VERY full day of great danes. I already know that I'm going to be completely exhausted that night. I was pretty much dead on my feet after the double specialty last year. I came home, fed the dogs, immediately crashed to take a nap, slept for a few hours, got up and ate dinner, then went back to sleep for the rest of the night. Thur. and Fri. I get to show Cabo! I'm excited about that! It'll be my first time handling him, but he's such a good boy and I did get to play with him a bit last weekend, so I know it'll be fine. And then I'll pretty much be running around helping Georgia with whatever she needs. I'll try to take some pictures and video to post. I believe that it's a four point major for both bitches and dogs each day. I also wanted to watch some of the obedience, rally, and agility during the all breed days. There's so much to see and do! We will also be having a guest dane staying with us starting Tue. night. She's a bitch that Georgia is showing that's in season right now. She's stayed with us before, so it's not really a big deal to us. Georgia has two intact males that are staying with her and it's kind of unfair to the owners of the males for them to be driven nuts for five days by the smell of a bitch in season. It tends to really throw them off their game for the show ring when that's all they've been thinking about for the past 23 hours. It should be fun. So a very busy week this week! I'll be sure to update as much as I can. And wish Bess and I luck!! One of these days could give us the second major that she needs to finish (along with the some singles) and it would be fantastic to finish at Rose City!

I almost forgot to update on the Pedometer Challenge! I know I forgot to the past couple of posts but here goes:

Friday - 18,591 steps
Saturday - 7,167 (yes, I was VERY bad. My excuse is that I had a fair amount of sitting functions to attend that day!!!)

Hows everyone else doing?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lazy Saturday

Lately I've been doing so much both physically during the first half of each week that by the time the weekend comes, I'm pretty burnt out and more in the mood to kick back and relax a bit. Especially if I have the luxury of no scheduled dog events. This morning we were going to go up to the mountain with a friend of mine so that she could try snowshoeing for the first time. However, the snow has continued to be crappy. It actually got into the low 40's during the week! And then there was the rain on top of that. Pretty much making for some very crappy snow conditions. I heard lots of complaints about last weekend's snow, and this weekend's looks to be worse. So that was cancelled.

Adam and I have a birthday party to attend at 3pm and then I've got the Columbia Agility Team holiday party and meeting tonight at 6:30pm to go to. It just kind of makes for a day where I'm not terribly motivated to do a whole lot.

On the up side, now that Heffner is getting longer walks and two a day to boot, he is a MUCH happier dog. It's really quite amazing. Lately, if I've slept in past 5:30am, as soon as I come out the bedroom door, he's almost beside himself because he's so pent up and just doesn't know how to contain his excitement that mommy is up! This morning, not only did I sleep in, but he was happy to see my come out, but wasn't jumping out of his skin.:) Two thumbs up to that!

I took the dogs for their separate walks this morning. I combined the walk with random obedience related work as well. I think they're both getting used to the idea that they will be called upon to heel or do whatever at random points and locations along our walks. There's always lots of treats and they're both working really well with just a sidewalk as their barriers until we get somewhere with a more substantial barrier that I can walk them along.

Once we were all back at the house, they were still wanting something, though not so amped up that either one of them was being overly obnoxious. I decided to wip out the box and see what we could get! Here are the results:

Heffner
He automatically put one foot in the box and I rewarded. When I waited for him to offer more, he then put the second foot in the box. Jackpot! Since that all happened pretty quickly, I decided to push it a little more and see if I could get him to get a back leg in the box. That didn't happen. He was a lot less barky this time around too. Hopefully tomorrow we'll get a back leg in the box!

Bess
I sat on the ground with the box in between us for another five minutes with her staring, blinking, and drooling at me. I stood up and lightly bumped the box into her and clicked and treated in the hopes of getting her to start thinking in the direction that I wanted her to. Nothing! So then I decided that MAYBE if I clicked and treated when one of her drool drips hit the box and made a noise that I'd get some response. I know it's kind of a stretch, but I was also kind of hoping to elicit at least a sniffing of the box. Nothing! Hmmmmmm.....Not wanting to end on any sort of a non-positive note, I sat on the ground and she immediately laid down. I pointed to my leg and told her to touch and she immediately whopped on my leg with a paw. This is something that she definitely knows and loves how to do! I did a few more little bits of having her womp on my leg and she was QUITE happy! So we ended on a positive note.

Next up, the Find It game! Again, this is something that I've picked up from others. I think this is also a game that Jackson's mom recommended after one of my posts about Heffner and how he was driving me crazy. At that time, he couldn't do the game because it involved physical activity and we were still trying to keep him really quiet. Now, it's all good!

Since I haven't played this game with my dogs before, I put them (I worked with them individually while the other one was gated out of sight) in a down stay within easy sight of where I was "hiding" the cookie. Initially I wasn't really sure how good they were going to be at this game, but since Heffner is such a food whore, I figured he at least could start with a cookie that was actually a little more hidden. That was NOT the case. He watched me as I put the cookie on our downstairs couch and put a pillow over the top of it. When I released him and told him to go find it, he searched all over the general area, but never attempted to go under the pillow. For a dog who loves to root around under the covers to rouse me in the mornings, I was a bit surprised. I put him back into a down stay and re-hid the cookie, this time right smack on top of the pillow. When I released him again, he found it pretty quickly and I praised him. The next few times I just continued to hide it in an out in the open place, but moved the location each time. Each time he would check where the previous cookies were and then would start searching. He was pretty focused about it. Kept searching until he found the cookie.

Next it was Bess turn. I put her in a down say in the same location that I had been putting Heffner in and did the same exact thing, but starting off with the cookie out in the open. I released her and she went and did a quick sniff and then immediately came back to me and stood there staring. Albeit, she did a great free stack, it wasn't necessarily what I was looking for at that moment. So I put her into a down stay half again closer to where I was putting the cookie. She found it this time when I released her. I did this a few more times, changing the location of the cookie each time. She caught on, but I'm going to want to keep her close for a little bit.

The primary thing that these activities have taught me is that I seriously failed my dogs for not having done these sorts of exercises with them from the very beginning. I feel like I left this HUGE hole in their training and development plan. Yes, they get plenty of constructive and off leash exercise and they get to do all sorts of random fun things, but I never really did any thing to develop their free thinking. Everything I've done with them up to this point has involved using a food lure or telling them what I want them to do. Nothing to make them problem solve and offer behaviors of their own free will. That is definitely now going to change. I've got several other things that I want to do with them to get them offering behaviors and really starting to think for themselves. Definitely some trick training, more find it games, and more free shaping exercises involving random objects. I'm going to shoot for doing this every other day. I would prefer to try for every day, but that can be a bit challenging at times and I don't need to overwhelm myself right off the bat. Thankfully this stuff doesn't take much time!

Tomorrow is our first Work Out With Your Dog class!!! I'm super excited to see what Bobbie has in store for us! She sent out an email with recommendations of what we could/should bring to class. Things like medicine balls, exercise bands, and hand weights. It's definitely going to be lots of fun and I'll be sure to post about it tomorrow!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Flickr Friday

I'm starting to think that Fridays are going to be my crunch times for the 52 Weeks for Dogs picture taking. I guess it's better than waiting until Sunday!;) I decided this week that I was going to try and capture the random Heffner moments that are so much the part of why I love this dog so dearly. Granted, some of the stuff will most likely only be endearing to me, but the pictures should at least be moderately entertaining in that at least they're something to look at.:)


This week (tonight) I decided to keep the camera downstairs with me while I was getting the dogs' dinners ready. Lately, Heffner has been getting VERY vocal around meal time. And if I don't tell him to knock it off, he will make all sorts of loud vocalizations. I know exactly how it started too. I'm completely to blame. Then again, aren't we always to blame for their bad behaviors?? Anyhow, I thought it was cute when he started rooing for his dinner. So he got all sorts of positive attention from mommy when he randomly started doing it. It really was adorable. Except that it continued with more frequency and grew to include barking. So now I'm trying to get him out of that mode. Except for tonight, where I let him go hog wild with vocalizations (he really is fond of his own voice!) while I snapped away! The picture I ended up picking was actually one that I liked without the flash. A lot of times the indoor pictures without the flash turn out too dark and I don't have any software to lighten them up, so I just go with what I have. I'm actually pretty happy with this one though! Here it is!:)
This picture just particularly amused me.:) Here are some of the out takes! Some of which were definitely contenders, but the above picture just hit me right.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sometimes....

....I feel like being lazy.

Adam has sort of made a news year resolution to try and be healthier. He's doing some portion control and he wants to be more active. Considering that he has a job where he sits in front of a computer all day and then comes home and sits in front of a computer and plays World of Warcraft for hours on end, it's really not all that difficult to "be more active." I suggested getting two more of the DS activity monitors so that the two humans and the two dogs could all wear one and we could keep track and he was actually mostly amenable to that idea. At the moment though, the goal is to get him out at least once a week on a walk with the dogs and I. With Heffner's shortened walks, it's also a lot easier to ease him into things. So that's what we did after we both got home from work today. It was actually really nice to be out walking the dogs together.:)

However, afterwards, I wasn't feeling all that motivated to exercise Bess. Heffner got his allotted exercise, but there was still the Crazy One to exercise. I did end up taking her out to a field near our house to run around off leash a little bit and hopefully take a little bit of the edge off. Then I got home and I still had two expectant dogs. I need to clean the ball room up yet again because there are wood shavings every where. Arg! So that's out. I finally decided that I need to make my dogs better thinkers. I pretty much don't do any free shaping at all with either one. My training is mostly food lures and showing them what I want them to do. It works out well, but it doesn't really make them think. Thankfully most of the games that make the dog think allow me to sit my arse.:)

My game plan for the night was to pull out an empty box that I had been storing and play that 100 things you can do with a box game with the dogs. I've seen several people on different blogs who are getting their dogs to actually stand with all four feet inside the box. As their dog masters one size, they decrease the size of the box. The whole point of the game is to get your dog to figure out what you want them to do without luring or coaching them into it. And it's a LOT harder then it looks when you have dogs who are NOT used to this kind of game playing.

This is how our session went:

Heffner
Mr. Barks-a-lot got frustrated initially and decided that barking was the best way to let me know that he had no freaking clue what I wanted, but he really wanted the cookies. I moved the box into a larger room where he would have more room to maneuver and I just stood there and stared at the box with the clicker in one hand and the treat pouch in the other. Granted, staring at the box was kind of a cue in itself, but the dogs aren't catching on to that right now. Finally Heffner started moving around. He would accidentally knock the box with a foot and I'd click and treat. He did it a few more times and kind of got the idea, but not quite. Eventually he progressed to the point where he put one paw in the box. Jackpot!!! Lots of cookies and we ended there.

Bess
I will start by saying this, Bess has some seriously awesome stays. It takes really strong distractions to usually get her to budge. Stand stays she is particularly excellent at. And that's pretty much what she did. I brought her into the room, put the box on the floor, and stood there staring at it again. Bess stared right back at me, not moving a muscle except to blink, and drooling. Drip, drip, drip. I tried moving around the box in little steps to get her to maybe move around an accidentally hit the box. Cheating, I know, but I was trying to get her to explore. Nothing. Five solid minutes of her not moving, staring at me, and drooling. I decided to call it quits there. I had her do a few tricks to earn treats and put the box away. We'll see how tomorrow goes if I work them with it.

Now onto the Pedometer Challenge! I'm excited to hear how people are doing! And remember, this week is just to get used to wearing the pedometer and starting to track it. You don't have to set goals or hit a specific number. We'll get there!

Yesterday was a pretty busy day. Lots of running around at work. Then I came home, walked Heffner, and took Bess for a run. So there was a lot of activity. My step count for yesterday was 20,436. If I didn't sound high strung before, I think I'm starting to set myself up for it now! What did everyone else get?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Halle-Freaking-lujah!!!

Did you all hear my my ecstatic wooping after Heffner's vet visit today??? We have lots of good news and an exercise plan for Heffner.:o)


First of all, everything is healing fine and she said that was great that I was so frustrated with Heffner's pent up-ness that I've been thinking murderous thoughts about my dog. 'Cause that means that he's getting the rest that he needs and requires to completely heal. Now that we've weathered that storm, I'm actually quite pleased that I stuck to the exercise plan that she doled out initially. And yes, his initial exercise restriction was purposefully extreme. She's seen quite a number of iliopsoas strains that weren't given the proper rest that just kept recurring. Not knowing how well each owner is going to follow strict exercise restriction guidelines when they're dog starts to lose their mind from the lack of release; the "prescription" was necessarily harsh to ensure that the dog got at least some of the necessary rest. So I'll juts pat myself on the back for sucking it up and following the vets orders, because now my dog is happily on the mend and the restrictions have been limited somewhat.


I'm also thrilled to say that she doesn't believe that this muscle strain was a result of Heffner's straight rear angulation. She doesn't feel that it will be a recurring issue either. And best of all, we have two thumbs up to go back to agility once he's back in shape!


Up until now Heffner has only gotten one 10 min. walk a day, not including small potty breaks in the back yard. NOW he is allowed TWO 15 min. walks a day for the next two weeks. The two weeks after that we can bump it up to two 20-25 min. walks a day. At that point we'll go in for another check up just to ensure that everything is still going well. After that I have the thumbs up to slowly return him to normal activity!!!! Yay!!!! I am sooooooooooooooooooo relieved!!


Switching gears completely, I had a little ah-ha moment this morning with Bess while we were doing some obedience work. The previous site that we had been working at didn't have any sort of alley way or area in which I could walk a continuous circle and still have Bess in between myself and a wall to keep her heeling straight instead of swinging her butt out. We would spend half of our time with a wall assisting us and the other half out in the open as we circled back. Which isn't awful because I eventually need to get her heeling correctly with nothing there, but right now I want her to build the muscle memory so that it's just automatic to assume the correct position. Well this morning we walked over to one of the other grade schools near our house because I had cased the area with Heffner on one of his short walks. It just so happens that they have a wonderfully long chain link fence around their sports fields that run directly next to a sidewalk. I used that with Bess this morning with the trepidation that it was going to be an awfully long stretch of open area when we looped back. HOWEVER, it turns out that Bess will not step off the edge of the sidewalk while heeling and paying attention to me! So we essentially have a continuous loop that we're able to do and she stays in great heel position the whole time!!


She's also doing awesome at self correcting when I clear my throat or give her an AH correction when she starts forging ahead. On a loose leash she will automatically drop back next to my hip and look up at me. Big rewards for that!! I'm really pleased with how she's doing.


Now on to pedometer talk!:) For those wondering about what pedometers to use, any ole pedometer that you can pick up at a sporting goods store or some place like Fred Meyer should theoretically work fine. The one that I'm using is one that I picked up at Fred Meyer a few years back.


To be honest, I bought it because it was pretty and part of the proceeds from the purchase went towards breast cancer research. I think it was $6, and I'm pretty sure that was where the portion that went towards breast cancer research came into play.

And in true dork fashion, I have been dutifully wearing both my regular pedometer shown above in addition to my DS activity monitor.:)
I know, I know. Try to contain your awe at that sheer awesomeness of my fashion sense.:) Thankfully I wear scrubs pretty much all day at work and the little contraptions are pretty much consistently covered unless I'm obsessively checking the pedometer for how many steps I've done and the activity monitor to see if the little light has started to blink green (it goes from blinking red to green when you've hit your daily step goal). Before revealing how many steps I took yesterday, I will preface it by saying that I'm on my feet a fair amount. It also helps that I'm walking the dogs in the morning and have at least 3,000 steps under my belt before 7am. So yesterday I took a whopping 14,894 steps. Um, yeah, like I said, I'm on my feet a fair amount and do a bit of walking while at work.


I was also excited to do my first upload onto the DS from the little activity monitor! That thing is so neat and I totally love the program! It is just so cool to be able to see a graph of your activity level broken down throughout the day in hourly chunks!
Yes, I'm a nerd and I can totally admit it, but I'm excited to upload my monitor tonight and see TWO DAYS worth of data!:)

I also decided to change things up a little bit with the Pedometer Challenge. I think it's a lot easier for everyone who wants to participate to just comment on one of my threads that mentions the Pedometer Challenge. If you're going to put it in your blog, I'll include links to the blog posts, but otherwise we'll just have a free-for-all with people commenting on how they're doing each day or whatever. Then we can all see how each other is doing in sort of one central place. Does that make sense? I'll probably revise this as we go along, but it sort of seemed like a "better" way to do it right now.

Alright people! Those of you participating, what was your first days step count? I'm excited to hear how people are doing!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blogger Tuesday

My pick for Blog of the Week is Yukon Yahoos! It's another great winter, working sled dog blog. There's also plenty of skijoring as well! Go on over and check it out!

Tonight was another fun night of agility class for Bessy!LOL She had a wee bit of the zoomies, but amazingly enough came right back to me each time I called her except for once. Those recalls are getting better and better. While she lacks the consistency in class that Heffner has, she's getting there. When she's on, she rocks it! The other people in class are definitely enjoying the entertainment that she brings to the class. She's pretty much this big ball of energy the whole time and it's quite obvious that she loves what she's doing.:)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Pedometer Challenge

Alright folks, lets get right into it!:) The challenge for this week is to wear your pedometer or whatever tracking unit you're using every single day and keep a record of your steps each day. Naturally, I will be using Excel, because I love it so.:o) I'll be updating the blog each day with my daily totals. Which means that since I'll be starting to wear it tomorrow, I won't make my first entry about it until Wednesday evening. The goal this week is just to get used to wearing it and recording your daily totals. That way you can eventually look at what you're hitting each day and see if there are patterns. And for further challenges.:) I will also be posting links to the blogs of people who are participating. It'll be fun to see where everyone is at!

I'm going to go a little overboard and wear the pedometer and the Nintendo DS activity monitor. That way I can record my steps and also use the DS to see my overall activity patterns throughout the day and use their neat little graphs.

Last Friday I meant to brag about Bess and totally forgot to. We've been doing our morning walks with a focus on heeling and I'm adding in the automatic sits when I halt. At first I was giving her either a verbal of a hand signal for the sit when I would stop. I started fading that out after a day or two to see what she would do and she has totally started doing an automatic sit with no cue from me!!!:) I love it!! The first day she got HUGE praise for that and she was definitely quite proud of herself. She would break the sit stay, but I was fine with that because she was getting the idea that when I halt she should sit. Now I'm focusing on getting her to hold that sit until I release her. I'm so proud and excited!:)

In Heffner news, the boys head is going to explode shortly. Seriously. Or mine will. Maybe it'll happen simultaneously. Today when I got home after work and was relaxing and checking my email, he got a serious bug up his butt and got the mad zoomies. Adam and I both tried to corral him. At first he did several spins in a row, just leaping up into the air and spinning in place as fast as he could. While hilarious and quite impressive, it's not exactly an "exercise" that he's allowed to do. After we got him to hold still he managed to zip past both of us and start tearing around the upstairs. We did finally sort of tackle/corral him and get him to hold still, but he totally had that crazed/vacant look in his eyes. The poor boy is just going absolutely insane with these restrictions. Yes, there will be much to talk to the vet about on Wednesday!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Here Comes Another Week

Each Sunday night I start planning and getting ready for the week ahead. I have to make sure that I have all my ducks in a row so that I can accomplish everything that I NEED to get done and hopefully leave time for the stuff that I WANT to get done.

Tomorrow I will post the first Pedometer Challenge, so for anyone else wanting to join in, go get yourself a pedometer and stay tuned for tomorrow evening.:) I'm kind of excited about this! I'm also really interested to see how many steps I take in a day.

Heffner is up to 10 min. walks now! Woot, woot! I do have to say, 10 min. feels a whole lot better than 5. 5 is just a ridiculously short walk. Heffner's also got his check up visit with the vet this Wed. in the afternoon. I've got all sorts of questions for her.

This upcoming weekend we'll be gearing up for the big Rose City Classic dog shows that start on the 20th!! It's 6 shows in five days (we've got a double specialty on the 20th) and is always a major, pulling some pretty stiff competition. I'll be Bess' breeder's "bucket bitch" for the show. Which essentially means that I'll help take care of a lot of the little things like getting crates set up ring side each day, walking dogs, and helping her however I can during the course of the show. I'll post more about that later. But needless to say, it's a VERY busy week and I'll need to get things ready for it ahead of time on my end so that I'll be totally prepared.

And starting on the morning of the 17th, Bess and I will be taking a Work Out With Your Dog class taught by Bobbie Lyons. She's the woman who taught us all the On the Ball stuff! I'm really looking forward to it! It's every Sunday morning for 5 weeks and she's allowing drop ins as well. Which is what we're having to do. Due to our conformation schedule we're going to have to miss two of the Sundays, but I know the class is going to be such a blast! Bobbie is really great at coming up with new and different exercises to do with your dog.

This early afternoon I got to have lots of fun and go visit a great dane puppy named Mojo! He is so incredibly adorable!!! I'm blanking on how old he is, but it's somewhere around 10 weeks I think. Needless to say, crazy cute! His proud parents also own Cabo, who we've been to many shows with! It was just so much fun to sit around talking dogs and dog show stuff. The time really flew. And I'm totally jealous of their new bundle of joy. I'm also excited to say that I will have the pleasure of taking Cabo into the ring at the Rose City Classic on Thur. and Fri. since Steve has to work.:) Yes, next week is going to be a busy and fun week!!

I also forgot to mention earlier this week that our skijoring race got cancelled this weekend due to lack of snow. I'm not too terribly surprised since there were some almost bare spots along the route when Kennedy and I went up there last weekend. There was also a lot of rain predicted for this past week at that elevation. Not good skijoring and sled dog racing weather. So we'll just have to wait until the next race in February. Hopefully the mountain will get plenty more snow at that elevation so that race doesn't get cancelled as well!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Scrapbooking

I used to be a HUGE scrapbooker. It was something that I was so addicted to that I had to set myself a monthly spending limit so that I wouldn't go totally out of control when I walked into a scrapbooking store. I also had to limit my trips to scrapbooking type stores to only when I was planning on buying something. Walking in to "just look" was no good, because I would inevitably buy something and go over "budget."

In the beginning, I just wanted to scrap because it looked like a lot of fun. At the time, I had only reptiles because I was still in college and they were the appropriate pet for where and how I was living. Granted, I had some pretty awesome critters including two species of tegus, which are THE best lizard pet in my opinion! But I digress. I would take oodles of pictures of the various reptiles that I had (I also worked at Petco through college and in addition to the discount, I somehow ended up as the repository for other people's reptiles that they bought on a whim and then realized they were either boring as pets or had more complex needs than they expected and didn't want to deal with) with all sorts of different "sets" just so I could have pictures to scrap book with.:)

When it FINALLY came time for us to get Heffner, imagine how thrilled I was to have a pet that I could take a to a lot of different places that I couldn't with the reptiles! Many pictures ensued. This was also prior to us getting our first digital camera, so I burned up a lot of film on my non-digital camera. Back then I totally loved the thrill of picking up my film to see what I had managed to capture. For whatever reason, this surprise and anticipation is what actually held me back from using our digital camera much when we first got it. I preferred the regular camera for the longest time, but then realized how great it was to take a bunch of shots of the same pose until I caught just the right moment, and then being able to effortlessly delete the pictures that didn't work. It was great!

The more pictures that I took and the more scrapbooking that I did, the more things I accumulated! Until it's gotten to where it is today.:) I figured I'd first share with you the general set up. Unfortunately I haven't done any scrap booking in quite some time. Probably close to two years. Yikes! Therefore, everything is kind of put away at the moment, waiting for me to unearth it and get back to scrapping. Hence why that's one of my sort of New Year's resolutions. That and Bess doesn't have a scrap book of her own, while Heffner has three. Anyhow, here's the stuff!

This is the main work station. We got the desk from one of Adam's aunts and it's worked perfectly for a dedicated scrapping station.
The various embellishment type stuff is located in the closet.
I've got some stamps and the various inks and other nifty things that you can do with them.


There's various ribbons and string things that can look pretty neat when incorporated into a page.
Then there's the beads that can also get added to the ribbon and string for a little more creativity.
There's also the fun hole punches. I've used those to punch borders of shapes around a page or used the punched out pieces as well.
Then I've got my small rack of different shaped scissors, ink pens that are used with the stamps, and various taping and sticky media for the pictures themselves.
My containers of other embellishments like random neat buttons and other things that don't really fall into a specific category.
As I said before, Heffner has a few books that are pretty much all him. We had a couple other danes who were staying with us for various lengths of time (more on that in a separate post) that I included in his books. But poor Bessy doesn't have her own.:( It was right around the time that we got her that I was getting a little burnt out and decided to take a break. When it can take you around a half hour to do one side of a page and you have a fat stack of pictures that are waiting, it can be a little overwhelming and lead to burn out! Anyhow, here are a couple of the books that Heffner has and some snippets of the pages. Unfortunately we don't have a scanner yet, otherwise I would have at least tried scanning the pages in and posting them that. Sadly you'll have to kind of get the idea from I'm able to post.







All of this is leading up to a point.:) I've set the goal of scrapping at least once a month. And scrapping is always more fun when you do it with other people and can chat as you're going along. I would like to extend an open invitation to anyone reading this blog (granted you'll have to live within driving distance) to come over to my house on Saturday January 30th for some scrapbooking fun! You are more than welcome to utilize the various reusable stuff that I have like stamps, hole punches, scissors, etc. We've got a fair amount of room and table space that I can monopolize too. So if you're interested, comment on this post and leave me your email address so that I can send you my address and the rest of the information. This is going to be fun!!