Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Just a taste

Just a taste of things to come.;0)

Ruthie: "WTF?"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Bust

As the title implies, this weekend was pretty much a bust at the dog show. While Bess won her class today, that was as far as she got. As for Rally? Well, lets just say that I knew better and I already saw this train wreck coming from a mile away. Ug!

We NQed. A real honest NQ. Not an NQ from me pulling her from the course. Not an NQ from her fowling the ring. It was a straight up bad performance that was deserving of what we got. And I really should have just pulled her.

We again had a lovely warm up. Actually better than lovely. It got my hope up. But that was all that I got. Once we stepped into the ring, it flipped the miserable dog switch. Getting her to sit was next to impossible. After about the third station I was ready to pull her, but then I figured screw it, we'll just zip through the course and do what we can. I knew the run was done after the first station when I had to redo it because I couldn't get her to sit. She had more forward momentum than she's had because I didn't even care if she was anywhere in heel position. I just wanted to get through the course. So, that was pretty craptastic, but I guess it was the final slap in the face that I needed to get me to STOP entering her in anything. She will not be entered in any obedience related events until we get this problem fixed and have tested it in a few matches.

After having a bit of a downer of a weekend show wise, I did a little retail therapy and bough myself a necklace!
It wasn't until after I bought the necklace that I thought maybe I should have been on the lookout for a frenchie necklace. After all, I don't have any french bulldog jewelry and I'll NEED some to wear at the national specialty next year.;0)

In happier news, our kickball teamed kicked some a** last night!! We are currently undefeated and ousted the #1 team in the first game of our double header. Woot!! Adam wants to bring Ruthie to one of the games to be our little mascot. Which I'm totally down for, except for the fact that our team goes out for pizza and beer after the game and I don't know what we would do with her since it's way too warm to even think of leaving her in the car.

And speaking of the midget, I've got a couple more pictures. She is disgustingly cute. I pretty much find everything that she does adorable.

I also need to figure out how to put together a new blog header that includes Ruthie in it as well as a new blog name. I'm really liking the ring of "Life With Big Dogs And a French Midget.":0)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Update

We finally have a group shot with all three dogs in it!! Since I was about to get changed out of my show clothes and I put more effort into my "look" today than I do on an average day, I thought it was a good time to try for the group shot. Getting three dogs to all look happy in the same direction at once is a bit trying. It's easier when I'm behind the camera, but since I actually wanted to be in the picture, that was a no go. Naturally there were out takes and here are some of the other pictures that Adam nabbed:

Not much otherwise to report from the show. Bess took second out of two in her class. That was a bit disappointing. Bess' half sister, Mia (formerly known as Violet), had her debut as a special after finishing two weekends ago in Centralia and took Select Bitch. Very excited for her! We did get to meet up with a newcomer to the dane ring! Shanda will be showing her mantle boy, Doolin, once he's of age. Tomorrow she's entering him in the puppy match and I'm excited to watch the two of them together. She has the right attitude going into it and a great group of people to support her already, so I think she's off to a great start.

I did follow through with my plan to pull Bess from Obedience. We are still entered in Rally tomorrow and we'll see how that goes. I am very excited that it looks like I will be without ring conflicts tomorrow!! Danes are in the ring right at 8am and Rally doesn't start until after 10am. Yay!!!

In other happy news, my friend Shana put another point on her Tibetan Mastiff boy, Wally! Yay for them!! And I also saw my friend Andrea waiting to go into the obedience ring with her bullmastiff, Brody. I haven't heard yet how they did, but my fingers are crossed that they qualified!!

And now I'm off to get ready for our kickball team's double header today. Woot! We're 2-0 so far and it would be awesome if we could continue with this streak.

I hope everyone is having a great start to their weekend!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

How About That Weather?

Talking about the weather is supposed to be something that you do when you're making polite conversation. This summer it has become a subject much obsessed about almost regardless of where you live in the US. You've got the midwest that's been experiencing a crazy ridiculous heat wave. And then you've got the west coast, which has been experiencing some very mild and cool summer weather. Up until I looked at next weekend's forecast, I was NOT complaining. I have one great dane who is relatively sensitive to the heat. And now we have our midget dog, I mean french bulldog ;0) for whom the heat is potentially life threatening. For this household, cooler weather is fine and dandy!

Unfortunately we were planning on going camping up on Mt. Hood next weekend and doing some serious lounging and swimming in one of the lakes up there. When I pulled up the extended forecast as of right now, we're slated to have highs around 60 and lows into the 40s. I can handle cold over night and was totally prepared to bring dog blankets and do what we've done in the past. But if the high is only going to be around 60, that's a tid bit chilly for my swimming taste. I prefer not to bring my wet suit along to get some swimming in!

There are, of course, many other things to do while we're up there. It just wasn't entirely what I was hoping for. And extended hiking is out of the question unless Adam and I trade off carrying Ruthie. Which essentially means that I would be the one carrying her when needed since I tend to be the pack mule by dint of being in a lot better shape. Bleck!

So now we are faced with trying to figure out what to do. Adams exact reaction when I told him the forecast was "f*ck that!" I think you get the drift of his opinion on camping then and there.;0) I would be fine rescheduling for a different weekend if we didn't already have our weekends booked until October. So now I'm all out of sorts and not exactly sure what to do other than obsessively recheck the forecast to see if it starts to change in the direction that I'm hoping for.

In the mean time, it's a dog show weekend!! Sadly there are a bunch of people up in Canada this weekend at the big BC specialty so I will not see the entire regular crowd. I've got Bess entered in conformation both days and rally on Sunday. I'm going to scratch her from our Novice run on Saturday. While I'm getting a totally different and awesome dog right now, this attitude is not a habit yet and I haven't tested it under higher stress environments. Wish us luck!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Oh The Excitement

I took the big dogs out for what was supposed to be a nice, light, one hour hike last night so that they could burn off some energy and I could have a nice relaxing time. The weather was pretty much perfect for it. It was relatively cool, no one else was on the forest service road, and with the more recent rain everything was nice and lush. When we were getting close to the turn around point I noticed something odd looking around the bend in the road. At first I thought it looked kind of like the light colored hair on someone's head. After getting a bit closer I realized it was the butt of a large buck. Scratch that. It was a freaking bull elk!

(Photo courtesy of my friend Nicole, not the actual elk I saw)

And not only was there one large bull elk, there were two! Loooooooooooovely! Thankfully at that point the dogs hadn't noticed the elk yet, because they were off to the side of the trail investigating what was most likely the area that the elk had just been. In my oh so suave manner I tried to shoo the elk on their way without drawing the attention of the dogs. Things like hucking rocks and trying to make loud noises that wouldn't immediately alert the dogs. Meanwhile, the elk just stood there and stared at me. Finally they meandered off the road and headed on up the sparsely treed hill. Right when I thought the elk were going to get far enough away, the dogs apparently realized what was going on. After a failed mad grab for collars the dogs were off and running after the elk meandering up the hill.

There was a fair amount of underbrush on the way up and the dogs were not quiet on their ascent after the elk. Bess very definitely was blinded by blood lust. Meanwhile, the elk would check over their shoulders at the crazed dogs behind them only to continue on their ambling way. Elk most definitely are not like deer that would have otherwise been up and over the hill before the dogs caught on to what was going down.

I called Heffner back and he came when called. Probably due in part to the fact that he's not a fan of wading endlessly through thick underbrush, especially going up hill. Bess continued on her merry way, closing the gap between her and the elk. Before actually reaching the elk she did end up turning around and careened back down the hillside. Both dogs were on high alert for the rest of the hike, certain that there was more game for them to "hunt down." Thankfully we didn't see any more along the way. I really wish I had brought my camera with me to snap a picture of the elk. They were quite impressive from a distance, where I happily stayed.

It wasn't until we got all the way back to the truck that I realized at some point on the hike, my truck keys had popped out of my pocket. Awesome sauce! Aaaaaaaaaand I had left my cell phone in my locked truck. Not that it would have mattered a whole lot any way since we didn't get reception in the area that we were. I thought I'd give the window between the cab and the canopy a go to see if I could manage to squeeze myself through. Before I wedged myself in there so tight that I wouldn't be able to get out, I gave up. My options were to either try to grab someone's attention back on the highway and get them to drive me somewhere with a phone or cell phone reception (an option that was a little unnerving), or I could turn right back around with the dogs and go hunting for my keys. I think it goes without question that the dogs were game for the latter option.

I was pretty sure that the keys had popped out of my pocket during my mad scramble for collars, but I couldn't be entirely certain, so I had to keep my eyes glued to the ground the whole way. Naturally, the keys had popped out at the location of the elk sighting, which was also our half way mark. I was incredibly relieved to find the keys and we started running back to the truck. We were losing light, I had doubled my intended hike time, and I was freaking hungry, so hence the reason for running. Heffner fell right into step next to me, not letting me out of his sight while Bess ranged ahead thinking that it was awesome that I was finally trying to keep up.

We made it home in one piece, albeit a little more exorcised than I had originally intended. I'll use that as part of my excuse for not going quite as long on our run tonight.;0)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This is why....

This is why the big dogs need daily exercise!

This is also why Ruthie remains in a safe container of some sort when said big dogs are feeling neglected.

This is also why I don't "play" with Heffner when he needs to be exorcised!

Monday, July 18, 2011

RAE Leg #6

The final part of my weekend wrap from what is now TWO weekends ago, is specifically focused on Sunday the 10th. On that day I had Bess entered in a dog show and rally trial up in Centralia, WA. My hopes were that Rally would not conflict with conformation. The conformation judge for that day had previously put Bess up for a major reserve, so I was understandably hopeful that he would like her again that day and did not want to have to deal with a conflict. When I got to the show grounds it was actually looking like we would have both our Rally runs done and over with before our ring time in conformation. Sweet! Ha! Too bad that didn't actually happen. Unfortunately the Rally ring was running about a half hour behind schedule, which meant that our Rally runs absolutely would conflict with conformation. Bleck!

I will say this, our Rally judge for that day was AWESOME!! She was so accommodating and willing to work with me when I started stressing out about my potential for a ring conflict. She was doing her best as well to keep things running as smoothly and quickly as possible and overall I just liked her in general. What ended up happening is that I did a whole lot of flat out running back and forth between the Rally and conformation rings to fit everything. In the end we made it for everything, but I was quite sweaty after it all.

I'll start out with the good news first. As you can tell from the title, Bess qualified in both of her runs to earn RAE leg #6 (the Excellent map was the only one that left when I picked up my maps). While the entries were small for both classes, she was in the ribbons for both with a score of 94 and a second place in Excellent B and a score of 95 and first place (which got us a cool towel!) in Advanced B. If I were to feel like misleading you, I would leave you with those scores and placements (there were four entries per class, so not too shabby) and the mental image that things must have gone well. I really wish that they had. For all the effort and work that I'm putting in to try to figure out what the heck will get Bess up and keep her up without her being dependent on it, our performance in the ring did not have a whole lot to show for it. Yes, we made it through and technically did well enough to earn scores in the 90's. However, Bess' performance was not good. I really wanted to apologize to the judge afterwards. "Sorry that you're being so accommodating and you have to stand through a performance like that twice." She can do better. She can go into a ring and not look like I spent the previous few minutes outside of the ring beating her until she hardly wanted to move. It was painful, embarrassing, and frustrating. This dog has potential in there, I've seen it. But for the life of me, I can't seem to fully unlock it and it's driving me batty!

We did thankfully have an obedience lesson the following day, which was really nice because it allowed me to talk it through with our instructor and see what else we could try. We've got some things that we're trying out and I'm hopeful that they will work. I'm not about to give up, but this is definitely more difficult than I thought it would be. I technically mentioned that I have Bess entered in a Novice run this coming Saturday. My original plan was to keep the entry in an effort to keep me motivated to train and work through this and then make my final decision the day of the show as to whether or not we'll actually run. At this point, actually stepping into that ring would only serve as a negative reinforcer that will do absolutely nothing to help us, so I will be pulling her entry. We've still got Rally on Sunday and conformation on both days.

On the up side of things, Heffner is having a blast with our informal as well as our formal training sessions. The more turns and difficulties I throw into our heeling patterns, the more animated he seems to get. Having a toy still amps him way the hell up and it works better to do a few longs distance recalls to work a little bit of the crack out of his system first. And Ruthie has learned that when in doubt, sit. I'm not working her hard, but I am working her and she's coming along pleasantly.:) Since it's technically summer now (not that you would entirely know it by the way our weather has been behaving) and I now have three dogs, Heffner is getting the summer off from obedience lessons since he just kind of turns to mush anyhow, and Ruthie is taking his place!

I hope that everyone's Monday has been as painless as possible!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bora's Visit

I posted a little video on Wednesday of a hodge podge of clips that I took while Bora was visiting us. I didn't go into a lot of detail previously because I've been kind of throwing things together on the blog, but now I have a chance to go a little more into detail.

We came to know Bora through her breeder, Stacie. Bora's parents had put in their puppy application and Stacie needed someone to do a home check as part of her application process. I was more than happy to do it, and that's how I came to meet Bora's parents, Megan and Bill! Once they brought her home, got her settled in, and good to go with vaccines and what not, they wanted to start socializing Bora to lay the appropriate foundation for a well rounded adult dog. Naturally I happily volunteered to go to their house and visit as well as volunteering my house for them to come and visit. Along the way they mentioned that they were getting married in July and were wondering if we could puppy sit her for a few days while they dealt with all the craziness that ensues around a wedding. Do you really think that I would say no to puppy sitting a 12 week old great dane???? And that's how Bora came to visit us for a few days.

It actually worked out really well that we had Ruthie at the time as well because then Bora would have someone closer to her size to interact with. While the big dogs can mean well, they play rough and are very much used to bashing each other around. A gangly puppy doesn't stand a chance. And puppies being as curious and excited as they are, usually try to join in on the fun and the whole situation is usually not such a great thing. And since we didn't have Ruthie fully integrated into our group, Ruthie also had someone to hang out with. Two thumbs up!

Bora was dropped off on Thursday morning and I spent about an hour at the house hanging out with her and Ruthie in the back yard. This was Ruthie's reaction when I told her that Bora was her new personal trainer:
I still needed to get back to work and Bora was starting to act like she was a little tired, so I just decided to bring her back to work with me (after calling my office mate to make sure that she was okay with it). Thankfully I've got the office, so having her there in her crate negated the need for me to make another trip home and back to let her out to pee. She was an incredibly well behaved little girl in her crate and most people didn't even know she was there until they saw the crate. She spent the majority of her time sleeping like this:
I took that Friday off for multiple reasons. It just happened to work out perfectly to soak up some puppy time! I have to admit that I didn't actually take very many pictures. It's amazing how much time can pass just watching a puppy play! Ruthie was quite amusing. While there were people around, she didn't really interact much with Bora. Once the people were out of sight, and as long as you snuck up to a window without her realizing you were watching, you could actually catch her playing with Bora. As soon as she realized someone was there she would totally stop what she was doing. Unfortunately this made it really difficult to actually catch video of them playing.

It was really fun having a dane puppy in the house for a weekend! And get this, she totally slept through the night all the nights! Even the first night she was here, she didn't make a peep until I made my way downstairs to start the process of letting the dogs out for their morning pee! She was a very well behaved puppy during her stay and we were quite happy to have her!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Catch Up!

Boy do I have some catching up to do!! Feeling a little frazzled at work has lead to me coming home and just wanting to mentally check out. Yesterday morning-ish I was given a print out of a spreadsheet that has every single work day scheduled out for me for the next year. And as though that wasn't exciting enough (please read the sarcasm here), we then talked about the next year of the project, which has basically the same outcome. That's two years of my work life already scheduled out for me. Ack!! I know that it will all work out once we get going, because our group is thankfully really good at pulling this stuff off, it's just a wee bit daunting to think about. I have hypothesized that if I make it out of this project without a multiple personality disorder or a drinking problem, it will be a small miracle!

Now on to the actual reason for this blog, my wonderful, sanity maintaining dogs!! We've had a lot of fun stuff going on over the past couple of weeks and I'm going to try and more adequately catch people up on that. This post could be lengthy, or I might actually pull off a relatively brief update. We'll see what happens at the bottom of the post.;0)

As I mentioned previously, two Tuesdays ago, Adam and I headed up to the lake with the big dogs for some swimming. Since I have some favorite more out of the way beaches that I like to frequent, we left Ruthie at home because I didn't want her over heating on the way down to the water. Heffner had a BLAST going swimming! Bess did her usual and only went in up to her chest. Then, because she's going through a false pregnancy right now, she spent most of the rest of the time that we were there making nests around the largeish bushes around the beach. All I can say is that I am thankful that's the only weird personality quirk that crops up around these false pregnancies. Since I was actually swimming in the water part of the time with Heffner, I left Adam up on the shore with the camera and he had a good time taking pictures. Because Heffner has a habit of pawing me while I'm in the water, I always make sure that I'm wearing a suit that is Heffner appropriate and cannot get easily dislodged. Trust me, a two piece bathing suit does NOT hold up to the "loving" swipe of a great dane paw! What I didn't realize at the time was that the suit that I chose is a little old and the fabric was getting a little thin. This is something that my darling husband very obviously realized, judging by the pictures that he took that I feature in.;0) Therefore, there are not a ton of pictures for me to share without feeling like I should be charging by the minute!LOL Here are the pictures that have made it through the filter:

And since I just realized that I could save the rest of my updating for a couple different posts and keeping the posting ball rolling, I will talk about Bora's visit tomorrow!:) Happy weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bora Video!

While my days haven't exactly felt super busy, the time has passed quickly without me being able to spare much time to blog. In an attempt to break out of that, though I don't have a lot of time, I do have a little video that I put together of some of the clips that I took of Bora while she was here. Enjoy!

Friday, July 8, 2011


I haven't blogged for a few days now and wanted to come up for air. Just the usual business, but I do have much to share! Tue. night Adam and I headed out to the lake with the big dogs and did some swimming. Well, Heffner and I did some swimming. It was the most lovely evening that we've had in a while! I'll have to see which pictures I'll want to post from that night. Adam was snapping pictures and unlike me, he tends to include actual people in his pictures. Which means that I am in the pictures in my oh so sexy one piece that I use for doggy swim time. Maybe I'll do some cropping of the pictures before posting.;0)

Our other excitement is that we have a 12 week old great dane puppy staying with us until Sunday!! Her name is Bora and she's from the litter that Stacie bred that I got to go up and visit in May. She is terribly cute! And really well behaved, especially considering that she's a puppy! I'll have pictures and video to post, I just need to sit down and do that eventually. I'm taking the day off today to enjoy it all and just to "relax." So most likely you won't get anything from me until tomorrow.

And I never did post anything about the 4th. It was a pleasantly mellow day. We went up to my sister in law's in Washington to watch the fireworks and took Ruthie with us. Ruthie was good and tolerated a lot of kids swarming her. Which I only really allowed a little bit of and then started doing my schpeal about how it's not a good idea to go up to a dog that's not yours and get all up in their face, no matter how nice they are. It also worked to give her some space by putting her in her carrier out on the deck with us. It was a nice relaxing day!

Happy Friday everyone!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

You'll have to excuse me for a bit here. I have a new toy, er pet, that is so different from what I'm used to that I'm having all sorts of fun with her. I will get back to more talk about the giant beasts of my heart, but Ruthie is new and I enjoy sharing tid bits about her.:0)

We're starting to fall into a routine here in the house. Heffner is getting more used to Ruthie, though we're still not letting the two out together off leash. We've been having some fun in the early mornings heading out to baseball fields to do some obedience related work. I'm building up the value of toys, as I previously mentioned, so that I have additional arsenal for reinforcement. Heffner loves it. Bess is starting to show interest. Ruthie just starting playing with a tennis ball of her own free will recently. Naturally, it's ridiculously cute and I'm now trying to capture it on video.

Friday morning I took the dogs individually to one of the grade schools near our house to do some obedience fun. Heffner had so much fun heeling and he's so much fun to work with when he's happy and animated, which he was the entire time! For Bess we're trying out a new plan of attack that our instructor gave us to try. I think it'll work, we'll see. Either way, Bess is really working my butt off. Did I mention that I have her entered in novice obedience in three weeks???? Yeah, I'm a little concerned. I'm not pulling the entry, because knowing that I've got that looming will continue to push me to work at this difficult task with her. I'm rather nervous though.

Friday morning Ruthie was a super star. I'm not expecting much of her right now. She has so much to learn. I'm just working on small things at a time. She's got sit totally figured out, so I decided to try working on a little bit of an automatic sit just to see what she could do. She kind of blew me away. After about five minutes, she had an automatic sit that I would say is about 90% reliable. Totally crazy! And her heeling is REALLY coming along. She liked to forge a bit, but I'd rather have her forging than lagging. I'm not being strict about the heeling, but she's getting there!

This weekend I also had the pleasure of bagging another three months worth of meat. I picked it up early on Thur. morning. By Friday evening, I had to kick some butt and bag up all of Bess' portion of the order because her chicken necks were NOT going to last until morning. But I got it done and just in time to go meet up with some friends to see Transformers!! I love those movies! My next male great dane is going to have the call name of Optimus Prime and the registered name will More Than Meets The Eye.;0) Love it!!

In the process of bagging all the meat and then cleaning the mess up, I got the ball studio back in order! Adam has been building some sub woofers for the media room for the past couple of months and I gave up trying to keep the ball studio passably clean with all of the dust that he was creating. Now that he's done and the meat is all packed, the area got a thorough cleaning last night. It was pretty nasty, but I'm thrilled that I can actually use it again! And just in time for Ruthie. And Bora!

Oh yeah, did I mention that we're going to have a 12 week old great dane puppy staying with us?:0) Bora's parents are getting married next weekend and she's going to stay with us for a few days. They came over this morning to visit, socialize, and see how Bora and Ruthie were going to get along. I think that the two of them will get along fabulously. Ruthie was a little tired when they got there and after having an energetic dane puppy bopping all over the place, she was definitely needing a nap. The two were quite cute though. And Miss Bora is adorable! I will be sure to take pictures and video while she's here.

That's about it for now. I'm hoping to take the big dogs out for some exercise once it starts to cool off a bit, otherwise we've been relaxing around the house. I hope everyone is having a great weekend!!