September was a full month, but at a much more doable pace. I didn't have weekend days that were double and triple booked. And I wasn't doing any travel for the entire month!! Which also meant that I had the time to have a regular training schedule with the dogs!! July and August were full of fun outings and great times, but I was really looking forward to being home and re-establishing a more normal routine. One of the weekends we did head down to Silverton to hang out with my parents. The dogs had a pretty miserable time while there...
Dominic was finally old enough, the weather moderate enough and the location ideal that he got to come along on one of the group hikes I planned! We started off with a light hike to Niagara Falls. You read that correctly. There's a Niagara Falls in Oregon. I know. Weird. It was not the most impressive looking waterfall considering it was September and we hadn't had much rain throughout the summer. But it was a fun little hike!
After that, we headed to the beach! It was a GORGEOUS day out a Proposal Rock in Neskowin. This was Dominic's first time getting off leash on the beach. He was not thrilled about the water and made sure to not even get his feet wet, but that boy can seriously make for some pretty pictures!
Now that I was able to make time for it during the week, I started taking the dogs out to various locations to do distraction training. Part of that training was working on stays. And I figured that since I was there and had my phone, I might as well take some pictures during those stays. ;)
One of the parks we went to even had a little fairy and miniature garden gnome set up off to the side of the path. That my friends, is how you know you live too close to Portland....
After Dom's breeder saw some of the pictures I'd taken of him and how he was maturing, she asked if I could get a good stacked shot of him to potentially put into an add. At that point, I realized that I had done basically no conformation training with Dominic. With each subsequent dog I somehow do less and less actual conformation training, to the point with Dominic that he hasn't even been to a single conformation class. It's not the end of the world and it's not like a performance sport where the dog really does need to understand what's expected of them. I can use food, I can chatter at him constantly throughout his time in the ring and I can touch him as much as I want to. The only thing that he really does need to get used to is me manipulating his legs in ways that he's not used to and eventually get used to the judge doing the ole testy check (I feel really bad for boy dogs in conformation!). But hey, we'll give the ole stacked shot a go and see what we come up with. I hit up my friend Andy on relatively short notice and asked him if he'd be willing to help me get the shot I was looking for. While he hasn't shown dogs, I explained how Dominic needed to stand and at what angle the shot was preferred to be at (since he's built pretty well and I'm not looking to hide anything, we wanted the full on side profile shot to showcase everything). I also warned him that Dom had basically no specific training for this and I wasn't sure how cooperative he was going to be not only for me hand stacking him, but hand stacking him in a distracting outdoor setting. Once we had everything figured out and were heading to the park location, naturally, it started raining. And continued to rain the entire time we were there. Despite the rain, Andy got some shots that I am absolutely in love with!
My little puppy was starting to look grown up! Dom's breeder picked the second picture to include in an add for the Great Dane Review issue that was coming out during the national specialty in October. The add was to showcase Dom's sire's get. I was pretty pleased with how Dominic did out at the park. I was doing things with him that he wasn't used to me doing and he was behaving in a pretty distracting environment while it was raining on us to boot. Because I do so many other random things with him, I was pretty confident that he would sort of figure things out based on my body language and general ways that I moved and signals that I gave him that I could pull from other things that I've asked him to do. Now I just need to convince people to cup my dog's balls and we'll totally be ready for the conformation ring! ;)
Again, I didn't take a ton of videos during the month, but I put a small compilation together of what I did take. I hope everyone had a delicious and relaxing Thanksgiving!!