Friday, June 17, 2011


Tonight my son Tom will graduate as co-valedictorian from Westmoreland. A high school graduation is similar to the graduation our dogs get from their basic obedience class. Whether the class is from our local Pet SMART, Mohawk Valley Dog Training Club, Syracuse Obedience Training Club or one of the other local training classes, graduation marks both a beginning and an end.

The end of class means that you and your dog have worked together to learn certain basic obedience commands and exercises. Hopefully you have developed a good working relationship and strengthened the bond between you. Training will need reinforcement however. You need to keep up with your commands, provide rewards and practice - even if you only mix the obedience into your daily life. In fact, mixing obedience into daily life is the ideal way to use your training.

My son will use math, English and science in his engineering courses at Cornell. Your dog will use sit, down and come in his daily interactions with the family - sit to have his leash put on, a down stay at dinner time, etc.

Graduation can also be a beginning. For the high school students it is a move to college, a job or perhaps the military. For your dog, it may be a decision to move on to a dog sport. Agility might be appealing or perhaps your dog loves to heel so upper levels of obedience call to you as a team. The basics you learned in your early training classes provide the foundation for almost every dog sport you might choose to try. If you and your dog dont' enjoy a certain dog sport, try another one. There are many options available to you in central NY.

May your dog class graduations lead to wonderful opportunities!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

OK, enough with the snow!

Some light fluffy snow, even a foot or so, would have been fine. Instead we got heavy, wet snow and then a crust of ice and sleet. This has made for treacherous walking for humans and dogs. Flash the Corgi tries to simply follow the rest of us, but we have steps, not a path which makes it hard for her at 13. I just carry her to the snow blown areas.

The ducks simply stay in - no complaints from them!
The sheep, goat, mini horse and donkeys use the paths broken by the horses. And Tom and I shove our way through drifts to the manure pile.

I do love snow and hope to cross country ski tomorrow but I think I could manage with quite a bit less :).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hunkering down in snow and cold

We have had at least some new snow daily for days now - none of the big storms that hit the East Coast made it as far inland as us, but we probably have a foot or so accumulated by now. This has made for rough times for some of our animals, especially when coupled with wind and/or cold temperatures.

The ducks are basically staying inside. I am not sure they could walk at all in snow up to their chins! They get warm water in their bucket plus plenty of food and hay to eat and nest in. The ducks seem happy.

The sheep, along with Zoom the goat aren't so thrilled with everything. While they also get warm water, they end up outside for about 8 hours every day. There is hay outside and more hay when they come in, but particularly the older sheep "ladies" - Klara and her younger sister Mrs. Tommel - would probably be happy simply staying inside. I need to start cutting up apple for all of them at night.

The donkeys, Sugar and daughter Spice have mixed feelings. They like going out but figure an hour might be plenty of time. All of the equines have been getting apple or carrots every day along with their hay plus warm water so they are happy about that. Sugar, Spice and Frodo the mini horse do not get any grain. They stay round just on hay.

The horses are all "seniors" and they get grain plus hay inside and out as well as their apples or carrots plus an arthritis supplement. They are the main group that truly wants to go outside very day.

Fire (short for Firecracker - he was born on the 4th of July) pretty much lives in his bed on top of the heated water pump area in the winter. He hops down to eat or eliminate, then back up. He is almost round enough to dribble now and truly looks like a big basketball!

Well, off to the barn - I suspect everyone wants in early today with the cold and the blowing snow!
Deb E

I LOVE to help with barn chores! I like it best in warm weather when I get to move my ducks around. Sometimes I move the sheep around for Deb too - not always when or where she wants, but they need work too. Plus I love going in the haymow - I am so cool because I can hop right up on the hay mow floor (probably about 4 feet straight up). Plus I run through the fields looking for bunnies, mice, wild strawberries, all kinds of neat things! I can hear mice and voles under the snow in the winter and sometimes I pounce to catch them. Not too successful, but I keep trying.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Obedience on the fly

I had Hokey entered in Wild Card Utility obedience both days at the Syracuse trials. We had a lot of fun and for a dog who has not had much formal utility training he did quite well. I do see some things we will have to work on :)

On the Directed Retrieve for the gloves, Hokey ran right out to the correct glove, then turned, smiled at me and downed with the glove between his front legs. A perfect tracking article indication! So we need to add the retrieve to that!

Then on scent articles, I chose to only have him do leather. He ran right out and indicated the correct article - interesting since he had never worked a pile but on his own decided to choose the article that smelled the most like me. Again, he wasn't sure about the retrieving.

Still, we are on our way and will now actually start training for utility!

Hokey's sister, Tiara, did a stunning job in Excellent B Rally both days - earning a 1st and a 2nd in very big and tough classes.

Tia, Kate's little Aussie, held it together and managed to squeak out her first CDX leg. Six dogs qualified that day, so no placement but she is "on the scoreboard" now!We decided that Kate has finally earned a CDX herself - she put one CDX leg each on her Corgi Flash, on Hokey and now on Tia!
Deb E

From Hokey:
Man, they have some really stupid rules. Why doesn't the person come pick up the glove or the article after the brilliant dog locates it? Why should the canine half of the team have to do ALL the work?

Tia was a bit insufferable on the way home. A lousy little green flat ribbon - big deal! *I* got better scores for my CDX legs AND I got placements!! At least Deb had the good sense to realize the Queezle and I at least deserved to split a cheeseburger on the way home - no double though.

I am going to train like crazy and show that stupid Aussie how a REAL dog does REAL obedience like Utility!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Where's the snow?

Remember the old Wendy's commercials with the old lady crying, "Where's the beef?" Well, here I am asking, "Where's the snow?" We were supposed to get a big storm and I admit, I was hoping Tom would get a snow day. We were probably two of the few people hoping for the storm. Actually, lots of local students were doing snow dances I bet!

It looks like the snow may show up later so there might be early dismissal.

Of course, I then want it over and cleaned up by tomorrow so we can go to the SOTC obedience trials. Here in upstate NY, 8 to 10 inches could and would be dealt with easily.

I love a blizzard as long as the power stays on. We don't have a fireplace or woodstove so if the power goes out we get chilly fast. And the loss of running water is a hardship caring for the animals. Still, if the house stays warm, it is nice to snuggle on the loveseat with one or two dogs, a good book and hot chocolate.

Housework should never be done on big storm days. After all, you would hate to have the power go out when you were halfway through vacuuming a room :).
Deb E

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Habits and patterns

I think of all of our animals, the sheep and ducks may be the most set in their ways. We are shifting the sheep to a new stall to make it easier to clean in the winter - actually shifting half the sheep. The group generally separates out into two groups - one group of 3 sheep plus Zoom the goat and the other group with 5 sheep - when they come into the barn.

So the goal tonight was to move the group of 5 to the new stall. Easier said than done!

At first, we had Queezle down with us, though she was in the milk house most of the time. Queezle is not an ideal stock dog, as opposed to Hokey. The sheep don't trust her and the fact that she was in the barn, made them hesitant to split into their usual groups. It was not pretty.

Then Kate suggested we simply put them all back out, shut the door and go up to the house to feed all the dogs. We then came back down dogless and were able to separate them fairly well - though Abbie slipped into the 5 sheep group so we ended up with 3 and 6. Still not bad and now there is a group in the new big stall.

Sheep are characterized as being stupid, but when it comes to things that affect their survival, they are quite smart. They are excellent at reading the intentions of dogs and humans. Tomorrow I will use Hokey to help me - they trust him and work well with him.
Note, the lovely photo was taken in warm weather - we currently have snow and ice :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hokey starts the New Year off right!

I convinced Deb to let me do the first post of this year. *I* have always known I was destined for great things but now everyone seems to agree with me!

I also know that some dogs don't get along with their siblings/littermates but I like mine - maybe partly because I don't see them all that much so they don't get a chance to bug me. I do see my sister T quite often and she is golden because she has given me some really cute toys over the years - my fox wubba and my Wally whale for example.

However Sister Poppin, way down in North Carolina, is my favorite sibling right at this minute. Deb was going through mail and there was a really nice card from Nancy and Poppin congratulating me on my CT. But the best part of all is that in the card was MY VERY OWN ARCH CARD for McDonald's!!!!! So I can buy my own double cheeseburgers!!!

Of course, I am limited by not driving (at least the car type of driving - I have started driving sheep and ducks) and Deb says a steady diet of double cheesburgers is not real healthy, but still. WOW!!! I bet I am the only Terv, maybe even the only dog!!, with an ARCH card :))
Hokey, never shy, never modest
PS I am not sharing with the other dogs of my family (the ones I live with) though I might share with Deb! Unless Dani threatens me in which case I will share with her.