Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dogs that can't come

About 90% of the dogs I walk go to the park and run the trails, or play in a fenced in off leash area, but there are a few that can't come to the park. The majority of the time it's training or socialization issues. When I first started I would do anything and everything to get dogs to the point where I was comfortable having them off leash around a group of dogs. I won't do it anymore. I just dont want to deal with the potential problems.

One particular dog can't come to the park for a very different reason. Chloe the pug, cannot come to the park because she's so chunky and out of shape I'm seriously afraid I could kill her. When she first started, I tried taking her along with the other small dogs. She loved it!.....for the first couple of minutes, when it was cool out, then she laid down, tongue swollen up out of her mouth. I though she just wasn't used to it, I tried a few more times and it got worse and worse. Her owner thinks she's just fine and my pugs are too thin.......

Here's Chloe in my car after walking less than 2 blocks, it was sunny and in the 60s this day.

I feel terrible for her, and wish there was something I could do for her.

Friday, April 25, 2008

What I do, so the pugs can do what they do

I'm a dog walker, although it's usually more like dog runner, or dog hiker. I walk a lot of dogs. that's what I need to do, so the pugs can go to trials, classes, private lessons, eat their special home prepared raw diet and pay for everything else!

Here's Elvis srinting down the trail.

Here's one of my groups; Guido the big black dog, Gracie, Guiness the labby, Rani the Chessie, Elvis and Chloe the mini golden doodle is in there somewhere.

There's Chloe!! Doesn't she look like a stuffed animal?!

Guiness & Guido

The best part of my job, is the pugs get to come along for a lot of my day. They would get to come even more, but Guiness the lab is afraid of the pugs....they bully him and steal his tennis ball and then he sulks in the woods, afraid to come back out. Some groups the dogs are too big and too wild for the pugs, I don't want them getting run over.
Kittie even gets her ears cleaned, while having a mud bath. It's like a day at the spa for Kittie, I *love* how blissed out she looks here.

Mud bath for Abby too.

Rock climbing pugs.

Group shot. Notice how the girls (L-R Kittie, Abby & Rudy) are away from Willy....."eew a boy, we're not sitting next to him!"

I mostly love my job, but it gets tremendously more difficult the minute the weather gets nice. The park that's practically empty all winter is flooded with all sorts of people, people running, people biking, people with crazed dogs wearing prong collars on flexi leads...animal control likes to come to the park too when it's nice out. We're safe from them on the trails, but can't go anywhere near the open fields. When Winter comes, the park is turned back over to dog walkers. No joggers, only friendly mountain bikers and practically all the dogs we see are off leash and friendly, just waiting to play!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

agility marathon

It's been an agility training marathon around here lately!

Monday night Abby had a private lesson with Donna. We're working on teaching her correct jumping form, teaching to still take an obstacle even when I'm moving laterally away from her and to take any obstacle between me and her, unless she's specifically told not to. Part of this is teaching her these skills, and an even bigger part is teaching me when to use them and to trust her.

Tuesday night Kittie and Abby had class outside at Mona's, both did really well. I practiced drifting away from Abby in the weave poles and she stayed in, such a good girl!

Wednesday we had class at the barn. I split that class between the girls, both of them always still want to do more at the end of class, which is exactly what I want! Last week Abby fell prey to the poop left behind from horses.....which totally surprised me. This week I walked her all around the barn, clicker and chicken in hand, whenever we passed poop and she looked at me, she got a click and some chicken. I figured this may work, or she'd know where all the poop was and would go running off for a snack. She was a good girl and didn't even bother with any of it!

I sometimes worry about over training, most people with pugs would *never* train as much as I do, but I've been training a couple of nights a week, plus real short sessions at home for years now, and they just get more and more excited the more they practice. My dogs rarely eat a meal out of dish. I still hand feed about 80% of their food to them. Sometimes we do agility, other times it's trick training and sometimes I'll just hand feed them without asking for much more than a sit and their undivided attention, which isn't hard to get! I think undertraining when you trial regularly is a bigger issue; there's no opportunity for reinforcement except for verbal, there's a better chance at the experience being percived as stressful (long day, strange place, we act funny) and they're less likely to really fully understand their job. I think training really builds a love for what they're doing, much more than actual trialing.

Monday, April 21, 2008


It's defintely looking like Spring around here. I spotted this guy from the pug room/office window.
The girls left to right Rudy, Abby & Kittie.....not necessarily about Spring, but who's complaining?

My yard may still be a mud pit, but at least we have some pretty flowers

This was from the pug room window too. I'm not sure what kind of tree this is, but the flowers smell great.
All week is supposed to be perfect weather, low 70's & sunny!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Barrels = Scary

Just got back from two days at the Parkersburg Trial, and my dogs really stunk it up. Both seemed really stressy and weird. Kittie was running so slow, and just acting weird. She got off the table and walked past 2/3s of the weave poles in Standard on Friday, dropped a bar (my fault) in JWW She did manage to Q with a slow 4th place in Std on Sat, but dropped a bar that I just can't explain in JWW.

Abby almost Qd in Std on Friday....stupid table! Everything else was clean, but she was slow, which is just *not* like her at all and she was pulling to get back to her crate every chance she had. Dropped the same bar as Kittie in JWW....again because of me, I just don't learn!

When my dogs slow down, my handling gets really strange. I'm jerky because I want to keep moving, but don't want to get too far ahead, I start bending over trying to keep their focus...it's just ugly!

Parkersburg uses these big barrels as wings on a lot of the jumps, Abby seemed afraid of them (who knows what could be inside of them?! Crazy scary clowns could come leaping out of them), she'd be running straight at a jump and stop dead when she saw those barrels. I think that's just baby dog stuff, but still odd, she's not normally afraid of novel/different things. Just to top things off, Abby's been acting funny in hotels the last two weekends. She stays in her crate 99% of the time and Saturday morning she was scratching at the hotel door to leave and she didn't need to go outside.

So, that was Parkersburg. We have two weekends off from trials and for once I'm actually happy to be taking time off. Their next trial is Delmont. They get to sleep at home, it's a nice outdoor trial, with NO barrels as wings. Kittie has always done really well at their trials, so I'm going assume this was just a weird off weekend.

Here's a video of Abby's almost Q in standard.... I can't even look at the stressy videos of Kittie

Thursday, April 10, 2008

flip video

I bought a "Flip video" camcorder last weekend, but just started playing around with it today. Mainly I just got it to torture myself, analyizing agility runs, but it comes with movie making software......and I made this completely cheesy, yet oh SO cute video of the pugs playing in the park today. It's really funny, because Rudy was being such a brat with that toy, screaming her head off, pushing the others out of the way....being Rudy! But when it was made black and white and add in the music that came with the camera software, they all look like complete darlings.

But I don't get sick

You guessed it, I was sick. Late last week I was so tired at the end of the day and just did not have the patience to deal with dogs....that's really unlike me. Then by Saturday afternoon I was feeling awful, chills, sweating, scratchy throat. Yuck! I had to skip a usdaa trial on Sunday that I was really looking forward to. Since we never do usdaa the pugs are still mostly in starters. It's so fun to run them on the baby courses, especially Abby, since she really is still a baby. I also play and experiment more with Kittie in other venues. I'll try to see just how hard I can push and keep the bars up. Had to miss a private lesson with Donna that I was really looking forward to as well.

By Tuesday I was starting to feel better and against all common sense I went to class. This was the first week of outside classes. It was so nice to really have room to RUN! The girls did great. Abby was suprisingly composed. She was fast, but really acurate! Kittie was way out of control on her first run! Barking her head off so much that she came out of the poles, ran behind me (this is a major no no) and took an off course jump. She's been doing this at home and in classes here and there lately, I don't know if should be concerned or not. She can be such a softie, that I mostly just love to see her so wild. She settled down after that first run and really well.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

PDCA agility rankings

Who knew.....

SHOWS DATED 1/1/2007 THROUGH 12/31/07
Prepared and Submitted by Maria T. Guthrie and Cathy Johnson

1. CH. Candylands Sugar Baby MX MXJ 100.00 (+64.40)
Jesse Westover Pittsburgh, PA
2. Pennwoods Rising Star OA OAJ 100.00 (+64.29)
Jesse Westover Pittsburgh, PA
3. Stumblin Shaili’s Shenanigans MX MXJ 100.00 (+58.62)
Kelly K McFaul-Solem/Randy L. Solem Duluth, MN
4. MACH6 Pugsly Aaron Stein NAP NF 100.00 (+58.54)
Peggy Maes/Bennett L. Stein Newport News, VA
5. Chesapeake Bay’s Miss Abigail RN AX MXJ NAP NF 100.00 (+50.56)
Kathy Routten/Don Allison Hampton, VA
1. Kismet’s Small World, Isn’t It NA NAJ 100.00 (+53.54)
Susan Brereton Toronto, ON
2. Pennwood’s Rising Star OA OAJ 100.00 (+52.02)
Jesse Westover Pittsburgh, PA
3. MACH6 Pugsly Aaron Stein NAP NF 100.00 (+49.90)
Peggy Maes/Bennett L. Stein Newport News, VA
4. Samwise Gamgee OA AXJ 100.00 (+41.80)
Kent Spaulding/Darla Spaulding Antioch, TN
5. Little Miss Pebble Cakes CD RAE OA MXJ 100.00 (+33.48)
Vail D. Hanna Woodstock, GA

Kittie and Abby are the top two ranked pugs in standard and Abby is the # 2 ranked pug for JWW. Due to the way the PDCA compiles rankings we've rarely made it into the rankings, other than when my dogs were competing in nov./open It's all about how many seconds you are below SCT, so the newer dogs usually end up with a greater difference. Not this year, the majority of dogs are competing at the Ex. level. Pugs really have come a long way, and there are some great experienced teams out there right now.

Congrats to all!!