Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Boston Terrier for sale

I've started seriously reconsidering the whole "housebroken" thing. I'm really starting to see the advantage of permanently paper-training dogs. Not that we have anywhere in the house that could be devoted to "piddle pads," or that we'd really want to deal with them.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be awakened at 2:30 a.m. by a Boston Terrier Who Shall Remain Nameless (I'm lying - it was Ceilidh) scratching at my door because she really, really had to go out. Because Heaven Forfend she should actually go out when I told her to before bedtime. Noooooooooooooooooooooooo. Because at 11 p.m. when we went to bed it was a balmy 10 degrees F. And at 2:30 a.m. it was 89 million degrees below zero. And she simply cannot go out into the cold, cruel world by herself.

I really do love the little beast. But sometimes I wonder why.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dress rehearsal

Roc and I went to a Fun Match last Sunday - preparing for our upcoming National Specialty Obedience Trial. He got his Novice title at the Specialty Show three years ago, one of only seven dogs entered in the trial. Brussels Griffons are not really known as an obedience breed.

We had a great time on Sunday - he stuck the Long Sit and Long Down like a champ. A friend said he tensed up; with excitement, not fear, only when I poked my head out of the room we were hiding in to see how he was doing.

Roc's biggest problem in obedience is me - my stride is too long, my shoulder swings back, I heel too wide around the post. At least I remembered to wear my "heeling shoes." He's much closer to me when we heel when I wear them.

I got some good advice last week from a guest instructor at training class: shut up and let your dog do his job. He knows what he's doing.

That's true. The question is - do I?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Princess Golly

We may have mentioned that Golly is a diva, prima donna, princess - you get the idea. Not that she's difficult to live with. Absolutely not! As long as we do what she wants, Golly is the easiest-going girl around. She'll eat anything we put in front of her, and try to mooch off the others. We always say that if Golly doesn't eat, she's going right to the vet! She loves going for walks, until she's had enough. Then she stops and we either drag her or pick her up. (Guess which it is?)

Golly doesn't play with toys much, until she decides it's playtime. Then she picks up the toy of choice and bounces at me with the toy in her mouth. Very cute. And then we play tug or chase the toy along the floor (no higher than two inches off the floor or the game is over). For about a minute, maybe two. Then Golly is done playing. I actually got her to play for about five minutes the other day!

Golly had a very promising Obedience career. We got her CD (Companion Dog) title in four shows (three legs are needed) with a second place in one. We were training for her CDX, the next title and then Golly decided she'd had enough. After several years of frustration it was clear that we were done. Maybe we'll try something different, until the Princess gets bored.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Picture of obsession

Ceilidh's latest absolute favorite toy is a vinyl monkeyface. It used to have a rope going through it, but she worked like a demon to get rid of anything that would even vaguely resemble a handle that makes it easy to play tug with her. Now it's better. And don't try to take it away. You can't beat her and you definitely shouldn't try.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

As natural as nylon

I guess 2007 is going to be the year I stretch my comfort zone. For the last two weeks I've been Dax's handler in agility class. She made it very clear to us that she's my dog, not Fran's, and she would very much appreciate it if mom would come to class, thank you very much.

So I have. It's not that I don't enjoy it - I do. It's really fun to see Dax running and jumping and having a wonderful time. It's just that I feel like the inert, fat kid that I was years ago. I have never been an athlete. Never took dance, karate, soccer, baseball. Okay, I lied about the soccer. I went out for the intramural team in junior high and dislocated my kneecap on the first day of practice. Running back into the locker room. Got the picture?

So, when the instructor tells me to move along the course as I naturally would if I were holding Dax's leash, I kind of look at her with a blank stare. There is no such thing as "natural" movement to me. I worked for months, with a metronome, to get my pace right for heeling in obedience. And had to do it all over again when I got a dog with a different stride!

I hope Dax and our instructor are patient with me. I need it.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ceilidh's Disappointment

Ceilidh was very disappointed at Agility class last night. You may remember that last week she was a non-stop Agility fiend for a whole hour, only pausing for the other small dog in class to take his turn on the equipment set for the smaller dogs. Last night it was class as usual, running big dogs to little dogs, and Ceilidh had to wait her turn for half a dozen other dogs. We practiced some (to Ceilidh) non-fun stuff, like heeling, sits, downs, recalls, some tricks (give paw, spin, dance), but basically very low-energy things. She did not understand. And she lost focus three-quarters through class. I wanted to do a lead-out over three fairly easy jumps but Ceilidh had lost it. Oh well. Maybe next week.

Ceilidh just didn't understand why class wasn't all about her last night. (I wish it could be all about Ceilidh, too!)

The Boston Terrier Photo Blogger was nice enough to post Ceilidh's picture! She's smiling in the summertime...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cute enough for Overload?

We admit it - we're among those addicted to Cute Overload. We're prejudiced, we know, but we submitted this picture of Roc. Everyone should know how cute he is!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Pitiful puppy

There are very few things in the world more pitiful than a sick puppy. And I mean that literally. Dax seems to have a cold this week. We're watching her for more serious symptoms, but for now she's just snorty and snotty and miserable.

Our perspective is shaded by the fact that we're starting with a French Bulldog. Who is snorty, snotty and rather placid to start with. Usually, though, she's also fun, comical, silly and cuddly. Now she just sort of follows us around and wants to be held all the time. Poor baby.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Non-Stop for a Whole Hour!

As our loyal readers know, Thursday is Agility night! This is the evening that Ceilidh and, now, Dax, look forward to all week! Last night Hope screwed up her courage and took Dax through the class! I'm pretty sure they both had a good time, but Hope will have to write about that!

Ceilidh's in the Intermediate class which follows the Beginner class. Usually there's quite a bit of waiting for a turn, which gives me the opportunity to work on Ceilidh's focus. But last night our instructor had the class configured so that smaller dogs worked on a different set of obstacles that the bigger dogs. As it happened, there were only two smaller dogs and six or seven bigger dogs last night - so, no waiting around for our turn! Not even time to catch our breath! Ceilidh had a great time - 80 thousand jumps; a few million weave poles; lots of tunnels and chutes thrown in, too! Too much fun! I know enough not to get used to the idea, but it was great while it lasted!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Roc's in Love!

It's happened! My little boy is in love!

Roc generally gets along with dogs after he's known them a while. He's never been one to run up to engage another dog in play. He stands back, gets a good sniff then generally ignores other dogs. If he's known the dog for a long time, been in class with it, or it's been to the house, as soon as he recognizes it, he pays it no attention at all.

The only dogs he's ever engaged with are the ones living in our house, or other Brussels Griffons he meets. It's almost uncanny how Griffs always seem to recognize and accept other Griffs.

But now - all bets are off!!! There's a tiny little Yorkie named Charlee in the Beginner Class at training. And Roc's in love! She's the first dog he's ever voluntarily walked up to, sniffed thoroughly, and then started that little side-winding little flirty dance to attract! He's adorable.

At this point I'm afraid his love in unrequited. Charlee spent the first six years of her life being a backyard-breeder's brood bitch. Class, other dogs, and life in general are a bit much for her right now. But when/if she comes around, Roc will be waiting!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

In way over our heads

We've recently completely uncovered the depths to which we've sunk into the world of dogs. We were contemplating getting out of town. Actually taking a few days off for the first time in more than a year. And where do we choose? Louisville! And why do we choose it? the Derby? the rolling hills and beautiful scenery? No! The largest dog show in the country, featuring the Brussels Griffon National Specialty show.

Sick, I know.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Agility Party

Last night was our annual agility club's holiday party. I know - it's after the holidays, but our instructor doesn't want to interfere with any other party. And since it's on a regular class night (but doesn't count as a class) no one has any excuse not to come! It's one of those fun pot-luck, everyone bring a dish kind of party. Loads of food - way too much to finish, but everyone was having fun trying! Our dogs were invited too, of course, and all the Agility equipment was available for practice. It was fun juggling plates, cups and dogs!

I decided not to bring Ceilidh to the party but Hope and I brought Dax. Ceilidh does not have a good time in crowds. She is happiest when her world is controlled. Under stress, Ceilidh is likely to snap even though she doesn't mean it. So, I thought she'd be happiest in her crate at home rather than in the back room at Agility for much of the night. Of course, when we got home I played with Ceilidh for a good long time!

Dax had a great time, though. She's usually shy among lots of people, but we think she's coming out of her shell. Plus, we think she's really learning to like Agility. Hope even took her on the equipment! (We may even get Hope to take Dax in class!)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Battle of the Bulldogs

I've been wasting time on the French Bulldog Cuteness Wars, because they're right - all French Bulldogs are cute! I've entered three pictures of Dax and she's faring fairly well in the battles! Feel free to vote your own taste - but please don't tell me that any Frenchie is cuter than mine!