Friday, January 29, 2010

Help those in need

Last night was another training night here at Golly Gear and Dogs in the Ring for the C.A.R.E. volunteers at the Evanston Shelter. We're happy to postpone dinner for a couple of hours to keep the Ring open for them. The Shelter dogs had a nice meal waiting for them (aside from the treats they earned during training!) But I can't help but think about the pups wandering the broken streets and alleys of earthquake-devastated Haiti. It's been over two weeks since the horrible earthquake there and the need continues - for people and animals. Here are some great organizations that help:
American Red Cross
Association for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
National Search Dog Foundation
World Society for the Protection of Animals

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I've been working with Dax rather intensely on training her weave poles. For the 99.9% of the world not involved in agility - one of the exercises is a series of 12 poles, set 24 inches apart, that the dog is supposed to weave through. The most important part of the weaves is the entry - the dog must start with her left shoulder at the first pole. Once that entry is made correctly - the rest should be a cinch.
From the beginning of our training, our instructor Dee (check out her website has taught us that weaving is the dog's job - we're not to do the "weave-pole hula" (even if it is fun to watch), or distract the dog from her "job" by motioning, signalling, or doing any other silly thing that will cause our dogs to look at us rather than where they're supposed to be going.
Dax has been pretty reliable at the weave poles - but slow. We've been working on speeding her up to "squirrel-catching speed." We know she's capable of speed - we're not kidding about "squirrel speed." But the training is slow going, if you'll excuse the expression. One day she'll dash over to the poles and stop dead between them, just shy of putting a foot over center. The next time she'll get it right, but slow. And the next she'll forget entirely which side she's supposed to enter.
Sigh. I guess if it were easy, everybody's dog would be perfectly trained.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

It's Ceilidh's Bed

OK, I don't usually like to talk about really personal stuff, but this just cracks me up. I bought myself a queen-sized bed a few months ago and having been sleeping in a twin bed my whole life until then, it was something of an adjustment. When Golly was here, she still managed to take up half the bed - not an easy feat for a 12-pound dog. Ceilidh was not comfortable sleeping with the alpha - Golly, so she slept in Hope's bedroom. Since Golly's been gone, Ceilidh has slept fitfully on my bed. The other day I bought a new comforter. It's nice and soft, and goes quite nicely with my bedroom decor. Ceilidh's been going to bed early since then. - Fran
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rising star!

Maybe not - but our agility classes were featured on a local morning show today! The one and only French Bulldog - my very own Dax, weaving her way to stardom.

Or - view it at the tv station's site if the embed isn't working, which it doesn't seem to want to for me:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tango's coming home soon!

We're counting down to Tango's arrival (on the right). That's me (Fran) and Tango to the left. Tango's an 8 1/2 month-old Brussels Griffon (Black Rough). The breeder's not quite done showing him yet, so I have to wait a bit. I wasn't planning on going to the Brussels Griffon Specialty Shows in Louisville this year, but I am now! I can bring Tango home Sunday, March 21 and we're all excited about the prospect. Roc, Dax and Ceilidh all met Tango on Wednesday and they all got along (mostly). Roc accepted him as a fellow Griff. Dax wanted to play with him. And Ceilidh was more interested than anything (whew!). Since Tango is a little older, I can start training right away. I'm looking forward to it - he seems to be really smart and ready for anything! - Fran
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Friday, January 15, 2010

It's good to have friends

Hope and I took an overnight trip to visit a friend in Michigan and got back in town yesterday late morning. We had to go to the shop, of course - when it's your own business, even though you know everything is fine you're still compelled. And even though we were beyond tired (driving over 400 miles and not sleeping well) we decided to go to our Agility group's annual jump-start the year party. People and dogs all had a great time. Everyone brings food - and it looked like the group was feeding an army! This year we had the added attraction of being filmed for a local morning show. The dogs were filmed ricocheting out of the tunnel, zooming through the weave poles, leaping over jumps, and racing over the dog walk. Everyone was exhausted but happy. But the best part was talking to all our agility buddies. During a normal class everyone is too busy to chat (not to mention the fact that everyone's supposed to be paying attention). And I've been away for a while, so it was great to catch up on everyone's news. - Fran
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Friday, January 08, 2010

New Year Routine

I don't know about you, but the first few days of a new year are exciting to me. The year is fresh and anything is possible. This is the year that I'll write down all my appointments and not forget any. This is the year that I'll file papers right away and not let them stack up. This is the year that I'll spend five minutes, twice a day, training my dog! (Okay, let's not go crazy. Once a day is enough...) Something - anything. Just looking at me for treats!

I was inspired by a picture sent in an email. A friend has been training her Brussels Griffon in obedience, and she's at the point where he's taking his dumbbell. If you know anything about obedience you know that this is not always an easy accomplishment. Far from it. It took many months for Golly to take her dumbbell, much less sit with it or walk with it in her mouth. So here comes this picture with the little Brussels Griffon practicing the long sit exercise with his classmates - with dumbbells in their mouths! This is three minutes! Amazing. And there's another picture with him jumping over the bar jump with a toy in his mouth! Good practise for jumping with the dumbbell! So - thanks Pam - I'm inspired for the New Year! Starting off slow can lead to great things.
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