Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December in the woods

 An evening walk through the woods in the rain tonight. It smelled so good. So nice to be outside with my dogs. I love to watch them run.
The only way that Rye is showing his age is in the house. He sleeps more. Otherwise he is still a crazy bird dog. He runs and runs. He pointed some white river foam scum tonight. Amber almost believed him and honored his point for about a second then realized the mistake.

When we got home the dogs ate dinner and I sat down at the computer. Amber brought me her squeaky green dog and stared at me for a while before going to sleep on the couch. Rye is fast asleep beside me, his cheeks are puffing in and out, making little whining noises. Dreaming of that elusive foam...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

an antler for Christmas

I found this shed deer antler on a hike a few years ago. I like to collect bones and things like that so it has been living on my mantle ever since bringing it home. Every once in a while I catch Amber sitting in front of the fireplace, just looking at it.

A funny story to go with it: I had been dog sitting a friend's two bostons and she had just come over to pick them up. Her younger boston was showing off, playing with one of Amber's toys and Amber was watching her, whining a little, wanting her toy back, but she's not one to take it away from another dog. So she walked over to the mantle, reached up and took the antler down and brought it to her bed to chew on! I know she's been wanting to do that ever since I brought it home but she knew she wasn't supposed to have it.

I've been reading about what a good chew an antler is for a dog, it's not supposed to splinter, lasts longer than other chews and dogs usually love them. I was thinking of ordering some from a person online because I just didn't want to ruin my pretty antler! Well, I decided that was silly since I already had one. Merry Christmas, Amber.

Rye will chew on something for a few minutes and then give up, rawhides, bones, anything, he's just not that into them so I didn't think it would hurt his feelings if I didn't give him one.
Amber is thoroughly enjoying her present.
 She's finally learned to "hold". It took her a while, she didn't want to for the longest time.
I didn't intend for this to look as creepy as it came out, it was late at night and my camera doesn't do so well in low light.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rocks and ice

We took the dogs to a new trail yesterday. Lots of really cool rock formations.

Both Amber and Rye are quite the mountain goats, though Amber maybe a little more. I can point to a rock and ask her to get up on it and she'll stay for pictures.
When I ask Rye to stay for a picture he hangs his head low and does his impersonation of a vulture. Like this:
Most of his other pictures turn out like this.

This is the base of a really cool frozen creek/waterfall. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Vizsla has weak elbows!

And by The Vizsla I mean my Vizsla, not all Vizslak.

We survived the Pat Hastings Structure in Action seminar! Amber was evaluated and found to have weak elbows, and legs that are slightly longer than what they should be. Both of which could be why she injures herself so frequently. A vet was in attendance to help answer some questions and after looking her over asked me when Amber was spayed. Well, she was spayed quite young, at 5 months. I knew nothing about dogs then and just thought I wanted to get it out of the way as soon as possible. I wonder how much that early spay has affected her.

Also, the vet that was there was feeling around on Amber's neck and shoulder area and asked if she had ever had a neck injury. She has. She once ran full force into a tree chasing a squirrel. With her head. The vet said she was pretty stiff and could possibly do with some massage and acupuncture.

I was stupid and didn't ask all the questions I should have. I wish I had asked what her opinion on Amber doing agility was, what I could do to strengthen her elbows, how these things might affect her later in life, and what she thought would  be the best thing to prevent injuries considering Amber's weaknesses.

Miss legs in her new coat. My co-worker was going to throw this away since the zipper was broken so I took it and turned it into a Vizsla coat. It's Talbots.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Canine athlete

All she wants to do is run.
It seems like at least once or twice a year since Amber has been about three years old she has injured herself in some way. Usually just minor things that result in a limp for a few days but several times it has lasted longer and we took her for acupuncture twice. Both times the acupuncture seemed to fix the issue and it's never been such a great injury that she's needed surgery but it's driving me crazy! We've missed agility trials because of a few of them. 

Last week on a hike she came running up a hill back to the trail and I saw that she was holding her hind leg in the air. I put her on leash and we walked back to the car. I work at a vet clinic so of course I imagined all the worst things it could be right away. I made her rest with no walks whatsoever for three days and the lameness went away. Now we're back to regular LEASH walks.

I have been reading about strengthening exercises for agility dogs in particular and have started doing them with Amber every day. I hold her front legs around my waist and she walks slowly backward about 10' at a time. I have her back up onto our step with her back feet and then sit and stand, sit and stand on the step. Things like that. I don't know why I wasn't doing them all along. I guess I figured all the hiking we do was enough to keep them in good shape.

I am looking forward to a one day seminar on "Structure in Motion" this weekend, put on by Pat Hastings, a famous "puppy evaluator". Amber gets to be evaluated and she will tell me what she should and shouldn't be doing as far as activities! I am excited, maybe I won't like what she has to say though!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Weaving for turkey dinner

In the six years that I competed in agility trials with Rye he never weaved (wove?) like he does at home. He either missed the entry or else just went a lot slower. He was never very comfortable in the trial atmosphere. He is retired from competing but mainly because I couldn't afford to enter both dogs anymore! Also he was just so silly in the ring most times that it seemed like a waist of my money.
I know Setters aren't exactly known for their focus but darnit! I think he was a pretty good agility dog for an English Setter. He did get to go to the AKC agility Invitational last year but in hindsight, we should have stayed home. He was so nervous. He chewed through the back of his soft crate and just panted and panted. We qualified once out of the four runs. When we got back home was when the vet discovered his heart murmur. I almost feel like I caused it with the stress of the humungous trial.
So anyway, here he is a'weaving in his own backyard for a bowl of Thanksgiving dinner. He always loves doing his weaves there. I really should nail my poles down!

My turkey came out a little bit dry. Everything else was pretty darn good! Sweet potato pudding, no sugar, just a splash of milk, two eggs and baked for 20 minutes or so. Cranberry sauce, also no sugar, unless you count honey as sugar, it is raw honey though, supposed to be better, who knows...And an organic turkey! Almost not edible I cooked it so long. The dogs did not care though. They did turn their noses up at the cranberry sauce. Happy Thanksgiving all!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


About an hour and a half drive from Boise are the Bruneau Sand Dunes. An amazingly awesome place that just doesn't seem "Idaho".
There are no signs saying anything about dogs so we do let them run off leash. We've never had any problems. It is pure doggy paradise.
This past year my vet was doing a routine exam on Rye and heard a heart murmur for the first time. It's a grade I for now. We also xrayed his heart so we'd have something to compare it to later and it was very slightly enlarged. So far we haven't noticed any symptoms of heart disease and my vet said I didn't have to restrict his exercise, which makes us all very happy! Rye ran straight up that dune and let me tell you, I was breathing pretty hard just walking up it...
"I will follow you anywhere, Dad"
What makes the dunes even better is the reservoir in the middle of them. This was a few weeks ago and it was pretty cold and windy so Amber did not go for a swim.

Friday, November 18, 2011

We want to be there now!

To start this blog off right, how about some barks!
This is what we get when the dogs know we're getting close to one of their favorite hikes. I think it's interesting that they clearly know where we're going (or at least think they do) and when we take them somewhere that they're not familiar with, they don't bark.
I know it's a bad habit to let them do this but it makes me happy to know they're happy. The only time it's not so cute is right in your ear.

I thought this might be fun

Hello world! I was sitting at home last night watching the tv show "Parks and Recreation" and thought, wouldn't it be fun to make a blog called "Barks and Recreation"? I've never written a blog before but have been following several different blogs for a while now and thought it would be fun to have my own.
I live in Boise, Idaho with my husband two dogs and three cats. My dogs are my life and this blog will probably be exclusively about them.
So let me introduce my dogs!
 This is Amber, my Vizsla. She is 8 years old and my best friend. She enjoys hiking, swimming, eating, squirrel watching, quail finding, eating, snuggling on the couch, playing with me and agility. She needs three more double Qs in AKC agility to get her MACH title. I am both excited and impatient about that. We have to WAIT till February for the next trial.

And this is Rye, my English Setter. He is 10 years old, going on 3, and also, my best friend. He retired from agility this year with his AXP and MJP titles. He was never the most focused in the ring but he always had fun. He still gets to play agility in my backyard and we have just recently started learning some rally moves. He is picking it up a lot faster than I thought he would! He enjoys hiking, squirrel watching, eating, getting treats, playing with toys, stealing the toy from Amber, making us happy, being cute, and playing with his sister, Amber.
So, hopefully this blog thing turns out to be fun. Now, it's my day off and we are headed out for some hiking with the dogs, hope it doesn't rain too hard on us today! Barks and Recreation! I know, I'm a giant nerd.