Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Working girl

Indigo loves her work! On my mornings off I take her to a neighborhood park with a tug toy and practice. We heel, sit, stay, down, stand, come, pivots, eye contact, all for that toy. The one we're using now is a Chuck-it brand floating bumper toy which is pretty strong but starting to tear in the center. She isn't always 100% accurate but is so fast and so willing to do what I want to get that toy. I love her eagerness. Her down at my side is always on my foot. She tugs like a Schutzhund dog.
Then the days I work she goes with me and I take most of her breakfast kibble with us. When I have breaks in my day I take her out to practice and she is just as awesome and focused. She sometimes gets to play with other dogs who are in boarding. She is learning to come to me briefly for a treat while playing but that is not her strongest feature.
At the school yard down the street, the moment I take off her leash she turns to me for the frisbee. Even if there happens to be another dog on the field.
Our beginning agility lessons are going really well, with that same focus.  We're working on just the basics in class, more eye contact, hand touches, basic clicker training. At home we work on some of the obstacles, she is fast and loves it. She has really good endurance.
All this awesomeness and I took her to my obedience teacher last week for her first lesson and she was horrible! She didn't want her toy or my string cheese. Her nose was on the ground almost the whole time we were there. I was so looking forward to showing off what she had learned! My teacher asked me if I had taken her anywhere else to work besides my back yard.
Then last night we came home from work and the sun was hitting my fall blooming crocuses just right to give them a funny look. WOOF! I wonder if her eyesight isn't 100%?
I have been reading about using just yourself as the interaction and reward and thought I'd try a little bit of that instead of the toy. She bites! She definitely likes it but is still so mouthy, it just doesn't work for me. She also goes looking for a "toy" after a few seconds. A twig works just fine for her if a real toy isn't available.
My husband keeps reminding me that she is still a puppy. I know that but I feel this giant pressure for her to become a perfect adult dog. What if she is never able to compete with me in anything? What if she keeps having these moments of being spooked by random things? What if she develops hip dysplasia?
I paid the $35 last week and she is now my registered AKC "canine partner". 
Here she is, my crazy, almost 10 month old girl. Indigo Jane.
I do love her.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

a weekend away

A weekend spent with family in the mountains was quite nice. A nearby wildfire made for smoky air though. We have been breathing smoke in Boise for a few months now so it was nothing new.
Yesterday morning I took Indi on a hike up the hill across the street. First stop, the overturned boat we had to pass by. She was very cautious of it but when I climbed up on it, she did too and then was fine.

Early morning light showed how smoky the air was.

Indi is a little cautious in the woods. Where Amber was queen of the jungle, perfectly comfortable in the wild, Indi is clingy and worries a little about sounds and does not wander very far. She is getting better and seems to enjoy it more and more the more I take her out so I hope she keeps getting better. When she seems worried about something I can almost always fix it by throwing a stick or a pinecone for her to go get.

She likes the walk back better than the walk in and gets very excited.

I don't want to stress her out but I also want her to enjoy hiking with us! It is part of our life. Do any of my readers have advice for us?
Also, she is much happier to be out hiking when Rye is with us. I had to leave him home the first time due to all the stickers he always gets on this hillside. It is a giant pain for both of us to brush them out once we're home. I have had to cut his tail feathering off a few times because of the burrs. 
Of course anything involving water makes her feel comfortable. This was this morning at "Fish Lake".

After retrieving her stick a few times we hiked around the rocks a little bit.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


And he hasn't competed in AKC all year. That's pretty sad for English Setters! Still very proud to get this in the mail! Wish we could go!

I did not accurately judge Rye's separation anxiety when I took him to the 2010 Invitational. At shows previously I always had Amber there with him and he was fine when she was in the kennel with him (yes, they snuggled close) or out with me. I knew he disliked being in a kennel alone but was always able to manage it. At the Invitational, I took Rye alone and he chewed a hole in the back of his soft crate while I was walking the course. He was then too anxious to have any sort of fun on the courses. We qualified once out of 4 runs.

My Snoop Dog. So full of life and joy! Always wagged his tail while running a course.

"I'm running for the chicken hearts and the hard boiled eggs!"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Eagle Island

Yesterday, labor day, my husband and I took the dogs to one of our favorite hiking spots, Eagle Island. There are lots of Ospreys though I've never seen an Eagle, and it's not an island.
Indi is crazy in the tall grass, it makes her want to zoom. She makes me laugh.

Rye loves it here. He spent many days hiking with Amber at this place. I wonder if he remembers.

 It feels like ages ago that she left me but it was less than 3 months ago. Why is that?
These photos were taken in October last year, before I knew anything was up with her.

 Is she not the most magnificent dog? Somehow, looking at these pictures she is almost a stranger to me. Did I really know this dog? Did I really have a dog named Amber? How did I get so lucky?

Rye still runs but not as far as he used to. He loved to follow Amber out into the field.

Rye stood still as a huge flock of starlings flew over the top of him.

There is an old slaughterhouse along the path out here. It is home to pigeons now. An old sliding metal door on the slaughterhouse makes a neat backdrop for my black puppy!

The only drawback to Eagle Island is that it is mainly used as a trail system for horse back riders. I went out to scoop poo in the backyard today and wondered for a minute why all of Indi's poops were so full of grass that they looked like little horse poops. 

Indi says, long grass, swampy mud holes and horse poo make me CRAZY!