Monday, March 29, 2010

I decided today that I am looking forward to Owen going to his new home on Friday. After weeks of housebreaking & puppy proofing I realized that although Owen will always have a place in my heart...he isn't my puppy. I have been in denial of this for some time and at one point, was trying to figure out how we could keep him and started looking at house rentals. What kind of crazy person would completely rearrange their entire life to keep a puppy? hand goes up too...I have done it on several occasions, and although the outcome is (usually) a great dog...the idea of moving at this time and for this reason just doesn't make sense. I have 2 terrific adult dogs and I really want to hold out for a cardi puppy.

For fun, I took a picture of everything I have pulled out of Owens mouth in the past 2 days (one more reason my patience is thinning). The black blobs are pieces of tar from when the roofers came this fall. A couple of pennies, hair pin and not to mention he chewed one of my favorite leashes in half (I replaced it with a nice light leather leash that now lives in my training bag). Oh, and today I chased him out of the bathroom with the toilet brush hanging out of his mouth. He was so proud and I was utterly grossed out. Yup...Friday cant come soon enough.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I took Liam to a Noseworks seminar yesterday in Hudson MA. I had a little understanding of what noseworks was going in. But had no idea how cool it was going to be to watch dogs work at something that is so natural and intrinsically motivating that actually keeps them mentally challenged with little expense and training!
Each dog started in the ring with a spot of food hiding in a box. The box was then put among a bunch of other boxes. The idea is that the handler shuts up, and lets the dog work to find the food. Once they find the food the handler rewards like crazy. They increased the difficulty of the 'course' by adding more novel items and removing boxes.
Each time we went in the ring Liam would get more and more excited. Watching him work a course was like watching a fish in water. That long beautiful nose of his finally found its calling! The other nice thing I liked about this sport is that I can easily transfer what I have learned to the shelter as part of the enrichment program.
I am really determined to hit the obedience ring this year with Gimli. We joined our pals in Rally last week and I forgot how much I love the structure of a class. I got some great tips on how to keep him engaged in heeling (our biggest challenge), so we were able to work on our new lessons today in between my puppy and family dog class.
Owen continues to fascinate, humor and sometime frustrate me. Puppies are hoot!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dangers in Fostering

Funny thing about having puppies in the house. I guess like having any sleep less, clean more, and are always watching them. One benefit of living in a small place is that I can watch the little bugger where ever he goes. I get up at 1:30 every morning for a pee run and then again at 5am..then at 7. But it doesn't bother me at all. Just to watch him play and interact with my dogs. Snuggling up to Liam's giant body or laying next to Gimli licking his ear and giving him little love chews.
I started a little 'training' this week. Targeting, baby downs and sits. He is smart and has great focus for a youngster. We also worked on the 'ready-steady-get it' was fun to have a puppy who plays with such gusto, but settles so easily. I would love to see him get a home with someone I know so I can watch him grow up. I am starting to get attached!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What I learned today...By Owen

1. Cats are prickly and leak air
2. Baby gates and tethers suck and should be outlawed
3. NEVER get between a corgi and food
4. When a big dog offers a tennis ball lesson...PAY ATTENTION!
5. pockets always produce food
6. Don't stand under a big dog peeing unless you want a yellow stain on your head
7. Baths suck
8. Beaches are cool...still undecided about water
9. Strangers = Food. Small squealing strangers = food. I like strangers.
10. If I try really hard I can chew a leash in half in just under 5 minutes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fostering...take 2

Well...Owen has made it back to our home. He has been given a clean bill of health, and the angels who took both the puppies when Flora became ill (who are NOT dog people) decided that 1 puppy would be a lot easier to manage than 2. I fully agree. Having just Owen here has been pretty easy. Now I can roll up my sleeves and really start enjoying him! He is a lot bigger than he was 12 days ago, but his personality hasn't changed much. Happy, confident and a little pushy. I think spending time away from his brother and living with my 2 dogs will help teach him some real life lessons.

Sleep well Owen for tomorrow you meet the world!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hard Goodbyes

This week has been one filled sadness and new beginnings.

We lost one of our fosters, Flora, last Wednesday. She declined quickly as she just couldn't fight the illness that ravaged her little body. For her short life, she was loved immensely and will always be remembered.Owen and Duncan are doing well and are living with a different foster family. This was my first foster 'gig' in years and was an emotional trip I was not prepared to take. Its easy to forget when looking at puppies rough housing, chewing on your toes and barking for attention that they are still babies and susceptible to illness.

Another hard blow was a dear friend loosing her heart dog in a freak accident. Another reminder that life is precious. There are no words that can fill the hole in someones heart when they loose a family member.

This week was also the grand opening of Finish Forward Dogs training studio. Although our friend and her dogs presents were missed at the festivities, the purpose of the studio is to help others enhance the relationships with their 'heart' dogs and to help make everyday they spend with their dogs fun, full of laughter and joy. If dogs teach us anything its that life must go on.

So I dedicate this blog to Bounce and its dogs like these that keep me and many other trainers, rescuers and dog lovers doing what we do. They will always be remembered and loved.