Sunday, February 16, 2014

When The Cat Ruins Months of Training

Question of the Day:

What does THIS
Sweet, sweet Blossom in a dog crate

Sweet, sweet Rip eating his dinner in a tunnel

Have in common?

Let me explain using badly drawn pictures, and a photo or two.

For Christmas, I was lucky enough to get something that had been on my wish list for a long time:

A heavy-duty chute!  From my favorite dog training store J and J Dog.
What more could a girl want?

Rip has already worked on the chute during agility class, but I wanted one at home so I could get a more solid, quick performance on this obstacle.  

I had the chute upstairs to practice in the living room on a daily basis.  The first days went really well - Rip liked the chute and I was able to send him to the obstacle from many different angles and distances.  He seemed happy.

Then, one day, Blossom saw us practicing.  

Rip was happy.
Tail up and wagging.
Ears and head up.
Looking forward to the obstacle.
Blossom watched.

Rip entered the chute, thinking happy thoughts.
Then, like a cat on a mission, Blossom ran to the chute, too.

And then…
Just when Rip was pushing his way through the closed part of the chute…
Blossom pounced on him from behind.

He ran through the rest of the chute,
but would go near it no more.
Head down, ears back, and tail tucked,
 Rip wanted nothing to do with the chute.
Blossom seemed pleased.

I was not pleased.  I now have a dog who, after months of training, REFUSES to go near the chute.  Not just go INTO the chute.  He won't enter the room if the chute is set up.  

I tried clicker training him to get close.  This worked to get him in the room, but didn't work to get him near the chute.  And he still looked unhappy.

So I removed the closed/fabric part of the chute, and started feeding Rip in the open tunnel portion of the obstacle. At first he was even wary of that, but his comfort level is growing. Once he's comfortable with this, I'll add the fabric back and continue to feed him until he's comfortable again.  Then we'll try re-training the obstacle from scratch the very beginning.

Meanwhile, whenever I train Rip now, I put Blossom in the dog crate.  Why?  Not just because of the chute, but because she started to ambush Rip on dumbbell retrieves, and taunt him while we were working on stays.  Don't feel bad for Blossom, though, I only train for 10-15 minutes at a time, and she can watch most of our work from the crate.

So that's what this...

…and this have in common.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happy Westminster Best In Show Day!

Since we missed the Christmas cookie baking season entirely, The Small Human and I decided to make Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show cookies instead.

When I colored all the frosting purple, The Small Human asked me why.  I told him it's because that's the Westminster Kennel Club color.  To which he replied, "Then don't we need yellow, too?  Their colors are purple and yellow."

Maybe I am raising him right :)

I'll work on my purple for next year (I think I need a dash more red to really hit the color), and add some yellow cookies too, of course.

So today my co-workers, our veterinary clinic's staff, and The Husband's co-workers will all enjoy some purple Cardigan sugar cookies in honor of Westminster Best In Show Day.

The Small Human and I are extra-excited now that a Cardi won the herding group.  Ok, maybe it's just me that's extra-excited.  I can't wait to watch Best In Show.  And that's not just the sugar talking.

Go Coco!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ziggy the Cardigan Corgi IVDD: Cart Dog in the Snow

Since it seems that Snowmageddon is taking over much of the country, I thought I'd share what happens to a cart dog in the snow.

The cart wheels will most assuredly get snowy.

When standing outside and gazing around the yard,
the cart dog gets snowy.

When the snow isn't too deep, the cart dog can run around the whole yard,
making tracks in the snow. 
In this case, running to the tree that contains the vexatious squirrel.

When the snow gets deeper, the cart dog can follow the 
paths the humans have carved through the snow.

If the cart dog deviates from this path,
 and tries to follow the path made by the other dog, 
the going can get a bit slow.

Especially when the other dog's path gets really narrow.

Rendering a cart dog unable to move.

So then the cart dog must bark for the humans.

And give them this look when they come to rescue him.
To me this says, "It's about time!"

And in case you'd like a little live action feature (taken today!), click below:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Attention Cardigan Owners! Please Take the OFA Health Survey.

Hi, Cardigan Corgi owners -- maybe you've already heard about it and filled out the survey, but if not, please click the link to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) Cardigan Corgi health survey.

The survey is for dogs - alive and deceased - that were born after 1989.  I've filled it out for all four of mine.

The survey gathers valuable info (see OFA survey page) that can help our breed club help Cardigans.

Please help keep the breed healthy and flying high!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cat Update - Meet Blossom

Occasionally the felines, known to the dogs as The C*ts, make an appearance on the blog.  I don't post specifically about them very often, but as furry residents, I feel they need a little time now and again.

I want to take this time to introduce our newest feline, Blossom.

Blossom joined our home over Labor Day weekend, 2013.  Her arrival wasn't planned, but it also wasn't unexpected.  You see, The Small Human is a cat person.  The dogs are finally growing on him a bit, but he strongly prefers the cats.  And the cats know it, snuggling with him and generally sucking up.

The cats started their indoctrination of The Small Human very early.
Earlier than this even, they snuggled with him, allowed him to carry them around, etc.

We've had 2 cats since before The Small Human was born.  One of these cats was Duncan, whom I'd had since 1995 - when he was a year old.  Duncan was a lovely, snuggly cat - deaf since birth, and very laid back.  Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Duncan in August.  He was 19 years old, and had been geriatric for a long time.  We were sad when we lost Duncan.

Our dignified Old Man Cat, Duncan.  We miss you.

The Small Human was sad too, but he very soon started talking about getting another cat.

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend, when I (foolishly) decided to take The Small Human with me to drop off some towels, leashes, food, etc. at the local animal shelter.  Of course he asked to visit the cats, and promptly fell in love in with nearly all of them.

After (not) much discussion on the way home, and a brief call to The Husband who was out of town, we decided to go back the next day and select a cat.

We were lucky enough to meet a volunteer at the shelter who came over after work every day and snuggled with the cats.  He was a true cat lover and shared with us which cats were the most snuggly.  Our #1 criterion for a new cat was snugg-ability, so we were VERY happy to have met him.

And this is how we ended up with Blossom.  She and The Small Human hit it off right away.

She looks so sweet.  How could we resist?

And she wasted no time sucking up to The Small Human. 
I think she knows exactly what she's doing here - wrapping him around her little paw.

Unfortunately she didn't hit it off with the dogs right away.  We let her out when the dogs were in their crates, and after she saw them she REFUSED to enter the part of the house where the dog crates are located.  I thought we were in for a very long road.

Within around two weeks, though, Blossom decided she LOVED the dogs, and interacts with them more than any other cat I've known.  This is both good and bad, as you'll see in future posts.

Rip is worried.  Why does this c*t not run away?

And why does it take over our beds?

Ziggy soon called her bluff and decided to just start sleeping with Blossom.  

She soon won Rip over, too.  Amazing.

Oh, and I've created a page on the blog dedicated to The C*ts - which they demanded as part of their 2014 contract renewal.  I'll update it periodically as per said contract.

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