Friday, December 9, 2011


Letty graduated from Puppy Class last night and that included running through the test for the AKC STAR Puppy Program.   Pups do a series of exercises that include a recall, sit, down, walking on leash, giving up a treat, jumping over some low jumps, running through a tunnel, and allowing the owner to handle feet, tail, etc.  Letty did well, and it was great fun to watch her classmates perform.  Amazing how far some of them have come in six weeks!   I was very pleased with how well Letty did.  It was a terrific class, lots of fun, and Letty learned so much and developed a lot of self confidence.  I'm sorry it's over!

Unfortunately, most training schools have classes for pups up to the age of 4 months (when starting) but they are not eligible for the next level until they are 6 months old.  Letty is now 5 months old so will be sitting out for awhile.  I need to find places to take her every week to keep up the socialization.

She goes camping at Alana's this weekend.  We'll miss her, but it will give me a chance to put some extra work into Sparkle who also did well last night in her second week of class.  While Sparkle did her 6:00 class, Letty stayed quietly in her crate and watched all the activity - good dog, Letty.  That's another thing dogs need to learn.   While Letty was in her 7:00 class Sparkle fussed a bit but was not as bad as I expected, and she spent part of the hour being tended by one of the Pet Junction employees.  More useful socialization as Sparkle got to "help" at the counter!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Never Say Never

Puppy Camping is starting to fall into place.  One spot for a few days this weekend, and multiple weeks in Canada with kids over the Holidays.  Have to decide which dog matches each "spot" the best. 

Have to admit I would prefer to have Letty home for Christmas though!   Just amazes me how sappy I am about this silly little dog. Never say never! I have always vowed that I would never keep a dog with a higher tail, and certainly would not keep one that wasn't bold and fearless in all situations.   Letty flunks both.  Her tail is much better thank goodness, but it will never be perfect and I accept that.  And she still prefers to be handled by me and a select group of "special friends".   She's been that way from the age of 4 weeks, so I guess that's who she is.  She is not a "pet me" dog with strangers, and prefers that they just leave her alone.  She's fine in new situations and gets along well with other dogs, just has no interest in being handled by strangers, unlike her father and most other Argus kids who consider everyone a friend.  Have not had a Dal like this for many years, although it used to be quite common in the breed.  But she is so darned pretty, so great around the house, and so much fun to work with, I don't see her leaving any time soon.  Sigh.  I must be getting soft.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

What was I thinking?   Why did I think I could socialize two puppies in December, while working full time, keeping up a house, preparing for Christmas, working Argus in obedience, and tending 4 adult Dals and almost 40 tanks of fish?  While laying in bed this morning, planning my day, it suddenly occurred to me that I might be crazy!   Is this what it feels like?

Had thought Letty would go camping for the month of December, but that did not happen so I have two needy pups - both need more socialization, more time and attention, more training, and more patience on my part.  Both
are good pups, but the two together are challenging, especially now that Sparkle is jealous when Argus or Letty go downstairs for training.   My basement is my "training room" and each puppy as well as Argus gets a short training session every evening.  Argus works a bit of obedience, and the girls work on their basic commands plus do some stacking.  Not really enough room for heeling or gaiting there, but we try a bit of that too.  Now Sparkle has decided that only she should come down there with me, and fusses when the others get their turns.  Not good.  Ron will have to keep her amused until it's her turn, I guess.

Sparkle is teething seriously now, and testing her teeth on a variety of things, so she needs more supervision than Letty who normally just chews on her Nylabones.  Last night I caught her working on the bar stool rung - no, she didn't do all that damage.  This particular rung has been a "favorite" of many pups - that's cumulative chewing!   It's now coated in Bitter Apple.  Just hope she does not try the corners of the cabinets on Ron's "watch" - I use the term loosely!

Anyone want a camper this weekend, or any other time?  Both girls need to get out.  Both are house-trained and good in crates, know basic commands, are easy to feed, but pull like sled dogs on leash.  Good lap-sitters too - warm furry pups come in handy on cold winter evenings!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Economy vs Comfort

COLD weather coming, possibly below 0 temps and highs only in the teens, and once again we wrestle with economy vs comfort.  One of the quirks in this old house is the two furnaces.  The old section of the house (almost 100 years old) has a hot water boiler furnace with radiators, while the addition (about 25 years old) is heated with a forced air furnace, which was just replaced two years ago.  The thermostat for the new furnace is in the family room and the thermostat for the old furnace is only about 12 feet away in the dining room.

Until the weather gets really cold, we primarily use the forced air furnace for heat since it is more economical to run, and because we spend most of our time in the family room/kitchen.  The adjacent dining room stays comfortable, while the living room is cooler.  Upstairs the bedroom (with a radiator) stays cool, which is fine, but the bathroom is a bit chilly.  When the weather get COLD, we use the boiler furnace a bit more, but when the boiler warms up, the forced air furnace cuts back.   Because the patio door gets opened a lot as dogs come and go, the family room starts to feel a bit chilly, and the radiator in the bedroom makes that room too warm.  I do like my radiators, and the old boiler has certainly been reliable for many years, but it is not easy to keep the old house comfortable!

Lots of possible solutions, but all cost money  The new furnace was great investment, and I probably should have gotten a new thermostat for the old one, but that cost money.  Replacing the old boiler and radiators would have been great, but that was money I certainly didn't have.  Having the old section re-insulated would also be a good investment - of money I don't have.  With the increase in my property taxes, I'll be lucky if I can afford to stay here at all, so we'll spend another winter adjusting the thermostats, enduring the drafts, using lots of blankets on the bed and a small heater to warm up the bathroom in the morning. and wearing lots of sweatshirts.  But I will have a radiator to warm up my jacket and dry my mittens, and THAT is nice.   

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday. Again?

Sitting at my computer, looking through new Facebook message.  All is peaceful.  Then - A scream of agony! Coming from my yard! A dog in great distress!

Boys and pups were out in the dog yard when an earth shattering scream made my hair stand on end. Incredibly loud & shrill & frantic. Up & down the scale. Amazing that it can come from a dog. Sounds like a Wildebeest being torn apart by a pack of Lions. That's Argus. The Rabbit must be in the yard, and he can't get to it. There is NO WAY to quiet him when this happens.

He's back on his chair, and all is quiet again. He's only 99% perfect. 
Do wish he would not do this, but that's my boy.  Such a good dog, and his quirks are normally easy to deal with.
We had ring time yesterday and worked hard for a solid half hour.  This was the first time I've had his full attention for that long, and he worked really well.   Our heeling is improving rapidly, really good change of pace yesterday, excellent corners, awesome about turns when I remember MY footwork.  Sits could be better, that's going to be our bugaboo.  Fronts continue to be excellent, finishes are much better.  The things he did not know for his advanced class last week are looking good now.  He's learning to back up (but does not like that exercise), pivot, signals are much better, and I can now step back and forth over him on a Down Stay.  (He almost had a heart-attack when I tried that last week - apparently thought I had lost my mind and was going to step on him.)

Much fish work done this weekend and the tanks are looking really good.  Need to dash down and turn a light on in the fishroom, so the Cherry Barbs think it's daylight.  Am hoping they will spawn today.