Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Good Weekend So Far

While we sit home, the Argus kids are having an excellent weekend at the dog shows.  Down in Texas Max's brother Bert and sister Mellie took the points both Thursday and Friday.  On the east coast sister Piper won her first point.  And down south Will who was a singleton pup was taking points.   Argie's grandson Ellsworth had also picked up a couple of Best of Breeds and Group placings the past two weekends as well.  Nice.  Argus will need a cheeseburger for his contributions! 

This link is to an excellent article on the pros and cons of spaying and neutering companion dogs.

Spay/Neuter Discussion

Friday, October 18, 2013

What Was I Thinking?

What was I thinking?  Why did I think I could "manage" two enthusiastic young Dals so close in age?  What made me think I could raise and train two youngsters just 5 months apart, while living in the city in a house with a small yard, owning 3 older dogs, and still working full time?  And maintain my sanity!  But I decided to do it, and although I sometimes wonder about that decision, we are managing.  Pretty well, actually.

16 month old Fern and 11 month old Max are coming along nicely, but it's been a huge investment in time and energy.  Both are high energy, very enthusiastic dogs, way too smart for their own good, but they have reasonably good manners and are fit, happy, and well-adjusted.  I love them both and because they are such clowns they keep me smiling - most of the time.  Occasionally it gets to be a bit too much, but a Time Out in a crate, for one or both solves that.  Obedience training also makes a huge difference.  Fern did two separate Puppy Classes, and Max did two concurrently, one at PetCo and a better one at a Training School. Max is currently doing a Beginners Class, and Fern will do the same this winter.  The time spent training a puppy is invaluable as it establishes a bond and teaches the pup to learn.  It's an excellent "Management Tool".

I always remind myself that "a tired puppy is a good puppy", but of course you can't actually tire out a young Dal.  Nope, they are not hyper.  Dals aren't hyper, they are enthusiastic, just as youngsters in many other breeds are enthusiastic and energetic.  A breed meant to spend the day running with a carriage must have energy and stamina, just like many of the sporting breeds that were bred to hunt all day.  Additionally, most Dals are bright and easily bored, so you have to keep them busy and channel all that energy.

Max and Fern spend a lot of time playing and wrestling with one another, and with dad/grandpa Argus and aunt Josie.  Argus is Max's sire, and Fern's grandsire, and Argus himself was a high energy, incredibly enthusiastic dog.  I love the fact that the breed is so cheerful, so happy all the time, especially when you are interacting with them. 

Argus, Max & Fern get walked in the evening.  Every evening.  Even if it is raining or snowing or bitterly cold.  It's good for them and it's also good for me.  We do longer walks when the weather is decent, usually one to two miles per dog, but sometimes I cheat and we only do a few blocks, especially if time is short.  The thing is they each get a walk, individual attention, and a bit of training.  A few Sits and Stays, a Recall or two with a food reward, a bit of heeling, but mostly brisk walking.  I use a Flexi lead much of the time, so the dog covers a lot more ground than I do, but sometimes we use a 6-foot lead, as dogs need "city manners" too.  The key here is individual walks, individual attention.  Sunday is Dog Park Day and Argus & Fern look forward to that.  All three dogs get some off-leash running as often as possible.

I've had quieter Dals than the current group, old Watson for example was always calm and civilized even as a Teen-Dal.  Rob was the same way, and so were many of his offspring.  Argus is the other side of the coin, and tends to do lively enthusiastic kids too.  Having owned both, I guess I really prefer the silly, always-happy ones.  The funny ones who make me laugh. BUT they are more work. It would be easier if some of the dogs who go to pet homes were quieter and more laid back, and we have a range of personalities and energy levels in this breed.

Henry is like Argus, always happy and enthusiastic, while Argus's daughter Nena is like her mother Read, calm and sensible.  It will be interesting to see the range of personalities in Nena's litter.  The litter Max was from had 5 livelier and 2 quieter pups.  I can't always pick them perfectly, but normally the clues are there at an early age and I do my best to match the pups with the appropriate homes. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pups? Certainly Looks That Way

Poor pregnant Nena wants a belly rub.

Poor pregnant "Nena" is making the most of this.  "Another belly rub, please," she says.  Like so many pregnant Dal girls she is ravenous, even attacking ice cubes with gusto.  Two weeks to go! Two lllooonnnggg weeks.

Nena lives with her "real" owner Stephanie, but I have leased her for a litter and bred her to handsome "Henry" who lives in the St. Louis area.  Both Henry and Nena are AKC Champions and have their CHIC numbers for completing all their health testing. They also have fantastic dispositions and are excellent family dogs.

Nena is a daughter of my wonderful Ch. "Argus" ROMX, and Henry's dam Ch. "Leica" ROM is a daughter of our Ch. "Coral" ROM.  Leica is a sister to "Nikon", dam of Ch. "Penny" and granddam of Chs. "Meribel", "Amery", "Gemma", and "Ellsworth".  We're hoping Nena and Henry match up as well as Argus and Nikon did!  Only time will tell.  They match up well dog-to-dog, and the pedigree looks terrific, but breedings don't always work the way you expect.  As long as the pups are healthy and have good dispositions we will be satisfied, but are hoping for some gorgeous show prospects as well.

Nena will join us this weekend and get settled in.  She knows all the dogs here, and has known me since puppyhood, so she should be comfortable with us (and Ron can be counted on to give her plenty of belly rubs).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Show's Over!

My Roomies, Fern and Max

Back to the old grind . . .

The long-anticipated specialty weekend is over, the last one of the year.  I may do a few smaller shows, but there are no more fun show weekends with big Dal entries and lots of Dal friends, to look forward to this year.  Gone are the days of showing several weekends a month, campaigning a Special.  Now we just show under judges we like, where we know there will be enough other Dals to make the trip worthwhile. With entries so low in the breed, most shows aren't worth attending with class dogs.

Although Jess was unable to travel with me due to problems at work, my traveling buddies Max and Fern were good company and roomies.  Their manners were exceptionally good, especially for two high-spirited Teen-Dals.  Fortunately the weather was lovely and we had the opportunity to do lots of walking which helps a lot.

We had such a good time, and I was particularly proud of Max who took the points all three days and finished the weekend with 10 points and both majors towards his AKC championship (15 points required).  He'll probably sit out this winter, as I'd prefer to get the rest of his points at larger shows, rather than one at a time.

Fernly also did well and showed nicely with the exception of being too happy, but that's my Fern!  She won a Bred By Exhibitor class of 5 the first two days, and went 2nd and Reserve WB the third day. The quality in girls was really good, so I was pleased with that. If she didn't get so excited on the go-around and break gait, she's probably have done even better.  Fern gets to do a few small show for the extra training, so she can catch up with Max.  Both dogs have both majors, which is the tough part, and I'll wait to finish their championships next year.

Down in Texas Max's brother Bert and sister Mellie also did well, with Bert picking up his first points (his first show weekend) and Mellie picking up her first major handled by her co-breeder Jana.  There are five pups in show homes from this litter, and hopefully all will finish their championships.  Last year at this time I was anticipating the Argus/Holly babies, a litter that turned out to be one of the nicest, and certainly the most fun litters I've ever raised.

I had some other pictures from the weekend I wanted to include in this post, but am having trouble with Blogger formatting.  I really need to spend some time with it and see why I am having trouble placing the pictures where I want them.