Sunday, September 30, 2007


Earlier this year Barbara took me to a tracking workshop at the APS. Gordon Setters have excellent noses and Barbara thought I would enjoy finding things using my sense of smell. Well I had a great time. All I had to do was put my nose to the ground and find a glove that had some hot dog in it. Very easy! Barbara and I practiced tracking in the fields near home and sometimes we met our friends at the park or fields to track. The tracks got longer and a bit harder but I could always find the glove or sock. I learned to do turns and to find things made of plastic and metal. It is a lot like doing a puzzle. There is always a nice reward at the end. I wear a special harness and it is the one time that I am allowed to pull so I like that too.

It was so hot and dry all summer that we didn't get to do much tracking (I don't like the heat much) but we have been doing some short tracks on cool mornings. This morning we got up early and went to see our friend Chris. She has three Golden Retrievers (one of whom is my boyfriend Trotter-more about him later) who know how to track. Chris and Dreamer and Barbara and I went over to a field near Chris's house. Barbara laid three short tracks for me while Chris laid a long one for Dreamer. Dreamer is a very good tracker and has been doing it much longer than I.

I was very excited to be out in the field and wearing my tracking harness. I tried to drag Barbara to the start and was so excited that I didn't want to wait and sniff the glove. I was a bit silly on that first track but it didn't help that Barbara was off the track too!! She really should pay more attention to her landmarks and make better maps. I found my end article however and we got ready for the second track. It had a right turn that I overshot but circled around and picked up the track and found my article (a makeup case with food in it).

I finally settled down and did a great job on the third track which had a left turn. I railed the turn and found the slipper at the end. Barbara gave me lots of praise and treats. I am so glad that we are doing tracking again. It is great fun and I get to smell lots of delicious things. It is wonderful to be outside on a nice morning with Barbara and our friends. If we practice a lot and I continue to do well we will take a special test and I can show off how good I am at tracking.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Little White Dog

Barbara is a dog trainer. She teaches people how to train their dogs and works with dogs who have problems. Sometimes I help her in her work especially with dogs who are afraid of other dogs. Barbara has been working with a little white dog named Hattie. Her people are very concerned about her because she is afraid of other dogs and barks ferociously at them even when they are much bigger than she. Since Hattie is only 7 lbs most dog out weigh her.

Barbara gave them special exercises to work on and felt that Hattie was ready to meet me. I like most other dog and always behave nicely around them. I'll play with any dog that will play with me. Barbara can always trust me to be nice to other dogs and my body language is happy and non threatening. So we drove over to Hattie's neighborhood and waited for her.

I like to visit new neighborhoods because there are different odors to sniff and new squirrels to point at. Then Hattie came out with her person. What a cute little white fluffy dog!! So tiny. Her person had a stick with peanut butter on it and every time Hattie looked over at me she got to lick the stick. I thought that this was an excellent idea and cannot understand why Barbara does not have a stick like that for me. Hattie and I practiced going past each other with Hattie getting lots of licks of pb. I got string cheese which is very good but I was most interested in that stick. Hattie did not bark at me and her person was very pleased.

Then we walked together down the block. Hattie kept looking at me out of the corner of her eye and would get to lick the stick. She has started to make the association that good things (peanut butter) happen to her when she sees another dog. Eventually Hattie got brave enought to sniff me and let me sniff her. Barbara was very pleased with Hattie's progress but of course she needs more work. It is so hard for a dog when they are afraid of all the dogs that they meet. I am glad that I can help Barbara help these dogs have good experiences. I saw some of the dogs in Hattie's neighborhood and they are little wild-no wonder she is afraid of them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Posing for Pictures

Monday is usually my favorite day. Barbara takes me to the dog park before she teaches her Family Dog 1 class at the Animal Protection Society. Then we have Drill Team. So I was pretty happy to get in the car Monday afternoon and head out to APS. When we got to the dog park Dana was already there with her Border Collie Scully. Scully is very smart and knows lots of things. She also likes to play ball but not the way I do. She likes to stare at the ball until someone throws it for her. I like to grab the ball and run with it. Meanwhile Barbara and Dana kept trying to take pictures of me.

I do need to have some pictures on this blog but posing for them is sooooo boring. I want to run and play, not stand still while they fuss with the camera. Of course I was running around a lot and my tongue was hanging out and I was drooling. Barbara said that it was not very lady like and I would look funny in my pictures. I think I look quite nice. The pictures above show Scully and me waiting for someone to throw a ball. The other picture is me after I have had a drink of water.

Selkie used to like to stand around and have her picture taken. She would even run up to anyone with a camera and sit in front of them and wait. How vain! All this posing and sitting still is no fun. I think Barbara should take movies of me running around - that would be much more interesting.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Evil Sheep

I spent most of the day by myself as Barbara had to work. When she got home she said that she would take me for a walk at Fearrington Village. I've walked there many times before and I always enjoy it. We drove over and as we arrived I got very excited. They have cows and goats at Fearrington and I always like to see them. The cows can be intimidating because they are so big but the baby cows are very cute and I love the goats. Of course the best thing is how they smell! Delicious. I'd love to get in their fence and run around with them but it is an electric fence that would give me a shock if I tried to.

We took a nice walk around the ponds and there were lots of good things to smell along the way. When I got too warm Barbara let me cool off by wading in the stream. Then Barbara said "Let's go see the sheep." I'd never seen sheep before so was very interested in meeting some. Some of my dog friends have told me about them because they go herding and get to make the sheep go this way and that way. It is not something a Gordon Setter would do but I thought that I would like to see them and hoped that they smelled as good as the goats.

As soon as I saw those sheep I knew that something was wrong. They were very still and I could not smell any nice animal odor. So I stopped and stared at them. They did not move. I crept up and pointed and they still didn't move. I was really suspicous now. Finally I could not help myself and barked at them. Barbara said not to worry and went over to pat one of them. I hung back a bit but then got up the nerve to approach. Barbara gave me some bits of cheese and then I went up and sniffed. I was horrified to discover that they were not real sheep at all. Barbara is completely deceived. I know that her nose is not very good but it is amazing to me that she cannot tell the difference between an animal smell and a statue!!

Why would anyone have fake sheep? Meeting those evil sheep quite ruined my walk. I do not want to see them again. I will stick to real goats.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Joy of Toys

I have lots of toys! Every dog should. I particularly like stuffed animals with squeakers. Right now my favorites are a blue fish that got for my birthday and a new toy, a Canada goose that Barbara brought home on Saturday. When I was a puppy I would tear up most of my toys. Barbara would try to repair them but she is not a good seamstress and they never held together for very long. Then Barbara would throw them away. Very sad.

I know better now and while I am rough with my toys I try not to destroy them. Mostly I like to squeak them. A good toy has a good squeaker. As soon as I wake up in the morning I run over to my toys, pick one up and squeak it hard. It is important to check to make sure the squeaker is still working. Barbara does not think this is a great thing to do at 6 AM. Selkie never squeaked her toys. She would just mouth them and bury them. I never saw the sense in that. Why else would the toy have a squeaker in it if not to squeak??

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I am a Gordon Setter

I was at Jordan Lake this evening. Barbara and I had a nice walk along the shore and I got in some splashing and a little swimming. I do love to play in the water and sniff all the smells along the shore. I found some mussels but Barbara would not let me eat them because she said they were nasty.

As we were walking back to the car a jeep with three women pulled up next to us and stopped. (I can stop traffic) One woman asked if I was a Flat Coat. I was shocked!! Now Flat Coated Retrievers are lovely dogs (and I wouldn't want to offend any Flat Coats who may be reading this) but they can't compare with Gordon Setters. Didnt the woman see my tan markings and my elegant head? Barbara told them that I am a Gordon Setter and they said I was beautiful as they drove away. That made me feel better but I am still quite perplexed that more people dont' know about Gordons.

It is very common for people to ask what breed I am. One time someone asked Barbara if Selkie was a cross between a Rottweiller and a Cocker Spaniel!!! Can you imagine? If you are not sure what a Gordon Setter is you can go to the website for the Gordon Setter Club of America at You can see pictures and read all about us. Once you do I am sure you will agree that Gordon Setters are the most beautiful of all the breeds.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Selkie's Memorial

Since Selkie died many of our friends have called, sent cards and emails and have been very supportive. This has been so comforting to Barbara and me, Members of the Drill Team and our other friends from the APS wanted to remember Selkie in a special way. They contributed to the NC Veterinary Medical Foundation in Selkie's memory. Two bricks on the walkway to the vet school will honor her.

Her bricks are at

Click on Select to see pictures of Selkie, the brick inscriptions and a message about Selkie.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Drill Team

Barbara is a dog trainer and one of the things she does is coach the Drill Team at the Animal Protection Society. This is a group of people and dogs who perform at parades and demonstrations. The dogs get to show off all their skills and tricks and audiences always enjoy seeing them perform. Selkie was Barbara's partner in the Drill Team for many years. I would get to go to practice and watch but I did not know how to do the tricks so was not on the team. Also when I was an adolescent I was a bit silly and may have spoiled the routines with my antics.

Monday night was my turn. I am on the Drill Team!!

My friend Ayla is on the Drill Team along with many other nice dogs. We had great fun practicing together. I am learning to walk backwards and sideways. Well I know how to walk backwards but the trick is to do it on cue. The walking sideways seems very foolish to me. Where does it get you? I want to go forward not sideways. But Barbara seemed very pleased when I crossed my front feet and moved to the side. She gave me lots of praise and treats each time I did it so I will humor her.

The other dogs all knew the tricks and are working to perfect them. I can see that I have a lot to learn if I want to be in the Christmas parades this year with the team. I am very excited about the chance to march in a parade so I will work hard to learn the tricks and moves. I like to practice because Barbara makes it fun and gives me lots of cookies when I do things right.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I am an only dog

When I was a little puppy I lived with my mom Misty and my four sisters and four brothers. Then I went to live with Barbara who became my special person. Barbara already had another Gordon Setter named Selkie. She was very big and I was a little afraid of her. I wanted her to like me but she did not at first. After a few weeks of me trying very hard to make friends she decided I was ok and we got along just fine. We ran around the dog park together and played in the house. But Selkie always made it very clear that she was in charge. Sometimes she would take toys from me or push me around. If Barbara was petting me Selkie would try to squeeze me out. She was very bossy and I think she was jealous of me (I am very cute and sweet).

A very sad thing happened a couple of months ago. Selkie woke us up in the middle of the night and seemed very ill. Barbara raced her to the emergency vet and then to the vet school but they couldn't save her and Barbara made the hard decision to put Selkie to sleep. I could not understand where Selkie was when Barbara came home without her. Barbara was very upset. I tried to comfort her because I did not want her to be sad.

But it was very strange for me to live without another dog in the house. Even if Selkie wasn't always nice to me she was always there and kept me company when Barbara went to work. Now I have to stay by myself and I really don't like it. Fortunately Barbara leaves nice treats and stuffed Kongs when she goes out so I am getting used to it.

There are some advantages to being an only dog.
1. All the toys are MINE.
2. All the treats are MINE.
3. Both dog beds are MINE.
4. Best of all is that I get all the petting.

I could get used to this.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Stonemist Time is on My Side

I am a Gordon Setter and my name is Stonemist Time is on My Side but you may call me Niamh. It is pronounced "neeve" and rhymes with sleeve. It is an Irish name that means sheen or luster and I am certainly very shiny and very pretty too. Stonemist Time is on My Side is my fancy AKC registered name but no one calls me that and it would take too long to say anyway.

I had a blog when I was a puppy but I had to share it with another Gordon Setter. Now I am going to have a blog all to myself. I've called it "Setter Tails" because I am a setter, I have a very nice long tail and I will blog about my adventures and training tales. I will post some pictures so you can see how pretty I am and what fun I have when I train.

I hope that you will follow my adventures and if you are a dog and are reading this, that you will have training adventures too.