Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Mom Misty

Of course you all know that I have Barbara as my special person. She brought me home when I was a young puppy to live with her and Selkie. But before I came here I had my first family in Virginia. My Mom's name is Misty and I was her first born puppy. She took great care of me when I was little, cleaning and feeding me and keeping me and my brothers and sisters warm. As we got older she taught us polite canine behavior.

I haven't seen her since I was a year old . Barbara and I took a long car ride on Sunday to see my Aunt Karen, my breeder. I got to play with my sister Torie and my brother Travis in a big fenced yard. Then I got to see my Mom. I was so happy that I just wiggled all over the place and licked Misty's lips just like I did when I was a puppy. Misty was very tolerant of my giddy behavior and eventually we played together. I was glad to have the opportunity to hang out with her. I stayed over her house and played with all her toys (she has a big basket of stuffed toys) but I didn't destroy any of them. She was very sweet with me.

Misty's full name is Ch Tri-Sett Living Legend CD JH CGC. It means that she has a conformation championship (you can see how beautiful she is in the pictures I've posted) has a Companion Dog title in obedience and the Junior Hunter title means she is good at finding birds which is what Gordons were bred to do. The CGC means that my Mom is Canine Good Citizen as well. I understand that she has two legs towards her Rally Novice title so she will have more letters after her name soon.

Some day I hope to have letters after my name but if I behave half as well as my mother I think that Barbara will be very happy.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Freestyle Fun

This afternoon Barbara and I drove out to the APS to canine freestyle practice. Freestyle is where the dog and her person perform a routine that is choreographed to music that suits the dog. It shows the relationship between the two. Dogs have to be really smart and well trained to do this sport (and their person should be creative too) but it looks beautiful when done well.

Selkie had a routine to Cajun music which got her lots of applause when she performed it at demos. I'd like to have a routine of my own but first we have to find just the right music and then I have to learn all the skills.

Several dogs and their people came to the practice. First the people had to have a meeting (don't they always). It was very tedious for me. Human communication just takes too long. Canine communication is much faster, clearer and much more elegant.

Finally we got to practice some exercises that Jeanine set for us to work on our movement. My heeling is getting much better and I really like doing it to music. But now I have to learn to heel on the right side too just when I was getting the hang of the left side! Then we took turns in the ring. The whippets got to show off their routines which they will be performing at a trial in April. Whippets are very skinny dogs with very short fur. They have to wear coats in this cold weather, poor things. But they do really well at freestyle.

Barbara and I tried heeling to several different pieces of music. Not to be conceited but I look really lovely when I am trotting around the ring. Barbara's friends had suggestions about what music would show off my trotting the best. I liked the calypso piece and a Spanish guitar song. Now Barbara will have to come up with a routine and we will have to practice a lot. It is hard work but it sure would be nice to have lots of people clap for me at a demo.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another Great Morning

I haven't blogged in awhile because Barbara went to the APDT Board meeting and I went to K9 Kindercare. I had a good time with everyone there (except for a rude Jack Russell Terrier) but was glad to come home.

This morning we went out early to track in a field that I have never been to. We drove past one of my favorite tracking fields and I was quite concerned. I started barking to remind Barbara to make a left turn but she just kept on driving. We went to Ayr Mount in Hillsborough and met Ayla and Sandi and Dreamer and Chris.

Barbara wanted to work on straight tracks with me to help me with my fringing. As a Gordon Setter I like to quarter and check out the edges of the scent cone. The straight tracks with interim articles were to help me concentrate. It was great fun. I got to find some new articles - a metal key chain and a leather cell phone case. I got the delicious sausage biscuit as a reward of course. Chris (Dreamer's person) followed along behind us and thought that I did a very good job and improved on each track.

Sandi took the pictures of me following a track. The part that Barbara was most impressed with was when I found deer poop on the track. I sniffed it thoroughly (very fragrant) but then got right back to work and finished my track.

Dreamer and Ayla ran their tracks which are much harder than mine. They run blind tracks which means that their people do not know where the track is because there are no flags along it. They are both certified and will be doing tracking trials soon. I hope that I can get to that level too.

It was a great morning of tracking but I think the afternoon will not be so fun. I heard Barbara say to Sandi and Chris that I was going to Max's for a bath because "she looks like something the cat dragged in". What an insult!! I have only met one cat in my life and he didn't put a paw on me never mind drag me anywhere.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm Exhausted

I barely have the energy to dictate this blog entry. It has been a busy week and today was especially busy. What with tracking in the morning and playing with a puppy in the afternoon I only had a few hours in between to nap while Barbara was giving lessons.

I started out the morning doing a particularly difficult track. We met Ayla and Sandi at Jordan Lake. I thought we were going swimming even though it was drizzling. Barbara laid a 225 yard track with two turns. The difficulty was in the rough terrain (Barbara managed to trip and fall in a hole) with lots of tall grass and then a turn into the woods! On top of that it was very windy which blew the scent around. I wanted to do alot of fringing to check out the scent in the holes and ruts. I had to circle a bit on my second turn but then found the track. But it went into the pine woods. I was not sure if I should go into the woods since we had never done that on a track before. I looked back at Barbara and she encouraged me to enter the woods. Sure enough there was plenty of scent in the pine needles which I tracked to my final article - a makeup case stuffed with sausage biscuit. Yeah! I could tell that Barbara and Sandi were quite pleased with how well I worked. Then Ayla worked her track and I understand that she got slices of chicken at her final article.

This afternoon we went to see Pippo and Snowflake. Their person Jane has been fostering a cute lab mix named Summer and she wanted to see Summer's play style with me. I have good body language so Barbara was happy to bring me over to play with Summer.

Summer was a little pushy but I just turned around and stared at her (I learned this from Selkie) and she backed off smartly. We did some chasing in the yard and in the house as well. I wanted a drink of water and made Summer get away from the water bowl. Puppies should be deferential. Selkie took every opportunity to remind me of this important facet of canine social behavior.

Fortunately Jane has found an excellent permanent home for Summer so she should have a great life with her new people. I am glad to know that because many dogs have boring horrible lives tied out on chains or no homes at all.

Anyway I must rest now. I understand that tomorrow I am going to the dog park. I really don't know if I can keep up this pace

Monday, January 7, 2008

Tracking Fun

It was a beautiful morning -just perfect for tracking. Barbara stopped at the Burger King to get biscuits as rewards. She put the bag of biscuits in the trunk of the car. Did she really think that I wouldn't smell them in the trunk?

When we got to the field Trotter and Tully were already there with Chris. So was Trapper, a Brittany. He and his special person Jeanine have done lots for canine freestyle together and Trapper had earned many titles. He has retired from freestyle and at age 11 is learning to track! His picture is posted above. Barbara took several pictures of Trapper and Jeanine but she somehow managed to erase most of them. She really has to pay more attention to what she is doing.

We had a great morning of tracking. I was very excited since I knew that sausage biscuits were involved. Barbara laid a long track for me - 200 yds. with 3 turns - and let it age for 25 minutes. Even thought I had been very busy over the weekend I still had lots of energy to run my track. The first two turns were easy. Sometimes the track crossed some tire ruts in the field. The scent would pool in the ruts and of course I would have to check in both directions. Barbara stopped going forward and once I realized that the trail did not go in the ruts I was able to get back on track. The last turn was a bit tricky since it was near some tire tracks too. Barbara had to back up and help me a bit (that is what she is there for) but I finally got it and headed for my last article. It was a hairband wrapped around the sausage biscuit. Yeah! I could tell that she was very pleased with how well I did my work.

When we got back to the cars I found out that Trotter and Tully got egg and cheese biscuits for their tracks. It smelled quite delicious. Barbara says that eggs are gross and she will not get me an egg biscuit but I would certainly like to taste one someday.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Resolutions Revisited

I think I may want to revise my resolutions. I want to roll in more dead, smelly animals (it is like wearing perfume) but one of my wishes for 2008 is to have no baths. Barbara has warned me if I roll in any dead, smelly animals I will have to have a bath immediately. This is a horrible thought and very cruel. I am going to have to strike the dead, smelly animals off my list and just work on the treats and toys.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

Happy New Year to all my dog friends and their people. Wishing you a 2008 filled with lots of adventures, tracking, rally, freestyle and no baths!!!

People like to make resolutions at the start in the new year and I thought that I should too. However people are not usually good at keeping them so I thought I would come up with some resolutions that I know that I can accomplish with a little work.

In 2008 I resolve to:

Roll in more dead, smelly animals.
Destroy more stuffed toys.
Eat more treats.

I really don't see what is so hard about this New Year's resolution thing. I'll be happy to be successful with all these resolutions.

I went to the dog park in Carrboro this afternoon and Barbara tooks some pictures of me which she has posted above. There were lots of dogs and I had a good time running with some of them. One dog kept trying to hump me and I had to tell him off. It was all in good fun though and a good start for the new year.