Thursday, March 27, 2008

Farm Animals

We like to take walks in area that has nice paths around a pond. They also have cows, donkeys, goats and fake sheep. The cows are called Belted Galloways and have a white stripe all around their middle. One of the cows came to the fence. At first I thought that he had never seen a Gordon Setter before and was going to admire me. Then he stared at me. I don't know what staring means in cow body language but if another dog was staring at me like that I would be giving him every calming signal I knew how to give. I just tried to get as far away from the fence as I could.

Isn't this a cute baby goat? I wanted to get near her and would have loved to have played with her. Every time I got close to the fence the mama goat stepped in front of her to protect her from me.

Here are the fake sheep. I used to be very concerned about them and even wrote a post about "Evil Sheep" last fall. Barbara has desensitized me to the fake sheep so I don't mind seeing them the way I used to. But it is still beyond me why anyone would want to have a herd of concrete sheep when they could have real woolly ones.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Sister Tori

My sister Tori is a conformation show dog. Aunt Karen brought her down to a big dog show at the State Fairgrounds this weekend and Barbara and I went to the show to cheer her on.

It is very hard to show in conformation. You must have lots of baths and grooming which, as you know, I don't like. Then you have to learn to stand very still while the judge examines you. Tori does this very well but I found it extremely difficult when I took a handling class. Then you have to gait around the ring so the judge can see how well you move. That was the only part I liked to do.

Tori did not win today but she is very beautiful and I know that soon she will win many ribbons at dog shows just like our mom Misty and our dad Garrett. I'll just stick to tracking since it doesn't involve any baths.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Perfectly Good Day - Ruined

I had a great morning. We woke up early and headed over to the dog park where I had a great run with a nice collie and a chow mix. Then I met my friend Amiga to do some tracking. I found many articles with roast beast in them and Barbara was pleased with how well I followed the track on the turns. I returned home for a nap while Barbara went to work. I thought that when she got back we could go for a nice walk. But NO! She said "Niamh you smell like a dog. You must have a bath." Of course I smell like a dog, I am a dog for goodness sakes. What am I supposed to smell like - a squirrel??

We went to Max's Dog Wash where I had to get in the tub and get wet down, soaped up and rinsed off. It was horrible. Even though I got treats through out, I was miserable as you can see from my photos.

Then I had to get on the grooming table and get blown dry which I think is cruelty to animals and worse than the bath itself if that is possible.

I think people are obsessed with baths. They have entire rooms in their houses to devoted to the practice which seems a waste of space to me. They should skip the baths and showers and just stay nice and smelly.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rally Practice

It was another busy week. I had Drill Team on Monday night, Wednesday I helped Barbara with her new Basic Family Dog class and Thursday I visited Furry Paws and Feathers Pet Supplies to get more treats. Friday morning I went tracking with my friends Amiga, Ayla and Trotter so I thought that I would have a lazy weekend and get to sleep in.

Instead Barbara and I went out to the Animal Protection Society training center and met Ayla and her person Sandi. We practiced Rally obedience which is a fun way to do obedience. Rally is a course with stations of obedience skills like heeling around cones, fronts and finishes, different kinds of turns. You get points off your score if you don't do the station correctly. I am learning the skills so I can do all the stations. Barbara and Sandi set out a course and Ayla and I took turns practicing. Of course we got lots of praise and treats for doing the skills.

Barbara and I going through the figure eight cones.

Ayla doing a right finish around Sandi.

It is a lot of fun to do Rally and dogs should encourage their people to try this sport. Don't worry, you do not have to learn to read the signs - only your people do.

There are Rally competitions with different levels of courses and dogs can win prizes and ribbons. Barbara and Selkie used to do lots of Rally together and they earned the Rally Novice (RN) and Rally Advanced (RA) titles. Here is a picture of them getting their RA at the Gordon Setter National Specialty in June 2006.

My mom Misty recently got her Rally Novice title and has a leg towards her RA. I'd like to get good at Rally so that I can win prizes and ribbons and have lots of initials after my name.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tracking for Roast Beast

I got up early this morning to go tracking near the lake. It was cool and breezy which always makes me feel skippy. My boyfriend Trotter was there too with his person Chris. Barbara had a very special reward for me - delicious roast beast - which I had never had before. Each article on the track had pieces of roast beast under it. What a wonderful smell.

I was very excited at the beginning of my track and took some time to settle down. It was windy which blows all the scent around. Once I focused I did very well (and found 2 articles with roast beast) until I got to the first turn. I knew where it was and indicated the turn but Barbara had mistaken where she had laid the turn and didn't let me go there. I tried to tell her again but she didn't pay attention so then I got a bit confused. She really MUST learn to trust me since I am the one with the good nose!! Even Chris knew that I had indicated the turn. Barbara must not be able to smell much at all, poor thing.

Finally we got going the right way, I crossed a dirt road, found more articles and made a very good right turn. Then it was straight on to the final article which was a special toy filled with roast beast and cheese. Yeah!

Here is a picture of me with the toy. It is made out of fire hose material and is very strong.

You can see that the bottom opens up to a secret compartment for the roast beast.

I gobbled up the roast beast and cheese so fast that Barbara couldn't get a picture of it. HA!!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tellington Touch

Tellington Touch is a technique used on animals to help us relax and connect us with our bodies. It is like a massage but very gentle. Barbara thought it would benefit me since I don't like being groomed or having my nails clipped. I can tolerate it but it isn't much fun. Gordon Setters have a lot of hair so we need to be brushed often.

Royal's person, Jenn, has done TTouch on me and it felt really nice. She organized a TTouch training workshop at the APS and it was taught by THE Linda Tellington-Jones who developed the method. Barbara brought me to the workshop so that one of the student practitioners could TTouch me and help me.

Joan really likes dogs a lot. She was very gentle with me, doing very soft touches over my skin. I got a little worried when she started working on my hind legs. I really don't like having my back feet touched. But Joan respected me and got me used to the touches very gradually. The TTouch felt wonderful and I got quiet relaxed. Joan showed Barbara how to do the touches so she could do them on me at home.

Then Joan did something that I thought was really weird. She wrapped me up in an Ace bandage. It is supposed to help reduce anxiety and help me connect. I was not sure about it at all and kind of froze up. Joan gently coaxed me to walk around and then the wrap felt fine but I still think it looks extremely strange.

Later I got to meet Linda Tellington-Jones. She did lovely touches on my face and tail to help relax me. I would have let her do the touches to me all afternoon. Here is a picture of me with Linda and then one of Linda, me and Joan.

I hope that Barbara remembers how to do all the different TTouches so I can have a session everyday. Who knows, I may even get to like being groomed.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Volunteer Award

My special person, Barbara, went to a reception tonight and she got a nice certificate from the County Commissioners for being a NC Key Volunteer for Orange County. She volunteers at the animal shelter doing evaluations of the dogs there and helping them find good homes. It is very sad that dogs have to be in the shelter. By evaluating them she can tell what kind of training they need and help make a good match so they get their own special person to take care of them.

Here is a picture of Barbara with some of the people who work at the shelter. She's the one in the blue shirt. I'm very proud of her and gave her lots of kisses when she came home with her certificate. Unfortunately dogs were not allowed at the reception otherwise I would have gone and eaten lots of the snacks.