Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Am ONE!!!

I am one year old today and because of that I finally get to post on the blog! It is called Settertails, which is plural so the blog shouldn't just be about Niamh (and her complaining about me).

I've put a lot of pictures in my post so you can see how I've grown from a little puppy to a big dog.

Here I am at 7 weeks old with some of my littermates. I'm the one in the red collar. This is the first time that I met Barbara. She liked me right away. She said that she wanted a "mushy male" puppy.

This is the day she came to pick me up from my breeders. I was sad to leave my siblings but little did I know that I was going to have a new sister and lots of adventures.

We had a long drive from SC to my new home. I did a little exploring and then crashed on my new bed (a bed that I eventually ripped to shreds).

You can see that Niamh was not really thrilled with me at first. I wanted to be close to her since I missed my littermates. She did not think it was a great idea for me to share her bed or her toys. She had to teach me to respect her.

I had a lot to learn. Barbara exposed me to lots of people, places and new things to socialize me properly. I love to go in the woods and explore.

My first time in the snow.

Niamh decided that I could stay and I learned to play great bitey face games with her. She was very gentle with me when I was little and taught me excellent bite inhibition. I never put my teeth on human skin and I have a soft mouth.

To help me be a well socialized pup, Barbara introduced me to dogs with good social skills. Here I am with my friend Cherie.

This is me on my first track. I love tracking. The smells are great and I get good treats too.

Of course I went to puppy class. I learned to make nice new dog and people friends. We also practiced obedience skills. My recall is great. It is all positive reward based training so I really enjoy it.

Barbara took me to interesting places so I would get exposed to lots of new things. Here I am at a garden center.

Scout is my best friend. We get together frequently for walks and for bitey face and chase games.

Niamh always says that I am goofy. Well sometimes I am. But mostly I am very sweet. Barbara says so.

Since I am a Gordon Setter, I am going to have a lot of long hair which requires quite a bit of grooming. Barbara got me used to the grooming table by putting me up on it for short periods and giving me lots of treats. It is really not that bad. I don't know why Niamh makes such a big deal about it.

You can see in this picture with Scout, that I am growing up.

We played in the pool during the hot summer.

We like to get silly together. We are puppies after all.

I get to go to the dog park and meet other dogs. Barbara is very careful about who I am allowed to play with. Here I am making friends with a Boston Terrier. I do like little dogs.

Look how big I am in this photo taken last month.

I'm still a pretty goofy boy though.

It has been an exciting year. I know that Niamh complains about me a lot and she is sometimes horrified by my behavior but I am trying hard and I am just a teenager. Barbara is my special person and I am the mushy boy that she wanted. She thinks that I will make a great therapy dog when I am older. I know that I still have a lot to learn before I am grown up. I am very glad to have all of you as blogging friends.

Since this is my first birthday, I am not sure what to expect. But I understand I may get some presents and treats. I hope so!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Weatherman Lied!

The weatherman on TV was very excited yesterday predicting all sorts of bad weather and a lot of snow. That made me excited because I love the snow and we don't get that much of it here in the Triangle of NC. We got a few flakes and then some freezing rain. Unfortunately it rained all night and there was no snow.

I looked for it all over the yard.

Ambrose did too.

Where is all the snow we were promised??

I know that our friends up north are getting a lot of it. You are welcome to send some down here to us so we can play in it and track it all over the house!

In other news, Ambrose is up to his old tricks. We had gone for quite awhile without him destroying anything. He was starting to get the hang of chewing on appropriate chew toys and leaving Barbara's stuff alone. Unfortunately the wrapping paper roll was just too much for him. She had only wrapped one present when the phone rang and she went to answer it. A huge mistake. Ambrose took the opportunity to steal the entire roll of wrapping paper!!

Several choice HBO words were said and Barbara had to go out and buy more wrapping paper!

Of course I would never do something like that. I love the cardboard rolls inside of paper towels and toilet tissue but I wait until the paper is off the roll and Barbara gives it to me. I am such a good girl.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Holiday Parade

After the big disappointment over last week's parade I was really glad to wake up this morning to sunshine. That meant that the Paws 4Ever Dog Drill Team would be able to march in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Holiday Parade. It was quite cold but I never mind that because my fur is quite thick and keeps me warm. Also Barbara fed me a big breakfast since I was going to have to do a lot tricks and needed my strength.

Barbara and I met up with all our Drill Team friends and lined up for the parade.

We have been practicing all fall for this event. We know how to do lots of tricks while we march along. The crowd loves us and always applauds.

Our training is all positive and reward based. We get treats (I had cheese and hot dogs), praise and petting for doing our moves and formations. None of that dominance nonsense, force training for us! You can see that we are all enjoying working with our people. From left to right you can see Penny, Amiga, Hadji, my BFF Ayla and me.

People along the parade route are always impressed when we do our long downs in the middle of the parade and want to know how we do it. Our people tell them to take their dogs to class at Paws 4Ever.

I love to march in the parade. Besides getting to eat lots of treats, I like it when people make a fuss over me. I must say that I got a lot of attention because many people are not familiar with Gordon Setters wanted to pet my soft fur. We did meet one lady who was from Scotland, who knew my breed right away and admired me very much.

I had a great time marching in the parade. After all my exertions I needed a good nap but now I am ready to go again.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Card Photo Shoot

I have been so happy to get lots of email and snail mail holiday cards from DWB friends, old and new. What beautiful photos! Thank you all. Barbara has only gotten 1 card so far. Ambrose and I are much more popular than she is!

She has been very slack about getting our card ready and today we finally had our photos taken. It was an ordeal to say the least. I had to have extreme amounts of dog grooming torture performed on me. Ambrose was totally clueless and we have many shots of him drooling or with his lip stuck on his teeth or with his ears flipped back.

Here is a photo of him that will not make the card.

I think we have some good photos though so I hope we will be sending the cards out soon.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Disappointing Weekend

I had a very disappointing weekend.

I was all set to march with the Paws 4Ever Dog Drill Team in the Hillsborough Holiday Parade. Our Drill Team dogs has been practicing really hard so that we could show off our skills. It is always a fun time. The crowd loves us and we get lots of applause when we do our tricks. Unfortunately it rained all day yesterday so we could not march. I am so bummed out.

Here is a picture of our team at last year's parade. I hope the sun will shine next Saturday for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Parade so we can march then.

This morning it was cold but sunny so Barbara took us to the dog park for a good run. It is always good to play chase and bitey face on a cold morning. Usually when we play chase, I am in the lead and Ambrose tries to keep up with me. He has been getting faster and faster lately and today I was horrified to find that he ran ahead of me and I had to chase him to keep up! This was quite a shock and I am glad that there is no video of this distressing development.

I think I know why he is faster than I am. It is because he gets more food than I do. How can I run fast when I am weak from starvation? I must convince Barbara to feed me more!

Monday, November 30, 2009


It is hard to believe but Ambrose is 11 months old today. It is shocking that I have had to put up with his goofiness since he came to live with us in February. I am always saying bad things about him but, while he does drive me crazy, he does some good things. He is a sweet boy and gets along with everyone. He has good play skills and is always up for a game of chase or bitey face or tug. He minds me when tell him to leave my toys alone.

We have many photos of goofy Ambrose. Barbara decided she wanted some non-goofy photos to show that he is really growing up. I do not want to say how many shots she had to take to get these but we are grateful for digital cameras.

While Ambrose is not much in the obedience department, even I have to admit that he has learned a really good recall. When Barbara says "come", Ambrose comes fast.

So while Ambrose is a pest, a doofus and a goofball, he is our goofball and I think that we will keep him.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my dog blogging friends and to your people.

We got up early this morning to meet some friends for tracking, my favorite activity. It was very foggy when we started, but the conditions were perfect for the scent. Ambrose's friend Scout it a very enthusiastic tracker.

Ambrose likes to track too but gets very silly on the course and is easily distracted. He has no work ethic yet.

Look how serious I am about my track.

My reward for finding articles this morning was turkey sausage so you can see why my nose is so deep into the track.

After a great morning of sniffing we came home to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and the National Dog Show. The house smells great because Barbara is making pumpkin soup. I hope we get a taste before she goes off to Thanksgiving dinner at friends and abandons us.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More Good Dog Play

In my mission to encourage good dog play, I thought you would like to see a short video of me and Ambrose playing chase and a bit of bitey face. Barbara was too slow to catch us running away so the video picks up as we race back in her direction. Every time you see shots of the ground it means we crashed into her knees! Ha! Amazingly, no HBO words were used in the making of this video.

You can see how well I control the play. Ambrose has learned my cut-off signals and when I decide that the play is over for a bit, he goes away. Goofy as he is, he is learning good skills. Barbara never let him play with bad companions when he was little and of course he has had me as an excellent example. This is critical in developing a good play style. If you are bullied as a puppy, you may grow up to be a bully.

Thanks for all your concern about the dog-crate-on-wheels. The insurance will pay for the repairs but there is a long wait to get it fixed. It still drives though so we can get around to all our activities. I would not want to miss out on our Drill Team practice tomorrow.

Hope all of you had a chance to play this weekend.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good Dog Play

This past weekend Barbara drove us to Concord to a big dog show. We weren't entered but Ambrose's father and some of his littermates were entered. His brother Wallace did really well and got many ribbons and even won Best of Breed. The people were meeting up to form a Gordon Setter Club in North and South Carolina so that we could all do fun Gordon Setter stuff together. I look forward to that.

I can tell you that Ambrose's litter mates are just as goofy as he is. His sister Torri is a bold little thing. Look at the way she is staring at me!

Ambrose hasn't seen his brothers and sisters since he was 8 weeks old. I think he was a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing. He got put in a big pen with all of them. At first he wanted to get out.

After awhile he got used to them and they all hung out together.

I did not have to go in the pen with all those goofy adolescents. They barked like complete idiots when they saw me. I stayed out with the people and even got some good people food like wieners with sauce and a big shrimp.

I know you saw my post about the dog park fiasco early last week. Well I wanted to show you a video of some good dog park play, the way it should be. Ambrose may be goofy but he does have good play skills (which I taught him) and can get along with almost any dog. Watch him and Cherie play in the video. You can see the nice play bows, the intention moves and the reciprocal style of play. When we dogs play this way everyone can have fun.

Ambrose and I still go to the dog park but we have changed the times we visit so that there aren't many dogs there. Barbara does not like us to be subjected to a crowd of dogs with their oblivious people.

You can see that Ambrose and I like to play fast chase games. As he is growing he is getting a little more coordinated.

Unfortunately he is still pretty goofy. Look at his big lips.

The dog-crate-on-wheels was seriously injured last night when some big tree limbs fell on top of it. We were not in it at the time. It was quite a surprise this morning.

The top is so crushed that it pushed the roof down into the inside of the car.

One of the doors got smashed.

It is all going to get repaired but they said it will take 10 days! I hope that my outings don't get curtailed because of it.