Sunday, October 31, 2010

Extreme Makeover - Gordon Setter Edition

Next weekend is my Canine Freestyle competition. We have been practicing a lot and I hope that we will get good scores. Barbara said that is important that I look particularly beautiful (probably because she will be looking spectacularly un-beautiful and she needs me to distract people from looking at her) because I will be the only Gordon Setter there and I have to be a good representative of my breed. I knew that this meant extreme dog grooming torture.

This morning Barbara drove Ambrose and me in the dog-crate-on-wheels up to VA to visit my Aunt Karen, who is my breeder, and my biological mom, Misty.

Misty is 10 years old but still quite active and playful and of course very beautiful and good. Whenever I get to see her I always give her a little kiss on the face. She is the only adult dog that I do that to. I am very respectful of my mom.

Misty is a good hostess and let us run all around her house and yard. She was very tolerant of goofy Ambrose who brought all his cooties along and left them everywhere. I noticed that she was carefully marking over all his cootiefyed pee-mail.

After some good play we went down to the special dog grooming torture chamber. Look at the array of evil implements that were laid out to be used on me.

Here is my before picture. I am all tufty and my feet are like bedroom slippers.

My Aunt Karen is quite skilled with dog grooming torture of Gordon Setters. She managed to snip or clip every hair on my body. She was very gentle with me and never let the clippers get hot and never poked me with the shears. I was pretty good through most of the torture, but I did get fussy when she worked on my back feet and when she got close to my ears. Aunt Karen gave me lots of breaks to relax and Barbara gave me liver treats when I behaved myself.

Ta-da! Here is the after photo. I think that I look pretty spiffy.

And I am very happy to have survived all the torture in one piece.

You can see where I get my good looks. That is me in the front and Misty in the back.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The APDT Conference - Atlanta

Well she had a good excuse this time. Barbara has been very bad about blogging about our adventures lately but she went to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers annual conference in Atlanta so we will cut her some slack. Over 1200 dog trainers gathered for 5 days to hear lectures from the best dog trainers and behaviorists in the world.

Since Barbara is on the Board of Directors she had meetings before and after the conference so we spent 10 days at K9 Kindercare - good thing we like it there. She got to stay at the Hilton on the 24th floor of the hotel. Look at the view from her room.

Some of the speakers included Dr. Patricia McConnell, Suzanne Clothier, Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, Dr. Pam Reid and many of our dog training heroes. Barbara got to spend time with Dr. Temple Grandin which was very interesting. There is a HBO movie about Dr. Grandin's life and struggles as a person with Asperger's syndrome. She is brilliant and has great insights about animals.

Victoria Stillwell (It's Me or the Dog on Animal Planet) spoke at the conference. She and Dr. Grandin had a lot to talk about with each other.

It was a great conference and we hope Barbara learned a lot that will help her be a better trainer.

We did a lot of playing at K9 Kindercare. Ambrose made a new friend while were there.

But the best part of Barbara going to the conference is the trade show. The vendors have everything a dog could want. She bought lots of treats and toys for us. I investigated the bags carefully when she brought them home.

Of course I will do my annual treat taste testing experiment soon. I know that you want to know all about the most delicious treats.

Monday, October 11, 2010


We got a very exciting call this morning. CNN is filming a series on animal learning. They are going to show lemurs, bonobos, dolphins and of course, dogs. They planned to interview Dr. Brian Hare at the Duke Canine Cognition Center and film dogs performing the research studies. Ambrose and I have participated in a few of the studies and have blogged about it here. Dr. Hare asked if Barbara could bring one of us to Duke this afternoon for the filming. Of course she said yes and of course she brought me because who knows what Ambrose would do if he was being filmed for national television?

I got to meet the reporter Randi Kaye (I was hoping for Anderson Cooper) and showed her how good I am at finding treats. She asked Dr. Hare lots of questions but I was just focused on the food. The nice camera man filmed lots of repetitions of the tests but I don't know how much of it will actually be on TV and how much will end up on the cutting room floor. The show is supposed to air on CNN sometime in November and when I know the date, I will let you know so you can see my 15 seconds of fame.

Of course Barbara forgot to bring her camera to document the filming (she really is only good at providing my transportation) so there are no photos. Boo hiss!

Here is a photo of the two of us performing at the Bark Fest.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Freestyle Demos

In one month Barbara and I will compete in a Canine Freestyle Federation trial. We have a new routine, to Celtic music, that I enjoy performing because it has my favorite jumps in it as well as turns and spins which I also like to do. We have been practicing a lot to get ready for the trial.

Last Saturday we went to Yanceyville to perform our routine at the Caswell Animal Protection Society's Bark Fest. I had a good time but of course Barbara forgot to take pictures of me. A lady from the Caswell Messenger took my picture so maybe I will be in the newspaper.

A few weeks ago we went to the Woof-A-Palooza to support Chatham Animal Rescue and Education (CARE). There were many vendors selling dog treats and toys. We had a booth with lots of training information. I was on my best behavior so people could see what a good trainer Barbara is and they will sign their dogs up for her classes. We did not bring Ambrose because I know he would have disgraced us with some crazy adolescent antic.

We performed our freestyle routine for the crowd.

The audience was very impressed with my jumping abilities.

CARE raised lots of money at the Woof-A-Palooza which will help them foster and find homes for lots more dogs and cats.

Here is a movie of Barbara and I rehearsing our routine last month. We still have some work to do to polish up our performance and of course it would help if she was not so clumsy. I am always graceful but Barbara has two left feet. Well, I have two left feet as well, but I am supposed to have them.