Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Am Three!!

I turned three years old yesterday! I am a big boy now. Barbara says she has great plans for me this year and will help me to get letters after my name. As long as it involves treats and toys, I am up for it.

I celebrated my birthday by going on a nice outing with Barbara and then she gave me a slice of roast beast! Very delish. She also sang "Happy Birthday" to me which I enjoyed (Niamh does not like it when Barbara sings) and I gave her some smooches. Then we went to play with my girlfriend Scout. A very nice way to spend the day.

Happy New Year to you all from Niamh and Ambrose!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to all our dog blogging friends! We have been very bad about posting this year, especially lately. It is not that we haven't been doing fun things, it is just that Barbara keeps forgetting to take pictures of us doing them. It is all her fault! I have been in two holiday parades and Ambrose has been a demo dog twice. I have a new, much younger, Border Collie boyfriend and even Ambrose has found another girl dog willing to play his bashy games.

Here are some pictures from our Christmas photo shoot.

Barbara wrapped a big box for us to stand on. The idea was that she would take pictures of us with both of us up on the box but I refused to stand on the box if Ambrose was on it! Can you imagine the amount of cooties I would have gotten from him?

I wanted to be as far away from him as I possibly could be and still be in the picture.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! We will catch up on all of your blogs and promise to make Barbara post more in 2012!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Box

Remember that big box of stuff from the APDT Conference? I wanted to open it right away but Barbara said that we had to save it for a rainy day! What??? Anyway she wouldn't let us open it but kept us busy with other things. Last week we went to UNC to give a demo to the General Psychology class. I must say that I did a very nice job. I did a really fast recall before 250 students from the back of the auditorium all the way to the front. Even Ambrose behaved well and both of us worked with the students so some of them could get practice doing clicker training and operant conditioning. Of course we got lots of petting and treats. Unfortunately there are no pictures of this.

But today, Halloween, was a rainy day and we got to open the box. At first I was disappointed because all that came out were T-shirts. Who wants bits of cloth? But my nose hadn't deceived me and once Barbara removed the boring shirts we got down to the good stuff.

Look at some of this loot! There were several new toys as well as 7 different flavors of treats!!! I can't wait to do my treat palatability research. This is a heavy responsibility but anything for science.

Ambrose immediately grabbed one of the new toys and raced around with it.

Then he started to bite it and just look what he did! There are holes in the toy already and he only had it for 5 minutes!

I am not happy with Ambrose. Today I had to snap at him when he came too close to my toilet paper roll (all cardboard rolls are mine). I thought that he was maturing lately but I was wrong.

Tomorrow night Barbara is giving a talk on Coping with Canine Adolescence and Ambrose is the poster boy. Well he did take 2nd place in the Mangominster Bad Sports class.

I hope you all had a Happy Halloween and that you didn't eat any chocolate (you know it is bad for you).

Friday, October 21, 2011

APDT Conference in San Diego

Barbara abandoned us for 10 whole days! Well she brought us to K9 Kindercare (which we love) while she took off in a plane for San Diego and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Conference.

This is the premier national conference for dog trainers who come from all over the US and many other countries to learn from the best trainers, behaviorists and vets. Some of my heros spoke at the conference including Suzanne Clothier, Pam Reid, Sue Sternberg, Terry Ryan, Ian Dunbar and two of my personal friends, Teoti Anderson and Hannah Branigan. I was very jealous that I couldn't go but it is a people training conference and Barbara was very busy there since she is on the conference committee and had work to do.

San Diego looks beautiful and I would like to see a palm tree. I don't think that we have many of those in Chapel Hill.

I was a bit shocked when I saw pictures of chickens at the conference! I understand that people practice their timing by training chickens. I do not see the point in bothering to train chickens as I would prefer to eat them.

It wasn't all work and studying at the conference. Dog trainers are very into socialization and there were activities every night. The beach party looked like great fun and I was disappointed that I wasn't there to see the surfer dog.

But the thing that has caused the most commotion here is that we found out that Barbara met our blogging friend Murphy!

Murphy lives in San Diego which seems like a very cool place. If you read his blog you know that his person is always taking him to the dog beach and Great Dane meet ups and other fun dog events. What a life! Anyway, the conference committee needed demo dogs for some of the workshops and Murphy was one of them. We are sick with jealousy that Barbara got to meet him and Ambrose and I did not. He is such a big handsome guy and did very well as a demo dog.

We are glad she is home now though. The best part is that Barbara always brings us new treats and toys from the trade show at the conference. She bought so many this year that they wouldn't all fit in her suitcase and she had to ship some of the loot. This box came today and I can tell you it smells very good.

We can't wait to see what is inside and to perform our yearly research to find out which is the most delicious treat.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

We're Back!

I can't believe that it has been two whole months since I posted. We had much trouble with our phone lines and DSL. Our line got cut 3 times and it took the phone company many days each time to repair the wires. But they left them all over the driveway. Then they tried to bury the wire underground and brought a big noisy machine to do it. It got stuck in some rocks (Barbara tried to tell them not to dig there but they didn't listen to her) and they had to bring in a big truck to drag the machine out. What a racket! Ambrose and I couldn't stand it and we barked and barked.

Fortunately AT&T has finally fixed the wires, buried them and our phone and internet are better. I've been very busy of course doing demonstrations and helping Barbara with orientations for her dog training classes. I could do the orientation myself now. I know when I am supposed to do my demos and if Barbara talks too much I stare at her until she stops. The new students are more interested in me showing off my skills than in her boring lecture anyway.

I did a freestyle demo at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine Dog Olympics.

I was so glad when we started back to Drill Team practice so I could hang out with my buddies. Last week we demoed at
Woof-a-palooza to benefit Chatham Animal Rescue and Education. We also had a tent for Paw in Hand Dog Training. I was a great ambassador.

Here we are under our new sign.

I am modeling my bandana in preparation for our demo with the Drill Team.

Ambrose of course stays at home when we do all this. He always cries like a baby when we leave him and of course now he wants to post.

Ambrose here. I don't really care that I don't get to go with Niamh. I have a new girlfriend and that is what I want to post about. Of course Scout is still my girlfriend but my new crush is Beatrice!

Isn't she cute?

And very flirtatious.

I am always attracted to the tomboy, sporty types of girls and Bea (I am allowed to call her that) is a very fast, bashy player. She really knows how to play bitey face too.

I was pretty tired after our romp and I can't wait to play with her again.

We are both glad to be back posting and will try to put up some more pictures from the summer that just took too long to upload when our internet was broken.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rally Level 1 Title!

We have been trying to keep cool in the hot weather. Our landline/DSL line got cut in the driveway again so our internet has been out. Ambrose and I have been doing interesting things but it has not been easy to post of get on your blogs. I sent Barbara to the library to use the wi-fi there so she could post this exciting news for me.

I earned my APDT Rally Level 1 title this weekend!

We entered 2 trials yesterday and one this morning. I qualified in all of them to earn three legs and my RL1 title. More letters after my name!

I like doing Rally. The courses are fun and your person can talk to you and praise you the entire time. It is work though and I had to have a little down time in my crate between runs.

Of course Barbara gave me lots of treats for being such a good, smart girl. I got 4 ribbons and was allowed to pick a toy from this big box. I selected a tug toy snake. I am not going to let Ambrose touch it as he will get cooties all over it if I do. He can get his own toy snake when he gets a rally title!

I hope our internet is better soon so we can read all your blogs and post more.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Trust Experiment

The nice researchers at the Duke Canine Cognition Center requested my help with another one of their experiments. Barbara says it is just because my name came up in a random sampling of their data base but I know that they really like me there and that they think I am very smart.

This experiment was to see if I would eat a treat near some one I didn't know or would prefer to eat one near some one that had been nice to me. Now I am an equal opportunity treat eater but I was very happy to participate.

The first part was wonderful. A nice Duke student named Isabella sat on the floor and petted me for 23 whole minutes!! She scratched my ears and then gave me a butt rub.

I thought this was so nice that I let her rub my belly too. She talked very sweetly to me. You can see how much I enjoyed all the petting.

She even let me rest my head on her leg! You should all try to get in this experiment if you can. 23 minutes of non-stop petting is wonderful.

After the petting marathon the students moved some screens around the room. I was very curious especially when some little trays came out from under the curtains and Mary put treats on the trays. I was tested to make sure I could take the treats off of the trays, which of course I could. Some dogs are afraid of the trays but not me.

Then Mary put more treats on the trays and a some one came out from one side of the curtain and sat near the tray. Sometimes it was Isabella and sometimes it was a student I didn't know.

When Mary said ok, I was allowed to race to one of the treats and they marked down which side that I went to. We did this 16 times so that meant I got 16 treats!

Camilla, Isabella and Mary were very nice to me and even gave me a Duke diploma!

I am always happy to advance scientific knowledge about dogs and get lots of treats at the same time.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Do You Have C.L.A.S.S.?

I was so down when I heard that I was not selected for a dream date with Mango. To take my mind off of my disappointment Barbara has had me training for C.L.A.S.S. That is the new program from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and it stands for Canine Life and Social Skills. You can read all the details at

There are three levels, BA, MA and Ph.D. It is always good to have letters after your name. The tests are practical skills that all good dogs should know. The exercises get harder in each level.

A group of us got together at Paw In Hand to practice all the BA exercises. Next week we are going to have a "mock test" in preparation for the real thing in August.

Here I am practicing the Wait for the food bowl.

My BFF Ayla is doing a great job with the Settle on her mat.

Jade is only 7 months old but is doing well in her down stay. In the BA level you have to do a stay for 1 minute. Your person is right next to you but the evaluator talks to them. In the MA level your person is 15 feet away and other people walk around dropping things and acting as distractions while you stay.

You can do a sit stay if you prefer. My Drill Team buddy, Teddy, is demonstrating that.

There are bonus exercises so you an earn your degree "with honors". My boyfriend Trotter is saying his prayers for the bonus trick exercise.

There are several other exercises in the BA including loose leash walking, leave it, come and leash manners, give and take etc. Check out the program. Trainers in your area will be offering it soon. The APDT promotes education for trainers and reward based training which is a good thing for dogs.

I had a fun time at the practice and it took my mind off Mango for a while.

Ambrose will not be posting today because he is a very bad boy and it is doubtful that he will ever have any letters after his name! He stole some Burt's Bees soap from the bathroom counter. He ripped off the paper and ate 1/2 the bar before Barbara caught him. Disgraceful!!

Hope you and your families have a Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Want a Dream Date with Mango!

You know that I am a very social setter and that I have quite a few boyfriends. However none of them are Relentlessly Huge or brindlie handsome like Mango.

Mango is running a contest and the winner will be squired around town by the Mango himself. I couldn't resist the opportunity to spend some quality time the Relentlessly Handsome big guy.

Why should I win this contest??

1. People tell me I am gorgeous and I know Mango has an eye for pretty ladies. Barbara has said that if I win the contest she will subject me to extreme dog grooming torture so that I will look my best on the date.

2. We are both afflicted with annoying, cootie-covered little brothers who are always embarrassing us. It would be so great to leave Ambrose and Dexter in their crates and have adventures without them. While we are on our date we could plot ways to have them kidnapped and then we wouldn't pay their ransom.

3. Mango and I love to dance. Mango has some great moves and you can see a video of me dancing here.

I am sure that many lovely girl dogs will enter this contest but the Mango and I have so much in common that we are made for each other. Yes, I do have some other boyfriends, but none of them have blogs so they will never know!

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Work is Never Done!

I really don't know how Barbara would get anything done without me. Recently she started a lot of new classes and of course she needed me to be her demo dog at the orientation for each class. It is a lot of work I can tell you. I had to show off all my skills to the students. Then I had to eat a lot of treats (very difficult) and then get petted by all the students (exhausting).

When it was all over I had to take a nap.

In an effort to give me a break she brought Ambrose to be the demo dog for one of the classes. What was she thinking??? He actually did alright until the mat work demo. Now to be fair, Ambrose is usually good on his mat, but not that night. Instead of lying there quietly he barked and barked at Barbara. Disgraceful.

As tired as I am she would have been better off bringing me. See how I can rest on my mat without barking.

With all my demo work I have also had to inspect the driveway. See that wire? It was our phone line until a tractor cut it. We were without phone and the internet for four days! Ugh!

Gordon Setters are known for being hard workers so I will keep on doing all I can to help Barbara with her work.

Ambrose here. In my own defense I wasn't barking on my mat to be bad. It was to encourage Barbara to be more generous with her rewards. I wanted her to set a good example to her students so they would give their dogs lots of treats!

Last week I got to go to Fearrington to see the Belted Galloway cows. Look how still I sat to try to get the cows to come to me.

They did come almost up to the gate but I got so excited that I gave the cows a big play bow and they went away.

I really wish they would be my friends.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I Finally Get My Birthday Ice Cream

After several days delay I finally got to celebrate my 6th birthday with a trip to Maple View Farm to eat ice cream. We stopped on the way to pick up my boyfriend Trotter and his person. Trotter had to ride in Ambrose's kennel in the dog-crate-on-wheels. I hope he didn't get any Ambrose cooties.

We left Ambrose and Trotter's little sister Scout at home. I don't even want to think about the havoc they would have created if we brought them along. Maple View Farm would never have been the same.

We waited on the porch with Trotter's person while Barbara went in us our ice cream. It was pretty hot but we knew the ice cream would cool us off.

Barbara bought us each a cup of Honey Toasted Almond ice cream which was so delicious I can not even describe it. It was so creamy and sweet.

Look how nicely Trotter ate his ice cream. He is a very polite guy.

Here is a close-up of me making sure that I lick every delicious drop off of the spoon.

Barbara let me lick the cup when it got down to the end. I can barely get my muzzle in the little cup but don't worry, having a long tongue is very useful. I didn't leave anything in there.

You can see that I have a little bit of ice cream on my chin.

Even though it was a belated celebration it was still a great treat for my birthday. I am so glad that Trotter came with us.

Barbara says that now that I am 6, I am middle aged!! Very rude of her especially when you consider how decrepit she is!!!!