Monday, April 26, 2010

Rally #3, Catoctin Club show

Today we went to the Catoctin Club show. This was for the 3rd leg of our Rally Novice title.

We got there in plenty of time, despite the rain. Not as many people at this show, but we saw a lot of the same faces at the Rally ring!

Finn and I color co--coordinated this time, all in shades of gray.

Our go wasn't exactly flawless, LOL! We were distracted a couple of times, but in all it went rather well.

The Judge was delightful! Very exact on what she expected, very helpful for us novices, and very complimentary when we did well.

She complimented Finn on his sits. (The judge has Danes, and understands large breeds!)

Finn hob-nobbing with other qualifiers.

When I asked the judge for a review and suggestions, she was very complimentary.

Points off for a leash pull.

Points off for Finn crowding, off course a bit, etc.

Then I found out we got a 95! Well done Finn!

This was the third leg of our Rally Novice Title. We got the title ribbon, had our photo taken with the judge, and Finn is now Finnegan RN.

Big thanks to Vicki for the photos, video, and ring side support!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rally #2, Old Dominion Kennel Club

We had our second rally experience, this time at an open show at the MD State Fairgrounds. The show is called the Cherry Blossom cluster, it is a group of 3 shows, on 3 different days put on by three different clubs. It's an easy way for dog owners to attend several shows during one trip. Great time and money saver!

It's also a great way to get points and qualifications.

Here we are ringside, watching the people and dogs who know what they are doing go through the course.

Um, it gets boring....

But friends show up to chat with and give well-needed advice,

and puppies must be petted. This is Corky, and yes, he is still a puppy.

Finn finds puppies rather confusing.

There were a lot of entries in rally. But our turn will come.

The folks running our ring were wonderful, and made sure everyone was up to speed on the protocols. We were of course Novice A, so we appreciated all the help we could get.

Our turn came up and off we went. The problem with IW is that rally courses are tight. Space is limited, and to get a lot of moves in, the course requires tight turns and precise maneuvers. Not a strong point for a 140 pound, 7 foot long hound.

Umm...a not so great turn. The leash is supposed to be loose.

That's better, and nice focus from Finn!

The end, yay!

Score of 86, and our second qualifying leg! One more and Finn with have his certification in Rally Novice. Next show is Monday, with the Catoctin club.

Thanks to Judie for the photos and support!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rules of Acquisition #2 Snackage

Rule # 2 - Whenever you hear the rustling of paper or plastic, immediately go to the source. There may be snackage available. Food comes in plastic and paper, always be aware and ready to accept treats, or acquire them as the situation allows. Also be aware of the opening of pantry or refrigerator doors. If you don't listen for those sounds you may miss out on food!

Remember to engage your stealth powers, if the human has warning you are coming they may quickly put away the food.

Rule 1

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rental car....

Not really happy about this...but willing to put up with it to get to our Pets on Wheels gig.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Who is training who?

I have been working with Finn, training him for Rally and Obedience. I have come to realize though, that Finn has been working on his own training agenda.

Finn, like any child, prefers cookies to dinner. He knows where the cookies are, he knows I can get them for him. About a month ago, he started a campaign for cookies in the evening.

He nudges me when he wants something. This can be rather inconvenient when I am on the computer, or if he nudges me just as I am taking a drink. After determining he didn't want out, and had plenty of water, I figured out he was wanting to score some munchies. In the beginning, I gave him a cookie, just so he would let me type in peace.

I then realized he was eating less and less of dinner, so put a stop to the cookies. Finn then tried to figure out what would start up the free cookie machine again. He would eventually finish his dinner. then one time he finished, then asked for more. I cleaned his bowl, and put out fresh dry kibble, and some cookies. At the time I just figured he was still hungry after dinner.

He rather quickly figured out if he finished his dinner, he got dessert. Not that he didn't try to get cookies without finishing, he is always hopeful I will relent and just give him treats. Often he will eat half his dinner, then come nudge me. I will tell him no, he has to finish his dinner first. He will sigh, but will eventually clean his bowl. Sometimes it is hours later, but immediately after he has he comes and nudges me to let me know he is finished.

I wash his bowl, and set him up. This has been a regular thing for the last two weeks, and I am now realizing he has figured out a way to get cookies every evening. Granted, he has to eat his dinner first, so it's really a win-win situation. (Finn is a finicky eater)

So who trained who? I think it was an open negotiation, with benefits for both parties.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fetch, Finnegan style

Since we got Finn, over a year ago, we have tried to play with him like you usually do with a dog. Tug of war with a rope toy, squeeky toys, fetch with a ball. For each of these attempts Finn has just looked at us with what I guess is the same expression a formal British butler would give a grubby street child's offer to play hopscotch.

"No thank you, I don't do that."

All the toys we have gotten have been used as chew toys and quickly dismembered. But, he will play with a ball, on his own. He tosses the ball in the air, bats at it, and will chase it. His leaps and tosses are hilarious to watch, more like watching a cat play with a toy than a dog.

Often after our morning walk, Finn will play with a ball in the front yard. He runs, leaps, tosses the ball and growls at it. He pretends the ball has gotten away from him, runs laps around the yard and then pounces on it. A couple of times I have tried to toss the ball for him. He will go after it, but doesn't bring it back.

Until this morning. His ball wasn't where he left it because the yard has been mowed. I found it and tossed it out for him to play. He played with it, then came to where I was and dropped the ball. I tossed it back out, and he leaped after it. He played with if for a few minutes, then bought it back. I tossed it out again, and he chased and played with it. This time he decided the game was over and left it in the yard.

So he CAN fetch, as long as you don't want the ball back in a hurry, and he hasn't gotten bored with the game.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wolfhound 'Rules of Acquisition'.

The number one Irish Wolfhound Rule of Acquisition is about abandoned food.

1. All unattended food left on counters or tables is considered to be abandoned, and as a public service the wolfhound should eat the food.

This food should be quickly taken and eaten out of sight, to protect delicate sensibilities.

Finn takes this rule very seriously.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Product review - Greenies Pill Pockets

I have been shoving pills down throats for most of my life. From dogs and cats, to my own child, I can get a pill down an uncooperative throat.

Enter an IW into the picture. There are a whole different problem. First, you can't reason with them, no matter what the bribe is they won't eat the pill or powder you need them too. Second, you really can't shove a pill down an IW throat, it's just too far and the jaw is too big to control. (at least for my hands)

Since Finn came with Lymes, I had to quickly figure out a method for getting multiple pills in him twice a day. I shoved them in hot dogs, rolled them in cheese, squished them in bread. It worked ok, occasionally he would spit out the pill, but for the most part I got them in him. Then I spotted these in the local pet superstore:

Perfect! Tuck the pills in the pocket, mold it closed, and in it goes. And that is exactly how it worked. Finn loves them! No matter how many pills (larger dogs have larger doses of meds, that equals multiple pills) he will happily gulp it down. I always make a point of telling him 'Good boy!' for eating his pill pocket, because I know he chews them a bit, and tastes the meds sometimes.

Today was the day I give him his monthly heartworm preventative. I shook out a pill pocket on the counter, then went to get the two pills he has to take. When I came back, the pill pocket was gone. Finn stood there licking his lips and wagging his tail. His whole posture said "I took my pills, I'm a good boy!"

I reminded him he was supposed to wait for me to give it to him, and prepared another one which he happily ate. He waited for a moment, to make sure I didn't have more for him to eat, he really really likes them. I have to admit, they smell kind of good, like a very savory soup or pate.

Finn and I give Greenies Pill Pockets two paws up!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Finn declares war.

In the last week we have had beautiful spring weather. This has brought out flowers, grass, and bugs..esp the bugs. We have a bumper crop this year of Bumblebees.

Not this kind..
This kind.

Finn takes offense at buzzy flying things, esp bumblebees. He has declared our yard a 'no fly' zone. In just the last couple of days he has killed several. His technique is excellent and well thought out. When he spots one or hears one, he goes on the alert. He scans the area and will run after them, no matter how far away. When he gets close he freezes, then with a snap! He has them!

Here is where the thinking happens. He doesn't just grab them, he does a three snap flip with them. He snatches them out of the air, and does a lightning fast snap-snap-snap then flicks them out of his mouth before they can sting or bite him. He will then go find them, and make sure they are dead.

He will then sometimes eat them. This usually results in him throwing up (especially if it was a stink bug), but to the victor the spoils I guess.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tales of Treat bags...

When Finn and I went to the Rally clinic, I was loaned a treat bag. The bag was very handy, with a belt to go around my waist and a snap shut opening. The snap shut is an important feature if you have a wolfhound and his nose is level, if not above your waist.

I searched online and ordered one like it. The package came, and as I opened it Finn of course was right there checking out what I had. I pulled it out, and when Finn saw what it was, he immediately sat, and looked at me expectantly. He recognized what it was right away, and was ready to work for those treats!

This after one session, weeks earlier. When it comes to treats, Finn doesn't forget.