Monday, August 30, 2010


Friday night Finn and I went to a trial at Oriole Dog Training Center in Baltimore. We have our Novice Rally Title, so we were going for Advanced Rally. A few new challenges (a jump!) and all off leash. Finn does well off leash, and we knew all the usual signs. My concern was the jump, something we had only gotten to practice twice (with lots of cheese as incentive).

Finn and I got there, and he hopped out of the car, tail wagging. Since we had taken a couple of classes here, he was not stressed about coming. But when we went in the room, a different room than our class, with lots of strange dogs, the tail went down and he started stress panting.

We sat down to wait, and he calmed down a bit. I was able to get him to focus a bit, and we practiced our course. Then it was our turn in the ring.

We started well, but it soon became evident that Finn wasn't focusing on what we were doing. I had to repeat commands, constantly regain his attention, and call him back to me.

He would do well, then it was like his mind would wander off in another direction. We wandered around the course, and while I was frustrated he wasn't keeping his mind on what we were doing, he did do everything I asked, sort of.

He did the jump! (Yay!) Then we were just a sign or two away from the finish..

It was here that Mr Finnegan saw the exit, and decided it was time to leave. He just casually strolled out of the ring. He wasn't trying to run away, and he may have thought we were done, since the last sign had us heading for the gate.

It's just as well, by then I was laughing so we weren't presenting a very good picture anyway. :-D

Thanks to Judie for taking the photos, and congratulations to Jodie and Corky, score of 95 and second leg!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday river walk

I have been hearing for a couple of years about a 'swimming hole' on the Patapsco river, so we decided to see if we could find it. My intel was good, and we drove right to the parking spot, and less that 50 yards down a trail brought us to the river.

We were on the opposite side from the swing, so we decided to explore and see if there was a way to cross the river without the humans getting their shoes wet. (Finn was not concerned about getting wet)

Ok, Finn is in this photo, can you spot him? I can see why his ancestors were such good hunters now.

Finn greets a swimmer. Always ready to make new friends. I think he was wishing we would get in the river and swim so he could play with us.

I think he spotted a fish here!

We all had a great time!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shout out for Natural Balance dog food

As you know, Finn has a sensitive stomach. We have tried many brands of dog food, but continued to have the delightfully descriptive 'pudding poo', evil gas incidents, and less than enthusiastic eating. Sometimes one thing would improve, but another would get worse. I started with higher end regular dog food, tried large breed, limited and no grain formulas, but finally hit gold with Natural Balance grain free limited ingredient formulas.

We are now on our second month of solid normal poo (yay!!), no gas (yes, NONE!!!), and enthusiastic eating. I've actually had to cut back on treats because Finn has gained enough weight to have a little fat layer (and we don't want to lose our girlish figure). His energy level is up (well, up for him) and he is a happy dog now his tummy doesn't hurt.

We started with the duck and sweet potato formula, and now have the bison and sweet potato. He likes both, but I think the duck so far is his favorite. They also have sweet potato and chicken, venison, and fish, so easy to mix it up so he doesn't get bored. They also have a lamb and rice formula, and a completely vegan mix for dogs prone to meat protein allergies.

I would like to give a huge thanks to Natural Balance for developing these formulas for those of us with sensitive dogs! Cost-wise this isn't your grocery store dog food, but the prices are in line with other high quality foods, and Petco has a coupon!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Party Photos!

It was a beautiful day for a party!

The adults talked and enjoyed munchies.

and the dogs played!

and played...

They enjoyed munchies too.

Thanks Jan for the photos!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dog Trainer's version of the age old question...


Pavlov: we fed the chicken on the opposite side of the road each day at 4 p.m. until the chicken’s autonomic system actually began causing the chicken to cross the road at 4 p.m. without even questioning the “why.”

B.F. Skinner: on prior occasions when the chicken voluntarily crossed the road, this behavior was followed immediately by a reinforcing consequence.

Cesar Milan: I bullied, chased, poked, and intimidated the chicken until it raced across the road, because I am a strong leader…

Barbara Woodhouse: You just say, “Walkies” with the right accent and place a crumpet on the other side of the road…

Karen Pryor: by associating R+ with road crossing and P+ with standing still, with a VR schedule, and offering a reward in keeping with the Premack principle, we increased the intensity and frequency of the road crossing behavior.

Bill Koehler: a few well-timed pops on the choke chain and the chicken was happy to cross the road.

Nicholas Dodman: I gave the chicken fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, carbamazepine, and azapirone and then it was happy to cross the road.

Patti Ruzzo: I crossed the road, pausing every step to spit a treat out of my mouth like a human pez dispenser and the chicken followed along catching the treats.

Electric Collar Advocate: whenever the chicken does not cross the road I give it an electric shock. But do not worry, the shock is no more than you would feel if you walked on a carpet wearing socks and it does not bother the chicken at all. The feathers standing up and the smell of burning flesh mean nothing. In fact, they are happier having nice clear communication than they would be otherwise.

Yuppie: chickens are just like little people in feather jackets, and if you love them and give them diamonds and feel sorry for them all the time, they will be happy to cross the road for you.

Paris Hilton: Because I put it in a Gucci bag and carried it.

Shelter director: Any chickens that do not cross the road will be euthanized for their own good, and the others we will “adopt” out tomorrow for only $200 each. Please send us money so we can keep doing more of this important work!

HSUS member: I do not know anything about animals, I have never been around animals and am not really fond of animals, but we passed a law mandating that chickens be kept without cages because animals belong only in the wild and cannot be happy coexisting with man, so now they are walking wherever they want.

PETA member: chickens have the right to live in world without roads. Any chicken that lives within a hundred miles of a road is suffering an inhumane existence and might eventually be hit by a car so we should kill it today to ensure that it does not die tomorrow.

This is making it's way around the web. I haven't found an author credited, but I thought it was brilliant!

Anyone else remember Barbara Woodhouse (No Bad Dogs)? I remember living in Yorkshire in the 80's, and a radio personality (Terry Wogan) playing Barbara's voice saying 'Walkies!!' He got constant complaints because all the dogs would go nuts when he did that.
I also have to add this clip. I defy anyone to watch this and not laugh with that baby! Notice the dog getting his licks in!