Friday, July 17, 2009

We're Moving!

Today we went over to look at the house that we are planning on moving to at the end of this month. We were told by our landlord of 4 years that she was selling the house, and we needed to find somewhere to live. This is not an easy task with 4 dogs, all over 30 pounds (well Tori is soaking wet) which is a common limit for rental properties, who generally only take two dogs. We have had people laugh and hang up when we tell them we have 4 dogs...others just hang up. One lady told Jason "That's not a family of dogs, that's a kennel!" Really. When's the last time you went to a kennel? Small kennels have around 10 dogs, and regardless of numbers, the dogs are kept in kennel runs - hence the name. My "kennel" sleeps on and under the bed, and sits behind my computer desk, and gets told to get out of the kitchen at least 4 times a day.

This rental property service does not charge pet deposits. This is wonderful news, as we are very poor, and we really need a company that loves dogs and understands our needs. We had been told the yard was huge, but it is really HUUUUUUGE, favorite part....includes a tennis court. When I told Jason how excited I was about the tennis court (which is covered in weeds and small trees, and hasn't been maintenanced in years) he said "Why, it wouldn't even bounce a ball in there"..."not to play tennis! I hate tennis. For training, silly!" I can't believe he thought I wanted to play tennis. Anyway, there is enough space in there to set up some agility equipment, if I ever get brave enough to weed wack the place.

So I am actually including pictures, for the first time, that I took today while the dogs were in the backyard playing. While I'm sure they will have incredible adventures in the new backyard, we will all miss this shady haven and the cool rock firepit/grill which we not only use for cooking, but as you can see, the dogs use as a playground. Enjoy :)

Shadow and Layla hunting squirrels

Pirate remembering all those tasty hamburgers we cooked here.
Tori will probably love having a place in the country, neighborhoods are too hectic!
Layla will miss having this grill to her advantage in her squirrel hunts!

I'll include some pictures of the new place once we move in!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Finally, something to blog about!

So, I haven't been doing much training, and while I did go to Dog Scout Camp, that just seemed much too wordy to blog about...and I was way too tired when I got home, and apparently for weeks afterward...anyway, it's got to say something about me that I finally found something to get jazzed up about enough to get my lazy ass over here to post something. I know, you're thinking, what could be more exciting than Dog Scout Camp, where Tori jumped twice her height in the high jumping competition (known as the Puissance Jump) to be the first dog to earn the newly created badge....or where Pirate learned to jump off the end of the dock....where I got to spend two whole weeks thinking about nothing other than dogs?!? Well, something is more exciting than, when I fed the dogs breakfast, Tori delivered me not one, but all four of the dogs' bowls to my hand.

A little backstory....for some reason I am totally obsessed with the idea of having a dog that will bring you the dog dishes. This may be because of my inherent laziness, and hating having to crawl in the back of crates to grab the bowls....or the Chesapeake Bay Retriever I used to take care of that brought me her bowl....but, whatever the reason, I've always dreamed of owning a dog who did that. Well, the Chessie did it because of her natural love to retrieve, and her love of food, and in her mind bringing me the food bowl just sped up the whole process of eating, so why not? Pirate loves to retrieve, but he does not love to that's right out. Shadow loves to eat, but does not love to retrieve, sigh. Layla will have none of that nonsense....but, I thought, Tori had promise. I clicker trained her to retrieve a bowl to my hand, and she was doing pretty well, but has not refined the skill (she's just learning that having her paw in the bowl is counterproductive to picking it up). I haven't worked on the behavior for quite a while (since camp back in May), and wasn't really expecting her to do it.

I went to feed the dogs this morning, and Layla was doing her typical "she finally understood what all my whining was about" dance, and just trying to see how wound up I could get her (great for training, I know...) I was encouraging her to grab her bowl, thinking she might just be desparate enough for food that she'd consider it. Tori was sitting in her crate waiting for her food, and she suddenly said to herself "Damn it! I know how to pick up a bowl" and in her typical Hermione attitude, decided to show Layla how it's done. OK, so the first one was kind of rough, but it was a bigger bowl than she'd worked with, so I praised her for putting it in her mouth, even though she was still standing on the other edge. I then encouraged her to get all the other bowls, and she picked each of them up and gave them to me. I was so excited....this was actually worth sharing with you...