Monday, November 21, 2011

Training with the puppies

This is Barley (with his owner, Trudy) waiting for his turn, Pippa (yes, she's a Toller, not a Golden)with Andrea and our Crispin with the winged bumper. All the puppies came out training yesterday with the big dogs and had a great time learning to fetch up the bumpers, getting some exposure to birds through the wings Mark brought back from his Saskatchewan hunting trip and learning to COME BACK with the bumper. It's great to watch the puppies learn to do stuff that is so fun. We believe very strongly that all the work you do at this stage means so much less work required as the dogs get older. The main thing we teach at this stage isn't that puppy has to pick up the object - it's that once you have the object, the game is to come back with it. If you don't come back, the game is over, but if you do come back, the game continues.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Crispin and Barley

While Rowan and I were in Lindsay at the Georgina trial, Crispin went to training class with Mark. She got to hang out with her brother Barley. By all accounts the puppies had a good time playing with each other. Nick and Trudy brought their niece with them to class and she played with the puppies as well. When Crispin got home, she was EXHAUSTED and slept all evening. Which meant she got up at 5:10 this morning. So now I'm EXHAUSTED...time for more coffee.



This is Oakley, with Lily and Alexis. Oakley is Crispin's brother. He lives a bit north of us and is growing up to be Lily and Alexis's pal, as well as Stew's hunting dog.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rowan got some CDX legs today

Rowan's very proud of himself. We got 2 legs towards his CDX today at Georgina's trial. We have a few things to work on - he was higher than a kite and heeled around the ring like a bunny rabbit, so we lost a bunch of points on heeling. He also struggled a bit with crooked fronts. However, we had lovely straight finishes, a great drop on recall, a couple of great retrieves and 2 rock solid broad jumps (even if there was a little bit of judge-visiting). Stays were rock solid, so in all, we had a great day.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Training Crispin

I am having much fun training my new Crispin. I must admit, that for the past 4 weeks I’ve really struggled to pay much attention to her. I’ve been mourning the loss of my sweet Autumn and in some ways it felt disloyal to her to focus too much on the puppy. Not totally rational, I know, but feeling are feelings and there you have it.

However, we attended our first Competition Puppy class at Companion Dog Training this week. This is not the first time I’ve taken this class – and it sure won’t be my last. Cider, Rowan, Decoy and Ranger have all gone through it and I think it is the most solid foundation a puppy can have. Marie Sawford has such a good handle on the basics of obedience training that I feel very privileged to learn from a master. Lucky me. And it would be unfair to Crispin and to Marie to be anything but fully engaged in the program, so here I am sucking it up and moving forward.

For Crispin, that means daily training. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that someone doesn’t have the time to train daily. I don’t think people give enough credit to regular day-to-day tasks that are really training opportunities. Something as simple as snapping the leash off a collar. My dogs are required to look at me when their leash comes off. In the obedience ring, it’s a way of us connecting before we head off to start our routine. In day-to-day life, it’s a safety thing. You must have the “all clear” before you get to run around and play. When you emphasize something on a daily basis, I consider that training.

There are 13 exercises on my lesson sheet for this week (that Marie, she’s a slave driver!). I don’t have the attention span to work on 13 things in a session...and neither does my puppy. So we work in 5 minute increments. And I can do 3 things in 5 minute increments. So today it’s tuck sits, lie down and stand. Marie advises to work something you don’t love before something you do (so that you don’t create holes in your dog’s training because you don’t like to train some things). I’m not in love with training tuck sits. I know they’re important and I love the finished product, but I think it’s boring. So I do that first when I’m fresh and as a reward I get to teach 2 other things. Lie down is the most important command in our house. When you live with 6 dogs, the need to have dogs drop and lie still on command is as essential as breathing. Door bell rings...dogs must drop. Something hot falls from the stove...dogs must drop. Dogs block the TV...dogs much drop. You get the picture. And for some reason I love to teach a kick back stand. Well, I know perfectly well why I love to teach’s because it was a really hard skill for me to master. I never did manage to teach it to Autumn or Cider and it bit me in the butt every time I did a utility moving stand exercise with those dogs. I did manage to finally master it for Rowan – and his moving stand is awesome. It also came in very handy for him in the conformation ring.

So those are our skills for today. Skills that certainly will be important when we’re working on our CD, CDX and UD titles, but also in Crispin’s daily life as she grows up to be a good canine citizen.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fun with Crispin

I've been struggling pretty hard with losing my Autumn. She was very aptly named - this was our favorite time of year to go for walks and do stuff outside, but she also liked to hang out as I cooked in the kitchen or sewed or just hung around the house. We spent so much time together that my mind still sees her everywhere. I know 10 is not a bad life span for a Golden, but I don't feel like we were quite done doing everything we wanted to do together.

Of great help in the healing process has been my little Crispin. We went for a long walk yesterday at one of our local conservation areas. Crispin tried out the water (it was too cold for swimming, in my opinion, but she didn't agree). She followed Drake into the pond and splashed around like she'd been swimming for years.

While no one will ever replace my Autumn, Crispin has been helping me feel not-so-sad.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Welcome to our newest addition - Tidewaters Apple Crisp. Crispin is from our Drake and Bree breeding and was born on August 21. We're looking forward to watching this sweet little girl learn and grow.