Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer agility practice in Texas

Summers in Texas are hot. That is just a fact of life here.  Pit bulls, at least my pit bulls, are not summer dogs. Gus is especially not a summer dog. Anything over about 70 degrees and he no longer performs. He's looking for shade, asking for a straw hat and lemonade, followed by a siesta. This evening the temperature was 81 degrees and I thought we might try a bit of agility practice in the shade. Nothing very strenuous, just a little circle work and practicing fast downs. Gracie was all over both of those games - after all the reward is food. Gracie is very food motivated. I had her working for her kibble, but I  believe she would probably work for small rocks.  Gus declined the game - 81 degrees and kibble? Not worth it.

Thanks, but I'll just practice my down stay right here.

It is entirely possible kibble was dropped in the grass. I must locate all of it, even if I'm hot!

I think I will join Gus in the down stay practice.

It is not even June yet.  It's going to be a hot summer, once again...

Monday, May 18, 2009


The title of this blog entry might suggest that the subject is my daughter, Ellen, who recently graduated summa cum laude from Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, Tx. and has been accepted to the University of Western Kentucky for grad school. I am almost embarrassed to say that it is not about that great and glorious accomplishment (sorry Ellen). I am almost embarrassed, but alas, not quite! "Graduation" in this post refers to Gus's graduation from beginner agility. 

For graduation the dogs ran an agility course incorporating all of the equipment we have learned so far. Gus ran the entire course off leash (a first). He runs much faster without the leash I discovered. The course was: chute-jump-tunnel-table-tire-jump-tunnel-A frame-jump-jump-dog walk-tunnel-weaves-jump. It was fun!

beginner weave poles "weave-o-matic"

into the tunnel

through the tire

reward at the A-frame

oops! refusal at a wing jump

over the jump

over again

just chillin'

the proof of graduation

Now it is on to level 2...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Hunting We Will Go!

Bill and Joey - prehunt

Previously they were allowed to hunt sans leash. No longer, since I "lost" Joey. Searching for a 9 inch dachshund, with zero recall, in 36 inch grass on 12 acres was heartstopping. Actually he was lost for less than 5 minutes, and I had a pretty good idea of which area he was in. But he did have access to 12 acres, so...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We ARE Swimmers!!!





DaisyDog questions whether they were enjoying themselves. Actually they were. Gracie especially loved the water. She would have liked it better if her leash was longer so she didn't have to wait on the human to  keep up with her. Gracie also loves to play in the water that comes out of the water hose - Gus not so much. Gus went in willingly, but didn't seem to like it as much as Gracie. No dog was forced into swimming. We plan to give them more swimming opportunities this summer with longer leashes. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

The College Students' Conversation

My college age daughter (she will be a college grad May 16, 2009 - yeah!) has a picture of Gracie on her phone. The following is an actual conversation she recently had with two friends.

Friend R: Who's pit bull is that?

Ellen: My mom's.

Friend R: Is your mom a gangster?

Friend A: Those dogs will kill you.

At this point Ellen vehemently defends Gracie's honor. She does not address the question of whether or not her mom is a gangster, however.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

An Aha! Moment

Gus and I have been taking an agility class for the past six or seven weeks. Let me preface this story by saying that some dogs in the class need a bit more space than other dogs do. In other words, some dogs aren't comfortable with other dogs up in their face. Gus is one such dog. He is NOT the only dog in the class that likes his space. I am extra cautious about being sure Gus gets extra space.  I move Gus away from other dogs headed our way, I hang out at the fringes of the class until it is our turn. One final point - Gus was in no way involved in the one dog fight that occurred during week two or three of the class. 

So, on to the story...

Several weeks ago one of the other participants in the agility class commented that Gus really seems to like and  respond to me.  Well of course, I am his most reliable treat dispenser. Then the comment was made that Gus sure looks "scary". I assured the person that Gus is very, very people friendly, but that is all I said. Last week somehow Gus and I ended up close to this guy. He asked me about Gus and I said again that he is very, very people friendly. Gus noticed the guy talking to me and looking at him. Gus went all waggy tail and started toward the guy. We were close enough for Gus to walk up to the guy without pulling on the leash, so I let him go make friends. He was practically bending himself in half wagging his tail. The guy said in a very surprised voice while he is petting Gus "He really is a sweet dog", as Gus is giving the guy kisses and tail wagging like crazy, "but he still looks scary".  Oh well, baby steps...

I am not scary, well maybe I am scary, but not in a bad way!

On The Outside Looking In

Most dogs wait at the door when they're ready to come inside...

Gracie is not most dogs...

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Dogs Ate My Homework

Yes mam, I did my homework

However, well you see...

Umm, well, the dogs...

well, with great joy, glee, and celebration, they ate it...

Guess they didn't like the assignment! They are bad dogs!