Zoe and Gracie Sleep

Do you like butter in your hot dog?

Ya know sometimes I don't listen to common sense. I should, I have it. I just don't. Today we made a run up to Sam's Club. A great place to stock up on staples such as cream of mushroom soup, paper towels, shredded cheese, and butter. Things you can freeze or don't go bad. We are trying to save money we took a trip up there to get stuff.

When I got home I let the dogs out. Normal thing to do. They run around crazy, take a whiz, ya get the idea. I had to unload all this stuff. Now remember the idea is that you buy in bulk. So we got a 2 lb box of oatmeal. 10 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 12 cans of tomato soup, 10 rolls of paper towels, 3 lbs of butter, etc. This stuff does not fit inside bags really well so we use boxes we pick up at Sam's. They were heavy and it is cold and wet and windy here. I was tired and cold by the time we got in, I am trying to not be lazy though so I then put all the food away. Two things happened next. One, I could not find the mozzarella cheese, two I thought I should go double check in the car. I got lazy though. Darn it sneaks up on one. I plopped down in a chair, played some SIMS 2 and had a diet coke. It's cold outside, I knew the cheese wouldn't go bad.

After a bit I wet upstairs and checked my e mail. Then I went back down stairs and then it hit me. I saw Remmy and I saw Gracie but my shadow, Zoe, was not there. Well all this wind has made the house cool. I thought maybe Zoe was upstairs and then feed the goats and horses their afternoon feeding. Cold and tired again I plopped down again. Then it hit me again. No Zoe, this is three hours later and I didn't think my shadow would be gone from my side for that long.

I called her and ran upstairs. No Zoe. I ran to the front door. No Zoe. I ran to the garage. No Zoe. Then it hit me again. See things have to really hit me between the eyes before I take noticed. The car! I ran out to the car and there was Zoe sitting on the front seat eating a pound of butter. Now I think she only ate about a stick, not that is good but it could be worse.

Let us all say a quick prayer for Zoe's digestive track.
Zoe and Gracie Sleep

The Terror of Black Horse Farm

Oh Yes! We have a new terror on the farm. A creature that strike fear in to the hearts of everyone. This little demon can kill you with claws. . . or even a stare.

The creature is Ranger! Don't let those eyes fool you. This kitten is pure evil. Just ask Remmy.

Honestly the poor little guy tips the scales at 9 lb when Remmy is at his heaviest. He is smaller than the average cat. Only about the size the chihuahua, only longer. Recently Ranger, who is a kitty I found in a barn when I went to get hay, has started feeling better. He pounces on feet, ankles, unsuspecting pieces of lint, and little dogs. The other day Remmy was minding his own business, just walking through the house when this little kitten jumped out in front of him, batting at Remmy's nose. Remmy just kept backing up as Ranger kept stalking and attacking. Remmy is such a good boy and knew he should not hurt the cat. So he braved the claws until someone rescued him.

This terrible plight came into our home about a month ago. Ranger was in the barn where I get hay. His poor little eyes were all matted and I knew it was only time before the little guy starved to death. He was all bones. So, being the big softy I am, I brought him home. The last thing we need is another cat, just ask just about anyone. But I recently lost my old cat and I just could not see letting the little guy die. If anyone wants a kitten, I would be thrilled if someone wanted to give him a good home.

Zoe and Gracie Sleep

Snow? Snow!

Well winter is now upon us. Darn it. We have been doing so well up until now. Now things get ugly, well beautiful actually, but cold and wet. Here are the ducks when I got home with the hay:

Then a few hours later:
Now You can not even see the ground.
Remmy is the complete sissy dog. He has to wear a sweater to even be almost warm. It is now the time of the year that we bundle him up to keep away from the cold. We were all leaving to get hay and I told him to wait on the porch, he was not happy about that. But he is cute isn't he?

My "farm" dog Zoe helped me with hay before all the snow set it. She loves to help with the hay, normally she is crawling all over it. Zoe loves to run around the farm where I get my hay, normally sticks really close too. People really under estimate how much a good ol' farm dog knows. So many commands that they just learn on on the fly. I trust Zoe almost any where. She knows to leave it, not hurt babies- kittens, chicks, puppies. She barks at the horses but stays out of their way. She also has a healthy respect for Henry, my rooster.

Gracie used to love the snow but we had to have her almost shaved down and now she is cold a lot. She lives to lay in front of the heater. Silly bichon. She still oves a good romp now and then though.

Zoe and Gracie Sleep

Vocal Dogs and the internet

Vocal dogs, have you ever had a really vocal dog? I have all different breeds of dogs, but my Zoe takes the cake as to being the most vocal. She barks, moans, growls, groans, whines, whimpers, yodels, and other sounds I can not classify.

Zoe is a perfect example of a dog that would drive a first time dog owner crazy and also of why I have a real problem with people trying to solve dog problems without the aid of a trainer. She makes all kinds of noises that if reading on the internet one might assume that she is aggressive or even hurt at times.

I belong to some wonderful groups for dogs, horses, goats, and chickens. I learn so much on all of them. There is always someone who seeks these groups to find out how to deal with a problem, which is good. I am glad they are seeking help for their problems but sometimes the problem can not be solved by reading a book or searching on the internet. Often times these problems are the result of not being able to read an animals body language. All animals, including humans, use body language. When we don’t understand each other things can go really bad.

Recently in a sign language class I am taking, a few of us students were discussing who had not taken a recent test. We could not get our tests back until the unnamed student took hers. Our teacher is deaf, so we don’t use our voices when the teacher is in the room, but he was not there so we talked and signed to each other. We were wondering who was missing so we had a questioning faces on, you know, raised eye brows. Well in the middle of the conversation our teacher walked in. He looked at all of us with our eye brows raised and pointing at each other. Actually we were pointing at empty spots but from his perspective it looked like we were fighting. He left to go get another hearing teacher to act as an interpreter. It was a huge misunderstand because he had misread our body language.

Now that was an example of humans not understanding each other, imagine another species is in the middle of that. One that does not use body, face, vocalizations in the same way. Last time I upset a friend her ears didn’t swivel backwards, nor does my friend wag her tail when she is happy to see me. Each species has their own way of talking and it is up to us to learn how to read them. That that often means we need someone to help us. Ears going back on a horse does not mean that he is upset, sometime he just heard a noise. A dog wag her tail does not always mean she is happy.

I wondered for a long time if Zoe was being protective of the bed. She would moan, groan, and sometimes make little noises that almost sounded like a growl but not quite, every time I got in bed or moved. As I got to know her I finally chalked it up to “just Zoe.” I would hate to think if someone using the old school pack theory had gotten a hold of her. Trying to force her in to submission, when she was not being dominate at all, just vocal.

Zoe and Gracie Sleep

Long Time No Post and Pet Stores

I am making a New Years Resolution early. I am going to blog at least 3 times a week. I figure that is up from what I have been doing. I get busy and . . . oh I can give you lots of excuses which nobody really wants to hear and don't really add up to a hill of beans anyway.

Now to what I really want to say. Pet stores that carry puppies, why? Do people who want a puppy have their head in the sand?

Okay let me start at the beginning. I just bought an angora rabbit from a breeder just over the boarder in Illinois. I drove down yesterday to pick him up. He is a black English angora and is my first one. I am hoping to be able to offer angora wool for sale soon. Learning how to spin with a hand spindle is also on my list of things to do. Black Buck the Pirate, or just Pirate was going to be a show rabbit by his breeder but at a young age his ear carriage was broken by a litter mate and so he has one lop ear, makes him look something like a unicorn caterpillar. He will be perfect for fiber though, and maybe even to make some baby Engish or English/ German bunnies. He has such nice fiber I have been told and there are many handspinner and crafter out there that want good quality fiber.
Buck, rabbit, English Angora rabbit, male rabbit,
So I was going to pick up my well bred rabbit when I saw a pet store. Why not I thought, stop in and maybe get a little rabbit treat for my new bunny. I did not realize that they had puppies there. Well I started talking to everyone near the puppies telling them what horrible condition these puppies mothers were kept in, how they would be harder to house break because in cages such as though they were learning to go to the bathroom there they sleep. How they cost so much more than if they adopted a nice dog from the shelter and the whole gambit of problems that buying a puppy from a pet store causes. To make a long story short I was asked to leave.

It broke my heart to see those puppies in there. A little black and tan dapple dachshund puppy was in a cage. I wanted to grab him out! $400, reduced from $600 is what it said on his cage. All these puppies had hand written reduced prices tags. They were getting older. The Dachshund puppy was around 4-6 months old. I didn't ask, but he was quickly growing out of that cute puppy stage. Need to dump them fast at that point. I wonder what these pet stores do when the dogs are not puppies anymore? Drop them off at the pound? Shot them?

What really bothers me is that people who are buying these puppies have obviously no idea about dogs. They have not done research about the cute little puppy they are picking out. A quick search on the internet would lead all these people to steer away from pet store puppies. Even people that are reasonably intelligent about other things are absolutely clueless about bringing a puppy into their homes.

A few months ago I ran into a nice lady who rode horses and has other connections to animals. She bought a pet store puppy. A pug, I asked, nicely - why she got it from a pet store. Well her kids were pestering her and she just couldn't say no. She went on and on about the price. What they?!?!? I asked is she knew about puppy mills, but she sort of dismissed this. I could not believe it. About a week ago I saw her again. She had her pug with her, in a dipper. Why? Well of course the darn thing is not getting the idea of potty training.

All I can hope is a few of those people used their brains and left. I am sure the store manager made me sound like a crazed woman after I left, but I just hope even the comments about potty training and high prices would make those people stop and find another place for a puppy.
Zoe and Gracie Sleep

Days are getting longer

The days are getting longer and I am getting busier.

I feel so guilty because I have not been working Gracie or any of the dogs in agility almost at all. I have been doing so many other things and my body can not keep up. That really irritates me. I want to do so much more.

That being said Remmy started a new agility class. He was really nervous the first day, as is to be expected with Remmy. He did the dog walk, the A frame, and the teeter. He has not does those for weeks at our old place. This new place is for TDAA. So all the equipment is small. He did wonderfully as far as I am concerned. I enjoyed the class. We even got to play a game called jumplers. It was interesting. Made only of three jumps and a tunnel. Sounds easy but it wasn't.

First we jumped over a the first jump, wrapped around and jumped it again. Then jumped the second jump. Wrapped around and went back over the first jump. Back jumped over the 1st and 2nd and added the 3rd jump. Wrapped around, did 2nd, and 1st. Back jumped did 1, 2, and 3rd. Tunnel! The jump 3,2,1. It was fun! If you messed upat any time. You have to start over again.

Back at home I have been making a garden and doing yard work. I am SO out of shape though that it is really hard work. I am so tired at the end of the day. I am really hoping that soon my body will adjust to what I have to get done. If not. . . I think I may just die. LOL. I just need to get in better shape, but I am doing so much, it should get in better shape soon!
Zoe and Gracie Sleep

Planting Sunflowers

When I say my dogs do everything with me I am not kidding. They do.

I live on a little farm. You have seen my duck, I am getting three more Cayuga ducks today. I have a goat, some horses, and several chickens. I love my little farm. So do the dachshunds. They follow me all over as I do my daily chores. Cleaning out the barn, collecting eggs, feeding the ducks. Always by my side is Zoe, Remmy many times comes along also. Gracie like to lounge by the pool.
DSC02818.jpg picture by rebelshope
I'll have to admit though that Zoe is not perfect though. She likes to sneak off when I focus my attention to long on something other than her. What a dachshund! We have this pretty well licked thanks to the intermediate bridge.  When she across the yard and I call her. I would start saying "grrr" as long as she was coming toward me. As she got closer I would finish saying the word "great" just as reached me. It has worked wonders with her. She just tears across the yard to me now.

But I still have to watch her and make sure that she does not sneak. To help in this matter I am making a little barrier, a bed of sunflowers. Just a visual barrier that we hopefully help her to remember where her boundary is. That and I just want to watch the sunflowers grow this summer. I planted gray mammoth in the back and then in the front are small sunflowers. I can't wait til they pop up.

A few weeks ago I dug the bed. It is about 22 feet long and two frrt wide. Zoe helped to survey the new bed, then she dug right in helping! She likes to do that. Communal digging. She doesn't dig on her own, but like to lend a helping paw when I do it. What a sweetheart, always thinking of others. LOL

DSC02824.jpg picture by rebelshopeDSC02823.jpg picture by rebelshope
Unfortunately our lawn mower need a little maintenance. The over grown lawn allowed me to see this unusual dandelion but it also is a little long, as Remmy is showing here. I am hoping this weekend we get the lawn mower fixed. If not Remmy is going to have start wearing a pith helmet as he goes out on safari.
DSC02828.jpg picture by rebelshopeDSC02820.jpg picture by rebelshope
Zoe and Gracie Sleep

(no subject)

One of the things I love about my dachshunds is they require very little grooming. No brushing really required, except a toothbrush. I Drummel their nails. Clean their ears regularly and a bath when they roll in something stinky. Really basic stuff.

Not Gracie. No grooming and she looks like this:
DSC02786-1.jpg picture by rebelshope
Gracie require full grooming, including trips to the groomer and brushing at home. Having a bichon is buying brushes, using them regularly. Grooming tables, special shampoo and conditioners, extra care when outside and knowing what my breed is supposed to look like.

Actually on that point I would really be better off if I had not idea what a bichon is supposed to look like. Even a pet bichon, in my opinion, should look something like a bichon and not a poodle. If I wanted a poodle. . . I would have gotten a poodle. I didn't want one, actually I didn't want a bichon either, but I have one and would like her to look like one. Most groomers don't seem to understand this point. She is a bichon and not a poodle!

Gracie came back from her very first grooming session looking like a poodle. I was SO upset, my cute little bichon puppy was some how transformed in to a poodle puppy. I had tried to ask the groomer about bichons and how to groom  them. She basically made me feel like I didn't know anything about my breed of dog and that she could do it. Well she didn't, I did, and she couldn't. DSC02816.jpg picture by rebelshope

We found a good groomer at a popular big box pet store. I was amazed to find such a gem there, but she used to groom 4-5 bichons a day at a previous job. She makes Gracie look like. . . well this:DSC02790.jpg picture by rebelshope
Zoe and Gracie Sleep

My camera won't work

I am not sure what is wrong, but it was draining batteries really quickly and I just bought some cheap batteries and now it won't even turn on. So I am not sure what it's deal it. I'm going to get some good batteries again.

The dogs and I have been doing so many things too and I keep thinking, "I should put that in the blog." Then I realize I don't have a camera and so I forget about it.  We have been hikinging in the woods, digging a sun flower garden, putting up new fence. Whatever I do, Zoe is at my side. Remmy is around, and Gracie is sitting next to the pool. Little Diva isn't she?

I do have some from a project I just worked on. I bought 3 pekin ducks a few weeks ago:
DSC02709.jpg picture by rebelshope
I got them as TSC because they were just too cute! I was getting ducks anyway, I just got ones I was not planning on getting. Well they are outside now and Zoe "helped" me put up a pen for them. It is an old dog pen I bought off a horse friend. I can't remember what I was going to use it for but it works well for the ducks during the day.  To many holes and slightly damaged so it will not keep our predators.
DSC02785.jpg picture by rebelshope
DSC02772-1.jpg picture by rebelshope
Remmy REALLY likes the ducks. He is very good about listening so he will leave them alone when I tell him, but the first thing he does when let outside is run to see the ducks. I really wants to play duck duck goose!
DSC02771-1.jpg picture by rebelshope
Grace is turning out to be an awesome agility dog. I am finding out that I am a really suck as a handler. Things that didn't matter before really really matter now. Like my arm placement and feet placement. She is much quicker and much more responsive. I really want to keep that, but I am not very good at my half of the job! She just so smart so I am doing my best to hold up my end too.

On bit of advice that I gotten about Zoe's jumping is to take her into the woods. Well that was just music to my ears. I love to walk in the woods. We have a really nice walk yesterday and finally stopped next to Gracie's favorite river. She LOVES the river. Zoe ending up being leashed because she was not listening and didn't want to recall very well. She after a few times of just stopping and looking at me, she got leashed for the rest of the walk. Too bad for her.
It was beautiful and I really did try to get some photos.
Zoe and Gracie Sleep

Another day

"Another day older and deeper in debt. . ." That is from a song from the Kingston Trio. Good folk song. Sort of fits how I feel today. Just another day piled on another day.

I recently learned that someone on a board I visit was given 3 weeks to live. My first thought was what a horrible think to know. That you don't even have another month. No plans to eventually visit Paris. No getting together with a friend next month. No longer able to make a long term goal. That is it. If you have not done it yet, well you aren't going to do it now.

Then I started thinking about all the people I know who are depressed. That would willing die in her place. How can this woman that wants to live, to make plans, to dream of the future have her time on Earth cut short. How can her life be taken from her while so many others would rather be in her place. It seems to unfair. It makes me realize that life is something, that we should want to live. What, I wonder, would this woman give for another year, month, week. To meet another goal, to make another friend, to train another dog, to run another course.  How selfish of me that I would want to give it all up.

She was successful. She trained several dogs in agility. She helped numerous dogs find new homes. Her friends are the kind that go to bat for her and help her run agility one more time. She earned several titles on her dogs, and today she won another. Even knowing that it was her last one she did not give up. She wanted that title and she went and got it. She didn't just give up and say, we that was enough. I did what I could. She ran again. I don't even know about her personal life but I can not image that someone who was that successful in one area of her life would be any less successful in others.

That is what I lack. Success. I have never been successful. Oh, now, this is not a pity part. It just is what it is. I started so many things only to lose interest or give up. I try and try again but lack something that makes other complete what they started. I feel like a failure and don't try.

I swore that agility would be something I would finish. Maybe not get a MACH on Remington, but at least get one Q. Just a small goal, and I want to quit with him. He is not up to it. I just does not like it. I am continuing on with Grace and Zoe, and I am not even forgetting about Remington. I am going to keep working with Remmy. I will.

I started teaching the dogs a "intermediate bridge."  The long and short of what a intermediate bridge is game of "hot and cold" with your dog. I followed the instruction in the May 2007 Clean Run magazine. I'll add a link later, but as I am the only one who reads this blog anyway, I already know where the article is. I started using the word "Great" making the "grrrrr" sound for the intermediate bridge.

Amazingly Zoe picked it up right away. She got from treating the word "great" to targeting in about 2 min. She already knew how to target, but she did it well anyway. Then i went to the weaves. She also weaves fairly well, but not all that fast. We tried doing the intermediate bridge with that too. Perfect!

My timing needs work. I have a hard time running, grring, only at the correct times and then rewarding. I had a really difficult time with this when teaching Zoe to 2o2o. She did it right, I just couldn't get my cue to "wait" out and then "grrr"

DSC02715.jpg picture by rebelshope
    Well here she is not doing a 2o2o but this was taken a few days ago.

Gracie did wonderful with the whole process too. I have started noticing that she just really gets board quickly. Grace is very smart and she picks up things so quickly. If I ask her to do something she is doing well repeatedly, she wants to move on. It just is not rewarding. She also does not like grass, so if we are working on grass she loses her interest quickly.

Remmy was too scared. The wind was blowing and the chickens were around us and it was all just too much for him. I started the intermediate bridge for him. I thought if I could communicate that he was doing well he would want to keep trying. I am still hoping that this will be. That we get it. That he can over come in ever mounting number of fear.

I just want to be able to die knowing that I was successful at something. Even if it is just to help a small dog overcome his fears.