We had beautiful weather this week, although temperatures were more reminiscent of summer than fall! Because it has been so warm, we decided to go ahead and give Devi another haircut. This is the first time I’ve groomed her entire body. Normally I do her chest, back, and the top of her head and leave it at that, but I got a bit fed up with paying $120 to have her groomed. I think it actually turned out pretty well! It’s not totally even, and sure, her face could use some more work, but it’s not bad for my first effort.
This week both Jake and I are traveling to conferences; he’s headed to Vancouver and I’m headed to Dallas (yes, my conference drew the short straw for location!). Our dog sitter, Kayla, will be staying with Devi this week. Hopefully they make it through the week with a minimum of stress!
Giving jake a good “settle”.
We got a new dining table that has 6 chairs instead of 4. This means there is less room for Devi underneath. So far it hasn’t stopped her!
Devi showing off her haircut (note the hair all over the yard!).
This weekend I took Devi out to watch the Middle Tennessee horse trials, which were held at the local park where we trail run. Devi has been around horses for a while now, and generally finds them rather boring. However, this was the first time she has seen a horse run cross-country. Apparently cross-country is very stimulating 🙂 Devi yip-barked at the first few horses as they jumped into the pond, galloped through the water, and jumped out again. I was thinking a fun game would be to let the rider start, wait 15 seconds, and let Devi loose. There’s no way she’d catch up but I bet she’d try her hardest!! Devi was very polite to all the other dogs and people and overall it was a lovely way to spend a beautiful fall day.
The only other recent news is that at the age of 4 1/2, Devi got her first ear infection. She woke up in the middle of the night and started shaking her head, so we took her to the vet the following morning. They packed her ear with medicine and within 24 hours she was back to normal. The vet suggested it might be allergies, but we’ll see.
Jake and Devi hangin’ out while I was in Chattanooga!
Hanging out at the event. My hands were too full with dog to take a picture on the actual course.
This weekend we took a field trip to Long Hunter State Park, which surrounds Percy Priest lake. It’s about a 30 minute drive away from our house. It was a beautiful day, warm but not excessively hot, and sunny. The park is on-leash only, which is disappointing for Devi, but we had a nice hike through the woods anyway. We walked down to the lake shore several times, and Devi got to swim (I may have removed her leash for that part, but shhhhh don’t tell!). She had a blast, chasing sticks and just generally exploring a new area. There are several trails at this park and we only walked part of one, so I think we’ll head back sooner rather than later.
In other news, we’ve been working on improving Devi’s dumbbell hold and her drop on recall. Her dumbbell hold can be kind of weak – she picks the dumbbell up and then loosely holds it in her mouth. I’m not sure it would stay in if she moved while carrying it. We’ve been practicing position changes while holding it, and working on teaching her to really pinch it behind her teeth. The drop on recall is coming well. The fold back down is now on physical and verbal cue, and we’re working on doing a down from a walk. It’s funny, the faster we’re moving, the faster she folds back into the down. I think the drop on recall will be totally trained long before the dumb bell work is finished!
We started another round of obedience class this week, and our very kind instructor had a party for those of us who showed last weekend. She got a cake for Devi and Portia, a Berner who also earned her CD (Portia’s owner is the one who taught our carting class). Apparently the bakery mis-spelled Devi as Debbie, and the instructor made them change it! She also made us little gift bags and a very nice card. The class we are in is geared toward novice, but she said that Portia and Devi can start to work on open exercises during class. In honor of that, I purchased Devi her very own purple dumbbell. We’ve been working on fold-back downs for drop on recall, and I think the jumping will be a piece of cake, but the dumbbell retrieve will take some work. We’ve got time, though 🙂
Well we finally did it! Devi achieved her novice obedience title this weekend under some tough judges. We had the same judge on Saturday and today, and a different judge yesterday. Saturday was incredibly stressful because Alfie the horse pinched a nerve in his neck and I had to call the vet and wait for him to come and assess Alfie. Thankfully Alfie will be fine, and just needs some meds and rest, but the entire episode put me behind and we were barely able to make it to the dog show. The judge was very displeased that we were late (we arrived at noon for a class that started “after noon” and told me off several times during our run and after, during the ribbons). The judge also gave me a hard time because Devi heels with her head glued to my side, and she took off every point she possibly could. Anyhow, we got a Q and that was that. Sunday’s judge was much friendlier, but we got there too early and Devi’s head just wasn’t in the game. I was determined to recover our good name for today. We marched in on time, warmed up, and showed the mean judge that we deserved to be there. Devi did wonderfully, I was so proud of her. The judge had to admit that she was a lovely dog and has real potential, if I would just get her head off me when we heel. The judge then asked me if she was European or from Schutzhund lines – apparently the judge thinks Schutzhund dogs heel with their heads against the handler’s body? Anyhow, the judge admitted that she’s “tougher than some”, and I think we earned every single one of the 192 points we walked away with.
As you can see in the video, we weren’t perfect (look at that front! and the finish!), but Devi was happy and engaged and I’ll take that over precise but boring any day.
Cuddles are nice after a long day of showing.
Big sticks are the best sticks.
Enjoying her ice cream treat!
And, if anyone is interested, here is the video of Alfie and me winning our class last weekend. Thank goodness I’m done with animal competitions for the foreseeable future!
For a change, the most newsworthy event in our lives didn’t involve Devi this week 🙂 I had a horse show on Saturday and basically spent the entire weekend preparing for and cleaning up after that. Alfie the horse and I won our class at first level, which was a nice way for us to end the show season. Next weekend the focus returns to Devi, as it is her novice obedience debut. We just got our judging program, we go at noon or 11 am all three days. Her scores would be way better if we started at 8am, but I guess that’s life! There’s one other dog in Novice A each day, so at least Devi will have some company in the ring for sit/down stays. I can imagine her being a bit perplexed if she had to do stays all by herself! We’ve been working on straight sits and finishes and not wrapping her head around my leg while heeling. She’s getting there, and I think she will be ready to go for the show! We’re aiming for a happy and engaged performance, and hopefully qualifying scores.
Alfie with his blue ribbon!
Devi staked out my horse stuff so I couldn’t inadvertently leave her behind…
On an unrelated note, Devi’s vet told me that we needed to start brushing her teeth more frequently, otherwise she’d need to have her teeth cleaned in the next year or so. We decided to train her to have her teeth brushed with an electric toothbrush. Enjoy the video!
This summer has been extraordinarily wet in Tennessee. I swear, it’s rained almost every week. This week it rained multiple times a day, for several days in a row. It’s made everything a bit swampy, and that cuts into dog and horse activities. This past week was the final carting class. It won’t be offered again until next summer, which is unfortunate, but we have plenty we can practice on our own. Our biggest hurdle is that Devi wants to heel while pulling her cart, and I’m having a hard time teaching her that heeling is separate from what we do with the cart.
Today we took Devi to the Tomato Art Fest in East Nashville (http://www.tomatoartfest.com/about/). During the art fest the city closes the main intersection in our ‘hood and tons of street vendors come out to sell pretty much anything you can think of. There are food stands, lots of art (jewelry, wall art, photos, etc), and booths for plenty of other local businesses. Like our neighborhood, it is a very canine-friendly festival, with lots of vendors offering doggie pools, water bowls, and treats galore. Devi, Jake, Becca (Jake’s sister) and I all wandered the festival for an hour this afternoon. Devi did great and was a wonderful representative for her breed 🙂
In other news, Devi pulled a cart for the first time this week. Our last carting class is this coming week, I will try to get some pictures.
We have an abundance of fun things to post this week! Devi and Jake went to carting class on their own while I was out of town, and although Jake complained that it was tiring, I think they had a good time. Devi is now pulling the cart frame, but she’s pretty sure she doesn’t like being trapped by the shafts. We’re taking it slow on that. I have included a little video of her pulling her cart frame, just for fun.
Devi and I have also been working on her heeling in preparation for her novice debut. She LOVES to heel so much that she gets carried away and tries to wrap herself around my left leg. She ends up bumping her chin onto the top part of my thigh when we move, and she ends up sitting with her haunches out. We’re working on that. So far the progress is slow, but she has so much fun when she’s heeling that it’s hard to stop her when she’s incorrect.
Sitting on the stairs, waiting for something to happen.
She’s my lap dog.
Here’s a video of Devi “finding” Jake in the morning – as you can see, she thinks this game is great fun.
I know it’s a week day, which is an odd time for me to post a blog, but I’m going to Philly on Saturday and wanted to update before I leave! Devi’s started carting class, and this week we learned to pull an empty jug. The floor of the training building is rubber mats, so the jug didn’t make much noise. Today we practiced pulling the jug on the cement driveway. It was certainly noisier (my poor neighbors – at least I waited until 7:30am to start!). The next step is to fill the jug with rocks, and Devi is pretty unsure about this step. She will sometimes pause and look back at it. She’s never been a big fan of loud noises, so I think I’m going to need to feed extra tasty snacks when we pull the rock jug. Good thing she LOVES eggs, cheese, and hot dogs 🙂 The other skill we’ve been working on is pivoting on her rear feet. She’s a pivot machine when her front feet are fixed, but we never bothered to teach her the opposite skill. It’s been quite challenging for her, because whenever she sees an object she automatically puts her front paws on it and pivots the rears. She’s finally getting it, but I was a bit worried at first. Our final piece of news is that we’re registered for Novice A at an obedience trial at our training building on labor day weekend. Here’s hoping she holds the stays!!
Here’s a video of her pivoting on her hind feet and pulling her rock jugs: