Yet again we were treated to a beautiful weekend! It hardly feels like winter at all. Many of the trees have started to flower, and I finally took my winter riding clothes and horse blankets out of the car. I haven’t used them since mid-January. The flower trees sure are nice to look at, but my allergies have been awful! I suppose it is the price one pays for an early spring.
Here is Devi doing a little bit of retrieve over a jump. This was the first day we’d played with this in years, so I was pretty impressed that she remembered it as quickly as she did.
And here are a couple of cute pictures from the week:
Poor Devi got a haircut this weekend, and while she now looks like a normal dog, she’s a bit chilly. She’s also been feeling a bit miffed at me, because I haven’t been taking her to the barn. The barn owner has 2 dogs, an old female border collie and a younger male lab/boxer mix. Devi and the male get along great. The female is another story. The female approaches Devi growling and showing teeth, and that makes Devi growl and snap, and so it’s better for everyone if Devi stays home when I know the older dog is around. We were very lucky the last 30 days because the dog spent the month with her owner to Florida, but everyone is back now, so Devi is homebound. Don’t feel too bad for her, though – she’s had plenty of fun in the form of walks and training.
Fun on a walk.
Enjoying the view of the Cumberland river.
She’s always game to climb on rocks.
In response to the political situation, we made a donation to the ACLU. Apparently many others did as well 🙂
I was in Palm Springs all last week for a work meeting, so Devi stayed home with Jake and Becca. They all survived, and I came home to a relatively clean house and a happy dog. Devi accompanied me to the barn yesterday, and we enjoyed the warm and sunny weather. It was pleasant enough that Devi could relax outside while I rode Merle in the outdoor arena. Normally it’s too chilly and I have to put her in the car, so we enjoyed it while it lasted. Today was chilly and wet (appropriate weather for January!). In spite of the weather, Devi and I met a friend and her dog for a 3 mile trail run. After some initial snarkiness, the dogs agreed to ignore one another and were fine on the run. I felt OK letting Devi off leash because there were only a few brave souls at the park, and she had a blast. She was so pooped from the run she didn’t even try to come with me when I went to the barn later in the afternoon 🙂
It has been down right summery here this week, with temperatures hovering between 55 and 65. Devi was too hot with her winter fur, so we gave her a haircut. I was reluctant to clip her really short, because as soon as I do, it’s sure to cool back down to normal January temperatures, so I used a blade guard to leave about 3/4″ of fur. I don’t fancy myself a particularly skilled groomer even under the best of circumstances, but this haircut is the worst that Devi has ever had. It looks like it was done by an intoxicated person. It’s so awful that I had to make her a groomer appointment for next week so that I don’t feel ashamed whenever anyone looks at her. I won’t try this again!
With her favorite frisbee, playing with Auntie Becca.
Helping Jake read a book.
Devi thinks it’s really nice to have someone around who comes home early!
It’s been a very busy week in our house! First of all, the weather took a turn for the worst, and it’s now hovering around 13 degrees. Considering that it was 70 degrees on Christmas, this weather feels terrible (even if it is seasonally appropriate). It snowed about 1/2″ this week, which was the first snowfall of the season. Devi has enjoyed playing in it, but gets irritated at the snowballs that accumulate between her toes when she stays outside too long.
Chilly day at the barn – too cold for the horses to go outside!
Frosty beard enjoying the blizzard (Nashville style blizzard!)
The other excitement for the week is having houseguests! We have Jake’s entire family with us for the weekend, and Jake’s sister will be staying with us for about 2 months as she completes a rotation at a physical therapy clinic here. Devi has been enjoying having all these extra people to cuddle!
On their way into a narrow pass between two big boulders at Rock City.
Yeah, I’m a day early, but I had a bunch of fun things to post and I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow 🙂 We spent the past couple of days in Chattanooga, just playing. Devi came along, and she, Jake and I enjoyed some hikes. Devi’s favorite trail was a flat, 1.5 mile loop that we had to ourselves (!), which meant that she could enjoy some off leash time. We also saw Rock City, which was a bit overdone and touristy, but had some cool parts. I’m not a fan of heights so I wasn’t as gung-ho about admiring the view, but Devi and Jake didn’t mind. Rock City was filled with people, and Devi was a big hit with both kids and adults. At one point there were about 6 people clustered around her, giving her pets.
The overlook at Rock City, where you can see 7 states. Jake and Devi didn’t mind the heights!
She was a very good girl. Our final adventure was on Signal Mountain, which the armies went to send signals during the Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression, depending on where you live). The overlook opens up to a very long trail along the side of the mountain. We only did about 1.4 miles (so a 3 mile round trip), but the trail was actually really difficult. It was rocky, and occasionally there was no good place to put your foot, so you’d have to jump from rock to rock. Devi had no problem, but I kept imagining terrible things happening to her if she miscalculated where to land and broke a bone. The terrain also makes it very difficult to keep your dog on a 6ft lead, because there’s really no way for the dog to avoid pulling on the leash as s/he tries to navigate the trail. So, we probably won’t take Devi on that one again. But, it was still a good experience for Devi, as she crossed her first suspension bridge. The small bridge with 4 panels was no problem, but the big bridge (maybe 25 feet long?) was VERY SCARY, and couldn’t possibly be crossed. She would have happily swum across the river, though, if we had wanted to keep going 🙂
Enjoying her favorite trail, off leash.
She’s at least part mountain goat!
And, last but not least, we’ve made more progress on our retrieve! See the video below. This was the first time I’d asked Devi for a formal finish on a retrieve, and it was probably the first finish she had done since completing her CD. I had to give her a little help to get that butt in 🙂 I’ve decided to join the local dog training club (so I can reserve ring time and train in their facility), in spite of my objections to some of the training methods that the club promotes. Perhaps if they see there is another way, that is still successful, more people might be willing to try. At the very least, we’ll be able to train retrieves over high jumps and broad jumps in a more realistic setting.
The weather has been a bit strange this week. It was 70 degrees yesterday, but we woke up today to frost and ice. The high today is expected to be 30 degrees. It is very hard to dress when the temperature swings by more than 40 degrees in a 12 hour period!
Devi and I did take advantage of the warmer weather earlier in the week by having a lovely run. We (I) have been working on my speed, trying to get down to a comfortable 7:30 mile. This week was the first time we’ve done our 3 mile loop at a pace of 7:30, and it felt pretty good. Even at 7:30, Devi leads the way 🙂
In other news, we have gotten ourselves mostly ready for the holidays. Our tree is up, the stockings are hung (on the stairs, since we don’t have a mantle), and the house is decorated. All we’re missing is snow!
Staying safe in her crate at nail grinding time. Even her favorite tug frisbee couldn’t lure her out.
Apparently I am a crazy dog lady – Devi has a matching stocking!
Here is a video of our current training project – the dumbbell retrieve. She is not a natural retriever (except of tug toys), so working on her enthusiasm has been really important. I know she can’t pounce on the dumbbell in competition, but I think that will be pretty easy to train out. At this point I am just happy that she’s willing retrieving the dumbbell (and I didn’t have to use the “ear pinch” method that a couple people at my club recommended).
The weather has been a bit more wintry recently, and in spite of the fact that part of the state is burning, our area has been hit with a few pretty heavy rainstorms. Devi and I have been running, which she enjoys. We’ve also been working on her dumbbell retrieve, which she’s really starting to get the hang of. Right now she can only retrieve from about 12 feet away, but she’s super enthusiastic. We’ll build the distance slowly this winter. In other news, we set up our Christmas tree and decorated the outside of the house with lights. I found these really cool LEDs where the bulb is built into the copper string, so the lights are very lightweight. Hanging them was a bit of a challenge, because the wire was easily tangled, but they look nice now that they are up!
Our baby Christmas tree!
Watching the rain and wishing she could have her head out the window!
Devi has been accompanying us to Home Depot, where she’s an excellent ambassador for her breed (and well trained canines everywhere). This time, on the way home, she had to give up her seat to a ladder. She was not impressed.