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Tracking, IPO, MACH and More.

12 Nov

Lots of updates since my last post.He didn't get the whole thing!

MACH! – Wyatt got finally did it! He just turned 8 and is starting to really enjoy sleeping in – so very glad we reached our goal.¬† I will probably enter more trials with him here and there, but frankly the long long days of hanging out at AKC trials just aren’t that fun for me anymore. Here he is getting his MACH STEAK! He got to enjoy this over several meals ūüôā

Nosework – Not much going on, and not sure if I will go back to the sport. Maybe eventually with Ivy… Frankly am a little¬†put off¬†with all the drama around the sport, the clicques (PUN INTENDED) and what I have personally encountered with censorship of my opinions. Enough said on that topic.


Tracking РIvy got her TD. To confess, we probably only practiced tracking 10 times. She certified her first try, and got her TD the first try, and the test day was the first time I had ever been to a TD.  She is a very confident tracker Рand comes off the start with great precision. Again, I had never seen another dog track before, so was surprised to see all of the other dogs at the trial not even make it past the first flag. I am VERY spoiled with her!
My Nosework experience really helped us on the track Рfollowing her and letting her do the work.

This past summer she tracked my best friend back from a hike. My friend left the hike early, and Ivy was a little upset by that. After we turned back, Ivy eventually picked-up my friends scent, and tracked her all the way back to our cabin – head down, over streams, roads, and through the woods. I quickly realized that she WAS tracking and made sure not to lead her, I just followed. At that point I thought, Hmmm – she is pretty good at this – we should try and get our TD.¬† And we did ūüôā

IPO РI finally have a sport/club to focus on with Ivy. I have joined a fantastic Working Dog Club in Atlanta. The club members are welcoming, supportive and have some really nice working dogs.  We are going to start over with Tracking and I am starting to teach footstep tracking (We will come back to AKC tracking later). We have a really good foundation in Obedience and other skills as I have been enrolled in the Denise Fenzi Dog Sports Academy for about a year now.  We have worked with a helper a few times now РIvy in confident and unphased by anythign the helper throws at her. This is her favorite part of the sport. Schutzhund



18 Jun
Doberman disguised as a Standard Poodle

Doberman disguised as a Standard Poodle

We recently spent a week in Vermont at Camp Gone to the Dogs.¬† One of the events that is held as part of the camp is a costume contest.¬† Ivy had a bit of a rough week with all of the travel, not being able to run around in the yard, sleeping in hotels etc. However, when I got her dressed in her Poodle costume, she totally owned it. At first the crowd of people watching didn’t “get it”. Feedback I got later was that people really thought she WAS a Standard Poodle, and the costume with just the pink bows in her ears. After a few seconds though people realized they had been fooled ūüôā



10 Apr

Ren & Wyatt

From High Value to Humdrum – Living up to the Expectations of my Dogs.

20 Mar

I love spending time with my dogs.¬† I have fun when they have fun. I feel like I can’t get on with¬† my day until after they have all gotten some one-on-one attention, training and exercise.¬† I cook for them. I am always looking for more new and

Miami Beach

Miami Beach

more “exciting” rewards and treats for training. The latest toys from Clean Run and Sit Stay. Dog friendly cabins and beaches. Local dog friendly activities and outings.

I was out for dinner with my husband a few weeks ago at a restaurant that was full of kids. They were either¬†on their iPhones playing video games, running around, yelling, jumping, and generally annoying me. I said to hubby “Man, those kids just need to be constantly entertained, I wouldn’t want to be those parents” and he replied “but we are.” And he was totally right.¬† I am a great example of trying to provide fulfillment and stimulation for dogs gone overboard.¬† What used to be enough to tire out the pack for days is now just a “ok” somewhat boring day for them.

First, my husband is home during the week, so the dogs are rarely¬†left alone for more than a few hours at a time.¬† When he is home the dogs is kept busy playing doorman so they pack can choose inside or outside lounging at their leisure. A “typical” week usually includes: Agility, Obedience, Nosework Classes, Nosework practice, daily training sessions, Nina Ottosan games, Bully Sticks, Stuffed Kongs, Raw bones, walks, runs, hikes, runs on the unlocked ballfield, playing in our 1/3 acre yard, Doggy Daycare, spending the day at the office with me. Weekends may also include¬†Schutzhund practice, Swimming lessons, Agility, Terrier¬†and Nosework trials, trips to St Simons Island or Dog friendly cabins, and visits to dog friendly bakeries, shops and farmers markets in the neighborhood. Already planned for this summer is a weeklong “Dog” vacation in Vermont at Camp Gone to the Dogs (will be my 3rd time there driving from ATL). Their first Barkbox arrived yesterday.

Meals consist of part kibble and part anything else fresh and healthy including meats, veggies, salmon and supplements.

Although providing this for my dogs on an ongoing basis is fun and something I enjoy, I have also created a huge problem for myself.  Of course dogs need the proper nutrition, exercise, stimulation and play, but I am now  having a hard time satisfying my dogs with any amount of anything.

No longer is anything High Value – its all become “the¬†norm” because it happens almost every day.

Sheep Chasing in Vermont

Sheep Chasing in Vermont

When I get home from work I make everyone have a calm greeting with me – no attention if you are going nuts. But then things go rapidily downhill from there.¬† They all watch to see what I am going to do from the moment I get home.¬† Ren stares and follows until I show a sign of what might be in store for the evening¬†(like pulling out her Nosework kit).¬†¬†¬†My 14-year old “retired” Whippet Simon whines and paces hoping we are going to go for a car ride. If I leave my tailgate open, he will go jump in his crate in the back of me Element and just wait. Wyatt paces between me and the bully sticks drawer.¬† Ivy grabs her Nylabone and rests it on my foot to chew it -moving with me as I move around the house and replacing it on my foot.¬† They usually then get fed and calm down a bit.

If I head into the bathroom and pick up my brush – they know I (and probably one or more of them) is going somewhere.¬† They all join me in the bathroom and start to jockey for position close to me – demanding to be the one(s) who get to go out for the evening. Ren then usually starts her double-paw rapid¬†digging on my leg just to make sure she has my attention.¬† Then we all pile in the Element and go do whatever class or outing is planned. If I am taking Wyatt and Ivy on a long walk, after that outing I return and take Simon and Ren on a short walk just so they don’t feel left out.

Last night at Ivy’s obedience class she got some roast beef as a reward, and was¬†about¬†excited for it as she would be a piece of kibble. So where do I go from here??

Doggie Detox is starting today.

No outings, activities, training, treats, presents, dog bakeries, or massages until Monday (The exercise and walks will continue though) Will be good to give the puppy a training break anyway. I need to hit the reset button. I need a trip to the Farmers Market & Dog Bakery to be a fun special event Рnot just part of the expected and demanded routine. I need Ivy to care that she is getting Roast Beef instead of kibble.

Should be an interesting experiment. Looking forward to see what if anything changes. The first few days are going to be very interesting.

The BarkBox is going to have to remain unopened for a few days…


Ivy and Maddie

12 Mar

Ivy’s BFF Maddie was at the agility trial Wyatt was entered in this weekend.¬† After practicing a few minutes of Obedience, they got to play!

Doberman and Greyhound Sitting

Ivy and Maddie practicing Sit/Stay. They are both now around 8 months old

Doberman and Greyhound Sitting

Let’s play!

Doberman and Greyhound playing

Perfectly matched.

Greyhound and Doberman puppies playing

Time flies – this is Ivy and Maddie at about 12 weeks old

Crate Training Ivy the Doberman Puppy

14 Dec

I had done my homework on Doberman’s before getting Ivy, and had read that some of them really don’t like being crated¬†(left alone/isolated) . That is an understatement. Even at 5 months old, Ivy does not like to be crated¬†if she isn’t tired. I have had many other breeds of dogs that I have crate trained, and all them settled down pretty quickly even after being in crate for just a little while. Not Ivy! Here is a video of her on her first evening of being in a crate. I wish I would have captured her dramatic “throw myself backwards and almost die” move.

Even though we live right in the city of Atlanta, thankfully we have a large yard and no neighbors close by because the screaming like in the video went on for about 4 weeks!! On the positive side, she did sleep through the night up until 6am or so from Day 1, so was very happy about that.

Here is what I did to try and help Ivy and myself through the joy of crate training!

IMG_412210. Earplugs. Seriously. I always tried to put Ivy in her crate when I felt we she could succeed at¬†remaining calm and quiet until I decided she could come out. (She never got to come out of her crate if she was having a meltdown) Sometime she carried on for quiet a while. The earplugs helped ūüôā

9.¬† Crate in the middle of the action. Ivy has 2 crates, one in the bedroom and one right in the middle of the living room.¬† Having her right in the middle of the house in the living room/kitchen at least helped to make her feel like she was still part of the family even though she was in a crate ūüôā

8.  Do not use a Thundershirt. I normally love using a Thundershirt to help calm down a dog, but not in this case. Ivy was truly upset about being crated and would carry on screaming for hours, really working herself up. I tried a Thundershirt to help her stay calm, but within 10 minutes she was panting and would have quickly overheated.

7. Pheromones. An Adaptil diffuser seemed to help take the edge off somewhat and help her get to settled faster, but only if she was already someone tired out.

6. Crate Games! Crates CAN be fun.

5. Calm Atmosphere РWhen I was trying to settle Ivy down I made sure some classical music was on, a lavender candle was burning, and the rest of the dogs were settled and not trying to stir things up. I also tried to stay neutral, very calming letting Ivy out when that time came.

4. Routine – Even though the exact times weren’t exactly on a schedule, I tried to do the same things in the same order each day so getting crated¬†wasn’t such a shock to her ūüôā An example of the morning¬†to be get up, potty break, back in the crate to eat, an hour of playtime outside, then back in the crate for a nap, in the same order each day.

3. Things to do IN the crate. Having a multitude of things for Ivy to entertain herself with in the crate is extremely important. Kongs, yak milk bones, bully stix, raw meaty bones etc. She learned that GOOD things could happen inside the crate too (not just outside of it)

2. Patience – Come up with your plan and routine, be well armed with supplies , and put your earplugs in if needed ūüôā

1.  A tired puppy Рmentally and physically.  Hands down the most important thing to having a puppy happily go into a crate, settle and sleep.

Resting in her crate!

Resting in her crate!

A Doberman Puppy!

13 Dec

I finally did it.¬† This fall I got a Doberman puppy.¬† Frankly I haven’t posted about her earlier because I have been too exhausted ūüôā I think I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now that she is 5 months old.¬† She is from an amazing working line out of Tammy Weldon at Swift Run Dobermans.Heading home with Ivy

When I starting telling people I was getting a Doberman, the first reaction usually was “You are switching breeds?”. I found that question funny because I have owned Springer Spaniels, Boston Terriers, Jack Russells, a Chihuahua, Japanese Chin, and Whippet.¬† So not exactly switching to anything.¬† I love all dogs, not just one breed of dog, though I am of course partial to a few.

Doberman and Greyhound Puppies playingWe drove up to Bowling Green Kentucky on Friday to pick up the puppy on a Saturday morning.¬† Tammy had picked the puppy for me – so that took off alot of the pressure. I was third in line for pick. She new I had hoped to one day to Schutzhund (I.P.O.) one day, or some other performance type training. There were 3 “top pick” puppies being looked at two by other trainers (one Schutzhund and one SAR). Orange (who turned out to be my puppy) was in the running with both other handlers. I was very pleased knowing that which ever puppy I got was within the top 3 of the litter for performance picks!



Doberman at CafeSo on an early Saturday morning in October I got to meet “Ivy” AKA Swift Run Harvard Ivy League. I had the rest of the pack with me and did “introductions” right then and there since everyone had to be in the car together for a few hours on the ride home. Ivy was a little nervous at first, but after a few minutes and a few treats everyone was fine. I had some reservations about having a big dog with my 4 pound Japanese Chin Ren, so from day 1 Ivy knew she had to leave Ren along and has actually done very well with that.

I took 3 days off at the beginning on the week for “maternity leave” so I could make sure everyone was settled the the pack would be OK with my husband at home¬†when I was at work – I wish I would have had 3 weeks. I hadn’t had a puppy since Simon my whippet 13 years ago, and forgot how totally exhausting it was (IS!)Rain Day