Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lost Lake-Whistler showing signs of fall

Lost Lake in Whistler, Daizy's in the water just about to retrieve her ball.


Tired Daisies. Fall is almost here, a new season, complete with its own magic. I can't wait.
Lost Lake looking towards the dog beach. The dock in the background has a ramp, so dogs can walk up and enjoy some rays before swimming back to shore :)
A secret spot the dogs found just off of the main path. This watering hole was a natural jacuzzi, complete with swirling jets of water for your aching muscles and relaxing nature sounds to dissolve your worries.
I loved this picture as it captured Daizy in her true light. She's my workaholic and is very curious. She needs to be in the know of what's going on 24/7. Keegie-boo is in the background. He looks like a fawn. He's so sweet and gentle (and goofy), such a soft soul. I just love them to bits.
Daizy walking the log over the river.
Here Daizy n George entranced by something odiferous.

Have you ever stopped to watch their thought process as they uncover something in the air that stops them in their tracks? Time stands still, nothing else exists.

For them to be able to pinpoint among the symphony of fragrances that fill the air and narrow it down: first to a direction, then to leaves, then strands of grass, finding exactly which one was worthy and most imperative of their time to investigate, I think is an amazing talent. I love watching their expressions. It's interesting to watch them explore.

We spent Sunday hiking at a relaxing pace, not worried about how far we were going, only how much fun we were having. We took the time to stop and enjoy the treasures along the way and I let them goof around when they needed a break from heeling.

We had to share the trail with mountain bikers and other hikers, and being a beautiful afternoon after a couple days of rain, it was busy. Heeling comes easy when you're in a pack. You end up finding a group rhythm and each finds a comfortable position and takes their place. If any of the leads tighten, we stop and wait until the party pooper backs up and leash becomes slack once again. I normally don't say anything at first, I just stand still. Sometimes if they need help, I'll say their name and I'll give them a hand signal to show them where to go. Most of the time, I don't say a word, it's their job once we stop, to check in with me. The more you wait it out, praise, treat, have a party, the second they look back at you when they're learning, the faster they become at checking in with you when you stop so they can get back to the adventure. Key is when they look back, they're looking back at a smiling face, someone happy. I'm sure everyone can attest that it is comforting and makes you feel important, your insides light up, you glow, when someone welcomes you with open arms and a smile. It's like a gravitational pull, you can't resist. I find it's the same with dogs. I've built our relationship on trust (that I would never harm them in any way), love, lots of treats, games, laughter and time spent watching them and their idea bubbles forming. I love watching the mischievous idea bubble forming and heading it off before it comes to fruition. Or sharing a moment where we seem to be thinking the same thing and it's duly noted in one glance.

I'm also aware of their reactions to my tone of voice and their environment. I'm sure they know me better than I know myself as they are masters in interpreting body language. In turn, they are very focused on me, and our team. We all work together to keep our relationship strong, ever evolving and of course have a ton of fun. The more good memories you build of times past, the stronger the bond.

Back to tour guide brain....to me, Whistler is like an outdoor Disneyland. So much to do in such a concentrated space. It's commercially developed for your comfort during your stay. It draws in people from all around the world. I prefer a quieter pace, hence the Lost Lake hike.

While the dogs and I hiked, Darrell got his adrenaline rush downhill mountain biking, pretty much head first, 90 degrees down the ski hill that is. I just have to stop to say, that sport is INSANE.
The stuff they do makes me very scared just thinking about the endless ways one could potentially die a very uncomfortably painful, not so graceful death. I hiked and have to admit it kept my mind off of whether or not Darrell will be in one piece or how many more tattoos (aka: bruises) he ends up with.
I'll have to get pics of his biking insanity.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Enough glum stuff....TIME FOR SOME AGILITY!!!

Out from the chaos and back on track!!!!  I went for a trail walk to Edward Crowley park with Alice and Rita and all our dogs,  lots of them, 7 in total.  I now have renewed inspiration and focus. After the walk I got my agility fix in class with Nicole the master trickster instructor/ course designer ( switchbacks & tight turns were yesterday's challenge). I found out there's a fun match Sept 28th!!!!  YAHOOOOOO!!!!  This should be a HOOT! 

I've got more work to do with weave poles!!!! Nicole suggested to get 6 plungers to use indoors to practice :)  space them 20inches apart from pole to pole and suction them to the floor!
I never thought of that!  Darrell just shook his head at me :P

I also realized after watching more Sylvia Trkman's videos (add more fuel to the fire) of her and dogs hiking that I'm sooooo blessed with a similar backdrop and also use the forest and ocean as a jungle gym for my guys to help with body awareness and find that it makes life that much more interesting too!  Come to think if it, even in town we find things to use as jumps or contacts.  Benches, trees, anything to jump over, run along, under,  or go around.  Incorporating something fun in the walk also comes in handy when I can tell George is puffing up and thinking of barking at another dog ;)   Does anyone else goof around on walks?  If so, what sort of funny stuff have you done?  I love finding new things to incorporate!

I've actually been stopped by people who get a kick of the tricks we do on our walks (a woman asked to take a picture of Daizy for her blog doing a trick) or they'll say that it's nice to see someone letting their dog enjoy the walk.  I let them sniff as a reward (it's a cue) for doing something for me.   Sometimes,  when I see that they're eyeing something up, I'll give them the go ahead to explore.  They don't have the luxury of coming and going like I do, so I think it's important to let them stop, enjoy and explore.  I even get in there and act all excited, it gets them even more pumped and happy to focus back on me.  One guy went on to say, "...some owners just drag the dog along."  WHAT? 

I had it the opposite where I used to be dragged around by my pups.  Once I learnt from puppy class the red light green light game, and combining it with practicing indoors off /on leash while hand feeding the dogs when they shadow me again in short bursts (10 sec at a time), remembering to stop before they're bored.  I always leaving them wanting to play more of the games, makes them very excited when you initiate playing the games again.  

Dragging me around stopped when I got my act together and made walking fun.  I'm not sure I've ever met a dog that didn't want to have fun, or a tasty treat!  I also laugh a lot more, a side effect that I can live with.  They never have to worry that there's a punishment coming their way, only opportunities to try again, while I figure out how to better communicate what I'm asking.   What games do you incorporate into your walks?

I didn't hike this trail yesterday.  I've posted it as one of the mountain bike trails as an example, of the obstacles my guys are attracted to like magnets. I think they see something similar to agility equipment and they go nuts!  Time to let loose!   Here's one Daizy enjoyed, it's called Joint Error.

Nice fast downhill then along a wooden ramp and jump at the end.

Daizy is walking it.  Her agility cue we use for contact obstacles is "walk it."
I love being rewarded by a beautiful view after a long hike!







Friday, August 29, 2008

Worms, Bears & Police chase

We woke to the sound of heaving, and knew puking would be next. When Darrell got to the puddle, he looked at me and said,  "they're worms"..."WHAT?" I crawled over to the end of the bed and tried to focus and all I saw was pink fruit loop shaped things...... MOVING........I FREAKED!!!  Poor Darrell had to clean them up while I rushed the dogs out of the bedroom to go out in the backyard for pees!

On my way to the back door past the kitchen MOVEMENT in the TOP of the PLUM TREE caught the corner of my eye...A BLACK BEAR...acrobatically positioned at the very top of the tree, enjoying the ripe yellow plums.  Dogs going outside, NOT an option.

My thought was CAN WE JUST FAST FORWARD TIME so we can get to the vet's for pills for the pups!

Darrell came to the window and we just stood there, half in awe of the bear's agility, the other half wondering what we're supposed to do.  While we were talking about what to do, we heard police sirens and see flashes of light in between the houses from the backyard neighbor's house (bear was in the tree still enjoying the fruit) then hear a THUNK, and someone yelling "GET OUT", "GET OUT OF THE CAR", then more flashing lights, a few minutes later ambulance lights came. 

The bear finally was full and ready to move on, he descended the tree, went one way, then changed his mind because of the commotion, then changed direction and without any effort, placed two paws over a 6ft fence on the neighbors side and easily did a pull up over top of the fence.  This confirmed in my mind that no matter how high the permenant fence we build will be.........we just need to ensure it's study enough for the bears to climb.  

Darrell took Taiki around the block to see what the flashing lights were all about and reported there was a police car chase...car went out of control and into the ditch!

All this happened from before 6am, ended 7:11 am Thursday morning.  How crazy is THAT...all before I had my morning coffee :P  like something out of a Monty Python movie.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Keegan's -puppy antics

I heard a "KABOOM" then A COMMOTION sounding like plastic bouncing around... Daizy came SKIDDING  into the bedroom,  DOVE straight under the bed to hide. 

Keegan followed prancing in with his COOL new collar........ that he got when he tried to raid the bathroom garbage and his head got stuck in the lid..... OMG..... I can't stop laughing!  As you can see he was unharmed and happy to pose for this picture :P  Daizy's still under the bed :)

The garbage lid he borrowed .......

Saturday, August 23, 2008

golfing-Mamquam-salmon spawning route

Entrance to the Mamquam trails (Salmon spawning route) is by way of golf course.  We had just passed a sign warning trespassers trying to sneak onto the course....when I took the below shot.
I'm not sure what the allure was, but it was difficult to keep these jokers from trying to squiggle their way onto the greens or distract them from trying to charm golfers by wiggling their bums at them.  I'm lucky they posted a "dogs must be leashed" sign before the trespassing warning :P

Hmmmm......I wonder if they're looking for caddies?

Neat thing about this walk is that there is wide gravel one if you feel like being social or if you prefer a quieter walk you can sneak onto one of the many winding paths like this one that run parallel but not too close to the main one so your walk is more private.    
path through the trees to the river.
The river was low in this area, which makes things fun for the dogs and a great place to sit, rest and have a quiet moment to take in the sound of the rushing water and picturesque landscape in front of you.

I'll take more pic's in the fall when the "salmon buffet" season begins as Daizy n George like to refer to it.  This is one of the main salmon spawning routes, it's quite the experience to capture. Eagles, harbor seals, salmon, bears and us.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Breakfast

"Here it comes.......that rascally "whatcha-ma-call-it" again....."

"A ha! breakfast!......I KNEW it!"

"Don't think that this solid bullet proof plastic will stop me and my beaglish abilities from cracking this puzzle!"

"Oops......one got away"

"....pointing and baying should do the trick...."

"Thanks Kath!"


Mornings I feed the dogs cheese jammed into a UFO shaped kongs before our walks . I'm sure it's more fun than watching me walk into doors, looking like Mr. Magoo with my eyes half closed. "Bright eyed" and "bushy tail" are not in my morning vocabulary....... until I've had coffee and refreshing walk.
then "granola" I call it, dry food, out of odd shaped treat dispensing objects when we leave for work. Sometimes I hide them for them to search. Dinner is a raw or homemade diet.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ode to George




My teeny little "pocket beagle" George...whether they really exist or are inter-bred with Jack Russell's, or are the runt of the litters... or as one person stopped me to say "that he comes from a good line of beagles they breed in Ireland....." It's never been an issue with me. All I saw was this tiny little beaglette who was very observant, would sit and people watch with a question mark on his face trying to make sense of his reality sitting behind a glass window in a petstore. Polite, gentle, calm (unless he's in tough guy mode), intuitive , completely opposite of his big sister Crazy Daizy the party girl beagle.

He is one huggable, smotherable in kisses teeny beagle boy.

I often wish he could tell me what he is thinking. Why does he feel it is his duty to teach young teenage pups manners? What's with appointing himself as the neighborhood blockwatch when he could live a life of ZEN, r-e-l-x-a-t-i-o-n and join in more often when I yoga-out (he bows when I do yoga and tries to squiggle around on the mat, very sweet). His mini impression of John Wayne / Clint Eastwood swagger...what is up with that? Doesn't he know he's only little? He doesn't have to act cool, he's already cute!

We've come so far, from George doing victory laps - playing catch me if you can in puppy class when all the pups had returned to their owners for treats and cuddles, to victory laps around agility trial course BEFORE he hits the first jump.......now my little George surprises me by being the perfect little angel in class when we're demo'n polite leash manners, meet and greets.

Today we spent the afternoon snuggled in close (actually he always positions himself partly on my stomach so we can feel the rhythm of each other breathing) while I worked from home on my laptop and sniffled and coughed from my cold. He would not leave my side, not even to bark at the cat chasing a butterfly on our lawn, how amazing is that!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Co-pilots

I often wonder what dogs think powers cars. Telekinesis maybe?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tricks- n-Treats (Keegan n Taiki)

It was a lazy Sunday. Darrell and I went to Starbucks and enjoyed coffee and conversation. He's great resource to bounce ideas off of and while he read his business book, I was thinking about games to teach the pups to help with agility. My inspiration was the Sylvia Trkman video Jackie sent me. I was all pumped when we arrived back home. Here's what I taught them this afternoon.

I love training with treats, praise and cuddles. You can disguise "games" to teach them skills for good manners and also for agility prep. If you concentrate on adjusting your hand signals so they can simply follow what you're trying to show them (like playing charades) and rewarding the baby steps along the way, next thing you know ....they've achieve the trick.


video video

Here's where my inspiration came from...Sylvia Trkman puppy class :
youtube.com/watch?v=JWjex3lIOiI

Friday, August 1, 2008

major rockslide & home alone with pups

Well, thought I'd share a little bit of the exciting stuff happening in BC.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/07/30/bc-highway-rockslide-whistler.html


This is the first rockslide of this magnitude that has impact on my daily comings and goings.
This major highway connects Squamish ,where I live ,to Vancouver where I work. Which also cuts me off from access to friends and fun stuff I enjoy doing downtown.
The reality has set in and while I'm happy to be able to work from home and get to hike more ... the bit that sort of gets me is 1- grocery stores are getting pretty slim for stock and 2- Whistler just said their gas is running low. Added to that is my back fence is completely wrecked from bears visiting at night to do some plum picking. I've had to rebuild it twice now.

Apart from that things are just smashing. I am relieved to be on this side of the highway with my dogs. It would have been heart wrenching if I were downtown working and this happened.

If things get really bad....I can charter a float plane for $129 each way.....