Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Awesome weekend

The weekend of February 28 and March 1 my Dog club, Cascade Schutzhund Club, had two of the top Training Directors from other clubs come spend the weekend working dogs and givings us pointers. Brett Titus is from Colorado, while Glen Crawford is from Utah. One of the many nice things is these two are similar in style to our current Training Director, Les Flores. It made it easier to understand what they were suggesting and yet gave a different set of eyes to see how the dog/handler teams were progressing and some pointers.

We spent over two full days working dogs, and working dogs some more. And our club being what it is, we also spent a good portion of the time eating some excellent food! Not canned chilli or hot dogs at this event. Oh no..... We had 5-star eating until people couldn't eat any more.

I was very happy with my two girls. Ccatti is semi-retired after her traffic safe test as she does not have the tracking foundation needed, and right now time does not permit me to do the work needed to fix that gap. Maybe one day. In the meantime we go have lots of fun, be distractions when needed for others doing obedience, and Ccatti gets to help teach new helpers how to handle a strong dog. A job she does well while enjoying herself.

Boa had strained a leg muscle so had been on rest until very shortly before this weekend. I was so worried she would not be ready to work but she was! And work she did. She was so happy to get back at it she got a little pushy for her. We learned some new things working through that! And she got to race Glen on a long attack, Glen is fast but Boa even out of shape did quite well. I would like to see that again when Boa is really in shape!

Some of the nice club members were helping me with the video camera so I got some of each girl working. What a treat for me. :) These videos are posted in my youtubes account in the sidebar. There are six videos total of Ccatti and Boa from February 28 and March 1. All three of us girls having fun!

All of us are looking forward to more weekends like this. And it gives Les a chance to say "see? I've told you that's how to do it!"

Thanks Les for inviting them. Thanks Brett and Glen for accepting to come see us and work dogs. Thanks to the great club members who pitched in and made this a weekend to remember!

Schutzhund: Track, Obey, Protect

Monday, February 9, 2009

All sorts of stuff!

Leave No Trace (LNT) is something I learned about a few years ago. What a great idea to leave a place as good, or better, then you found it. Most people equate the LNT concept with wilderness areas. It’s so much more then that. Next time you take a hike, go fishing, or even to your local park, take a look around and take a few minutes to do some picking up. Maybe get in the habit of picking up even one little shopping bag full of garbage left behind by others. If we all pitch in we could Leave No Trace for those that want to enjoy the same recreation we do. Without LNT, more and more places are being closed to public access. What a sad day to find out a favorite trail, lake, or stream is no longer open because the stewards of the land could no longer keep up with cleaning up.

There’s been a touch of spring in the air the last few days. At least until the snow flurry this morning! Being able to do a few outside projects helps make the winter blues take a step back. I still haven’t found the nerve to tear into the kennel roof yet. Once I start I have to finish. That may well be a next summer project when I don’t have to worry about rain.

A friend of mine is following the tradition of Pay it Forward. Those of us lucky enough to respond and pay forward ourselves will be getting a special something from Franna. And believe me, she makes some wonderful special something’s. You can see some of Franna’s wonderful makings on her blog Musings and Ramblings of the Shepherd, PhD.

Here’s the Pay Forward offer along with the catch! The first five people that leave a comment will receive something made by me. Franna’s post on home made bread gave me some ideas to give a big hint. The catch is you must make the same offer on either your blog or on a forum I’m a member of. Someplace I get to see. :)

Think Spring!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Past and Future

Time to catch up with my blog. Here is just a short note on the recent past and a planned spring vacation.

The recent past:
With the snow and rain things were a bit cold and soggy. I was lucky compared to many; damage wise I only had the kennel roof collapse. It is still somewhat usable so will get fixed as time permits. It keeps the dogs out of the rain, though has some interesting sags now. Otherwise the cold and wet was an inconvenience for me, devastation for many others.

My upcoming vacation:
I am on a count down to my spring learning vacation. I have signed up for a four-day camp cook school. The class is held by Royal Tine out in the beautiful Phillipsburg, Montana area. The class covers all sorts of methods to cook when camping with no power. I’ve wanted to learn Dutch oven cooking and this will be a huge step in that direction. Other activities will include trail riding and fishing.

Royal Tine conducts classes that are geared more toward the serious outfitter guides with four and five week classes. They also hold a full two-week camp cook school for those looking to make a career from it. I am glad they hold the four-day class as that fits my wants and needs right now.

I will be taking my camera so will have more to write about this experience in early summer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

How Ccatti and I spent Saturday.

I had a wonderful day on Saturday, nerve racking and wonderful.

Ccatti and I competed in a trial for her "traffic safe" test. This is a pass or fail test that needs to be passed prior to continuing on to the next level of Schutzhund. It was a long day made longer by rain, mist, mud, and change in the normal order of what level dogs goes when. Ccatti and I made the trec of about 90 minutes to a dog club north of us. The test she was entered in was scheduled to start about 10:00 so Ccatti and I pulled in about 9:00 to make sure paperwork and scorebook was in order. When the judge returned from the other tracking portion he decided to do our section last, after lunch.

It was fun to watch the other dogs compete and talking with people as we waited. Even though in some places it was ankle deep water and mud.... As I waited some of the members of the dog club I belong to arrived to give Ccatti and I moral and emotional support. Even our Training Director who drove more then 2-hours came. That's a special club when so many show up from so far away to support one club member and her dog. :)

Lunch came and went. Ccatti and I were in the third group. There are two dogs on the field at a time. One doing the obedience routine while the other is on what is called a down under distraction. This entails the dog being placed in a certain spot at the edge of the field, after the leash is taken off, the dog is told to lay down, and the handler walks almost the length of the field and stands with their back toward the dog. The dog is not supposed to move from that spot until the handler returns, all while watching the other dog go through all it's obedience routine.

Ccatti and I did our obedience portion first and she was wonderful. Everybody has told me she had the best routine of all in her class. I was very proud of her. Then we went for her down under distraction portion. The other dog did fine until the handler removed it's leash for the off-leash obedience section. Then the games began. This dog decided it wanted to run around the field and not get caught! All this going on while Ccatti is laying down across the field from me, oh my...... Even though I'm supposed to have my back to her, I admitted I peaked a look to see what she was doing. Laying there very nicely! They got the other dog back on leash and decided that was enough for it. That was a very tough down under distraction for Ccatti but she did great.

Ccatti passed with flying colors and we can continue on with our titling.

A very wonderful Saturday.

A nice lady ran my video camera for me so I have much of Ccatti's routine here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I've been stressing over all the family functions coming this time of year on top of all the changes I've dealt with all year long. I started counting what I am thankful for and made myself feel much better.

I'm thankful for my parents. My mother is 86, my father is 82. (I will probably get in trouble if they see I said that!) They are still going places and doing things. From Tacoma to Desert Hot Springs in the winter, snow birds. They celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary this last June. They still insist on hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family, and extended family and anybody else that may show up. I am Thankful they are still in such good health and hope they stay that way for a long time to come. Thanks mom and dad. I love you both.

I am thankful for my sister, Dee Cee, that lives close enough we go do things and talk, not often enough! But we're both so very busy. We just pick up where we left off. She is a sister who is not a sister. Not related by blood but there is such a bond. She first entered my life when I was in third grade and she was in fourth. We're entering our 50's now so it''s been a long sisterhood. I can always count on her being there when I need her. She was one of my rocks this last year, one of my anchors in the storm. Now we're making plans for travel, in a few years. But what fun to be able to start making plans. Love ya Sis.

I'm Thankful for my nieces, Sabrina, Stavon, and nephew, Adam. I'm proud of how you are all growing up to be good, responsible adults. I had to admit, I sometimes wondered! But everybody goes through those times, it's how you come out the other end that's important. You're all making your auntie proud. Now keep raising your kids so they turn out like you are now.

I'm Thankful for my sisters wonderful boyfriend, Reggie. I have not met a nicer, kinder, truely good person in a long time. He makes my sister happy and has become an important part of our family. Thank you for joining.

And Amy, my sisters friend that is part of the family too. It's not the same when Amy has to work and can't make family dinners. There's a part of the family missing when she's not there.

I'm thankful for my other sister, Cindy, who lives in Desert Hot Springs. She gives mom and dad the perfect excuse to play snow bird and go to nice weather a few months each winter.

I'm thankful for all my friends that stood with me this year. Those that let me vent as much as I needed, as often as I needed, those that listened and let me keep coming back and make them listen again. Without you all, I would not be where I am today. I'm thankfull to my friends that are getting me to laugh again, oh am I ever laughing again! Getting me going places again, see the world and even just around the corner again. I'm experiencing new adventures, and returning to some old ones too. Air Shows, how cool are those! I missed that and am glad it's back.

I must thank my animals for their unconditional love they gave me. They knew so much was wrong and even when they weren't sure what to do, they would come give me a snuggle, crawl in my lap, and a face washing. Remember these are full grown German Shepherd Dogs crawling in laps for snuggles and face washes. Wonderful dogs.

And now being able to work the animals in something we enjoy doing. My mules are back trail riding with help from Bill. My dogs working with help from Les, Dara, and so many more that are supporting me working my dogs at my dog club. From Moc for helping me learn how to best deal with my dogs at home, get a system in place when at times I felt overwhelmed to start with.

I have so much to be Thankful for this year. I hope those of you that may be experiencing some difficult times of your own take a few minutes to reflect and see the things you have that are worth taking time to say thank you.

Thank you all who are part of my life. Life is good. Life is very good.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Tina and the animules

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Dogs

Time for a bit about my dogs. A few years ago I learned more about German Shepherd Dogs. When I saw my sisters young dog, a solid black female, I thought "I want one of those". It turned out "one of those" are considered working line German Shepherds, not your normal black and tan with the sloped back! This type has a ton of drive and full speed ahead.

I ended up getting a half brother to my sisters female. Abe is a wonderful dog, he's my avitar right now. Did I mention German Shepherds are like potato chips? I now have four...... All are from West German working lines, with one being imported from Germany as a pup.

I am currently working two of the girls toward Schutzhund titles. This started out being part of the breed worthiness testing and most top breeders still require their dogs to be titled prior to breeding. It's a three phase test includes tracking, advanced obedience, and protection with tons of obedience built in. There are three levels of titles also, each being more difficult. Before a dog can start competing in Schutzhund, they must pass what is considered a "traffic safe test". This is actually an advanced obedience routine in itself.

On and off leash. Normal, slow, fast paces. Left turns, right turns, about turns. Through and around groups of people. Sit out of motion where the person keeps walking as the dog sits. Down out of motion where the person keeps walking as the dog downs. A recall to the front then finish to the heel position. A long down with the person across the field while another dog is doing it's routine. Being in a crowd of people, and I mean crowd where they all gather right around the dog. Having a bicycle go by, a jogger come out from behind a vehicle, a car stop and ask for directions. And this is the very beginners test!

Abram vom Blitzenfel
Abe passed his "traffic safe test"

Ccatti vom Hiddenhaus
Ccatti and I are working toward her titles now.

Boa Boneshaker
Boa and I are working toward her titles now.

Jocelyn vom Hiddenhaus

Did I mention I feel very safe sharing my house with these wonderful dogs? And they are all wonderful dogs.
I'm planning on sharing more about the girls as we progress.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A friend mentioned I needed some pictures of my mules in my blog. I can do that. :) I currently have three of the most solid saddle mules, I've had these for quite a while now. A huge step for me changing from high powered cutting horses to mules. I wasn't sure to begin with.
I mean MULES?????

Patti is my very first mule. She is probably the smoothest animal I've every ridden. At about 26 years old she has many good year left I can ride her. Most of the time now whe gets to tag along as I am transitioning to Millie, my 15 year old mule.

Pattie showing off her brand new leather halter and sawbuck saddle.

Pattie and Millie waiting for me to mount up and head out.

Here I am making a circle in the arena before trying all three on the trail. Millie and I in front, followed up by Fritz the wonder mule, with Pattie bringing up the rear giving Fritz plenty of space. Fritz is currently being used by a very good friend at work to full fill a dream. Being able to go trail riding on a good mule. Fritz likes her best now, she brings him carrots.
If you ever get a chance to meet a good mule, please do so. If we ever meet on a trail I would be glad to introduce you to Pattie, Millie, and Fritz
A special thanks to Bill Holmes of Maple Valley Mules for fine tuning these three for me this year. They had enjoyed a couple years off and Bill made sure they were back where I needed them.