Archive for the ‘The Dogs’ Category

The Motley Crew

christmas_08

christmas_08

From Left to Right: Beta, Tyler, Kindle, Tasha, and Jackaroo. The girls all have sweaters, and the boys have scarfs. The reason Jackaroo (“Jack” to his friends) is licking his lips is because he’s thinking “this posing stuff is gonna get me some good treats”.

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Kindle

Kindle is the baby. She is also an Australian Cattle Dog, and is 18 months old. She is also my wife’s dog, and the newest addition to the family. She is great! She has the intelligence of a Cattle Dog, but is sweet and loving – she actually likes to cuddle. How can you go wrong when you start like this:

Kindle's Puppy Picture

Kindle's Puppy Picture

And you currently look like this:

Kindle looking like a fox

Kindle looking like a fox

I’ll update this post more later, but here is a video of Kindle being introduced to Winee, our friend’s young Golden (who wasn’t much more than a puppy herself at the time):

Beta

Beta is the “agile dog” – her full name is Bryn Mawr’s All Rev’d Up.  She is the one pictured on the right sidebar at the top of the blog, and the dog I compete in Agility with.  While Jack, our first Australian Cattle Dog, is my wife’s dog, Beta is my dog.  She is both the first Cattle Dog I have ever owned, and also the first pure-breed dog I have owned – this is known as jumping in with both feet. From the start, Beta was eye-catching:

 

Beta Puppy Picture

Beta Puppy Picture

My wife did the research to find Beta’s breeder; the breeder actually vetted us as potential owners – the sign of a really good breeder. I knew within moments of meeting the dog that I wanted to take her; I have been rewarded for that choice ever since. Beta has all of the main traits of an ACD: smart, energetic, loyal, stubborn, and dominant. She also loves people; she even likes strangers, which is NOT a normal ACD trait. She can be defensive of bigger dogs, but is quite good with dogs her size and smaller, even puppies (which is also not normal for an ACD). She is a “Blue” ACD, the more common color, and has the cool common markings of an ACD. But she has distinctive white rings in her tail, very much like a racoon or a ring-tailed lemur. She is also small for a Cattle Dog – under 16″ at the shoulders. Given her slightly smaller size, boundless energy, drive,  and intelligence, she is a natural for Agility.  With her natural talent, cool looks, and outgoing nature, she is a real hit on the Agility circuit here in New England. First, a glamour shot:

 

Beta from 2007

Beta from 2007

Now some Agility action photos:

 

Beta in the tire - SuperDog!

Beta in the tire - SuperDog!

Beta's first Q Ribbon

Beta's first Q Ribbon

Why “Beta”, you ask? First, I’m a software geek, and had already trained my first agility dog (Tyler). So this was my second attempt, hence “Beta” -like beta software. Also, it was a subtle reminder to myself to remain in charge – be the “alpha dog” so to speak. A Cattle Dog will try to be in charge if you let them, and nothing good will come of it. Third, it’s different, and doesn’t get confused with all the “normal” names at dog shows. And finally, there is a thought in dog training that a dog’s call name (their common name) should be two syllables, and end in a vowel, to make it easier to call them with a positive inflection.

One of the main points of this blog will be to post photos and videos of Beta (and me, when I’m with her). How can you resist this?:

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

Tyler

Tyler is a special dog, especially to me. He is my dog (versus being my wife’s), and he is the first dog I had that I did formal training with. That training really helps bond the owner with the pet, and it definitely did that here. First, a puppy pic:

Tyler as a puppy

Tyler as a puppy

We adopted Tyler from a shelter when he was about 3 or 4 months old. After just two days, he became VERY sick, and we thought we were going to lose him (a story for another day). But after nearly a week, he recovered, and is now 12 years old. I took him for all the normal obedience training, and then since my wife was having success with her dog Tasha at agility, I started training Tyler for it. Here are the obligitory action shots:

Tyler over the A-Frame

Tyler over the A-Frame

 and:

Tyler on the Dogwalk

Tyler on the Dogwalk

Tyler was never great at Agility – he did it because he got a lot of treats for it. He just enjoyed greeting people, getting petted, and begging treats from people (he is VERY good at that).

In some ways, this is a dream dog. He is quiet. He is calm. He is friendly. He doesn’t want trouble with other dogs – if they are good with him, he is good with them. He passed the test for being a Therapy dog, but I don’t have the time to take him visiting seniors or the hospitalized. He doesn’t play with toys, or chase frisbees, or even fetch sticks, but he does like walks in the woods and chasing small (and even large)  furry animals. All and all, he is a great dog.

Tyler is offically listed with the AKC as a Norwegian Buhund (go look it up!). He looks just like one, although he is rather large for the breed. Since we got him out of a shelter, we can’t be sure of anything. But I sometimes think he is part wolf:

What is he stalking?

What is he stalking?

Beta’s First Master Standard Q

My dog Beta and I compete primarily at USDAA events. They have three levels of skill – Novice, Advanced, and Masters. You start in Novice, and work your way up. Beta has earned the right to compete at the Masters level now, and last month we had our first “Q” in standard agility (to learn what all these terms mean, you’ll have to wait until I write the post about “What is Agility?”).

Here is the video of our run. The camera operator is my lovely wife – you can hear at the end that she was as excited about this as I was (she is our primary instructor, so it makes sense.)

Tasha

Here is your introduction to Tasha, our oldest. She is technically my wife’s dog; she is half Husky and half Black Lab. We got her from a person down the street. She was the alpha dog for many years, but now, at 13+ years, she is giving up that role. Here she is as a puppy:

Sad Puppy

Sad Puppy

Tasha as a puppy

Tasha as a puppy

Tasha was cute as could be, but she was Trouble! She would terrorize the old dogs we had at the time. She was the reason we got into formal dog training – the normal do-it-yourself repetitions weren’t cutting it. So my wife took her off to class. Since she was a mixed-breed, there was only so much obedience work we could do before she got bored – the AKC didn’t allow mixed-breed dogs to compete in Obedience. Our instructor recommended Agility, a new dog sport that was catching on, and had an organization (USDAA) that allowed all dogs. My wife starts training Tasha to do this, and next thing I know, Voila!, here we are at an Agility competition (called Trials). Here’s an early picture of Tasha waiting at the start line for my wife to release her:

Waiting for clearance to take off

Waiting for clearance to take off

This dog was athletic! She could clear the jumps easily – my wife made her jump at a higher jump height than the dog had to just to slow her down. She was a beautiful runner – smooth and graceful. She had no problem with the other dogs (there are a lot! at a show), and she seemed to enjoy it. She wasn’t always the most focused dog, but in less than a year, she had earned her first title:

Tasha's first Title!

Tasha's first Title!

BTW, the above picture shows the wonderful blue eyes she has.

Tasha competed for several years before retiring. She earned several titles, and taught us a lot. She now is mostly a couch potato, but still likes to play with little kids and flirt with intact male dogs.

Beta’s Excellent A Standard Title

This is what I do, when I do what I want….