Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

A fun day in the barn!

I mentioned last week that we planned to attend our first barn hunt over the weekend. We did and it was so much fun!

I should have packed the car Friday night. I didn't and that meant getting up early to get everything loaded - crates, treats, water, bowls, leashes, harnesses, towels, first aid kits. The dogs definitely have more stuff than the humans! We hit the road just before 7 a.m. Carson, of course, sat up for the entire drive, watching me intently with her little black eyes. Marley was calm and quiet from his position at the rear of the Outback. We arrived just in time for the judges seminar, where we learned the specifics and all the dogs were introduced to the rats - both in cages and in the tubes used during the actual hunts. Both Marley and Carson went nuts over the rats; it was hard to lower their intensity once they saw and smelled them.

I ran each of the dogs twice in the introductory event (RATN), which was allowed since it was a fun match and no ribbons were being awarded. Marley was one of the first dogs "up," and he was promptly disqualified for marking a hay bale. Oops! Carson didn't find the rat first time out either but, honestly, in both cases handler error (me!) was more to blame than anything else. In barn hunts, as opposed to earthdog trials, you can actually talk to your dog. Once I got the hang of that, both dogs did a much better job. They found the rats the second time around and had a blast doing it! They didn't have to climb or tunnel at the intro level, just release them and find the tube with the rat in it within 60 seconds. Four other terriers and their humans were there. We have known one another for years and had a great time.
Carson works the rat after choosing the right tube!
Barn hunts are open to dogs of all breeds and sizes. Besides our six terriers, there was a cocker spaniel, a boxer, two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, dalmatian, wire-haired dachshund, and several other breeds. Perfect way to spend a brisk Saturday morning. Carson and Marley slept most of the rest of the day. I guess all that barking and jumping wore them out. I know it did me!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Taming the hairy beasts!

Yesterday we had the day off from school AND the weather was nice. That meant it was time to do some serious terrier grooming. After all, we will attend our first-ever barn hunt this weekend in Edmond (OK). I have never considered myself anything more than an almost-adequate groomer - and some would disagree with even that description! But we made it through with lots of terrier coat gone and no scrapes or blood loss. All in all, that's a pretty good day.

Marley - before #1
Marley was up first. His coat has never been the best. For one thing, to say he is double-coated would be an exaggeration! And his furnishings? Geez, they are super-thin.
Marley - almost done!
Marley - "before" #2

Then came Little Miss Carson. She is famous for sitting down when I want her to stand and it's no different on the grooming table! Most striking is how different it is to groom her from Marley. I've never done them back-to-back before, so those differences were much more apparent.

Her coat is classic Welsh double-thick, sometimes making it a challenge to even get the clippers through. Wiry, thick, hard - and sticks to everything it touches when trimmed - that's what you get when you groom Carson!

The photo on the left is before we started and on the right is nearly done. Faces and furnishing are tough for me and I trim both more than what is done for the show ring. But it helps keep her a bit cleaner when playing in the yard or slinging water all over the kitchen.

Enough fur for another WT

My "perfect angel"!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Celebrate the month of love with your pet!

Do you celebrate holidays with your pet? I'll be the first to admit that while my dogs are definitely spoiled, we rarely have special pet-centered celebrations. They like to chew things too much to have gifts for them to unwrap. They don't like being dressed in costumes (coats/sweaters are tough enough when the weather is cold!). Lots of folks love celebrating with their pets and have elevated it to a high art form. It this describes you, here are some special celebrations you can share with your pet this month. Be sure to fill out the survey at the end of this list and we will share how others celebrate with their pets, then you'll have even more reasons to throw a party!

February is ... Spoil Your Pet Month. Join BlogPaws ( for ideas on spoiling your pet!

National Pet Dental Health Month (​al_health/npdhm/default.​asp)

Responsible Pet Owners Month

National Wild Bird Feeding Month

Opening of the Winter Olympics, February 6

Westminister Kennel Club Show, held the second Monday and Tuesday of February (this year, that is February 10-11)

Have A Heart for Chained Dogs Weed, February 7 - February 14 (

Pet Theft Awareness Day, February 14 (​m/day.htm)

Valentine's Day, February 14

Great Backyard Bird Count, February 14 - February 17

World Whale Day, February 15

National Justice for Animals Week, Week of February 24 (

Love Your Pet Day, February 20

Walking Your Dog Day, February 22

International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, February 23

Spay Day USA, February 25

World Spay Day, February 25 - 20th Anniversary!

International Polar Bear Day, February 27

National Polar Bear Day, February 27

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Lying Leopard

It is interesting that Lying Leopard is described as being less invasive than Clouded Leopard and so many animals like it better if they are sensitive to touch. We had kind of a mixed reaction here.

Lying Leopard is supposed to allow a larger area of "warm contact" with the hand. I often hold my breath when I'm working - something I try to recognize and change, but it's a work in progress. I think that probably affects how my dogs feel about it overall.

Blue liked it the most. I'm not sure that it wasn't too much like a massage for him, so I need to keep that in mind, although you do need to get through the fur to the skin. He doesn't like the circles too fast or too slow. The trick is finding his "just right"!

This is another one of those touches that Blue really likes along his hindquarters. He totally backed up into me and wanted this experiment to continue.

The terriers weren't so sure about the whole process. Maybe because they're smaller so it seemed like I was covering a larger area? Maybe I should increase the speed of the circles, slowing down once they relax. I need to spend more time to see how they react long-term. And I think I need to make sure I'm more on the level with them rather than working from a standing position, which can always be an issue.

Beginning today, we are going to start doing mouth work. This may need a couple of weeks, as it's a slow process and I don't want to push too much or too soon. Basically, we will begin with Lying Leopard TTouches on the outside of the mouth and make tiny circles on the gums, working on both sides of the mouth. I want to do multiple short sessions to keep stress levels down. Mouth TTouch is used extensively for aggression, barking, biting, chewing, dental woe, emotional upset, fear of vet offices, hyperactivity, licking, nervousness and stress - most of the emotional issues. I have seen it used with absolutely wonderful success on dogs, and have seen it magically calm down my own Carson. My friend Cynde Van Vleet, a TTouch practitioner in California, used it to work miracles on Carson during a stressful point in a class a couple of years ago. Carson has recently started barking a lot when outside, so I hope this will ease that a bit.

In other news, the new computer purchase, migration and set-up is complete. I really didn't want to replace my laptop just yet, but it made the decision for me. After long conversations with my children and writer-friends, I opted for the Mac desktop with a 21.5" screen. I have to admit it is nice to write, edit and proofread on it, but I do miss the portability of the laptop. I'll just need to get more comfortable writing on the iPad mini. At right is a photo of the new digs in the sunroom.

The cold and grey continues in Oklahoma. The dogs and I are in desperate need of sunshine and warm breezes (not winds, but breezes would be nice).