Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Nature of a Berner

"The main business of the dogs on Bernese Farms has always been to be good watchdogs. These farms were built at a distance from each other, each one situated more or less in the center of the land that was cultivated by the farmers family. A dog that announced strangers (man and other animals) which approached the farm or the nearby meadows was essential for the security of all the living creatures there." (attributed to Margret Baertschi at

In a culture that focuses on appearance, I suppose it is not at all surprising that berners are attractive to people because of their beauty. But a berner is not a stuffed dog or a yard ornament -- they were bred for a particular purpose and all the wishful thinking in the world will not change DNA.

I have found that many people are surprised when their berners turn into crazed barkers at the sight of a stranger or strange dog -- really? What exactly do you suppose a farm watchdog ought to do? Roll out the welcome mat? Show the intruder to the family silver? This is not a breed that was developed to love everyone -- why should we be surprised and upset when they don't?

On the other hand, it is hard to have a dog that honors her heritage by barking at strangers and strange dogs who dare approach the home or the beloved family; this is especially true when one lives in close confines with others. It is not unreasonable to want our dogs to be quiet and ignore strange people and strange dogs who approach our home -- but it is also not at all unreasonable that a dog bred to be a watchdog is going to bark and carry on.

I think people forget that dogs were bred for specific purposes, and this "hard wiring" does not go away with training or wishing or punishing -- it is just as much who a dog is as their outside appearance. And this means that as much as we want a certain kind of dog because they are pretty, that dog may not be the right breed for us.

Mrs. Maize is the most perfect dog I know -- she truly loves everyone -- but she is the first to bark when the UPS truck heads down the driveway or a stranger comes to the door. This is HER "farm" and when something new or strange (or fun) happens, she is hard wired to let us know about it through barking. And then she runs out and leans happily on the new person -- barking an alert is not the same thing as unfriendly.

I think about barking as expression, and decided that if I was not allowed to ever express myself, I would go crazy. And so I think barking is okay -- it is how dogs "talk" -- and it is a safe (albeit noisy) way for them to communicate. I do want it under some control though so allow the alert, and then thank everyone and suggest they be quiet; this typically works, especially when silence is rewarded with cookies.

My dogs' alert barking does not bother neighbors because we don't have any that are close, but it wasn't always that way. When we lived in Utah, we lived on a busy corner in a neighborhood filled with families -- that is a lot of strangers, human and canine. Living where I do now makes me wonder how/why I dealt with the stress of having watchdogs in a busy neighborhood!!

I managed it, of course, but it wasn't optimal for anyone -- including the dogs, and I see this now. But the reality for most people is city life so what does that mean for life with a berner?

I think a berner can be managed in a city but that there are some things that are important. First, one MUST recognize the innate "watchdog" qualities of a berner and not have unrealistic expectations of the dog. Second, the dog needs to be well socialized and trained to have an "off" button with regards to barking -- a "that's enough, thanks" switch. Third, it is unrealistic to expect most berners to be quiet in a yard when people and dogs are going by since they are hard-wired to alert -- and since they do not send text messages as alerts, it is going to be loud, which neighbors do not appreciate -- and so I think a berner left home alone is best kept inside. Fourth, a city berner especially needs exercise -- mental and physical -- on a regular basis. These are working dogs -- they need jobs so either you give them one or they will find their own (or go crazy).

I am sure there are other things that help but those are the ones I think are especially important. I like friendly dogs and I have them -- but my friendly dogs are likely to bark at you when you come over -- heck, they bark at me when I come home! Dogs bark -- and when we are willing to stop talking, I guess we can ask them not to bark.

And a watchdog is going to keep watch -- there are breeds that were bred to love everyone and everything, but a berner is not one of them. The Breed Standard absolutely allows this when it says that a berner, though she should never be " or shy..." may indeed "...remain aloof to the attentions of strangers."

And what does aloof mean? Here is a definition from a dictionary: "Distant physically or emotionally; reserved and remote". And so a berner who does not wish to be petted by a stranger is not a freak and may not be shy either -- staying distant from strangers fits the definition of "aloof".

None of this is to say that I do not think we need solid, confident temperaments in our dogs -- we do. And I know that a friendly, loving dog is much easier to live with and so that should be our goal as breeders. But I want to make the point that a berner is a watchdog -- we cannot change that reality, and it comes with certain behaviors we should expect from our dogs -- and some of these behaviors -- like barking at strangers and/or strange dogs -- can be challenging, especially in a city.

I think most things in life can be handled, but it helps to have realistic expectations. And so anyone interested in a berner needs to know about their history and their purpose so it is not surprising when the dog barks at the letter carrier -- she is just doing her job (the dog and the letter carrier :) And if alert barking is a big problem -- well, they have a breed for that -- basenjis.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hair and Spot and Dot

As if on cue, look what is happening:

Yes indeed -- that is Zoey's beautiful coat, which is now falling out like the dried up needles on an old Christmas tree. The practically a Grand Champion girl will soon be in her birthday suit and not venturing out to any shows any time soon. I find it rather amusing to be in this position -- one stinking point -- sigh...

Spot and Dot are unimpressed and wonder why anyone would want to be pointy when clearly round spots are in fashion this season...

An itch! How cute is that?!

Oh -- very bad manners Spot or Dot -- they are hard to tell apart :)

The twins let me creep very close this morning -- they were extremely curious about me and I half-expected them to walk over and nibble on my shirt...

I am not the only one who thinks mosquitoes are clearly God's mistake!

I am in love!!! Aren't they adorable!?

So cute!

More cute -- and curious!

Do you think she is trying to get better reception?

I hope you are getting excellent reception -- or having an excellent reception :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fall Draft Season Begins!

I know it isn't even August yet but it is time to start training for the fall draft tests! Thankfully Syd was born with the full set of carting genes -- and apparently her grandma Maize's set as well -- because she is taking to this draft stuff like a duck to water.

Of course, I do not take that for granted and I am being careful and thoughtful about her training just as I am with every other draft dog I have trained (n=9) -- but having all those carting genes means we can move faster and not spend time getting used to the cart -- Syd was born used to the cart!

Just as an example -- during the harness and hitch I gave her about ten treats. My goal is for her to LOVE every bit of this and so harness over the head -- treat! One foot in -- treat! And so on... Baby steps and reinforced every little bit along the way, even though she is perfectly fine with it all. Look at how comfortable she looks...

She does need her own harness though -- I am thinking her color might be purple???

I hope you are having an excellent week and reinforcing yourself for all the baby steps you take along the way :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do The Math

Yesterday there were 23 girls entered at the Portland show -- a five point major in girls requires 19. I had hope -- Zoey went to Portland needing five points for her Grand Championship.

Unfortunately only thirteen class girls showed plus four excellent champion girls -- that equals what? A four point major -- Zoey got it by going Best of Opposite.

So now she sits at 24 points, with four majors -- and that is great and impressive and so on but really -- one stinking point?! Sigh.

Yesterday was Mac's fourth birthday so a big Happy Birthday to him -- we will not make him wear the crown :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011


What seems like another lifetime ago I lived near Portland so being here reminds me of what my life could have been like, which I always find so disconcerting. And then I remembered something I read about your real and true life being the one you are living and as usual, my sense of faith in what is popped right up, reminding me that things unfold as they should...

Portland is a lovely city and how strange (in a fun way) to have all kinds of services and places to eat and etc. so close! But ever since I was kid I wanted to live in the country and so cities like this feel so crowded to me now, and I have some new insights about dogs in the context of a city like this -- that is for another day.

Peaches Sula's mom, Terri, has let us stay her GREAT house and what a blessing that is, especially for Mrs. Maize who is much happier than if we were at a motel. A big thanks to Terri :)

Mrs. Maize -- aka Dog Show Mrs. Congeniality -- had a grand time meeting new BFF's yesterday. She went from person to person to spread her unconditional positive regard to as many people as her leash would allow, and then she won her veterans class -- never mind that she was the only dog in her class :) When you are an 11 year old berner, it is kind of like last dog standing wins the prize! And being alive at 11 is indeed the best prize of all :)


They have a rather famous and funky doughnut shop here in Portland called VooDoo Doughnuts -- part of the experience is standing in LONG lines to get one of their strangely named doughnuts. This morning, up at my usual crack of dawn time, I went over and got Galen a maple bacon doughnut and there was NO LINE! Maize poses with the famous pink box -- and yes, doughnuts inside!

Zoey shows this afternoon -- keep your paws crossed! In the meantime, we are off to show Galen where we lived when he was a wee lad...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Neighborhood News

Heidi Marie says: What is that I hear? Another birthday?

Karma spread the word and soon everyone knew, including Robin who immediately set out to build a party nest!

Chippy volunteered to bring nuts if we had a party but said he would not come if Karma was going to be there (smart squirrel!)

The new twins, Spot and Dot, were especially hoping there would be a party! They said they would probably be too scared to come but they still hoped there would be a party!

But the birthday girl is on her way to Portland today so will be having a traveling party with her sister, Zoey, and her Auntie Mrs. Maize -- and Galen!

Happy Fourth Birthday to Asia, our extra sweet plus-size model

Have a great weekend – I will provide weekend updates/photos as allowed by wireless access.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The A Team

This is a picture of our A Litter when they were babies...

Can you pick out Maize?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Three Things

1. Congratulations to Peaches Sula from the F Litter and her mom, Terri -- they passed another Nosework hurdle today -- her Anise ORT (Odor Recognition Test) and she did it in 15 seconds (time limit is 3 minutes)! Littermate Maya is also getting involved in Nosework and doing well -- sounds fun!!!

2. More F Litter news -- Zoey was Best of Opposite in Coeur d'Alene today for two more Grand Championship points. She now has 20 points and needs five more; the Portland shows next weekend are big -- five points each day in girls.

3. Picture from today of 11 year old CH Aspen Green Beauty Queen (Maize's littermate) sent by her mom -- it was taken in Estes Park, Colorado.

I sure hope you have had an excellent weekend!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Changing Lanes

First of all, Syd's little mass was just a benign something that was irritated/infected so no big deal.

Second, Halo's agility career is now officially over. Many years ago Halo starting yipping when landing jumps. We did all kinds of stuff to try and figure it out but nothing so the best guess was some kind of injury -- probably in her neck. This is the reason that she stopped doing agility for a few years -- she just would flare that up.

I have carefully been doing agility with her off/on for the past year -- no more than three days a week and limited jumps, and she has been fine -- until a few days ago. Bless her heart -- she was whining with jumps and I thought it was her usual excitement whining at first, but after three jumps I realized it was different :( We stopped immediately and I could tell she was hurting -- we went in and I told Dear Husband that Halo was done with agility.

Poor Halo -- I had to basically sedate her that night to make her comfortable :( She is okay again but clearly she cannot ever again do agility, which is sad because she really has always liked it (except when it hurts).

I know Halo is almost nine and most people would just retire her, but Halo has always had a drive to do stuff -- she is a smart dog who loves to work. And a big part of why I do so much with all the dogs is because it is what is best for them -- it facilitates THEIR happiness.

And so Halo needs to change lanes and do other stuff, and my goals for her also have to adapt. In life stuff happens and what we wanted/planned just isn't realistic -- this is not failure at all but just how it is. I think where it becomes failure is when we fail to recognize the need to walk a different path and cling stubbornly to the "trail closed" sign, crying and carrying on about the path we thought we wanted to take.

I will give Halo some days to really recover and then I thought we would see what she thinks about doing more tracking -- she LOVED tracking to the point of it not being fun because she pulled so darn hard but maybe now that she is older we can negotiate something about that. And Halo can be Zoey's brace draft partner for the fall tests -- drafting is something Halo is very good at and enjoys a lot -- so she will soon be back to work :)

There is no shame in changing lanes when we find the one we wanted is closed. Whether it is a college major or a relationship or a dog title -- sometimes changing your mind is indeed the right path, and it reflects flexibility, good assessment skills, self-awareness, and a bunch of other positive things. However, do signal before changing lanes!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Also 11 -- CH Aspen Green Beauty Queen

Maize shared her 11th b-day with her beautiful littermate, CH Aspen Green Beauty Queen. Aspen lives with Patrick and Tiffany and their two extra adorable children in Fort Collins, Colorado and they provide this report:

"Aspen had a happy 11th birthday. She had special dog biscuit treats. Slept in (again). Barked at the neighbor dog. A good day. We love our Aspen girl!!!"

Happy Birthday wishes to Aspen, who remains healthy and well at eleven -- quick, knock on wood!!!! And gratitude to the Greens who are just a wonderful family for such a special girl :)

Maize and Aspen's littermate, Bessie Berner, died just three weeks ago -- we wish the whole litter had been able to celebrate an eleventh birthday and we remember the ones who did not: Bessie, Bud, Anna, Cruiser, Riley, Aengus, and Angel.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

She Did It: 11 in 2011!!!!!!!

Today is the Big Day -- Mrs. Maize is ELEVEN!!!!!!!!!!! She is out chewing on a birthday bone now but we just went and took some Happy Birthday pictures and had a Happy Birthday walk -- just the two of us :)

Maize says: Stupid crown -- I hope she loses it before next year!!!!

Happy Birthday Mrs. Maize -- we love you!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

LoveFest in Montana

The Dog Who Loves Too Much (aka Zoey) is especially cuddly lately -- pictures from her love antics today. Here she is with Karma -- how cute is that?!

Karma is pretty cuddly as well -- I always know when she comes in that she will go straight to a dog so I get the camera out...

Karma and the cat with many names conferencing with Zoey...

Asia and Zoey -- first the growling and snarling and then this -- time elapsed is under 10 seconds -- hard to take Asia too seriously :)

Look at Zoey's face -- "she loves me, she really loves me..."

Off to groom a certain dog who is about to have a VERY big birthday tomorrow!!!!

Some Training Thoughts

On Monday nights I teach agility classes at a training center in Missoula. One would think such a job would be about training dogs but really -- it is about training people to train dogs. I think it would be easier to just train the dogs!

The really fun part is to interact with all the sweet dogs and their owners -- you meet some really interesting and nice people teaching dog training classes! But I am reminded over and over about how hard it is to wrap one's mind around a few simple truths that are useful in dog training -- and life.

First of all, yelling what you want does not really increase understanding. If a dog -- or person -- does not get it when we are speaking in a normal, nice voice what exactly makes us think it will be different if we turn up the volume?!

Second, stress is not conducive to learning -- and stress happens when we ask for too much, too soon. And guess what? When it comes to dogs (or other people), we do not get to decide what is stressful and what isn't -- what matters is only what the dog thinks is stressful. A good trainer recognizes stress and knows how to increase demand without creating overload.

Third, embarrassment is the mortal enemy of dog training (and showing). It causes us to do all manner of really unfortunate things -- blame the dog, lose our objectivity, feel incompetent, forget to be fun and silly, create stress/overload in our dog, and sometimes even quit. We really all need to get over middle school and stop worrying about what anyone else thinks.

Fourth, humility is the friend of dog training! Being open to new information and new ways of doing things is how we improve -- if we already know everything, then we should expect to stay exactly where we are right now.

Fifth, when you are willing to work with no reward then you can expect your dog to do that. Does anyone REALLY still think a dog should do something "because I said so"?! Get over it and get out the cookies -- that is not real life.

Sixth, punishment doesn't work. Well, maybe it makes the punisher feel powerful or something like that, and if that is goal -- okay. But in dog training, punishment is not effective for long-term success -- you have to make it reinforcing.

Seventh (related to above), the dog gets to choose the reinforcer! Rewarding your dog with a handful of hay is probably not going to get you very far -- you have to figure out what a dog loves, and I am not just talking about food. I love seeing dogs light up when their owners remember to happily and genuinely praise them -- or play with them :)

Eighth, dog training is not about power -- it is about learning to cooperate, and that involves respect. We must learn and respect the needs and wants of our dog in order to have a cooperative and productive training relationship.

Ninth, dogs have individual personalities -- like people -- and trying to figure out "why" is basically a waste of time. Who knows why cute Foxy Brown hates the dog walk?! Is knowing going to change anything? No -- our job is to simply figure out how to help her see that the dog walk is okay -- fun even! Focusing too long and hard on the why's gets in the way of HOW.

Tenth, as I said at Camp Kaibab -- if the neighbors don't wonder what the heck is going on next door, you aren't doing it right. Training a dog should be playful, fun, happy, and crazy!!! Liz (Tara Geneva's mom -- they came to Camp) offered us our new training motto: Let Your Freak Flag Fly!!!! (Say that three times fast!)

So there you go -- some things to think about as you interact with your dog -- and with other people. Have a happy, playful, freaky day :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Few Things!

First of all, a BIG Happy Birthday to Cadi and her brother, Maverick!! It is very hard to believe that the C for Cruising and Convenience Store litter (born 7/11) is already six but it is true. I hope Mav and Cadi have excellent birthdays :)

We remember their littermate, Dillon, who sadly is not alive to celebrate with those who love him -- he is gone but he is not forgotten.

Second, a BIG congratulations to Fiona (D Litter) and her family -- Fiona got a major towards her championship yesterday in Ventura :)

Third, I decided last month that I would name my next puppy Harper (long story) and I wake up this morning to discover that the Beckhams (famous couple) have named their little girl Harper -- copycats!!!!!! Now everyone will think my puppy is named after THEIR daughter instead of the other way around! But you know the truth... And no -- I am not planning on a puppy anytime soon -- I just have her named :)

Fourth, if you are on Facebook, please "Like" our veterinarian: Sapphire Animal Hospital in Stevensville, Montana -- they are new at this and need support :) Also, Syd is on their wall!

Fifth -- well, I thought there was something else but maybe not :) Oh -- I know -- have a great day even if it is not your birthday!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Report on 2011 Goals

Mid-year is here -- can you believe it? It is an excellent time to consider how the 2011 goals are going, and make any adjustments as we head into the second half of the year.

I wrote out my 2011 goals on January 1, and today I reviewed progress. To me, the purpose of a goal is to provide a vision of where one wants to go and so long as one maintains the vision and is making progress, success has been achieved.

And so I am okay with not achieving all my goals yet but I am seriously NOT okay that an external event imposed on me has prevented me from making progress on many of my 2011 goals -- of course I am talking about the car accident of January 25, 2011.

That accident placed significant limits on my abilities to train, travel, and show -- not to mention the crabbiness factor from having a backache every single day. Those limits have stalled or delayed many of my goals, forcing me to make choices since my back only has so many activities in it per day -- still.

I am used to it now -- it always hurts some, and sometimes it hurts quite a bit, and most mornings I wake up to zinging sciatica going down my legs -- oh well. I still go to physical therapy and I am careful and etc. and now it just all seems like my "new normal", which is actually kind of sad, isn't it?

Nobody knows better than me that life is not fair -- but that doesn't make it easier to swallow, does it?! But one can sit around and eat chocolate and feel sad (I do that occasionally) or one can just march forward, dragging the new ball and chain along (I do that most of the time) -- and if you eat chocolate you get plump (sigh -- why can't it be calorie-free during times of extreme stress?) and if you march forward, you actually get stuff done. And so yes, I have accomplished some of the 2011 goals in spite of the ball/chain of three bad discs...

My goal for Mrs. Maize was that she be happy and have fun -- this is being achieved every day :)

The goals for Halo and their progress:
Goal: Halo will earn her OAP.
Report: Car accident casualty – I have had to limit how many dogs I can run in agility. We will try again in August -- she needs two more legs

Goal: Halo will earn her NFP.
Report: DONE! Did this at the Specialty.

Goal: Halo will earn her RE
Report: Earned a leg at the Specialty, expect to accomplish this in 2011.

Goal: Halo will earn her Working Dog Excellent.
Report: Car accident casualty – need that OJP for this. We will keep trying.

The goals for Cadi and their progress:
Goal: Cadi will earn her CDX.
Report: Stalled due to car accident – but training again, hope to complete in Sept.

Goal: Cadi will earn agility titles.
Report: Stalled due to car accident but still hope for another title or two in 2011.

Goal: Cadi will earn her Working Dog Excellent.
Report: Stalled due to car accident – need the CDX.

The goals for Asia and their progress:
Goal: Asia will earn her VST and CT.
Report: Stalled due to car accident but training now for August test.

Goal: Asia will earn her CDX.
Report: Car accident casualty – delayed until 2012.

Goal: Asia will earn her BNDD and BDD.
Report: BNDD DONE! Expect to earn BDD in the fall.

Goal: Asia will earn her Working Dog Excellent.
Report: Car accident casualty – delayed until 2012 due to need for CDX.

The goals for Zoey and their progress:
Goal: Zoey will complete her CH.
Report: DONE!

Goal: Zoey will complete her GrCH.
Report: Closing in – should be done in 2011.

Goal: Zoey will earn her NDD.
Report: DONE!

Goal: Zoey will earn her DD.
Report: DONE!

Goal: Zoey will earn agility titles.
Report: DONE! Well, one is done, another close…

Goal: Zoey will earn her Versatility Dog.
Report: DONE!

Goal: Zoey will earn her Versatility Dog Excellent.
Report: Closing in – should be done in 2011.

The goals for Sydney and their progress:
Goal: Sydney will earn her CH.
Report: Stalled due to car accident but still possible for 2011.

Goal: Sydney will earn her NDD.
Report: Stalled due to car accident but still expected for 2011.

Goal: Sydney will earn her Versatility Dog award.
Report: Stalled due to car accident but still possible for 2011.

The goals for Mac and their progress:
Goal: Mac will earn his NDD.
Report: DONE!

Goal: Mac will earn an agility title.
Report: DONE!

Goal: Mac will become a Versatility Dog
Report: DONE!

Goal: Mac will earn his CD
Report: Possible but focused on the more difficult Versatility Dog Excellent now (goal shift).

Goal: Mac will become a BMDCA Working Dog.
Report: Possible but focused on the more difficult Versatility Dog Excellent now (goal shift).

It is pretty clear where the available energy went -- Zoey and Mac. That doesn't mean others were neglected -- it just means Zoey and Mac got the showing focus, and it helped that they were doing the same things (agility and draft).

Being forced to choose who to show and in what is not fun -- all the dogs are getting older, and I do not get this time back with them. But I cannot dwell on that -- yes, it is infuriating and not fair but I cannot let those feelings suck more energy, as that is just voluntarily letting the accident cost me even more.

No, you just have to march on. This doesn't mean we pretend whatever happened has not caused big problems in our lives -- no need to lie about it! But wallowing doesn't get goals accomplished, does it? Unless you are a pig and wallowing in muck was indeed your #1 goal for 2011, I suppose.

All that said, sometimes the marching is not a straight line and you have to sit and rest (and cry and eat chocolate) -- that is perfectly normal. And sometimes you have to be mad and wonder at the unfairness of it all and snap at people who remind you that others have it worse. But as long as we are making SOME progress most days or weeks -- well, then I would say that things are moving right along!

As to my 2011 goals -- I recognize that there is a couple of ways to look at all this -- one is to be mad about being limited -- and I admit that I am sometimes.

But the other way to look at all this is the way I actually do feel most of the time -- in spite of having three bad discs and a backache every day, the dogs and I are having a seriously kick-butt year -- bring on the next six months!

I hope that whatever drags you down doesn't stop you from marching forward and achieving your goals, even if the timetable has to be adjusted a bit. And remember - marching burns off the pounds that chocolate adds :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The New Business Empire

Ever since Jake and Cassie were here talking about their future business empire, Karma has been on a mission to expand her own business empire. She tried to recruit Carlos/Ute/CarlUte as a partner so she could expand the extermination business.

Unfortunately this will not work since the cat with many names is NOT allowed outside! Every time he has gotten out we have spent a worried 24 - 36 hours while he pretends to be a feral street cat from California among all the trees and bushes of Montana -- well, the ones within 100 feet of the house anyway. He loses his hearing, has delusions that we are giants chasing him with the intention of roasting him alive, and somehow thinks living outside under the bush waiting to be killed by a fox, coyote, or who knows what is better than his nice house with the other dogs -- that is, until he gets hungry and then his psychotic episode magically ends -- sigh.

So given that Carlos/Ute/CarlUte was unavailable to help with the extermination end of things, Karma decided to diversify! She looked around (at our lawn), saw a definite need and brought in a business partner -- Heidi Marie. Yes indeed, Karma's Killing (the name of her new business empire) now includes the elimination of weeds! This morning Karma sat on the deck with me and watched her business partner demonstrate her natural weed control skills -- very impressive.

Heidi Marie focuses right in on the weeds, leaving the lawn intact -- she handles yellow weeds...

She eradicates clover!

Pink weeds and dandelions are no match for Heidi Marie -- that dandelion in this picture was gone in the next bite!

And she recycles - but we do not show pictures like that!!!

There are a few bugs to work out in this new business venture -- Heidi Marie sometimes forgot to stick to weeds and munched on the shrubs also - and not in a pruning kind of way but in a way that causes your friends (aka Marti ) to secretly wonder why you have such ugly bushes -- LOL!!!!!

But overall, this is another example of a win-win -- Karma expands her business empire, our lawn has no more dandelions, and Heidi Marie got a free lunch!

Let's all be winners -- but not in a Charlie Sheen kind of way...

Update and Changes and Plans!

I have been asked about upcoming plans and thought I would share those, and I also want to tell you about a Blog change coming soon.

I have never been especially good at math and so it is not surprising that it appears I miscalculated Zoey's points from the Missoula shows -- it appears that her two majors were four points each and not three as I thought. This means she actually should have 18 points towards her Grand Championship -- not 16 as I thought.

Showing a girl is a challenge because of her coat, and Zoey is not big enough to show without coat. So I can only show Zoey when her sparkly coat is at its best, which it is now. However, we are nearing the end of this coat cycle and I expect it to start coming out any minute -- especially because I entered her in a couple of shows, hoping against hope that maybe she would keep her coat two more weeks so she has a chance to finish that Grand Championship.

So next Sunday Zoey and I will travel to Couer d'Alene, Idaho to show, and the next weekend we are going to the big Supported Entry at the Portland, Oregon show. If Zoey gets points two of the three days she is entered (one in Idaho and two in Portland), she will finish her Grand Championship. Of course, she needs to keep her coat for there to be any chance of that -- otherwise, she is done with beauty pageant stuff until the fall.

Asia is entered in Best of Breed also at the Portland show -- I figured if Zoey loses coat I will show Asia but if we can show both girls, I have a handler lined up to show Asia; I am also doing obedience one day with Asia (since they have cool prizes :). Zed (Zoey's littermate) will also be entered in Best of Breed that first day of Portland.

And (drum roll please), Mrs. Maize is going to Portland!!!! In four days she will be ELEVEN and eligible to compete in the old, old veterans class -- 11 - 13 year olds :) And so Maize is going to compete in what I expect will be her last show -- just because she can. Galen is making the trip with me and so I think Maize will have fun on the family road trip.

And so that is July -- a mad dash to try and get Zoey's Grand Championship before her coat comes out :)

In August we have a local agility trial on the first weekend -- everyone will be in that one! Well, not everyone but close: Mac, Cadi, Halo, and Zoey. I am sure my back will love that!!!! The countdown at that trial will be for Mac -- he needs one open jumpers leg to be a Versatility Dog Excellent!

The next Sunday after the trial is the Variable Surface Tracking (VST) test on the University of Montana campus -- Asia will be entered and we hope she gets a track.

The last weekend of August is an agility trial in Spokane -- likely I will "only" take Mac, Zoey, and Cadi to that trial.

All you Syd fans are probably wondering if poor Sydney is being neglected -- the answer is NO. Her turn has arrived and she is getting ready to show the draft community how it is done :) Syd will be in her first draft test in Washington on September 10 - 11, and some of our other girls will be entered as well but the goal of that weekend is all about Syd.

We are expecting that other Kaibab dogs will also be in that Washington draft test. We are using my Dear Husband as bait to get Cindy's Dear Husband to agree to make the trek from California with Gracie (D Litter), and we also hope that Jennifer and her Dear Husband will come over and play as well, bringing Cooper Whitby with them to get his draft title. And then there is Zed -- certainly Zed wants to catch up with his arch rival, Mac????!!!

And then we have the Helena, Montana shows on September 22 - 25. It is four days and I expect to show Syd and Cadi; maybe Zaida can come as well if she is not finished by then. Zaida Jamaica has some summer shows planned and she is looking great these days so maybe she will be the first champion from the Glitterati!

And in the middle of all this we will be looking for some obedience opportunities...

Are you tired yet?!

And about the Blog change -- Galen has been hard at work on the new and improved Kaibab website. As you may know, Galen is studying Media Arts at the University of Montana and he has been learning a lot about websites and etc. He has figured out how to have a Blog on a website and so the Kaibab Blog will be merged with the Kaibab website, which makes sense. We are anticipating an August 1 launch of the new site -- I think you will be impressed.

Please share the summer plans (show and/or otherwise) of other Kaibab dogs, either in the Comments or send me an email and I will post for you! And in the meantime, have a wonderful weekend :)

Friday, July 8, 2011


I am reminded of the importance of persistence because that is what both Syd and I had to do/be in order to find a solution to our little "protect the vet's sewing project" problem.

Syd did not want to look like a satellite dish or a dog getting ready to board Noah's Ark -- and I wanted to save future needle poking for voodoo dolls -- and so we finally arrived at a workable solution -- one we can both live with...

A good lesson in this -- if someone puts a satellite dish or flotation device on your neck (or something along those lines) -- and you object -- don't be afraid to make your case. And if you really need something to happen, don't give up! It is possible and desirable to find win-win solutions when everyone is willing to keep trying :)

Asia still cannot really find a good solution to her "sister who loves me too much" problem. In this picture you can see her usual first response to Zoey's plopping in her personal space -- notice the glare in Big Sister Asia's eyes...

And then -- not thirty seconds later -- this...

And more of Sisterly Love from this morning...

This is from yesterday...

I hope that whatever problems you have today, they are quickly handled with something as easy as a tee-shirt :)