Monday, October 21, 2013

Welcome Wild Wind Hylights Savoir Faire

snuggle bug
Ripple plays with Savi
That sweet Face!

I brought home another bundle of Joy!
Many thanks to Shelley Bergstrasser of Wild Wind Collies for my "Savi" girl!
Ch C & J White Tie and Tails X BISS RBIS Gold GrCh Bit O Heaven's Sorceress CD RA PT
2 or more years ago I contacted Shelley, I had Roma from Michelle Tennis, Roma's dam was Ch WildWind On a Stormy Night CD, and I wanted to see if I could be wait listed for a puppy from Tegan (bred by Michelle Tennis, and now a Wild Wind member)  Roma was 10 then and I wanted another puppy with a similiar heritage.
    Tegan had complications with her next litter,and I lost my sweet Keyna after she was diagnosed with Lymphooma, needing a  connection to my sweet
  Keyna I brought home her cousin
                                           Ripple. So when Shelley announced the puppies were born and I saw who she 
puppy class
 had chosen as the sire, I tried to tell myself not to get excited, I had enough dogs, I had Ripple who  I am sure is going to be a fantastic performance dog, and will be shown in the breed ring. That worked until the day the litter was 7 weeks old and Shelley contacted me to see if I was still interested!!
I adore her already, such confidence, such sweetness, I just keep picking her up to hold her...
Ripple also adores her, and she now has an active playmate, and the old dogs are very Happy Ripple has a younger playmate!

Ready to start Perch Training
In the Pasture with Roma

Monday, July 29, 2013

Goats! and more Goats!

 I ended up with deposits on goats from 2 different states! Now I have to figure out how to get them home!
The little PCA doeling on the left is Dharma, I have wanted her since I first saw her, I waited and they only had 2 more Pygora does born and they both were very ligh colored, I so wanted reds and browns, so I am going to get both of these kids, the boy with the white spot on his head is wethered.
   But I was looking for a PBA  buck to breed Mocha this fall/winter, I wanted a heavy Pygora (more than 50% Angora)who had been disbudded (no horns)  Alas I found him!

 He is coming with 2 Pygora does who are Caramel and over 60% Angora. I can't wait to bring them home!
Fencing, fencing, fencing!!!!

I will have 3 does to breed this fall/winter, and so much Pygora fiber! I better start taking those classes so I can use it!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Every farm needs a cat......

I met someone back in May who's cat had just had kittens, she wanted homes immediately, I gave her my number and told her to text me if there was an orange long haired one, never heard from her and had pretty much forgotten all about it. Then I received a text telling me I had to get my kitten by 3 that day. So welcome Tuuka Rask-al!

 It is going to take some time to integrate her into the house, she came with fleas and worms and weighing 1 lb 3 ounces. The fleas and worms have been dealt with and she is eating very well, Orijen dry and Stella and Chewey's freeze dried, gaining weight and slowly meeting the dogs. Inca and Ripple will take some time to learn how to be gentle.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dog food snobbery

Yes I have to admit, I am a dog food snob, and yes I believe there is something to the slogan you are what you eat. So when my dogs develop any issues I do look at what they eat. Twice a day they get a bowl of dog food, often with extras added. They also love fruits and veges.

       So when Inca had a weird episode a week and a half ago I questioned my dog food, she had not had any recent meds or insecticides. I have been feeding mostly Canidae for more than 10 years, I raised two very healthy litters on it, until we had issues with horrible mucous wrapped stools and found Canidae had changed the grain portion of their foods without changing the label, we switched to Earthborn holistics, that was about a year, but I noticed Roma just looked a bit rough, so I went to Taste of the Wild. Eventually when Canidae came out with the single grain I went back  to that, remembering the healthy years. Each change brought the cost of feeding my dogs up, and I thought I  had hit my ceiling for costs.  After reading in Whole dog journal and Dog Food Advisor about rice and arsenic I moved to the grain free pure elements, at $55/ 30lbs I really was over my ceiling, but if it was the best I could feed, and keep them healthy, I would give it a try.
  The morning after the episode I called Canidae, I decided I needed to know that the food was produced in their new Ethos mill and not the Diamond plant in SC. To my surprise they told me no that the Pure Elements was still being made in SC. A plant that has been the source of so many recalls, I was spending this much to give my dogs the healthiest meal I could, and was very uncomfortable with where it was being produced .
 So I decided I needed a new food and set out to make a list of what I wanted.
I started by looking at the foods who had received
5 stars from dog food advisor and were
on WDJ list of recommended foods, looking into those foods further I added;
Made by a company that only makes pet or animal feeds.
Made by the company not outsourced.

Ripple won't let go! She sleeps with a cow hoof in her mouth!

That became a very narrow list.

So my dogs are eating  Acana wild prairie now, the dogs are crazy about it! Inca is obviously feeling and acting better. Her bloodwork came back with odd results and will have to be repeated in a couple months, I may start her on meds, the vet left it up to me, she said with the bloodwork it could go either way but we will retest either way. I'm still contemplating. I also ordered a bag of  Orijen.

Friday, June 14, 2013

No More Lies

"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." ~Rumi

"There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going to"

I trained my first dog for Competition Obedience while a sophmore in College, he earned a CD and I joined an Obedience club, I continued training him and when he was all trained for the Open excerises I entered him , but we didn't qualify, he had trouble after the jumps, x-rays showed grade 2 dysplasia. He retired, I later got another dog and again we earned a CD we continued to train in open, I didn't do a good job with the ear pinch retrieve, because I couldn't pinch a Cattle Dogs ear hard enough to make her yelp (thereby opening her mouth so I could shove the dumbell in)
I went to a lot of seminars in those days, Michael Tucker the Aussie Guide Dog trainer, Diane Bauman, Bernie Brown, Patricia Gail Burnham, others I have trouble remembering now, But I do so remember how "proofing" for the Obedience ring really meant setting your dog up to be wrong so you could get a good strong correction in.
Then there were changes happening and I went to seminars by Chris Bach, Dawn Jecs, and others who were the first wave of more positive training with food rewards. At the time the Obedience club I belonged to's Head Trainer forbid food in the club, and as what I was seeing from people at match's was food being spit at dogs, uugg, not something I wanted to start doing.
   I was in a quandry, I wanted to train, I wanted a better relationship, but I wasn't competitive enough to need titles.
        At this time I started training my horses in Natural Horsemanship, this taught me more about the relationship I wanted to have with my dogs than most of the seminars I went to.
 I went 15 years, the lifetime of the most special Cattle dog ever born :-), without earning an Obedience title, and yet I had a dog I adored who would have done anything I asked of her and done it happily, I am certain she was the best trained dog I had to that time.
I never lied to her.
I never set her up to be wrong.
She went everywhere with me.
She trusted me implicitly.
 I was never going back to the correction and lies of the old ways.
    Dog obedience continued to change and more positive methods infiltrated even the club I belonged to, I went to seminars with Leslie Nelson, John Rogerson and Chris Bach again. I decided I wanted a dog who was a bit softer than my Cattle Dog, a little less intense, and after having the most perfect dog of a breed it's too hard an act to follow for another dog.
     I got my first smooth Collie, sweet and sensitive, I started training her in Obedience, but she took off in the breed show ring and for years I enjoyed that. Then one day I had a litter, in that litter a little tri girl glued herself to me from the time her eyes opened and I knew she would be my new obedience dog.
  I joined positive classes with her and she earned her first title in Rally at 8 months of age.
Unfortunately I learned that some places were using Positive in their names but were still using Positive punishment for "proofing" this was not for me or my sweet sensitive dog, so we often dropped out of classes because I felt we were lured into them by false pretenses of "positive"
 Then I entered a class called "Motivational" by a trainer who called her school "Positive" something. and found out Motivation meant Compulsion! Dropped that class before the first session was over. The way to teach heeling was to have the dog in heel position, and with a piece of hot dog in hand, leash tight, jerk straight up hard and fast as you take a step, so the dog jumps forward and you stuff the food into their mouth.
I spent many years using luring to train my dogs, then had to learn how to be effective at fading the lures, I didn't think I would ever get into shaping. but took a couple workshops with Dee Ganley and my Mudi and found I could do this.
  A year or so ago I found this Blog by a woman named Denise Fenzi, she had OTCH dogs and she was training without lies and corrections, I started following her Blog and she talked about a combination of lureing and shaping, oh, maybe I could do this!
   I signed up for an on-line class in how to play with your dogs as a training reward, to make treaining enjoyable and fun, breakout from training, play go back ot work. Unfortunately at that time Keyna got sick and before the class was over I lost my dear girl.
   But I had learned the importance of play and integrating it into a relationship from the start.
Now my young Ripple and I play lots, I have done some shaping (clicker style) training and am now taking another on-line class at the new Fenzi Sports Academy in Heeling Games.
Even if we don't earn titles we are having fun, but I think those titles will be coming too.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Books and Beliefs

Over my vacation I did some reading and listening to audiobooks. It started with "Merle's Door" at first I hated it, I am not a fan of  people talking for their dogs like that ( I prefer more the Terhune type dog voice) but I also didn't like his assertion that dogs must run free 24/7 to be happy, and dogs who don't are prisoners.
 I think my logo will be "Hylights, Home of the Happy Hostages"
 I then got into the research that he put into the book from behaviorists etc, and looked forward to those parts, but indeed never finished the book because it just started sounding so condemning of the majority of responsible dog owners.
 However due to Patricia McConnell's recommendation, whose books The Other End Of The Leash, and For The Love Of A Dog I loved,  I got Pukka's Promise, by the same author as Merle's Door,  this book was about how to help your dog live longer, and contains even more research he did into longevity from breeding to feeding etc. however he continues to interject his voice for his dog, continues to be irresponsible and let's the dog have 24/7 access to running, even though his previous dog Merle had playmates who had been shot and hit by cars and killed, and the ACO had brought him home and reminded him of the leash law. So I am still reading it in parts for the research that could be usable.
    This caused me to re-subscribe to The Whole Dog Journal, and I have been enjoying that even more as I can read the past issues digitally in iBooks. Ok here is lots of good , great information on feeding and training  and keeping your dog happy and long and Responsibly!
All Hail the Happy Hostage's!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Collie Affair

I love Collies, I mean I am maybe just really soft in my old age, but I just love my Collies. When did this love affair start?
                  When I was 7 we lived in Waverly PA, farm country, surrounded by farms I brought home a farm collie and named him Brownie, that dog saved me from many perils in my youth, lonliness, being lost in the woods, the neighbors german shepherd, when I shot their son with a rubber arrow during a game of cowboys, the bulls we teased by daring each other to run through their pasture, until one day they got out and came after us. Brownie was my hero, I was reminded of that yesterday when one of those secure web sites asked me who my childhood hero was as a security question. Brownie was the stereotypical Collie, he walked me to the bus stop each morning, then returned home only to be back to meet the bus each afternoon. 2 years later when we had moved to Mass I was waiting for the bus and Brownie was across the street playing with another dog, I called him when I saw the bus coming the yellow lights were on as he came running, a red sportscar sped up hitting Brownie and sending him flying in the air to come crashing down on the pavement, all so he wouldn't have to stop for the bus. I sat in the road cradling my dying dog.
Later that year our parents bought us a purebred Collie, who we named Lassie of course, we walked her (on leash!) every day and trained her to do the things we saw Lassie do, but she was taken away a year later and I never trusted a Collie with my heart again, until eleven and a half years ago. 
        I fell just as hard for Roma as I had as a child for Lassie and Brownie, but I knew I needed more Collies, a buffer so I would never again be without a Collie. Yes, I was up to 5 Collies, it seemed just right. Then 3 months ago I lost one,  my sweet Keyna, and it has been just as awful as it was when I was a child, she too was too young to leave me, and I still think of her and miss her every day.
       This weekend I was at the Collie speciality and a friend told me I needed to get over my attachment disorder with my Collies, so I could send them off to be shown, or bred or let someone else whelp a litter. I understand what she says but  I don't think I can. You see last week I had a week of worry with a personal health scare, Inca was plastered to my side, she still is this week, she stays right next to me unless I'm at work, how could I send her away?
 I think my attachment disorder is going to require a service dog. Not to cure it, but to help me cope.
 Collies they get under your skin and directly into your soul!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ripple's new orangutan,  great photo op to show off her sweet face. She loves dragging, wrestling and sleeping on it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Heart wrenching decisions

I had to make a tough choice, one I truly didn't want to make. The need to make it came at me full force, unrequested.
 The first year I had Gritty he was reserved but I took him everywhere, took him through classes for him, as well as bringing him along while I taught obedience classes, he did great. Then somewhere after a year of age it started, he decided he had trouble sharing me with any other dogs, the more time I spent with him the more he would attack the Collies when we were at home, so we stopped going to class and it got better. Then he started guarding the toys that squeak, the antlers and cow hooves that he so like to chew on. I read volumes of behavior books, I am on my third reading of For the Love of a Dog, understanding Emotion in you and your best friend. I employed techniques of positive reinforcement, heaping the praise on him when he allowed the Collies to come up to me, and I picked up the high value toys and chews, only giving them out when the dogs were in separate rooms and gates up, then slowly as he got better bring them back out and watching, antlers OK, cow hooves not OK.
       We seemed to be doing well so I started back to classes with Gritty, we had some small issues but things seemed to be progressing.
  Then winter came and he had to move to an ex pen in the kitchen when I was at work, it was just too cold to be outside in the kennel. He had moments when he went out of control with excitement, the oil truck coming, the UPS, the Collies barking at anything outside got him barking, screaming, spinning, biting his tail, when I wasn't here to stop it I would come home to find floors soaked in saliva, and sometimes blood when he bit his tongue, one day he abraded the tissue all around his eye.
 I hated coming home, afraid of what he had done to himself, and his screaming would start when he heard my car.
 I was ready to try some Prozac. I couldn't see this continuing this way.
        While I was at this place I got a call from a friend who is a Tech at my vets office, she had previously called me when she had a special client who she wanted to find a dog for, and I had placed  one of my Collies with him, I believe so strongly in the companion animal bond and how very  necessary it is, especially for people living alone,  to have a companion. I can easily see myself without a dog and know how hard it would be to face each day alone.
She now had another special client who had lost her Collie suddenly and badly needed another dog, one who was obedience and house trained. I visited her and found she had a lovely home in a very dog friendly retirement village, with 138 acres of conservation land and trails maintained year round, a trail that went to an orchard and a trail to the beach, where the residents often got together for dog walks , and the main house set out dog biscuits alongside the coffee pot for residents who stop by.

A dog would have a doting owner who would take him everywhere, including a summer with family on a Maine lake, frequent walks, no other dogs in the home but plenty of others to meet up with    outside for play times.  An ability to provide excellent care and all the good food and toys necessary.  I found a Collie for her and brought my smooth Collie and Gritty to visit her. She really liked Gritty's gentleness, we went for a walk, met her neighbors and their dog, all went well. I let Gritty stay for an overnight,  when I picked him up the next day, I thought it was not going to work, Gritty had paced all night, but  when she looked at me and told me how she had lit a fire in the fireplace and sat with him on the floor and he put his paw gently on her cheek, I saw how very much she needed him, and it was probable that this is what he needed too. I took him home for a couple days to think about it.
      Suffused with guilt, he is so devoted to me it will be really hard for him, we can go on the way we are, spring will come and he will have the kennel again, I had doubled the size to 20 x 20 in November, but my inner voice said, yeah or he could have someone who never left him to go to
work, and always took him along, all the toys he wants all to himself, dogs to play with but not have to share his human with. I hate those voices, because they also said a very lonely woman really wants his company, and needs him.
  I took Gritty back for a weekend visit. I got him a new crate, brought his race car bed and cow hoof,    and squeaky tennis ball. He settled in, slept on her bed, went on errands, went into stores, went on 6  walks a day, and was eating the food I left for him. I went back with more food and more toys, all his favorites, it was to o hard for him to see me, I had to make the decision. I have to stay away for awhile  now, this is the hardest!