Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Dexter graduated beginner obedience!

We received a certificate, perfect attendance ribbon and....

Yay Dex for being a good dog and making mom look good!

Now I'm signing up Harley for beginner obedience. This will be a much bigger challenge– especially the barking and whining. But I am confident that progress will be made! Classes for her start the 13th of May, Tuesday nights at 8:15.

And while speaking of the dogs, both of them just got over a very bad illness called HGE (Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis). Harley had it first. Then while she was hospitalized, Dexter was mopey, I thought because he missed Harley. But he went to the hospital the day after Harley returned. Both dogs are now recovering on bland food and sleeping a lot. They played together for the first time yesterday, so they are definitely returning to normal.

In a nutshell, HGE is a disease (unknown causes) that makes the blood thicken. There is profuse and very bloody diarrhea which eventually leads to anemia, shock and collapse of the blood vessels. We caught it way before either dog was close to the severity of the disease, but it was still scary. Coming home to a you-know-what filled kitchen is not pleasant. 32 pounds is a small body to lose that much blood.

Harley showed no signs of being sick, other than the messes. Dexter, however, spoiled baby that he is, moped around and seemed to be hit harder with the disease, though his blood counts were better than Harley's when I took him to the vet. The disease is not supposed to be contagious, yet both dogs had it. So we assume they must have gotten into something in the yard that had the bacteria in it. The vet attributed Dexter's moping and Harley's not moping to them being different dogs with different personalities. Makes sense to me! After all, Dexter does sleep under the covers!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday Jamie!!!!!

Happy Birthday! From your nice new rail, and especially from the gang that's on the rail.
Not sure when you're going to France, but have a WONDERFUL TIME!
Bon Anniversaire! (I think)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I ESPECIALLY like to run when it's 70º and sunny

After a rediculous couple days in the studio...no make that a rediculous week (and it's only Wednesday) in the studio, nothing sounded better to me today than a run. I planned for it regardless of the fact that I only got 3.5 hours of sleep and am wiped out from my allergies. Sometimes you just have to go! And now I feel much better.

It was blissful, the weather could not be more perfect. I envy the few people on the planet that get a day like this every day.

On the Dog Front, Dexter is still doing OK. He didn't stay very well last class when we did sit-stays and down-stays. He'd forget what he was sitting or downing for, start sniffing and get up. There are only two more classes after this, and I think I've decided to take him on to the next level, Intermediate. He is doing so well and I don't think either of us have been trained enough to really make it a change, so I think another 8 weeks will be great. He's already made a lot of improvement. Now when he's up on the counter and we scream NO! He actually will get down. He'll get right back up again, but he will get down. Maybe he just has ADD.

I also took Harley on a walk with the pinch collar (after adding 2 more links for her thicker neck) and she did really well! For the first time ever, she didn't pull! I take that back- when I've taken her running, after about a mile she won't pull anymore either! She certainly didn't understand that I was leader, but at least she responded to the collar.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Mole Problem

We have a mole problem.

It's been going on for a while now, but really picked up last summer. Throughout the fall and winter, the dogs took an interest in helping us rid the yard of the moles...or so we thought. Quick solution to the problem: let the dogs get the moles!

In reality, Dexter probably either smelled something and decided to dig after it, or saw the ground move and decided to dig after it– either way a fun game!! It wasn't long before Harley joined in this game. And then it wasn't long before we had a yard full of holes and exposed mole tunnels...and still had moles. The dogs were successfully destroying the yard, worse than the moles, digging some holes so deep half of their body would fit in... exhibit A:

And a wet winter and spring is dirty enough with dogs... but then when they dig... we have to bathe them nearly every time they come in. Check out the paws and snout.

Yes I was digging...

No I didn't get the mole.

Yes, I put that big chunk of mud on the door...

Today, however, a breakthrough! Our first dead mole!
I was napping and woke up to Dexter baying over and over and over again, not his typical I'm-playing-with-Harley bay. I went outside to see a disgusting, wet and rather large mole at his feet... dead. Harley didn't seem to care. I was able to get the dogs inside no problem and then shoveled the dead mole out to the compost pile. The pic up at the top of the blog entry is exactly what it looked like- HUGE paws. It was a big mole compared to what I've read about them online. Size of a chipmunk? More like the size of a squirrel. Maybe this was a mamma and the dogs just saved us from having a mole nursery in our backyard. I don't know. I'm just glad to see one gone.

I'm not sure which dog gets the mole trophy. It is pretty interesting that they got it out of the ground and somehow killed it with no mess. Harley has been known to shake a snake to death, so maybe she should get the credit. But Dexter clearly alerted me of the situation before it got messy, so he deserves some credit too, not to mention his nose is probably what lead them. I'd say it was good teamwork! Perhaps allowing them to destroy the yard is finally paying off.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dexter...a Show Dog?!

Class on Monday went way better than the last one. I was worried that Big V's reprimanding of Dexter would be a distant memory this week, but it turns out the dog is actually learning!

We did circles again and this time walked with the leash around our necks, still correcting if we needed to but trying to do it on voice. Dexter was great– he looked at me a lot and responded right away to the pinch collar.

Then we did sit-stays and down-stays... upgrades of those as well. This time we dropped the leashes and backed as far as we felt comfortable across the room. This made me nervous. JoAnn also came by bouncing a ball and kicking around a stuffed animal. Some dogs went for it, but not Dex. I still think this is class shock though... definitely need to work on it at home around Harley and in the yard.

We wove around through cones doing laps and then also doing figure-8's. The figure eights allow you to practice getting the dog off you and getting the dog back in next to your leg, all so you don't trip over the dog and so it learns to respond to you rather than going where it wants. Dexter did better at the lap weaving than the figure-8s. The previous week when we went on walks, I practiced weaving in the street. We also did U-turns and catch-up turns, so I probably look pretty silly to the neighborhood unless they know what I'm doing.

JoAnn mentioned this week that she is watching all the dogs and handlers because she gives out awards at the end of the 8 weeks for Best Handler, Best Jr Handler and Most Improved. So... now it's competitive! Dexter got a lot of comments from the instructors this class on how good he looked (the beagle looks great!). She also mentioned showing him (!?) "Wow, that beagle...if you wanted to show him, I think you'd really have something there." She mentioned it twice, the second time noting it was because he wants to please so bad and would do well. I'm sure it's not because of his sway back. She did mention that he was little. Dexter the show dog?? I can't imagine! Don't you have to not be neutered?? Plus, to quote the breeder, "He ain't got no papers".

Anyway, it was nice to hear that he's behaving better... and now I want to practice like crazy so we get the top of the class award! It could be a repeat of the Westminster! aarroooooo!!!!!

Look how fast my tail wags!!! You can't even see it!!