Some Sparkle for the 4th

Was really funny when we were at the beach last weekend, I knew that Mary was going to be in Yachats, just down the road, but I didn't expect we would run into each other. It's a small world though, and we went out for my dad's birthday dinner and just happened to run into Mary at the same resturant! And so we had dinner together, then lunch the next day - and then I learned that Star wouldn't go into the water at the beach! That just had to be remedied, as water loving is in Star's GENES, so we took her and Bright and Haku to the beach together. Didn't take long before Star decided that the ocean was a fun place to be.

Star has really been impressing me, she is growing up so quickly. Just a few months ago she was kind of insecure and doing her own thing - and now she's just really blossomed into this much more confident dog. At Anne's house last night the boys were just hounding her and being obnoxious and she just handled it so maturely, and was really comfortable both telling them to knock it off, but also encouraging them to play. She's just grown up to be such a cool dog, I adore her! I also got to see some video of her in agility today and her and Mary looked fantastic - they are going to have so much fun together!

And in other Bright baby news, finally, some DareDevil video! And he's so cute and fun.

Love that age that the litter is at, when they're really starting to become dogs instead of puppies - very exciting!

Puppy update

Interesting moment in the universe today, was waiting at a stoplight to turn left, the light turns green, the car in front of me doesn't move. Time passes, I start to contemplate the 'polite tap' on my horn. Finally, car starts to move, and just as they do, a car going the other direction blasts through the intersection at high speed, running the light. Had the car in front me gone when the light had turned, there is a good chance me or him would have been in the intersection when that car ran the light at such a speed (which was CRAZY, I've never seen someone run a red like that, the light had been red for quite a while, so it wasn't an 'orange' situation, that shit was RED and had been red.) Thank you, universe, for putting that older couple in front of me today - and I will be more patient in the future.

Navarre went on a field trip today! Tammy took him and Fred to the lake - a lake with lots of children! Guess who likes kids? I've never actually had a dog that LIKED children. Fenwick thinks they're okay, but they all scream and get upset because he plays too rough. London thinks kids are fine, but he doesn't really ENJOY them, and sees them as he sees the rest of the world, potential suckers to throw toys for him.

I really am enjoying Navarre's gregarious personality, other than Fenwick I don't have any dogs that are really social like that. People, and pretty much all people, make Navarre HAPPY. He just loves to see them and greet them and give them kisses. I know this sounds sort of like a DOG, but I don't live with goldens and labs, this sort of outgoing universal friendliness is novel to me. And it's not that my other dogs aren't friendly, but they only really 'enjoy' hanging out with their own people, the rest of the people they pretty much ignore. So just really fun to see him so confident at Tammy's house, just made himself at home, did good with their dogs and Tammy is his new best friend. Really good experience for him, traveled well, played in the water and didn't run off into the forest TOO far. Apparently that was his game today, stealing sticks and running away to go hide them. No swimming yet, but I'm optimistic, he's not offended by water, he just needs to grow up a bit. And maybe have someone go in with him.

Navarre is getting BIG, the consensus is that he was super tired yesterday because he spent the whole day growing and is now way larger than he was. Today he's back to himself and feeling sassy. We're coming up on 2 weeks with him and he's really fit in well. I just love his personality, which is a bit hard to describe. He's a strong dog, but sweet. I wouldn't call him goofy, but he's not exactly serious either. He's pushy and very confident, he's comfortable in his own skin and doing his own thing. He's independent, but also very social - he's not insecure at all. Definitely not sensitive, very insensitive really - but he's not edgy or sharp. I have yet to see him notice or react to any negative tones - and I have tried to tell him sharply to leave a cat alone - he could care less. Training will have to be his idea, that's for sure - he's not going to do anything just because I said so. The lack of sensitivity will be fun, but also more difficult. While he has been pretty respectful of the other dogs and cats, it's only to a point, and getting told off only makes an impression for so long before he's right back at it. For instance, when the dogs are eating in their crates he will go right up and try to get at their food, and they will tell him to back off, and he just barks at them and tries harder.

Still, so far the dogs are really lenient with him, though he made poor London yelp today as he decided he wanted to head him off and grab his ruff - London is a sensitive creature, he did not like! Navarre did stop at that point, but possibily only because he lost interest. The cats have adjusted way faster than I thought they would, especially considering Navarre can still randomly jump on them or chase them. He's doing better, mostly because I think he's found them not very entertaining. The cats seem to have decided he's not a threat though, and will come lay next to him, sleep on the bed with him and generally treat him like any other dog in the household.

Yes, Navarre still sleeps on the bed - and he does fantastic. I keep waiting for him to start becoming an issue, but he just seems to accept it's time to sleep and makes himself comfortable, often moving around to different spots, but not trying to have any parties. In the morning he's really cuddly and sweet and loves to just hang out and snuggle. No more accidents overnight, and he seems to let me know when he needs to go out - but often just sleeps through the night. Even if he does get up around 5-6am, he goes out, immediately potties and is happy to go back to bed afterwards.

He's really adjusted well to the routine, such as there has been. He's cool with the tether, as long as he has enough toys to entertain him. He's been pretty good on the housebreaking front, he tends to go outside and immediately pee - though poo is a little more complicated as he wants to do it farther away. He seems to know going outside is good, but still working on that inside ANYWHERE is bad. And, yes, I know our green shag rug looks like grass - IT'S NOT. Actually, there are some benefits to Navarre growing up not on grass, he's perfectly happy to pee on concrete or rocks or dirt or bark or whatever - he has no substrate preferences.

I think we have figured out what he wants to eat - which is REAL FOOD. Give him real chicken, steak and eggs and he's an offering fool. Any sort of processed treat, cheese, kibble or even Anne's tuna brownies he's like, 'I guess I can eat it.' I haven't actually gotten a chance to work with him with steak or chicken, so will be fun to see what he can do! However, even with just tuna brownie infused kibble, he's really starting to turn on to training. Today we worked 'get in' and 'get on' with two different boxes and a large balance disk. He's been introduced to all of them, but finally today he was offering both getting in the baskets and getting on the disk confidently. So I put them in a row and he would go from one to another - what a good boy! And waving is now his default, really need to work that other paw now, he's become left paw fixated. We've also worked some crate stuff, so he's now going happily into a crate, but I haven't done anything else with that. He does still retrieve, but also has a strong inclination to go hide his prizes, so we'll see what happens there. So many things to train with puppies! I just love that.

Back to the coast tomorrow with just London and Navarre, plan to do more beach romping and hang out in Yachats for the La De Da parade. So very tired of the sun and the heat, and still more than 2 months to go of this. Can't go to the beach every weekend though. Sigh. I did find it funny that dogs in classes this week were super spunky despite the heat - I think they're just bored because it's too hot to do anything.

My dogs are enjoying the kiddie pool and not doing much either - too hot to run around or hang out outside. Though London getting wet all the time is not a great thing, he smells MUSTY. Not sure what to do to help with that, I think he just doesn't dry under all that hair now, and his groin is shaved and everything. Another big grooming for him today, and took out a lot of dead hair. Not liking the old dog fluff, that's for sure. Did start London on a new joint supplement, supposed to see results rapidly so we'll see how it goes at the beach this weekend. Haku and London have been on a little obedience break, but we'll get back to it next week. I have yet to attempt training other dogs when puppy is around, that will be a challenge, I'm sure - I'm sensing he's not going to like that and will protest loudly.

Navarre contemplates the water

Random video found on my phone - some dusk video footage of Navarre and Dove playing:

Limp puppy

Baby Navarre has the unfortunate habit of sleeping through his adventures. Despite the fact that I kept the puppies separated this morning before taking them to their first puppy class, Navarre was just exhausted from all the romping. He fell asleep mid-class and pretty much has been mostly comatose all day. Which is fine, but he finally got to go meet Anne at her place and I'm sure she now thinks he's the world's limpest puppy. He DOES things - I swear! Just not today. Well, to be fair, he did climb the a-frame like 10 times. Even super tired puppy feels the need to climb. I rescued him every time, but he's one bold little fellow. Still, he was actually awake for most of the party at Anne's, if not actively participating. He got to hang out with all sorts of border collies and thought that was pretty darn cool to watch.

Puppy class was helpful even with my limp puppy, finally found something Navarre actually WANTS to eat - cooked chicken. Navarre likes the meat, but not so much processed treats. kibble or cheese. He will still eat those, but he won't really work for them because he could take them or leave them. And if puppy ever wakes up we will work on our play - he's a fan of the motion. Mostly puppy is just very young and not quite ready to problem solve and things of that nature.

Puppy is actually going on ANOTHER field trip tomorrow with Tammy to go swimming. I sure hope he's awake for it! He's certainly been recharging all day. Navarre is pretty comfortable in the water, but I imagine getting him to swim will take some finesse. Hopefully he'll have a good time in the water even if he doesn't swim. Then I think we're going to head back to the beach this weekend, just with Navarre and London. I worry about London at the fireworks as he's developed a noise sensitivity this year. Hopefully the beach will be quieter and the boys will enjoy heading out to the LaDeDa parade in Yachats.


The puppies seem to have figured each other out and were mostly good friends all day today. Well, basically Navarre lets Dove beat him up and all is good. He will get testy if she hones in on his playing with me though. Trying to outrun two 9 week old puppies is SUPER CUTE. And I can't, they are past the age of outrunning, fast little boogers. They enjoyed the game though!

What is it about car crates that are so magical compared to normal crates? I was worried Dove was going to throw a fit being left in a crate in the car next to Navarre - but she was totally chill. So two quiet and relaxed puppies in the car today during classes - why can't they do that at home? Oh, they are troublemakers. I forgot to bring a bag in the morning when I walked them around the arena, so I plopped them inside and ran back to pick up the poo. I was gone maybe 30-45 seconds. When I got back they had dragged my purse off the ledge, dragged it around the arena and then were running around with my sunglasses - and they had quickly figured out how to open the gate from the inside too, pulling it inward. TROUBLEMAKERS.

There has basically been non-stop wrestling whenever they are together today. They finally took a little break around 9 tonight to watch the 'Star of Bethlaham' event, but then went back to it. No getting cranky or overstimulated though, they seem to have it figured out and had great fun together. My dogs and cats seemed thankful for the break. Though even at this age Dove is a cat stalker, it's funny to see. Puppies are great little problem solvers, I watched both of them go under the fence into the dogyard, but that area is x-penned off, which of course doesn't stop them, so they scale the x-pen and are now in the dogyard itself. The impressive part is after the realized this is not where they wanted to be, they retraced their steps, climbing the x-pen and back to the hole under the fence. I know adult dogs that wouldn't have figured that out.

Dove and Navarre are definitely very different, in body and head style and in coat. Dove is also much more 'herd-y' with lots of staring intensity while Navarre is more just get in there and bite it. Right now Dove is a little bit reserved in new situations, but quickly gets over it. Navarre remains oblivious - the world is his party. Dove LOVES the water and is already laying down in the kiddie pool, Navarre will get in, but is not as into it as she is. Dove is BOUNCY, she's got springs in those long legs and she's very light on her feet. Navarre is little tank and rapidly gaining mass. Dove has tiny feet and big ears, Navarre has giant feet and tiny ears. Really exciting to be able to watch these two grow, I just have no idea what they're going to look like. I just love puppies!

Did a little bit of training with both dogs, usually at the same time. They are both happy to go into the crate, and did some nose touches too. Mostly it's just been party time though. Fun having Dove here and watching the two interact, but it will be nice to just have one puppy again. I am just having the best time with him, he's such a party and so sweet. He is fitting in so well and is already a pro at sleeping on the bed at night - so cuddly and limp in the morning! Doing pretty well with the housebreaking, he seems to be getting the idea.

Teeth away!

Dove models how large puppy ears are SUPPOSED to be

Navarre models today's earset, sort of the 'teddy bear' look



Looking manly

Happy girl!

Very attractive siblings!

TWO puppies!

The relationships between siblings in dogs is always rather dramatic. They have scores to settle from the womb, I think. Dove is visiting for a couple days and her and Navarre can have a lot of fun together, but they do both get over the top at times. I think people that get two puppies at once are nuts. I had this idea that her and Navarre would just hang out and entertain each other all day, but they get overtired and cranky with one another and need to be separated - and the escaping gene runs strong. It took Dove about 20 seconds after Heidi left to effortlessly climb the x-pen and saunter along on her merry way. I took some video of each of the escape artists, showing that girls are just way better at this sort of thing:

And that is the end of any x-pens in the house! Luckily, Navarre is actually quite good with his tether. I ordered one from here and it's really nice. Even when Navarre isn't tethered, if he's tired he just goes and lays NEXT to the tether - go figure.

Really kind of neat to see that the feel I got for both dogs at 4 weeks old when I met them remains the same - and I still very much like both of them. Well, so far.

Beach trip was a lot of fun, Navarre did fantastic and just made himself at home wherever we were. He did get nailed by Obi for not listening around Obi's food bowl, but seems unphased and was right back at it. If I had to say the thing that will be the most challenging with Navarre is his lack of sensitivity. It's a good thing and a bad thing, but he doesn't take hints and is quite pushy and certainly undeterred by people or dogs telling him not to do something.

Navarre says hello!

The big news is that Navarre has made the connection that his behavior makes the training game 'go'. He had the lightbulb moment as I was feeding the other dogs for vigorously offering behavior out in the yard and suddenly he just started waving furiously. Finally, we can start to actually TRAIN things. Of course, my dog that I had such high hopes for being food motivated really has turned out not to be. Give him a bowl of food he'll dump the food and run off to play with the bowl. He's not completely uninterested though, and he has times of day that he's more into it than others. He likes the toys though!

Navarre thinks foodbowls are SUPER FUN

So he's offering waving and we're working on solidifying cues so he'll wave with the hand I'm indicating, and then work on getting some distance. He's easily folding back into a down with a fairly small cue/lure. Comes to his name fairly well. Same with frogging out, and also rolling over. He can get into a basket and sort of onto a box or fitness bone. Hand touch is coming along, it's so much fun to see him starting to understand and communicate. So many things to work on, going to go back to the information from the Super Puppy class and see if we can start working on the skills.

He had his first lesson an Bobbie's today, I wanted to introduce him to the treadmill when he was young. We tried with food and he was sort of nervous and not into it. Now, with toys he was running all over that thing. Navarre is a highly competitive dog, once Haku started getting food on the treadmill Navarre was right there. A good experience for Navarre all around, he was a little nervous doing the 'ascending peanut climb' but rapidly gained confidence. And tippy boards and getting on things, he's a future fitness star. Hopefully by the next time we go he'll be even more bold. And maybe not pee in there. Haku did NOT like sharing his time with annoying brat puppy, but he was pretty much just along for the ride.

Navarre slept in a crate last night! Bruce was still at the beach so I thought I might as well use the time to let Navarre carry on if he needed to. And he did, but not excessively so, and got quieter and more relaxed as the night went on (I took him out several times). The last time I took him out I put him back in his crate and not a peep. So I let him out to sleep on the bed in the morning. We will conquer this crate thing ... eventually. Did not transfer to hanging out in the crate during the day though, that's for sure. Now that he's starting to understand how to learn, the goal is to work on shaping the crate.

Amazing we've already had him a week, and how much he's changed.

So many pictures of Navarre, I have a hard time discarding pictures of puppies.

So many border collies!


The boys

Hanging out with Bruce

The merles


I'll admit, these two really remind me of one another!

Navarre LOVES to dig


All puppies love to eat the chuck-it

Ears everywhere!

Beach puppy!

Puppy needs serious work on his group shot posing

Navarre has done fantastic on his first road trip. My mother says she's so disappointed she didn't get to hear any of his infamous 'screaming'. He's figured out the crate in the car, and didn't make a peep the whole way down. I stopped at one point because LONDON was whining, but then realized London was just excited to be at the coast. So novel to take puppy out at a busy taco bell and have him just confidentally explore the all around the store, potty right next to a busy drive through and not even notice when the loud motorcycles started up.

I wasn't sure how Navarre was going to do at my parent's house, but turns out that he's totally comfortable hanging out in their backyard, which has made it way easier. I brought a crate and a tether but just been managing him between supervised indoor time and hanging out in the yard. Slept free last night, but I took him out if I heard him moving, which wasn't very restful. But when he was ready to party around 5am I just put him out back and he was happy to romp out there with the other dogs. I did catch Bright playing with him (bitey-face) this morning, but she immediately stopped when I tried to sneak a video out the window. As puppy has gained confidence she has taken a much more firm stance with him - which is telling. Puppies that need building up she acts like their best friend, easy puppies she's pretty balanced in her approach, and cocky puppies she lays down the law. She's currently rating him neutral to cocky. Navarre is a biter when excited, in that he loves to jump up and grab a mouthful of hair - it's not a popular move. I think he's going to be troublesome with other dogs, not as easy as my other boys. But then, he is being raised by Bright, she may whip him into shape for me.

Puppy had his first trip to the beach today! So fun to see him exploring and experiencing it for the first time. The water itself he doesn't quiet know what to do with, but it was cool to see him study it and then test it out. Hopefully Tammy can take him swimming this week so he can start learning how to swim and to love the water. Was really quite remarkable to watch him suddenly figure out how to run, suddenly he magically could run FAST, and he loved running on the beach. The other dogs were very careful not to run him over, and Navarre was good at staying safe as well. Looking forward to seeing him run with everyone as an adult, the border collies are so much fun together. And puppy even had a recall, as he is such a gregarious fellow I had to actually make sure he didn't go visit people that came by - not used to that! Recall is good so far though. He really is a charmer, everyone that meets him is quite taken in.

As he had never had that much action in his entire life I thought he'd be wiped out for the rest of the day after his beach romp, but after a nap he was rearing to go tonight and running around like a crazy, playing with the other dogs and actually actively working for his dinner! He still hasn't figured out the offering behavior thing, but he has learned that mugging me doesn't work, and he does, technically, offer a sit with adorable head tilts. He turned 9 weeks old today and I can feel him maturing rapidly out of the infant stage. And he has two little upright ears today - ears are definitely on the move.

In other news, Bright has just been a real bitch recently, and a little off. Finally noticing her licking today, and, yep, she's either in heat or about to be. She wasn't due into season until September, so it's not something I was looking for. So that's obnoxious, as it's only been six months. But on the other hand explains a lot of things like being slower in competitions and more sensitive. That's consistent to what she has done in the past. Nice that it's not as apparent as it used to be though. So I'll pull her from the competition this weekend and she'll be, mostly, on agility break until the Fall. Still going to work on low height Justine homework, which we're continuing to enjoy.

Another hot weekend coming up, considering coming back to the beach and I'm thinking most of my classes will be cancelled. I'm sorry, I just don't DO 105 degrees. I don't even know what to do with weather like this.

Puppy just would not cooperate

Total accident he was in this shot at all

First shopping cart ride

Vroom vroom

Such a cutie!

Crazy vs comatose

Interesting day for the puppy. He decided he wanted to have a wild party at 4am this morning, which just didn't work for me. Then he peed on the floor and suddenly I'm thinking that having some place to actually put crazy 4am puppy sounds like a GOOD idea. So today i put a frozen stuffed kong into a crate and left Navarre at home while I taught classes. I imagine it was a drama filled screaming morning, but by the time I got home, he was quiet and seemed relaxed in the crate. However, I think it took a lot out of him, and he seemed way more upset about being separated again.  Navarre ended up sleeping like the dead for most of the day then, being almost comatose for his vistors today. He did finally wake up this evening for some romping, but still seems tired. Our trip to the coast will be ... interesting.

So we started the day with too MUCH puppy, now we've swung back and he's probably just gearing up for another 4am marathon. He is an interesting contradiction at the moment, as he does have his rather extreme obession with not being separated - yet he's also a pretty indepdendent guy. He's actually not at all sensitive, and certainly not clingy - can't quite explain it. I would say his weirdness about being left behind actually doesn't really have much to do with me, and he's such a confident little booger. He'll figure out this crate thing ... eventually. It was cute that when he's tired he actually goes and lays down near my computer chair is where his tether is, even if I'm on the other side of the house. Though god forbid you put him out in the backyard for even a minute, he will escape and run to the front of the house to bang on the doors and scream.  I do LIKE having Navarre with me, but I do need to actually get stuff done, and unhousebroken puppies should not wander around unattended.

I find it funny that despite the fact that Navarre APPEARS more into food than my other border collies - he still finds training with food to be only moderately interesting. We persevere though. His wave is gettng cuter, we've introduced getting up on things and into things, as well as lie down, roll over, sit up, frog and nose touch. Still looking at him to offer, but he hasn't grapsed the concept yet. He loves his toys, and sometimes retrieves.

Super tired, need to get to bed - puppies can definitely make you feel sleep deprived.

Navarre got to meet some new fiends today!

Unclear on the concept


Stealing empty food bags

Playing with the hose

Getting soaked by the hose

So sweet napping puppy!


Poor quality video

You know how some people have the most amazing videos of their dogs? Well, you won't be seeing of that here. I'm not sure how people do it, as by the time I have a camera ready (IF I have a camera around) the moment is long passed. That said, I really want to try to get more 'everyday' video of Navarre as a puppy. Just because it's not interesting NOW doesn't mean I won't find it OH SO SQUISHABLY CUTE when he's older.

A variety of options, first, a very short clip of Navarre attacking the vacuum after I had put it away. As expected, he's a vaccuum killer - though I didn't expect him to track it down afterwards and bark and bite at it after I put it away. Not entirely sure what that may mean for the future, but it was cute at 8 weeks.

For our next video, a couple minutes of Navarre and me playing around in the arena, unedited:

And, lastly, a video that is unintentionally long as I meant to crop out a great deal of Navarre barking at the babble ball - but somehow didn't get around to it. This exciting video includes Navarre eating a dogbed his first day home, playing with noise toys and generally being cute.

Somehow he manages to look so big in his pictures, but he really is a tiny guy at the moment. London SEEMED bigger at this age, but that was so long age, who knows. Navarre is tiny and cute, and I want him to stay tiny and cute. I don't want him to get all giant and awkward, he's so cuddly and soft and squishable right now.

Another question that has now come up, his ears are having way more upward action then I had anticipated. And they look ... silly. He has TINY little ears, and when they come up you really notice how itty bitty they are compared to the rest of him. Truly, never seen a puppy with ears so small. But they were up a LOT today, so he may have more ear adventures then I thought he would. He definitely looks more natural with airplaine ears, so I'm assuming that will be the final position.

Navarre this morning, sporting his tiny jaunty ear

A tired Navarre after a busy day at classes

Feeling friskier later in the evening

Happy ear after an evening of vigorous activity

It doesn't even look like an EAR, it's like someone drew an ear onto him and didn't really understand what dog ears look like

Navarre did fantastic again at the arena. Suddenly he was all friendly towards strange dogs, and check out his new best friends (only in HIS mind):

Navarre will be getting a lot of exposure to hairy dogs - I want him to feel comfortable around them. Though, to be fair, he already is. So far I haven't found much that phases him at all, he's just one awesome little pup. And did I mention the ridiculously cute head tilt?

Navarre was just all around more confident and interactive today. Met lots of new dogs, new people. He's starting to get more into the training idea too - it's amazing what a difference a couple days can make. I just feel so comfortable with him, he's such a fun boy. Continues to sleep nicely on the bed at night, and other than a few complaints, he's chilling out in the crate in the car. Haven't attempted crates again in our house though. Crazy fun to play with him, have not found a toy or a game he doesn't like.

Settling in

Other than being a little too frisky with the cats sometimes, Navarre continues to be pretty darn awesome. He did fabulous at classes today, throwing a few temper tantrums, but for the most hanging out quietly in his crate in the car next to Bright. He thought everyone he met was his best friend and walked right in like he owned the place. Brought him out several times throughout classes and he was just confident and fun.

Oh, and apparently he retrieves! If you throw a toy and run away he chases after you with the toy to play some more - and BIG toys too. We were playing with the draggy toy, which is bulky and pretty heavy for a little guy - didn't stop him from bringing it with him! He runs to dead toys, he plays with everything, he chases, he tugs, he switches toys, he switches between food and toys, he plays with anyone - he's got it going on!

Interesting to note what he doesn't like - strange dogs. Which is weird as he's been pretty much oblivious to my crew, but with the two puppy friendly dogs I attempted to introduce him to today he was having none of it. The giant labradoodle I can see, that's a lot of dog with hair going everywhere. But even a little border terrier - he was like, "Nope, no thank you." So that was interesting, we'll see how that progresses. My dogs continue to ignore him mostly, though Bright played with him a little today. Though he got too rambunctious chasing her and nipped her and she told him off. He does respect that, so that was good to see.

Navarre may be figuring out that his behavior makes the training game 'go', at least a little bit. I introduced a nose touch to my hand and I could see a little lightbulb come on. He's still not actively working it, but he's starting to get the idea. He may have offered a couple half hearted unprompted waves, or maybe it was wishful thinking. Had his first raw and first stuffed kong with raw today. He was a fan. He's not crazy about food yet, but he's getting more into it.

Continues to do really well at night sleeping on the bed, and is getting cuddlier about it too. I really don't know how long this will last, but that's the fun of a puppy - no idea how long any phase will last, or if even IS a phase or that's who he is. Just as we're starting to get a routine in place he grows up some and suddenly it's all new again. Right now though, he's just sweet and fun. I haven't seen any signs of food or toy guarding, no reactivity or nervousness - he just seems like such an upstanding citizen.  He does have a mouth on him though, I introduced the babble balls to him today and he just barked and bounced and barked and bounced - so cute!

He actually HAS been having some ear adventures today too, they're rosing up from their puppy state. So sometimes one or the other will stick up and while it's not readily apparent, they're moving into a new position on his head. My assumption is that he'll have airplane ears as an adult. Luna has adorable airplane ears and Kelvin's are sort of a rose/airplane combo. I think they suit Navarre very well and am having a hard to time imagining them doing anything different then they are now. They are such TINY little ears!

Puppies can have such serious looks to them

Feeling pretty well adjusted today!

Proud of himself

So cute!

You can see the ear lift here

Still the favorite toy!

I just assume he's going to grow up handsome, as he's certainly looking the part now

More mobile ears can disappear completely!


Getting bolder ...

Getting to know each other

Navarre has fit in amazingly well. It's almost a little unsettling how none of the dogs even seemed at all surprised to see him, and just act like he's always lived here. Absolutely no drama whatsoever, they've been wonderful with him. It's like they know he's 'ours' - they don't act like this with visiting puppies.

So Navarre, getting to know him! Very different personality, I have a hard time describing it. He's not edgy, yet he's not sensitive either, and he's very people focused yet secure doing his own thing at the same time. He's thoughtful, but doesn't get worried. He's sweet, yet not clingy or needy.He enjoys being snuggled and petted, and loves a good belly rub. He's surprisingly gentle when playing, though he did catch my arm accidently with one of those canine's today - OUCH. He's been a little shellshocked about the transistion, but even then I haven't seen him truly 'worry' - and the only thing he gets truly upset about is the x-pen/crate thing. But then, it's only been two days - we're still getting to know each other.

As for the crate thing, I can already see him settling in and I can 'lose' him outside and he's not really concerned. I think he'll be fine eventually, but the plan is to not push it so I don't give him a complex. He's not thrilled about being tethered to my chair, but is mostly accepting. I did order a cable tether though, boy likes to chew and he means BUSINESS. When he chews he wants to DESTROY and rolls things to his back teeth and goes to town. He's going to chew through a leash in no time.

Really though, so far everything has just felt really like he was meant to be here. No panic yet, just feels right. Now, how he'll do while I'm teaching, that's another question - but we'll see how it goes. Can't have puppy with me 24/7, he'll have to learn to relax by himself at some point. I'm optimistic he'll figure out how to chill in the car quickly, most dogs do.

We've had lots of firsts, like he likes chasing the hose, but the kiddie pool he's not as fond of. Though he was sticking his nose under the water to check it out! He likes to tug, he likes to chase, but he doesn't really understand how to run yet - which is amusing to watch. We've played with lots of different types of toys and lots of personal play. He's not so much into chasing me, he gets annoyed when I run away.

He has absolutely no concept of offering behavior or 'asking' for something yet - and while he likes food, he's not really food motivated yet. We've been playing a bit with solicting a 'wave' and that's cute, but he doesn't 'get it' yet. However, he quickly morphed his wave into a sit up and the boy has some nice balance! He also can do a lured foldback down and it's super easy to get him to 'frog out'. He's sort of learned that mugging me doesn't work, but he thinks pockets are fair game. We've worked a little on his name, and he sort of responds to it. Also worked some on walking on leash, which is mostly encouraging him to stop vigorously scratching his collar the whole time. Housebreaking has gone surprisingly well so far, but I think it's pretty much dumb luck. We've had two four accidents inside, which isn't bad considering he sleeps loose at night and is largely free in the house. Like all dogs I have ever attempted to treat for going potty outside, he finds it kind of intrusive and doesn't understand my obsession with him eating as soon as he's pottied.

He sleeps a lot, he plays a lot, he would like the cats or the dogs to play with him - but they're not interested. He's getting a little friskier with the cats and they're telling him to go to hell. On the other hand, the cats are always right on top of him because they like to get in on this food action. He seems like one solid little guy so far, and really fun and sweet. Really seems like a wonderful match for our household at this point.

I did take bunches of pictures yesterday just because that's such a special time when they first come home, but I want to spend time with Navarre, not take pictures constantly - so just relaxing together today. Besides, puppies are so bad at posing!

He escaped from the dog yard tonight. I had put him back there a couple times today for just a minute or two, but tonight I put him out there while I folded some laundry - and was impressed he was so chill. That's because he wasn't back there! Apparently he can fit through the gaps in the gates, so I found him wandering around the property. He seemed happy to see me, but not overly concerned to be out there in the dark by himself. Troublemaker.

While Navarre is about 2 lbs heavier than Dove, his ears are half the size - they're TINY little ears! They also have very different coat textures

Fenwick was tempted to join in

This is pretty much how Fizban and Dragon feel about this puppy thing

Destroyer of daisies

Post hose chasing

A well deserved desk nap

Have I mentioned how hard it is to get puppies to pose?

Look, Navarre found Jesus!


Naverre has been here for 24 hours now! It's been a LONG day since he arrived. So much to talk about with puppies, but it's bedtime so it's down to bullet points:

- I'm totally in love with this puppy, he is all sorts of awesome and sweet

- Navarre is not easy! At least in the world of containment, where apparently he took after his father and he's a fence jumper. He just goes nuts if you put him in an x-pen, and when he couldn't climb it, he just screamed and threw himself at every side until he managed to hook the top and pull himself over. Took about 15 minutes of one TREMENDOUS temper tantrum. So, yeah, that's an issue.

- Slept on the bed last night, not snuggled up, but happy with the arrangement. Did I mention his hatred of 'jails' of any type? Went to bed about 2am, he woke me around 5:30 am, went out and pottied, came back in and ate and played, went out and pooed, and back to bed where I had to wake him up at 7:30 am. Not bad for a first night!

- Super polite with other dogs and the cats, but also gains confidence QUICKLY. In no time him and the cats were getting along great - which I find very amusing.

- A little stalker, he's definitely into the motion of other dogs and getting ramped up by it. Already trying to go head them off - so that may be an issue.

- He actually LIKES food! Holy crap! He also likes toys, which is less surprising. He's currently playing tug with my pants. And that $25 puppy tug toy with rabbit fur, already his favorite, he likes the bunny!

- Only met Fenwick and Bright so far, they barely even notice him. I think he's still 'infant' stage for them, and Navarre is SUPER polite, so they don't need to get upset by him. Not yet, anyway.

- Polite to chickens, but may herd them in the future.

- Finally seemed to grasp the concept of the car crate, or else he was just too tired on our way home tonight to scream. Helps to have Bright there next to him, I think. Still not at all shy to scream bloody murder if left behind.

- Dove and Navarre reunion (you know, after that wopping 12 hours apart) was so cute! Both pups are still pretty overwhelmed with everything, but are taking things very well!

- Navarre found the trial baffling, but loved hanging out at Poodletopia. Navarre not a fan of being carried, but doesn't know how to walk on leash yet either. Met LOTS of people today, he wasn't terribily fond of saying hello to people in my arms, but very confident with everyone on his own terms.

- Starting to grasp the concept that you potty in the grass, as he had never been on it, it confounds him.

- Really does just want to be with the people, but I'm not sure how this is going to work not using an x-pen or crate. Hard to do things with a puppy with you ALL the time

- He's just the same as he was at 4 weeks, they really are who they are. Love his energy, just so enjoying the puppy adventure where EVERYTHING is so new to him!

So tired though, time to see how he does for the second night ...

Meeting them at the airport with Heidi and Jessica

First night home it didn't take long for him to get comfortable!

Even Fizban wasn't scary for too long

Fun at the fairgrounds in Salem

Note to self: Always bring toy for puppy on any photoshoots

Navarre is a big fan of the frogging

I would say Navarre seems more like Kelvin and Dove more Luna, at least at this point

Meeting very important puppy friend Tammy!

Getting ready!

Ugh, puppies have already been delayed! They're coming in on a later flight, so it will be around midnight. I think all in all this dramatically increases the chances they're going to arrive covered in poo, but I had already anticipated that. Two puppies in one crate gives you twice the chances of mid-flight poo. We shall see. Poor pups, it's a big day for them. Talked to Karen while she was waiting for the new flight - Navarre was PISSED. Yeah, feeling totally okay with not taking that little monster on a plane. And, yes, for the record, Haku was PERFECT on his flight home, never made a peep.

Haku was a VERY planned puppy, like 9 months or something. And we hadn't had a puppy for six years. So we had a very long time to prepare for Haku, and he recieved so many nice puppy gifts before he arrived!

Haku's loot pile before he came home - so much cool stuff!

Then Bright and Eva weren't planned, so they got jack shit. However, we had a month with Navarre - but I couldn't justify getting him a bunch of new stuff when we already had so many dog toys already. Many of which were the very toys from when Haku was a puppy!

Navarre's loot pile - mostly hand-me-down's, but GOOD STUFF. Any puppy would be happy to have these toys, so he had better appreciate them! And special thanks to his aunties Anne and Kerilyn, who bought/made him his OWN toys and treats!

I did actually break down and buy him an ACTUAL puppy toy today, with rabbit fur and everything. Because I would never buy that for an adult, they would just destroy it. But puppies, they will enjoy it lovingly for MONTHS before they're strong enough to destroy it. Probably.

Here is his x-pen set up, where I'm curious to see if he can escape it. The honeycomb pattern may actually make his climbing EASIER:

Apparently it's infested with cats though. I am putting a tray of shavings for him there, which I'm sure he will not pee on, but will scatter everywhere, making a gigantic mess. Appreciate the neatness of this x-pen pre-puppy.

His mountain of crap ready for his arrival

Navarre and Dove looking rather pathetic, waiting around for the late flight

(taps fingers impatiently)

The last day

Bright and I did end up staying in the trial this weekend, but just for standard and jumpers. Tiny trial, I feel like agility continues to wane in the Portland area. We need a dedicated training and trialing facility for all dog sports. Portalnd being such a dog friendly city, this definitely SHOULD happen.

Oh, the courses at the trial today. They weren't BAD courses, but, lord, they weren't interesting. I actually lost all interest in running jumpers after Bright knocked the 2nd bar - and I don't care about qualifying, but that course was literally a figure 8 and then a big loop around the arena.

Standard was the AKC classic "back and forth across the arena"

Masters level?

We shall see if the new 'Premier' class takes off. I was excited to see them offering ISC at the last few trials, but as they run it at the end of the day, after novice, rather kills any excitement I had about the idea.

Anyway, trial was short and sweet, weather was nice and cool, surface was much improved from the last trial there - Bright had a good time. Does rather suck running her as the first dog though, she does much better when she gets to watch and knows what we're there for. I was worried today as people had set all their chairs right up against the fence behind the first jump of jumpers, which meant I had to put Bright with people literally 1 foot away from her - wasn't sure what she would think of that, but she didn't seem to notice. She is pretty grown up these days.

Standard went fine, in jumpers Bright knocked TWO bars - but I think I may need to take some responsibility for them. It's hard to actually HANDLE when the course is so straight forward. And just running ahead and not supporting things is not really what she needs. Sorry Bright. I will try to actually HANDLE my pinwheels tomorrow.

And tomorrow is THE DAY. Though not until the end of it. Still, today was the last day with just my guys, everyone does so well together - hopefully Navarre will fit in. Will never be the same though. Feeling very nostalgic today, we are at the cusp of things. Fenwick at 14 and 15, and new puppy. Doesn't seem that long ago we were getting Fenwick and Brisbee. Let it be said, for every dog except Haku, I had that first panic week where I was all, "What on earth did I just do?" Well, okay, I didn't have that for Bright - but she doesn't count.

I do think there will be some panic with Navarre, he's actually been seperated from the other puppies as once he figured out how to climb the x-pen Karen got real tired of him escaping. She CLAIMS that he does it because he wants to be with her. Which sounds cute, rather than climbing out to go cause trouble. We shall see. I wil not be using metal x-pens with Navarre, apparently. I've also heard him scream - he's got LUNGS and lots of OPINIONS. Heidi's puppy is, naturally, an angel without any of these issues.

So, tomorrow night ... I hope he doesn't scream all night long. Then I plan to take him to the trial on Sunday, the plan is take him everywhere with me. Though maybe that won't be as easy as I thought. Just remembering those first few days with London "Worst Puppy in the World" - oh, the SCREAMING. SO MUCH SCREAMING. I don't know what he was so pissed about, but he let the world know. Reminder to Future Heather: It will pass ... eventually.

Attempted to take some pictures in the daisies today - which always sounds easier then it is. And tomorrow, there will be seven ...


So apparently my puppy is a screamer and an escape artist. However, he does have two testicles.

Edit to add: And he weighs 9 lbs!

Here he is after climbing the x-pen to go play with Fling's puppies:

So proud of himself!


Navarre and Dove have their flight booked, they'll be arriving Saturday night, around 10pm. So less than three days and it's puppytime! Watched the puppies play some tonight, Navarre continues to be not much into playing with the other puppies - but he loves running off with the toys. He really does give me 'Navarre' feeling from Ladyhawke. Which, if you haven't seen, you can watch on Netflix or even on youtube - Watch it for the music alone! We'll see if I'm at all correct about who he is. I do think it's cute how everyone asks what his name is, and I tell them and they go, "Oh." That's okay, I like it, and that's his name, I just had to search it out.

Rereading some old puppy books, and boy, it brought back memories. London was my first puppy, so I read Ian Dunbar's 'Before and After You Get Your Puppy Books' and really took them to heart. Oh, what a load of shit those books are. So much about how your puppy MUST get this or that or they're RUINED FOREVER. Any inappropriate chewing or a chance to have an accident in the house and you have RUINED YOUR DOG and it will now be SO HARD TO TRAIN.

Those books actually make me angry, and caused way more angst with London then I already had. However, I can now tell you that they're also completely false. If the only thing you ever give your puppy to chew on is rubber toys and have their meals come from stuffed kongs this does NOT IN ANY WAY 'condition' your dog to only chew on those items. To this day London has ZERO interest in kongs and is the WORST at destroying all toys, and has a record number of things he chewed up AS AN ADULT. And I followed that stupid program in the book, what a load of crap. And you know what makes having a puppy not fun? Thinking that if your dog has an accident in the house that it will make it SO HARD TO HOUSEBREAK. London was a gross puppy, and he had no sense of cleanliness, and attempting to 'housebreak' him at as a puppy that wasn't ready to learn that didn't help at all. Puppies get housebroken, some right away, some need more time - but an accident in the house is NOT A BIG DEAL. They all get to the same place eventually, just chill the fuck out and enjoy your puppy. Being a housebreaking nazi isn't going to housebreak a dog that needs more time any faster.

Having Bright's litter was also a good experience, as it let me see that while of course socialization and enrichment is good - in the end, they are who they are. Mostly look to the parents for how the puppies are going to turn out, and look at the individual puppy. 'Socialization' is not going to magically make dogs into something they're not. I still think it's important to get your puppy out there, but having 100 people handle your shy puppy is only going to give your shy puppy a complex, not make them less shy. I'm really more of the belief that it's nature much more than nuture at this point - they are who they are.

I'm actually nice and relaxed about puppy, we will do things on our schedule and just have fun together. I have no expectations for him to be anything but himself. When I had been researching possible litters for 2016 I was hyperfocusing on structure and movement and jumping and didn't feel right at all. Of course having a super athletic dog is fun, but that's not why I love my dogs, I love who they are. Navarre will probably do agility at some level eventually, he may or may not be a good jumper, or athletic, or fast - I don't care. I just like him, and that's why you get a dog.

Navarre and sister

Found out that Haku ripped off both stop pads yesterday, so him and London are getting some wound spray several times a day. And they HATE IT. The good news is that pads grow back quick ... but perhaps not quick enough as they'd like.

Knock on wood, everyone is doing well at the moment, minus a few paw pads. Fenwick is getting a little more fragile, Brisbee a little more happy senile - but they look really good. Brisbee likes to worry me, throwing up now and again, but, much like with his neurological episodes, he's done that for years, it's not really a sign of anything at this point. Pretty much adjusted to the more sensitive Fenwick. He just gets to be wherever he wants to be, his preference is inside with the people, though he'll chill out outside during the day. Both Fenwick and Brisbee are still very active and showing very few signs of stiffness, they continue to age very well. London is aging faster than I would like, and has a very 'old dog' mentality. He just does whatever the hell he wants and gives me the most telling looks whenever I ask him to actually do anything with manners. I don't consider 11 to be 'old', but London seems to be insisting on being treated as such.

As for the young dogs (middle aged?), Haku continues to be perfect and full of excitement for EVERYTHING - just love that boy, everything is fun with him. Eva is still weird about the house and training, but loves her romping outside. I wish she had more in her life, and I haven't totally given up on finding her a home where she could do more, but I realize that's a longshot with the incontience. The behavioral associations she made with the house and with me on the proin remain, even though she hasn't been on it for, what, a year and half? Two years? It's a frustrating and sad situation but no easy answers.

I think the puppy is going to be great for Bright. Having the litter already really matured her and increased her confidence, I think having a puppy to raise is really going to bright Bright into full maturity. I just love the dog she has grown into, her and Haku are always with me. I feel very happy to have both of them, they are two sides of the same coin.

The cats are doing wonderful, at almost 5 the Sunshine kittens are ALMOST like real cats. Not always super aware of what's going on, but they seem happy and actually like to hang out with me these days. While it wasn't my intention to have four cats, it really has worked well as they do their thing and the maine coons have their own club. Dragon is on my lap right now, drooling profusely and making it hard to type. When we first started the prozac he stopped coming into to my lap for cuddles, but is doing it more often now. He's about halfway through the medication, another month and a half to go. He has been better with the inappropriate urination, and I've had the couches unprotected this week without issue. Still, he goes through phases so I can't really say anything yet. I really hope that time and medication solves his issue. Him and Fizban adore each other and it's such a good mix. Cats are not going to be happy about puppy, I can only hope Navarre is afraid of cats and doesn't try to play with them ...

And, finally, the chickens have remained peaceful - we just have the five, but they seem to making enough eggs to feed an army. SO MANY EGGS. They are fun to watch and I'm getting more attached to them again now that we have a stable population that I'm pretty much sure will be staying with us for the long haul, Sexy, Sexier (Black sex links), Prettier (easter egger), Wubby and Why (Parker babies).

Bright is looking forward to bossing around a puppy

I'm sure Eva will help out in the bitch department - girls are very good at teaching boys manners

Haku and London will just let the puppy get away with murder, because they're total pushovers

Poor London!

I think this tends to happen every year when I bring out the kiddie pool for the dogs - I suddenly go through a rash of pad injuries, I assume from their paws getting wet then running around on the dry grass. Poor London has giant flaps of skin missing from THREE paws - he looks so sad when he walks! For some reason running around at the arena today really seemed to rip them off. My assumption is from repeated jumping off the table. Treating the pads, but basically he's just going to be sad London for a few days until they start to heal. I also assume other dogs will soon be joining him until their pads toughen up.

As for obedience, so frustrating with Haku. He was doing GREAT at, eventually, looking and driving straight ahead on go-outs today - yet could not seem to see his retrieve hose whatsoever. He would be one foot away from it and because he didn't see it, would veer off looking and ruin the line. So maybe some good progress in that direction, but not as reinforcing as it could have been. And his directed jumping practice continues to be terrible, I have no idea why this is so hard for him. Though maybe he truly can't see what I'm doing, like he can't seem to see the hose. Once again, we muddled through until he was following my direction - but I'm sure the next time we practice we'll be right back to square one. Pretty much the whole directed jumping exercise is Haku's nemesis.

One thing Haku EXCELS at is dumbell gripping. I was working with London in getting him to have a more solid hold and release - so if he dropped it or I could push it out of London's mouth Haku would DIVE right in and grab it, and hold it so fiercely until cued to release. Now THIS he can do! And it was good incentive for London to hold onto it - definite improvement with London with his holds. London also had some stellar drop on recalls, and some marginal retrieves over a jump - still doesn't have a concept that the return jump is important yet. Broad jump was a bit of a mess mostly because he did not want to go out around a cone today, he LOVED this exercise when we did it before. He just wanted to jump and come to front though. And it was hard to fault him as he looked really good doing the actual exercise. Go figure.

I did sit the boys down and tried to tell them about Navarre today. Going to be a trio of border collie boys soon, and boys just need to stick together. However, Haku and London weren't interested. They pretty much said that any puppy was not their concern and good luck with that. I haven't talked to Eva, Fenwick and Brisbee yet - time is running out. And, yes, I do think you can have conversations with dogs - I think some of my dogs understand a great deal of what I say, though it varies. Cats don't understand english at all, they expect you to speak cat.

I wrote up an outline of things puppies need to learn - and lists always make me feel a little more organized and ready. Dug through the puppy toys and got a mountain of those ready. I'm cleaning some fun tugs so they look more attractive in pictures. I approved the proof for his tag, so hopefully that will get here soon. Planned his first beach trip too! Still not sure exactly when he's going to arrive, but it's getting close - things are about to get crazy around here.

Planned puppies are fun!

Unplanned puppies are fun too!

And sometimes POORLY planned puppies can even be fun

And these two are just too awesome for words

Happy Birthday to the SparklePuppies!

DareDevil, Star, Larissa and Creed

The red heads made it to a year! The experience with Bright having puppies really has been fabulous all the way through. I'm so thankful to Karen for the opportunity, to my great reproduction vet, to everyone that helped out while they were here growing up, and especially to their wonderful owners. I'm so grateful the puppies ended up in homes where they are loved for who they are, the good and the bad. It's been so much fun to watch them grow, Star in person, and the others over the internet. I feel very lucky indeed!

At 12 months they are still just gangly puppies, but also beautiful young adults. I had a hard time envisioning what the puppies might look like as adults, and in some cases I was wildly offbase in my assumptions! Funny though, somehow Star looks almost exactly like I had envisioned ... minus the CRAZY butt hair. I thought she would be smooth or have a short coat. And she didn't have much coat at all ... until she decided to just go nuts and grow the most ridiculous hair EVERYWHERE. And BACKWARDS. Just cracks me up.

Wild coyote Star (many more 1 year old Star pics here!)

Star was an original as a puppy and that hasn't changed. She is very much her own dog, very much in her own happy Star world. In many ways she reminds me of London. Star is a party, and confident in her opinions and herself. I had a chance to play with her at lunch during the seminar. Other than when she stayed with me when she was 4 months old she hasn't worked with me at all. Yet she was like, "Wheee!" I think she's going to be so much fun in agility, and she clearly LOVES it. Mary has done such a nice job with her, as Star is not easy like Bright!


I just adore Star, I'm so glad she's with Mary, and I'm so lucky I get to watch her grow!

Star ended up around 19 inches and 28 pounds at the moment - tiny! Her head is even tinier than Bright's, and that's that's saying something.

Certainly Larissa looks the most like Bright - but more attractive! She grew up to be one beautiful dog. She's down in Mexico and it makes me so happy that she is so loved in her family. They made the BEST video of her all the way through puppyhood to some video of her doing some agility training at the end. SO MUCH AWESOME:

Another lover of agility

Such a Bright look

Then Creed is the TALL boy of the litter - and Sangie really wanted tall! He was last measured at 22 inches and 45 lbs, and certainly looks like he has more maturing to do. No idea what's going on with his hair - this litter is making up their own rules when it comes to coat.

Super genius puppy!

And finally DareDevil, the smoothie - need to get some video of this boy! I think he grew up very handsome, and also very unique looking. Though I suppose that goes for the whole litter, very distinctive!

DareDevil is the king of the funny faces though

Laura says he looks dorky, I say he looks cute!

One awesome litter! If you want to relive SparklePuppy action, all their puppy pictures can be found here!

A very Tori weekend

Had a very fun weekend at the seminar and all the good times that came with it. A seminar with Tori is not really so much about agility, but by all the good times packed in around it - and Tori! And who wouldn't want to have pizza and pie parties two nights in a row? That's just good planning. So good to see everyone, both at the seminar and before and after. We have an awesome group of people in our area, I feel lucky to know so much awesomeness.

As for the agility itself, I was embarrassingly uncommited to it all. Running Bright at her own arena is WAY too easy. And I know it annoys people when I say that, and I'm not bragging that we're so awesome that everything is easy, I'm not saying that Bright's spectacularly trained, or that I'm some sort of super amazing handler - but running Bright really is EASY. And would be easy for ANYONE. I'm not saying it's not fun either - I really do enjoy running Bright. Everyone likes to be challenged, but sometimes finding things that make me go, "I wonder if Bright can do this?" isn't very easy.

Then between Marco's seminar and this seminar and lots of other musing I've been doing lately on agility, I've had a lot of fundatmental questions about agility and my approach.  Agility is very much about communicating with your dog, and you can run courses purely with motion and handling - and do it very well. There are some amazing handlers out there, like Tori, that excel at it. The average agility competitor, however, tends to be middle aged, and not usually into sports and fitness. Reaction times and running speed can be very limited - and while to a certain extent these things can be improved, the reality is that a large percentage of handlers are mobiliity impaired in some aspect or another, and that they will never be darting around course like a 20 year old. And of course part of the fun of agility is working on that physical aspect - agility is an active sport, and most people enjoy that challenge. But if your only tools are handling and motion, it's limiting for a lot of people. Doesn't mean they can't do it, just means they may not be able to do as efficiently or as fast as someone ... well, more efficient and fast. Which is where training comes in.

And having a trained dog doesn't mean that your motion and handling is no longer important, it still is. But it's so helpful to have a verbal or a trained cue for the handler that can't run backwards and move through their front crosses. Dogs are MUCH better athletes than we are, if they have the information, they are capable of doing amazing things. And they are also such good dogs, they will wait if they don't have that information. To me, handling is an art, and an art that some people are just more naturally talented with than others. It's about that split second timing of the turn exactly when you need it. Which is an awesome feeling when you get it just right ... but often hard to replicate consistently. Of course, with a trained cue you still have to train it, but so much more room for error, and let's the handler have a response they know will work every time that is not reliant on their exact timing. And that's a nice thing to have.

Then to bring all this back to Bright, maybe I should stop making things easier for me in agility with trained cues, I'm seeing a trend here. ;-) Though I truly think Bright would have been easy no matter what, Bright has ALWAYS been easy - as a puppy, at home and in agility. It's just part of her, and part of her that I love - as we would not have kept her if it wasn't just as easy to keep Bright as it was not to (as we didn't need another dog AT ALL). And life without Bright would be very sad indeed.

Got to hang out with many cool Bender relatives, his aunt and two sisters, Grit, Squid and Mars

Star has really grown up and was feeling PUSHY - she just took this toy from Mars

Merlin says stays are for sissies

Both Star and Bright share a love of Bender

Look who has gotten so big - yet still SO FRICKEN CUTE? Jaxon!

Kona having a party ... as usual

Haven't seen Brave since he was a puppy - he grew up so handsome and SUCH a nice boy

Grit just has the funniest expressions

Heidi doing some intensive border collie research before her new puppy arrives ths weekend

Flyte says a little thing like yet another obstruction surgery can't keep her down - she did awesome at the seminar!

Not even all the border collie there were. SO MANY BORDER COLLIES.

Many more pictures of various adventures ....

Summer fat

I have lots to catch up on, but suffice to say the weekend was fun and very busy with many cool folks and much going on. And, yes, hot again today. I discovered that the dogs are already 'summer fat', that's when they're less active because it's too hot to run around in the sun, so they sit in the shade all the time and suddenly they all plump up like sausages. Little Bright has some heft to her!  Which didn't stop her from being awesome and easy at the seminar.

More later, but here is a super cute picture of Navarre taken by Elisa Chavez:

7 Weeks!

Hard to believe puppies are seven weeks old already - time goes by way too quickly! I think I'm ready for puppy, still feeling very confident in the decision - but at the same time realizing I know NOTHING about him. Only one way to learn more about him, and that's just to hang out with him. So exciting to see what sort of dog he'll be. I'd like to THINK I have no expectations, but I've learned better than that - we always have expectations, and every dog confounds expectations - because they're all unique. We will have our journey together, and some things will be hard, and some things will be easy - surely it can't all be hard, right?. Hopefully he'll be a fun puppy ... but he'd probably hope the same thing about me.

New pictures from today by Karen:

I'm having a hard time telling if Navarre really IS the most attractive puppy in the litter, or I'm just biased.

Pink noses! I assume Navarre's nose will fill in, as here is London at 8 weeks, and his eventually did

Navarre's weird Alice Cooper eye liner is very different, will be interesting to see what he looks like as an adult

Everyone asks what color he is, and he is kind of a funny muddy red blue - he's a blue tri, technically

His tri just sort of blends in

Love his spot on his head - London has one too!

And some rather horrifying video of my puppy throwing a gigantic temper tantrum because his mom is feeding another dog's puppies. Ah, the less adorable side of puppyhood.

Seminar tomorrow with Bright! I'll admit my mind is sort of stuck in puppy mode - but I'm sure we'll have fun with Tori. No big goals, we're just going to enjoy our last puppy-free weekend. That is the thing about a puppy, they go EVERYWHERE, so there will not be a lot of one-on-one outings with everyone until he's a little older. I did end up pulling from the trial next weekend (was changed to a one judge trial and the schedule had me there from 8am to 7pm - no thanks!). So it will be fun to just focus totally on settling in Navarre. Can't believe I'm getting a puppy! Squeeee!