Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bottles and Dogs.

Work has been busy this week  with everyone leaving going out of town for  spring break Combined with the fact that because we are so busy we are not allowed to bring our dogs to work. So what the means is I come home exhausted to two bored and under stimulated dogs. Sadie for the most part is a piece of cake and will adjust her energy level to whatever the people are doing. Feel sick and want to sleep for three days? Sadie will snuggle with you as long as you let her out for bathroom breaks and feed her. Want to go on a hike for a few hours? Sadie will race around and play like there is no tomorrow like I said she is amazing.

As for Simon.

Well Simon is a 1 year old husky who is used to getting a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. He is also prone to being very vocal when bored. Now that being said he is pretty good doesn't destroy the house. But he will chirp and whine and try to get anyone to play with him or take him somewhere.

I was way too tired to entertain him so I decided to make dinner enriching and fun. I stuck the food into some empty gatorade bottles and let them bat those around. I figured that would make dinner a lot more . I watched them push them around for about 15 minutes and both dogs seamed to really enjoy playing with them. I went to go get something to eat and when I came back I noticed Sadie had chewed the top off her bottle. There were still about three pieces stuck in the bottom so I took it away from her and helped her get the last pieces of food out for her. Simon had managed to get all of the food out of his without destroying the bottle. It struck me as a good example of how different my two dogs are.  Sadie couldn't get something so she ripped it open. If  Simon had had an issue he would have either given up brought it to me or let Sadie open it for him or found something more fun to do.

Over all the idea worked up pretty good and it was a free puzzle toy that both dogs enjoyed. I plan to do it again but I will only do this when I can keep an eye on them to make sure Sadie doesn't accidentally eat any of the bottle.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Simon got his CGC

I am so happy and kind of surprised to announce that Simon got his Canie Good Citizen (CGC) title last Wednesday. It makes me smile every time I think about it. My little guy just makes me so happy. My little Simon Monster.

We had been working really hard on the skills needed for the CGC for the past few weeks and he has been doing a pretty good job.  However due to poor weather conditions and not a lot of free time this has mostly been done in my house with a fair amount of treats. This is not a good set up for a test that is out in public with strange people, dogs where you are not allowed to use treats.  Also work has been super busy with spring break so Simon has had to stay home and he has a huge case of jungle fever. He is hyper and overly excited about everything since he is getting less exercise and mental stimulation than normal. 

I also help the local obedience club put on the test so there is extra stress for me. To say I was frazzled and nervous would be an understatement. I decide to take Simon outside away from all the people and dogs so we can practice a bit and get on the same page. He wanted nothing to do with it and just wanted to run and chase the ducks.

Simon: WOOOOOOOOOOO! I got to go somewhere and do stuff this is great. Let's run and play and explore!

Me: We need to work on heeling and downs and stays.

Simon: New grass! New tree! DUCKS!


Simon: What?

I was just making myself more stressed and upset. Simon wasn't playing attention and if he was all he would see is stress. I decided to take a break to change how Simon and I were acting and feeling. I took a moment to relax and enjoy the nice weather. Then I decided to play a little "tag" with Simon. It consists of me pushing him a little on the shoulder and then running off. He will chase after me and when he gets close I "tag" him again and run off on an other direction. Simon loves this game and I think it's a lot of fun. At the end we were both smiling and we ended up singing with each other. I then worked on some heeling and he did it and even was checking in with me.

However I couldn't get him to do a practice down. I don't know if he was just too excited or just didn't want to for some reason but if he wouldn't do it in the ring we were going to fail.

It was finally our turn we had decided to do the easiest part of the test first which is just being friendly to a stranger and letting them touch him with a brush and look in his ears and at his teeth. For some dogs that is pretty stressful but Simon has no issues with strangers. After that we were in the ring for the obedience portion. I was very happy with how Simon acted. He kept his attention on me and had lot of very good eye contact. Even with all the distractions his stays and recalls looked amazing he he seemed to enjoy working with me. I left the ring and felt super pumped up and happy.

The last part I was kind of dreading. It was the supervised separation and when Simon took the test as a 6 month old puppy it was the part he totally failed.  The dog is left with a stranger for three minutes while the owners are out of sight. It doesn't matter if the dog walks around but they have to not freak out about it. Last time Simon did it he screamed so much that after just a little bit they came and got us. I was really hoping that wouldn't happen this time. Most people just go around the corner but I was so nervous that I took Sadie and left the building. Three minutes seemed to take forever but I was so happy when I heard that he had passed. We went outside and ran around and howled to celebrate.

Simon I am so proud of you way to go.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Photography goals.

As part of challenging myself to become a better photographer I have been working on getting off auto and using my camera to it's full potential. I have really enjoyed the challenge this brings and I am excited to learn more. I have been reading a lot as well as taking a few classes to gain more knowledge and experience. I still have a lot to learn but I am having a ton of fun improving my photography skills.

I thought I would share with you some pictures I have taken since I switched from auto.

Simon with his friends Titan and Ruby.
Simon and Sadie napping.
Sadie likes to look out windows.
Simon laying on the bed.
Two dogs looking at the camera at the same time is just too much to ask. 
Simon looking serious. 
The River makes a good background.
More of Simon and friends.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Feeling grateful.

On Sunday I woke up stretched and almost feel over at the staggering pain from my neck. I quickly found that if I held my head perfectly still in the one "neck approved"  position it was only slightly uncomfortable. However any movement and I was screaming in pain. After discovering I couldn't wash my hair or get dressed with out help I called my manager and let her know I would not make it to work that day.

After that I called my mom to come drive me to a Redicare and see what I had done to my neck. We spent two hours in the waiting room watching three children cause havoc. My mom leaned over and whispered that as a child I would have been horrified to see other children acting like that and that she never would have let me get away with it. Good to know I was a well trained kid I guess.  They took some X-rays and told me I had torticollis which is where your neck muscles cause your head to tilt and it is very painful to be in any other position than the tilted one. I honestly had not noticed that I was holding my head at a different angle than normal until he pointed it out. It supposedly can happen randomly and other than being painful isn't that serious. The Dr prescribed muscle relaxers and a few days rest.

The second day I was very worried I was sleeping a ton because apparently the pills just knocked me out but when I was awake I would feel loopy but still in pain. I woke up today with a lingering stiffness but I can now mostly move my neck. Some positions are still pretty painful and it gets worse if I forget to take my pills but I can really tell it is improving.

I was feeling lucky that my dogs are willing to be so flexible for me. Normally I get up between 6am-9am every morning, The past few days I have gotten up between 11am-2pm. Because even walking would cause my neck to hurt I haven't walked them or really done anything other than cuddle them for the past three days. Sadie is loving the naps and cuddles but it really isn't Simon's thing. He would much rather be off on an adventure or playing or anything active but he has been very good and hasn't even tried to destroy the house.

A lot of husky people would tell you that having a year old husky that is used to a fair amount of exercise and mental stimulation every day and asking him to be a couch potato for a long weekend is almost impossible. Thankfully Simon is not most huskies and is being a good nanny. I know that as soon as I feel up to it our first walk or training secession is going to be full of husky energy but for now they are both being fantastic and I couldn't ask for more.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Today did not go as planned

I am not sure what is up with the blogging every day now I just keep finding time I want to sit down and write. Don't worry I am sure I wont make a habit of it.

Today didn't go as planned in almost every way.

I woke up late with a sore back a stuffy nose and a phone full of texts about work hours before I wanted to think about it. The day has progressed into taking Simon for a walk that I couldn't hold his focus or get his attention for a second of. That might be a bit of an exaggeration but not much of one. So at the end I felt frustrated and didn't enjoy the walk nearly as much as I normally do. Also it left me feeling disconnected to the dog I normal feel can almost hear my thoughts. Not that I always like what he does with that information but at least there is normally a connection there.

I got to work and a few hours later had one of the worst migraines that I have ever had. Mix that with they are deep cleaning the whole building and you can't help but smell bleach. They aren't even bleaching the room I was in there was a wall and a door between me and I still spent the afternoon feeling motion sick while sitting still and trying to convince my body not to throw up. My eyes stung the room spun and I had to take a quick break and hug my dogs to keep it all together.

 When I got home I was told I smelled like bleach so some how it got through the closed door. unfortunately this migraine was long lasting and I am still feeling the effects of it. Thankfully it has gotten less painful but the room is still spinning.

But on the positive side my bike is back from the shop and the unusually warm weather means I can start using it. Nik was willing to bring me my migraine meds at work and take care of dinner so I could just curl up into a ball and rest, And they should be done with cleaning that part of the building so the chemical smell shouldn't be as bad tomorrow.

Also apparently Sadie missed me when I was gone today and that always makes you feel good to me missed.

Here is hoping that tomorrow goes better.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Stone Fox

With the big group of 6th graders.
One of my good friends works at an elementary school helping teach kids to read and they are currently reading the book "Stone Fox". It is about a young boy racing in a dog sled race to save his grandfather's farm. She asked me if Simon and I could come in and talk to the kids about sled dogs and dog sledding and Siberian huskies. I of course said yes Simon is great with kids but it's always nice to have positive experiences with kids to remind him how wonderful they are.

After I told her we would be happy to come she asked the teachers if any of there classes that were also reading the book if they would like to have Simon come too. We ended up speaking with about 40 6th graders and a small group of five 5th graders.

Showing his dog sledding harness. 

It went very well I talked about the history of the breed and the history of dog sledding while Simon sat in a chair. Then we got to the part the kids liked best asking questions and meeting Simon. We took that as a chance to go over how to polity ask someone if you could pet there dog and how to be respectful to dogs in general. Simon did a great job he was pretty good and staying in his chair and letting me talk and he loved having kids line up to pet him.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Some set backs.

Last Sunday we started the other basic class that I am just taking with Simon I plan to take it later with Sadie. I had to go there straight from work on the plus side they are at the same place. Simon who has been doing great in the other class and on our adventures together surprised me and was pretty terrible.  Now I know I had very high expectations of him and after thinking about it a little bit I am not surprised he found the situation challenging.

The first thing that come to my mind is that for our Wednesday class he normally has time to relax and be calm before we leave the house. Because on Sunday we have to go straight from work which he finds super exciting so he was super excited from the start. Another factor is the Simon normally goes to that building for Daycare so he is used to getting to play and be hyper there he is not used to having to be calm and listen. Some of the other thing I think were making the situation more difficult for Simon are that the other class is a lot of dogs in a large building so you can have your own space. In this situation it was almost the same number of dogs in a much smaller space. Also there were a few reactive dogs who were very vocal and would lunge or bark and howl and Simon got very excited when that happened. Normally if we were at the other class I would move away from the excited dog till Simon is at a distance that he can focus and relax. But because of the smaller space that wasn't really an option. 

I felt pretty disappointed in how Simon behaved but once I thought about it and realized how difficult it must have been for him I saw it in a new light. This new training is going to be a good way to up the difficultly for Simon in a different situation. I just need to work the behaviors at home or in other less difficult situations.