Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Shameless bragging, a BBPIS win and a new Champion

So we had an awesome party on Saturday but more on that later (with pictures)...

For now I just want to shamelessly brag about my dogs and their recent accomplishments in the show ring. 

Ruffi went to her first show at the end of July.  She is the type of puppy that self taught herself to be a show dog.  I put the show lead on her and she knew exactly what to do.  It's so weird to have a dog like that.  Many Clubs are offering a Baby Puppy class for puppies under six months of age.  She was a week or so shy of that magic date so I thought the baby puppy class would be a perfect opportunity to give her a no pressure and hopefully positive first ring experience. 

I think we'll call it mission accomplished.  Never in my wildest dreams did we expect to bring home Best Baby Puppy in Show.  Really looking forward to the future with this smart and sassy girl.  I love our big orange ribbon, she adores her alligator toy that came with it. 

I edited myself out since this is a very public website but it was me who handled her!

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My next brag is about my good friend Jen and her boy Bucky.  He is Jen's first show dog and they learned how to compete in conformation together.  Their journey started with a bang but like most it had a few bumps along the way.  What that has meant for me is having the best dog show buddy I could ever ask for.  Showing dogs is so much better when you have a good friend to do it with. 

Conformation itself is an intimidating and dare I say; an extremely frustrating sport to be introduced and involved in.  You are at the mercy of someone's subjective opinion and unfortunately that can mean many things.  In our breed it is much harder to finish wholecolours than particolours, and newbie handlers can easily be overlooked for experienced ones.  All part of the game and yet we enjoy it, and even worse end up bitten by that darn show bug!

Needless to say I am thrilled to introduce Champion Embee's The Winter Soldier, owned, handled and adored by Jen and Erik.  He finished the point requirements at his and Jen's favourite hometown show by going Best of Breed over specials, just like his Mom Molly and Brother Loki.  Black and Tans gotta do it in style!

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Super proud of you both!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Importance of Crate Training

Before our puppies are ready to leave on adventures with new owners, I always have their eyes tested by an ophthalmologist.  I do this for my own benefit more than anything but I do feel it is appreciated by their new owner as well.  Mainly I want to know what eye issues (if any) are showing up in my litters and how often they are occurring. It gives me a much clearer picture of the overall eye health of the dogs I am breeding than just testing the parents yearly (which of course we do as well).

My last trip to our wonderful ophthalmologist with puppies resulted in a story I wish to share.

I always strongly encourage my owners to peruse crate training with their puppy.  I do introduce them to a crate here but it is up to the owner to continue moving that training forward.  Most puppies hate it at the beginning, they wine, they howl, they bark, and some will keep you up most of the night.  If you are consistent, use well timed rewards and are super good at ignoring, you soon have a well behaved puppy in a crate.

Mira "Crate training in progress"
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Loki demonstrating some of our crate games

When I have this conversation with new owners about crate training I can often tell that they aren't fully on board.  They listen carefully but aren't really engaged with what I am saying.  Most will go home and give crate training a try, but I think some give up easily or don't bother because they don't see the need.

Sometimes we end up with more than one in the same crate when giving our "go box" command
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Overall the use of a crate seems to be greatly miss understood by most of the pet owning public.  A crate for whatever reason is attached to negative connotations when it should be thought of as a safe place your dog can call its own.

Mylee and Zo taking a time out at a busy picnic
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While at the ophthalmologist an incredibly sweet older collie cross dog was being discharged from having cataract surgery.  He was at least 10 years old and his owner was expressing concern about his welfare to the point of being a bit belligerent with staff.  When they brought his dog out to him instead of being relieved that he was ok, the conflict escalated. 

"I have never been away from this dog for more than a few hours in his entire life."

"Can he see?"

"Does he have to be in SUCH a large cone?!"

Looking down, "His bandage is way too tight, it is making his leg swell!"  (pressure bandage)

And then;  he saw it.   The top of his long collie nose was scraped from just below his eyes right down to almost his nostrils and he also had a scrape on his leg.  The man lost it.  He began to yell at the poor tech who was looking after him.

"How did this happen?!"

"Did you let this happen?!"

"I need to speak to the Dr. RIGHT NOW"

"What the @#$# did you do to him?"

The tech calmly explained to him;  "Sir your dog was extremely stressed while visiting us.   We've had three emergency surgeries today not including your dog.  We had him in a crate to keep him safe while waiting for his surgery but he was barking, thrashing and digging at the door of the crate to get out.  He was becoming extremely agitated and was panting a lot, I was worried that he was going to injure himself in the crate.  I decided to take him out and attach him next to the crate while we worked on other patients nearby.  He was calm if we were was close but very stressed if no one was right beside him.  I think he scraped himself on the bottom of the crate door trying to get free.  I'm very sorry, we did clean it up and put ointment on. It should heal in a few days."

The man's rage grew.


There were a bunch more of sentences after that but it was all I needed to hear to have my heart break on the spot for that sweet senior dog who had never experienced being in a crate.

At almost 6 months old Ruffi is a little lady about going and staying in a crate
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Even Zo is much better about being in a crate than she used to be
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Even if you don't see the point of crate training now for your lifestyle, please don't let your dog end up being like this poor senior.  It's just not fair.  Undergoing a painful surgery and recovery in a strange place, with strange people is enough for any dog to handle in one day.

Introduce a crate early and train it often.  It is a life skill. You may not need it today but you will need it at some point and be thankful for it. 

Our puppies and dogs are crate trained using Crate Games developed by Susan Garrett

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Molly turns 5 and her son becomes a Champion

She's been the very best companion, mouse hunter, cheerio chaser, wubba lovin', face hugging, downright demanding, rain hating, farm girl momma in the entire world, and we love her dearly.

Happy Birthday to our beautiful Molly!

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Her son Loki decided to give his Mom an early birthday present at the Erie Shores show the day before.  On the first day of the show he went Winners Dog and Best of Winners over a decent entry.  On Friday when I thought things couldn't get any better, he finished his Championship by going Best of Breed.

My boy is now formally known as CH. Embee's Mischief Managed, our first home-bred Champion.  So proud of my stinker and his accomplishments.  Along with conformation we've been having a lot of fun doing a foundations agility class, he's fearless and fast!

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Molly finished her Championship in a similar fashion, with a Best of Breed or two. 

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Maybe her naughty daughter Ruffi will be able to do the same thing one day.  For now we're having training discussions about doing doggy business on wet grass (I wonder where she gets that from?!) and trying to convince her that shoes and bowls are not dog toys.

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What shoe?  I don't know what you are talking about! 
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I think we have some more work to do.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Time wasters of the best kind

I've been told I'm a bad blogger lately.  It's true, I am.  Hopefully adorable puppy pictures will make up for our lack of content.

Our Molly kids are 10 weeks old in the next few days.  They've done incredibly well and I've really enjoyed them.  Since the weather has warmed up some, they've been able to spend lots of time outside.

Xandra looking adorable at 4weeksish
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Ruffi and her sweet face.  She is so demanding and sassy already, there is no doubt about who her mother is.
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What's that you are pointing in my face?
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Pretty Secret girl
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Clark, now known as Percy is a true outdoors kind of guy
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Secret looking mischievious
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Zenya alert and ready!
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Ruffi, posing for the camera
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We've also done a lot of evaluations in the last week.  Breeder's are constantly thinking about the future.  We look at which puppies best conform to standard in terms of structure, movement, and type.  We are also always evaluating temperament and thinking about how individual puppies are going to fit into their world.   

With the help of unbiased eyes, Molly's puppies underwent several evaluations with other breeders in the past two weeks.  It's really helpful for me to hear what others think, I know what *I* think, but other viewpoints help form the most realistic picture.  It's impossible to have a breeding program that will move forward and constantly improve, without having unbiased opinions from others. One could argue that it also depends on what you do with those opinions!

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Along with puppies we have been attending our weekly handling classes.  It's been really amazing watching Lolly and Jetta grow up.  I took these photos of them several weeks ago when they were around 5 months old. 

Brinklow Embee Lollipop (was known as Dottie)
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Embee's Jet Black Jellybean (Jetta, was Rodeo), looking pretty balanced for a 5 month old puppy!
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We've also celebrated some more incredible news with our Ebby receiving the results of her MRI scan.  She's matured into such a beautiful girl, and it's an amazing feeling to know that so far she is as healthy as she is pretty.  I really do believe you can have both in this breed.
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And last but not least, I'm hoping to travel to PA for the ACKCSC National Specialty with my sunshine boy.  We have a few other factors to consider before making our final decisions about travelling, but hoping for the best.  Very excited to see so many gorgeous dogs in one spot, visit with old friends, and make some new ones.
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Have a wonderful Easter Weekend.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

When you can't win, join in

There is only one way to beat the winter blues, get out and have some fun... even if the snow is over your head.

Stretch girl!
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Loki is our brave snow diver, he'll charge through the drifts to get to pretty much anything
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I got it!
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So proud of himself, what a silly happy face
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Zozo says, let me in on the action too!
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Our pretty frisbee loving girl
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Snow everywhere, but LOOK at his beautiful topline and neck
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This is hard work!
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Flying black and tan boy
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Looking and feeling very proud of himself
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Our pretty Momma didn't want to join in, I can't blame her
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Please let me in
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I've got little ones to look after!
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We've celebrated and introduced Molly's puppies to some important Canadian winter sports
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Worked really hard to get eyes open in time to watch the game
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Mastered it!
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Now we're working on adorable factor
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But I don't think that is going to take long,
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To more adventures ahead.

Also check out Our Family page that is now live.  So proud of our puppies! 

ps: we need some more pictures to add to the gallery ;)