Almost Wordless Wednesday: Magnus The Brave Vs. Princessface Little Red Riding Hood

"It's hard to be tough when it's freezing cold outside!"


Updates and Other Miscellaneous News

After all of the wonderful encouragement you all gave me in your comments after my string of that kind of days several changes happened. Some I chose, some that were just necessity. So an update seems in order.

Some of you may know I had the exciting privilege to write a guest post for Fearfuldogs Blog. I want to thank Debbie Jacobs for giving me the opportunity to share Maizey’s story on her blog. It is a wonderfully written and informative blog and I was honored to have a share in it. If you haven’t read it before it is well worth a regular read.

In other blog related news I updated our Who We Are page. It took me a while because it meant changing Meeka’s information and I just haven’t been able to face that. But I hadn’t added Magnus and he certainly deserves some explanation! Keep an eye out on that page as I hope to add a page with the story of each of my 4legged friends in the near future.

Many are already following our story using the Google Friend Connect Followers widget. For all you google, blogger and blogspot users I hope this is a good way to keep up with the blog.

Now you can also follow with through Networked Blogs using your Facebook profile. If you have a blog and a are part of Facebook Networked Blogs is a really cool tool to connect with other bloggers. I have thus far stayed off Facebook and Twitter, but am considering adding FB and Twitter like/share buttons. Do you regular readers find that helpful or fun to use those sites in your blogging?

In training news changes are also happening. Due to unexpected scheduling conflicts I had to postpone finishing Magnus’ Agility for Fun class. I am disappointed, but it is the best choice for the whole family right now.

Thankfully Astrid and the other wonderful trainers at Calling All Dogs are going to let us make up our last four classes the next time the class is available. I really want to say a special thanks to all of them, I am so glad we found such a great place, with generous trainers to work with.

In the meantime I am going to refocus on polishing up the new Training Levels. Maizey has completed level one and is mostly done with level two. Magnus will be finishing up level one and starting level two. I hope to do video’s of them both, but with all the “real life” I have going on around here I am not making promises on that one.

Generally our life, like many of yours, is a roller coaster ride, but even roller coasters have their thrills. Especially when it comes to the dogs the thrills keep rolling in, even if I do have to adjust my expectations and plans. So as the next year rolls around it will be fun to see what it brings in ups and downs, to share it with you all, and to read all of your stories of progress.


A String of One of Those Days

Where to start?

As you may have noticed from the conspicuous lack of training posts lately I am in a training slump. Actually when it comes to life I am in a slump.

This is never a good time of year for me, but this year it seems to even be affecting my motivation with the dogs. Being unmotivated to train rarely happens to me, so maybe that’s why it’s unsettling.

It is especially bothersome since Magnus is at a critical stage before and entering the dreaded adolescence and I need to be giving him a better foundation than I am.

We have this wonderful opportunity with his Agility for Fun class, and I just don’t feel like I can get up the energy I need to really give it the attention it deserves. It doesn’t help that due to other obligations we had to miss class last week, thus I already feel behind for tomorrows class.

Between health, weather and all the other “real life” distractions I just can’t seem to get it together. Normally the dogs themselves are enough motivation for me to give myself a swift kick in the behind and get going, but even that doesn’t seem to be helping right now.

But enough of the pity party. What I really want to know is what you all do when you get in a slump. I know that probably never happens to the likes of you loyal, dedicated dog handlers, but if it did what would you do? I read about all the great things you all are accomplishing so I know how brilliant you are-so how do you get yourself motivated?


Wordless Wednesday: The Absolute Best Use of Clean Laundry


Princessface Maizey is Bored!

"My life has been so boring lately! My Crazymomlady keeps playing games with this machine thing instead of me! I just have to sit and watch. . ."

"It's taking her so long I decided I better investigate."

"Honestly? I don't know why she thinks this is so fun! There are no click/treats to be had with this stuff!"

"See that machine? My Crazymomlady puts this fabric in it and it chatters and chatters at her. Sometimes she says a word thats not too nice, but she says she's doing it all for me!"

"I mean just look at all this stuff! Can you tell what she making? I keep asking and asking her, but she says we all have to wait and see. . . I say thats just rude!"

"Please I am begging you all, someone please tell her to play games with me? I'm bored!"


Cavalier Query Results: How Big Is Your Dog?

As requested here are the very unscientific findings about Cavalier size from the recent post: How Big Is Your Dog?

Size, Proportion, Substance
Size – Height 12 to 13 inches at the withers; weight proportionate to height, between 13 and 18 pounds. A small, well balanced dog within these weights is desirable, but these are ideal heights and weights and slight variations are permissible.

"Whew! All that math just plum wore us out! Our Crazymomlady is smart, but math is not her strong point. Can you believe she had to use ALL our toes to count?"

13 adult dogs weights ranged from 10 lbs to 20 lbs
Eight females averaged 14.8 lbs
Three males averaged 17.2 lbs

Unscientific Conclusions:
After looking at pics of many of the above mentioned pups I realized that what I thought of as a high weight doesn’t necessarily look heavy on an adult dog.

Pretty much all of us agreed that just two to three pounds can make our pups too heavy. Two pounds on a 12 pound dog like Maizey really makes a difference in the way she looks.

As for the size difference in breeds across the lands, no matter what the actual scientific evidence is, I think we all agreed the trend to breeding extremes in any way can have serious detrimental effects on our 4legged friends.

"You have a question? Well leave us a query and we will answer you cause I'm Magnus the Brilliant!"

But my thoughts on breeding are a whole other post! Thanks for all the response. I thought this was really fun and informative.

Do you have a Cavalier Query? You don’t have to own a Cavalier, maybe you just wonder what this breed is all about. Or perhaps you are considering adding one to you family and have  a question you always wanted answered. Maybe you are already loved by one and like me would like to compare notes.

"I'm more than a pretty princessface ya know! I can answer all your questions!"

Whatever your curiosity is leave it in a comment any time I will make a list and start posting all our questions. If you do leave a question make sure to leave a link or email me privately so I can let you know when your question will be answered. If your question requires a visual aid, please feel free to email me a photo so I can include that.

Small Print:
I did not include Magnus in the figures of this unscientific study since he has not begun to reach an adult weight.


Agility for Fun: Class two: Relationship

“Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well.” - Bonnie Wilcox ‘Old Dogs, Old Friends’

After Magnus’ class Thursday night our instructor, Astrid, asked me how it was going and I said, “Umm. . . Good?”

We had a good laugh but of course they wanted to know what my hesitation was. I commented that my working relationship with Magnus was, “Umm. . . young.”

The other CAD’s instructor said, “Yeah, cause he’s young.”

Funny how the smallest comments can have the biggest impact.

First I should clarify that the class is going great. I am learning so much about clicker use and shaping. Our instructor reassured me that we are doing fine, which I appreciated since I was feeling quite overwhelmed by the end of the class.

What Bonnie Wilcox said is true. When your dog is older your relationship is familiar, comfortable. You know each others abilities and limitations, teaching and learning styles.

A working realationship with a 4legged friend takes time to develop. It takes time to get to know each other outside of the snuggly puppy stage and into the handler/student phase.

(Yes I know the student phase really starts at birth and never ends. We have been learning from each other since day one. But the official training session type of handler/student relationship is different.)

Some are simple and will change with time. At one point I really lost Magnus’ attention and as I was puzzling out why, he clearly let me know, “Crazymomlady it’s potty time!”

A silly thing, but he is just a baby and I need to keep those little things in mind.

Another thing that is likely to change with time: his attentions is short. He needs to work much shorter times with much funner breaks in between. Astrid suggested I count out only 5 treats, leave my treat bag at his mat, go do the exercise and make going back for more treats a game.

Again such a simple solution, but brilliant really. She suggested I pick him up and love him, or play a game of chase back to his mat. Once at his mat I have the option of letting him chill out with a good chew, or doing some Ttouch to relax. I just need to be more creative with his breaks.

I need to have less of a learn A-B-C agenda with him and let the agenda be building our relationship. Now that is an agenda I can get in to!

My other lesson was about comparing him to Maizey. After about my sixth, “but Maizey. . .” comment Astrid asked me if I was comparing him to my other dog.

“Uhhh. . . yes?” was my very reluctant response. I know better than to do that.

I make the comparisons since she is my only frame of reference for how I am doing. I understand why I do it, but it’s still not helpful. Especially in the context of building my relationship with Magnus.

She is not a frame of reference for him at all. Magnus is is own frame of reference for success. He gets to set his own bar. We get to discover what it is together.

The 4legged lesson? The beauty of building relationships is each one gets to be it’s own. Success is not defined by sideways comparisons, it is defined by individuals.