Saturday, November 22, 2008

missing them

I did a last minute booking and will be leaving on Monday to China. Again, this is a very difficult and emotional trip to visit my poorly brother.
Thank God I have so many lovely friends who offer to help looking after the boys for me. As usual, the big boys will be staying with Jim & Joan during the day and come home in the evening, so Colin can take them out walking after he comes back from work. Mmmmm ... more late night walks for the boys (Colin don't usually back home til 9pm)!! Sizzle will be staying with Eleanor this time, hopefully he will learn to get on with children. I know Sophie can't wait to have him and he has Smokey and Trouble to play with!
We took the boys out for a good long walk in the Common this morning. Brrrrrr ...It is freezing cold, we have some sunshine here and there but it is not warm enough! The weatherma said the wind comes from the North and forecast for snow tonight!! Yipee!!!
I am MISSING all my good boys already!!

the boys with their daddy
the happy bunch

the evil pairs!

the one I am missing the most!!! My LOVER BOY!!
I feel very sorry for him as I have been leaving him twice within 8 weeks. I do not like to leave my puppy until they are about two years old but I know this is the most difficult time in my life and I have no choice but to be with my brother. I know Sizzle is a bit confused and he started to "back off" from me for the last couple of weeks, hopefully he will get to settle down again when I come back from China.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Richmond Park walk

I decided not to go to C Side today eventhough I always enjoy the show very much. I am waiting to visit my brother in China very soon so I just wanted to spend more times with the boys and Colin before I leave them again. A good long walk is what I really want now!
We have Russell and Kyung Yeon to join us for the walk, it turn out to a five hours long walk! All the boys are very tired now, including Colin!! They are going to have a good sleep tonight!!

I am very proud of my well behaved boys

The KNIGHTs Shelties Christmas Tree

Colin found this ballon and tie it on Seagull, he was happy to carry it around and looks very cute!!

we always take the boys to the big lake so Sing can have a good swim.
Sing is a great swimmer as well as a great diver.
I just love this photo of him diving!! Such a great diver!
I wonder how many shelties are like him, crazy about water!!

prepare to take off!

for some strange reason, this photo makes me think he looks like an alligator!!!

Skye loves swimming too!!

he can go a distance now, very brave little merlie

Titan is always wild, he likes the challenge from the Swans

five hours is a long walk and these three people went a bit crazy at the end of the walk, they decided they want to catch leaf to entertain themselves!!!

which one should I catch?

Kyung Yeon catch with style

Saturday, November 15, 2008

catch me if you can

Sorry, these are some silly photos taken this morning. Other than foxes and squirrels, Sing likes to chase crows, he taught Sizzle to chase crows too. These crows sometimes can be very naughty, they know the dogs are never going to get them, so they fly really low and tease them and when we all think the dogs are going to get them, they fly high again!!!
big brother almost get the crow!

new kid on the block ... so close

you can see Sing and Sizzle always in the front

at least this photo show the front view!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

teaching Sizzle to SHY

This has been a very WET autumn so far. I can't do much training in the garden as it is very wet and soggy most of the time, so I have to think of some new tricks to teach the dogs to keep their mind occupy.
This week's trick is SHY, Saturn and Sing have both master this trick; Skye and Titan are doing alright; so I am focusing on Sizzle. Normally to begin with, I will either try to blow into their face or put a sticky tape on their nose. Saturn, Titan and Skye are the blow type, so that made it easy to teach them. Sing and Sizzle needed a lot more hardwork. The sticky tape didn't work on Sing but last year I discovered a new way of teaching him, to put a piece of willow tree leaf on his nose, that works for him.
I have tried sticky tape, leaf, a piece of string and other stuff to put on Sizzle's nose but he just shocked it off instead of using his paw. He really is a little crazy monster, I have to keep laughing while teaching him this trick (he is fun to teach! a real character!). I guess he was frustrated that I tried to put all sort of things on his nose and he bark and bark and bark and bark and bark (at me)! It did take us a while to get him to use his paw and to understand the paw movement is what I am asking for.
I am pretty sure he understands SHY now:
Look! I know how to SHY

... roll over and SHY on my right ...

... and roll over to the other side and SHY on my left!
and mummy said I am a clever little monkey!!

here is the little video:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bully Boy, Lover Boy, Happy Boy

Sizzle becomes quite a puller when I walk him on the pavement lately, when he sees a bird, he pulls to chase it; when he sees a motorbike vroom by, he pulls to chase it; he also pulls when we stand by the ringside watching other dogs doing agility ... that makes him choke on the lead. This is the least thing I want it to happen to my dogs. The other five boys are as good as gold when they are on the lead, I must have trained them so well. I didn't restrain Sizzle's behaviour as much as I did with the others, I want him to show more of his personality, especially the naughty side of him.
The only way to stop him from pulling is HARNESS. Funnily enough, everytime I put the harness on him, he hardly pull, so now he inherited Titan's BULLY BOY harness! When I first bought the Bully Boy harness, I thought that really suits Titan, he was very naughty and always bullied the others when we went out walking. Since Sizzle joined the family, he seems to take over Titan's role!
my first generation of BULLY BOY - Titan

These two always play fight and Titan is the all time winner!!
the NEW BULLY BOY - Sizzle


well, the other side of this bully boy is LOVER BOY

do you think he really is a LOVER BOY?

he maybe a BULLY BOY sometimes, a possible LOVER BOY but he definitely is a HAPPY BOY!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

motivational toys

I have been trying very hard to encourage/teach Sizzle to tug, well, every since the first day he came home but he nevers is a keen tugger. He will tug if he feels like it but that is not what I want. I want him to be able to tug/hang on to the toy when I show it to him.
When he was much younger, some people told me him being so dante and in the teething stage, tugging will hurt him, so leave it a bit later, so I listen to their advice. After he finised teething, I tried again, with various toys ... rope, rugs, sock, fleece ... anything you name it, I have tried it but he still show no interest in tugging.
I then read on Sara's blog ( a few weeks ago, she got Oreo this very nice "bunny fur tug" motivational toy from Cleanrun. That looks very interesting, so I thought I will get him one to try on, maybe with this rabbit fur, he might show interest and wanted to chase it. Unfortunately Cleanrun is out of stock, so I looked around and decided to choose these similar toys for him:
I keep these toys for training, so they are totally out of sight. When these toys arrived from America last week, I showed him the Ralphine Tug, he was so interested and started to chase and tug with it (eventhough he still prefers me to throw the toy so he can retrieves it). We play for 10 minutes and I quickly hide it away, so he doesn't know where I keep it.
I went back to Pachesham this morning for my weekly training, gosh! I didn't realised I have been away for 6 weeks and the boys were very keen, which is a good thing. Since there were only 3 students in the first class including me, so we finished off a little early so me and the other lady can do a bit with our puppies. Her red merle Border Collie puppy Skipper is a full grown dog (11 months old today), so much bigger than Sizzle, very bouncy and they have already started their puppy agility class at Pachesham.
We did some jump, jump, tunnel, jump, jump (just jump wings and poles on the ground for the babies), didn't we all enjoy it, both Skipper and Sizzle flew around the course with a lot of enthusiasm. I am very pleased with Sizzle, he didn't show any sign of nerves in the new environment and I just like his little wildness flying around the course eventhough most of the time I handled him wrong (basically I moved too fast when I should stand still!!!). Oh dear! He is a little too fast for me!! I love seeing him enjoy his training, he is a clever little man and he learns very fast.
Sizzle learns how to tug with his ralphine tug

he definitely prefers RETRIEVE

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

all well now

Sizzle is now back to his bouncy naughty self! What a great relieve! He started to eat quite a bit on Sunday and kept all the food down, there were no vomitting or diarrhoea since. I still give him 4 small meals a day for him to catch up what he have lost. He didn't do any poo all day yesterday and I was getting very anxious again but this morning, he did a solid/firm one and you don't believe how happy I was! Am I easily satisfied by just a tiny good poo? If you know what I went through last week, YES, I am easily satisfy by this silly thing!
Since the first day he came home, he is sleeping on our bed with us at night. This little monkey is his "recent" nightime cuddly toy. He has quite a few plush toys and he would like to change them from time to time. Sorry, quality of the picture is not good as it was taken with my mobile. A cute picture can never wait.
I need to post this picture of Saturn. He looks sooooooooo content. He is the sweetest dog!

Monday, November 03, 2008

a ray of sunshine

My poor little sunshine was seriously ill for the last few days. I didn't know what went wrong with him but he was vomitting and diarrhoea. At first, I put it down to the nerves from the fireworks. I took him out last Sunday night for his "bedtime" toilet, while he is in the middle of doing his poo, a rocket firework landed a few yards in front of him, we both jump! As you can guess, he was so frightened and never wanted to go out in the garden when it turns dark. He looked a bit miserable last Monday and I put it down to the stress from fireworks. (Before then, he was absolutely fine with the fireworks whether he is inside or outside the house and I can understand if a firework lands in front of you ... gosh! I don't want to go out in the dark either!) He then looked alright on Tuesday and Wednesday, we even went to Nancy for a bit of training on Wednesday morning. He was happy little boy at Nancy and we did a bit of the foundation works and I was so excited that I have something to work on him. But then, on Wednesday evening, he started to look poorly, he didn't want to eat (well, he is not a great eater, so it didn't bother me) and spent most of the time sleeping. On Thursday morning, he had a tiny bit to eat and we went to the Common for a long walk. I remembered it was a lovely autumn morning and we were walking all over the places. The first hour he was alright, he was running with the other boys and chasing crows/birds as usual, then he started to vomit and it got worst and worst within the next half an hour, I have to rush them back to the house so I can take him to the vet. By the time we got home, he vomit violently with a lot more diarrhoea.
The vet kept him in to check on him and I went to pick him up in the evening. He then went back in again on Friday morning and left him there and picked him up again in the evening. He wasn't eating anything at all for the last two days and he looked tired and exhausted. Then, on late Friday night, he started to bark at me, I was very shocked but was very happy. I have been missing his little bark bark. I tried to offer him some chicken, fish, roast beef, anything as long as he wanted to eat, he picked the roast beef and had a little of them. Thank God, he kept that down and no vomitting at all since!
On Saturday morning, we were back to the vet again, Kevin was very happy with him, check his temperature and dehydration level, all normal. I tried to feed him every couple of hours, he ate very little, mostly refused to eat. Suddenly at 10:30pm on Saturday night, he showed his naughty sign!! He brought me a toy and bark at me very loudly, he wanted me to throw the toy for him to fetch! Ah! What a relieved!
On Sunday morning, he ate two pieces of roast beef and he kept all of them down! WooHoo!!
this is my little sunshine when he was ill. He spent most of the time sleeping on the couch.
Yesterday, we went to Toni Dawkins Training Day, organised by the ESSC Working Section. I always enjoy Toni's TD. She is a fantastic trainer and I have learned a few useful things from her TDs.
I was working Sing & Saturn but mostly with Sing.
I wanted to do a lot of weave training with Sing as I know that is our weakest part. I have to say I am very pleased with Sing on the weave, he was fast and enthusiasn, I cannot believe he weave so fast too. He has never weave in that speed before in any of our trainings and I was amazed he was keen and putting in a lot of effort. I also need to tighten up his turns. I have noticed that the faster he goes, the wider he turns, so we need to work on that. I think we only have ONE gear (either very fast or very slow)at the moment, I need to make sure he has at least TWO gears. Sing is alwyas a very reliable dog, always a clear round for him but he didn't show his speed, he is not a slow dog but we all know that he can run much faster. When I came back from China and went to Shrewsbury, he was a lot faster and keener. I wonder should I rest him more to get the best out of him?
I did all the contacts with Saturn as I know Sing can handle the contacts with no problem at all. At first, I didn't put the target down for him and he was slow coming down the A Frame, he nearly creep all the way down, so I make sure I show him the target at the bottom. He was very different when he knew there is a target waiting, no hesitation at all. We also did some jumping but I lost him most of the time ... when he is fast and I cannot keep up with him, I always in the wrong position and he don't know where to go. We have so much to practise on! To end the training day, we did a longer sequence with contacts in it and Toni placed the target at the bottom of the A Frame for me, so Saturn was not aware there is the target there and I was expecting he will creep down the A Frame but he didn't, he went straight down with his perfect 2o/2o, not even notice the target (with food) is there!! I think we are getting there if we practise more! There you go, winter projects!
I am very happy with the boys' performance, especially with Sing when I know he can run so much faster and weave so much better. I hope we won't stay too long at Grade 5 next year!

This is Brodie (loved and owned by Rhoda), he and Sizzle are 3/4 brothers, same sire (CH Shelridge Wishmaster) and same grandfather from their dam side (Blenmerrow Barnaby). These two are nearly identical, they looks so similar in most of their markings but Brodie is much bigger boy.

This is Toni, showing us what a perfect contact is!
The other bit of the good news is ... the doctor in China said they will probably get a match liver for my brother, so the operation is going ahead, hopefully sometimes next week. This mean, I am off again soon.