Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


If it's Monday it must be obedience

So we went to week 8 of novice obedience school tonight.  Katie is much more comfortable in class now, as long as those other dogs and all those other people don’t get too close.  She’ll even stand for exam and let strangers touch her as long as I’m at the other end of the leash.

She was perfect on her sits and downs tonight.  We had a substitute teacher who did lots of distracting things.


Like putting a piece of cheese on the floor in front of each dog.  I  knew we were safe there as Katie won’t take treats from anyone but me.  Still, I was proud of her for not moving or even looking at it.  She was staring at me because “The lady was sort of close Mom!”

And on the long downs the lady walked back and forth in front of the dogs squeaking toys and throwing them around.  She walked behind dogs too, which I knew would totally freak Katie out…but the good news is that Katie had scooted back so far there wasn’t any room for the lady to walk behind her…so she sat still as a mouse while the lady marched back and forth in front of her.  Katie never took her eyes off of me.  I guess she knows she’s safe as long as she can see me.  That might be a problem if we ever progress past novice and I have to leave the room during the sits and downs.  But for now as long as we concentrate on each other we’re cool.

I think.



Just overwhelmed

Here it’s only Tuesday and I’m already overwhelmed.  I had an hour between work and community band rehearsal tonight and I sat in the car and watched people coming and going from the grocery store wishing I just had grocery shopping to do.    Sometimes getting to rehearsal seems so hard, but once I’m there I’m usually glad I went.  But not tonight.  Tonight we got all new music for our last concert which is in 6 weeks.  I didn’t like any of it, and it all looks like a lot of work.  And I’m too tired to think about it.

Last night Katie and I went to school.  The instructor is getting more accepting of us, and occasionally we get a “good job with the Sheltie.”  But we also still get “the Sheltie is lagging!”  Which of course she is.  I think it has more to do with where my shoulder is than a problem with Katie.  It’s hardly ever the dog’s fault you know.    She did great on her sits and downs this week; last week she kept lying down on the sits.  But her recalls were really horrible.  She’d come when I called, but she’d run past me and hide behind my legs.  She was worried about the shadows from the overhead lights, though they are the same as they’ve always been.  She didn’t like the conformation class in the next ring because one of the little hairless something or others kept squealing.  I didn’t like that noise either.  The highlight of my whole week so far is that Katie allowed the instructor to touch her on the stand for exam! 🙂

So that’s my week in a nutshell so far…on day two.  Tomorrow night I have book club and I haven’t finished the book yet.  Guess that’s not going to happen.  But dinner and conversation that doesn’t revolve around work or the dog will be good!

Hope everyone else is having a great week!  I’m with Carol…no more talk about snow!


Weekend extra extra…by Katie the Sheltie

Hi everyone, Katie here.  My Mama says I can write this blog about my weekend adventure because she’s too tired after spending the weekend grocery shopping and doing laundry and cooking and stuff.

See, yesterday after she spent the whole afternoon with Daddy’s Aunt Vi, shopping for clothes and food and such she got home ready to put her feet up.  She said they hurt.  But Daddy said I had been a very good dog all day (that’s mostly cuz I napped all afternoon while waiting for my Mama to come home)  and Mama should take me to the park! The PARK?! Yes Mama..that’s a VERY GOOD IDEA.  I got all excited and I don’t know why Mama was glaring at Daddy and telling him to shush up!

Well you know us sheltie-girls….once an idea about going to the park is in our pretty little heads…well…we’re pretty persuasive.   And you also know what a pushover Mama is.  So guess what?  We went exploring..just Mama and me.  Daddy stayed home.  I think he had his feet up but I’m not going to tell Mama that.

And you know what else?  My favorite park in the whole world was open!  It closes for the winter, but the gates were open yesterday so we went there!  And we had it all to ourselves!  There was still ice on the pond…but we heard red winged blackbirds calling..and even more special…we heard FROGS PEEPING!!!!  How cool is that!

Everything is still brown, but that’s ok.

Lots of good sniffings anyway, no matter what color the fields are.

We walked around the whole thing.  I don’t know how far that is, but I’m sure it’s over a mile.  Maybe lots more.  Hard to measure when you’re busy checking everything out.

I was pretty good.  I even did some heeling for Mom.  The only way she could get that picture was of our shadow.  Don’t we look good!?  OK…so maybe my butt was out too far and stuff…but I was paying attention to Mama and that’s what counts?  Right?  Right?

Anyways…we had a whole lot of fun and Mama even forgot her feet hurt.  She’s glad she went to the park with me, and I’m awfully glad we got to spend some time together when she wasn’t grumpy.  (You know she’s been sort of grumpy mad for awhile now, right?)

Mama’s cooking in the kitchen now, and humming along with the show tunes playing on the TV.  She said it’s fun to guess what show the song is from before she looks to see if she’s right.  I think that walk in the park did a lot for her spirits.

Glad to be of assistance.

-Your gal Katie…


Wrong class

I decided Katie and I needed to go back to school, in order to get that last leg of Rally that she needs to earn her Novice Rally title.  But it’s so hard to find a class I can get to while working full time almost an hour away.  So tonight I decided to take her to a drop in class of novice obedience.  I figured we could work on our heeling and get ourselves ready to try for that last Rally leg.

Except I read the schedule wrong.  And got myself registered for Open Obedience..which is a drop in class, but they are doing stuff we’ve never done.  Like dropping on our recalls…and jumping over stuff to get a dumbell that we don’t even own…

The class started out with the long sits and downs…the very first thing was a 5 minute down with the owners out of the room.  Poor Katie.  She went into her down and then watched me leave with sad brown eyes.  I told the instructor we had never done this without me being in the room, so he let me go back out after a couple of minutes.  She was much less stressed.  This was my first indication I was no longer in a novice class.

Regardless, she did the five minute down and the 3 minute sit without moving.  Good girl!

But heeling?  Well, that’s the reason we need to be back in school for sure!  The instructor honed right in on us and gave me quite a few tips.  Katie didn’t like him and tried to hide behind me every time he was near.  Which didn’t help our figure eights either.

And when I turned around after crossing the ring for our first recall I couldn’t even SEE Katie because a big German Shepard was playing with his Mom, his rear end in front of her and his tail slapping Katie in the face.  And she was sitting there stoically waiting for me to call her!  As soon as I opened my mouth, before I even called her she was on her way to me.  And she didn’t stop and sit in front of me like she was supposed to; she ran around behind me to hide.  Poor puppy.

After that it was pretty much downhill.  The instructor politely suggested that perhaps we weren’t ready for Open.  No kidding.  I thought I was in Novice!  Next week I need to try to get there at 6:30 when the Novice class is running…rather than 7:30 when I THOUGHT novice was happening!

Katie say…”GEE MOM!  What did you get me into anyway?!”  She’s sleeping now.  Probably having nightmares!


Training Challenge # 9

For our challenge this week Katie and I went on a photo shoot.  Our tiny little town is having what they call Heritage Days this weekend.  For a couple of weeks now I’ve noticed scarecrows, each wearing a different outfit being placed along the road heading out of town.  First one, then another.  Then last night I was at the library and saw a picture of “their” scarecrow, dressed as a woman reading a book.  Turns out local groups and businesses dressed scarecrows, complete with pumpkin heads and entered them in a contest.  They are all numbered and you get to vote for your favorite.

During the weekend there were tours of a local historic barn, houses and other historical sights.  Early Saturday morning the downtown was getting ready for the tourists, setting out sidewalk sale stuff, sweeping the walk, watering the planters.  Everyone was very busy as Katie and I strolled by.

Katie and I went early that morning, because I love taking pictures in the early morning sun…and because Katie was already awake;  she’d been barking at the sound of duck hunters on a nearby lake since 7 a.m.

The challenge for Katie was to sit quietly while all sorts of activity was going on around her.  Lots of cars and trucks driving by, up close and personal.  Many of them had extra noisy trailers hooked up behind, hauling trackers, antique and new, up to the big barn at the top of the hill.

Those trailers were the worst for Katie to sit through; they make so much noise!  And a few times she just couldn’t handle it and would lunge and bark.  But for the most part she sat when I asked her to, though her head was swiveling around keeping track of all the people and traffic.

I took pictures of her sitting near some of the scarecrows or in front of pretty displays.  She got to sit next to her very own tractor.  It took a bit of persuasion for her to sit so near that tractor tire!

You can almost see the scarecrow sitting on the tractor seat.  The sun was just moving over the top of a building and the light kind of obliterates his head…anyway Katie is prettier and a better focus.

Here’s the library staff’s contribution to the contest…

…and the one in front of our local yoga and meditation studio…

…and Lady Harriet Heritage herself!

…where Katie says “GEE MOM!!!  How many more of these do I have to sit for?  And can I have another piece of CHEESE?”

All done now sweetie….wait…how about one more!  In front of the historic Candle Factory!  This will be my FAVORITE!

All in all, though she wasn’t perfect, she did sit when I asked her, most of the time, and only lunged at two trucks.  Well, maybe three.  She isn’t as good at heeling when we’re around all this interesting stuff and lots of people, so we need more practice there.  And of course we always need practice not barking and lunging at cars.  So we’ll be doing more of this.

Meanwhile, I hope you all enjoyed a beautiful weekend!  Katie sends kisses.



My reunion with Katie was something of a disappointment.  I waited patiently in my reading corner for Katie and her Dad to return from the kennel and  I was excited when I heard them drive up.  Katie wandered around the kitchen for just a moment, then ran right over to me.  But instead of jumping on me with welcoming kisses she dropped into a “down” and began to bark at me.  Her little yips were hoarse and I’m guessing she barked pretty much the whole week she was in the kennel.  She wouldn’t let me touch her; each time I reached out she backed away and commenced to barking again.  So I sat still and let her decide on her own what to do about me.  She ran up to her Dad when he came in as if to say “There’s this LADY over there Dad but don’t worry, I’m taking care of her!”

Husband said the kennel told him Katie had been very good.  She liked their bed; apparently some dogs preferred to sleep on the floor.  Well of COURSE she liked the bed, this is Katie, the princess who hogs as many pillows as she can, even if she’s already on the couch.  And they said she had to “think” about things before she’d follow or go with any of them.  But once she decided she wanted to go outside she’d be happy to go.  That sounds so much like our little stubborn, mind-of-her-own, Katie girl!

This evening Katie and I went for a walk in her favorite park while we got reacquainted and bonded again.  I think she’s over her initial suspicion but she sure is barky!  I’m used to peaceful evenings filled with reading, napping, swimming …not the constant barking of a Sheltie recently home.  I think she had free reign to bark as much as she wanted in the kennel and she’s not yet quite under control.  Not even close.  But that’s OK…we can start training again.

As long as she’ll give up on her grudge against a wayward mama.


Katie and her Mom reboot

Well I probably over reacted to Katie’s shutdown last night.  Today she seems pretty normal.  We went on a walk in the subdivision, something we hardly ever do, as I prefer taking her to a park where I don’t have to worry about cars.  But this morning I wanted to do something fun and quick and easy; something with which she had no associated fears.

She was happy happy happy to go for a walk!  We moved along and I said a lot of “Leave it! Let’s go!” which worked fine, just like in school.  Once in awhile, maybe a total of three times I brought her in closer to me and we did a one step heel and sit, which she did with only a tiny bit of hesitation.  She didn’t want the treats I brought with me –  not a high enough quality for the princess you know.  Treat refusal is also a sign she’s a bit anxious, but she did what I asked and I gave her lots of praise, and more importantly let her go sniff a mailbox post or two as a reward.  Then we’d be off again.

After her walk I went out for a 3 mile run/walk.  It was hot.  But it went well. This is the longest distance I’ve gone since I fractured my foot in October of 2008!!!  Once I was back home Katie licked the salt off my knees, and now she’s curled up in a happy nap.

Obviously she doesn’t hate me anymore.


More obedience.

Katie and I went to another drop in competitive obedience class, this one right across the freeway from the airport, last night.  Since I was away almost 6 weeks and Katie didn’t get to go to school during all that time I’m trying to make up to her and go as often as we can.  She had fun, mostly, and was pretty close to perfect, in her own Katie kind of way.   Except on the long down when, as I was walking away a plane went by low and loud overhead at the same time the thunder started.  When I turned around, on the other side of the ring, Katie was right behind me…looking sheepish, but scared.  Poor baby, I couldn’t yell at her.

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But guess what?  She did TWO stand-for-exam exercises for two different instructors and didn’t move her feet at all!!

You go Katie-girl!

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What Katie loves

We’ve been challenged by the Key West Collies Essex and Deacon ( to come up with ten things Katie loves.  I think we’ll try to come up with ten things Katie loves about going to school.

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1.  Treats.  Lots and lots and lots of treats.  Fresh chicken.  Roast beef.  Cheese.  Yum!

2.  The car ride to school.  With the windows down so she can get a breeze in her face.

3.  The place all the doggies go pee.  Such lovely fresh smells!

4.  Doggie butts.  Need I say more?

5.  Ignoring her mama and vacuuming the floor for any spare treats anyone else dropped.  Just in case.

6.  Looking at herself in the mirror.  Because she’s such a princess you know.

7.  Making goo goo eyes at that little brown aussie named Charlie.

8.  Jumping.  Over any kind of jumps those silly humans can devise.

9.  Tunnels.  Oh tunnels are soooo much fun!

10.  Getting told how pretty she is.  In case she didn’t already know.

I’m supposed to ask ten of our closest dog friends to think about 10 things they love…but I don’t think I have ten dog friends that haven’t already been asked by Essex and Deacon…so if any of you want to jump at the chance to share your favorite things…well, Katie and I would enjoy reading about them!

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