Archive for the 'Writing Dogs' Category

Celebrating Lily: One Year

amywink June 13th, 2013

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Last year on this date, I was headed, with my intrepid long-time friend Kristi, north to Ohio to pick up the Welsh Springer puppy waiting for me in Cleveland. What a great trip and what a great dog that puppy as become. She is doing spectacularly well with her obedience and Canine Good Citizen Classes and is now able to hold it together while I leave the room if she stays with another person. She also holds her down stay very well. She can be public in restaurants and stores with little issue–until someone works to untrain her by being overly friendly, which she loooooooooooves.

But Lily has a lot of other work aside from her original writing dog/carriage dog assignments. She has become an excellent helper dog with many tasks, including making friends with many different dogs of many different styles.

This May, on her big trip to Houston, she made friends with shy Gracie, who was at first very frightened of Lily but eventually Lily charmed her way into a friendship with the little Sheltie mix.
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She also made fast friends with her “cousin” Sable, an 8 year old German Shepherd.
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She especially enjoyed the more vigorous play she could have with her larger companion who seemed equally delighted by her smaller Spaniel friend.dsc_0121.JPG

Lily also made swift friends with a black dog who lead her into her first swim at the dog parkdsc_1695.JPGdsc_1699.JPG

Her newest dog friend is Taipan 3, who arrived at the farm this spring. She has been gently working up to Full Chase with him as he grows.dsc_0381.JPGdsc_0629.JPG

It’s not just dogs, of course, she enjoys making friends with. Will and Blessing seem intrigued by her now and happy to see her as much as horses might want to be friends with a dog.

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And Lily is helping socialize some kittens as well. She prefers the least hissy of the bunch, but she is making headway with everyone.
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But Lily’s biggest excitement this summer is Nose Work. We started in late May and she is having a blast learning to use her nose. After she overcame her initial concerns, she has gotten completely into the game.
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Here’s to a great first year with a truly great dog.

Introvert Person, Extrovert Dog

amywink March 24th, 2013

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Lily made her debut as a true “Austin” dog this weekend with our adventurous trip out to The Mighty Texas Dog Walk. She loved it. Her whole body said “This is absolutely fabulous!” as we approached the venue at Auditorium Shores on Lady Bird Lake.img_3873.jpg She did so well with the crowds of people and was ecstatic at the dogs. Clearly she had no idea such a festival FOR dogs would be possible and it Made Her Day. Now, it is relatively easy to make her day and she often has The Best Day Ever with a relatively small outing or an encounter with a child or a nice walk around the neighborhood. But this event made her extremely happy. She spent most of her time on the actual walk sniffing the ground, which was Much More Interesting that her usual ground.

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Or she was looking at me with this goofy-oh-so-happy-dog face:

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It was a great crowd but I don’t think we broke the record (set at The Great North Dog Walk in the UK). We did have a really good time.

It’s not usually the kind of event that I really go in for, preferring smaller groups of people, but it was completely Lily’s kind of experience. One dog selection book even recommended that introverted people might prefer to find an extroverted dog who might create an acceptable path to more extroverted experiences–though that assumes that one finds being introverted a kind of problem that one might want to overcome (Thanks, I’m actually fine with it). But having a dog that can go places is a treat–having had a dog who Could Not.

While Lily enjoyed the large exciting event, she is also quite happy doing quite things as well and doesn’t always need constant stimulation of a large crowd–and we took some “quiet” breaks for nice lake-side photo sessions.

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Since I have worked with her to make her an acceptable public dog, she’s actually quite a good extrovert dog–able to manage most of her impulses for attention until they are welcome, and thus being easily rewarded for her politeness.

The last time we visited a similar event, a dog agility event, she completely lost her sense of decorum and started to leap on every person she encountered–as if saying “Dog people! Dog people!!” This time, she her feet stayed mainly on the floor except when she was was greeting her dog-peeps from Dog School. By the end of the day, though, she was putting her paws on me and looking at my face with unrestrained happiness, as if to say “This was the Greatest Day. Thank You So MUCH!”

Of course, I was completely happy to have provided her with the day.

Ears of Joy

amywink March 9th, 2013

Practicing with my new camera has lead me to an new appreciation of Lily’s ears. As I worked on learning the settings, figuring out the correct focal length, etc, I captured many amazing shots that capture her sense of joy and excitement. Often she reminds me very much of dancing Snoopy.

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Photography also has been a good tool for dog training. This week, when Lily was Wild in Play, I got out the High Value Treats and did some sit/down training….also known as “posing”
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Of course, when I asked her to get into the flowers, she was reluctant. . . unlike when she is getting into the flowers of her own volition.
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Full disclosure, in this photo above, the adoring look is because I had a piece of pork roast in my hand. But still, lovely pose. Good dog!

We have also registered for The Mighty Texas Dog Walk and we will be practicing for that for the next 3 weeks. I suspect Lily will be ecstatic with the experience and I am happy to get her involved in some “Austin Dog” events.

Progress: Lily and Cookie

amywink February 6th, 2013

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After a couple of carefully orchestrated play dates, Lily and Cookie have developed a good relationship, though we still have issues regarding who’s Special Person I really am. Generally, all seems peaceful as long as we can run and run and run.

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Last Day

amywink December 31st, 2012

On this last day of 2012, here is my list of Best Things of 2012, in no particular order:

Lily
Blessing
Will
Phoebe
Henry
Great American Dog Trip
Riding Lessons
Riding Will
Driving Circles
Riding BB
Learning to drive Blessing’s light mouth
Fall Morgan Horse Show
Grand Champion Morgan Mare
Driving with the sleigh bells.
Saturdays at Francine’s
Driving Friends

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