Saturday, October 31, 2009


Happy Halloween! 

Phoenix and I showed at the 4RK9s UKC trial this morning. It was pretty scary. More on that later.

Tonight I'm off to a Halloween party at SueAnn's, thrown by Tammy (and Bill? No, Bill probably won't claim any responsibility for this shindig. But he'll be there. Because there's food.) It's a Harry Potter theme again. I have my Hogwarts robe, hat and wand ready. The cauldron cakes turned out well. The treacle fudge? Well, not so much. It is now treacle dip for graham crackers. (Really, how can you go wrong with cream, brown sugar, molasses and chocolate? So it didn't set up? So what?!) The polyjuice potion ingredients are ready to be brewed.

Okay, the obedience trial. Phoenix has two U-CDX legs and it looks like that's what he may end the year with. He has decided he cannot possibly do the long sit. He gives it about a minute and then trots out of the ring. He is not a happy dog about this exercise, which means I am not a happy handler. Not sure what's going on. Both of us are very confused! Really glad we only have tomorrow's trial left, then a long stretch of trainin' with no trials until spring. Cuz we need a long stretch of trainin.'

I'm not sure where this problem came from. Since he broke at the K9 Sport trials a month ago, we've spent a lot of time working sit/stays in some pretty odd contexts. I sat Phoenix on the patio, got in the van and drove down the lane. He stayed. I put him on a sit in the living room and vacuumed around him. He stayed. (That one is major, he is the self-appointed vacuum killer at our house. My Dyson has the tooth-marks to prove it.) I put him on a sit three rooms away while I fix dog meals and tell Jamie very loudly HOW GOOD THIS BREAKFAST/SUPPER IS GOING TO TASTE. He stays.

But put him in a lineup of dogs and go out of sight and it's too much. I think he understands what he is supposed to do but he is just so mentally uncomfortable - for whatever reason - that he can't do it. So we will work on it. The rest of this fall. All winter. Next spring. Fortunately, everyone always wants to work group stays so it shouldn't be hard to find friends to help us work through this.

On the bright side, DeeDee, Peggy S.'s malinois girl, was sitting next to Phoenix on the long sit, at least for the whole minute he bothered to stay there. The two of them did not do anything inappropriate. They had spotted each other earlier in the morning and never has the phrase "their eyes met across a crowded room" held so much meaning. Nix gets so excited to see DeeDee, I don't know what I'll do with him when we go to Mal nationals next May and he's surrounded by "his kind." Of course, DeeDee has her SCH1 so she may have just told him to back off, buster.

Ran to Petsmart after the trial to get Phoenix a new travel collar. His collar with his name and my phone number embroidered on it broke last night. The snap, well, snapped. So I grabbed the first available extra collar this morning, which happened to be Connor's martingale collar that was still hanging on the hook by the door even though he's been gone two months today. (Miss you, Skunk Dog. You always liked dressing up for Halloween.)

I let it out and it fit Phoenix fine but there was just something about my live Malinois wearing my dead Sheltie's collar that just didn't work. Collars are kind of a sacred thing. So Phoenix got a new one and Connor's collar is now hanging off the edge of the frame of his OTCh. certificate. That's better.

Have a great evening of trick or treating! I'm off to brew a potion!


  1. Jeez O Pete - memory lane... Jesse and Connor in their kilts and hats! That was a good one!

    The party was wonderful - the swamp water punch was a total winner!!! I love love love that stuff!!

  2. Go Swamp water!! That polyjuice potion was the BEST!!! Today however, I can't stop wanting to 'lick myself' LOL!! You'll get the stays (or should I say Phoenix will!!!) and you'll be a better trainer for the experience. You didn't expect it all to be easy??? Did you?

  3. I took a class where we sat in chairs ina cirle with the dogs facing us. That meant the dogs' tails were in the center of the circle. We then tell the dogs to stay and switch chairs. It was funny how many dogs moved even when they had done good stays in the past. It's supposed to give them a different look and when you are behind them it is supposed to be good for the out of sight thing. Have you ever tried this? I thought it was at least fun!