Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday August 31, 2011

Soleil du matin

The Walk After the Storm

Elka and I didn't get out yesterday, but this morning we revisited the park, and I thought it might be neat to have some "after" photos.  Reading about all of the damage and hardship that Irene caused, I really have to say, I feel thankful and lucky at the same time, that my particular town wasn't much hit at all. I never lost power (or Internet!), we live uphill, so no risk of flooding, and there was no damage at all to our property.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Walk Before the Storm

On Friday, prior to the gloom and rain that Hurricane Irene drove before her, Elka and I took our usual walk.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and the right temperature.  It's becoming obvious that, want it or not, fall is coming.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anonymous Dog Opinion Three

Please excuse the Photobucket erase job I had to perform, but it was in the interest of keeping things anonymous.  I have to say, I agree with this dog.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Command Clinic: Find it

I taught Elka "find it" one day when she was still somewhat small, and I was home from work with a headache.  Of course, "home from work" is not "home from puppy who desperately needs to be occupied", and I racked my poor brains for something to do with her.

She brought me Gumby for the umpteenth time, and there was a folded dish towel within eye sight.  A connection was made, and a cue was born!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tennis Balls: Contestant Number Twelve

For this session of tennis ball destruction--I mean testing--we have an overseas contender.  At the end of July, a friend of ours went to Europe, and I asked if she could snag us a doggie tennis ball, to see how the ones from across the pond measured up.  So, this tennis ball came from Prague!  Elka was very excited at the foreign nature of this tennis ball, and could hardly contain herself.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Elka's First Title!

I mentioned in this post that there was a new kind of title I wasn't previously aware of, Trick Dog, in four different steps (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert).  It's through the Kyra Sundance website, Do More With Your Dog.  I read through Sundance's books before, and when I heard about the title, I thought "Elka can do that", and I thought "I can do that".  I've been training her all along anyway, and while I'm not sure she'd pass the CGC tomorrow, tricks are something my smart girl can do.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Movie Review: A Dog Year

Lots of people write books about Border Collies.  Every breed has its enthusiasts, and Border Collies are, in fact, number one on Stanley Coren's Canine Intelligence list (while the Doberman, my breed of enthusiasm, is number 5.)   There are working line Border Collies, and show line, and they are flashy dogs.

This movie is about Border Collies, or is a movie of a book by Jon Katz about one specific Border Collie, Devon.  The movie is a bit different from the book (or books), involving only Devon, and briefly Katz's yellow labs, Julius, and Stanley.

Command Clinic: Vet Visit grab bag

As I discussed in a post earlier this week, Elka had her annual vet visit, and was very well behaved during it.  Much like dog photography (also posted about), there are a certain set of behaviors that make this sort of activity go much smoother for everybody involved.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Now I said Doctor, Mr. MD (well, DVM)

Today was Elka's annul trip the the vet!

It was raining, so we didn't go for our walk prior, as I had planned on doing. I thought perhaps blowing off some of her energy would help her be calm and focused at the vet's office. Not that she's bad at the vet; on the contrary, everybody loves her, and there's so much to look at, and the whole thing doesn't concern her much at all.

But first, we had to get there.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dog Photography: Not as Easy As You'd Think

I'm not really a great photographer.  Elka's natural looks sort of balance out my lack of eye for things like composition, and being able to crop pictures so that she's more or less in the center of them really helps.

Something that doesn't really help is Elka's natural ability to move at the very second the picture is taken, so that what would have been exactly the shot I want it instead, well, something else.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book review: a trio of children's picture books

I work at the library, and I see a lot of dog books.  I also see a lot of children's picture books with dogs in them, but not a whole lot that I have what I consider to be "useful" information about dogs.  Then I found How to Talk to your Dog, by Jean Craighead George, who is the author of Julie of the Wolves.  Then I found May I Pet Your Dog, by Stephanie Calmenson.  And, last but not least, and brand new, there is Doggy Whys? by Lila Prap.

Though I was excited I cannot, however, claim that Elka wanted to be read to!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tennis Balls: Contestant Number Eleven (well, sort of)

I mentioned in Tennis Balls: Contestant Number Ten that I would be doing something a little different for this next installment.

You see, I didn't find a tennis ball for this next one (though there is one on deck).  I found a tennis bone.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Elka's New Game

So, Elka and I have a pretty decent routine now, for our walks.

We get up, I do my best to get her to go potty at the house, and then we walk to the park.  I do what I can to keep her attention, and keep the leash loose (and discovered today that she really loves my homemade turkey meatballs), and she does what she can to understand what I want, and we get to the park.

At the park, the long line goes on, and as I discussed in The Rules, we're much more relaxed with the long line.  It's how I practice recall (again, turkey meatballs are apparently The Way), and mostly I just want her to not pull and to keep up.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Breed prejudices: they always surprise me

I was at the Dollar Tree the other day.  I frequently go there for rope toys for Elka; they have a variety of lengths and knots and what have you, and as I've mentioned, she loves playing Tug.  She'll also chew up a rope, if I just let her have it and am not vigilant, so it's best if they're cheap, really.  Many of the Dollar Tree ones appear to be undyed cotton, which is a bonus.

As I was leaving Dollar Tree, I glanced at the quarter machines that they have at the front.  Typically ,it's one machine full of varying fake tattoos and then the rest are plastic junk.  I've always had a love for these machines, and as a grownup, I don't need to beg quarters off of anybody should I want to indulge.  There are worse things, really.

But, this time, the fake tattoo ones included an interesting selection: Dawgz  4 Life (picture from the distributer's site,, not owned by me in any way)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Where do puppies come from?

I was in a mall today, and that mall had a pet store. Not just a pet supply store, but one that had that row of cages, separated by windows, with puppies in them.  You know the type.

There was a Puggle, and a Morkie, and a Chihuahua, and a Pomeranian (though the people standing next to me thought it wasn't a purebred Pom; I thought it was, but held my tongue).  There was a Bernese Mountain Dog, and an English Bulldog.  The smaller breeds were all $700, but Berner was $1999, and the English Bulldog had a sign that said "Serious inquiries only."

So, where did these puppies come from?

Saturday, August 6, 2011


So, last Friday I posted about collarless dogs; today, I'm going to talk about collars. As I mentioned in the previous post, Elka has worn a collar since she came home to us.  Well, I've noticed lately that her collar, though leather and probably meant to last quite a good while longer, has seemed stiff and worn.  There isn't any cracking, though we did have to re-glue the liner (which is what precipitated the naked dog pictures).

Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Review: Bones Would Rain From the Sky, by Suzanne Clothier

I read a lot of dog books.

I read enough dog books that when people ask me to recommend a good book that came out lately, I really have to search my mind for something I've read in the past month that wasn't a dog book.  Not a whole lot of people talk to me about books anyway, so I've let it go.

Why do I read this many dog books?  Clearly there's a point at which they become repetitive.  Also, if they're training books, I may not agree with methods, or it maybe be skills that Elka already has.  While these things are frequently the case, and sometimes I don't make it through them, other times I find one that I love. And reading a really good dog book makes me more mindful, both of myself, and my dog.  Bones Would Rain From the Sky, by Suzanne Clothier, is one of these.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tennis Balls: Contestant Number Ten!

Wow, ten different tennis ball brands. Or as different as dog tennis balls get. I'm beginning to think that there's some Uberfactory that makes all of these tennis balls that have doggie paws on them, and then the different companies distribute them, with their own labels. I actually had to go back through the blog to make sure I hadn't doubled up.

This next victim is from Walgreens, made of the now-familiar, extremely smelly rubber that doesn't bounce.  Oh yeah, and the bag was dirty.