2020 was a year full of struggles and tragic life altering events but it also bought some good things. I was thinking about another puppy but wasn’t sure I wanted to take on a puppy while Stuie was still with us. However when I heard that my friends Jess and Perry were breeding Jess’s phenomenal dog Hallelujah I had one of those good feeling moments and asked if I could be considered for a puppy. Electric Lettuce is a super sweet, smart, enthusiastic puppy. It was interesting to watch her and her siblings from afar via FaceTime and videos without being involved in their reactions and activity. I saw so many nice reactions to things from her and felt that she would be a great fit for me and the pack. I still had to wait for Perry and Jess to pick but I was leaning towards Lettuce or her sister Genny.
Lettuce is everything I thought I saw in those phone calls and videos and more. She is a GREAT puppy, friendly, has great dog sense, easy going, sweet and learns so quickly and does EVERYTHING with enthusiasm.
I love living with her, training her and watching her antics with wine bottles, poop bags, slip and slide rugs. Thank you Jess and Perry for trusting me with such an awesome puppy.
Bright arrived at the end of February from Stacy Winkler, her parents are Groove x Boon. She’s just great, cute, quick to learn, busy, naughty. She has many nicknames already, notably – HR Biteness and Pitchy Bitchy.
She spent her first summer traveling to east in the RV and by 5 1/2 months she slept out of a crate all night on the bed. Considering her age she was wonderful. We had some great training sessions especially the romper room at “What a Good Dog” and class with Shirlee O’Neill.
Bright’s summer vacation part one and part two (when I get around to it).
Rummy arrived in January 2013 from Kari Jepson and Barbie Trammell via Deb Davidson Harpur. She is a “coated” American Hairless Terrier.
Rummy is just super! She has a fantastic temperament, she is wonderfully friendly, confident, playful and quick to learn – loves people and she hasn’t met a dog who she couldn’t get to chase her yet. She loves being the bunny and whizzes around out maneuvering the other dogs.
Since I got her in January 2013 she has been all over – MN, CO, NH, CA, OK, TX and now on our way East for the summer.. She is fantastic at seminars when I am teaching all day she will rest in her crate, never fuss if dogs are going past her etc but is ready to get out and play when I get a break. I have been on a couple of trips with just her and Gifted, they play constantly in the hotel room and we have to have a ground floor room!!!!
She does have one bad thing though – she LOVES finding dead things – urghhhhhh – I know she is a terrier but my other terriers like to kill things and then leave them alone – not Rummy she likes the dead ones. Anyway her recall is getting better and the frequency of her finding something dead is less!!!!
She loves sleeping under the covers and on my lap in the evening if I am watching TV, she would be my constant companion if she could (with the exception of hunting for dead things!) When I take a shower she curls up on the bath mat and waits for me to get done, when I turn on the hairdryer she likes to have her very short hair blow-dried!!!!
As far as training goes she is doing well, working on toy drive – which she has but it needs to be on demand so I can switch between food and toy rewards. Her sit stay is coming along, as is her down and her recall is getting more consistent. She is starting to come when I need her not just when I have treats – progress!!!. As far as agility obstacles go everything is sort of started and hopefully this summer we will make some headway when I can find time to train her!
Rummy has been to 2 shows and is showing both progress and promise. The first show was May 2014 and she was a little distracted and I only ran her in a couple of the classes she was entered in. Over the summer 2014 it became apparent that she has been “home schooled” to much. So working for her breakfast and dinner, plus a little less freedom was the name of the game for several weeks to help her work in other environments. In August 2014 I entered her at another show and as you can see from the top photo things have definitely improved.
Gifted was a singleton puppy who loves men more than women. I strongly believe that had there been more than one puppy in his litter I would have picked a sibling and Michael would have picked Gifted. Gifted’s training progressed easily as a puppy, he was quick to learn and never seemed to do anything wrong as a puppy – he was easy!!! However when I started to compete with him his drive for agility didn’t kick in. He was very accurate but ran without passion. He continued to LOVE Michael, he would scream at the door when Michael came home, but was luke warm in his reaction to me. Yep it was sad, but I realized he really didn’t like me much. He was a super jumper, had great contacts and was more accurate than any dog I had ever had before and I had to find ways to change our relationship.
I pulled him out of competition and started to work on tricks and his attitude to work. He was quite distracted/uneasy in the company of unneutered male dogs and he needed to learn how to focus on me and work in this environment. Also he needed to enjoy working with me. It is very obvious if he likes a person or not and I would ask people he appeared to love to run him on simple drills including the obstacles he didn’t like much – tunnels and weave poles. I used other people help build his enthusiasm for agility with the hope that this would improve his enthusiasm for working for me. I continue to work on his drive and our relationship and things are constantly moving in the right direction.
In 2013 he was a finalist at the AKC nationals and the USDAA Grand Prix finals where he flew off the teeter and off course into the tunnel – It was great. In 2014 I felt he was good enough to attend the AKC International Team Tryouts and we were selected for the 2014 European Open Team. In Hungary he ran clean in his 2 team runs and then had 2 off courses into his least favorite obstacle – the tunnel…..I guess I can decrease the amount of rewards I give him for this obstacle now. When I feel Gifted’s speed/drive is at a plateau I come up with a new idea to move things along again. Gifted’s agility career is still being written and I look forward to seeing how far we can go together.
In December 2003 I decided to breed Fable to Spinner and finally get my Spinner puppy. The puppies were born in March 2004 and just like the litter Whist had, the first born was predominantly white.
“Stuart Little” was born first of four and although I told everyone that I was not deciding on who I was keeping until they were 7-weeks….she was the only one with a nickname (in fact she had 3) and there was just something about her!!
Well I was right, there is “something about her”. A little nervous, soft with a bit of a sharp undercurrent…enough to bring out the worst in many dogs. As a young dog, she seemed to have a “kick me” target on her back. This led to a number of problems, which I am glad to say have just about disappeared. She also went through some very pronounced fear periods and it always seemed that something unfortunate would happen during those times.
Today she is a much more confident dog, with a smile on her face. She would like to be my constant companion and just loves to be with me no matter what we are doing. I especially love having her with me when I teach—she lies quietly watching and grabs her toy whenever she gets excited—a wonderful trait she inherited from Spinner. She is the sweetest little dog to be around, playful and loving.
Getting consistency from Stuie at agility competitions is difficult – there are days she is brilliant and then there are days where the wheels fall off. One of the most helpful things ever said to me about her was from Linda Mecklenburg who said when she made errors “she is not wrong, she is just unforgiving – you have to be perfect”. That spurred me on to be more perfect in my handling.
Our proudest agility moment was in 2013 at USDAA Cynosports where Stuie placed 2nd in the PSJ Finals – she was awesome – coped with the cheering – and had her big girl pants on!!!! She repeated this in 2014.
At age 10 we worked with Janita Leinonen and Jaakko Suoknuuti. The exercise they gave me to work on her obstacle commitment has made a huge difference. She is still learning and getting better and better.
Better was owned by Dana Pike who was having serious problems between her older JRT, Maybie and Better
When Dana mentioned that she was seriously considering placing her, I was just starting to look for another small dog. Trump was now retired but I wasn’t sure how I could fill his shoes. I said I would try Better out at home and see what happened. She arrived in August 2006 and after careful introduction to my pack, with me keeping a fairly close eye on things—for example never letting Better sleep on my lap or back of my head on the couch without calling one of my dogs over to visit with me, not letting her take toys from the others, feeding her last and being quite diligent about things in general for the first 10-12 weeks—Better has fit in just fine. She really is a lovely dog, she loves people and gets on with all dogs.
After Better settled in to the pack I started training and competing with her. We had some work to do! Building her confidence in the ring, retraining her to a running AF. After a couple of years of competing I decided to retire Better, She was not a good jumper and had started to stutter at the base of some jumps and show signs of ETS (early take-off syndrome).
She is retired and enjoying life as part of the pack. She and Michael’s dog Nellie take frequent trips to the beach and are great company for each other when the other dogs are away with me at shows and our long summer trip.
In early 2000 I started to look around for my next BC and had my mind set on a black & white female. I don’t know why as I love tri’s and males!
Susan Garrett was looking at some choices for me, but the bitch she was thinking about hadn’t come in season when expected and I decided to look around at other litters. Anyway I took a look at Fable’s full sister and there happened to be a repeat breeding due in November. I decided to take one if there was a black & white female. Well there was one, but I was third on the list and one of the people ahead of me wanted her so I figured she was not an option and I would continue looking. It was really apparent from an early age that Fable was “a lot of dog”. When the puppies were about 5-weeks old, I received a call from the breeder to ask if I was still interested in her. I figured it was obviously just meant to be and said yes.
Fable arrived home at 8-weeks old and was just full of piss & vinegar! She really didn’t have an off switch and her stamina was unbelievable!! She was also over the top when anything moved—hard wired from 8-weeks old. Yep she was a lot of dog!
I made some mistakes along the way. One was my home/work life. I was teaching agility, but not from home so I didn’t have the luxury of leaving her in the house, away from the sights and sounds of agility. I didn’t want to leave her home alone for very long days, so she came with and to this day her behavior when she sees and hears dogs work or hears handlers giving agility commands is—shall we say “far from exemplary”
Her behavior in the competition ring however is just awesome! Of all my dogs she truly has a passion for this sport and becomes quiet and depressed if she doesn’t get to play with her agility toys!!! Outside of the ring she’s a little tuffy, but inside that ring she gives her all, all of the time.
Fable’s career started to really come together in 2006. I believe in large part due to a change in my handling, thank-you Linda. I hope to continue building a great partnership with Fable and thank her for making me a better handler.
Fable is now retired and pretty much as she has always done, she is enjoying “doing her own thing”, especially on our summer trips to Barto PA where she obsessively splashes in water and eats stuff at the base of the BBQ!!!
Little Trump–I had in mind a little short stocky JRT white with black and tan, and patches on the body. Well I came close—Trump’s sister looked like that. But he was the stocky one stomping around and just looked like a “Trump”. So I got tan with no patches on the body with a fantastic temperament.
He arrived home with his terrier traits. He loved to play keep away under the bed and the car. The first time I was on the receiving end of this was at a trial where he was out running around—off-leash of course—I mean he was a nine-week old JRT. How far could he go? Well he went under my van and poked his head out from behind the front tires and as I went to get him he popped his head back again so I couldn’t reach him. That was the last time he was line-less for a while. He wore a light line as soon as I got him out of the car, in my garage, sometimes in the house and always when he was out at the park, etc. Anyway his recall improved and he too has a wonderful list of achievements from his agility career, but I’m most grateful to him for his exceptional demo dog skills.
In the early days, the majority of my seminars, lectures and lessons dealt with the motivation and control needed to participate successfully in agility. Trump was a phenomenal demo dog for this! He was always ready to get up and work, even if he was sound asleep. He would often take himself off with his toy to sit in a tunnel or on someone’s lap and wait until I needed him. I could do any number of “bad handler” demos and he got so excited when I did the “good handler” stuff in contrast. He has a huge personality and would never fail to bring a smile to my face—even at his naughtiest!!
He is now retired with some foot problems, but continues to learn the art of hunting critters on our property. If he is around when I am using somebody else to demo one of “his” demos he’ll scream and bark the place down. Yep I give in and use him instead!
I was looking for a female puppy with the intention of breeding to Spinner. A friend in England told me about a bitch puppy needing a home as she wasn’t really working out with the person who bred her—she was quite soft and a little anxious. Anyway Sue said she would keep her until they came out for a visit in October.
Whist was 7 months old when I picked her up at SFO. She hadn’t traveled well, in total contrast to Spinner. She had messed in her crate and lost some weight during the ordeal.
Almost immediately after her arrival I noticed that despite her anxious disposition she had great recovery skills. When she was sure of something she would give her all. She is a dog with tremendous heart and willingness to do whatever for you and I could see those qualities in her even in those early days.
Whist did have one litter. I was careless and needless to say I found myself with 7 puppies, sired by Spinner. Whist was only 18 months old and had not had her hips and elbows x-rayed. Whist was x-rayed later and found to have hip dysplasia and so did one of the puppies. I was devastated as I had decided not to take a puppy from that litter but to wait until I bred her again at a later date. Whist was spayed and I never got my Spinner x Whist pup.
Whist started what was to become a brilliant agility career and started me on my journey in the wonderful sport of agility.
She has an impressive list of agility accomplishments, but more importantly she is a confident, happy, playful dog with so much heart and I can never thank her enough for the opportunities she has given me.
She is now retired, plays constantly with Trump and Stuie and on occasion eats her way through my clients treat containers (soft or hard). Oh well, if that’s all I can think that she does that is bad she’s a pretty perfect dog! Sadly Whist died in September 2010.
I was in the UK for a vacation and to find a puppy. As I drove onto the site of a Sheepdog Trial, I looked over to a car with a black-tri BC tied to it. I asked my friend who he was—I just had a good feeling when I saw Sam. By chance he had recently sired some pups and although we were not sure if there were any left I decided to investigate further and get one if I liked them.
There was a male and female pup left. I drove to Worcestershire and decided on the 14-week old little male pup.
Spinner and I arrived in San Francisco two weeks later and from the day I took him from the farm I knew he was the most fantastic dog I will probably ever have the pleasure of owning. Just a great dog with so much confidence and love of life—from swimming and sailing on a Hoby Cat to learning tricks and agility—he loves everything and everyone.
I was not “into” agility in those early days—more into obedience, but jokingly trained Spinner to weave and take jumps and tunnels while I sat in a chair with a beer in one hand and cigarette in the other. Urrrrrgh, you guessed it. When I decided to take agility seriously, poor Spinner had some retraining to do!
Today he is retired from agility and even though he is nearly 16 years old, spends his days hiking up the hills on our property, standing in the water tubs barking and being spoiled by Michael. Sadly Spinner died in December 2010.