Punch: Some Perspective

I train for rally and obedience in my driveway. I am not new to training, though I am no expert. If I have problems I will go online and see what the experts do. I have been training for over 50 years. And as recently as 2006 I learned a new way to train. Now days it is all about positive training with food. That takes longer than the old fashioned methods. But it works. Then I go to the park, Petsmart or a match for proofing. Distractions are a good thing. I was thinking that rally would work as ring experience for Punch’s inevitable obedience career. We have already been working on gloves and scent articles for utility.

So when I had a few months before I was going to breed Punch I figured I could get a few more titles on her. We had done lots of heeling on lead. She knew sit, down and come; everything needed for Rally Novice. So with a little practice and the help of AKC Rally Regulations we were ready to trial. A friend suggested we go to the Peach Bloosom Cluster in Perry for a weekend of agility. They were also having a rally trial so I figured we would give it a try. Running from the agility ring, to the rally ring, Punch managed to qualify with a nice score and a third place.

I found a trial in Tallahassee, FL the first of June and entered her in Rally. They were having an obedience match the evening before so I thought that would be good ring experience. Saturday morning she did a passable job with a third place. She did an even better job in the afternoon with a second place. She now had her Rally Novice title. I had planned on this and picked this trial as it allowed for move-ups. I thought she was ready but not sure if I was. Luckily there were some very nice exhibitors that explained some of the more technical rally signs. Off came the leash for the first time and we received our first qualifying score in Advanced and a first place.

Next time I planned closer to home, the Huntsville Obedience Training Club trial. They had an obedience show and go at the end of June that we attended. Then in July we went to the rally trial. Saturday morning I had every confidence in her under one of my favorite judges. But for whatever reason Punch decided she needed to sniff the signs and just generally ignore me. No leash, no safety line. The judge told me she did not qualify but had some moments of brillance. I have to admit I was rather disheartened by my girl’s performance. Did I even want to drive back up in the morning? To my suprise she was better in the afternoon trial and recieved a second place for her second qualifying score.

I had decided to drive up again on Sunday morning. What if she didn’t qualify? We would be there getting ring experience for the long term. And dog sports are always about having fun with your dog. She did not let me down. She was a real partner and it felt good working together. We qualified with a first place and our Rally Advanced title. I know laying this foundation will benefit us once we get into obedience.

Birthday Cake

I love to bake. I always have, even as a child I learned to bake cookies, brownies, pies and cakes. Anything chocolate was a winner in my recipe box. At a young age I use to make cookie dough to eat. This was long before it became a popular confection. I loved to bake for my husband, kids, family and friends. My grandsons and I made moon pies, from scratch including the marshmallow filling. On one of my spring break trips to Texas my then five-year-old granddaughter and I made a chocolate cheesecake. Sadly, I don’t have as many opportunities to bake any more. The kids have left home and everyone is limiting their sugar and fat intake. So now I find enjoyment in cooking and baking for my four-legged-kids.

I have made frozen treats from yogurt, meatballs from hamburger, turkey and carrots and all kinds of cookies. When I go to agility trials I like to make my meatballs and then freeze them according to how many I might need for a weekend. If you have ever gone shopping for dog treats you might have noticed some are rather expensive, the price can be broken down into dollars per ounce, so I started making mine fresher and cheaper. My dogs love liver and tuna brownies. I have made dog cookies to give as gifts for my dog friends.

Today is Ezra and Viola’s ninth birthday. So I tried a new recipe for banana and peanut butter cake with icing. The dogs seem to love them. I found the recipe on https://wearenotmartha.com. This cake is safe enough for human consumption and no extra sugar added. I like to decorate as much as I like to bake and I hope the dogs appreciate that!

If you are into decorating as I am, go to http://thesugarfreediva.com and check out the icing for dog cookies. I had seen some uniquely decorated cookies at a dog show once and searched for sometime to find a recipe for this icing.

Dogs do not need extra sugar. Commercial dog treats are pretty bland. Your dog will enjoy the sugar from the banana and peanut butter. Make sure NOT to use any peanut butter containing xylitol as it could be lethal to your pet. Also keep in mind homemade dog treats have no preservatives so use within a few days. I will refrigerate or freeze for long term use. 

Dog cookies with a twist, check out https://pinchofyum.com/homemade-dog-treats. Dogs love Pumpkin and that is another popular ingredient.

As you can see from all the websites (just google dog treat recipes) I am not the only one that chooses to make my own dog treats. I don’t always make my own treats. There are so many dog treats to choose from now days and so easy to get online. Just make sure your dog is not getting too many too often. When I train and they are consuming a considerable amount of treats I always cut back on their regular meals.

Happy Birthday Ezra and Viola!

Birthday Cupcakes

Tilde

I lost Tilde almost two months ago. I celebrated her 13th birthday back in January. I figured everyday after that was a blessing. She was my purple puppy, my first titled Utility Dog and my first agility dog. Sometimes I thought she was a border collie in a labrador suit. After having puppies she evenually lost interest in running agility. I only bred her one time but she gave me Ezra, my first Master Agility Champion. At almost nine years old he is still happily running agility with me and closing in on his Preferred Agility Champion title.

Ezra’s sister Viola also ran agility and got her Junior Hunter title. These two siblings enabled their dam to achieve the Labrador Retriever Club’s title of Producer of Merit. Tilde herself was a talented dog with her Utility Dog, Rally Excellent, Open Agility, Open Agility Jumper with weaves and her Junior Hunter titles. She also obtained her Dog For All Reasons from the LCR at the National 2008.

Tilde loved her popcorn. She would stand at the bottom of the stairs and bark as soon as she heard it popping upstairs. She had a broken canine tooth that I can only assume she broke when two dogs collided when going for a piece of popcorn I had thrown. After that I was very careful. No one barks now when I make popcorn even though they all love it. She was a good dog, an easy traveler and never any trouble. She was my greatest comfort when I lost her sire, my heart dog Toby.

Tilde doing scent articles at 11 and half years old. The last time she did scent articles was over six years ago when she got her Utility Dog title.