June 29, 2010

Dog Scout camp 1

We had a great time at the June camp! Dazzle earned 7 badges (a few I wasn’t expecting!) He also had a great time socializing and playing with the other dogs.

He was a great demo dog for Brenda Aloff, who showed how to get him to release a single toy. I have been using the method of walking into him to get him off when he grabs and holds my leg to force me to “play” (get me to interact with him if I’m busy and ignoring him). It’s been working well to get all 4 feet on the ground. He’s been better about releasing a single toy too. She's using the collar to prevent him from jerking her arm off with his strong, side to side head shake.
We worked a bit of practice with carting into my busy schedule. Dazzle did great at pulling the cart around and wasn’t afraid of it following him. So we will likely work on getting that badge at the next camp in July. I ran out of time to do more practice and thought he might have been sore after lure coursing, so I didn’t want to put his harness on for carting if his shoulders were sore.

While we were waiting for our turn at lure coursing, I was not able to physically hold him back, so I did a “no no” and tied him to a tree to restrain him. He was lunging so hard against his harness that he broke the leather on his leash! I wish I had a video camera to get that on video. It was rather impressive with his jaws snapping and his body lunging so far into the harness, but that’s why I figured he would have been too sore for carting. Thankfully, when he broke loose, he was only after the lure and not the dog running after it and the dog was ok with Dazzle running with him. Joanne got lots of great photos!

He did great with the stay training sessions and the actual Dog Scout group photo. The photo was only for certified Dog Scouts that already had a uniform with badges. But it was a LOT of dogs to get set in place close together for the photo. Front row, 4th dog from the left- looking at me...
We earned the Letterboxing 1 and 2 badges before camp. We are still working on level 3, which we will get in August after we attend a gathering. We only need 14 more finds, plus the gathering. We placed the 10th box we needed to hide at camp and 2 people found it already. I got one additional letterbox on the way home.
On Thursday, I took him down to the pond during water class and he got the Beach buddies badge I expected he could get. But he surprised me by earning the boating safety badge too!

Then we headed to the Agility field and he breezed through the Agility 1 and 2 badge tests.

Even though he got 6 badges during camp, he already knew the required behaviors for the badges, so it didn’t take much time. He actually spent most of camp playing with friends, swimming and dock diving. So I think he had a great time even though I was busy with my Administrative Assistant duties.
Digging was high on his list of favorite activities...

Swimming was too!

Each time he went out the door, he had to find a stick to chomp on...
Sometimes he picked a BIG stick...

When running it repeatedly into the fence didn't work, he tried sustained force...
I only had to show him once how to grab it by the end to get it through and after that, if the stick got "stuck" he would drop it and get it by the end to get it through!
I squeezed in some time for the "felted dog" craft too!  As I feared when I heard this craft was going to be offered, I might have a new obsession.  This is just his head, but I got the whole body started too.  I haven't finished it yet, but I'll post a photo when I do. I'm really happy with how it turned out!
After the awards ceremony, DSA hosted an American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) test. I wasn’t sure how Dazzle would do with the gun shots, but he did GREAT! It could be that he was completely focused on the plastic you have to walk across because he thought it was the lure coursing lure! But whatever the reason, he passed! So that is another title to add to his name and another badge to add to his uniform :-) I had Diane run the video cam, but haven't gotten that edited and on YouTube yet. I'll have to edit the header photo to add his latest title too.

We were going to go on a river trip Sunday after camp, but it rained/thundered and had generally bad weather so that trip got postponed till Monday. I left Dazzle in our room to nap because I hadn’t gotten a chance to get him in a kayak to see how he would do. It was a very pleasant 2 hour float. Plus, without a wet dog in my lap, I stayed completely dry :-)
I did take him out in a kayak on the pond after we got back to camp. He didn’t really want to get in. I eventually convinced him to get in and got away from the dock, but as soon as I let go of him to paddle he jumped out. So it’s good I didn’t take him! Maybe someday he will go kayaking, but not this year. I didn’t try him in the canoe. He might feel better with more room, like he had in the row boat for the boating safety badge.

All in all a really great camp! Great people, new friends, catching up with people I already knew from previous camps and lots of fun activities. We’ll be going back in 2 weeks for the next camp. One of the new campers at this camp liked it so much, he is coming back for the July camp too! Lots of people put a deposit down for next year’s camp as well.

June 18, 2010

Off to camp!

We will be letterboxing our way to Dog Scout camp tomorrow.  I have clues for 14 boxes that are all "drive-ups" (hikes of less than 1 mile) between Dayton and Toledo.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and hopefully they will all still be there :-)
I'll post about our camp adventures when I return on the 29th.

June 16, 2010

Storms, storms and more storms

The above photo was taken yesterday early evening as a really strong storm cell moved in.  This was just one of the massive thunderheads that rolled through. 
The photo below was taken about 30 minutes later at around 7pm. It is not a nightime shot! But it looked like dusk at the time. We had a bit of sun after the line of storms passed.

We have had pop-up thunderstorms every evening for the past 9 days!  Last night's storm was the worst, with really high winds, almost constant lightning and really loud thunder.  The power kept flickering out and back on too.  At one point on the news, they showed possible rotation (based on radar) right over us!  But thankfully we didn't see or hear any tornadoes.
I am SO ready to have a day without storms!  I did manage to cut the grass yesterday, but in a few small spots was mowing through a bit of standing water.  It's not a pretty job, but it had to be done or it would have needed two passes to knock it down.  Since it takes 2 hours just to do the single pass, having to mow it twice is something I'll try to avoid if I can.
We were supposed to have a troop river trip last weekend which was cancelled due to high water and this weekend it looks like the water might be even higher!  Lots of flooding being reported and two kids on the East side were killed by a flash flood.  Thankfully we don't have to worry about flooding, but we do have some water in the basement that comes in through a crack in the wall.
I hope the weather at Dog Scout camp next week is dry!

June 12, 2010

Huh?! What do you mean I can't post on MY blog?!

He's doing a good impression of a happy dog in this photo, but he was actually pretty stressed by the storm that was going on.  He started by waking me up early, then once I was in the office he progressed to climbing in my lap and pressing against me, then put front paws on the desk, then got all the way ON the desk and stood there looking around for a long while.  So I took the photo :-) Actually several because in most that I took he looked pretty stressed. Figured I might as well take some photos since I wasn't going to be doing any typing :-)  For some reason, when he is stressed, he thinks being higher is safer or better somehow.

June 11, 2010

new look of the blog

I intended to change the photo at the top of the page (which I eventually did), but when I first clicked on what used to take me to that fuction, I got all sorts of new stuff.  I was playing around with that and made some changes I couldn't un-do before I realized all the old controls were still available, just not from the same link.  Oh well, after 2 years, I guess it's time for a new look! Blue and gold... hmmm, now there's a surprize! :-)
Still can't figure out how to get the header photo centered.  But I'm glad I HAVE the photo and can now edit that!  For awhile there, I thought I was going to be permanently stuck with the previous photo.

More letterboxing

Yesterday I planted an 8 box series - only 2 more plants needed for level 3 (along with 20 more finds!)  Today we made a dent in the finds needed.  So far, we have completed everything needed for the level 1 and level 2 badges, now working on level 3.  More cemetery finds today along with a few singles scattered here and there.  It was a really hot day, so every time a box was near a lake, Dazzle wanted to go swimming!  I couldn't let him though.  He also got a bite from something on his nose and has a bump, poor guy!
I have a route of clues for boxes right off the highway between here and Dog Scout camp.  So hopefully I can find some on the way up and back.  I have pretty much gotten all the drive-by boxes in my area (unless I go to the East side of Cincinnati- which I might!)
This monument I saw today is HUGE!  And super detailed. It is Charles West, the founder of the Cincinnati Art Museum who died in the 1800's:

June 08, 2010

Beautiful day!

Yesterday was too nice a day not to spend outside.  So I decided we would scout out some locations for the letterboxes I plan to hide. Found some great spots!  I already have the images picked out, just need to transfer them and get them carved, make logbooks, etc..  Dazzle enjoyed the day out and even got to romp around at some of the locations.  But mostly he was romping from one shady patch to the next :-)
On Sunday, I attended a lecture by Ken McCort  at Posidog training center on the south side of Columbus.  It was very interesting and informative!  I look forward to his next visit in August.  Dazzle did great, mostly napping in the front row and didn't react to Ken right near him making odd sounds (mimic of various animals, sound system echos, etc.) and making sometimes odd gestures/body language as he explained things.  He did pop up and give him a head turned look as Ken did his siren impression :-) It was great to chat with so many people I knew, but hadn't seen for awhile too.

June 04, 2010

Radio spots and Letterboxing

My day started by doing some recording at a studio for some informational spots to be played through Kroger in-store radio.  What I said will be turned into 30 second "info-mercials" on basic dog care and training.  So if you are in an area that has Kroger stores, you might hear my voice from above :-) Dazzle went in the studio with me, but had to wait in a nearby room with one of the techs because he was breathing too loud :-)
Then Dazzle and I worked on his Letterboxing badge for the rest of the afternoon. He borrowed his brother's backpack (he doesn't have that many badges- yet!) because carrying his own supplies is part of the badge. I chose "drive-up" boxes (half mile of walking or less) to minimize the walking I needed to do, but I was glad I had my brace on for the ones that involved going up/down short hills. 
Most of the ones found today were in the huge 773 acre Spring Grove cemetery in Cincinnati that is very old and has some VERY elaborate markers and mausoleums. I got lost more than once trying to drive from one location to the next!  The first enterment there was in 1845.  It was also estabilshed as an arboretum and has several of the largest recorded trees of various species found in Ohio and/or the U.S.  While following the clues, I enjoyed seeing some of the Champion trees and elaborate designs of grave markers. But several of the biggest trees got damaged in a wind storm caused by hurricane Ike in September of 08, losing their tops or big branches.  Some had to be cut down to stumps, very sad to lose magnificent trees of that size. 
We found 12 out of 15 letterboxes today, so not a bad day! But I did realize when I went to log my finds that I used the wrong date every time I stamped into a box- oops! That's what I get for not checking the date on my new watch. I was only off by a day. :-)
We almost got locked in the cemetery though due to "one-more-itis!" As I was on my way to the exit gate at closing time, I saw a marker that I knew one of the clues mentioned.  The clues were pretty straight forward, so I went for it.  As I drove toward the exit gate (I could see it from a little ways off) I saw the guard closing the last of the gates!  I sped up and thankfully he opened the gate for us!  Whew!  These are very substantial gates bordered by huge stone structures and tall wrought iron fence so I'm not sure how the person that drove by me the other way as I was finishing with the last letterbox got out.
 If you don't know what Letterboxing is, check out www.Atlasquest.com
A really beautiful marker:

June 02, 2010

Camp Fun

Twelve days ago I arrived at Dog Scout camp to help with the pre-camp clean-up and to host the Leadership Retreat. We got a LOT accomplished with the cleaning.  If you haven't been to camp, these photos might not mean much.  But if you had seen what we started with, you would be amazed! The new epoxy floor is WONDERFUL!
Main room:
Look!  Empty shelves!!
We moved and re-organized the book shelves
 This is our room:
I took Dazzle and Bear with me.  Bear did great and even off-leash was staying in the visible area and doing excellent, full speed recalls. But on our last morning there, he went "walk-about" and was deep in the woods baying at who knows what.  Thankfully he was in the area with trails because he was beyond the reach of my voice/whistle and I was able to catch up to him with the golf cart and get him back.
He was quite tired by that time and took a dip in the pond when we got back :-) You can tell by the ripples that he was panting.
Of course there were new friends to play with:
Trying to get these fast guys in the frame with the darn digital delayed shutter was a real challenge! I should have used the "action" setting.
Dazzle checked out a critter hole and helped make it bigger:
He also dug in the spot where all the dogs seemed to want to dig.  No idea why that particular spot in the play yard was so facinating. I tried to get a cute shot of him sticking his head in the deep hole up to his shoulders, but the shutter delay prevented those photos.
Sticks and roots that poke up through the sand are always fun! This root provided lots of resistance, but he ended up pulling quite a bit of it out of the ground.
He also found a dead branch that had gotten caught on lower branches of a tree when it fell. He managed to eventually pull it down and was SO proud of himself! 
At Dog Scout camp, all dogs can try all the activities.  So Dazzle was able to try "Earthdog", which is usually only for small terrier breeds.  The camp has 2 tunnels, the standard (small) and a larger tunnel so dogs of all sizes can try the sport. 
The dog has to enter a "den", crawl to the end of the tunnel (making one 90 degree turn in the middle) and then "work" to try to get the rat at the end for a specified amount of time.  The dog is considered "working" if he is digging, barking or biting at the rat.  The rat is well protected in a PVC tube or double cage and has been previously desensitized to barking dogs so it is not frightened by that sound.
This is a view of Dazzle at the end with the "exit hatch" top of the tunnel removed.
Dazzle digging at the rat:
Dazzle biting at the rat (he also tried to bite through the bars):
The top sections of the tunnel come off (in case a dog gets spooked or stuck and to get the dog out at the end).  Having the "exit" section of the top removed made it easier to get the above photos (to let more light into the tunnel) but normally the whole top of the tunnel is closed and the inside is rather dark. The ideas is that the dog uses his nose to find the correct path. Dazzle really loved this activity! And he earned the badge.  I also tried Bear, who in the past has been an earthdog maniac, but for some reason he didn't have much interest in this rat. I guess he prefers mice :-)
Of course water activities were included and the dogs had lots of fun! Here Dazzle is racing to the toy with his girlfriends Saikou and Kozi.
This photo looked better on the tiny screen of my camera. :-)  It is Dazzle running in to the water so fast he made a huge splash!  You can also see a smaller splash just off shore which is his first entry location. He was so fast, that water was still in the air! 
Dazzle also did lots of Dock Diving, but I wasn't able to toss the toy AND take photos of that :-)
Bear prefers to be in a boat on the water.  Or as a bow ornament :-) Mostly he was investigating (sniffing) the area and practicing recalls while the other dogs were playing in the water.
During the Leadership Retreat portion of our visit, Bear had a buddy.  The family that attended has 3 kids, but only 2 dogs.  So this boy loved "borrowing" Bear for hikes and at other times to just hang out (even carved a great letterboxing stamp of him!)  Bear loves kids and was happy to be with the family.
On a few of the evenings, we watched movies.  Bear decided to be the center of attention and take a nap on the TV cart. He was there for just about the whole movie!

While cleaning camp, this collar was found.  Since my Mother-in-law calls Dazzle "Spike" I had to get this photo for her.
Bear loves to wear things and since he was jumping up and begging to wear the collar after I took it off Dazzle, he got to model it too :-) He's not as crazy about the camera in his face though.
The dogs had a GREAT time and so did I!  Trying to find a place to sleep each night was a bit of a challenge though...
I didn't get any photos of us "on the trail" but one of the other attendees did.  I loaned Bear to his buddy for the walks and used the golf cart to take Dazzle for a "10 minute mile" run and then a walk with the group.  Last year, he thought the backpack was a dog eating monster, but some desensitization made earning the backpacking badge a reality this time.  He also earned the IMPROV badge and won the mock competition we held. I was very proud of how well he did and how much he was trying to understand what I wanted him to do.
Looking forward to a week at the first summer camp later this month.
Now I need to get some sleep!  I'll get to the 770 emails I have later today.