Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Thursday, March 31, 2011

When it rains it....

Cleo's not a big fan of the rain. In fact she doesn't like to go outside in the rain at all....unless she's hunting then she doesn't seem to mind so much. I can tell it bums her out. She sits by the back door and taps the glass like she does when she wants to go out. When you walk over to open the door she refuses leave the house. When you walk away she taps the glass again. It just continues like that all night. When she does have to go outside to do her business she wants you to go with her. It drives me nuts. She has all this hyper-active GSP energy and no way to release it inside. She's like lightening in a bottle. So on rainy days I do what any self respecting dog mom does....I take her to Petsmart.

Cleo in Petsmart is an event. She gets so excited she practically drags me up to the entrance. Once inside she must smell and inspect everything, everyone and every dog. She gets so over stimulated inside that she looses all traction on the linoleum floor. She looks like she's wearing rollerskates. It's pretty amusing. I made the mistake a few months back (on a rainy night of course) to let her pick her own toys. Boy was that poor decision making at its best. Now she rips animals out of the bins and off the walls. She picks the toys I put in my basket out. She LOVES it. It's her Chuckie Cheese. If untethered she'd tear that place apart in about 5 minutes. We of course always make our way over to the bird section. I know that's questionable parenting. I always feel it's a tad bit shameful but she likes the birds!! What can I say? Those little kids in the isle don't know what she wants do to with them they just think it's neat she has spots. Anyway below is a picture of Cleo's new loot:
She got the jolly ball which has a rope attached to it. On a nice sunny day I'll punt this across the yard and watch her shake the ever living crud out of it. It should be a real crowd pleaser. Three Kong squeaker balls and a 4 foot double headed snake with rattles and squeakers inside. These are the perfect items to keep her occupied tonight.
That's a happy GSP crazed look.
Watching her happily play with her new toys always make the parents glares in the bird isle so worth it. :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sticky Situation

What makes a person choose what they like? Have you watched trick or treaters at Halloween? You hand a bowl full of candy to a group of little children and ask them to pick what they like. Some kids go for the twizzlers, others kids want chocolate bars, if your like Jim I have to hide the bag of Snickers so those trick or treaters actually get to have them as an option. Everybody has preferences and has some type of internal system for making decisions on what they like or want. I don't think dogs are any different. Cleo's lucky, she gets to have Halloween almost every day. Her special treat??? Sticks. 

I remember when was Cleo was just a few months old and I would walk her through the neighborhood she would always pick a stick up in neighbors yard and carry it home to chew on. She still does this today. She will choose a gigantic stick and drag it 1/2 mile home. I have no idea why but it sure makes her happy. She also is very picky about which sticks she chooses. I can't be sure of the exact process she uses but I imagine it goes something like this:

Find a big stick and chew on it for awhile in a really awkward position.
Then take it for a test drive to see how it does.
Then lay down because all the victory laps you took lugging it around the yard made you tired. Now....lets destroy it.
Lets find a better stick and by that I mean a longer, bigger stick.
And of course we have to take that for a test spin too.
And then spin around with it like a helicopter.
And then charge mom and try to knock her down with it while its in our mouth!!! Yay!!!
But that stick clearly was not big enough. So of course lets make the next logical move. Tree branch. Seriously.
And just to keep with history lets take her for a spin.

Does anyone else's dog do this???  That's a legitimate tree branch. What a spunky little GSP.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Little Ms. Helper....

There was no training this weekend for Cleo. I'm lamenting. Cleo is in season so we chose not to go to our local NAVDHA chapter training sessions because of it. So we utilized the time to get some much needed TLC done on our house. Jimmy and I bought this house a little over a year ago and the house had been vacant for 5 plus months and was in the begining stages of foreclosure. In the past year we knocked the house down to studs and re-vamped the entire interior. The exterior however has been completly ignored and the house has still looked "vacant" on the outside since we owned it. Pretty sure our neighbors hate us.

So instead of dog training we spent 12 hours a day in the cold sanding, painting, hanging shutters, hanging lights, ripping out trees and bushes and chasing Cleo down to get all of our stuff back. Cleo was thrilled to be outside all weekend and she took it as an opportunity to torture us by steeling and running off with all of our tools and supplies.

That's okay...painters tape works just as well with a plethora of 
dog teeth holes in it...said no one ever. 

So Cleo ate my tape. Her tooth holes made it impossible to get more than an inch of usable tape at a time. It just proves she has legit jerky tendencies. To back up that sentiment she stole and ran off with the following objects over the weekend: All the hardware for our new shutters, an entire container of white semi-gloss exterior paint, my gloves, the packet of screws for the new outside lights, some papertowels, Jim's gloves, the instructions for the new outside lights, the instructions for the new shutters, an entire package of screws that she dumped across the yard (could be scary come lawnmowing time), my paint brush and more than one paint mixer stick. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if i'm foregetting some stuff too.

Cleo getting her ass chewed out by Jimbo for running off with instructions

Cleo with stolen papertowel shreds

I'm sure why your reading this your saying, "Well, why didn't you put things out of reach?" Who knew she came preprogrammed to climb ladders as well as find birds. Cleo would purposely wait until I was holding a shutter and Jim was drilling it into the the brick or siding and climb three rungs on a ladder and take off. We would helplessly watch her frolic through the yard destroying our stuff before we could drop what we were doing and go run her down. She would wait until I was holding up lighting and Jim was wirining while she would rip gloves or instructions out of our pockets!! Sassface of the highest order.

Cleo is diabolical. Each morning before we started work she got run out in some fields and Jim worked force fetch with her. She should have been tired and content but instead choose to use her time like Lex Luther would have and tried to sabotage us. In the end we lost at least an hours worth of work each day but she did make it entertaining as hell. We would scold her but we would laugh to each other watching her do laps around the front yard with our stuff. Hopefully next weekend we will be back to training. We need it and she needs it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tis the Season

Cleo is in heat. Let me take this moment to sigh. Ugh....

Cleo is 18 months old and this is her second heat cycle. She first went into heat when she was one year old. Dams typically go into heat for the first time anywhere from 5 months to 14 months of age. The dogs size and breed can play a factor when she goes into season. Once a Dam comes into season she will typically come into season every 6 months. When Cleo was 6 months old I emailed Bob Corsaro - Cleo's breeder and kinda melted down about the impending doom of her going into heat. Everything I read didn't seem to answer any of my concerns. Bob told me his dogs tended to be "late bloomers" and that I could probably get away without her going into heat until she was one year old. Like clock work she went into heat right around her first birthday.

Let me just say that desperate times call for desperate measures. Dams will bleed from anywhere from 12 to 21 days. Cleo being the late bloomer she was must have been making up for lost time because her first go around she was in season for 36 agonizing days. So far she is one week into heat this time around and it doesn't seem to be as bad as last time. But we still have plenty of time for that to change. Anyway, this is how I combat her heat cycle: I drink allot of wine - I prefer sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio during these tough times, Size 8 to 10 boys boxer brief camo under wear, "Always" panty liners and some more wine...did I already mention that?

 I prefer the boys under wear without the "pocket". I slide them on her find the spot for her tail, slip them off, cut the hole, cut one curved side off the panty liner, slap it in and were good to go! They stay snug on her and she can still run and jump with them on. After about 10 minutes she pretty much forgets she's wearing them. They do make doggie diapers, you can use kids pull ups and all kind of other things but I find this works best for us. I can pull out a panty liner and put another one in and just wash her undies. Super easy and clean.

Someone looks like a happy camper huh?

Just a couple of recommendations....Don't put the undies right on your dog when they come inside from having just done their business. They will most likely want to lick and clean themselves. So give them a couple of minutes. Also if they are crated take the undies off when in their crate as they will most likely rip them off and chew up the pad. Barf. (This is when I drink more wine). If your dog sleeps in bed with you at night my advice is to have your dog sleep on a blanket without the undies. Just slid them on in the morning before your dog gets up and moving.  

So anyway, fingers crossed this is better than last time but I'm not very hopeful. It's a pain in the butt mainly because she needs to be monitored every second of everyday. We get so used to opening the screen door and just letting her roam the yard (we have an electric fence) but we can not do that when she's in heat. I unapologetically use this an excuse to drink more wine. Don't judge me people. But it's part of having an intact female and I love her very much. My advice to other female dog owners that are not getting their dogs fixed because of testing or whatever get some little boys undies and some wine. It makes it go much quicker. :)

Check us out on facebook at: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer

Blog update: Other posts on GSP Heat Cycles: It's that time again...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Force Fetch and then some...

What a great day of training today! We started the older dogs (Cleo, Bruin, Brandy and Jasmine) off working on force fetch. Each pup started off on the whoa table working with bumpers and then eventually progressing to frozen chukars and then some to actual retrieves off of the table and on the ground.

Cleo's brother and littermate Bruin retrieving a pheasant

Cleo really struggled last week with the force fetch. Jim worked with Cleo almost everyday this week for about 5 to 10 minutes a day and she made real improvements and it showed today. But Cleo is still having some disconnect between fetching a bumper/frozen bird and fetching a live or freshly killed bird. For some reason she doesn't like having the feathers in her mouth.

Cleo and Jim on the table

Cleo fetching the bumper on the table

Making the progression to a frozen chukar

Moving from the table to the ground. Cleo retrieving to hand a frozen chukar. 

Cleo's sister and litter mate Brandy also spent some time on the table today. She missed last weeks training due to all the flooding we had in the area last week but you could almost see her light bulb moment on the table when she started to realize what she needed to do.

We also got to meet Jasmine a DK German shorthaired pointer. Jasmine is a year old and has to be one of the most sweetest dogs I have ever met in my life. What an absolute lover. Below are some pics of her and her owner/dad Vinny.

When we were done working with the dogs we took Cleo and Brandy out on some birds. Steve was nice enough to tag along to shoot so both Mike and Jim could work the pups. Normally Steve would have brought Bruin along but both Cleo and Brandy are in heat. I'll be blogging more about that this week. Anyway both dogs did a great job and had a blast. Below are two nice pics of Brandy on point.

I was so happy to finally get some goods pics of Brandy in the field. She also made her first water retrieve today but I totally missed it!!  What a bummer! I had bailed out on them hunting to get some pics of Maggie training. Maggie is a full blood sister of Cleo and Brandy but she is only 4 months old. What a cute pup. It was so nice to see her in the field. It was great for me to witness watching such a young pup's natural instincts coming out. Maggie has lots of desire and is quite a cute pup. But it was also nice to see her work because it makes me realize just how far Cleo has come in the last 14 months since she was Maggie's age. Below are some pics of Maggie!

Maggie's litter mate Scout was also there. Was a handsome little fellow. Both Scout and Maggie are training to test in the NAVDHA Natural Ability Test this coming fall. You'll see in the pics below that Scout's senses are really coming alive. I have the feeling that Scout's owner/dad Jim Givens will end up shooting lots of birds over his head this coming fall! Besides I'm pretty sure he is the cutest puppy just look at those eyes!

We also had a few visitors at the end of training today that made things quite interesting

So we spent about 3 or so hours in the field today. It was a gorgeous day and the company was great. I was also very happy with Cleo's performance. I felt she had a good day and good days make it so exciting. Sometimes you learn the most from not so good days like last Sunday for Cleo but its the good ones that keep you coming back. I feel the same way about my fighting. I have always learned more from my losses than my wins but its getting my hand raised at the end of the fight that always lights my fire. I'm looking forward to next weekend already.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Fever and Bastard Squirrels

The birds are chirping, trees are budding, spring flowers are popping up all over my yard and the squirrels are driving Cleo crazy. I barely saw a single squirrel all winter and now the trees in our neighborhood are full of nut collecting playful squirrels. Where the heck have all these squirrels come from??

Cleo is a tortured soul....all she wants is a squirrel all to herself. They taunt her chasing each other playfully in suicide missions across the yard unaware that she is playing possum.....then stalking them....and then bam!! Hot pursuit across the yard and then this all you see:

Thank god she hasn't figured out how to climb trees

Looks like patience but she's cursing with dog barks

She will point up the tree, she'll bark, stamp her feet and sit in desperation and try to wait them out...which is exactly what she is doing in the picture above.

The wind up bark and jump. I give her form a solid 10.

Running start!?! Hell yes. 

If Cleo knew how to barter she's be giving up all kinds of yummy things for some squirrel tail. I'm pretty sure its all she has thought about the last four days or so. I'm hoping she realizes that she should just stick to birds........

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bird Crazy

Outside our living room window I had Jim hang a bird feeder. It's positioned about 6 feet off...perfect viewing distance for my two cats. They can sit in the window and chatter at the birds. The only problem is the cats don't get allot of viewing time. The resident bird crazy GSP is sucking up the back of the couch and all the viewing space!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

1st Day of Spring Training!

Pictured below is 4 month old Scout who is training for his NA Test! 
Today was the first day of our spring training with Cleo! Jim and I were so excited the last few weeks waiting to start training with the group again. Last year we trained almost every weekend with several of Cleo's litter mates in order to prepare her for the NAVDHA (North American Versatile Dog Hunting Association) Natural Ability Test. All the pups did a great job and now we are moving forward and training them for the NAVDHA Utility Test. Cleo is also training for the AKC Senior Hunt test as well.   

The past few days the Northeast has been hammered by heavy rain and the day started off with a little mudding. Once we got situated though the fields weren't to bad.
Today we trained with Steve Fiasco who has a beautiful male named Bruin, Ed Niedzinski who also has a great looking male named Griz, and with Bob Corsaro who brought his DK dog Sadie. This is the usual group but we were missing Mike today due to the floods. He normally has Cleo's sister Brandy there to train as well.
Jim and I were really pleased with today's training which was lead by Bob Corsaro the owner of Nobelle's Kennel. We felt that after today we have a great sense of where Cleo is in her training and where she needs to be. We felt that Cleo did a great job today at things she does well like finding and pointing birds. We also felt she did a good job backing. On the other hand she did not do so well at certain things like staying steady on the shot and retrieving. We knew that these are things she needs allot of work on. It was great to watch Bob work Cleo. The way he leads the dogs into understanding what he needs them to do is outstanding.

Cleo being whoaed on a bird  
Bob working with Cleo
Cleo being force fetched

 We brought some dead birds home with us today so we can freeze them and use them to work Cleo this week. She definitely needs some practice on force fetch and retrieving. But Cleo did have some nice points today!

We also worked quite a bit on backing today. Below is a pic of Cleo on point with her brother Bruin backing her and also a pic of Bruin on point with Cleo backing him.

Here's a pic of Bruin in action. He seemed to do a much better job of retrieving today than Cleo.

Sadie also got a chance to go get out on some birds. She is a few months older than Cleo and her litter mates and further along in her training. Jim and I always love watching Sadie work a field. She is also a very sweet pup.

It was disappointing that I didn't get allot of pictures of Griz in the field today but I did get some pics of him before and after he came out. He's such a handsome fellow.

At the end of training we let the dogs run it out and have a little fun to burn off some energy. The only thing better than one GSP is four. :) 

Looking forward to next week already!