Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets. www.greytinspirations.com

Round Up

Billie as a puppy

Billie as a puppy

I told you a few weeks ago that Taylor was starting to have some weakness in his rear legs and that I thought he needed more than just his usual glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM tablets.  So, I ordered something for him called Dog Gone Pain.  He’s only been taking it for a few days but I am very happy with it.  He is acting feisty again plus he’s been trotting around the house.  He’s even been playing with the other dogs.  Taylor will be 13 in a couple of weeks and I think his new medicine is really helping him.

All of the dogs continue their clicker training.  It’s really funny.  If I just give them treats now without using the clicker they look kind of disappointed.  LOL  They want the clicker! It must give them some feeling of accomplishment.

I was looking around on eBay the other day to buy some extra clickers and maybe a new bait bag (I’m using my old fanny pack right now) and I discovered something interesting.  People are selling things on eBay at a marked up price.  I don’t even like eBay anymore.  You used to be able to go there and find good deals but now it seems that the people who sell there have their own stores and they’re just trying to sell their merchandise.  For instance, with the little clickers, people were selling them for several dollars each.  I googled the brand and I found the same thing selling for $1.29 cents at Pet Edge.  It was the same way with the training pouch I liked.  People on eBay were selling them for $15 but they were $9.99 at Pet Edge.  So they’re buying them cheap and selling them high on eBay.  If you want a good price, go somewhere besides eBay, or at least look other places, too.

Don’t rule out your local pet supply stores either.  I was buying dog food yesterday and I checked out what they had.  They didn’t have a large selection but for the things they did have their prices weren’t bad.  Of course, that’s the Tractor Supply Co. store.  I don’t have a PetSmart or other pet store near me since I live out in the country.  I think the Tractor Supply Co. store is just as dangerous as a pet store.  I am not as tempted to buy pet things but I always seem to buy some shirts or look at horse magazines when I go there each week.  It’s a struggle not to buy a Breyer horse.  I used to collect them when I was growing up and I still love them.

Billie in the field

Billie in the field

It will soon be time to breed Billie.  Just a few more weeks.  I’m very excited.  She’s four years old and this will be her first litter if all goes well.  She’s a beautiful girl but she has a very unusual personality.  If you know anything about astrology Billie is a Gemini.  She does things her own way.  She is “quirky.”  Sometimes she is very loving and wants to be petted but other times she just wants to be alone.  She will go off and lie in the sun in the backyard all by herself.  She doesn’t care what the other dogs do. Sometimes you can’t even tempt her with food.  She does what she wants to do.  She’s always been this way since she was a puppy.

I guess I’m giving this round up about everything because this is my last post here.  The GreytInspirations store will be closing soon and this is the end of the blog.  I want to thank Joanne for allowing me to have fun with these posts.  I love writing about my dogs and finding stories that might interest dog lovers.

So, good luck to Joanne and her family, both human and animal.  And thanks to all of you who have been reading.  I appreciate the time you’ve taken to stop by and read.  Many thanks and hugs to your pets.

Carlotta Cooper

July 31, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog Training!

Can Blue learn to trot?

Can Blue learn to trot?

My dog Blue doesn’t like to trot.  I’ve written about this before.  He uses the pacing gait instead of trotting.  I’ve been at my wit’s end because he has to trot at dog shows.  I finally decided that I would see what an expert could do about the problem.  Yesterday we had an appointment with a dog trainer.  What an interesting experience!

Now Blue has never had any formal training.  My training experiences have been in group obedience classes.  I’ve read a lot about training and applied what I needed to apply to my own dogs but I’ve never used clicker training.  So, I was very interested to see what was going to happen.

We arrived at the trainer’s place.  She boards dogs, too, but she has a separate building for training.  However, it’s not air conditioned and it was very hot.  It’s built a little like a huge garage and she had one side opened so there was air moving around.  It was still hot, especially for a longhaired dog like Blue.

The trainer had another trainer there with her.  They asked me to show them what Blue does so I put his show lead on and moved him around — he paced for them.  Their first thought was that maybe I wasn’t tall enough to move fast enough for Blue (I’m 5’7”) so they had the male trainer move Blue — he still paced.  Next they decided to see how Blue would move on his own so they told me to let go of his lead and let him move freely.  They started tossing toys for him, which he was very happy to chase for them.  He moved from one side of the building to the other, always pacing.

Then they decided to see how he would respond to treats.  HAHAHA  My boy likes treats.  They got some Vienna sausages.  One trainer stood at one end of the building and the other trainer stood at the other end.  They would call him to them and give him treats when he came.  But he always paced.  So then they decided to see if they could start using the clicker to get some trotting behavior.  The male trainer picked up his lead and started moving with him.  Whenever he trotted, even for a second or two, I was supposed to say, “Yes!” and the other trainer would click the clicker so Blue could get a treat.  Well, he did trot 2-3 times, just for a few seconds, but it wasn’t enough for him to figure out why he was getting clicks and treats.

Altogether this went on for about 20 minutes — tossing the toys, letting him run around, then clicking and treating.  By this time Blue had enough.  He was panting and he just stopped.  He said no more.  He ran over behind me and plopped down and wouldn’t get up again.  I don’t blame him, really.  I’m sure he didn’t see the point in what they were trying to do, even if there were treats involved.  That’s why English Setters don’t make the greatest obedience dogs.  They tend to think for themselves.  The last time I took a dog to obedience classes he was bored out of his mind when we were doing the heeling exercises where we practiced walking in circles and stopping.

However, I did sign us up for classes with these trainers.  I think they will help us.  We don’t have to repeat the same things over and over.  I think we’ll have to be more creative to figure out a way to get him to trot.  For one thing, they want me to bring one of my other dogs — one that trots! — to our first class, along with Blue.  Now I don’t know how that’s going to help Blue learn to trot but I think it should be interesting.  I think I’ll take Pearl.  She always has a fit when we leave her behind.  This way she can be part of things.

The trainer said that Blue was very smart.  While we were there a woman was teaching a puppy to ring a bell when she wanted to go outside.  Blue was watching everything they did.  The puppy would ring the bell with her nose, then the owner would click the clicker and give the puppy a treat.  Blue watched that for 10-15 minutes.  When we were leaving we had to go out through the door that had the bell hanging on it.  He used his nose to ring the bell!  It was so cute.  I wish I’d had a treat to give him. It’s amazing how smart dogs are.  We forget that they learn by watching others.

So, we’ll see how we do in our classes.  Can they teach him how to trot?  We’ll see.  Our first class is Thursday night.

July 15, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , | Leave a comment

A dog show weekend

I had a great time this weekend with my dogs. We left Thursday on a short trip to Charlotte, NC. There were some dog shows there over the weekend and I got my lazy self in gear last week to groom Pearl and Blue properly so they would look nice for the shows. Now, I used to go to shows every weekend so I had my car packed with foldable crates, maps, an extra coffemaker, acidophilus tablets, etc., etc. But that was a long time ago. I don’t travel much anymore. That meant that I was running around like a chicken with no head last week making lists and trying to remember every little thing I needed to take with me. By the time I got to the show I was literally just throwing items in the trunk of the car and praying I could find them later. All pretense at organization was long gone.

Blue

Blue

I have always been sort of an unconventional dog show exhibitor. I don’t have a motorhome or a van. I go to shows in my car. My very old car at this point. Embarrassingly old. But, hey, it’s a luxury car, it had low miles when I bought it, and it has a great 3.5 liter engine. It still runs like a top even if it is looking a little old. So, I go to dog shows in it. This should help dispel the notion that all dog show people are rich, by the way. We’re not. We’re just people with dogs who like to show them.

I still had a lot of grooming to do once I got to the shows. Blue has more coat than any two dogs should have. I think he has Pearl’s coat, too, because she is coat-deficient. She had gorgeous long hair last year at this time but when the hot summer came she shed all of her beautiful long hair and it’s been very slow about growing back. I bathed them just before we left so they were clean but they still needed some more work.

I think Blue had stayed at a motel before when he was out in California with my friend for some shows but he acted like a total rube when we got in the room. This was Pearl’s first time in a motel. They were really kind of funny. They ran around the room checking things out but they were kind of cautious, too. They had to smell everything from the carpet to the TV. They were so weird about the bed. Here at home my bed is very high and I have to help them get up. The bed in the motel room was much lower. They could easily have jumped up by themselves but, because they were used to me helping them, they would come and stand by the bed and wait for me to help them get up. There was an ottoman in the room so I pulled it next to the bed for them. I thought they would hop up on it and use it as a step. I had to teach them how to use it! They still wanted me to help them get up. They were so funny and cute.

I thought that the elevator might scare them but they had no problem with it. They walked right in and rode up and down in it. It was kind of creaky and noisy. Otherwise I don’t think they would have realized we were moving. The only time we had a scare was when the door opened and a couple of women were standing in the doorway with a cart full of Chihuahuas barking at us. They also had a tiny Chihuahua puppy on a leash. Luckily I had a firm grip on my dogs’ leads. I felt them pull — they were a little too interested in the Chihuahua puppy. I’m not sure they knew it was a dog. The next day I went indoors at the show to get something to eat, with the dogs along with me. The Chihuahuas were being judged next to the snack bar so the dogs had a good view of the little dogs while I ate a sausage biscuit. They were still fascinated by the small dogs.

I had a great time seeing people I knew and talking to everybody. Blue and Pearl won their classes each time — but they were the only ones in their classes. 🙂 Unfortunately, they didn’t win any points at these shows. These were specialty shows so there was a very large entry. I’m afraid I was a little rusty in my grooming and showing. These were the first shows I’ve been to in about a year. I see a lot of room for improvement the next time I show them in a few weeks. I need to take off more of Blue’s coat. Maybe Pearl will have more of her long hair grown back by then.

I think the dogs had a great time. I know they like the new toys I bought them. As soon as we got to the show grounds I headed for one of the vendor’s tents and let the dogs pick out something. After that, every time we walked by they wanted to go back inside. LOL When I got up this morning Blue came into the bedroom carrying one of his new toys. Dogs are great, aren’t they?

April 6, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , | Leave a comment

Blue comes home

 

I finally got my little Boo Boo home from California.  Only he’s not so little any more!  He was 15 ounces when he was born and now, 12 months later, he’s 62 pounds and taller than my tallest dog.  He must be about 27 inches tall at the top of his shoulders.  His dad’s a big dog but the last time I saw his dad he was outdoors so he didn’t seem so big.  When you have a dog this size in your house, along with four others, you really notice!

 

100_0625It’s great to have him home.  He left here when he was four months old to go to my friend in California for field training.  She showed him a few times, too.  I wasn’t sure if he would remember me and the other dogs but when I picked him up at the airport I saw him staring at me from his crate like he was trying to remember me.  When I put him in the car he buried his nose in my hair and took a huge sniff, then slept all the way home.  And when I brought him in the house the other dogs greeted him like he was one of them.  It was like, “Hey!  Where you been?  What took you so long?”

 

Little Pearl has been beside herself, she’s so happy he’s home.  From the moment he was born she decided he was her personal toy.  She’s only six months older than he is so she was a combination mom-big sister-tormentor to him.  She is NOT his mother, but she would get in the whelping area every chance she could to try to take care of him.  Then as soon as he started walking and was able to see, she must have figured out that he was another puppy because she wanted to play with him.  She started picking him up and trying to carry him with her around the house like a stuffie, with him protesting the whole way.  His real mother never did anything to stop her.  She was glad to have another dog taking care of him, except for the nursing.  A little later Pearl decided he should go outside with her so I’d have to try to catch her before she dragged him outside by his hind leg, with him screaming.  I don’t know why she wanted to take him outside with her in January, but she was very determined.

 

At least by then little Boo Boo (or Blue, or Colin — his proper name) was big enough to walk and get around by himself.  Pearl would drag him out by his back leg and he would come puppy-running back inside the house if I missed catching Pearl.  But he was crazy about Pearl, too, because she was like a mom to him, so he played with her a lot in the whelping area and everywhere else.  He finally got too big for Pearl to try to haul around but they still played all the time.  Right up until I sent him to California.  Pearl was heartbroken.

 

Blue was a singleton — an only puppy — so Pearl was sort of like a littermate to him, I guess.  She kept him from being a lonely puppy.  I never knew puppies could bond with each other like this but they had a very special relationship.

 

As soon as he came home the other night he and Pearl picked up right where they left off.  They haven’t stopped playing since I brought him home.  Beau tries to play with him and sometimes he is friendly with his big sister, Billie, but it’s really only Blue and Pearl who play together.  They sleep next to each other.  They do everything together.  Pearl is usually devoted to me but with Blue here she has forgotten all about me for now.  That’s okay.  I’m just happy they’re happy.  The only thing that’s changed is that Blue is about twice as big as Pearl now!  It’s so funny because sometimes he has to almost lie down in the floor to play with her.  He towers over her.  But they still race and chase around the backyard and they wrestle and play for hours.  It’s wonderful to watch them.  I think Pearl is even happier he’s home than I am.

November 30, 2008 Posted by | General | , , | Leave a comment