Friday, October 30, 2009

Zippy's training adventure

When you meet Zippy for the first time it is hard to realize just how brilliant he is. He has many skills. This is a highly trained dog. He knows all of the basics; sit, stay, heel, stand, down, down stay......etc.
He has also trained me to retrieve. Enough on that. This story begins after Zippy learned all of his basic obedience. This story is about how I had to seek advice on Zippy's aggression issues with Gus. Previously I mentioned that Zippy and Gus do not get along and that they have had a fight or two that resulted in injury to both. Well I searched for a dog trainer that is also a behaviorist to help me in my quest for peace. I found a wonderful trainer in my area and really had a positive outlook on our situation.

I signed up for a nine week session. These sessions were one on one, just us and the trainer at his very nice facility. A beautiful indoor training room with all sorts of awards on the wall and magazines featuring this very experienced trainer and a wonderful agility course that I hoped one day that Zippy could learn to take on. I went in with high high hopes. The first day the trainer asked me all sorts of questions about Zippy and I showed him all of the things that Zippy could do. He asked me what I wanted to accomplish and I told him all about the aggression issues. This wonderful man looked at me and very seriously said "You do know that you own a Bull Terrier." That comment knocked me over. Of course I had thought about that... (A little background info...Zippy is my second BT and I have also had two other Bulldogs). Then he went on to say "You know they are a fighting breed." Then he went on to tell me about socialization (which we did) and other things to consider when owning bull breeds. I was still sitting there stunned. I guess I was stunned because I of course knew Zippy was a bull breed, but I was beginning to realize that maybe Zippy was going to have to live a solitary life. This was not good. I was discouraged. The trainer asked if Zippy had any strange behaviors. I said yes he hates ceiling fans. If you turn one on he flips out.
Well....needless to say, I went home that day thinking about doom and gloom. I did however decide that I would put my best foot forward and continue on with the training. I at least would have a WELL trained dog and to me that was the most important thing with a dog aggressive animal. I would work it all out and just keep Zippy and Gus separated. On the eighth training session I was going to talk to my trainer about continuing on the agility course. I was very excited and Zippy was advancing and doing a great job. He was even able to work side by side with my trainer's small male Jack Russell Terrier. I was very proud of him. Well.....I get to the training facility and Zippy actually greeted and played with a little mop head looking dog on the way in. Great! We walk into the training room (on leash of course).......and ..............the CEILING FAN was on!!!!!!!!!!!! OH NO!!!!!!! Zippy lunges forward and pulls the lead from my hand and goes wacko. In the process jumping onto the table where all of the beautiful magazines were featuring my trainer. Needless to say Zippy tore one of the magazines to shreds with his paws. My trainer's eyes got huge and he quickly turned off the fan. This all happened within a 30 second time period. I apologized over and over and told my trainer that I would replace his magazine. He then just looked at me with his shoulders down and said "That magazine can not be replaced, it is from the 80's." Man I felt bad. I just continued to apologize and somehow made it through my training session. The last week of training rolled around and I asked my trainer if he thought that we should continue because I wanted to see if Zippy could run the agility course. He said "No." Just NO. At this point I figured that Zippy would need a new career.

I had taken Zippy in for a session with a photographer that sells photos to magazines and calendar companies. About a week after the ceiling fan incident, the photographer called me and said "are you sitting down? Zippy is on the cover of Dog World Magazine!" He was also featured on a full page in the center of the magazine. I was so proud. I even sent my trainer an e-mail to let him know.
As a side note I would also like to say that Zippy and Gus still do not get along, but they can safely pass each other without aggressing. This has taken MUCH work and it has all been done using positive training methods. I do not know where I would be without my Yahoo training group PositivelyBTs and Terri. Thanks guys! Also Jane Killion's wonderful book When Pigs Fly!
Training Success With Impossible Dogs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Morphed Mini Mules

This is what happens when a mini mule is feeling really good. They like to fly around at warp speed. I think it is probably because the day was cool and they already have about half of their winter coat. Most days are lazy and sedate, but watch out when it cools off.
This is Otis' warthog look. I like the little leaf that he kicked up. Their fur gets so thick in the winter. They usually look like little fur balls with hooves.

I love to watch them chase one another. Go get him Ollie! May the mini donkey usually just watches; sometimes she will join in.

I am always amazed at how fast these guys can go. Just imagine yourself being pulled in a little cart behind one of these interesting creatures. I think that it would be the ride of a lifetime.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My friend MancosmuleMJ for sending me this award.
Accepting this award comes with a challenge. The challenge is to answer the questions below using one word.

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Your hair? Long
3. Your mother? Funny
4. Your father? Wild
5. Your favorite food? Cheese
6. Your dream last night? Strange
7. Your favorite drink? Merlot
8. Your dream/goal? Happiness
9. What room are you in? Office
10. Your hobby? Concrete
11. Your fear? Heights
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Riding
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren't? Serious
15. Muffins? No
16. Wish list item? Camera
17. Where did you grow up? Family
18. Last thing you did? Work
19. What are you wearing? Jeans
20. Your TV? Off
21. Your pets? Crazy
22. Friends? Fun
23. Your life? Full
24. Your mood? Happy
25. Missing someone? Grandmother
26. Vehicle? Truck
27. Something you're not wearing? Gloves
28. Your favorite store? Nursery
29. Your favorite color? Red
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Funeral
32. Your best friend? Brian
33. One place that I go to over and over? Garden
34. One person who emails me regularly? Work
35. Favorite place to eat? Outside
Also, I'm to pass this award/challenge along to six others...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gus the Big Black Dog

This post is about the big black lug we call Gus. He is such a sweet guy. He is so sweet that he will not let others (Zippy and Bumble) know when they are bugging him. He just takes all of the bullying and then....well.....things just do not end well. I think Gus even gets along with the birds and bunnies; everything except deer....and Zippy. Probably the sweetest dog in the whole world.
He also has the most beautiful eyes. I just love the color. You may notice how one of his ears is a bit shorter than the other. That happened one day when he and his brother Zippy had a bit of a disagreement. Two dogs, two cars and a trip to the emergency vet. A few stitches later and Gus had a short ear. It actually happened that fast. Gus and Zippy live totally separate lives now and all is well. Bumble fluctuates between the two worlds. Gus said he could not help it if his brother Zippy has a loose screw.

Gus is short for Angus. Another neat thing about Gus is that he is one of the most laid back Labrador in the world. He just takes it all in stride. Unless of course if you are a deer and you happen to be in my hosta garden. Then this watchful stance takes on a whole new meaning.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Weigh off

Well the day finally came for the big weigh off. I decided to take my squash (the grey/green one above) and the only pumpkin that I had that did not have a split in it. Let me tell you, it was hard to cut the cord......I mean stem. I am having pumpkin withdrawals.
This is the smallest of my three babies.....I mean pumpkins. I estimated this one to be around 360lbs. It now lives in front of The Best Cellar. One of my favorite restaurants in Blowing Rock, NC. At least I can go visit.

This is on the way to the weigh off. Small, but solid and beautiful. You should see the looks you get as you are driving down the highway with a giant pumpkin. Lots of double takes.

Here she is being unloaded and placed into the line up. Just look at the form and color. The even ribs and the texture of her skin.

I went to the weigh off thinking...."I will never win anything, but it will be fun to just show up with a pumpkin and support this wonderful local event." Hehehe......I won SECOND place!!!!! Most of the guys that were coming with larger pumpkins had problems with the pumpkins "going down". That means rotting to all of you non pumpkin growers. When these things go down they really go down. Down, down, down......That is what my Grandma used to say when you asked her how she felt. So, here I am accepting my check for second place pumpkin. By the way, I only missed first place by 10lbs. I am also sporting my new Alpaca hat that I purchased at the craft part of the festival. Oh...........I almost forgot....She weighed 406 lbs. Tiny really.

Okay.......this gets even better..........You remember the squash that I mentioned earlier? I won FIRST place in squash!!!!!! So what if I was the only one entered....I am still the champion! My husband is getting a little tired of me telling him that..... Here I am getting another check and a beautiful plaque. The watermelons in the picture weighed 116 and 118lbs. Wow.

Just look at that beauty. I would like to put a special note here to thank my husband for all of the heavy lifting and my horses, mules, and mini donkey for the fertilizer. Thanks guys! I also want to thank Mountain City for the wonderful festival and we will be back next year bigger and better!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who Me?

Just playing with my ball...............
Oh Hi Mom! I was NOT chasing the cat.

Here kitty kitty kitty...........I promise I will not chase you. HEHEHE.......or EAT you.

La la lalalalala.................Just playing with my ball. Nothing to do........just playing with my ball.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Here is my beautiful pumpkin once again. I am afraid that it is only a wee 400lb. baby. The growing season here is over and I can only hope for a bigger one next year. Time to amend my soil and decide which seeds to grow next year. There is a new world record pumpkin that weighed over 1700lbs this year. That is one huge pumpkin. The pumpkin was grown in Ohio.
Zippy enjoying a overcast afternoon walk. I really think that an overcast day makes for better fall shots.

This is Oracle. He is a character to say the least!

Miss Bumble enjoying a nice fall afternoon. I like the way the sun reflects off of her tongue.