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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Working on patience (both of us!)

Pizza had some great enthusiasm in training today! I did two shortish sessions with her downstairs in our training area, and she did great. What she really lacks is impulse control, so we came upstairs and did some work with the Treat & Train. I do see improvement! Slowly but surely...I just need to remind myself that patience is something that both of us need to learn. I find I have tons more patience when I get a glimmer of hope after seeing some improvement...yeah!

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Monday, February 3, 2020

The sun!!! I see the sun!!!!

We've had two straight days of sunshine! Yes, it's a big deal when you've had more than 2 straight weeks without a peek of sun. Yesterday we had a fun playdate with the two golden pals of Pretzel and Pizza. Today Pretzel and Pizza got to run around outside a lot. I worked on Pizza's verbals, we are slowly getting there! Below is a video of her doing a verbal "left" - with no motion or signal I tell her "left" and she spins to the left.

But, the best news today was Noodle! We had a private agility lesson, was only supposed to be a half hour but stretched into an hour, and she was phenomenal!!! Super focused and obedient, the partner lacking that was me because I was the one making the mistakes today. It once again reminded me about how much I LOVE this sport. It also reminded me why I am NOT giving up on Noodle. I did not mention that I have been working with my vet on Noodle's mood swings and behavioral issues. We have been trying something new on her for the past 3 weeks. I don't really know for sure if there is improvement because I haven't put her into a position of stress yet, but things seem to be pointing in the right direction.

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Never let your memories be bigger than your dreams.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Heading to Indy!

It was a Pizza kind of day (as will be the next 2-3 days). We started off today with a puppy agility class, and I LOVED that she was focused and motivated today. She is getting better and better, and although I try hard to damper it, my hope keeps going up and up.

After class, we loaded the van and headed to Indianapolis, about 3 hours away. It started raining, and rained, and poured rain...ugh. I got to the show site first and unloaded, then headed to the hotel. The rain started turning into ice, so I opted to stay in with Pizza, or a pizza (the eating kind) and veg on the bed for the rest of the night. Pizza was all for that! She settled right in and laid on the bed chewing her bones and just hanging out with me. She has been the best traveler so far - not a peep out of her during the entire drive.

Tomorrow is our show debut. I have high hopes, but am trying to get myself under control because anything can happen at a puppy's first show. My #1 goal: Make sure she has a LOT of fun!

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Pizza's show debut!

It's time for Pizza's show debut! We didn't show until after 2:00, so I had plenty of time to sleep in, casually arrive at the show grounds, and get Pizza acclimated to the noise and craziness of a dog show. She was pretty confident right from the start when we got into that atmosphere. That was a good sign.

We went into that ring and she showed like a little rock star! She wasn't perfect, she didn't stand perfectly still, but she did fantastic for her very first time, and ended up winning the 6-9 month puppy class over another puppy and got winners bitch! Pizza's first point!!!

By default, she also got the Owner-Handled Best of Breed ribbon. I wasn't sure if I should stay for the OH group...I didn't want to over-fece her and tire her out. But since we showed so late in the day, she was still bouncy and happy, and the sporting group was first, so I decided to stay. In between the breed and group, I had a win picture taken with the judge, and he was surprised to learn that she was barely 6 months old and this was her first show. He said she was "lovely" (and I agree!)

I went into the sporting group and had a blast. It was a very big group with the usual tough competitors. She showed even better than she did in breed earlier today, and she was rock solid on her stack at the end...solid enough that the judge pointed to us for an owner-handled group 4! Just amazing...Pizza's very first show, her first point, and her first OH group placement all in ONE day! I am so blessed.

I went out to eat later on with a friend of mine, and Pizza hung out in the van (with the generator running the heater) and I watched her in the camera...she laid there in her crate perfectly happy and quiet. Is she really just a puppy? She acts like she has done this a million years. Again, I am so blessed.

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Friday, February 7, 2020

Dog show Indianapolis day #2

Dog show day #2! I was really hoping to win Winners Bitch again today, because today they have a best puppy competition. I always love getting another chance to get into the ring. For the second day, I wore my new pizza pin that my sister bought me for Christmas. I am thinking it is kind of lucky!

Our ring time was 8am, so no sleeping in for us. Pizza walked into the ring like she owned it, and her confidence just glowed. She fulfilled my wish and earned another Winners Bitch and a Best Puppy ribbon! In other breaking news, she managed to stand still for the mouth exam...woo hoo!

I had about a 5 hour wait for puppy groups, so I headed back to the hotel to let Pizza chill. I want her to enjoy her dog show experience, and I think that means letting her have as much time out of the crate as possible. We lounged around the hotel room for several hours watching TV and chewing on a bone (her, not me...I chewed on some crackers).

The puppy group seemed to take forever, and I had to do a lot of entertaining to keep her occupied. She wasn't perfect, didn't hold her stack perfectly, but still did good enough to earn a puppy group 4. From the looks of it, she was probably the youngest puppy out there. Proud? You betcha!

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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Day #3 - Indianapolis

Today was our last day at the Indianapolis dog show. I didn't enter Sunday - I figured 3 days was enough for a puppy. Besides, it's time to pack for FLORIDA (take 2)!

Pizza was definitely wilder this morning than the other 2 days. Not only is she more confident and comfortable in the show atmosphere, but she is a 6 month old puppy that has been pretty much cooped up for the past 3 days, and it showed. However, she did show great, and once again for our last day earned winners bitch and her third point! A clean sweep for the Pizza Pie. LOVE that little girl to pieces! We headed home (in a nice wet snowstorm) to relax and start thinking warm thoughts...Florida.

Here is a fun little graphic! I have been taking weekly stack photos of Pizza since I got her, and I compiled a few of them to show her growth and progression - 2 per month. Isn't it cool to see how she grew the past few months? Fascinating...

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Thursday, February 13, 2020


We actually arrived here to Florida earlier than expected. How weird is that? For once, we hit ZERO traffic jams, sailed right through Atlanta, and arrived in Lakeland, Florida yesterday evening. This meant I had the day today to take the dogs for lots of walks, go exploring, and just enjoy the 80 degree weather (leaving an incoming snowstorm back in Ohio!). I hesitate to mention that this trip has gone really well so far. Knock on wood...

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day!

Day #1 of the dog show, and it is Valentine's Day! Pizza's gift to me was to not only earn Winner's Bitch and another point (Point #4

The owner-handled sporting group was huge, and it was HOT in the un-air conditioned building. Pizza handled it like a trooper, but didn't have much of a chance against that competition. I love her patience, she turned it on when needed. I think she is really getting the idea of what showing is about.

I spent some time with my true love Valentine, Pretzel after the show. He was such a good, patient boy having to spend hours in his crate while Pizza and I were at the show ring. My whole life and dog show "career" is all because of him and what he and I shared together. That is irreplaceable! He is truly my heart dog.

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Point #5!

We showed bright and early at 8:00am today. The temperature had dropped at least 30 degrees fro showtime yesterday. Wheeeee! Pizza was a bit more energetic and I had a harder time keeping her still during her stack. Regardless, she turned it on and won winners bitch again for Point #5! That makes 5 points in 5 shows. I have to admit I am a little in shock. Never have I experienced such success right from the start. Granted, we are at smaller single point shows right now. I guess it is time to worry about singling out and trying to find majors. I want to hold her back (just like I did with Noodle) so I can show her in the classes at the national specialty in May. That is going to be a lot of fun.

I spent a lot of time today taking Pizza for walks/runs on the check cord, visiting friends, and exploring the grounds. It is so fun with a puppy, everything is new and exciting. Pretzel enjoyed his walks also. It was a very relaxing day. Tomorrow we show early again and then we will immediately hit the road for Goodland, and hopefully some beach time on Monday!

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Point #6!

Today was the last day for us at the show. Once again we showed early, at 8:00am. Pizza was pretty darn tired this morning. All of this travel and showing, and lots of long walks yesterday made for a very tired puppy today. Regardless, she did awesome and earned Winners Bitch, Best of Winners, and Owner-Handled Best of Breed! This is her sixth point. 6 shows - 6 points - 6 months of age!

After we showed breed, Pizza went back to the RV and conked out. I made the decision not to stay for the owner-handled group. I have never ever skipped the group when I made it, but I have to keep in mind that Pizza really is only a 6 month old baby puppy on her second show weekend, and in interest of her long term career and enthusiasm it would be best to give her some time off. So, we packed up and headed to Goodland.

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Day #1 in Paradise

Today it was a beautiful day - blue skies and mid-80's in temperature. We headed to one of my favorite spots - Dickman Point. We hit it close to low tide, and we had miles of shallow water and sandbars to walk on. What a perfect day!

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Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, February 18-19-20, 2020

More days of Paradise

For your viewing pleasure, some photographs from the past 3 days in Florida. Mid-80's, sunshine, who could ask for more? (click on the photos to scroll through)

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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Winning streak = 7!

Today we took a break from the beach and headed across the state to Davie, Florida and an afternoon dog show. I had attended this show last year with Noodle where she won her first NOHS Group One. Pizza did me proud, taking Winners Bitch and also Best of Winners for her 7th win and 7th point in a row, still all at 6 months of age! I was especially proud when the judge came up to me afterwards and said "this is a VERY nice puppy!". I could pass out from pride...I am so blessed! I swear I will never take these kinds of successes for granted. I have worked way too hard to ever become jaded! I know that difficulties make a person stronger, teach a person more lessons, humble a person, and make them appreciate ever shred of success. I get it, and I am enjoying the moment while it lasts!

We head home on Monday, back to the cold and ugly Ohio February. Time to get back to my routine...plus I miss Noodle terribly. I am ready to tackle that training blockage, I am refreshed and optimistic again. Watch out!

In keeping with my tradition, I took some stack photos of Pizza on the waterfront. She looks pretty darn mature for a 6 month old puppy, I must say!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020


I spent all morning unpacking the motorhome, but I could not wait a minute longer...I headed to Plain City to see Cadence's progress. I have to be honest, I was blown away! I think she might be the real deal! She has taken to training so well (I cannot believe she hasn't bucked for my trainers yet, but I bet that will come eventually). What I was happiest to see was her attitude. She was thinking, working hard, and willing. The biggest thing I wanted to improve on Corky was her work ethic, and I think I may have done it!

I watched Darla ride her for a while, and was thrilled with her easy-going attitude at the trot and canter. Then, I got to get in the saddle and trot her. Finally after all these years, heartbreaks and tragedies, and just plain WORK, I got to sit in the saddle of another one of my second-generation horses. Cadence is extra-special to me for so many reasons. If you have followed this training diary since it's inception in 2004/2005 then you know exactly what this means to me. I have no words to describe it.

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Friday, February 28, 2020

One more try!

What an amazing day, and a crazy one! We started off the morning with Pizza having terrible diarrhea. Mark ended up taking her to my vet for some meds after we saw her leak some blood from straining. Turns out it wasn't anything serious, just an inflamed bowel. Whew!

I spent the entire morning at an agility seminar with Noodle. She was awesome. I have had her on Prozac for a little over a month and a half, and we noticed that she was much more relaxed in everything - still had nice drive but was less "hard-eyed" around everything that was going on, if that makes sense. It is progress, I think - I will be more optimistic once I get her in more high-stress situations and she deals with it OK. Time will tell!

The BEST news is the photo to the right. You are looking at an ultrasound of a Pretzel puppy in a litter that is due around April 3rd in Texas. This is our second try via frozen semen after a horrible tragedy a year ago. I am cautiously excited...hopeful, and feeling a bit more positive about the whole thing. If this all works out, this is going to be a gorgeous litter.

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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Happy Bonus Day! Leap Day!

Today was such a fun day. Pizza tested for CGC (Canine Good Citizen), Novice Trick Dog, and Intermediate Trick Dog. I was totally convinced that she would fail CGC because she will NOT do a sit-stay, but I used her "place" mat that I have been training her on, and she sat on the mat and held it for her stay! Her walking on loose lead as more like bouncing up in the air next to me, but she kept the leash loose (for the most part). PASS fpr CGC!

Next was our trick dog testing. This little girl NAILED both tests! Here is what we did for our tests:

1. Get in a box
2. Shake hands
3. Front paws up on a step stool
4. Spin in a circle
5. Run through an agility tunnel

1. Balance on a FitPaws exercise disc
2. Catch a soft ball
3. Go find (I hid, and she had to find me)
4. Go to "place" (her mat) and sit down
5. Push a button on a board to make a sound
6. Small agility teeter
7. Walk on a wobble board
8. Weave between my legs
9. 2 on 2 off on a travel board
10. Ride/push a skateboard across the room

I am pretty darn proud of my little girl. So many people dismiss the whole trick dog thing as silly. How can training your dog ever be silly? Sure, some of the "tricks" are pretty useless (albeit cute). But what benefited is is having Pizza learn to focus and follow simple direction, and it also taught me how to train this particular dog. I learned a lot in how she is best motivated, how she learns, and the best way to teach her new things. This will help me in the long run when we get to agility and field work.

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