What Have we Been Up To

COVID put a bit of a damper on our usual obedience, field and rally competitions, but we did fit some in.

In early September, Kiana made her CKC rally debut. With Huib, she earned an 89 and 88. She was excited during her first run, but settled as they went along. In her second run, she was distracted by something near the door, so Huib had trouble keeping her attention. Overall, I think she did a pretty good job!!!

The following day, Arizona tried to earn two passes towards her CDI, intermediate obedience) title. She ran into some issues during her first run. Our heeling exercise was really good!! I lost her on the outside post of the figure-eight, but she caught up and we did a good job. When we did the recall and the jumps, she had a velcro bum. Even though we have practiced this stuff in class and at home, she didn’t realize I wanted her to come for real. I think she thought I actually wanted her to stay where I left her. We had more success in her second run. I added her name onto the cues and that seemed to help. Our heeling pattern was even better than the first run, so I’m quite proud of her. We earned a 190. I know we had our issues, but I still think Ari did a fabulous job!!!

This past weekend we took Kiana to a hunt test. She attempted to earn another pass towards her JH (junior hunter) title. Huib was her handler, as her and I are still having timing issues. Even though she tries to give me the duck, I often miss it before she lets go. We will keep practicing over the winter. Kiana did a wonderful job!!! She handed Huib the duck each time and marked her birds well. I think she’s doing well for 20 months of age. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our little girl. She absolutely loves retrieving ducks.

We have decided to retire Arizona from field/hunt tests. It seems as though retrieving ducks isn’t rewarding to her. We will focus on rally and obedience instead. She appears to really enjoy them.

School is back in session for kids, so I’m not sure what tests and trials will be held this fall. The COVID cases are on the rise again. I had hoped to run Canyon, Rogue and Kiana in field tracking, but we will have to wait and see what happens. The test is in early november, so we’ve got some time.

Field Class

Field class has restarted. We need to be careful about bringing COVID-19 to Huib’s work, so we do one-on-one training.

Last week we only worked with Arizona. We did a couple training doubles on land and in the water, as well as some casting (directing her). So far Ari is only working on the forward (aka ‘back’) direction. Ari did well with the land doubles, only needing a bit of encouragement to go get the second bumper or duck, but in the water she struggled more with the second.

This week we had a chance to work with both girls.

Arizona did some training doubles on land and in the water. Like last week, she did better on land than in the water. She has also started to break (go before I cue her to do so), but we will work on that separately.

Susie feels she is taking advantage of me, so I am wondering if it might be better for Huib to work with her from now on. He will be able to see when she is looking towards her second bumper or duck, and will be able to send her at the right time. Maybe it’s mostly my lack of timing. Who knows.

With Kiana, we worked on singles. We need to fix some of her work. We need to work on walking to the line calmly, not breaking, and on coming straight to me – especially in the water. We had a long line on her, but we had to let go when she went for the bumper, so she still had an opportunity to self-reward. She thinks it’s fun to play with the bumper or bird in the water, instead of bringing it to me.

Even though we have work to do, I absolutely love her enthusiasm and drive!!!

I like that I can ask her to re-do something, and she doesn’t fall apart. I like that I can stop her mid-movement and re-send her without her falling apart. Ari is such a sensitive girl.

So Kiana can no longer self-reward, I think we are going to attach our second long line to the other one. It will then be 70 feet, so I won’t have to let it go.

Wish us luck. 🙂

Chickens

I don’t have too much new to report about the dogs. I started a RebelFire Goldens Facebook page for puppy families, friends and families on the waiting list to share stories and see pictures.

About two weeks ago we got chickens. We got two silky crosses, an Ameraucana 4 olive easter eggers, and 4 barred rocks. One of the silky crosses ended up being a rooster, so he found a new home last week. Yesterday we found out that at least one of the olive Easter eggers is a male, so he’s in search of a new home. We suspect one more of the olives is a boy, so he’ll be moving on as well. In Guelph we are allowed 10 birds and none of them can be roosters. Once the roosters find new homes, we’ll be down to eight hens. We bought them for fresh eggs, and to raise.

Their coop is a little red and white barn, and their run is fully enclosed. We used two Xpens to build it. Huib also put up a 5.5 foot black metal fence to keep the dogs back.

For enrichment, we put in a landscaping rock and a wood thing they can climb on and perch. Huib is also going to make them a swinging perch, and a chicknic table. There are food dispensing toys you can buy chickens, but we’ll wait a bit on those. On warm days, we put frozen fruit kabobs in the run. We can also make ice cubes with corn or peas inside, or hang a cabbage for them to peck at and peel. It’s so neat to see all the things you can do for your chickens.

I joined a clicker training chickens group on Facebook. I’m not sure how much I’ll teach the ladies, but even having them come to their names would be cool. We named them after Disney characters.

Elsa is a silky cross. Arial is an Ameraucana. Queenie (aka Queen of Hearts) is an olive, and Maleficent is also an olive. We haven’t named the barred rocks yet, as they are too small to see any differences.

If you follow me on Instagram (@ruledbypaws), you can see pictures of the ladies. If you do follow us, let me know, so I can follow you back.

Another Year

Today is someone’s birthday.

Today Arizona turns 6!!!

I say it every year, but time really does fly. I remember when Arizona was a tiny puppy. The trouble she put us through in the first month. She has grown up to be such an amazing girl.

Thank you for introducing us to dog sports, and for helping us meet so many awesome people.

Thank you for giving us 10 beautiful bundles of joy. Kiana is such an amazing puppy. She is smart, confident and very good looking. We can’t wait to see where she takes us in field, tracking and obedience.

HAPPY HAPPY 6TH BIRTHDAY ARIZONA!!!

May we have many more years of adventures together.

Puppies

Plans for Arizona’s next litter are in the works. We have made arrangements with the owner of a stud named Max (Morningstar’s Bold Explorer CDX WCX MH). Max is only four, but highly accomplished in obedience and field. I have always loved his father, Baron, and sister, Tess, so I am really looking forward to this breeding.

As long as all goes well, Ari will come in season around November, and her puppies will be born in January. This means both of her litters will be around the same birthday, just two years apart in age.

I really enjoy having four dogs, but I love Baron and Tess so much, that we have decided to keep a girl from this litter. I can’t wait to see what we can do with her. Kiana has been so amazing, so I can only imagine how far in obedience and field we will go with Max’s offspring.

Kiana

Not too much has been going on here with all the social limitations due to COVID-19. We go for long walks at least every other day with the dogs, alternating days with Rogue and Canyon because Kiana gets too excited when we walk all four dogs together, but otherwise we’re staying home.

Huib still needs to work, so it’s always a bit stressful when he leaves. I just never know if he’s going to bring something home. So far his long-term care home is doing really well. They had one staff member with a positive test a few weeks ago, but so far no residents or other staff members have come down with it. This is really something to celebrate, as many homes in Ontario have lost high numbers of residents, but of course, the news only talks about the bad things that happen.

Since I don’t have a lot to talk about, I thought I would take some time to formally introduce everyone to Kiana.

Kiana’s registered name with the Canadian Kennel Club is, REBELFIRE’s Force of Nature. I chose this registered name because Arizona is a wild girl, so I thought her daughter would be similar. So far Kiana is really living up to her name. In Persian, Kiana, means earth, wind fire, so this fits well with force of nature.

In September, a week before turning eight months of age, Kiana earned her WC or working dog certificate. To earn this title, a dog must successfully retrieve two ducks on land and then two in the water. She wasn’t quite ready to hand me the birds, so Huib ran her at the test, so he could catch them before they fell. We also tried to earn her JH or junior hunter title, but she was only able to obtain one pass. Kiana has learned that once she hands the duck to us twice in the water, then the game is over. Instead of doing this, she has decided to play. While wanting to strangle her, we were also laughing on the inside, because she was tossing the duck in the air and then pouncing on it as it fell back into the water. She had quite a good time. I hope to have her finish this title in the fall.

In November Kiana tried to earn her TD or tracking dog title. Unfortunately, she got distracted by a smell and turned the wrong direction. Hopefully we can try again in the fall.

Kiana is one of the smartest dogs we’ve had the opportunity to raise. She loves to learn, but isn’t overly food motivated. Food is an easy thing to use in training, but I kind of like that Kiana isn’t a huge fan. I’m hoping it will mean she isn’t as easily distracted when someone tries to offer her food when we are out.

Kiana’s favourite things to play are tug, fetch and brain games. She loves when we put treats into cardboard boxes and then have her figure out how to get them out. Her usual choice is to shred the box and then spread it all over the kitchen. Kiana loves walks and can be a bit of a puller when she’s excited, so usually for the first two kilometres of a walk, she’s pulling.

Kiana is in training to be Rogue’s successor. Rogue turned nine in April, so I’m hoping to retire her shortly after her tenth birthday. Kiana is doing well with her training. So far we are focusing on obedience and manners. In July we will start working on guide tasks. I want her growth plates to fuse before I ask her to put pressure on her shoulders. I know she loves jumping and running, which can be hard on the joints, but at least I’m not encouraging the behaviour.

As long as Kiana passes all of her health clearances when she is two years of age, we hope to breed her in the future.

I can’t think of anything else to say about Kiana. It has been so cool to raise a puppy from the moment it’s born.

If nothing else is happening, I’ll talk about another one of the crew when I write again. Stay safe everyone!!!

Happy 9th Birthday Rogue

Today is a special labrador’s birthday. Its Rogue’s 9th birthday!!!

Its hard to believe my little red girl is already 9. She came into my life at a time when I needed a friend and someone I could rely on. I had just lost more of my sight in January, so together we discovered the world. Rogue has been a friend, an entertainment, and a loyal partner in crime. She is shy and quiet, never one to cause a problem. She helped me regain my independence and taught me it’s possible to raise and train my own service dog. Over the years, we have done tracking, travelled to different places in North America, and presented at a number of conferences. When she is with me, I know everything will be okay.

For her birthday, she got a Noxgear harness to run at night, a purple light up collar for evening walks, and a pair of Ruffwear boots. I also wanted to get her something to play with, so I ordered her a Kong toy that dispenses treats.

I am sad to know our working days are coming to an end, but I know we will have many more adventures together. Please enjoy a favourite snack for the best little red girl!!!

Happy 9th Birthday Rogue

Strange Time

I really need to get better about posting here.

It’s a strange time. Everyone around the world is in varying levels of quarantine, as there is a virus (COVID-19) sweeping the globe. Right now, Canadians are being asked to self-quarantine as much as possible, only going out when absolutely necessary.

Huib is a nurse and the Director of Nursing Care at a long-term care home, so we can only stay as safe as possible. He changes before leaving work and immediately washes his hands upon entering the house. We clean all food and packaging, and we only go out for daily walks with the dogs or for groceries once in a while. As I said, it’s a strange time.

Since Huib still needs to work, our daily schedule really hasn’t changed much. I read and do short training sessions with the dogs during the day, and in the evenings we go for a walk and watch Netflix. I miss our training classes, but at least most of it can still be done at home.

If all goes well, we will hopefully be back to our regular training schedule by the summer. I would really like Arizona and Kiana to earn their WCI, and for Kiana to finish off her JH. As for Rogue and Canyon, I’d love for both of them to earn their TDX.

I keep forgetting to post pictures, but you can see what we’re up to by following our adventures on Instagram at @ruledbypaws.

We’re Back!!!

Hello Faithful Blog Readers!!!
I apologize for our lengthy absence. So much has been happening over the past months, but other than updating our social media accounts, I haven’t been great about updating our followers here.

I’ll do a quick update, and then hopefully I will get back into more regular blogging. Please don’t give up on us.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I last wrote.

To start, Arizona’s puppies went to their homes in March. We get pretty regular updates. Everyone is doing really well.

Our keeper puppy is a girl named Kiana, or REBELFIRE’S FORCE OF NATURE. She is all we wanted and more from this litter. Kiana is smart, athletic, confident, and very good looking. She has a bit more bone, more feathering and a little longer coat than Arizona. She gets along really well with everyone, and I think Ari loves having her around.

If you check out our Instagram page (@ruledbypaws) or find me on Twitter (@ruledbypaws), you will find pictures of Kiana.

Paw Print Genetics had a sale on this spring, so we got Kiana, Arizona and Canyon tested for various conditions goldens can get. Arizona has already been tested for the more common issues, so we just did the supplemental panel with her. She came back clear for everything, so she’s only a carrier for PRA 2.

In January news came out about a new issue in goldens called NCL. It is a neurological condition that causes death by two years of age or so. I wanted to make sure the puppies were safe, so both Arizona and Cutter were tested. Both came back clear, meaning that their puppies are also clear.

I did both the standard and supplemental panels with Kiana and Canyon. Both Kiana and Canyon came back clear for everything, except they are carriers for ichthyosis. It is a skin condition in goldens.

If you find your golden having skin issues on a regular basis, I would consider testing them for ichthyosis. It can be mild or really extreme.

In May or June, Arizona finished her RO2, then in August, she earned her RO3, along with points towards her UKC rally championship and a pass towards her rally excellent title. RO2 is the second level and RO3 is the third level in UKC rally. To earn her championship, Ari needs 100 points, so far she has earned 4. To earn her rally excellent title, she needs 10 passes, and so far she has one. We tried for a couple passes in October, but she struggled with the food distraction. It was a figure eight, that had four metal bowls with liver inside. The poor girl just couldn’t help, but check them out, lol!!! I am thinking food distractions are going to be where she struggles the most.

In September, Arizona finished her CKC rally advanced title. Then in October and November, she earned her CD (or novice obedience) title with scores of 193, 193 and 192.5. We were pretty proud of our wild child!!!

In September, Kiana earned her WC (working certificate) a week before turning 8 months of age. She also earned one pass towards her JH (junior hunter) title. She tried for two other passes, but ran into problems in the water. Kiana has learned that after two retrieves the game is over, so she has decided that it will be more fun to play with the second duck. We will hopefully try and finish her title in the spring. Field/hunt work seems to be her strength. She is an excellent marker, we just need to work on calmly walking to the line, delivering to hand, and always bringing the duck back. She is young, so we’ve got tons of time.

On November 10th, Kiana attempted to earn her TD (tracking dog) title. Sadly, she was unsuccessful. She overshot the second corner, and didn’t know how to work her way back. I hope to try again in the spring.

In May and October, Rogue attempted to earn her TDX. She was extremely close in May, but it was really warm, so I think she ran out of fuel. She also missed the intermediate articles, as she cut corners. In October, Rogue didn’t start well, so I wasn’t sure the track would work out. I was right. She made it to the second corner and then decided to turn right instead of left. Rogue’s start was good, but she moved really slow and kept wanting to stop to eat grass. These are usually signs that she is uncomfortable. Huib wonders if maybe she was nervous about wild animals. We were in BC for the test, so the animal smells would be a little different.

In September, Rogue attempted to earn her UTD (urban tracking dog) title. She was SO close!!! Rogue cut the final corner, so was not lined up with the final article. She was about eight feet away, and turned right instead of left. Poor girl!!!

As you can see, it’s been an exciting and busy year for the ruled by paws crew.

Two Weeks

The puppies turned two weeks of age on Monday. Their eyes are open and they are all walking. They are not completely stable on their feet, but do quite well.

Arizona is spending less time in the whelping box, only going in to feed them about every three hours. She still stimulates them from time-to-time, but they are able to relieve themselves, so the box is getting a bit dirtier. We now change the blanket twice a day, replacing the stuffed toys each time.

When they were about a week old, we started placing stuffed toys in with them, so that they would need to problem solve in order to get around the toy. We usually put one larger toy, then one or two smaller ones.

Within the week, their ears should begin to open, so we’ll start playing various music and sounds. We will also start putting toys in their box that make noise.

Over the past 11 days, we have been introducing different scents, as their noses are the main sense they use right now. We have offered them: orange, lemon, snow, cedar, peppermint, banana, oregano, goose, sage, cinnamon and leather. Some of the scents the puppies liked or were curious about, while others they strongly disliked. For example, all really enjoyed the leather, while no one liked banana – I love these guys!!!

I am a fan of leather, but totally dislike banana too, lol!!!

Another thing we have been doing with the puppies since they were six days old, is Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS). Each day, we handle the puppies, putting them upside down, right side up and on their backs. Then we tickle a paw with a Q-tip and place them on a cold surface. This procedure is meant to get them used to low levels of stress, as well as with being handled in various ways. A couple of the puppies do not like being on their back, but most don’t mind.

It has been amazing to watch their personalities develop. Some are out-going, while others are more observers. Some are loud, while others are quiet. We know we shouldn’t, but it’s hard not to have our favourites.

Here are a few pictures from this week.
Close-up of a sleeping puppy's face.

A pile of puppies sleeping with a stuffed duck.

A puppy laying near a sliding glass door.

Until next time, you can find us on Facebook by searching my name or Instagram under @ruledbypaws.