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

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.

They Have Arrived!!!

*** This post is backdated ***

At about 2:00pm, Arizona went into labour. She had been restless for the past couple of days, but did not really give us any clear-cut signs the time was coming. As a result, her breeder wasn’t able to make it until after the first puppy had arrived.

Ari was a bit unsure when the first puppy, a girl, arrived. She was interested in licking the puppy, but also wanted to get out of the whelping box, so I sat in it with her, while Huib did what he needed to do with the pup. After each, he tore open the placenta, tied and cut the umbilical cord, and then held the puppy for Ari to clean, before handing it off to me for drying. Once the puppy was dry enough, we weighed it and then put it onto Arizona. She was a great mom once her maternal hormones kicked in.

Her delivery of each puppy went so smoothly, that we were able to leave the prior puppies nursing while the next arrived. She just laid on her side and let her body do its thing. Her breeder was pretty impressed, especially when it only took her five hours to deliver 10 puppies.

The first and last puppies were girls.

In total she had, six boys and four girls. Initially, we thought it was five and five, but after a few days, we realized our count was off, lol!!!

This link will take you to a Facebook post where I share photos of the new family. It is public, so you should be able to view it.

So far the puppies aren’t too much work, but by the time they turn four weeks, things will get very busy!!!

I will try to post semi-regularly. I do post on Instagram and Facebook almost daily.

Getting Back to Blogging

2018 was a good year for the ruled by paws crew. It was not such a great year for the blog.

This brings me to my first, and only, New Year’s resolution. I am going to try and do a better job of blogging. This resolution’s success may be bolstered by the fact that we will hopefully be welcoming a new addition.

For those who have not been following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or who might not have seen my last post, Arizona is pregnant!!! She will be welcoming puppies around January 14th.

As of last Thursday, Ari is 6 inches, and 8.8 lbs. bigger than usual. She is finding it difficult to lay comfortably, so can be restless at times. Just 14 more days to go!!!

As mentioned earlier, 2018 was a good year. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Arizona earned her PCD (pre-novice obedience) title in February.

2. Ari finished her JH (junior hunter) in May.

3 Arizona earned a few rally titles in August, September and November with both the CKC and UKC organizations.

4. I completed 4 races this year. Not only doing 3 5k, but also walking/running a 10k in August.

5. Canyon earned his TD (tracking dog) title in November!!! This means all three of our current dogs have their TD.

In 2018, we also lost an important member of our crew. On October 15, we said goodbye to Cessna, after her health went downhill. We are all missing her.

I don’t really have any resolutions, but do have several goals.

1. I’d like to train more regularly with the dogs.

2. I would like to finally run races, and no longer walk parts.

3. We’d like to finish off Ari’s rally advanced title, and try out rally excellent.

4. We would like to finish off Ari’s UKC conformation title, and maybe attempt the next level of UKC rally.

5. I would like to have Rogue earn her TDX (tracking dog excellent) or UTD (urban tracking dog) title.

6. We would like Canyon to try for his TDX.

7. We would like Ari to earn her WCI (working certificate, intermediate).

For the most part, our goals for this year are focused on the dogs. They are all things they enjoy, so not really goals that need to be written down, but it’s always a good idea.

Looking back, I think 2018 might be one of our best years so far. Let’s hope 2019 brings some new adventures and maybe a few challenges to keep things interesting.

The Good and the Not So Good

On Thursday evening, Rogue and I got together with D for a run. It was a lot warmer than Tuesday, so I found myself taking longer to catch my breath after a run. Nevertheless, we made it through our workout of: 100 m running and 300 m walking, four times.

*****
On Friday morning we met up with Laura to do some tracking in the field with Rogue and Canyon. It has been about six months or more since either of them tracked in a field, so we were curious to see where they were at.

Canyon struggled with parts of the track that went against the grain, but did amazingly well on other parts. I think with weekly practice, he will be ready to try for his TD this fall.

Rogue’s track wasn’t crazy long, or challenging, but I thought she was fabulous!!! I found her easy to read and I didn’t notice her struggle at any point. I am really hoping to attempt her TDX in the fall. This will be our second try.

*****
On Saturday, Huib and I took Arizona to a UKC rally trial. She only needed one more leg to finish off her RO1 title, so we decided to only enter the one day.

Their first run was awesome!!! She qualified with a score of 96!!!

She lost a few marks for a tight leash, but otherwise their run was beautiful!!!

In their second run, Huib accidentally missed a station, so they did not qualify. Rally is tough, as the signs are pretty close together, so it is easy to miss a station.

Overall, I thought they did a pretty fantastic job!!!

*****
On Sunday morning, we met up with Laura to do some urban tracking. Even though it was pretty hot – 26 – the dogs did a pretty awesome job!!!

Arizona had a short, but challenging track. Laura wanted to get her back into tracking, rather than continuously giving up when it got tough, so she tried to give her a good experience. She added in a bit more hard surface than she is used to, but this did not create any problems. If I had to give her a mark, I think I’d give her an 80%.

Canyon’s track had some long grass and contamination, but neither one caused an issue. I will give him an 85%.

Rogue found one corner a bit tough, but I didn’t have to help her and she figured it out. I thought she did a really amazing job on her track, so she gets a 90%!!!

*****
Yesterday Rogue and I ran with D. According to the schedule we are following, our assignment was: 200 m running and 200 m walking, four times. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, as my migraines were horrible Sunday and Monday, so I did not get a workout in. It went surprisingly well. I struggled to get through the final 200 m of running, but I did it!!!

D and I meet again Thursday, so we are going to try some new things with the warm-up. We are going to try a slow jog with a walk just before we hit the trail. I’ll let you know how it works.

Last night was our final field class of the season. I’m sad it’s over, but I think we also need to take a break and reassess where the holes in Arizona’s training exist. I thought this was possibly our worst class in a while.

Ari refused to pick up a duck, something she has not done in a really long time, and she seemed to have a lot of trouble locating her marks. I was totally fine with her initially hesitating to pick up a different kind of bird, but to refuse a duck was frustrating!!! I’m not sure why she found the marks so challenging, maybe a break will help us both.

As you can see, it’s been a pretty mixed week so far.

Success and Struggles

On Saturday, Huib and Arizona made their CKC rally debut. They earned a qualifying score of 90 in the first trial, and 83 in the second. In the first trial, they primarily lost points because of a tight leash. Ari still gets distracted and sniffy in the ring. In the second trial, they lost points because of a tight leash, and because Huib went up the wrong side of the weaves – OOPSIE!!! Overall, it was a good experience.

Arizona sitting with a rosette attached to her collar.

This weekend, Ari will hopefully finish off her RO1, which is the UKC version of rally novice. She will attempt to complete her CKC RN at the end of the month.

*****

In training news. I have decided to stop training for the Victoria half marathon, as I was beginning to dislike running, and I really do not have enough time to train. Six weeks is really not enough time for anyone to train for such a long distance.

Instead, I have decided to go back to the beginning and work through one of Jeff Galloway’s training programs. I am going to work through his four week plan that will have me running a full mile. Once I complete that schedule, I’ll move onto his two mile plan. I’m hoping by taking a step back, I will find my love for running.

Sunday, was the first day of my new schedule. It went well. I did a five minute warm-up at 3.1 miles, then did four reps of 0.08 mi (or 100 m) at 4.8 and 0.16 mi (or 300 m) at 3.4, with a five minute cool down at 3.0.

My guide runner is back for the school year, so we got together on Tuesday. D, Rogue and I did a brisk walk warm-up, then did 100 m at a comfortable run and 300 m at a brisk walking pace, with a cool down at a less brisk pace. The weather was nice, with a comfortable temperature of 20 C. Both D and I over-dressed, wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts (I actually wore my jacket over a t-shirt), so by the end, I needed to take my jacket off.

On the weekend, Huib and I went to Mountain Equipment Co-op for new hiking boots and a day-pack for me to use when running with Rogue. I got a really comfortable pair of men’s black/grey Keens. I got a men’s pair, as they only had a limited number of women’s left. I am an 8.5 or 9, but they only had a 10.5 left. My new backpack is medium blue and has a hydration pack built in for summer. I needed a small pack that i could put Rogue’s harness into, while we ran, but that would not bounce around. I use my new pack on Tuesday, and it was perfect!!!

D and I get together again on Thursday.

*****

Last night we had field class. We arrived at 6pm and no one was really ready to work, so we took Ari over to a pond and did some bumper retrieves. I held her, asked her to “MARK,” and Huib tossed in two bumpers. I released her and she went to get a bumper. When she gave it to me, I asked her to “Find your mark, where’s your mark.” When she looked towards it, I released her. She easily swam over to it, so when she returned the bumper, I held her and Huib tossed three bumpers in. She was able to find two, but struggled a bit with the third, so we repeated the three-bumper toss. Ari did a lot better on her second attempt, so we ended the session with a fun bumper toss.

During class we worked on land retrieves. Susie had three gunner stations, so Ari did a double and then retrieved a single bird. She struggled with the double, but Susie told us not to worry, as it was a tough setup. To try and help her learn, Susie had us run through the exact same setup after a couple other dogs had run. Ari still found the double confusing.

Here are a couple pictures from her second run.

Arizona running through a field with a duck in her mouth.

Arizona handing me the duck. I am wearing black pants with an off-white jacket and a pink baseball cap.

We’ll get there someday…

Adventures in Running: Training Update

I haven’t talked about my running or swimming much this summer on the blog.

I have been running regularly, but not swimming often.

On June 24th, I did a five kilometre race at Guelph Lake. The route was very hilly, and it was raining a lot, so my time wasn’t the greatest – about 47 minutes. I wasn’t happy with the time, but given the conditions, and lack of outdoor running leading up to the race, I guess it wasn’t that horrible.

On August 11th, I did a 10 kilometre race with my friend Jason and a couple guys he runs with. Overall, the race went well. My final time was 1:26, which is about 8.1 minutes per kilometre. I was pretty happy with my time.

I need to work on my endurance and on finding a pace that i can do for a long period of time. I ran too fast during the first five kilometres, so at about the eighth, I began to struggle. I am still doing races in a run/walk interval, so as I got closer to the end, my walk portion of the interval got longer. I started with a 1/1 interval, but then went to a 30/1 interval, and ended the race at a 30/90 interval – BLAH!!!

On October 8th, there is a marathon in Victoria. I have decided to try doing the half marathon with my friend Jess, and a couple of her friends.

I began training a while ago, but my more serious training started last week. I am using a modified version of Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk Half Marathon Plan. I had to modify it, as I really only have six weeks to train.

Last week went pretty well. I started with a 1.5 mile run/walk interval, with a 10 minute warm-up and five minute cool down. The next day, I did a two mile run/walk interval with a warm-up and cool down. I cannot do more than two days in a row, so I took the following day off.

On Sunday, I attempted to do a three mile run/walk, with my usual warm-up and cool down. It did not go well, at all!!!

I gave up at two miles. 🙁

Looking back, I didn’t drink enough throughout the day, and I was hungry before I even started, so my hamstrings were uncomfortable and I didn’t have the energy to push through.

On Monday, we went to the Victoria Road Recreation Centre for their 9pm swim. I haven’t gone to the pool in a month or so, but it really didn’t seem to matter. I swam 1100 metres, with my first 500 metres being in about 23 minutes!!!

Tuesday, I made sure to drink three bottles of water and a Gatorade over the morning/afternoon, and ate a bowl of Mini Wheats an hour or so prior to my workout.

I got through 2.5 miles, with my usual warm-up and cool down, without absolutely any discomfort!!! My only issue was boredom, so I listened to music, which mostly helped.

Hydration, nutrition and boredom are going to be my primary challenges with this training. I need to remind myself to drink regularly, and to plan meals, so I’m not just grabbing whatever is convenient. Huib boiled some eggs last night, so that will help. I will need to buy some fruit and figure out other easy, but nutritious snacks.

As for overcoming my boredom. I usually listen to dog training podcasts or music. This works most of the time, but I also find myself obsessing over how much further I need to go – something that will not help when you’re goal is doing 21 kilometres!!!

With my current training plan, I am not worrying about speed, but focusing on endurance and finding a pace that I can do continuously. Right now, I am working at a running pace of 4.6 miles (for 2 minutes) and a walking speed of 3.4 (for a minute). My usual running pace on the treadmill is 5.5, but this is not yet a speed I can do for longer periods of time.

Last night, the humidity and temperatures finally went down to a comfortable level, so we took the dogs for a 5.6 kilometre walk. Every other day is a rest or cross training day for me, so walking is what I chose.

Today, I am going to attempt to do three miles. Please wish me luck, lol!!!

Jess and I haven’t registered for the half marathon yet, as we worry about my migraines causing problems with the schedule. If we decide the half isn’t possible, then we may do an unofficial one of our own, using the same route.

I will keep everyone posted on my progress. i find it easier to remain accountable and motivated when I share my work with others.