Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nosework Training with Hank

When I wanted to try a Nosework class with one of our dogs, I had to decide whether to take Tim or Hank.  Well, I figured that when you will be doing some nosework you need a Hank(y)!   We have been taking our class at Postive Dog Training School in Woodinville, WA.

Nosework is great activity for any dog. Each dog is trained one at a time on leash so even dogs that don't have a great recall or are aggressive or need socializing can participate. Dogs are put on a harness that is only used for nosework so they know they are going to be "searching" when they have the harness on.    The origins of the sport are derived from the skills taught to dogs who are being trained for drug and bomb detection.

In Nosework, instead of teaching dogs to signal when they detect drugs or explosives they are trained to look for specific scent oils like birch, anise and clove.  In the first lesson dogs merely look for treats dropped into boxes of various shapes and sizes and are praised for searching for the treats.  Hank is very enthusiastic about searching and seems to be having a great time.  It is an easy sport for a trainer like me who doesn't have a lot of experience teaching dogs a lot of complicated skills - they just use their nose!  Come back to see what we learn in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Treibball Training with Tim

A few weeks ago Tim and I started a Treibball training class.  What is Treibball?  It is a sport for dogs that originated in Germany.  The basic idea is that dogs are trained to move large exercise balls (yoga balls) -  like the green one in the photo into a soccer net.  Although any breed of dog can participate in Treibball, it has been recommended as a great activity for herding breeds if you don't have any animals for them to herd since it uses many of the same types of behaviors.  Since we live in in the burbs and are "sheepless in Seattle", I thought we'd give it a try(ball).  (Argghh - I can't help myself I'm full of puns today!)

In this photo we are practicing "lining up".  It is an essential part of the beginning training steps to teach the dog to face you to watch for instructions and to keep them pushing the ball toward you to bring it to the goal.

I've discovered that the training requires a pretty high level of skill on the part of the trainer, so at this point I have as much if not more to learn than Tim.  I'm not sure we will ever get to a competitive level, but we are having fun learning together.  I will post more about our lessons as we progress.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Trip to Marymoor Off-Leash Dog Area

Since Hank has settled in so nicely and has proved himself to have great recall we decided to see how he would do on a bigger off leash adventure.  Most people in the greater Seattle area would probably say that Marymoor Park is the best off leash dog park in the area.  It has over 40 acres of room to run, but because it is so popular it can be crowded.  We didn't want to overwhelm Hank with too much too soon, so got up very early on Saturday morning to beat the crowds and arrived at Marymoor not long after dawn.  Both Hank and Tim did great and got a good workout.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Sad Goodbye to Mary Ann Lindsay and a Hello to Tim's New Buddy, Hank

Goodbye to Mary Ann Lindsay

The world of dog rescue in the Pacific Northwest lost one of its greatest assets this week.  Mary Ann Lindsay single-handedly rescued and found forever homes for nearly 900 dogs over a 20 year period from her home in Hayden Lake, Idaho.  She specialized in helping herding breeds like border collies and Australian Shepherds, but helped many others as well.  I met Mary Ann a couple of years ago when I wanted to learn more about fostering and helping with rescue work.  She welcomed me into her home and kindly spend an hour with me talking about her experiences and giving tips that she had learned over the years.  Even with only that one brief meeting, I knew I had been fortunate to meet her and I truly felt like a had been priviledged to spend time with a saint.  The world is definitely a lesser place without Mary Ann Lindsay.  One can only imagine the great gathering of dogs that were there to welcome her as she crossed the rainbow bridge.


Hello Hank

Hank the Border Collie


Sometimes you think you know what you are looking for, but you find something or someone else instead.  We had started to think about getting another dog, but were still reeling from the pain of losing Skye and uncertain if we were ready to bond with another canine family member.  We were half-heartedly looking for a female dog, but we weren't feeling a connection with any that we saw.  Then, while on a trip to the Spokane area 2 weeks ago, we learned from one of the Pacific Northwest Border Collie Rescue volunteers that a 2 year old male border collie or border collie mix in the Ellensberg area would be turned into the local shelter if he didn't find a home or foster home by the end of the weekend.  Sight unseen, but with the recommendation that he was a nice dog, we agreed to pick him up on our way home on Sunday afternoon.

We met Tank in Ellensburg and Tim gave him his paws-up endorsement.  We fully intended to foster Tank and find him a good home because we thought we would want to eventually find a female dog to add to our little pack.  It has been 2 weeks and we have failed miserably at fostering again.  We decided we like calling him Hank better than Tank.  Tim and Hank have become great buddies and Hank has wormed his way into our hearts.  For a dog who is only a little over 2 years old, he is an incredibly good boy.  We will soon have some new border collies in the burbs adventures featuring Tim and his new buddy Hank.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

And Then There Was Only One....

Tim on our first adventure without his buddy, Skye September 2011

Shortly after Skye, Tim and I started to share our adventures on this page, Skye was diagnosed with a malignant cancer - lymphoma - also known as lymphosarcoma, at only about 5-6 years of age.  We discussed and agonized over how aggressively we should treat her.  We learned that lymphoma often responds well to chemotherapy and can extend a dog's life for 6 months to a year, but it requires frequent trips to the vet for chemotherapy treatments and can be expensive.  Skye detested going to the vet and gave me the "stink eye" for 24 hours after taking her in for the biopsy that confirmed the diagnosis of lymphoma.  We opted to give her one dose of chemo and daily prednisone which only gave her about 2 more months of life, but it was a good quality of life without any more hated trips to the vet.  She enjoyed daily walks and swims in a nearby pond for over 2 months.  Then on August 27th she stopped eating.  She had no stamina left and lost weight.  We released her from her cancer on August 31st and look forward to seeing her on the other side of the rainbow bridge.  In the meantime, we will remember her as she was on her last walk, as our beloved companion who loved to swim in muddy ponds.

Skye's last swim

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wild Horse Monument - Vantage, WA

Although this wasn't an off-leash adventure it was nice to get out and stretch our legs mid-way on our trip on I-90 across Washington State at Wild Horse Monument.  The hike to the top is a steep quarter mile trek and there were lots of great things to stop and sniff at along the way. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Trip to the Strawberry Fields Dog Park

We had a fun time at "Strawberry Fields for Rover" off leash dog area!  This dog park is located between Marysville and Smokey Point in Snohomish County, WA.  It is tucked in about a quarter mile behind the Strawberry Fields Soccer Fields and isn't visible from the road and parking area.  For more information about our trip, photos and driving directions visit Strawberry Fields Dog Park

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Loganberry Lane Off Leash Dog Park in Everett, WA

Today we got to visit another one of our favorite off-leash dog parks in Snohomish County, WA.  The Loganberry Lane Dog Park in South Everett has a couple of miles of shady trails winding through the woods with lots of great smells, rabbits, birds, mud and even a small pond for swimming.  As seen in this photo of the entrance, it even has a handy drinking fountain just the right height for us!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Willis Tucker Park Off Leash Dog Area in Snohomish WA

The Willis Tucker Dog Park is one of our favorite dog parks.  There are four different fenced areas to choose from.  We love to run through the trails in the forested area or jump on top of the ramp in the agility area. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Rainy Weekend in Edmonds

We usually go to a dog park or a hike on the weekends.  This weekend on both Saturday and Sunday we went to the Edmonds Marina Beach Dog Park.  It was a low tide so we had lots of fun running on the sandy beach, splashing in the shallow water and swimming.  We also wandered through the Edmonds Farmer's Market on Saturday and got to sample some yummy dog treats.

Meet Skye and Tim - Border Collies in the Burbs

We are two border collies living in a burb near Seattle and this is our first post about our adventures.  Naturally we need a little help from a human to post to the internet, but she will do her best to show you the world from our perspective.

I'm Skye,  a border collie or, more likely a border, collie mix. 

Skye the Border Collie

I was was born about 2006 and was doing just fine on my own until I was picked up by the dog catcher in Eastern Washington in the summer of 2008. I "did time" at a couple of shelters for several months before my people came to take me home with them.
And I'm Tim

Tim the Border Collie

I'm all border collie.  I was born about 2005 and also came from Eastern Washington where I had some livestock to herd back to the barn in the evening, but ended up needing a new home in 2009.  

We'll be posting about dog-friendly places to go and things to do in the Pacific Northwest.