family photos

I’ve been on a bit of a photo-spree in our house, as we had some frames lying around that we hadn’t put up yet, and some with just Lu & Mal, etc. So I took some nice family photos today and these were the best of them. Do you like #1 or #2 the best? Or maybe you don’t like my “artistic effects” as Dad calls them, so maybe you like neither.

Very nice family portrait #1

Very nice family portrait #1

Very nice family portrait #2

Very nice family portrait #2

Here is the original of that 2nd one.


And here is a nice one of Lumen because she’s very pretty. I can’t get that one to quite cooperate how I want it to.

A very lovely photo of a lovely dog.

A very lovely photo of a lovely dog.

Also, Lumen would like you to know that kangaroos have been visiting next door. Yes, kangaroos. We’ve seen at least 4 of them, but apparently there were 30. When we were doing photos this morning the kangaroos weren’t there but Lumen could do nothing beside stare and stare and stare into the paddock where they were.

All of Lumen's dreams have come true.

All of Lumen’s dreams have come true (taken with a zoom lens, but probably only 300m away, I guess)

"Please. Please stop making noises, stop singing, stop trying to bribe me with squeaky toys. I KNOW there are roos over there..." (there weren't) "so please just shut up and let me go hunt them. I don't want to be doing your stupid photos, I want to be checking for kangaroos. Why is this so hard to understand?"

Lumen: “Please. Please stop making noises, stop singing, stop trying to bribe me with squeaky toys. I KNOW there are roos over there…” (there weren’t) “so please just shut up and let me go hunt them. I don’t want to be doing your stupid photos, I want to be checking for kangaroos. Why is this so hard to understand?”

Mal: Yes, yes. We’ve been doing this camera thing for 11 years. Can we just get it over and done with please?

Loki: Ok, sit very still, be a very good border collie, does she have a toy?! Maybe, maybe she does. Be very good, look very nice, maybe you will get the toy. But if you don’t, Lumen will, and that’s ok, you can go very fast, yes, very very fast… but not yet! First you have to be very good and look very nice.


skippy the bush kangaroo

You guys, a cool thing happened today.


We were out for a walk in the bush- right on twilight, Lu’s favourite hunting time, at a place where Lu has hunted before. Lu was on-lead, with her halti on, and Mal and Loki off-lead. I’d been hearing some animal-y noises in the bush to our left as we walked but nobody else had noticed and there were kids voices around so I thought it was kids playing in the forest. One thing to note about Lu in her halti is that it tends to crush her spirit. Like, things that would usually drive her crazy are mildly interesting, treats are good but not great, and Loki running off into the bush is cause for mild concern rather than full-blown panic. So, she’s still in there, but she’s about half her normal self.

Anyway, I’d stopped to throw a stick into the bush for Loki and the next thing we knew, about 20-30meters back down the track where we’d come from, a roo hopped happily across. I saw it, Lu saw it, Mal saw it, Loki was getting his stick. I stopped Mal from going anywhere and gave him a treat, Loki brought his stick and was all like: “hey guys, what’re we doing!?” and Lu stared at the roo. Her legs quivered, she let out a little whine, stared for maybe 20 seconds, and then turned to focus on me. She got a big jackpot of tasty treats, and then a release – she looked at where the roo had gone for maybe 2 seconds, then back to me again.

I think if her halti hadn’t been on, her reaction would have been much bigger but boy, what a change. She didn’t scream and cry, or jump to the end of her lead, or run circles around me whining. She looked, whimpered, and looked at me for some treats. What a good girl.






So, y’know…

I started watching Garrett’s free videos this morning while eating breakfast. And I got through the first one and didn’t get very far into the 2nd one when I had to actually go to work. But it’s going to be about ‘It’s yer choice”  and that whole gamut.

And then I went to the Pony Club to run the dogs this morning and as I drove along I thought: Ok, I’ll put Lu’s bells on her because the other day there was kangaroo poo around there so there must be roos hanging out, and I’ll just keep an eye open, but we didn’t see any with Loki… As I pulled up to park, there were 3 just sitting there right near the entrance. Great. So we went down to a different, less animal-y dog park instead (and I haven’t been going to my normal park because if anyone arrives she barks at them and runs at them barking and although she’s completely friendly and harmless, she’s doing her guard bark and frankly, it’s embarrassing and worrying) where there were less animals but more dogs.

Walking in, there was a goldie and a German Shepherd playing near the river there. Great! Mal was attacked by a shepherd as a younger dog and now he hates them (understandably! I think he’s absolutely terrified of being eaten again). And goldies are too friendly for him, so being bounded up to by an over-exuberant golden-retriever with a shepherd hot on its heels wouldn’t have been ideal. So we steered clear.

Everything was fine and then Lu saw those damn moorhen birds that I’ve been training Loki not to chase and of course she takes off, chases it, does a big circle and comes back to me. Loki followed her the whole way, so that’s awesome (read sarcasm).

And as I got back in the car, I thought about Garrett and recallers and how her whole premise is that the dog is choosing to do what you want it to do and therefore thinks its a great idea and I thought how the hell am I ever going to get Lu to not chase, or to come back when I call her? Honestly, what is going to be better for her, in her mind, than chasing things? Oh, here, have a kibble and let’s play a game and maybe you’d like this tug toy? No, really. Like, oh, let’s like, do some spins and stuff and then you’ll be really excited to stay with me!



And so I know, I need to finish watching the video but I don’t see how Lumen choosing to not eat some food is going to make her choose to not chase those amazingly awesome kangaroos she can smell. How is anything going to beat that? I can see that like maybe you can do it so if she looks back at you then she’s made the choice to ‘check in’ so she gets to go chase something, but she’s not a moron, as soon as she’s not on lead, there’s no way she’s going to wait around for my ok.

And I understand that maybe it’s going to be about the dog wanting to work to get things it wants but then comes in the question of what if your dog doesn’t want anything except the thing he’s really not allowed to have?

Anyway. I don’t know if she has limited spaces for the course when it opens up, or if the rest of the videos will shed some more light on it, but I’d really like to have relaxing walks with my dogs- all of them- wherever we want to go, even if it’s at dusk or whatever. I’m ok with having her on lead, but it’d be really nice if she didn’t have to be, all the time.

I know people have had success with their course even with their super hunty dogs so there must be some sense to it, I’m just feeling a bit down about Lu again at the moment. I think I described her in another post as insufferable. And that’s about right – she’s just making it very difficult to go anywhere, between the hunting and the barking at people right now.

things and other things

I’ll do this one in dot point format

  • Tonight I took Lu & Loki out for a walk. I noticed that Loki doesn’t have that natural ‘turn back’ point that dogs seem to get – y’know, how they know their distance threshold and wait for you to catch up? He seems to just go and go at the moment. I started to worry about how the hell I was going to teach that to him and then I remembered I’d never done the ‘run off and hide’ or ‘turn around and walk the other way’ game. So I did that. Hopefully it will instil a healthy amount of panic in him that he’s been abandoned and he won’t go so damned far ahead of me.
  • I may have figured out a solution to Lu’s dogwalk turns problem. And I’m talking turns from 45-90 degrees, so nothing extreme. I noticed that even at that angle she was leaping – I think she was trying to get off sideways and quicker because I was cuing the turn nice and early for her, but it made her need to exit early… So I remembered how Silvia trains hard turns with a cone, stick, twig and decided to use the same principle. All I had lying around was a jump wing so I put that up against the end of the DW and BAM… no more leaping. So I think I’ll use the small white poles I used for our original RC training when it was flatter, and when she has the hang of that, transition to using a twig. And then fade the twig. Hopefully this will help her understand she has to stay on ALL THE WAY DOWN.
  • I’ve lost 2kg since Nic’s been away. 2kg in 2 weeks isn’t bad for not trying, hey? It’s what they call “malnutrition”. 😉
  • Penny got me a cool birthday present. Posted below.
  • I did cik/cap around a tree today at the highly-distracting-park-of-distractions but instead of boring old cik/cap, I initiated a game of 500-balls, and as she came flying back to get the next ball, I wrapped her around a tree and sling-shotted her out for the next ball, and then did it again, and then she got one just normally thrown straight. Speed into wrap=very very good. Yay!
  • Also, I won this polar-fleece rope toy at the competition the other weekend and tried playing with her with it, and she was all like: bleh, so I was like: ok, hows about I shape you to tug it? and at first I got little piss weak tugs and then more and more energy and now she’s tugging for food with energy and strength. And it’s funny because I remember looking into this ages ago and you read all over the internets how you shouldn’t do it this way, but why not? Polona says for dogs who love food that they learn it’s just another way to get the food. Meanwhile we’re connecting and playing a game and she’s focused and intense, so that’s got to be ok, right?
  • This might sound a bit funny but Lu is actually drooling for food now. I don’t think she’s ever drooled before, but she’s seriously drooly at the moment. It’s cool. I love seeing her WANT something. And yet, in circumstances where she doesn’t want the food (eg. out on a walk) I don’t even bother offering it now… it used to be like, if Loki did a good recall, she’d sort of look over like: oh, do I get some too? And Mal would do the same thing and everyone would get an obligatory biscuit… She doesn’t even look now, and I don’t even bother feeding. No more obligatory biscuits, and I actually think she’s happier like that. Sometimes if I try and give her something like an obligatory biscuit, like if she’s just gotten in the car, she hardly wants it. She’s all: “sigh, if I have to”. Funny dog.
  • We’ve been having fun doing “all in” sessions for Polona’s class. Basically it’s 30 seconds of FULL ON intense work – whether that’s agility or tricks. Usually it’s tricks for us because I just don’t have enough access to equipment (except my 2 jumps and I don’t want to overdo cik/cap figure 8s… Though I did do something else the other morning with a backside of the bar and a blind cross and some other stuff)…. But basically she knows there’s a bowl of food, and she’s figuring out really well that she just needs to work hard and fast for a really short time and then she gets a whole bowl to herself! And maybe there’s little rewards in between but usually it’s just the one big one. We like it. She seems to like it. I’ve never had such enthusiastic leg weaving. I can’t wait for the end of August when I can actually go out into my own agility field and do this exact thing with real equipment around and then go for a walk or something. It’s going to be so cool. Tell you what, this class has been fantastic for us. Yay!
  • I have a weird splinter in my heel and it hurts a hell of a lot if I push on it. Don’t know what I’m going to do about it. Hoping it comes out by itself.
  • Lu and I are adjusting to her constantly being on lead during our daily walks. Since she’s now attached to my waist she’s so much less annoying but I worry that it’s just making her more and more crazy for roos that we hear. They go crashing off into the forest and she jumps around at the end of the lead and then drags me down the track. Am I ever going to be able to let her off the lead? I really don’t know. I think this is just making her more desperate to hunt them. But my stress levels are much lower because she can’t, so I don’t have to worry about how long it’ll be until she comes back… I just don’t know if she’s going to be able to enjoy off-lead walks in the forest ever. Poor Lu.
  • I think a hoard of possums just crashed across the roof and freaked Lu and I out. That, or it was a freak burst of thunder with no clouds around.
Super cool birthday present! Done by team small dog. It's very cool and very accurate. I love how even Lu's weird brown-eye-splodges are there.

Super cool birthday present! Done by team small dog. It’s very cool and very accurate. I love how even Lu’s weird brown-eye-splodges are there.