Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Another pattern give away!

 Still need a Gift for the Dog Lover in your life? Check out my dog themed patterns!

 The first 4 people to comment (with a way for me to get in touch with them!!) will be given their choice of one of the following patterns

Woof! Hat

Woof! Socks

Puppy Love Socks

Puppy Trails Tote (pictured with Kipp!)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pattern Giveaway :-)

Long time no post....

 But I will now end my blogging hiatus with a pattern giveaway!! First 6 people to comment (and give me a way to contact you!!) will get a free pattern of their choice

 You can check out my patterns on Knit Picks or on Ravelry

Just leave a comment with a way for me to contact you.

Here are my two latest pattern that just went up yesterday - the Winter Sky hat and the Sweet Silhouettes hat

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I've been a slacker

Oh wow.  It's been over a month since I last posted. I had an excuse while I was wrapping up my summer class but since then, well, I think I've just been on vacation mode when it comes to anything that has a remote academic feel to it (ie, blogging)

And my life has been rather mundane for the month anyway. It's consisted of work, dogs, trying to make progress on some personal projects and a bit of knitting.

I finished up knitting a dog themed sweater that I just love! Now I need to get to work writing it out for multiple sizes.  I also have a couple fun hats in the works.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Free Pattern - Summer Stripes Water Bottle Holder

I love Knit Picks Chroma for felting projects! It's soft and lovely to work, the colors are great and it felts like a dream. I used the Roller Skate colorway for my Sweet Silhouettes purse and enjoyed the bright, fun colors. When I had quite a bit of yarn left from my Sweet Silhouettes purse I decided to use it to make something for me (the purse had been promised to my model, aka sister!) . The result was this fun water bottle holder. It's a quick easy knit and it's perfect for using up odds and ends of worsted weight wool yarn (just make sure it's not superwash!). I'm offering it as a free pattern - enjoy!

Link -
Summer Stripes Water Bottle Holder

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's hot out there!!

It's HOT here. Really hot. I'm not a summer person. I would prefer that the temps didn't go above 75-80 all summer. But I usually deal with the occasional hot days without complaint. But already this summer we've now had 2 weeks of days where the temps bordered on 100 degrees. And it's not cooling off much at night. Last night it was still 92 degrees at 8 pm. And July just got started - eek! It's super dry too as we haven't had a good rain in 3-4 weeks and everything is very dry.

The dogs are getting frisbee games in the river to keep them exercised and sane during the day without overheating. The river is quite low right now due to the lack of rain and everyone irrigating crops from it, but at least there's enough water for the dogs to play in.

I've done very little knitting the past couple of weeks. Between the heat and the homework I've slacked off just a bit. But I've got some more ideas and I'm itching to get something back on the needles.

Here is one of my latest projects, the "Color, Squared" tote. The pattern should be up within the next couple weeks at Knit Picks. I used Chroma Worsted and it was a really fun but simple knit. I'm thinking about making some up for Christmas gifts.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I think I love this kid

Well, in all seriousness she's my niece so of course I love her. But she looks to be a budding dog trainer as well. She was visiting and kind of bored yesterday. So I suggested that we go outside and play with Kenzi. Once out there, Kenzi picked up a tug toy and hilarity ensued. They chased back and forth and tugged on that toy for 15 minutes - not bad for an almost 3 y/o and a dog with ADD. I was laughing so hard that I was tearing up.

And amazingly enough, Kenzi stayed fairly gentle and kiddo remained in the upright position the whole time!

Later I took kiddo out with Kipp and the frisbee. Once again hilarity ensued but alas, I forgot the camera .

Oh, and I can now say with certainty that my dogs are not at all phased by ear piercing shrieks of delight.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Back to the drawing board...

 My SAR team had evals about a month ago now (wow, am I behind...) and I went through it with Kenzi. Good news - she has made progress since last time!  Bad news - we didn't pass...

 I've thought about washing her from training, but she does continue to progress and she's doing really well in training scenarios. So I'm reevaluating how I'm training and tweaking it a bit.

 A couple things she had issues with were obedience related.  Like heeling off leash through a crowd. Kenzi loves people and is highly distracted by them. We did an okay on leash heel pattern. But I need to work harder on this. My plan is to go back a few steps and up the rate of reinforcement.

 She kind of flunked direct too.  For directional work, picture a baseball diamond with raised bases at 1st, 2nd, 3rd and pitchers.  These bases are 25 yards apart. The handler stands a home plate with their dog and sends it to different bases in a pattern given by the evaluator. For instance you could be instructed to send your dog to 3rd base, pitchers, 2nd base, pitchers, 3rd base then recall. The dog needs to stay on each base for at least 5 seconds and complete the given pattern in 3 minutes. Kenzi does great with the initial send out as well as going back and forth between pitchers 1st and 3rd. But she got highly confused when I asked her to go back to 2nd base from pitchers like she didn't understand the concept of looking back. So right now I'm just using pitchers and 2nd base, only placing them 20-30 feet apart and we're practicing short, highly rewarding sessions with a "go back".  This is working well and she seems to be getting the "go back" concept. I'll gradually increase the distance between bases and when she's consistently going back with the bases 25-30 yards apart then I'll add the 1st and 3rd bases back in.

I'm tweaking her reward system for searches too. I was having the victim reward all the time - her usual reward was playing/interacting with the victim and I rewarded only occassionally. But the handler has to reward during evaluations and I think this threw her off a bit too when all the rewards started coming from me rather than the victim. She was fine with the first few but then she start acting like "this is different - maybe I'm not doing something quite right"  Crazy, over-analyzing Border Collie.... So now when she goes in and alerts, the victim throws her a frisbee, then I follow up with playing a short frisbee game with her. I'll try this for a few weeks and see how it works.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

'tis the season

I haven't been neglecting this blog on purpose.  It's just that we entered the work season in southwest Michigan.  Many people call this season "summer" and take vacations. Not so here.  I'm doing both farm work and helping to manage a rental cottage this summer.

Then on top of that I decided to take a summer class because I'm trying to get done with my math requirements.  It's kinda crazy, but in 6 weeks the class will be over.

I've been doing some knitting and pattern work on the side.  I need the creative outlet! Plus sample knitting is a great excuse to take a break. Because even though I'm sitting there watching a movie, I'm still working!

A couple of my latest patterns are the With Love Baby Blanket

This blanket was knit with Knit Picks Swish Tonal (100% superwash Merino, 220 yards/100 gram skein) It took 4 skeins and the Summer Blooms color was perfect for this project!

And Daisy Chain Blanket and Pretty Posies Hat

The Pretty Posies hat uses yarn left over from the Daisy Chain Blanket (I knit both hats with the leftover yarn!) so it's a project that makes good use of the all the yarn and doesn't leave you with half a skein left over (except for the yellow used for the flower centers...) I knit in with Knit Picks Brava Worsted - 100% acrylic, 220 yards/100 gram skein.  I'm kind of a natural fiber snob, but thought that Brava was very nice for an acrylic.  Soft, easy on your hands and the colors are great.  Often acrylics have a definite plastic feel, but I didn't notice that with Brava. I could tell I was knitting with acrylic, but it wasn't at all objectionable to me.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The dog by my bed

 Missy always slept by the side of my bed underneath a table.  It was her spot.  After I lost her I missed seeing a dog by the side of my bed.  Oh I still had them in my room but they were either on the bed (Kenzi) or curled up on a dog bed on the other side (Kipp). It was one of the little things that I missed.

 Until recently.

A couple months ago Kipp started giving up his bed for a time and curling up on the floor along side of mine. He now goes to sleep there, moves to his bed in the middle of the night, then back along side of mine by the time I get up in the morning. 

It makes me smile. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Random thoughts

Because I haven't posted very frequently lately...

My schedule has greatly relaxed since school ended last week.

It might actually seem relaxed if it wasn't filling up with everything I didn't get done while school was in session.

But it's really nice that I don't have to use my brain power for homework and class because now I can focus it on pattern designing :-)

Speaking of patterns I finished up 2 samples over the weekend! Now I just need to get the final versions of the patterns completed.

And I need to hurry because Knit Picks is sending me yarn for two more projects :D

There were two lambs born over the weekend.

I have two weeks to get Kenzi all set for SAR evals :o

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Life is crazy...

...which you probably could have guess through the gaps in my blogging.

I'm wrapping up the semester. Which means lots of odds and ends to wrap up and a couple finals (no finals in two of my classes!) to prep for.

And work has started back up in full swing - my boss is chomping at the bit for school to be done so I can get more hours in.

I'm still working on pattern design. It's going slower, but knitting is relaxing and the designing gives me an outlet for my creative juices. Currently wrapping up the Puppy Trails Tote and working on two baby blankets.

And then of course the dogs!! We're playing quite a bit of frisbee and ball lately. And hiking. Good exercise for them without much thought input for me... I'm doing some training, but not as much as I should (especially considering that I'm putting Kenzi through a SAR evaluation in a month!). I need to step up that training next week after finals.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Puppy Trails Tote

Introducing my latest design - The Puppy Trails Tote! I'm super excited about this tote - that seems to be a recurring theme with my dog inspired designs :D

It's my first foray into felting, or at least pattern writing for felting! I loved designing and making this one - and love the idea of felted totes in general - simple, versatile, lots of uses and they'd make great gifts!

And I love taking pictures of Kipp - he gives me such great poses (yes, I had a handful of kibble, and yes I occasionally said words like "cat", "sheep" and "frisbee" to get those ears to really perk up :p)

I'm in the process of writing the pattern up now and should be sending everything off to Knit Picks in by the end of the week - woo-hoo!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Brains over Brawn

Or, Why Kipp is smarter than Kenzi.

Kipp is the bottom of the totem pole dog here. Always has been. With Missy he understood that she was The Boss. Period. When Kenzi came, she also understood that Missy was The Boss but also figured out that she could still boss Kipp around. .Kipp is fine with that and has no aspirations of climbing higher. If Kenzi is happy, life is good. I think he finds security in absolutely knowing where his spot in life is, even if that means that Kenzi may steal his bone every once and a while...

Kipp likes his food. Really likes his food. Get a handful of kibble and I have his undivided attention. But he has zero food aggression with people or dogs (often this is far from the case with dogs that are highly food motivated)

Tonight I put a plate down for the dogs to lick off. They went to work at it and I started to hear a rumble coming out of Kenzi's throat. But before I could step in and remove the plate, Kipp ever so carefully grabbed the edge of the plate and just dragged it away. Kenzi went back over and stuck her nose back in but again Kipp just grabbed the edge and moved away with it. Then he laid down almost on top of the plate.

Kenzi gave up.

I love watching his brain work.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Washington DC

I've always wanted to head to DC in the spring to see the cherry blossoms. This year was the one we made that happen!

I love this city, love the history, love the great places to walk, endless things to see. Don't love the crowds or the traffic, but I can live with those for a short period of time while enjoying the rest!

I've always wanted to head to DC in the spring to see the cherry blossoms. This year was the one we made that happen!

I love this city, love the history, love the great places to walk, endless things to see. Don't love the crowds or the traffic, but I can live with those for a short period of time.

It's beautiful here and the cherry blossoms were at their peak for the past week. Went out walking around the tidal basin last night and they smelled delightful.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring (or maybe Summer) has arrived :-)

The unseasonably warm streak is continuing - the temps for last 5 days have reached the low to mid seventies! Wow. The daffodils are blooming about 2 weeks early and are beautiful

It is nice heading outdoors without throwing on all the winter gear first. Of course the dogs have to re-acclimate to the warmer weather - I think they'd be happy if it stayed in the 50's or below all year 'round!

I got my bike out for the first time of the season last week. Harnessed up the dogs and went for a ride. Kenzi LOVED it. As soon as I said "let's GO!" she leaned into that harness and pulled. She pulled me for 3/4 of a mile :o She is a very strong and thinks pulling is great fun. Kipp is kind of "meh" about the whole idea. He runs along, but doesn't pull. It's like he's saying, "I'll come along if this is what we're doing, but only because I don't want to be left home" I only take him when we bike over to the barn. But I'll do more with Kenz because she absolutely loves it.

The downside of the gorgeous weather is that my knitting has slowed waaaaaay down. When it's cold, damp and dark outside then it's easy to curl up and knit the time away. When it's 75 degrees and light until almost 8 pm then I stay out and get outdoor chores done or play with the dogs.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I can do random!

For TMT Laura has posted
So rather than Q&A this week I'd like to know whatever random tidbits you might have on your mind today

Yes! I can do random

- I'm on spring break this week but spring break week is turning out to be a "get everything done that you haven't had time to do all winter". Oh well.

- But I did get to go skiing for a day! An absolutely gorgeous day in Cadillac (Michigan!) Went with two of my brothers and we had a great time

-I also forgot to wear sunscreen and when I came back from my day in the snow my face looked like I had spent a day at the beach

-It was in the mid 60 here for 2 days and felt kinda like Florida.

-Kenzi recalled off of a group of deer. She scared some up yesterday and I didn't catch her until she was a third of a mile away (that dog moves FAST) I yelled at her then started running toward my car figuring that I'd need to pick her up on the other side of the neighbors field. The wind was blowing in the wrong direction and I figured that she'd never hear me. But low and behold she paused, then turned around and came back. I told her that she was a VERY.GOOD.DOG.

-In knitting randomness I sent in a new proposal to Knit Picks on Monday. I'm currently working on yet another.

And last but not least, I had tow more pattern go up on Knit Picks today - Candy Hearts Socks and the Sweet On You hat! :D

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cold weather = Lambs!!

Never fails. Really!

We have had an incredibly mild winter this year. Moderate temps (for MI that means high 30s to low 40s) and very little snow. It's been kinda weird. But then yesterday I got a text alert saying that the area was under a winter storm warning. Half an hour later I got a call from my brother "hey, Domino had twins". Of course! The one winter storm for the whole month of February coincides with the birth of a surprise set of twin lambs.

This happens almost every. single. year. We can have a great stretch of weather, then it turns seasonably (or unseasonably) cold and nasty and Voila!! Lambs are born.

I'm hoping that this is the only set for now. Our ewes lambed late last year so I was a bit lax in penning up the ram. But Domino had lost her lamb in a freak accident so she was, umm, ready again before the other were. I guess we'll see. On the bright side, the temperature is still hovering around 30 so the new babies will be able to handle it just fine.

And now for a couple pictures (because there is honestly nothing cuter than a lamb...)

Love the ears on theses two - they're courtesy of the Blue Faced Leicester ram :-) . And really, really love the calico coloring on the one baby

See all that snow in the background? that is the most snow that the barnyard has seen all winter!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

TMT on Friday - Again...

Because my Thursdays are just way too busy right now

Jorgen would like to know what skill would you like to have that you don't currently have?

Right now it would be "math whiz". Sigh. Math makes me shudder. If I could write a 40 page research paper to opt out of math class I would. I'm not talking about basic addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. I've got those down. I'm talking about negative numbers, variables (sheesh, why do you have to replace numbers with letters?), etc, etc. Those have a way of making my head swim.

2. If someone were going to play you in a movie, who do you think it would be?

At this point? No clue... I know, highly creative of me.

3. Kelsey wants to know what is a quality that you admire in a dog but would never fit with you?

Bouncy go, go, go dogs. They look like they're having so. much. fun. But all that nervous energy is way too much for me.

4. If you had just enough money to pay someone to do one chore for you, what would it be?

I could ethically figure out a way to pay someone to complete math classes, I think that would be my choice. But alas, neither my pocketbook or ethics will allow that.

5. Are you a procrastinator, a doitnower (I made that word up), or something in between?

I'm either one or the other - I love getting things done ahead of time. I like having everything accomplished and not needing to worry about them anymore. Unfortunately, if I don't get things done right away I usually wait until the last minute to get them done.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Febrrrrruary

I've become spoiled by the mild weather this winter. Today we're actually having a seasonal but not-to-horrid day (temps in the high teens with a cold wind and some snow) and I don't want to step outdoors! It just seems COLD. Poor Kipp wasn't liking the cold on his feet this morning either. I think it must have been a touch icy because I've never seen him bothered by snow before - he usually LOVES it.

On the knitting front, I've been working on knitting up my latest design - Candy Hearts socks. I started them last Monday and I'm halfway done with the second sock already!

I also went through my and restocked my Reflections Yarn Etsy Shop today. I'm having a free shipping sale there until February 24th - just enter the coupon code "shipfree" to take advantage of this offer.

I did a couple of short searches with the dogs today. My youngest brother graciously agreed to head out in the snow and wind to play victim. I had him hide in the hay barn today. A place like that can be much different than the woods or fields for the dogs to search through. The scent can travel and pool in weird areas and is often harder for the dogs to hit on and follow to the source. And they're searching around equipment and big round hay bales instead of the much more open woods and fields.

But they both did great today. The wind was strong, and they both hit scent pretty quickly. For Kipp, J was hiding on top of a couple hay bales, but under a pickup capper that had been placed there. Since the capper was laid across two bales, there was a gap where J was able to slide underneath. Kipp hit the scent and jumped up on the bales (no small feat for a dog that is only 18 inches at the shoulders!) he then followed the capper around to the gap and slid underneath to access J and gave his bark alert.

J then moved to a different spot while I took Kipp back to the car and got Kenzi. Kenzi was ready to go (especially since she had to sit in the car while Kipp was out working) and took off as soon as I told her to search. She also hit scent right away as she got to the hay barn. This time J was standing in a 2 ft gap between a row of bales and the wall. Kenzi followed it in nice, but then stopped and alerted about 8 feet away while J was still out of sight. I told J to go ahead and reward here after she had barked several times. It was a new type of spot for her to work in and she had focused, ignored all the distractions and had worked very nicely so I wanted to have her rewarded for that. Besides, it was quite possible with the way the wind was today that J's scent had pooled where she was.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

TMT - on Thursday for once!!

1. Robin wants to know what your ideal number of dogs is?

2-3. A youngster that needs training, a middle dog that is pretty well trained and an oldster.

I like to have 3-4 years in between dogs so the older ones are lower maintenance and I can spend extra time with the youngster. Also so I don't have all my dogs getting old all at once.

Right now Kenzi is 3 and Kipp is 7 so I'm thinking about the possibility of adding another dog in the next year or so...

2. Lora wants to know if you find that your dogs are better or worse after time off from training?

I think it depends on what I'm training. I like doing stupid pet tricks just for some fun, no pressure training. The dogs like doing something and who cares if you get it wrong? So we do those pretty frequently.

When we're doing "real" work, I like to take some time off every now and then (a couple weeks here and there) and the dogs seem to come back with more enthusiasm and they never seem to regress much.

3. What is your favorite power tool? What power tool do you wish you had?

Cordless drill. So.very.versatile! I dunno on the second part. I've got a dad and a couple brothers with well stocked shops so I think I could find anything I needed there...

4. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to have a farm/ranch. I still want to have that farm or ranch! Currently working on a degree that may be to prove versatile enough to have that farm/ranch and a work from home job on the side.

5. How many of your friends are not "dog people"?

A few (I've got knitting friends too!!), but all of my non-dog friends get the dog thing. Or at least they get how important the dog thing is to me. That works for me. I think good friends respect your interests because they're important to you, not becasue they really care about them. So as long as they don't call me crazy for hauling dogs around in the back of my car, or getting out in all kinds of weather to train, etc, etc, I'm good with that!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Feeling right

I'm more of an artistic person than a technical one. I love something that you can feel when it's right. Maybe that's part of my issues with math. It's black and white and you either have it right or you don't. One number is off and the the answer is just wrong. You write a paper and get one work wrong and you're sill okay.

I think the whole "feel right" thing is also one of the things I like so well about stock work. I can feel it when it's right and my dog can feel it when it's right. It's just natural. And then we both can respond accordingly.

I had Kipp out a couple times on Saturday. The first time it was only okay. He was a bit too wound up at first and the sheep felt it.

Then I took him out a second time. After running him with Kenzi and Logan for 20 minutes. His sharp edge was a bit worn down, he was working nice and it just felt right. The sheep were under control and he was adjusting his speed to the what the sheep needed. I was most impressed by that I think. I mean 3 months ago if the sheep wasn't moving, he'd try to plow right in and grab on tight. Saturday it was like he figure out "hey, I don't have to be in their face or gripping to make them move!" and lo and behold he adjusted accordingly.

I love to watch him actually think, figure it out and respond properly. And I love that it feels so right to me when things are going right.

Friday, February 3, 2012

frugality and good books

1. Julie would like to know one frugal tip this week.

Umm, don't have a social life...

I think I'll go with the ones I'm using a lot these days. Buy a good water bottle and a good insulated travel mug, then USE THEM. Cheap coffee costs $1/cup anywhere. Expensive coffee made at home costs 50-75 cents. If you're cheap like me you can do it for 20 cents a cup (including creamer) And water is going to cost $1/bottle from just about anywhere.

In that same vein, carry a snack. Vending machine/gas station snacks will cost at least $1. You can buy that same snack in the grocery store (in that same single serving package) for about 35 cents. Or make a peanut butter sandwich for about 25 cents.

It would be cheaper yet not to drink coffee, but it's one of the very few things I treat myself to.

2. What are you reading this week?

Aristotle's Rhetoric. It's wordy as all get out - it seems he uses three pages to say what could be said in one. But it is rather interesting.

FWIW, I'm reading it for school, not because I'm trying to look exceedingly smart or something :p

3. Barbara wants to know: do you hit the snooze button on the alarm clock, and if so how many times?

Umm, yes... Usually a couple times. My dogs are well trained - they don't move to get up until I actually start getting up :D

4. If you had to travel in a sedan (or if you already drive a sedan type car) and you had five or six dogs, how would you handle it?

I'd rotate which dogs I'd travel with if at all possible and I'd try to fit a couple crates in the back seat. My two will both fit in a 30 in crate - it's a bit cramped, but it will work if we're not making a long trip

5. How much do you filter what you put on your own blog?

It's the internet and everyone can read it, so I do filter it. But what I write is still pretty reflective of me.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sweet on You hat

My first pattern of the year is almost complete! I knit this hat up over the weekend and my dear sister once again agreed to model for me :-) It's knit in Knit Picks Gloss Heavy Weight yarn - a yummy blend of 70% merino wool and 30% silk. I've been working on a fingering weight sweater and, let me tell you, this hat seemed to jump off the needles after that sweater!

I'm getting the pattern written up tonight so I can get both pattern and hat sent off to KP tomorrow.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Confessions of a dog food geek

I didn't start out to be overly analytical of dog food. It just kind of happened.

When I got Missy, I first fed her Ol' Roy from Wal-Mart ( a thought which makes me shudder now...). Our family GSD mutt, Frisky, ate Ol' Roy or something similar and seemed to do just fine on it for her 15 or so years. It worked and was quite cost effective. Occasionally I splurged and got something like Pedigree or Purina Dog chow (yes, I'm shuddering again...)

Then I discovered the world of internet dog forums and through those the many food available and opinions on said foods - a rather mind boggling revelation to someone whose only experience with dog food was to pick up a bag at wally world every 5-6 weeks. The arguments made sense. Dog food should have a decent amount of meat and higher quality ingredients would keep a dog healthier. And cheap ingredients could get downright disgusting.

So I decided to start researching dog food. It was the beginning of a slippery slope, a slope that I'm still trying to master.

As of now I've fed everything from Ol' Roy to Raw to Canidae to The Honest Kitchen - the quality of the food seemed to go up as I did more research.

Currently I'm feeding The Honest Kitchen and raw for the main part of my dog's diet. For training treats and an occasional meal they get Orijen or Acana. I'm extremely happy with the results I've seen and Kenzi's digestive issues have cleared up nicely. My dogs are happy, healthy with great energy and lovely coats. The foods I'm currently feeding are pretty much the cream of the crop according to any review (and the results I've seen with my dogs seem to concur)

But I still can't seem to put the now ingrained habit of over-analyzing dog food to rest. Why do I keep analyzing the ingredients vs. the price vs. the online reviews that I read? Why do I keep thinking about trying a new food with my dogs? I mean I think I have this down to a science. I know a commercial dog food in every price bracket that I'd feed my dog. I know which foods are manufactured in which plants. I know who gets ingredients from overseas and who uses ingredients from the US or Canada. I know how to spot cheap filler ingredients and overpriced foods.

In short I probably know more than any normal person should.

Sheesh, I could easily write a 10 page research paper on the subject.

Please, tell me that I'm not alone...

Friday, January 27, 2012

TMT on Friday :-)

I need a break! Sitting here doing math homework and my brain is not working. Ack! It's not even that hard, but I keep making stupid mistakes with it... So I'll switch gears and answer Laura's questions instead :D

1. How do you search for and then choose a trainer?
Word of mouth and results. The proof is in the pudding. If people are pleased with the person and I see a successful trainer with a good success with their own dogs, then I'll check it out.

I also want someone who will work with me. Can they get the point across to me? can they effectively show me what I need to be doing? Can they handle my dogs in a fair manner?

2. The dog world is small and... uh... talkative. After choosing a trainer how do you handle those people in your life who don't believe in that trainer/trainers methods and criticize them to you?

Ignore them.... Good trainers don't criticize. Good trainers teach. So if you're out criticizing, then I'm going to be suspect of your skills. I mean seriously, if you feel your results are better then lets talk results. Tell me why YOURS are good, explain why you feel that they are best or could be superior to what I'm doing. I'd listen to that. Criticizing? forget it - especially if the trainer is doing well by me and my dog.

3. Do you believe that a person's personal life should influence your choice of a trainer? (i.e do you believe a person's choice to be a party animal outside of work would affect your choice?)

It depends... IMO personal life is personal as long as it doesn't interfere with professional. If they treat me with respect and are a competent trainer, that's what I'm looking for. However if I knew they were engaged in illegal or highly questionable behavior, then I'd steer clear.

4. When you have a break through moment with your dog, do you feel that moment makes your connection stronger with that dog and makes the next step in training easier?

Yes! Break through moments mean that we're clicking, we're communicating, we both understand. I think that these are incredibly positive and can only help build on the next step!

5. Do you stick with just one trainer, or do you go to multiple sources for help?

I like the idea of one main source with multiple branches. One main source is going to know you and your dogs the best and provide consistency . But then I think you can also learn different nuggets from different people - they might explain something differently or their area of expertise might be a bit different.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snow and new sweaters

After all of December and a third of January with mild temps (I washed my car with a hose last week!) and virtually no snow, winter has arrived. A foot of snow in the last few days and temps in the low teens last night (brr!)

The dogs love it - snow really seems to energize them. And running through it wears them down quicker too - for now. In the long run it just build endurance! I love it too because I'm taking a skiing class this semester ant it would be a bit hard to ski without snow.

In knitting news, I sent two proposals to Knit Picks a week and a half ago. Now waiting to see what they say. In the mean time, I finished up the Abalone Sweater I've been working on since the fall and I've started a basic top down raglan sweater based loosely on this design. I'm using a brown/tan colorway of Aruacania Ranco sock yarn for this latest project. I'm hoping that the end result will be a classic, simple casual sweater. The goal is to have it done by the end of February so I can still wear it this season

Thursday, January 12, 2012

TMT #2

1. Stopping your dog - what do you prefer? On their feet? On their belly? Some combination?

With Kipp, I'm just happy with a complete stop that he holds for a few seconds at this point...

2. At what point do you start teaching this?

I started when I could get him to comfortably stop for a nano second (hey, it's Kipp)

3. Do you have a favorite dog? I won't tell.

Honestly that would be my dear late Missy dog. Every dog I have in the future is going to have the misfortune of being measured against her. I don't like to compare dogs because they're all individuals, but it's going to happen...

With my current two, Kipp is the favorite. He's very simple in many ways but he wants to work, he tries hard and he's my buddy. We've come to understand each other pretty well.

4. What is the #1 thing a dog can do to push your buttons?

Counter surf/trash raiding are big pet peeves. I can keep things away from the dogs but family members haven't all developed that knack. So Kipp raids the garbage bucket that is set to go to the chickens. Usually I don't mind it, but I do when he then wakes my up three times during the night to go outside because something didn't agree with his tummy.

Barking (or probably yapping) is another huge one. Can't stand unnecessary barking. Barking because someone comes to the door? okay. Barking because there's a squirrel in the tree? Grr...

5. Brrrrr... it's winter. What is your favorite soup recipe?

I love simple Crock Pot Chili for the winter

Cook 2# of stew meat and 1-2 onions in the crockpot on low for 4-6 hours. Then add 2-3 cans of chili beans and 1-2 can of tomatoes and cook for 1-2 hours. Serve with chips and crackers

So simple and very good!

It shouldn't be you vs. your dog

I cringe a bit when I here terms like "alpha" "submission" and "dominance" used when talking about dogs. Those terms are grossly overused IMO and it makes the dog owning experience sound like an owner vs. dog battle.

If a dog has a good leader (YOU) those terms pretty much become a moot point. Leadership isn't about proving that you're the boss, it's about providing what your dog needs and teaching your dog what you expect of it. If your dog doesn't want to do something it's usually because they don't understand, it's uncomfortable for them or YOU haven't made it a good thing to do!

Dogs are opportunistic and do what they're allowed or what they're trained to do. It's that simple. Yes, some dogs have stronger personalities and need a stronger leader, but they're still a dog. You're still the one with the bigger brain, a greater capacity for learning - and thumbs! If a dog is failing, or misbehaving it's most likely because of human error or because a dog is just being a dog and hasn't been trained otherwise.

The whole dog owing thing should be enjoyable (well, at least 90% of the time - I still don't quite enjoy the occasional chewed up sock, cleaning up dog puke and the like), not a battle.

So if you're caught up in being the alpha or getting your dog to be submissive, stop. A good leader isn't constantly worried about being the leader. They're too busy providing leadership (and exercise, training, etc). You don't have to prove you're that leader if you're actively taking the leadership role.

If you focus on what your dog is doing wrong, that what you're going to see. If you figure out what you want and train towards it (making it rewarding for your dog!), the battle fades away and enjoyable teamwork emerges.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tell Me Thursday is Back!

Laura over at Crooks and Crazies has started in with Tell Me Thursday again!

1. What is your favorite new toy? I know you have one, so you might as well go on and fess up.
My Keurig - I've been eying them for a while so my awesome parents got me one for Christmas!
I love it - put in the water, pop in the K-cup (or stick a tea bag in the cup) push brew and come back 3 minutes later and an awesome hot beverage is waiting!

2. If you're going to be caught under the mistletoe, who would you LEAST like it to be with?
Oh my, I have no clue. I don't think I could pick an absolute least - I'd have to make a long list...

3. New Year's Resolutions - for your dogs - share!
Kenzi - pass the wilderness SAR certification test!

Kipp - get him to the point of very useful farm dog with the sheep

Both dogs - learn more pet trick. I love trick training because it's fun, no pressure training. Very cool when it all comes together, but if something doesn't work, no biggie. I also like the fact that trick training makes me figure out how to break down, shape and back chain behaviors to get the end results

4. New Year's Resolutions - for yourself - share!
Write a daily list of goals to keep myself on track and remind myself of what I want to accomplish each day! Without a goal I tend to wander a bit... Besides, checking things off on a list gives me a nice sense of accomplishment!

Write more knitting patterns - I'm aiming for 10 this year. I wrote 11 last year and Knit Picks is great to work with (shameless plug - My knitting pattern on Knit Picks!) I want to start in on a book as well...

5. How did you handle the holiday food situation?
I have an advantage of sorts in this department - due to health issues I need to go very easy on the sugar. Sigh. I usually don't mind it, but around Christmas it kinda sucks. But on the plus side it does keep the junk food calories in check! But the family Christmas dinner was Prime Rib - yum! And for New Years my friend had me over for surf and turf - really yummy! I happily ate my fill with both of those - big, happy sigh!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Goals for this year

I'm not big on the whole resolution thing because you either do it or you feel guilty about breaking them and fall back into the rut you were in.

But I do like goals. Even if you goof up or get sidetracked, you can refocus and get back on track! And goals give you something to aim for.

So my goals in 2012

In general -
-Finish my degree. It's only an Associates, but I'm so looking forward to reaching that milestone! I've been doing the part time school/part time work for a few years now and am really looking forward to finally having that step done!

-Become more organized. Yes, it's vague. I will become more specific as I start to make headway!

With the dogs -
-I want both of them to reach the level of useful farm dogs with the sheep.

-Pass SAR certification testing with Kenzi

- Work on more stupid pet tricks with both of them. I love that sort of thing because there's nothing like breaking down a pet trick to figure out how to really teach a skill to a dog.

With my knitting -

- develop and write 10 more patterns

- knit a sweater for me!

- finish or frog my UFOs (unfinished objects for all of you non- knitters)

So what are your goals for 2012?

Monday, January 2, 2012

And the winner is (insert drumroll here)

I got #3 from the number generator - so congratulations to Kate and the Beach BCs! Hope you guys love your new Woolie Dog toy :-)

Thanks to everyone who played along this time! Stay tuned to this blog - there will be more Woolie Dog giveaways in the future!