29 September 2014
This happens sometimes now. The rainbow unicorn holy grail of border collie puppy mythology. Mine has started, ever so often, sleeping at my feet. I could do without her bestest present of all, though, when she brings her waterbowl along with her sleepy self. But I think that means she loves me.
Two out of four of the dogs bring back the ball. Otterpop loves it that there are organized rules that involve balls and frisbees. And if somebody AHEM, leaves their ball in the pond, Otterpop is more than happy to swoop in and hande the situation. Otterpop loves having her own border collie. How did Otterpop ever get on without a border collie? I am very sure that Otterpop is extremely happy to have her very own.
Banksy loves Ruby a lot. So much so that I get nervous sometimes, because if you so much as blow on Ruby she can topple over upside down like a bug. But mostly, it's very, very sweet.
Banksy and Gustavo? Don't get me started. Weirdest insane love connection ever. Hiking buddies, house pals, BFF's forever. Gustavo's ET phoned home the day he decided he loved Banksy. I'm not sure what they do down there in his lair together, or even how she fits in there. There are sounds. Sometimes I drag one of them out. Not usually, though. Because, true love.
How did we get on without a border collie before?
by team small dog at 7:53 PM
28 September 2014
Aloha. My neighborhood isn't the easiest place to have a border collie. Not a lot of wide open spaces. No sheep. Not one.
Our houses are small, and many of us around here don't have yards.
Mostly to find a little space to walk, we drive up the mountain, or drive out to work, or drive to our best beach that isn't too crowded.
But it's good to have a place in the hood for dogs.
There's always the park, for just playing ball.
But the best place is if we walk to the pond, out by the whale skeletons.
Doesn't tak too long to walk out there.
I live on the Westside. From my house, just keep walking west and you'll get there.
Just on the edge of town.
Deer should stay out of the neighorhood. Too many fast cars.
And foxes too. They should stay up on the mountain. This fella got smashed a few couple of months ago.
You'll pass the biotech place, and the gummy factory, and the surf shop.
There are a lot of blowing leaves on the way, blowing on the pavement. In case that's important for your walk.
Almost there, hurry!
Everybody in! See you at the pond!
by team small dog at 5:33 PM
The gazebo inside Gwyneth Paltrow's birthday party compound where they served the vegan dark chocolate sea salt cocktails. Happy Bday Gwynnie!!!
Look! It's Father John Misty!
At the Clooney wedding. Was a long day.
Bodyguard tries to block rare shot of Jay-Z, Beyonce and Blue Ivy touring Los Angeles area homes.
"Museum quality graffiti" painted out by spray can wielding hooligans.
by team small dog at 11:45 AM
22 September 2014
doN't Freak Out-a shirt you can buy!
Very good advice from our friend Otterpop. Oh wait. Very good advice I give to our friend, Otterpop. All the time. Awesome advice for if you are training dogs! Or puppies! Or competing at USDAA World Cynosport Games in October in Morgan Hill, California! Now you can have good advice too, featuring a spooky dia de los muertos Otterpop skull face.
How do you get a shirt like this?
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Runs sort of smallish, beware if you don't like a little smallish and get a size up maybe.
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by team small dog at 5:31 PM
20 September 2014
If you are a dog, you are supposed to do what the lady says, every time.
Even if you are at the pond.
Usually the lady is not saying, Oh, Just Go Run And Get Into the Pond Whenever You Feel Like it Because It's super Cool to Have Wet Insane dogs Running Amuck and Then You Totally Do Not need to Ever come back Just Float around In the Pond as Long as You Want and Run Around on the Beach then Run As Fast as you Can to the Field and Maybe Steal some Tennis balls And Run Around with them For a Long Time.
And also, do you know what they are looking at in that picture? The Pond! And there is staying.
And staying here. Because I have the magic listening object of magicness in my hand.
The magic tennis ball. The orange ball is Otterpop's.
Gustavo don't stay for no stinkin' balls! He is staying here while others are swimming. I am not sure why. Gustavo has his own rules that none of us totally follow.
Which is cool because then I only have to fit 2 balls in my pockets. Right now, the best ball game involves the field by the pond, 3 dogs and 2 balls. Works best if one of the balls is the orange kind. It's a little hard to explain the rules but it sure is working good for pond listening. Pretty much, I am the master of the balls and Gustavo just runs around. There are a lot of lie downs, sits and stays. With Gustavo just running around.
There is sometimes team work for bringing the ball back. Some days Otterpop is all, why bother swimming when you have a border collie?
So then Banksy is all, why bother bringing the ball up on the beach when you have an Otterpop? I just have to make sure that they are not inventing rules like this all the time. Because I think that's when the mutiny happens. An Otterpop and a border collie are potentially a little dangerous if they put their minds together. I keep a careful eye on those 2. And everybody has to lie down.
by team small dog at 4:57 PM
14 September 2014
This morning we were walking through the forest, and we all heard this noise:
Then it stopped.
This is a new noise. All the dogs kind of looked at me and I whispered, Close, Close and we picked up a trot. I am afraid to run because if I run Banksy RUNS and this is too fast on a hill.
We didn't stop for a pretty long time.
I don't know what makes that noise. I don't want to think about what makes that noise. We are just going to use Excellent Confidence that we don't hear that noise anymore when we're over on that hillside.
by team small dog at 6:47 PM
13 September 2014
Probably the best puppy training advice I've gotten has come from my good friend and agility mentor, Professor Rob. His cunning and grace have gotten him far in agility, and he is very smart about a lot of things. Every time I start to freak out about something weird and freaky that my somewhat weird and freaky puppy does, he just says, Don't Freak Out.
That is the training philosophy I'm using as the foundation of my puppy training. Banksy is the puppy that she is and she will become the dog that she will become and I am trying my hardest to train her really good. So I just gotta keep moving on and don't freak out.
She can do some weird ass shit. Sometimes Banksy is kind of a weirdo. She can be a little bit hard to train one day. Then super easy the next. Then impossible the next day. Then sort of medium. Then loony toons. Then the next day brilliant. Then the next day totally WTF BANKSY???
I'm just trying to ride it out and do the best I can. And not freak out.
And if she mentions to you that I am an evil witch, DO NOT BELIEVE HER BECAUSE I AM NOT.
I am not going to list all the things I'm having a hard time with here. If you have had a border collie, and one who was very wild and maybe a bit of a weirdo and kind of stressed out sometimes, then you might have a good idea. Maybe not. If you had told me before I got a puppy that things like leaves and dust and invisible spirits living in plastic owls were going to be training challenges, I would be all, Oh wait! I have trained a Gustavo!
But this is a whole other universe, of course, entirely.
There are a lot of things about her that are super awesome and help me not freak out when things go in a direction of which I am left in the dust, scratching my head, and watching a wet and skinny coyote high tailing it back into the pond.
Here's a list of Banksy's awesomeness. Banksy loves all people. She loves all kids. She loves to run up and meet new friends and have them give her lovies. She loves to meet little friendly dogs. She loves to meet friendly big dogs that aren't pouncing on top of her. She loves my dogs. She loves my husband. She sleeps on top of my feet in our bed. She can do loose leash walking a lot of the time. She can walk off leash with us in the forest with beautiful recalls. She loves to swim. She thinks agility is rad and can do little sequences with tunnels and bumps and barrels. She is learning tight tight out of a straight tunnel. She can stay when I lead out. She doesn't chase joggers. Sometimes she sticks her tongue out. She can nosetouch the target. She has a lot of funny tricks. She loves slamming down the teeter totter. She brings back the ball. She loves tugging. She flops upside down for tummy scritches and makes a polar bear face. Sometimes she likes to eat treats from my hand. She ciks and caps around stuff in the arena. She loves riding in the car. She runs as fast as the wind.
No. She can't Eat Tug Come Stay everywhere and every time. Way far, far, galaxy far far away far, from that. A lifetime of far. But that's what we're working on. And I am not freaking out.
by team small dog at 4:42 PM
08 September 2014
A lady walking her border collie yesterday told me Banksy wasn't a border collie. Probably a mini aussie, actually. I just smile and nod when people tell me stuff. A lot of people know a lot of things. I am a good smiler and nodder while my brain is talking about something else. Probably telling a lengthy tale of wilderness and logging and droughts from days gone by. When horses hauled the redwood out and whalers were lost at sea.
I have this old Black Flag t-shirt, it's really small and has a Raymond Pettibon drawing of Ronald Reagan as the devil on it. The shirt is from the 90's. The drawing was from the 80's. Now it's the 2014's and I can't bear to let go of the shirt. It's laying there on a chair with a dog bed Banksy ate a chunk out of and a tote bag full of I don't know what and a globe from the 70's I bought at a yard sale. And some notebooks. I have a lot of notebooks.
I was going to wash my car today. The dust layer on it looks like it went to Burning Man, but it's just from being parked at work. Then I was all, drought. So I didn't wash it. Or clean up the stack on the chair. Or the one on the desk. Thats' where I pile everything that I remove from Banksy's mouth, if you were wondering why there are socks and books and maps and stickers and some kind of weird flower pod thing on my desk. And notebooks. Don't let Banksy eat any notebooks.
by team small dog at 2:50 PM
07 September 2014
Banksy is almost 7 months old, but her tail is almost 300 years old if you count in raccon years. Tail doesn't even describe that thing that's taken on a life of it's own. Tail of Magnificence is close. It keeps growing and growing and her fur is like fur of poof. If she jumps in the pond, she looks exactly like the skinny little coyote from across the pasture that is going to eat the orange kittens. But dried off there is poof, a most bountiful poof. Most of it in her tail.
Her magnificent fur also loves foxtails. The emergency doc had to pull 2 out of her ear the other night. This wasn't my idea of a cool way to spend Friday night, especially since the time of the crabby vet tech at the other vet for her rabies shot a couple months back. This time, me and a very patient vet tech, teensy tiny needles, and all our hard work with happy restraining, grooming and relaxing on a mat made it not too traumatic of a night out on the town. Also, Banksy is super cute when she's drunk.
I took that vet tech a Starbucks card the next day with a thank you note. Thank you, Amanda the Patient Vet Tech. She definitely helped Banksy not be too freaked out by her evening in the hospital.
Otterpop is still the champion of the stillness for photoshoot. Banksy is getting pretty good at stillness of not moving when there's a toy and a release word. Like when she's on the clock. For our forest photoshoots, I would say not so much. Like she is gone by the time I snarl the camera out of my pocket. Maybe someday, Banksy will be able to sit still like Otterpop. In a whole lotta years. Maybe.
Everybody else is all, whatever. There goes the puppy! They're used to her moving like a blur across the landscape. Sometimes across the top of them. Ouch. A new thing in the forest is complete insanity of zooming if we go to the Place Where all the Leaves Are, where it used to be wet. On the steep slope, that goes down to where there used to be water. Back in the day. Wow. Eventually I caught her mid air on the 4th or 5th trip across the gulch and back on the leash she went. Super gnarly. We're staying out of the leaf place for a while. Some things make Banksy's brain explode, leaves that blow or MIGHT blow are one of them. It's a good thing we're not all about autumn around here.
In the forest, except for in the leaf place, she just stays in the group and totally gets it how it works with no leash and no long line. She's one of us in the forest now, totally part of the group. Banksy understands hiking. She's not so much the border collie puppy who gets all the special treatment for everything else in life including all the chewies. Well, maybe some special treatment. Because I do still carry treats for her in my pocket. So far no coyote chasing, no deer chasing, and all good listening. But I am going on never say never for. One day, shit will happen. Let's hope her life skills continue to stay on the side of sensible most of the time.
And by the pond? At the beach? The recalls kind of suck there. Water is her demon on her shoulder. Water talks to her and says, Go Apeshit, Banksy! Hahahahahaha WET! We're working on this.
Banksy goes to weekly foundation class now, and we're also playing along with all the Silvia stuff from the videos. I set her up a new baby agility field at work, that's hopefully mostly foxtail free. Augh, the foxtails. Drought means everything here that isn't dirt is foxtail.
All her things are going better! But everything a work in progress. Banksy can go from her weirdo floppy smiley polar bear persona to super intense hard worker in a flash. And sometimes to the scary stare bear that MUST WATCH THE BLOWERS. Getting back to the floppy polar bear, not so easy. It's a little bit schizopphrenic how her multiple personalities pop up and swap places. She REALLY, REALLY LIKES agility. And her blowing particles. Sort of like the water. Go apeshit, young puppy girl! She has some cool pre-skool agility moves now. There are nosetouches. There are ciks and caps and lefts and rights and a lot of chasing front crosses and circle works. Jump bumps! Forward focus! Stop and Go! Every kind of training is her BEST THING DO IT MORE!!! MORE!!! Banksy LOVES to chase me and LOVES to chase the toy. And she REALLY LOVES tugging.
I am so easily impressed by border collies.
We're working on play, eat, come, stay everywhere, every time. That's hard everywhere and every time. But easy in the low distraction places, much of the time. Supahstah of the backyard. It will take a long time for the whole enchilada. But Banksy's only 7 months old. I think we have a long time. So no big rush.
Otterpop continues to run the show. Gustavo just hangs out being a good boy. Except for being the total thief of chewies. Ruby is Ruby, and we are happy she can still see, because now something is wrong with her good eye. They all love Banksy, however. I am pretty sure they are all as happy as me that she's our puppy. Our super old, 7 month old puppy.
by team small dog at 3:13 PM