Canis Woofus Family

November 3, 2005


People who don't know him think he looks

dangerous--and that is good, since he is a big

pushover.  When we walk, those afraid of dogs cross

the street.  I like having a big, dark shape beside me

at night.

On the other hand, the DSM shepherd people had him in

their laps in two seconds.

Re the figure 8, the judge was just shaking her head.

She said something like "he certainly is pulling

everything he can think of today."

Now that it is all over, I am re-thinking.  For all my

previous dogs the solution to heeling problems was to

go back on leash and correct.  And that is what I did

with Rafe, but now I think it was a mistake.  His head

seems to see heeling on leash as something totally

different from heeling off leash, so when I took the

leash off in the ring he was not sure what to do.  We

are now back to trying a bit of off leash work, just

to see.  I am correcting him by walking into him, etc.
October 29, 2005

Another New Title!

Mr. Rafe is now UCDX Mr. Rafe.  I will try to do a new

picture for you, after we get back to d-ville and the


Onward to Utility!

We can brag about the title, but the performance was

not pretty.  Don't know what happened—in August he

was respectable, but then he turned into a fruitcake.

We are not supposed to end the figure 8 exercise by

standing up on the back legs, kissing the handler, and

then sitting sideways in front asking if that is cute


My friend Sherry, who saw him at a fun match, says

that watching him herd me around the ring is adorable.

 Is this by any chance hereditary?
August 8, 2005

New Title!

     U-CD Alta-Tollhaus Andiamo CD

He did four trials in two days, this time with

placements:  one first, one second, two thirds.  His

brain is fried:  he says no one ever asked him to do

this much per day before.  He is absolutely flat on

his side.

Don't tell him, but it is onward to Open.

August 1, 2005

MacMonster and Jumps

Just a quick question about Mac and jump training.  We

have started both dumbbell and jumps in his Novice

class (I like this instructor—he assumes everyone is

continuing to Open and probably Utility; last week

showed us the beginning of a retrieve training video

that was very good—turned out to be a TriTronics

tape, so I hadn't seen it, and he turned it off when

they moved to the e-collar part, so this was just on

take and hold exercises).  Anyway, he had the bigger

dogs in class starting with a 16" jump.  Mac had been

doing an occasional 20" at home.  But this morning I

forgot to change Rafe's arrangement, and the Mac

cleared 24" with no problems.  I suspect he could do

the old 36" requirement easily, but we don't have to.

After his quick lesson (much too hot to keep going) we

did a little tennis ball, and now I have to take three

balls out there.  For a while I could get by with two

and do the "trade" routine, but now he just carries

two at all times, so I need a third.  And he has

absolutely no sense about stopping when he is getting

too hot.

July 12, 2005

Rafe the Beautiful

Last night when we were coming back from the late walk

the local K-9 officer pulled up, just because he

wanted to say hello to Rafe.  He says he admires him

every morning when we are out for the early walk—I

didn't even know he saw him, since I think they live

down a street I don't cover on the tour.  He is

currently working a Mal, but clearly is a shepherd

man.  Rafe just posed and gave him that naive puppy

look.  Being beautiful is what Rafe does best.

February 23, 2005

Current Training Levels

I think I am about ready for the 5 a.m. start on the
trek to LA.  The paper is as done as it is going to

get, and I found some clothes that are ok.

Fortunately it is an informal conference.  Anyway, in

case John and I get wiped out by Osama's buddies at

LAX and you get the boys back, this is about where

they are:

Rafe knows all the Open exercises and is anticipating

every single one of them.  He needs more exposure to

the group stays.  Has never wandered off, but once he

did go down on the sit.  He is doing the drop on

verbal command—not yet reliable enough to trust that

he will be watching for a signal.  But his finish is a

swing, on signal.  He is up to jumping 24/48, and we

will take the next two steps up rather slowly.  On the

broad jump I am not yet quite back to standing beside

the jump, still sideways to him but about at the end

of the jump.  He is also started on Utility.  We are

doing signals with me standing about 2-3 feet in front

of him and backing up for the recall.  Articles are

coming—right now I think I have four tied down and he

is picking up the loose one.  Next step is to add a

couple more loose articles.  Glove retrieve is getting

there.  Still occasional mistakes (e.g., the love for

glove 2, or refusal to go to glove 2).  He is doing is

pivot to glove three as a three-quarter pivot in the

same direction as the pivots to one and two—he is too

big to do a neat "back-up" pivot to three.  Maybe we

will get there eventually, but for now he is in a

better heel position if I do it the other way.  Will

work on the Moving Stand after the signal stand is

solid.  He does go-outs to cheese (they teach it that

way in Champaign and I am expecting to be back there

for lessons this summer), and for directed jumping I

am keeping the jumps at 16 inches for now.  He is a

bit slow on the turn-and-sit, and just catching on to

going to the jumps (the left is harder for him right

now).  But he is having fun.

Mackie is just in Basic.  We are doing the

usual—heeling, just started Figure Eight and stand.

His recall is very nice.  Sits and downs are getting

there.  He does not run off but he will go down if he

is bored—does it in the rest of the class when he

decides the instructors have been talking too long.

He is learning the swing finish as a game—he does it

for his favorite food in the world, banana.  And we

have started the dumbbell.  He is very good at Take,

Hold, Give.  And he is starting to learn to walk with

it in his jaws.  Somehow he can carry anything else in

the world for miles, and usually does have something

clenched in his mouth, but the dumbbell is another

matter, as usual.  He will get up and carry it if I

have a hand touching his collar—and he has just done

one or two little performances of bringing it without

the hand.

I think that is about where we are. 

They are off at the doggie spa, called Kenl Inn, and I

am ready to go up and contemplate my packing once

more.  I know there is something major I have not


More from LA, if the library will let me get on the


January 13, 2004

The MackAttack Goes to Class

Mackie started his puppy class last night, and it may

be the first time he has been slightly tired since he

left his brother.  Rafe tries, but he can't take it

for long enough.

The class should be very good for him.  We are

lucky—Mark's breeder called the idiot training

director last week and offered to teach a second

section of the puppy class, just because she wanted to

teach a class for Mackie.  Thus we are in the class

with the "overflow" from the one originally scheduled.

 A good thing—I saw some of the dogs leaving the

first class, and they are not puppies in my

categories—they looked about eight months old.  also

overheard the instructor from the first class, and

somehow they were talking about heeling and

about-turns the first night.  I have no idea how they

can be doing that with puppies who can't even walk on

leash.  Our class is not that advanced.

We have six, a good number for Mackie.  I think he

will be by far the biggest dog in the group, and he is

already the loudest.  He spent most of class trying to

get to the end of the leash to play with other dogs,

being indignant because they were having a turn at

working and he had already done his, standing on his

back feet to explain to the instructor that he was

there, etc.  the important thing is that we have all

nice dogs and nice people in this group—the owners

were all worrying about the right things, asking about

dealing with problems that were just starting or

hadn't even come up yet, and genuinely interested in

making their puppies into civilized participants.

Whether Mackie wants to be civilized is another

question, but he is not going to have too much choice.

So far he knows "sit" better than most of the others,

but he does not remain in position for long.  He also

did better on beginning the "come" command, but he did

give me more opportunities to have to use it.  Other

dogs tended to stay closer to their owners—he was out

there looking for excitement.

You would all have loved one of the puppies—a little

Frenchie/pug cross who fortunately got the Frenchie

ears and really does look like a little Fledermaus.

The others have lovely personalities and were lucky to

get good owners:  some idiot here is deliberately

breeding beagle/rat terrier crosses.  Another of the

many humans who should be sent to Mozambique


More reports later.  Some of you have heard about the

drinking contest Rafe and Mackie had yesterday.  The

rest of you really don't want to know.


December 22, 2003

New Puppy

We are back and all is well.  Pup is complaining, so

his lungs are in good shape.  He wants dinner, out,

Rafe, toys, and everything else he can see, right now.

Wish you could have seen the meeting between Rafe and

the puppy.  John carried the puppy in, Rafe sat down,

stretched his neck up, and they kissed each other.

It is raining here, so the baby will begin his

housebreaking on newspapers instead of going out and

getting wet.  He will have plenty of time to do that

later on.

Time to give the poor kid some food and let him start

getting adjusted.  He has had a lot of changes in a

short time—and so far nothing fazes him.

September 29, 2003

Fun Match

Rafe went to Omaha for the fun match, and I think I

got what I wanted. 

He had four hours of exposure to lots of new dogs, new

people, dog show sounds, other dogs working in the

ring, people dropping food all over, etc.  We had to

wait a long time--about fall show season here, so many

people were signed up--and that gave him plenty of

opportunity to get tired.

In the ring, what I got was forging and anticipation,

including anticipation on the recall.  I think I am

very happy with that.  Apart from work, he is having

fun and kissing as many people (and dogs) as possible.

 Today he got invited to go to the Montessori

pre-school for "dog month" in October.  It should be

an event.