Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Duncan and Desmond!  Just a few pictures of some very happy mini Aussies celebrating the holidays and New Year in their favorite ways!

Duncan doing what he does best.  Observed by two short noses in the background…doing what they do best.  Watching the Aussie antics and looking cute.

Duncan was very good this year, and Santa Paws brought him his very own dogwalk.  He tested it out, and his inner Wild Man emerged.  (He was dressed for the holidays, very festive, no?)

Des, not to be outdone, tried out his best bird imitation.  This baby has wings and loves to fly!

'Cause Des'es have springs!

I think there will be some freestyle disc-dog acrobatics in our future.  Because how do you teach your dog not to jump up on you?  Teach him how to jump, of course!

Happy New Year to everyone.  We hope that your 2012 is full of fun, friends and puppy kisses!

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Got Bubbles?

If your house looks anything like mine, you have a few boxes stacked in the corner of the room, the fruits of your internet holiday shopping.  (Thank you Al Gore for inventing the internet so I never have to brave the mall.  Ever.)  And in those stacks of cardboard, you’ve probably got some bubble wrap.  Those fun little bubbles, along with those industrial sized bubbles that are about the size of a hot dog bun.

Why do I mention bubble wrap?  Here’s my training tip of the week, courtesy of my Boxer, Angus.  You see, Angus loves bubble wrap.  If he even sees the stuff, he gets all excited and drools (because Anguses drool when they’re excited) and starts jumping up and down.  Mind you, Angus weighs about 95 pounds, so when something of his size starts imitating a pogo stick, the little dogs scatter.  Me, too.  The Pogo Stick sometimes crashes into things.  Anyway, bubble wrap.  His favorite are the silver dollar sized bubbles.  He’ll take off with a sheet of those reminding me of the fish from Finding Nemo…”bubbles…MY bubbles!” and chomps them into oblivion, each pop further punctuating his joy.

I'm a pogo stick, too!!

Des watched Angus, then rocketed my way and latched onto a wad of the little bubble wrap I had in my hand.  He was a maniac, tugging harder than he ever has, towing me around the room.  It’s definitely not stuff you want to leave the pups alone with, but supervised, you just can’t beat bubble wrap for entertainment.  Or so I thought…

I know several dogs that are afraid of loud noises; fireworks and gunshots being the worst offenders.  Given that I live in the sticks, gunfire isn’t an odd thing to hear in the neighborhood, especially right after the fall bird season opens.  Most of the places we practice agility around the valley are close enough to fields or the river to have lots of random banging going on.  And most of us find out that our dogs have a problem with it when it’s too late…when we find a cowering, shivering, terrified little furball hiding under the bed.  At that point, things like Thundershirts and cranking the TV volume can help, but with my puppies, I really try to desensitize them to banging early in life.

Usually, that means I ask my husband to take his shotgun for a hike with the new baby, something he’s more than happy to do.  He’ll walk a fair distance away and bang a couple of times while I feed and praise the pup.  Then he keeps walking back towards us, intermittently shooting every fifty yards or so.  Maybe I’ve been lucky, but we’ve never had a dog  react badly to noise after the shotgun/puppy hike.

Well, with Des, we just haven’t had the opportunity to take that hike in the desert.  Oddly enough, the reason is because my husband is off banging away at the range most weekends doing his sport, generally returning with a big grin of his own.  So I’ve improvised.  I walked Des all around while my husband was using the nail gun on our shed.  That worked well, because the air compressor would also unexpectedly go off with a whoosh.  But how often can you bank on someone nailing something when you need it most?

And so I return to the bubble wrap.  I was going to cut the big hot dog bun sized wrap to let the air out so I could get rid of it, when Angus made off with his own bubbles, and it gave me an idea.  I got a handful of kibble, took my wrap to the hardwood floor, and started stomping.  At first, Des skittered off, barking.  But the other dogs were dancing around, so he came back out and got PAID for it!  It took about three more stomps, before he was barking with glee, waiting for the next bang for the party that followed.   Take that, big loud, scary noises.  We have bubble wrap and small nuclear devices.  I guess I’d better order something else so I havemore training materials.

Now that we have that sorted…on to the next training challenge…

Des at Four Months

I adore this picture.  It was taken when I visited the Aussie babies at six weeks.  Even then, Des was a little firecracker and practiced his kung-fu moves at every opportunity.  He’s not afraid of doing things in his own unique Des way.

Baby Des, six weeks, ninja in training.

Like sleeping.  Most pups would look at this soft, snuggly, den-like cube of sleeping happiness and curl up inside.  Does our Desmond?  No….he has his own ideas.  So there!  I have since found Lucy copying his style in the very same spot, so he must be onto something.

I figured out how to sleep with the cube all by myself.

Actually, it does look pretty comfy.  If they made these things in my size, I’d definitely give it a test nap.

Zzzzzzz....

Then again, napping is taking seriously in our house, and little Des found himself pressed into service while snoozing with Angus.  I think the Big Red Truck found himself a Little Merle Pillow.  <No one complained>

One of Desmond’s littermates was a sweet little fellow who had markings just like a panda. I didn’t notice baby Des giving little Ming the stink-eye in this picture until recently…

Baby Des and brother, six weeks

While on the surface they looked like loving brothers, evidently, some deeper feelings were being harbored…

Did you say uncle yet??

But seriously, Des adores his little Ming, and hauls him all over the house.  —> By his nose.

This week, Des was too busy to sit still for a group photo.  Shortly after this picture was taken, my hat (sitting on the ground behind me) was swiped, taken on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride around the yard, and then unceremoniously deposited in the field…traded off for a much more exciting clump of dirt.  At least I hope it was a clump of dirt…I’m just going to pretend it was a clump of dirt.

Dunc and Des, 16 weeks

Our little man had a big week.  He visited the vet for his 16 week check and weighs in at a spritely 11.4 pounds.  I suspect 10 of those pounds consist entirely of legs.  (Reference the stuffed panda photo above for proof).   We went to our first agility club practice, where he met several new friends.  I’m quickly learning that his skill in charming everyone out of the cookies in their pockets is second only to that of his much more practiced big brother, Duncan.

“Watch and learn, Grasshopper, there are many cookies to be mooched, and only cuteness is expected in return…”

He’s got that in the bag!