Individually, both Harley and Guinness are wonderful barn dogs. Guinness will wait patiently outside of the arena for me and Harley will go entertain herself. Both know how to act around horses (for the most part) and are great with new people and new experiences. That being said, when they’re together at the barn all of that goes out the window. Which is why they don’t both get to come except for special occasions.
This weekend, we had one of those special times. LT was at a show so I knew we would have the barn to ourselves and the boy had just gotten his new camera so I figured it was a perfect time to let both dogs come out to the barn to let out a little steam.
They were cray cray.
Seriously, what is she even doing?
To be fair to Harley, Guinness is the one who instagates most of the problems when they’re together. He’s the one who chases her around. Not that she doesn’t reciprocate but if it were just up to her, she’d go zooming around like an idiot.
Or, you know, play in the pond. Not Guinness though. He thinks that getting in water where you can’t touch is the quickest way to death.
Good thing they’re both just so cute because sometimes they drive me up the wall!
It has been forever and absolutely no time at all since Ziva has joined our pack and a lot has happened in those four months. This is mine, and Eric’s, first time bringing an adult dog into an establish pack and we were not as prepared as we thought we were. Especially since we already had one very opinionated golden retriever thinking she was running this house.
There have been a few flare ups between Ziva and Harley that have been more than a little scary. We have had to take a big step back and reevaluate what we were doing with the dogs and what we could reasonably expect from them. Neither of the girls are aggressive dogs but they both are obsessed with their toys and sharing is something Harley has never had to do with Guinness. But with the help of a behavioral and obedience trainer, I think we are starting to get on the right track. It’s a slow process though.
Despite all of that, I am glad that we brought Ziva into our pack. She has a sweetheart personality and is as smart as any dog I’ve ever met. Too smart maybe. Originally we thought about getting Ziva into agility training like the other two but after seeing how she hunts the squirrels in the back yard, I’m keen to try barn hunt with her. I have a hunch that running around a hay bale maze and hunting rats (safety incased in a humane tube) will be right up her alley.
Even with all the craziness and the worry, I can’t imagine Ziva not being a part of our family. She may be crazy and loud but she’s one of us now.
Giving my large hairy and only-loves-water-if-it’s-a-natural-body-of-water-or-a-swimming-pool-but-no-bath-tub dogs is the bane of my existence. Between the de-shedding, being covered in water, and their “I hate you” expressions, I just don’t do it as often as I should. In fact, lately I’ve just given up and have been sending them to the groomer. But, when I do venture into this, I have found a few helpful products:
- Vetrolin Bath Ultra-Hydrating Conditioning ShampooThis is my favorite shampoo. I use it for the horses and I use it for the dogs. Does a great job cleaning and leaves them smelling great. It also doesn’t agitate Guinness’ skin and he is so so sensitive.
- EZ Wash Wand
This one is something that makes my life easier rather than something the dog really likes but bath time is so much easier with the EZWash Wand! The one shown is the dog size (which I didn’t know they made until doing this post) but I have the larger horse size. Lets me get all over the body with minor wrangling of dog and I barely get wet while using it (unlike a normal hose).I also found while writing this that they have a shampoo container that can be added. I ordered that to give it a try.
- HandsOn Gloves
These are both of my dogs favorite grooming accessory ever. I get them out of the bag and they go crazy! They like the massage that they get. I like that they pull out all the extra hair. But really, what I love about these is how easy they make bath time. I pour the shampoo right on my hand and then attack the wet dog. They help me get right down to the skin so that I truly get a clean dog. And the dogs don’t mind baths quite as much when they’re getting a massage.
I originally bought this for Gus. He’s always sweaty and grows a way thicker coat than he should in the summer (to the point that I actually shaved him in the summer) so I thought maybe this would help. It didn’t. So I brought it home to try on the dogs. We have used so many different shedding brushes with Guinness and he hates them all. But this one, he didn’t! He not only tolerated it, he actually seemed to like it. The SleekEz pulled out the undercoat but didn’t seem to pull on his skin. It also left his coat looking shiny and healthy. The brush didn’t do as well with Harley but she also doesn’t have that big undercoat like Guinness does.
- Synthetic Chamois
They technically make these for drying off your car but I was given the tip to use them for the dogs at a Dock Diving competition. It was instant love. They soak up the water, you wring them out, and they’re easy to store and carry around without having to deal with wet towels. I currently am using The Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois but I expect any high rated brand would do the trick.
The downside to the agility trial last weekend was that I spent three days in the cold and what was a slight tickle to my throat turned into a full blown sinus infection. Lovely. I would have stayed home from work on Monday but am already taking Friday off for Poplar so that was a no go.
I suffered through work but trot sets with Gus that evening were out of the picture. It rained in the afternoon so the trails would have been slick anyway. I went home and watched Dateline.
The rest of this week is going to be hectic though. Not only do I have several errands to run for last minute things (black dressage girth, Velcro and new memory card for the Cambox, and food to eat), the beast still has to be worked, the laundry very badly needs to be done, and, most importantly, I need to dig out my camping gear. It might be a coldish evening… hopefully I can find my long underwear!
Still, I am very excited for this weekend (and feel a lot better today than I did yesterday so there’s hope for this weekend!). We had a great jump lesson last Wednesday and will be doing our first XC school on Friday before the show on Saturday. Plus, Hillary and Annie will be there. YAY, I love hanging out with blogger friends.
Over the weekend, the boy and I took all three dogs to another Circle of Friends Agility trial.
If you’ve read all the other recaps from this particular club’s trials, you’re probably expecting something along the lines of “Well, it doesn’t look like it, but we made major improvement this time out!” But you’re not getting that today because Harley was a rock star.
Not even kidding.
I only had to walk her off the course twice and only once was because she lost her mind. The other was because it was the last class at the end of a long Saturday and she was exhausted. But the rest of the time? Man, she was focused. We didn’t Q all the time (stupid dropped bars) but man did I have a different dog this weekend.
The big thing that changed between the last trial and this was really how I handled things going wrong. Harley is a sensitive red head and she does not like to be told that she is doing it wrong. Before, when she missed a contact or broke her start line stay I would get frustrated and tell her she did it wrong. And then she would shut down.
This time, even when it was a big mistake, I kept things super positive. When we missed a contact or a start line stay I would go “Oh no, we missed something, let’s try it again!” And you know what? She stayed with me. She tried again and she got better. It led to some really amazing runs.
There are still little things I’d love to fix and make more solid, like our start line stay, but I was so incredibly pleased how well we worked together this weekend. It was our best trial in almost two years.