Monday, August 18, 2008

Libby and Aunt Hallie Visit

No agility this weekend, no dock diving, nothing...kinda boring but I got caught up on most of my yard work. A little trip to Home Depot on Saturday and I cleaned out my gutters and picked up most of the sticks in the yard. Yawn!

Ruby couldn't wait for Sunday to come. I told her Libby and Aunt Hallie were coming for a visit. She checked the door every two minutes. FINALLY! They arrived!

River was also very excited. This was the first time he'd met Miss Libby and Aunt Hallie. He's never had someone come for a visit. He was so cute trying to hang with the big kids.

River, Ruby and Libby

River really thinks he's the ladies man! I got some really cute shots of the girls being silly and posing.

Libby and Ruby - BFF!

River and Ruby

After playing for hours, running around and wrestling, Hallie and Libby went home. My kids took a much needed nap.

So tired...

I'm glad we had that weekend of "nothing" as the next two weeks will be a whirlwind of activity. Next weekend we have a three-day agility trial in McCook, then we leave Tuesday night for Wisconsin. I have River in Ann Braue's Puppy Workshop for two days and we'll be staying with my parents up in Spooner. The following weekend Ruby has dock diving in Rockford and two days of agility in Manhattan. More pictures and updates to come.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Agility Ability Trial - Plano, IL

I had heard some bad things about the Plano trial site but I decided to check it out for myself. Saturday morning I packed up Ruby & River and headed out to the trial. It started off chilly with brief periods of rain & drizzle. It had stopped by the time we ran our first class - Jumpers - and Ruby did very well taking 2nd place.

Our Standard run didn't go so well however. Miss Ruby freaked herself out before our run as we were waiting on line. A tarp blew up on someones crate scaring her and I couldn't get her back and focused before our run. I got a stress yawn at the start line and a LOT of sniffing, so I had to cheer lead around the course and tell her to keep her head up. When she kept moving it didn't look like such a bad run but she missed her weave entry and popped at the tenth pole, a clear indicator to me that she was stressing. She was also very slow and lope-y.

River did great at the trial, meeting new people and a few dogs. He is even learning to be quiet in his crate. Yea!

On Sunday I took Ruby near the Standard ring to get her over her "issues" and she was fine. Our Jumpers run went great and she took 1st place. I was surprised because it felt very slow and it was, she was just faster than the other dogs somehow. Standard AGAIN didn't go so well but this time it was all me. I changed my plan of action and I shouldn't have; should have stuck to my original plan instead of being a lemming and doing what everyone else was doing. Anyway, I got lost and sent her over the wrong jump. Once I got her back the rest of her run was nice and she was working and happy, except I pulled off the weaves a little too soon and she popped at the 11th pole. Overall not a bad weekend and Ruby managed to get herself 23 MACH points.

Agility is also mental game and sometimes when your ego gets a little shove to the ground, you need to pick yourself up and just get over it. Something I really need to learn to do, both for myself and my dog. Ruby is such a great, sweet dog and is very sensitive to my moods. Most of the time when I'm running her in agility I can control things or hide how I'm feeling from her and concentrate on the job at hand. Sometimes I can't or it comes out in other ways like I get lost on course. Obviously not her fault at all. Poor Ruby, she needs a new handler. Though I still need her to cuddle with and for hugs and kisses when I'm feeling blue. :)

Playing tug with mom.

Sweet boy!

Even though he's just a silly little puppy right now and is mostly just into biting things and playing (and eating and sleeping and pooping and peeing), I have a feeling that River will be just as sweet as Ruby in that regard.

Friday, August 8, 2008


His full registered name is Cirtap's Prins L-D River van Berk. The little man is doing very well and crate training has been going great. He loves his big sister Ruby. She's been wonderful with him and VERY patient. She's such a great dog!

Yesterday we went to Wet Nose in St. Charles to pick up River's food that they special ordered for me. Everyone loves him there and he gets tons love and treats. I figured since I was there I'd use their scale to weigh River and see how he was growing. He now weighs 7.8 lbs or 3.5 kg. He's growing very quickly and last week he weighed in at 3 kg or 6.61 lbs. Did I mention that he was also the biggest puppy in the litter? Closely followed by the (not-so) little girl - she was 2.95 kg last week!

River has decided that Cougar's toys are fair game. That's a Kitty Kong hanging out of his mouth!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Kennel Cirtap's - Orby, Sweden

My search for the perfect Kooiker puppy took me to Kennel Cirtap's in Orby, Sweden and the home of Birgitta and Thomas Lindblad. Kooikerhondje (pronounced koy-ker-hond-ja) or Dutch Decoy Dog are part of the AKC FSS (Foundation Stock Services) program and are in the Sporting Group. They are considered a spaniel-type dog, particularly used for duck hunting and tolling, and were approved in January to compete in AKC companion events.

Birgitta picked me up at the Gothenberg-Landvetter Airpot in Sweden on Monday July 28th following a brief layover at Heathrow. After months of correspondence it was great to finally meet her in person. Her husband Thomas was wonderful as well; I've never met nicer people. :) They put me up in this cute little cabin on their property.

Except for the first day, which was stormy, the weather was beautiful but warm. I took the adult dogs on daily walks in the forest. It was quiet and serene, the rocky forest floor covered in moss, you almost expected to see a pack of wolves appear as dusk fell.

The pictures don't do it justice. I also saw some interesting wildlife. Huge hare almost as as big as a border collie, very large crow/raven type birds and these really cool slugs.

They're about 4 inches long and keep the forest floor clean. I took this picture with the macro function on my camera. Pretty cool, eh?

Birgitta and I went shopping on Friday in Boras. It's the textile capital of Sweden. We also saw the eclipse, it was pretty cool. There is a lot of controversy in the city about a 9 meter tall statue depicting Pinocchio by artist Jim Dine.

Now on to the important stuff...PUPPIES!!!

Birgitta and Thomas with all the pups. Note: you can't see River because he's giving her a kiss!

This is my boy! Ain't he just the cutest thing in the world??? And Ruby even likes him! No surprise there though. She's going to be a great big sister and show the kid the ropes.

This is Kelly, Cirtap's J-G Prinses Leopoldina, River's dam. She's a Nordic Champion meaning she's won & earned her Championship in at least three different countries. She's a very sweet, yet reserved bitch until she gets to know you, correct for a Kooiker Dog. She will also play fetch for hours unless you stop her!

This is Diko, Diko Iriot V.D. Cluster, River's sire. A very handsome dog with good bone and temperament. He comes from very good lines.

I was lucky enough to get to Sweden on Day 50 for the pups. Day 49 is actually the ideal day to do the Puppy Aptitude Test but we figured that one day later wouldn't hurt so much. Since I was the "stranger" I performed the testing and Birgitta got the whole thing on video. River and his brother, Aiko scored the best for a working dog, also having the best scores overall by the breeder as far as conformation. Now I had to make a choice...

Initially when Birgitta sent me the pictures of the newborn pups I already knew which one I wanted. Strange that after spending almost a whole week with the entire litter and getting to know each of them very well, it was still the same pup. The hardest thing was saying no to the others as they were all wonderful in their own way. Marvin grew on me as his personality developed and the shy one, Linux, had even taken on a special relationship with me. I became one he went to if he got scared. And they all changed so much in those few days. I think it's really important to get your pup between 7 and 8 weeks to get that socialization started and develop a bond with them, otherwise the breeder has to do that and if she has a large litter...not an easy thing for her to do. In the end, Birgitta said it's something you decide with your heart and Pup #2 became River.

Kelly went home on Tuesday evening (July 29th) so Birgitta and I drove her back to Katarina Blod's home. Check out these built in kennels; I thought they were pretty cool.

You can take the divider panel out too if you have a big dog or you want your dogs together. And just in case you're in a rear end collision, they also open on the inside.

River, Keela and Marvin destroy the wild flowers.

Aiko, Pup #1, finds his own flowers to eat.

Linux, Pup #4, sleeping in the shade.

Keela, the little girl, Pup #3

Marvin, Pup #5

River: "I have no idea what flowers you're talking about!"

On Sunday, August 3rd, River and I made our long trip back to the states. Here he is at the airport.

River is settling in nicely and we'll have more pictures and updates soon. This weekend Ruby has an agility trial in Plano, IL and she can't wait to get out there and play again.