May 182019

The Couch Princess Rocks On!
by Doranna

Three years!

Alice has been here three years this month, which makes her eight years old.

All things being equal, we like to get our dogs as pups and start training right away.  But some times all things aren’t equal, and one ends up with a hole in the pack, and and one is really, REALLY lucky when the perfect dog comes along to fill it.

Modest Alice

The Princess is too modest for paparazzi.

We lost our pack princess, and five-year-old Alice happened to be looking for her own pack.  She was everything we hoped for–a well-socialized champion of lovely temperament from an expert breeder, the perfect age for our pack, and the boys luuuurved her at first sight.

Alice is a soft, sweet, giggly girl who wasn’t reliably housetrained because she’d talked herself into believing she had no other option.  (Demonstrably not true, but this is the way of it sometimes.)  Because of that, she’d gotten into the habit of bedwetting from a deep sleep…even if sitting on the couch right beside you.  (Ask me how I know.)

We knew this ahead of time, of course; my hope was to resolve this issue in time but without rushing her, and we had plenty of options to manage it in the meanwhile.

We also hoped she would like to play in rally obedience, but again, without rushing.  Because of her soft nature, I gave her nearly half a year of settling in and structure before we started training games, plenty of chance to connect and feel safe.  (I’m sure this time frame could have been sped up considerably, but I had no reason to push it and I didn’t.)

Dart sitting on Alice

Dart (sitting) doesn’t like Alice at all. Not one little bit. He never cuddles with her. At all.

It was another year before she tested for her CGC, and then a few more months before her first rally trial. She earned her novice title in three straight classes with high placements.  That makes her an Achiever Dog, too!  (CH Luvbug Copper Rose More Than Feeling RN CGC)

And, she would like you to know, we worked on housetraining along the way and she’s been accident-free for well over a year.  She also giggles a lot, asks for training sometimes, and has learned to ring a bell on command just for kicks.

All of that’s just a bonus, because the moment she walked into our yard, she owned it.  She became the stabilizing center of our pack, and in that she has never wavered.  We are unendingly proud of the way she broke through her own preconceptions about learning and, er, peeing, and we adore her.

Every year for Gotcha Month, Alice likes to donate to adoption organizations.  She usually chooses Animal Humane and All Ears Basset Sanctuary, both of which with we’ve had personal experience and admire greatly.

She thinks all sweet, giggly lady dogs should have their Gotcha Months, too.


Mar 102019

Alice & Tristan!
by Doranna

AliceCH Luvbug Copper Rose More Than Feeling RN CGC

Alice joined us almost three years ago–already a champion with two litters under her belt, and ready to have her own pack.  She’s a shy, giggly, soft girl by nature, which means training her is a gentle dance.  I gave her lots of time to understand that the training game is a game and she ultimately earned her novice rally title with high scores and placements.

That single rally title (after her CGC, ie Canine Good Citizen) was all we intended for her to earn, although now she hip checks the boys out of training space to take over, so you never know.  Still, her primary job here is to be just what she is by nature–a sweet loving girl who fills the Pack Princess hole in our household.  And did it pretty much from the moment she arrived.



Tristan has had some life interruptus, between an ultimately unnecessary obstruction surgery* and some illness/injury on my part, each of which encompassed one of our active seasons.**   Oh, the agility trials we’ve had to cancel!  Wahhh!

*(Long story)
** (Some areas, handlers can trial every weekend without driving too far.  Ours is not one of them. Our opportunities are highly seasonal.)

Nonetheless, at four years old he’s going gangbusters on the Fun Front. He’s crazy to DO things, and to learn, and to be with his people.  He had his VCD2 while he was still 2yo, and is at this point well toward his second MACH as he trains for utility (this is slow going, due to aforementioned human illness) and works toward his VST/tracking championship.  He has plenty of time left for both of those endeavors, human health willing, so I’m not pushing it.

His motto is “Do all the things, all the time, and do them with quivering excitement!”

Tristan also qualified for AKC Nationals even before Dart did. Since Nationals is one (heroic) day of driving away this year and the chance of having two dogs qualified again on a year when it’s that close and I can manage health and work concerns is in the realm of infinitesimal, we’ve decided to take the hermit (me) out of her hidey hole and go for it.  A trip of a lifetime sort of thing for us for which our goal is to enjoy the camaraderie, the dogs, and the bigness of it all.

This, as it happens, occurs soon!  But the story installments are already scheduled and will go on, and surely that’s the most important thing…