Friday, November 20, 2009

Camp Dogwood, Fall 2008, Redux .....

For all of you who may be following my short, but illustrious career as the notoriously mischief-filled TT, I want to share my experiences at Camp Dogwood in McHenry County, Illinois.  I'm not pitching for them, but the camp was total fun and their website is  My weekend there was exceptional and exciting for me, exhausting for my poor mom .... I did beach chasing (instead of dock diving), frisbee, Rally-O, beginning agility, where I again ran off with a cone (you can see it on YouTube if you like:  Again, please understand that I was a mere 8 months old and I had never experienced an agility course before, much less all the other stuff.  Lure course racing was FUN, total FUN!  I'm going to try to get my mom to upload some pictures from my experience doing all this stuff.

The Redux:  (only in terms of the retelling not the redoing, although we did attend a 2 day pre-camp in agility training in May, 2009, where I again ran off with the cone rather than go through the course).

Here goes ......

The Dunkie Diaries:  Camp Dogwood - October, 2008

October 17th .... mom and dad are getting ready for camp (or something is going on that's making me anxious).  Bad mommy has put me in my crate.  Strange people are coming in and out of my house with stuff (translation = new gas water heater) and I'm stuck in this awful crate.  I wanna see what's going on so I whine and whine, but no one listens to me.  How can they possibly ignore me?

October 17th at noon:  FINALLY, I'm out of one crate and into the car crate.  The care is stuffed with things and we're headed to someplace I've never been before.  I protest; I whine; I sniffle; I bite at my crate (plastic and try to chew it but I'm unsuccessful; stupid humans.  I''m feeling like a cat (lol).

October 17 at 1:30.  We're at this strange place with lots of dogs.  The energy level is off the charts and I'm so excited that all I can do is whine and bark.  I can actually go off leash until my parents put me on leash for the camp orientation.  Fun walk; I go through fields and more fields and someone human is talking to my pack leaders about what happens here and there.  It doesn't make sense to me; all I want to do is play.  Before dinner, I find a 14 month old miniature Schnauser whose energy level and intensity is equal to or greater than mine.  We tussle and wrestle.  I am exhausted.  After dinner (I'm in the car in crate, of course, while other dogs are barking while tied to a line outside), I finally get to see where our pack sleeps (at a Comfort Inn that is dog friendly).  OMG - so many smells, I can hardly contain myself although I didn't pee or poo in the room.  I had a hard time going to sleep because it was all so new, but I was happy that I had my familiar crate.  Ah, sleep, so sweet ....

October 18th, first real camp day.  My pack is talking to other people and I want to see what's going on .... I tried Rally Obedience and felt it wasn't really my thing - too many rules although I did my best because I really liked the treats.

Second morning activity was my first experience with agility.  WOW!  So much stuff.  I'm kind of scared but can always be coaxed with food.  I did it all, even when they dropped the tunnel on me (stupid humans).  I've never ate so well.  I like this time, especially the food!!!!

October 18th:  Camp photo.  BORING .... but I did manage to pick up a lot of burrs in the process and my Puppia halter made some really neat matting that is maddening to my pack .... (sigh)

October 18th (late afternoon):  Frisbee catching.  What are these stupid people doing, but I love to play tug with it and I want that darn disk.  So I run around and around trying to catch it and I find that it's actually fun!!!!  I'm good at this, but need a softer disk for my very princely teeth.  It was fun and I'd like to do it again.

October 19th:  (morning):  My mom is again trying to teach me to have better recall.  Doesn't she know it's pointless?  I suck at this but she's apparently learned some tricks to confound me into not pulling on the leash.  If her extended TT pack is interested, maybe she'll share some secrets she's learned with them (hee, hee).

October 19th (late morning):  LURING .... OMG, I go up to this strange place and see all these retrievers, labs, and collies so unbelievably excited about this stupid plastic thing that runs on a ring all over a huge area.  I must patient await my turn, and my mom goes into the middle of the field to yell(?)/encourage me?  This plastic thing starts to to move and my mom is yelling in encouragement and running with me (lol) and then I think that she is more fun than that stupid plastic thing and run to her and decide that mowed grass is even better than my mom.  Eventually, I try it again, and I LOVE IT!  Even though I'm totally exhausted, I run the whole course chasing that darn thing with my mom and dad cheering.

October 19th:  Good Canine Citizen Prep (and unknowingly, test).  I am next two a hyper mixed dog and 3 Newfies who look like horses to me.  I'm nervous.  I can sit-stay better than anyone but being in a crowd makes me nervous, along with the shadows on the floors.  When I'm supposed to do all those stupid turns, I panic and stop.  My mom doesn't understand the danger there .... (I do).  Everyone except for my friend, Rudy, the Schnauser, who has already passed the GCCT passes; I have to do this stupid walk again, but daddy made me practice with mom and I got what I believe was  'pitty' pass, but hell, a pass is a pass even though I'm not a great citizen nor do I ever intend to be.

October 19th:  After lunch .... Mommy is exhausted.  She can do no more.  She sleeps in the car for 2 hours while daddy takes me to a targeting workshop.  Daddy gets the concept.  I try hard but I don't get it.  The treats are still good.

October 19th:  Mid afternoon .... Daddy makes mommy get out of the car (she doesn't want to; she wants to keep on sleeping) and we go to a massage class.  She massages me.  I like it!!!!  Want more.

October 19th:  Late afternoon. I am in puppy social hour.  I am the youngest - OK, the second youngest camper there- I'm a puppy, hey??? But apparently, I've intimidated a Daschhund in the small dog/puppy group and there are strong hints that I need to move on.  My mom heeds those hints and takes me to a larger dog group where I am a little intimated, but the energy level is manageable .... I don't want to get a bad rep(utation) at my first outting and have to wear an orange scarf that indicates that I have issues, so I guess I must behave.

Did I mention the beach (sand) and the water.  HEAVEN!  I almost swim even without the vest that mom bought but forgot to bring with her to the beach.  I want to learn dock diving; the labs are awesome and I'm sure that with my great looks I would be great, too, although not a record winner ... maybe next time.  At least I got to dig, wrestle with Rudy and chase other dogs and pee in the water.

October 20th (Monday morning):  I am entered in agility 1 and 11.  LOL.  If my idiot parents can learn to get an out of focus camcorder uploaded to youtube, you will laugh out loud just as my dad did as it was being filmed.  Just didn't know what to do with bending tunnel so decided to take matters into my own hands thinking that the cone that marked the station was so much more interesting than the stupid tunnel.  So I ran away with with all over with field with multiple humans chasing me.  This is a fun game. Must do it again!  Finally they caught me, and kept me from doing it again.   I got through the L-shaped tunnel although you would think if humans were really that smart that they would know that the straightest line between 2 points is a straight one.  Stupid humans.

It starts raining; camp is almost over; Mommy is exhausted; daddy is exhausted; I think I'm exhausted, but I'm so dirty and newly matted (that I squeal about when mommy tried to remove them) that she takes to me a groomer on the way home. 

I'm a superstar on the table, but hate to be left alone in the kennel.  They finally come and get me.  Damn!!! Do I look GOOD!

It's good to be home.  Mom has had a glass (or two) of wine and I'm dictating this diary to her because I wanted to tell you what  fun time I had.  She's my love slave ....

Love to all of you,
Dunkie, aka, Dunkster, aka Dunk-a-doodle, aka Crock-o-Dunke, aka Skunky Dunkie

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Excel at BARKING!

I Excel at Barking   ….

I've decided that I excel at barking.  Too bad there's not a reward for it or a Barking Title.  I'd be a champ.  My owners are annoyed.  They think I bark at stupid stuff.  Usually at night.  If I'm upstairs in the loft lying down, I see a reflection of another TT in the window and people next to it.  They are STRANGERS and I must warn them away.  I also bark at other TTs outside the windows at night.  I don't understand why my humans are not concerned and actually seem irritated (I already said that, didn't I?).  When we go out at night, and it's REALLY dark, I bark to warn any dangerous people or objects outside that I am around and I'll take anyone or anything on …. not really, I'm a little scared and would rather be inside….. BARKING. 

I also bark when I'm tired, or at least that's what my humans believe.  I have traces of a herding dog in me and I am trying to herd my humans into bed where we all can sleep.  Unfortunately, they usually ignore me unless I'm terribly obnoxious, which is one of my best attributes.  Just look at the picture of me on their bed.  I was so exhausted, they actually felt sorry for me and covered me with my special blanket that I get to lie down on when I'm on their bed. 

My cousin, PeteyPuppy, also barks at windows.  He's a TT who's a month younger than I.  I just found that out from his mom, so I don't feel so deviant for barking.  I wonder if other breeds bark as much as TTs?  I'm told that TTs "bark a lot" or at least that's what other TT owners tell my mom.  When I was just a puppy, a client of her's told her that TTs bark … A LOT.  She didn't believe him.  She thought his TT probably had 'issues.'  I didn't bark as a puppy …. I don't know why.  I finally found 'my voice' when I was about 18 months old and that was it!  And I don't plan to give it up.  I consider it one of my best attributes (other than my good looks, of course!)

More on Rallo-O

Rally-O again last night. Mom and I need to be more patient as we are slow learners (remedial, actually). I know how to DO everything, it's just that the chaos around me is much more exciting to watch than even getting treats. In fact, that's what is most fun about Rally.  One night I actually looked up at the ceiling in this unfinished warehouse and saw a giant metal blower duct.  I didn't know what to do … bark?  run?  bark?  run?  I was paralyzed by my indecision.  I stood and stared at the ceiling for almost one minute.  Every human was laughing at me.  Don't they know I'm a sentinel dog and supposed to be aware of everything around me that might be dangerous to THEM?  (and me?)  Eventually, I moved on.  I stared that monster metal into complete immobility.  I obviously am the master of the metal duct. 

There is always something cool and unexpected in Rally-O.  You never know what is going to happen.  In the agility ring next to us, there was a pit-mix of some sort (do you really think I can really tell breed differences?) off leash that charged the fence separating us twice. We all went nuts, barking and lunging. The females in my class (a GORGEOUS black standard poodle and a terrier of sorts named Ruby) were cowering and the dob and me almost choked ourselves trying to protect OUR turf.  Oh, BTW, the dob and I are friends now, even though he's much bigger and a year older than I am. 
The one thing my mom is learning in Rally, which is really the important thing, is how to manage situations when this happens and how to always be on watch with me to see when I am going to be over-aroused and what to do. Unfortunately for her, I get over-excited fairly often, despite her reading what to do in "Control Unleashed" and lurking on a CU Yahoo Groups site.  She tries to refocus me, walks me away, gives me treats for obeying commands, and will even take me outside.  Makes me feel kind of special.  I must remember to get over-excited more often. But if you take a look at this picture, in the Pairie Wolf Dog Park by the 'lake' where dogs are swimming, can you see how good my 'stay' is with distraction?  As you can also see, I've already had my swim, actually belly wade.  BTW, that's my brother (the tall one) and my dad (the short one) in the background. 

The instructor says that this chaotic environment is what happens if we ever are good enough to compete (as if), so it's a useful learning experience. I guess that Rally is fun for me because something exciting is always going on somewhere and fun for her because she can keep on learning to be a better 'handler.'  She needs a lot of work, though.  I'm trying to be patient with her.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The 10 things I Like Most About Being a Tibetan Terrier

1.  I've made friends all over the world with other Tibetan Terriers and their owners.  I'm on Facebook; you can even Google me (WigglebuttDuncan) and I have 2 whole pages devoted to me!  A TT! 

2.  I've convinced my humans that I'm smart (and that's not just about my breed trait).

3.  I'm forgiven for my willful, independent disposition (because my humans believe it's a breed trait).

4.  Most people forgive my misbehaving because they think I'm a terrier and it's "terrier behavior," even though I'm NOT a terrier.

5.  I get tons of extra special treats for doing stupid things in training.  I even get cooked special foods as rewards where I reward my mom intermittently for listening to what I want her to do.

6.  It's OK for me to have ADHD; in fact, it's expected.

7.  It's OK for me to have notoriously bad recall; in fact, it's expected.

8.  Everyone who knows me thinks I'm cute and I know how to maximize it in order to get invited into people's homes (Thanks, Aunt Karen and Uncle Fred). 

9.  There are very few of my breed around, so I always get LOTS of attention from everyone asking me what kind of dog I am.....

and, finally .....

10.  My mom and dad love me so much and think I'm so special, that they actually do something dorky like blogging about me!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I think I may be a HUMAN WHISPERER

Everyone who looks at me thinks I'm a dog .... can you actually believe when I started typing this in, I typed in god instead of dog???  Maybe I am a god.  Certainly the monks of Tibet thought so, me being a Tibetan Terrier .... But I think I'm something completely different.  I have decided --- after much deliberation ---- that I must be a HUMAN WHISPERER.  How's that for a name:  WigglebuttDuncan, the HUMAN WHISPERER.  I kind of like it.

OK .... why do I think so?  Well, what's this thing about a 'whisperer?' You see it everywhere on TV and on the movies today .... Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, who gets dogs to do what HE wants; Jennifer Love Hewitt, the Ghost Whisperer who gets people to go into the light; and wasn't there a book and movie about a Horse Whisperer who emotionally healed horses?  It seems that all these people have one thing in common:  Other than their mysterious connection to another species or alien being, they can get others to do what they want.  Is this whispering?  or is it behavioral reinforcement?  Nevertheless, I vote for the latter; that's why I am a HUMAN WHISPERER.

For example, I look at my mom and cock my head to tell her I want a treat and if I'm being really dramatic, I drop to the ground on my special mat, and GUESS WHAT!  I get a treat without having to say a word (or an arf).  Works every time.  When I go for a walk with my dad at work, I concentrate on Susie being home to visit and give me a treat, and boom, the door opens, I do all my tricks at once for her, and get a great treat!  She does my bidding as well.  Women are not the only people under my whispering spell.  My dad has been trained to take me home early after Kim leaves because I tell him it's time.  I whine to go to the park and we go.  My unexpressed wish (or verbally unexpressed) is his command.  My next door neighbors are likewise under my spell and I am one of their favorite house guests. I spend all day Saturdays with my mom and she does whatever I decide to do .... we go to parks, and for walks, and puddle play, and during the winter we will ski together if I get my way (heh, heh). 

So I have decided to lengthen my name.  From now on, I'm WigglebuttDuncan, the Human Whisperer.  My friends, however, can still call me Dunkie, Skunky Dunky, or Dunkie-doodle.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rally-O Isn't So Easy Either ....

When I finally got my mom to recognize that agility was not going to be my FAV sport, she still wanted to train me.  She says that training "increases the bond between owner and pet."  Is she NUTS?  The only thing that strengthens my bond with anyone is the quality of food and treats that they are willing to share with me.  And I like, no LOVE, Rally-O only because mom cooks special treats for me before each weekly class.  Rest assured, I will do almost anything (unless it is completely undignified) for a quality treat.  No hot dogs for me; no string cheese for me; no Zuke's treats for me.  I won't perform for that.  The treat must be quality, including broiled steak with garlic powder chopped into bits and pieces, candied cook carrots, and even canned chick peas (rinsed off, of course).  Just because I'm SPECIAL. 

Rally-O is hard for both of us.  It's difficult for me because I have to watch my mom when I'd rather be doing other things, like looking on the ground for treats dropped by other people, looking at the cute dogs in the conformation ring next to us, or watching the dogs in the beginning agility class in yet another ring.  Did I mention that EVERYTHING on the floor looks like a treat?  I guess that with my head fall, I don't see so well and my nose is not the best at knowing where the food is, so I sometimes think that a random piece of string on the floor is a piece of food ... or maybe even a bug that needs eating.  So I guess that I'm a little ADHD (more so, if you ask my mom), and she threatens to take me to a dog psychiatrist (no whisperer for me) to determine the correct dose of Adderall. 

But you should see how awful my mom is as well.  She actually gets lost trying to find the next sign even though they're clearly marked, doesn't know how to hold the lead the right way, can't figure out what to do at some of the signs, and she drops food along the way which I then must eat right there.  And then she gets upset with me when I react to new dogs entering into my Rally Territory.  Oh!  Did I mention that the Rally course is MY territory and that if new dogs (always much larger than I) don't pay proper deference then I consider it my business to show them who's boss?  Well, I do ....

Here's a link to prove how much remedial training we need:

We are never going to win a title, much less compete, but I do love the treats so I hope that my mom continues with Rally.  I'm thinking that maybe I should behave a little more so that she doesn't get discouraged and drop out.  What do you think?  Hey, where am I?  We can't even find the Rally event? 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What's the big deal about agility?

I don't get it.  I'm not trying to 'dis' it or people who like it and the place I go to to train for Rally-O is really neat.  But ..... owners of dogs I meet are wild about agility.  Seems a bit silly to me and I might actually hurt my royal TT self on a teeter totter or get scared in a tunnel.  I hear that people are so into it that they are willing to stay up late to take an advanced agility class at 9:30 PM at a special training place because they like it so much.  As for me, I would rather be in my comfy bed bed.  In my current Rally class, there is an X-fence barrier between our class and the agility class.  I can see and hear everything!  The excitement of every Monday evening comes when 2 Jack Russell Terriers go after one another in the agility ring, of course, and chaos erupts.  Then all us dogs go nuts in both rings, barking, lunging, and looking to see where the excitement is.  Sadly for me and my entertainment, the excitable dogs end up being crated and I'm the only one left excited .... in Rally-O .... where nothing exciting ever happens and my mom is ever hopeful that she will not get confused by the signs and that I will pay attention to her (giant sigh, here.)

My first experience with agility showed that I have absolutely NO aptitude for it.  Even though I look FAB in the photos above, if you want the REAL story, just look at my YouTube of it:  As you can see, I was much more interested in trolling the ground for treats, didn't much like the curved tunnel (or whatever they call it .... and they think I'm going to go into on FAITH ALONE?), but found an absolute fascination with the marker cones.  If all agility expectations were to grab the marker cones, I would be an immediate qualifier and have won all the advanced awards there are.

Alas, I am not nor probably ever will be.  But that doesn't mean I'm not extremely cute when I actually will try things.  If you don't believe it, just look at the picture of me above on the A-frame and jumping over a barrier.  Then look at my specialty:  Running away with a cone while the instructors and my mom played the "chase" game with me.  I almost won.