Monday, December 26, 2011

Magic Shrimp

I took the family to the stables this morning to feed the horses. It's only three horses currently in the stable so it's not a very time consuming job. There's a certain zen about being around feeding horses, the noise of horses munching on hay is the most soothing sound I know of.

After a lazy day watching the wind and snow outside the windows, me and Bella hit a real breakthrough in our hind leg pivot training. We had tiger shrimp for dinner and with bits and pieces left Bella was hard at work earning her bonus meal. I have been struggling to get her to just move her hind end and there was a pattern emerging the past few days. Tonight she moved without me moving and I ended the session after an almost 180 degree turn which was a solid jackpot moment for her. Sometimes a different treat can make all the difference!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Christmas Day is a day of perfect laziness. My fiancé's daughter came today and we decided to go out into the snow with the two children. I harnessed Bella in front of my son's infant sleigh. I had to help her pull at first but once she got into it she just started running with him. It was a lot of fun and Bella certainly managed to burn off some of her excess energy.

My only problem was jealousy! I kept thinking I should get a larger dog so it could pull me. Later tonight the solution dawned on me, I need to buy a harness for my horse for some horse powered winter skiing!

Of course, Bella has her own ideas about the sanity of that plan. AKA the look as seen below.

Bella's Stare

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Merry Christmas everybody!


In Iceland we celebrate Christmas on the 24th, this is the first year me and my family are staying in our own home and it's going to be a wonderful night. Maybe me and Bella will sneak out and walk to the stables late tonight once it's all finished.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Tricks Continue

I've been putting more effort into the pivot training with Bella the past few days. I'm rather impatient myself so after the initial success which turned into a complete status quo I've been fighting to remain enthusiastic and optimistic about it. As impatient as I am I make up for it by being extremely stubborn. No matter how frustrated about the lack of progress I can get I refuse to give up no matter how much I want to.

However I do believe that me and Bella are now getting to a place where the sideways movements are not just a fluke. I did change the pedestal from a box to a thick book so I have seen a slight setback but not by a lot and we're getting back to where we were. She has offered me a few times in a row some hind leg movement tonight so I'm optimistic again.

Inbetween she lies down and doesn't even twitch as she stares at me wondering why I'm not throwing her treats, or she tries to eat the book. Another thing is the occasional jumping up on me which is a result of me being too slow a few times. That and running off to find something to bring me.

Bella's picking up trick proved to be convenient for me last weekend when we came home and realized that my son's sock was missing. I took Bella with me to search for it as I knew it was somewhere on the way from the car to our doorstep and when I found it I made her pick it up for me and carry it inside. She was so proud. Hurray for useful dog tricks!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Things They Put Up With

There is always certain insanity surrounding the holidays. When I was a teenager I had grown out of the children's fascination with gifts and had a rough several years where I thought December was one of the worst times of year. All the pressure to be happy when I wasn't.

Lately I've come almost a full circle since being a child. The holidays stopped being the enemy and I started realising I could have December however I wanted it to be. If I truly wanted to I could stay at home and eat frozen pizza. How fun is that...? Instead I figured I could do all sorts of bizarre out-of-the-ordinary things for one month and everybody thinks it's just great.

Ugly sweaters, santa hats and tacky ornaments are all okay in December and of course the family dog can't avoid it.


Bella has a santa hat and this year I bought her a bell collar that makes her sound like one of santa's reindeers. Wearing the full dress we went to a pet shop yesterday and received a christmas gift from them. Today my fiancé's daughter celebrated her birthday with us and she was excited to dress the dog up (she herself was dressed up like Snow White, not my ideal role model for her but oh well!). I vetoed the hat for Bella as she doesn't really like it and I only make her put up with it for a short amount of time. The reindeer bells however are just fine!

Now the apartment is clean and all gifts have been bought and giftwrapped so next week promises to offer plenty of walks and relaxation.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bella's Big Day

My one eyed "Discount Dog" turned two last Wednesday on the 14th of December.

Bella Two Years Old

She has been with us for a year and a half already and I am incredibly happy and thankful for having gotten pretty much everything I wanted in a dog in Bella. Here's to many more adventures and several other birthdays! We're just warming up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Word of the Month is Busy

It's 13th of December already and I have no idea where time has gone! It's incredible how time seems to speed up the older I get.

We will be hosting a small birthday party for my fiancé's daughter next weekend so this week is planned for cleaning the apartment. Not to mention buying presents for the aforementioned daughter, one for her birthday and one for Christmas. It's difficult enough finding a single one!

Bella has been a little neglected lately and when we did go out to the stables two days ago she nearly got herself beaten up by my dog-savvy horse. I'm not sure if it's her being absent minded or too focused but she ran in front of him without taking a look and without hesitating or batting an eyelid he swiped his hoof and hit her in the head. It was a very soft blow since I had started pulling her back and my horse wasn't acting out of aggression. It was more like swatting a fly away. I don't think he takes my terrier very seriously (much like my fiancé then).

Anyway, I didn't get to go out for a walk with Bella yesterday as I wound up sicker and stayed at home from work. Then onight when I was wrapping up my to-do list I saw how Bella was lying in front of the door to the hallway and looked at me with her one eye as if she was the world's biggest victim. My heart broke then and I threw the wet laundry into my fiancé's arms and told him I had to take her outside just for a short walk.

As usual, going out late at night makes everything I tend to get absorbed in and think matters the most, it's all forgotten. We started running like idiots and then I went farther than I had planned and to where I could allow Bella to run loose.

Life's not bad. Tomorrow it's the stables again and this time make sure my animals don't try to hurt one another. My horse is unshod so I have actually been taking him on short walks for his own sanity. I would like to allow Bella to enjoy those as well but won't if she means to learn a lesson about respect for the big guy the painful way.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lazy Evenings

I am slowly getting used to work during the day. I am now fighting to stay awake and it's not that late. Bella has been the biggest worry of mine with those new work hours but my fiancé who has very flexible work hours has been going home for her. My plan is to allocate some walking time before work and soon after coming back home. Tonight we walked to the stables and fed the horses. The photos were horrible since the flash died on me.

Here's one shot from yesterday. I didn't catch Bella when she was lying on top of the dog. She's been bringing me an entire zoo in hopes of earning herself candy for cleaning up for me. She looooooves bringing me stuffed toys because she loves them herself. She got lucky when the soon-to-be seven year old daughter of my fiancé brought a few toys from her room declaring that there just wasn't enough space for them there. Bella was quick to take advantage of that and seems to enjoy the company of the stuffed toys. Incidentally, that dog came with a nametag... her name is Belle.

My problem is that I think the only space available for the stuffed toys is the kid's room! While I figure that dilemma out they've been chilling in the sofa. If they end up somewhere else Bella is quick to locate them and bring them back to me. Ah... the joys of training a dog that really enjoys it and constantly tries to engage me into "training her"!

Even toy stealing couch dogs get tired. This picture sums up how I am feeling tonight. Time for bed!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Horses and Agility

Today was one of my absolute favorite days of the year, the day my horse returns to the stables! I took Bella and the kids by foot, I forgot to take the time but it's pretty much just crossing one street and we're there.

Bella was very curious and cautious to begin with. She wasn't sure how to react and all the foreign smells were exciting. The horses were interesting as well, interesting enough to watch and assess.

Calm is what the mood was with the horses. Bella's behaviour was so good that they weren't bothered at all by her. The dark bay one is my Nökkvi, or Beast as I often call him. He is FAT FAT FAT.

Bella was very very curious! The horses were so calm that she let curiosity take over and went for a sniff of those big guys. It was all very exciting and different.

In the end she didn't care so much and went sniffing around in case she'd find something edible. The horses didn't pay her much attention, they probably didn't take her very seriously.

It was fun to see and of course I'm over the moon that my fuzzfaced horse is back. I have no idea how to get a saddle on him since he's FAT.

In the evening me and Bella went for our first open agility class. It was somewhat of an experience... it started so well and then Bella charged across the riding area we train in to where an Icelandic Sheepdog and an Australian Sheepdog were training. She ran half the course with the Icelandic one and after that first incident she must have charged across two or three more times to rendezvous with the Australian Sheepdog. Barking and behaving like an idiot (in my books). Oh the shame. Things would go really well and then she was off like a rocket.
We're not going to give up though, maybe someday she will make me proud when it comes to behaviour among other dogs. Even if it will be only once I will die happy!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Obedience Test

Last Thursday marked the final Clicker-Obedience class. Me and Bella were unfortunate enough to miss three out of six, due to work, Berlin and me being sick. The last class was a series of a few tests and I was doubtful I should show up. I knew I wasn't fully prepared and wouldn't pass all of the tests but this is just for fun so I wasn't going to bail out with a bad excuse.

Bella was really quite good. We passed most of the tests and it was fun. Perhaps the biggest test we are starting to pass most of the time now is the "let's not bark at other dogs all the time if they come close" test. It wasn't a part of this little trial except in the sense that Bella's attention is on me rather than the other scary dogs.

It was a fun night and a nice pressure to do some small exercises as a part of a test to create a better motivation to pass. I'm very pleased with the course and am going to continue with most of the exercises at home. I also want to finish the hind end awareness exercise. I think that's one exercise that will be very useful if we master it. I am getting there slowly, I have been stuck with getting her to realise what the hell she is supposed to do while on the box but during the test she has a small breakthrough and I am working on continuing from there now.

In other news, my horse is coming tomorrow! Yes, I have a horse and he has now had over a year and a half off due to my pregnancy. I am very excited by this, it will be very interesting to see how Bella reacts to him. I probably should be more worried about how my horse reacts to her, he learnt a few years ago how to scare and beat up dogs after striking an ankle biting Border Collie. For a while I was certain he must have broken the dog's jaw, the noise was awful and the dog ran away like lightning. After I tracked it down there was some blood but he was unbroken. The dog didn't go near my horse after that. Smart Border Collie because after that my horse chased all the dogs that were near. The nice Border Collie cross included that wouldn't harm or harass anyone.
It's a good thing Bella is not a herding dog and she is not the type to harass and attempt to chase someone who is much bigger and heavier than she is. I think the two of them might get along. One thing is for sure, I will find out soon enough!