Riggs First Dog Show


It’s been a busy weekend for me and the pups, Riggs attended his first CKC Conformation Show (being the only one in his class) he won Baby Puppy Best of Breed both days, and placed second in his group class on Friday. He had a few puppy moments during his Sweepstakes class on Friday so no luck there!


I’m still not sure if this is really something I want to pursue with him, but I wanted to see how he would do and give him some show experience. It was great to have him handled by multiple judges and work for different handlers. My whole goal for this show was just to acclimatize him to a show pen environment and have him enjoy it. On that front a big mission accomplished! It was a pretty busy area ringside and he handled it very well (for a puppy). I was pleased to see him want to visit the other dogs (even if he wasn’t allowed), be ok with all the commotion, meet a bunch of new people, and work on focusing in this sort of environment. I really can’t say much seemed to phase him, he had a look at a few generators working away at some nearby RV’s, but otherwise didn’t bat an eye at much of anything, and happily greeted anyone who wanted to visit. Yay!

His handler Lauren Alexander did an excellent job piloting him around the show ring – since I have no clue what I’m doing – even with my lack of practicing!


To give Riggs a well earned treat I took both dogs up to Water Valley today (with my bear spray on hand, though luckily not needed) for a fun romp. It was great to see them both have such a great time.

FB-3865.jpgTess has had a really rotten couple of weeks and it was great to see her having a good day and Riggs helping bring it out of her.

There was a good reason we went after the show! And the two amigos had a great time playing together.

A few more of Riggs

FB-4010Tess’s test results came back last week and unfortunately it wasn’t very good news, it’s looking like she has kidney disease. We are waiting to see a specialist for some more tests and information on exactly what kind and how advanced it is. So I think I needed to see them both out having a grand time this weekend.



Hello Again


I don’t seem to be posting as much as I had hoped, these two are keeping me pretty busy. It’s been a jam packed full couple of weeks.

Riggs has attended lots of classes, finishing up our puppy class, starting the Bachelor (everyday) Obedience class, and now Pre-Agility. We’re both really enjoying both of these classes at the moment. Riggs has been doing awesome, and I’m so pleased with how easy he has been to train. He still very much has the puppy attention span, but he’s really coming along and seems to enjoy learning all his new tricks. We did the tunnel for the first time in our pre-agility class this week (since we missed the first week of class). It took him a bit to figure out to go through the tunnel – even though Cathy had one in with them as puppies – but after his first go through he didn’t want to quit! Practically begging “just one more time!” We also tried a drop in disc dog/ Frisbee class which was excellent. I learnt a lot that will improve my throwing, and Riggs did pretty well considering I had really only shown him the disc a few times before the class. We’ll look at entering our first competition in the fall if possible.

Both dogs have now been microchipped so I can apply for their CKC papers, which means I can now show Riggs in the conformation ring. We’ve been attending a few handling classes as time allows, and his first show is next weekend. So I’m hoping things settle down a bit after that. I’ll try to get some photos of him at the show, but he seems to be growing into his body pretty well, not nearly as awkward and gangly as Tess at his age. Hope that’s a good sign!

I’m trying not to overdo it with him with a bunch of classes, he’s in a little more than I would like right now and they all seem to be back to back. So I’m looking forward to taking it a little easier on the training side after the show. We’ve been practicing for the classes a little here and there, and I’m still trying to take him to new places and practice focus in new busy and distracting environments. At home he’s doing pretty well. I went away for about a week to go visit my parents out of town and he went to the kennel while I was away. I realized on coming back how much he has mentally grown, I was still babying him a little too much, so he’s enjoyed a little more freedom upon me coming home. House training is still a work in progress, but he’s got it most of the time and is telling me when he has to go out. Occasionally I don’t hear him ask to go outside, or he gets distracted outside and comes in and has an accident. But overall he’s doing great.

The biggest puppy issue we’re working through right now is jumping on people and counters. People wise it’s a bit of a catch 22, he is much more friendly and interested in people than Tess ever was – which is great – but the down side is he still thinks the best way to say hello is to jump up. So it’s a work in progress. He’s driving me crazy jumping at the counters, but is slowly getting the idea that it isn’t allowed. Too many good things up there to make it worth trying!

The only other real “issue” that’s popped up is car rides, he seems really good in the car. Mostly laying down and hanging out quietly, but balks at getting into the car. He always gets treats when he goes in but that doesn’t seem to be enough, so I have some work to do with him on that.

Yesterday was really hot here so I took him out to Barrier Lake (by himself this time) to see if he’d swim. I couldn’t believe it but we had the place to ourselves again, which was nice. The water was quite low so it was nice for me to have a non-rocky beach to walk on. He was interested in the toys I brought but the puppy attention span didn’t allow for fetching. He really enjoyed running through the water and finding sticks to eat. Thoroughly enjoying himself. Here’s a quick video of Riggs playing at Barrier Lake.

He got good and muddy since the silt there is very slippery and clay like (and he had a few tumbles in it), which meant a bath coming home. He’s had a few at my house, but he’s now too big for the kitchen sink and I struggle washing him in the tub. So I took him to the self-dog wash on the way home from the lake. He was a little unsure about the tub to start, but like with most things seems pretty resilient to new situations. A few treats in and he was a pretty happy camper, went through it all like a trooper!

Today he gets another fun day at daycare, this has been such a godsend for me! It’s been nice to be able to do a few things around the house without him underfoot, and get some visiting in without a 5hr (potty break) curfew! He loves visiting all the staff, playing in the doggie pool and making a bunch of new doggie friends. Last week he was so excited to see Sonia when we got there he jumped out the car window while I was putting it in park, didn’t even look back – yeah thanks Riggs way to make me feel loved!

Tess on the other hand has really been trouble lately. Not behaviour wise, but we’ve been struggling with her allergies a lot. I decided to try her on a new food a few months ago, and all hell broke loose. Long story short I’ve been making her cooked meals for over a month now. Which was a pain while trying to get away on holidays; the kennel she stays at is excellent and is well set up to deal with special needs but it was sure an unneeded time suck fitting in cooking extra meals for her kennel visit on top of all the other things I had to do to get ready to leave, and squeeze in all the training classes with both dogs. She did well at the kennel but since coming home has been worse again. I took Tess in to the emergency vet earlier this week after a few days of diarrhea and finally extreme lethargy, she’s on some new meds and seems to have improved. Much less lethargic and more like her normal self. After chatting with my vet about the issues we decided to run a battery of tests to see if there isn’t another underlying problem. We should get all the results by early next week, but I don’t really know what the good news is here. And I’m not sure what I’m hoping for, I guess just that we can do something to help her feel a little better. The allergies alone have been enough of a struggle to deal with for training, so I hope whatever it is doesn’t reduce her choices even further. But I really just want her to feel better, so hopefully this give us some answers and we can do that.

On a more positive note, Tess is really enjoying her barn hunt practices, she’s really great at finding the rat, less great about telling me when she has! So we have been working on her indication a lot, and building more drive for the rat. Like most things with Tess it depends on the day, and what she feels like doing! She’s a challenge alright – but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I’ll let you know how Riggs does at his big debut at next weekend’s show!

Puppy Barn Hunt


Riggs and I headed out to Crane Acres Dog Sports this evening for an intro to barn hunt. He certainly had puppy attention span and brain, but did very well. Showed some interest in the gerbil (more in the people – NOT complaining!), and did all the components. Went through the tunnel no problem, and had no concerns with climbing the bails.

Thanks Megan for helping me introduce him to this wonderful sport, and letting us all come out and take advantage of your beautiful facility! And of course for sharing your knowledge and passion for the sport as well.


We both thoroughly enjoyed it, and are looking forward to more!


Graduation Day


Riggs graduated puppy kindergarten today, really enjoyed this class and all the puppy’s Riggs got to play with. Hopefully his first of many ribbons!

Took a photo of him in the kennel today before class, can’t believe how much he has grown since I brought him home…what happened to my tiny lap dog?

Tess had a great time at Barn Hunt practice, really got into it! So nice to see!


Now I’m ready for a nap!


Still Going


I am continuing to pick away at some socialization items that I missed earlier. Have a few more on my hit list I would like to do soon, but time keeps sailing by.

I enjoyed taking the dogs to Wet Noses last Saturday to play off leash. So far I have only taken them out together on leash, which is a bit of a gong show for all involved! So I wanted them to have a chance off leash to figure things out on their own. Mostly Tess ignored Riggs and enjoyed trying to catch gophers. Riggs tried to chase her and play a bit at first, but then got hot and tired and settled for exploring within about a 5 foot radius of me. All in all it was a great walk and they did better in the car together than I expected. Nice to get good surprises!

Sunday I took Riggs to check out the lagoon area of Bowness park; I had Tess there last weekend – I think – and it seemed like there was lots of people and the train had started up for the season. So I thought it would be good exposure for Riggs. He did pretty well; great with the people and dogs. It’s still a bit of a struggle with the dogs, I don’t particularly want him to visit other dogs while on leash (just my preference after dealing with some issues with Tess), but I also want to be mindful of not causing him frustration because I do want to encourage him to be friendly and enjoy their company. So it’s a bit of a balance on my part to encourage him to look at – and be friendly towards – the other dogs, but also teach him to focus on me when around them. More work to do on my part! We are also working on sitting when people or bikes go by us. He’s not too focused right now, but is getting better and better. He struggled a bit with the weird train thing at Bowness, I should have had a little more distance from it to start. It came at us side on, and he was a little scared of the noise it made. He seemed to warm up to it a bit and didn’t mind following it from a distance, so we’ll work on that a bit more.


I’ll do anything for treats mom!


I have no idea what we got up to Monday night, but I’m continuing to try to take Riggs to new places, just to experience different locations and the weird things people do. Sometime this week I took him to the east side of Confederation Park. He got to see some skateboarders, more than I would have liked and closer and noisy-er. But he handled it really well. More work on sitting while people pass, and focusing on me when dogs go by. We also had a fun game of tug back at the car!

Tuesday Riggs had another Show Confidence handling class. He did pretty well. There were a lot more dogs than the last drop in class we attended, so that was good for him to experience. It was hotter than heck in the room so all the dogs got pretty tired and lazy as class went on. He’s such a goofball when doing his jog around the ring!


Wednesday I took the afternoon off so I could attend an evening mountain biking course, so I took advantage of the time to book another nail trim with Riggs. Originally Tess was supposed to go for a haircut, but her allergies have been very bad lately and I didn’t want to introduce anything new, or stress her any further than she already was. So Riggs took over. He was very good for them. They are slowly starting to do a little more, trimmed his nails, worked a little with getting him used to the sound of the clippers (which I have been working on as well), trimmed the hair under this feet, and just having different people handle him. He was a champ! Tess got a good walk in as well, can’t remember where we went either!

Thursday was Tess’ flyball class, we had a great time! Love our trainer! Tess is doing pretty well at all the pieces individually, but we are still struggling putting them all together; so we’re just plugging away at it.


For the summer work gives us Friday afternoons off, which is so nice to have! Some of my coworkers arranged a mountain biking trip, so it was a spoil ME day! Took Tess for a walk around the neighbourhood since it was a little late after I made Tess’ dinner and my own. I took Riggs to a new park, Canmore park, which can be a great place to train. But last night we just did the quick (15/20 minute) loop walk and headed home. I’m really happy with how his leash walking is (when he’s by himself), it’s certainly not a formal heel and still requires my full attention…making sure I don’t let him pull me, don’t trip on him, give him time to stop and sniff if he wants to. We also walked right next to a busy-ish road, which is the closest he’s been to traffic. He was a little unsure about a few of the cars whizzing by but got more comfortable as time went on.


This morning Riggs got to attend his first day care visit. The girls said he did very well, looks like he got two individual play sessions with different dogs, and was in a bigger play group with the little dogs when I picked him up. They had glowing reports on how well he did so I was pretty pleased with that! Since Tess isn’t too thrilled to play with him yet (I think she will come around more once he stops hanging off her neck and jumping on her head) it was nice for him to get a chance to play with some dogs who have good doggie manners and who want to play with him. All in all a good day for him, I’ll have to book some more. I think the morning was a good test and good length of time for him, I’ll probably do a few more half days before sending him for the full day. Tess got a manicure at home after I dropped Riggs off at daycare, then we headed off to check out a new walk at Glenmore park. Really enjoyed some of the dirt trails in the Weaselhead, definitely have to go back! Hope to take the dogs out to a lake to swim tonight; hoping it’ll be a little less busy this evening, and give me a chance to get a few things done at home first!

At this point most of my training seems to be on walks, or when I visit them at lunch during the work week. We work on little things during everyday life – like sitting before exiting the car – but really I’m not doing too much with him training wise. Still trying to take him new places and work on things in many different environments. Nothing earth shattering training wise, just simple things like sit, touch, down, hand targeting, OFF, or leave it.

I think Riggs is ready to take his novice trick dog test, so I might see if I can get my sister to test us this week. Fingers crossed it goes well!

A Day In The Life – 1 Adult & 1 Pup

Here’s pretty much my life in a nutshell at the moment, this part does pass right?

5:15 am Riggs: BREAKFAST TIME!!!!!! *Jumpy jumpy* Can’t you hurry up?

Me: Ok, Riggs Kennel

Tess: Oh don’t mind me I’m just sitting here…

Me: Oh, right sorry Tess. Extra goodies for you. I love my good dog!

6:00-6:30am Me: Maybe I can have some breakfast too

Tess: I’ll go have a nap on the couch I think

Riggs: This seems like a good idea to go jump on Tess’s head. I mean look how bored she must be just laying up there. Maybe if I bite her neck she’ll play with me!

6:45am Riggs: Well that didn’t work, how did I end up in this wire contraption again? At least I have my Busy Buddy Barnacle toy to keep me occupied

Me: Maybe I can get ready for work now

7:00am Me: Running late, again!!!

Curlies: Yay! Bathroom walk!!!

Riggs: This seems like a good time to tackle Tess

Me: How did I get so tied up? I think we are providing free entertainment for the neighbourhood.

Me: Whew, made it back home, Riggs do you have to go?

Riggs: NO! But these bugs look edible…

7:15 am Me: Kong ready for Tess, Squirrel Dude ready for Riggs, anything else I’m forgetting…

Me: Riggs are you sure you don’t have to go out?

Riggs: No, I don’t have to go

Me: Ok, I’ll just start the wash machine before I leave

Riggs: Oops…I was so distracted by my Squirrel Dude just sitting up there on the counter, I forgot I had to go…sorry mom

Me: Cleaning up

Me: Ok Curlies, kennel for your goodies

7:30 am Me: Bye guys

Riggs: Tess did you hear something?

Tess: Huh?

8:00 am Curlies: Think I’ll just have quick a nap…zzz
12:00 pm Curlies: Mom’s home!

Riggs: Let me out I gotta pee!

12:30 pm Me: Ok guys, play time’s over time to get in your kennels for your…

Riggs: ME FIRST!!!

Tess: Me too!

Me: Ok, here you go, see you tonight!

2:00 pm Tess: Wake up, protect the house from the mailman

Riggs: Huh? I was sleeping

6:00 pm Tess: Mom’s home!

Riggs: Mom is that you? I’m sleepy

Me: Sorry bud you gotta go outside

Riggs: Ok, but just let me stretch first…

Riggs: Ok, business done, play time???

Me: Nope, dinner!

Curlies: Yay!!!

6:30 pm Me: Alright Riggs time for your walk before I head out with Tess

Riggs: Ok, I love walking!

7:00 pm Me: Ok, Tess time for Flyball class! Riggs get in your kennel for your Squirrel Dude!

Riggs: I’m in Mom! Hurry, faster, faster!

Me: Ok, here you are

Me: Tess, leash up and lets go!

7:30 pm Flyball class – Fun fun!
9:30 pm Me & Tess: Hi Riggs

Riggs: Huh? Who’s there? You interrupted my sleep

Me: Outside?

Riggs: Ok

Riggs: Oh, that feels better!

Riggs: Maybe if I go steal Tess’ toy she’ll play with me?

Tess: Can’t I just nap on the couch?

Riggs: NEVER!!!

Me: I need a glass of wine!

10:00 pm Me: Ok guys, bed time – kennel & Kongs!

Curlies: Yay, night Mom!

Wet Noses


Riggs got the ok from the vet to start to venture out into the doggie world, so I took him to the private off leash park at Wet Noses this morning with Tess. Both dogs had a great time, and it was nice for them to get to hang out together with a little more space to do their own thing.

I wasn’t sure how they’d do in the back of the car together (there isn’t room for Tess & Rigg’s kennel back there). I tried putting Riggs in the passenger seat but he wanted to be with his big sister so I let him choose. He was pretty good not to badger her back there; so it went much better than I expected. Now I have the confidence to take them to a few other places together without worrying so much.

Just some fun pictures from this morning