Friday, February 27, 2009

When Rain's Away, How Labs Do Play!

These are a few random shots of the canine kids enjoying nice weather two days ago. We spent a long time retrieving in the yard, and what a difference it made in their general, overall rammie-ness! Labs get cabin fever, too, I guess. :o)

Frankly, I needed to get outside as much as they did.

So here they are retrieving a red Kong for me -- group retrieves, btw, not individual work.

Pinot (l) and Ridge (r):

Pinot (back) and Elsie (front, airborn):

Elsie (l) and Pinot (r):

Whoa.... it went the other way (Pinot is very visual)!

Pinot and Tuc (l to r):

Tuc and Pinot (l to r):

Elsie, Kenya, Pinot, and Tuc (l to r):

Pinot, the non-stop retrieving machine:

Pinot and Tuc (l to r):

The Tuc-meister teasing Pinot (what a tease he is -- gotta luv those ears!):

Elsie (r) attempting to intercept Tuc and Pinot:

Elsie, Pinot, Tuc, and Kenya (l to r):

Pinot, Elsie, Tuc, and Ridge (l to r):

And, finally, Tuc and Pinot wearing Elsie out:

While the others were retrieving and retrieving and retrieving and retrieving, Mr. Rudy-Puh-too-tee was sniffing out that scent he caught on the deck (see Wednesday's post). If it's a choice between scent and retrieve, Rudy will pick scent in a heartbeat!.

Kenya retrieved a little, but mostly hung with me; she's not into group retrieving! Ridge retrieved, then did his thing like usual (no one bothers the old man). Rudy tracked scent, and the rest ran 'til they were nearly ready to drop (well, everyone but Pinot, our energizer bunny).

And a fun time was had by all.

Now what happened to that nice weather we so enjoyed?

'Til next time
Joan (whose rotator-cuff isn't happy about all that throwing!).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The New Game

Here are a few shots of Tuc and Pinot retrieving from the deck yesterday afternoon when it was so delightfully sunny outside. It's a new game for them, since they're used to me working with them in the yard. The routine is that I stand on the deck, lob the Kong anywhere in the yard, they retrieve it, and bring it back to the deck wherever I happen to be standing.

It works quite wel, especially when it's muddy -- I don't have to stand in the mud to give them exercise, and the crew still gets their focused runs.

But my throwing for them from the deck doesn't work well in rain.

Aside from yesterday, the weather here has been generally crummy: mostly that cold drizzle and chilling rain so typical of late fall, but for some reason now typical of late winter/early spring here. Yuk.

As much as I love my Labs. I will not stand in a cold soaking rain to throw for them. Not in this chill-you-to-the-bone rain anyway, when it's 40 degrees outside.

The canine gang doesn't get it though. Rain? Cold? Mud? Hypothermia? Who cares????? Just throw the dummy for us, Mom! Throw a rope. Throw a Kong... just throw something!!

Especially Pinot. That girl is so driven to retrieve. When everyone else has had enough (they do get tired sometimes), she's just getting started.

So she and Tuc invented a new game. If Mom Won't Come Outside in the Rain to Throw for Us, We'll Bring a Kong to the Door so She can Throw it from There.

Yup, you got it. When it's raining and miserable outside now, I stand in the doorway of the family room, which leads to the deck, and throw a Kong over the deck out into the yard for them to retrieve. Pinot and Tuc track it down and bring it back to my feet. They haven't brought things back to my feet or my hand yet when I work with them in the yard (they usually "drop" about three feet in front of me). But when it rains now, and we're playing our new game, they'll drop a Kong on my toes (quite literally).

I don't even get wet. I stay nice and cozy in my slippers, which I don't have to remove since I'm not going outside, and I stay dry and warm and delightfully chill-free. I only have to open the door, catch the prized retrieving item before it hits my feet, heave it again, close the door, and wait for Pinot and Tuc to return.

Oh, and if I'm not at the door when they get back, look out. First they'll drop the Kong like normal. Then they'll drop the Kong more obviously (with a little umph) onto the metal door runner (makes an impressive noise). Then they'll throw the Kong at the door.


Silly silly kids. Pinot and Tuc, but especially Pinot, can't get enough retrieving. Their focus and drive wear me out. Tuc at least slows down and wants to take a break now and then. Not Pinot. She would do this until she keeled over.

And she was the pup from her litter we worried about -- remember her neonatal heart murmer (she was little Miss Black from the 2007 litter)!

Hokey Pete. I've never seen endurance like Pinot's. If only they had marathons for dogs.

I have to laugh. They figured this game out entirely on their own. I was watching them in the rain through the door one day two weeks ago, and Pinot caught a glimpse of me there. She grabbed the Kong she's been tossing for herself in the yard (yes, she tosses for herself), and came barrelling with Tuc up onto the deck straight to the door. She dropped the Kong at the stoop, did her ohboyohboyohboymomsgonnathrowforus dance and gave me those irresistable pleading eyes, and I caved. I opened the door, picked up the Kong and threw it for them.

I haven't been able to stand at the door in peace since.

Smart silly kids. Driven-to-retrieve kids. Lab kids. I wouldn't trade 'em for the world.

And now we both get what we want (I stay dry in the rain, they get to retrieve).

If only all life's challenges were so easily solved.

'Til next time,

Friday, February 20, 2009

DH is Baching It With The Gang

I'm OUTTA here! Yay... I really get to go away this time. I'm off for a weekend in the Bershires with DSD. Western Massachussettes is about half way for both of us (4 hours each), so meeting there makes it easier than either of us making the full trip, and it makes it more like a vacation for us.

And, no, no canine kids allowed. This is a human mommy-daughter thing.

Hehe. Will I miss the canine kids? Sure, but it be nice not to have any canine work or demands. :o)

No worries though. The kids (l to r above it's Kenya, Pinot, Tuc, Ridge, Rudy, and Elsie) will be fine with Daddy Don. They love him whole bunches.

And I'll enjoy the break (though I will miss them). :o)

Ciao for now!

'Til next time,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Oh, Happy Day (for Ridge)!

Ridge is a happy boy. He's commandeered the sofa. He's snuggling with his "dad." And he has his Kong.

For a Lab indoors it doesn't get much better than this!

'Til next time,