Tag Archives: border terrier

Home, then back again

I should have posted this video two weeks ago, but life and other excuses. For 6 weeks I was in VA for work, then came back for 2 weeks. This is a super adorable video of the dogs’ reactions when I walked in the door.

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Posted by on March 22, 2015 in Other Stuff


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Pretty accurate

Here’s a fun bio on WOOFipedia about the Border Terrier, which is actually really accurate! As someone who has read hundreds (if not thousands) of different versions of almost all dog breed profiles, I’ve frequently wondered how accurate they are. “Hmmm, did the author actually own this breed? Did they talk to people who do? What’s it REALLY like to have an [insert breed here]?” What I really like is how the history of the breed is related to their structure and temperament. Well done!

Gratuitous photo of Fiona and Wally

Gratuitous photo of Fiona and Wally

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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Other Stuff


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Border Terriers Around the Net: Dogs Learn by Watching

It seems like Borders are popping up all over the internet lately – I found this video of two Border Terriers demonstrating that dogs can learn from observation. My main take away from this was “man, what a cool trick! I should train that!”

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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Training


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Fiona Update

Adopting an adult dog is always a challenge because you really have no idea how that dog was raised and trained. I’ve known Wally since birth so I know exactly how he behaves in almost any situation, but Fiona is a mystery. That can be surprising in good ways and bad ways.

Fiona isn't exactly ladylike

Fiona isn’t exactly ladylike

The good: she has a stunning recall. Seriously, this dog will come blasting across a field when I yell “Fiona, come!” This is really refreshing since Wally’s recall is only so-so on a good day, and basically non-existent in the face of distractions (which is all my fault). She also knows “sit” and has a basic understanding of “leave it” and “off”.

There are some less than awesome behaviors that I inherited, however. First is how Fiona plays with Wally, which is very predatory and rough. Second is her reactivity to new dogs – she isn’t aggressive but she is defensive. It’s as though she’s afraid she’ll be roughed up, so she warns them to leave her alone by vocalizing in a less-than-friendly way. Once she has been introduced to them properly she’s absolutely fine, thankfully.

And lastly, she’s not 100% potty trained. We did extensive testing at the vet and the conclusion was that this is behavioral, not physical. It’s seriously disappointing to have an adult dog who still potties in the house, but she has improved significantly over the last few months so I’m not overly concerned.

All that being said, each of these issues is improving with training. The wonderful thing about dogs is that they can always learn new behaviors; someone just has to want to take the time and teach them! So she’s learning to grab a toy instead of Wally’s neck, look at me instead of squawking at new dogs, and tell me when she needs to go out.  

I’ve also discovered that she has food allergies. I believe her old owner fed her Kirkland brand, which isn’t the worst but doesn’t cut it in my book. When I got Fiona I immediately put her on a grain-free formula, which helped but didn’t solve all the itching. A friend recommended Nature’s Variety Limited Ingredient Diets and since I switched her to that she’s had no itching, woohoo! Based on my research it’s probably not worth doing a blood test or skin scratch test to determine the exact allergen, but at some point I might try the NutriScan test. In the meantime I’ll stick to the LID and rotate proteins.

One thing that I’m super excited about is the dramatically improved quality of Fiona’s coat. When I first got her she was in need of a good stripping, which revealed that she had no undercoat. She also had a profuse amount of downy fuzz on her rear and belly (which is the result of scissoring or clipping the hair instead of stripping it out). That grooming session ended with her being embarrassingly naked – literally bald in some spots. The good news is that I stripped her again last week and not only does she have an actual undercoat, it looks awesome! And all that horrible fuzz has grown back as real hair, too, so she looks like a dog instead of an Ewok/monkey. I think we might actually be able to get into the showring by March at this rate!

Fiona after her second stripping -- we've got coat!

Fiona after her second stripping — we’ve got coat!


Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Fiona


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Border Terriers Around the Net: Schutzhund?!

I don’t know about you, but I think that Schutzhund is so cool. Those dogs are highly trained in not just one but three areas and make intelligent judgment calls. Just about any dog can be encouraged to attack someone but a Schutzhund (or other ring sport) trained dog will only do so when that action is called for. Would I ever actually train a dog in Schutzhund? I’m not sure. There are potential liability issues that arise from having an attack-trained dog, issues that I don’t particularly care to deal with.

That being said, I think it is AWESOME that this Border Terrier is doing Schutzhund! It’s obvious that the crowd loves her and can’t get enough of her tenacity. This girl is having a blast and it’s so fun to watch her use all her might to bring down the bad guy. Check it out!

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Posted by on January 25, 2014 in Other Stuff


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Street cred

Sometimes I have to adjust my lens of reality to make sure my reality is real. For example, all my life (and literally, I mean for as long as I can remember) I’ve been waiting to do all the things I’ve done with Wally: get a fabulous dog that also happens to be a show dog; train, handle, and finish that dog myself, etc. Now I have one more thing to add to that list, one that makes me feel legit: Wally got his OFA and CERF certs done.

Over the years I built up a kind of romanticized view of these kinds of things, so when I took Wally to Steamboat Animal Hospital I felt like I had joined an elite club. I, too, now had a dog that would go down in the record books with a CHIC number and full health certs. Step two of becoming a great breeder, accomplished! [Step one was to start with a great dog. Done.]

Every 6 months Steamboat has a Breeder Day where they spend an entire day doing nothing but CERF and OFA certs: hips, patellas, heart, eyes, thyroid, etc. For a CHIC number a Border Terrier must have patellas, hips, eyes, and heart checked, so that’s what we did. We made the 1.5 hour drive and showed up right at 8am to find ourselves in a long line of people who had already been there for 2 hours.


Headed home, drunk on success. And drugs.


The whole thing took more than 3 hours, mostly just waiting around for our number to be called (each test had it’s own queue). I didn’t mind though because it was significantly cheaper and easier than trying to complete each test individually (see a cardiologist for heart, see my vet for hips/patellas, go to a show with CERF checks…). Dogs have to be heavily sedated for x-rays, and after that one Wally was like a drunken gnome. He would try to sit up on my lap but inevitably would lean hard to one side and need propping up. His eyes also had to be dilated for the eye check so on the way home I was constantly shielding his eyes from the bright sunny day and carrying him around because he couldn’t really walk. He was drunk for the rest of the day, which prompted lots of cuddling.

As for results, his eyes and heart were officially good. I’m still waiting for the hips/patellas but the preliminary results were good. Also, x-rays of your dog are SO COOL. And apparently people at work will think you’re a weirdo for having an x-ray of your dog on your computer. Meh.

CH kilcreggans HMS Audacious_Oct 2013_11953-20131006103215511-original

Said one guy at work: “Where’s your dog’s ‘stuff’?”
Said I: “Right where his stuff should be.”
Said he: “Oh!”



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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Other Stuff, Wally


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There are some big things happening around here, but I want to hold off on the big reveal until tomorrow or Sunday. Needless to say I feel like Ron Swanson right now…



Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Other Stuff


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