An old dog learns new tricks

TWooie learns stuff!

Do you see that?  That’s TWooie jumping in the air for a ball!!

But before you get all gushy with the accolades about my mad training skillz and how I finally taught TWooie to play with toys, let me be transparent with you.

TWooie has NO intention of catching that ball, or even trying to catch that ball.  *I* have not taught an old dog a new trick.  Rather TWooie has learned from example.  Watching the other dogs get some air for the ball, TWooie has learned the following:

  1. The crazy lady (who can operate the fridge, so by rights she is She Who Must Be Tolerated) waggles some stupid rubber orb in your face while shrieking (really, I don’t shriek … I find this offensive!).
  2. Then she puts on her black plastic Camera Face and lobs the stupid object in the direction of the dog she has deemed worthy of her attentions.
  3. Dog obliges She Who Must Be Tolerated by leaping frantically in the air and making bizarre faces and twisty body motions.
  4. Dog comes down to earth again and – and this is the important part – She Who Must Be Tolerated takes off her black plastic Camera Face and rewards this idiotic display with foodstuffs.

Did I figure it out?  Is this what you wanted?  I can haz cookie now, stupid two legger?

 This damn dog is smarter than I thought.  He remains eternally uninterested in playing with a rubber ball or a toy of any description.  He also remains perpetually fascinated with the concept of receiving food.  Therefore, he goes through all the motions of playing with the toy, except for the act of playing with the toy itself.

He haz The Wise.

Tweed, OTOH, has no intention of playing with this toy either.

Yeah.  Right.  Not.

For Tweed recognizes this toy from work, and is aware that it squeaks when operated by a dog’s mouth.  And for all Tweed’s many fine qualities, bravery in the face of a squeaky toy is not one of them.  Tweed fears squeaky toys.  Once I accidentally brought a squeaking tennis ball to the beach for fetch and on the first chompy retrieve it made The Sound … he dropped it in the ocean, crawled under a log and pouted for the remainder of the outing.

Of course, this squeaky toy no longer squeaks because my old coworker Auntie Angela ripped it out of Dexter’s mouth one afternoon, jammed a pen in it, handed it back to him and stomped off back to her office.  It’s been silent ever since ;-)

Dexter doesn’t care.  As long as it flies, he is happy to follow after it.

Spring is also not fussy – noise, no noise, she just wants all the toys for herself.  Rolling in dead worms is awesome, but being Keeper Of All Fun Things is better.  So play she will.

And such a pretty picture she makes too!

Unlike some fat dogs I could name.

I’ve been squeezing the Fat Orange for a few days now, relentlessly, and he’s not as fat as I thought.  He is, however, holding onto his winter coat for dear life and is determined not to give it up for anything.  He is by no means skinny, but his coat definitely gives him the illusion of hiding a Volkswagon in his torso.

He will just never enjoy the svelte physique of Dexter “Long Stride” Morgan.  And can I just admit that I love this photograph?  He may suck at agility, and he may try my patience and get on my last nerve, but damn is he ever good lookin’!! :)

I just happen to have some fine dogs!

Less waxing poetic, more pretend fetching for food pleaz!!

The king has spoken!

I am working on another Wootube book for ya’ll – if you have a favourite post or photo that you want to see in it, let me know!  I am trying really hard to find the time to put it all together so I can raise the rest of the money I need for Nationals, which is just over a month away, but the timing could not be worse.  I just quit my job(!!).  Oh yes I did!  I accepted another more senior position at a different shelter, where I hope to be more personally fulfilled and more hands-on in my day to day work.  The transition phase means I will likely be more physically and emotionally exhausted when my work day is over.  But the plus side is that my commute has been shortened from 1.5 hours to 15 minutes, and that will hopefully make up for a LOT.  I am very excited about this new opportunity!  Wish my luck!

Also, if our agility success and videos (not with Dexter.  Forget you even saw those) stirred within you the desire for another agility partner, may I humbly suggest you consider this piece of eye candy:

I don’t think I introduced you all to Ryder, a 10 month old border collie X australian shepherd (like Tweed!!) from Saskatchewan (like Dexter!  No wait – forget I said that!) who is a superb agility prospect and available through TDBCR.  I picked him up from his transport and held onto him until I got him to his foster home, and he is a total gem.  A complete blank slate, I had him learning stuff with only a couple of repetitions in no time flat, and his foster home says he soaks up all learning like a sponge and comes back for more.  He’s a tall guy, super athletic, crazy biddable and just an all around really nice dog.  Honestly, if I didn’t have a houseful (including a very promising Springaling!), I would have seriously considered him for my next agility dog.

We’ve had a lot of nice pet applications for him, but I would love to see him in a home with someone who competes in agility at a more serious level.  I really don’t think his adopter would be disappointed.  Interested?  Take a look at his profile and drop me a line.

He’s waiting for you (and he’s happy about it!)!

Happy weekend ya’ll!!


  1. That collar and Spring are an awesome pairing. (Might the bright blue sky have something to do with it? Mayyyybe…)

    And the Wootster is adorable. Good to see he’s not really a tank!

  2. Poor Tweed and his squeaky toy phobia! It makes me feel all that much more affection for your big red dog. And TWooie has figured out the trick that our old terrier/duck toller cross has long since mastered: the art of false-play. And we don’t even give food rewards….foolish old man. (Mine, not yours!)

    Also, just wanted to wish you luck in your more-senior, less-commuting shelter position, and tell you that I love the revised look of the site!

  3. Your new job sounds great. A short commute is worth so much.

  4. Congrats on the new job! I love that Twoo has figured out how to make you give him cookies. Give him a freebie from me, please!

  5. Minabey says:

    I just love your crew, especially old man dog Tweed (and Twoo, shhhh). I’ve been following your blog just recently but I’ve already read everything from the start. Congratulations on your new job! I am just so happy how things worked out for you – from moving to the sticks for your pups and commuting hours to and from your job. I really admire your commitment to your pups and to the rescue. Good luck on your new job and look forward to more stories about your crazy crew.

  6. I love that you love your dogs so much. :)

    Congratulations on the new job and shorter commute. Sounds like you’ll be on to a better quality of life after you survive the transition period – and you deserve it. Less time driving = more time living.

  7. DAMN I want that dog. Stupid condo regulations.

  8. Natalie says:

    Laughing at Twoo learning the motions in order to get food. Oreo used to do that, she was highly food motivated. ;)

    Also laughing at poor Tweed’s fear of squeaky toys. Awwwww.

    Ryder is gorgeous!! Sounds like an awesome dog, hope you find a sport home for him.

  9. My younger border collie had the opposite issue of Tweed — he was afraid of everything and would start to run away, but if we squeaked the sqeaky toy, he’d come running right back! Best of luck with the new job!! I recently changed from an hour each way commute to a 10 minute commute and it has made a huuuuge difference in my outlook (for the positive). Also, can we have the older posts (archive) list on the blog page again if we ask you and WebJoe really nicely? :)

  10. clairesmum says:

    the new blog look is great, and you DO have some damn fine dogs! like the new title, too.
    I’m with Twoo on the reaction to objects thrown at my face – tho maybe I would have mastered catching a ball if food was involved.
    claire dog is solely tennis ball focused at the grand age of 13, and not interested in any other kind of ball, or in doing/learning anything for a treat.
    having a short commute is a huge advantage, and may make the new job LOTS better just cuz you don’t have to spend so much time getting to and from it (or fixing up the motor vehicle). the dogs will all be pleased, I’m sure – more ballz, more treats.
    take care.

  11. Love the new website–and love the pic of the Woo. He looks like the crazy squirrel in the movie Ice Age.

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