(I know it should be Queen of All The Toys, but that sounds …. somehow dominatrix-y)

Dexter has been learning a new trick; to stack all of these rings on this tower.

It all started when Skye‘s owner posted a video on FB of that handsome fellow calmly and neatly stacking the same plastic rings on the same plastic tower in the correct sequence like a boss.  I was impressed, so I trundled off to the used toy store and returned with our own set, intending to teach Spring to do this, because of all my dogs, Spring is the one who likes to offer me behaviours the most.  I wasn’t even thinking about trying to teach Dexter to play, because Dexter likes to offer me one behaviour only – chuck the new thing at me so that I will chuck the new thing for him, so he can bring the new thing back to me for me to chuck again.  Once we tried “20 Things To Do With A Traffic Cone and a Clicker” and it became quite dangerous.  Those things can really fly!

Anyway, to my surprise Spring only wanted to nose touch the rings and when that didn’t work she smooched me in MY nose a bunch of times and then started displacement wrestling with Winter.  So I gave it a try with Dexter, and learned several things about his little walnut brain:

1) NRMs are necessary for Dexter, otherwise he will just throw the rings (and the tower!) at me over and over again, no matter how long I ignore him.  I actually have to tell him to stop and try something else or he won’t stop.

2) He’s not very dexterous (which is ironic).  In order to get the ring on the tower, he has to pick the ring up from the side furthest from his mouth and kind of drag it over to tip of the tower so it catches.  He cannot do it any other way.   Like if he holds it in his mouth like a donut because his hands were busy tying his shoelace, he can’t figure out how to get it on the tower.  And if he picks it up the wrong way he has to walk in a circle around the room before putting it down and trying again.  He can’t just put it down and start over.

3) Once he gets the hang of it, he can put several rings on in relative succession (the smallest one gives him fits because it gets stuck on his lower jaw).  But every time we start a new session, it’s like he has NO idea what the goal is.  We practice every day and every day he is utterly clueless about what I want for the first ten minutes.  He’s like a goldfish – no memory retention whatsoever.  This maybe explains why he can’t maintain success in agility – he forgets everything he learns!

So of course when I tried to get a photo of him putting the rings on the tower, he had no idea how to do it.

He posed a lot though.

(Look at all the frustration chomps marks in the ring!)

Eventually I just gave up.  Besides, it’s hard to gets photos without the little monsters interfering with reassuring, spontaneous ear cleanings.

(Does not want)

So we just moved on to other photo ops.

Miss Posey McModelson likes to be the center of attention, until I want her to be, then she decides it’s too dull to suffer it.

Tried a different prop, but you can’t put one of these sleepy pod things down anywhere without Addy oozing into it (we have 4 or 5 around the house) whether someone has already taken up residence within or not.

This is the sad face of a sad puppy who neither understands nor enjoys posing for photos.

 The Sad Season Siblings aren’t much more enthused.

The Fabulous Miss Piper was more than happy to lounge around in the studio lookin’ super fly.  We’re all pretty happy in general, because (and those of you who read the FB page know this already) the ugly face nipple turned out to be a completely benign growth, nothing to worry about.  Thank doG!  I can’t manage this pack of hooligans without her iron paw.

She had a really hard time with the anaesthetic apparently (I mean, she IS almost 14!), and the morphine afterward didn’t help her coordination at all, but she bounced back to her normal semi-senile self in a matter of hours.

Senile?  What’d you call me, beeyotch?

Geez, okay already hillybilly teeth.  You’re not senile.  You are going to get some dental work in the near future though!

It’s not easy getting these shots, which is pretty much strictly for your amusement.

(okay, my amusement mostly)

What I wouldn’t do for a separate room, or even a shed or something, where I could set up sessions in peace without this happening all the time.

I love my little farm and tiny house, but I have “real rooms” envy.  If I had a spare bedroom, it would be a studio so fast you wouldn’t even believe it.

Would I have to go inside of it?

Of course, chaos happens outside too.

You’ll notice Dexter does not appear to be broken and is moving just fine.  After some trial and error, we have discovered that he is not jumping not because something on or in him hurts, but rather because he seems to be having some trouble seeing in the rather dim barn where we train.  At home, he jumps anything and everything in the clear light of day, but in the evenings in the barn, he is having some difficulties, so he tries not to jump anything.  He’s not quite seven years old, but I am thinking of dropping him to 16″ Vets, as this way he will be able to see over top of the jumps and not worry.  And let’s face it, it’s not like he’s a competitive dog – may as well do whatever it takes to let him have fun, because I doubt I’ll be trialing him again ever.

The Springaling has her agility mojo back and is a friggin’ rocket in practice, but fool me once etc. … I don’t think I will bother trialing her either, since she gets all afeared and pees in the ring.  Only at Regionals though, because that’s what costs the most money.  Why bother (literally) pissing away a $15 run when you can piss away one that costs twice that instead, right?

It’s a good thing I love the little bastards.

And here’s another Woo-with-a-mud-goatee photo to make your day that much brighter (why does he eat dirt?)


  1. Hi Food Lady,
    What is an “NRM”?

    I adore your family and photos. Thanks for sharing them with the interwebs.

  2. An NRM is a “No Reward Marker.” Some dog training theories suggest that NRMs are too negative and that in shaping a behaviour, the trainer only rewards the correct actions and ignores the incorrect ones. But Dexter needs me to tell him to fuck off and try something else, or he doesn’t try something else. This is probably indicative of my lack of skill/impatience in training him. Also he drives me crazy ;-)

  3. OMG, the mud goatee! Amazingly wonderful photographs as usual. One could only imagine what you could do with a dedicated home studio!

  4. This post is priceless on so many levels. :D

  5. Maria Shanley says:

    I just read your facebook entry. I am not on facebook so couldn’t comment there. I have no words for how sorry I am about Little Man. Please don’t blame yourself – people have lost pets and livestock in suburban California, not just in rural areas. A friend of mine had two puppies killed right in front of her in Chino, before she shot one coyote and her male Aussie killed the other. I will keep you and your dogs in my thoughts, and hope we can hear from you from time to time to know how everyone is doing.

  6. Msnform says:

    Please please please tell me that Maria’s feedback is a poor poor April Fools post…I can’t see Facebook and I am besotted with the Little Man….if it is not, please accept my deepest sympathy about the loss and your “guilt”–I’m sure there’s nothing you could’ve done.

  7. Msnform says:

    I’m sorry. It’s not your fault. Please forgive yourself and know that Little Man would.

  8. I know you’re going through a hard time and I am on the other side of the continent so I am sending you a virtual hug. A great big hug from a mom and dog lover.

  9. Please tell us what happened to Little Man. or at least let me know how to find you on Facebook

  10. Heidi Google “Three Woofs and a Woo on Facebook”.

    I’m so sorry about you losing the little guy. That’s an accident which could happen to anyone, and in a lot of places.

  11. search Three Woofs and A Woo on facebook and then click on the link to her blog.

  12. Thank you Patty, now I understand what happened.
    There are no words to help in this situation, but Know we support and love you.

  13. Hello,
    I’ve been waiting and checking for a new post and finally thought I’d leave a comment and offer a $20 US donation to support one…I see now that there has been a very sad development. I am so very sorry to hear that. I would still like to donate- I’ll see if there’s a way on here, and visit the shop if nothing else.

  14. It is truly sad, Heidi. Coyotes are just doing what they need to do to live but that doesn’t negate the grief from Little Man’s death (and especially how he died) nor the guilt from the feeling that we could have done more. If it was me, I would be beating myself up over it too. My heart goes out to Sheena!!

  15. RachelB says:

    All the hugs and gentle thoughts, Sheena. I’m so sorry. I can tell how much you miss him.

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