Category Archives: Rhodesian Ridgeback

Well, this turned out well!

I haven’t spent much time acclimating Pike to a head collar, but I decided to grab him and Loki for a neighborhood walk together so I could meet my daily steps goal.  He did great!  Pike is a very different walker from Loki — Pike is on a mission.  His mission is to get through the walk as quickly as possible.  Ignore the trees and other vertical surfaces, just walk.  That way.  Very fast.

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Loki is typical boy dog — if there’s a vertical surface, he wants to pee on it.  All of them.  After spending a full minute sniffing first.  So it was nice having Pike along to keep Loki moving.  We did a figure-eight loop around the house.

Walking isn’t nearly enough physical activity to even make a dent on the daily exercise requirements for the boys, but it entertained them, and I met my goal, so there’s that.

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Long overdue show report: Springfield, MA


Loki: Friday | Saturday | Sunday
Pike: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

I have zero excuse for not putting this up earlier, except that I just wasn’t in the mood to write.  Still, the shows are starting to heat up, and I spent some time updating Clover’s page to reflect her major wins better, so I can take a moment to let you know how Springfield went at the beginning of this month.

The Spring Fling cluster was held in Springfield, MA over April 3-5, 2015.  This was Pike’s first “real” show — he was in the non-competitive Beginner Puppy class at the Hartford shows (which were also held in Springfield, so it’s okay to be confused).  We decided I would handle Pike, and Nathan would take Loki again like he had at Hartford.

Nathan and Loki were on fire that weekend.  Loki was Winner’s Dog on Friday under judge John P. Wade, picking up two points toward his championship.  Winner’s Bitch and Best of Winners would go to my friend Ali Gregoire and her bitch Marlo.

Saturday, Loki and Nathan would go Winner’s Dog again for a 4 point major under judge Daniel J. Smyth.  Mr. Smyth would also give Best of Winners to Loki over Ali’s Marlo (who also finished her championship!!).  We showed to Smyth last year in Springfield in one of Nathan’s first times in the ring on Loki, where he took home Reserve Winner’s Dog.  Most importantly, Saturday’s win gave Loki his second major, leaving us in a good spot for finishing Loki’s championship.

Sunday, Winner’s Dog was awarded to Loki’s brother Raylan by judge Raymond Filburn, giving him the last win he needed to finish his championship! We were a little sad it wasn’t Loki, but totally thrilled it went to Ray, who is a really super handsome liver nose.

What about Pike, I hear you asking. Well … Pike was in 6-9 month Puppy all three days, against a Spring Valley dog handled by Jack Secrest.  Jack’s dog was more mature than Pike, handled better than Pike (Jack is a professional and I very much am not), and just showed better than Pike.  We were out-shown and out-handled, and that’s okay.  Pike needs time to mature and some more training, which is just the way it goes.  He also started going into a fear period on Saturday, so on Sunday I just focused on making sure he had a good time in the ring and at the show, and I came out of the weekend very, very happy with little Lovernose.  I thought he did as well as could be expected for a six month old baby!

Looking forward, we will be at Trenton in the beginning of May, followed by St. Hubert the following weekend.  Then Pike will be going to the Maine shows with Marsa (without me), and at the end of the month will be Ladies’ Club in Wrentham.  Loki needs a final two points to finish up his title, and then we’ll probably dip our toes into the water and see how a grand championship might go for him.  Who knows?  Right now we’re just having fun showing him, and he is working well for Nathan, so we’re happy to follow this wherever it leads.

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Show Report: Springfield, MA


Loki: Saturday | Sunday
Pike: Saturday | Sunday

This weekend, the First Company Governor’s Food Guard Athletic Association’s annual dog shows occurred in Springfield, MA. Previously, these shows were in Hartford. Last year, Hartford was Loki’s first show, so it seemed sensible to let these shows be Pike’s first as well. (Spoiler alert: Pike did better than Loki on his first time out!)

We had plans to show both Pike and Loki both days this weekend, but the judging schedule for Saturday had Loki in the ring at 8:30 am, and Pike in at 1:00 pm.  The big gap between ring times meant that Jackson and Clover would have to come to the show with us, because otherwise they’d be home alone for far longer than I am comfortable with asking them to go without potty breaks.  When it came time to load the crates into the Dog Bus on Friday afternoon, I made the executive decision to pull Pike from Saturday’s competition, so we could just show and go with Loki, and thus leave Jackson and Clover at home.  The weather Friday was just frigidly cold and I simply couldn’t bear the thought of staying out in the cold long enough to rearrange the crates in the van, then having to set up crates for a single day of showing.

Saturday’s show was a major for class dogs in Rhodesian Ridgebacks.  Loki won his class, but Winners Dog and Best of Winners was awarded to Aron, who belongs to Marsa, and Reserve Winners Dog went to Loki’s litter brother Raylan.  So, as Marsa said while the boys were in the ring, “We’re keeping it in the family!”  Nathan stayed with Pike while I showed Loki, and he reported that Pike was perfectly content in his crate.  No fussing, no whining, just happy to watch everything going on.  Big win for us on that front!  We did let him walk around and socialize a bit, and Tiny Dog took everything in stride.  Yay Pike!

Sunday, Pike and Loki had ring times that were stacked on top of each other, so we decided Nathan would handle Loki, and I would take Pike.  Pike’s entry was in a special 4 – 6 month non-competitive puppy class (no points) that is intended to help introduce puppies to the show ring, and novice owners too.  Last year when we did this class with Loki, he was the only entry in Rhodesian Ridgebacks, but this year Pike didn’t get off so lucky: there were three other Ridgeback puppies in the ring with us!  I was pretty nervous about how Pike would perform, because I have been the laziest slacker trainer with Pike.  We haven’t gotten him to a single handling class, and the only introduction he’s had to stacking has been extremely lackadaisical practice in my living room, not even on a show lead.  Oh, and of course we were first in line!

So, all that said, I am extremely proud beyond words to report that my little liver-nose boy did his job with complete aplomb.  He stacked as well as I would expect a four-month old puppy to do, he gaited perfectly without trying to break into a gallop or chew on the lead, and he walked out of the ring on Sunday with the ribbon for Puppy Best of Breed and a rosette for a Puppy Hound Group 1! Tiny Dog did it!

Over in Loki’s ring, Nathan was busy winning as well!  Loki won his class, won Winner’s Dog, and then took Best of Winners to add another point toward his championship — which would be Nathan’s first point in the the show ring.  However, it took me a little while to find out just how well Nathan had done with Loki.

As I was standing outside Pike’s ring waiting to go back in for Best Puppy In Show, I kept craning my neck to see how Nathan was doing in his ring.  Nathan  saw me looking and held up the ribbon that Loki won for Winner’s Dog, which is a purple ribbon.  However, with the lighting and the distance between us, to me the ribbon looked red — which is a second place ribbon.  I thought he was showing me that Loki was second place in his class, and I gave him a thumbs up to say, “Yes, I got it!”  So, with me thinking he had only won second place in Loki’s class, I was confused by why Nathan and Loki kept standing outside the ring.  At first I thought he was waiting to be judged for Reserve Winners Dog, but then I saw there were bitches in the ring.

So I’m standing there wondering just what the hell is going on, and thinking to myself, “What the !@#$ is Nathan doing?  You’re done! Go put the dog back in his crate!” and Nathan was ACTUALLY standing waiting to go back in the Best of Breed class so Loki could compete for Best of Winners.  And I keep looking, and grumbling to myself, and looking — because, remember, I think Loki was only second place in his class.

Finally, Pike and I got to go back into Pike’s ring to compete for Best Puppy in Show (which was awarded to a Cavalier King Charles), and then I took Pike outside to have a quick potty break.  We came back in, I put Pike in his crate, and boy was I confused when Nathan handed me a whole fistful of ribbons!  I looked down at the ribbons, back up and Nathan, and then threw myself at him in a giant hug when I realized he had actually gotten Best of Winners!  Nathan and Loki did it, too!

So, that was our weekend, which was pretty awesome.  How did yours go?

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Happy birthday, Jackson!


Happy fourth birthday to our big man Jackson!  When we first opened a conversation with Marsa about what we were looking for in a Rhodesian Ridgeback, I asked for a calm, confident puppy that would be have a solid temperamental base that I could build on and she gave me that in spades.  Jackson has gone everywhere and done everything I’ve ever asked him to do.

Happy birthday to all the dogs from the Toren x Zora litter!

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Orlando Show Report, Part Two: Eukanuba

We drove from Perry to Orlando on Friday, with a stop in Homosassa, FL to visit Nathan’s mom and step-dad for lunch.  Yay, seafood!  I love visiting Florida.  It’s my kinda food!  At lunch we made sure MJ had all the info she needed to join us the next day at the convention center — she was coming to watch and cheer us on.  Go Team Loki!

I had reserved a two-queen room, but we convinced my dad to go to the show with us too, so we upgraded to a 1 bedroom suite at check-in.  Good move, because it gave us plenty of room to enjoy the hotel without being all on top of each other.

Dad Hotel Eukanuba

(Bedroom not pictured.)

We got all of Loki’s stuff hauled up into the room (seriously, I have got to get better at traveling light for these overnight shows. Dad had a single carry-on sized bag.  We had to make three trips to the car to get all our crap.) and then nipped down to the hotel bar for a nightcap.  My dad got really tickled at the number of dogs we saw just in and around the hotel, and we had a pretty good round of “What breed is that one?” going at the bar.


Saturday morning we were up early enough to watch the sunrise, and the view from our balcony was pretty incredible.  I spent a few minutes on the balcony gathering my thoughts and mentally getting my game on.  Then we had breakfast.  Love room service.  Love it.

Dad Eukanuba

The only word I can use to describe the convention center is “huge.”  In addition to the photo here, I took a panoramic video of the grooming area. What you see here in the photo of the grooming area is only about 20% of the building.  This is only half of the grooming area, plus there were spaces for Meet the Breeds, the conformation judging rings, the agility, obedience, and dock diving areas, the vendor areas … it just went on and on and on.

On our way into the building, we ran into fellow Canaan Dog person Christina Miller, and she had space in her set up for us to put Loki’s crate — happy coincidence, because we wanted to offer to help her out with Meet the Breeds and be an extra pair of hands for Canaan Dog judging on Sunday!  We got all our crap hauled in (Loki, crate, bag of ‘dog stuff’, folding chairs, etc …), collected MJ when she arrived, and had a few minutes to relax before it was off for judging.

I knew going in that there were only two other class dogs entered, so Loki had a pretty good chance of walking away with the purple ribbon and another point toward his championship.  It was never a done deal — that judge, that dog, that day — but I was hoping for the best, and Loki did not let me down.  Big man strutted his stuff into that ring, did everything I asked him to do damn near perfectly, and made Momma proud.

County Line’s Thor’s Echo was Winners Dog at the 2014 AKC Eukanuba National Championship!

Loki Eukanuba

Even if we had not won, I would have still been thrilled to get to go to Eukanuba — the entire trip I had mentally prepared myself to be happy no matter what, but getting to take home that purple rosette really made my day.  I was so thrilled with Loki.  He’s just an amazing dog.

After conformation judging, we took a spin around the Meet The Breeds area, and gave my dad an opportunity to love on some Australian Cattle Dogs and some Bluetick Coonhounds (two of his favorite breeds).

Dad Eukanuba Bluetick

Finally, we finished off with a little vendor shopping (Nate came home with a spiffy new rain jacket and a hat), then it was back to the hotel for dinner and relaxing.

Sunday we took one more trip into the convention center to meet up with Chris for Canaan Dog judging.  If you want to know how that went, let’s just say she needed extra hands to hold all her rosettes. 😉  After Canaan Dogs finished, I did a little shopping of my own (buying a FitPaws balance disk for helping condition the dogs this winter), and then we packed up the van and headed back to Perry.

I am so glad we went this year.  It was fantastic getting to see my family and Nathan’s family, plus the show was great.  I still want to hit Westminster one year, but I think Loki has a lot of growing up to do first.  It’s still on my list though!

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Little liver-nose boy is growing up fast, very fast!  I looked at the calendar last night and realized he’s only 11 weeks old, not the 12 I’ve been counting in my head.

I’m in desperate catch-up mode because we lost two weeks of our socialization window while we were in FL.  Granted, it’s not like he was in a stasis box during that time.  He got socialized with a mini poodle, a Schipperke, several strange adult Ridgebacks, and so on.

But, since we’ve come home from Florida, Pike has had the following experiences:

  • All nails done by Dremel.  We started introducing the Dremel before we left, and did his nails when we came back.  He struggled a little at the beginning but settled down right away when he realized I was going to stuff him with treats every time the Dremel touched a nail.
  • Pet store visit.  He met probably 10 adults and 4 children, plus a Labrador/Weimaraner mix puppy, and an adult Boston Terrier.
  • Wearing clothes.  We bought him a Christmas sweater.
  • Walking on leash.  We started this before going to Florida, and he doesn’t have the whole thing figured out yet, but we’re getting there.
  • Introduction to clicker training. We’ve done two 20-rep sessions of nose target to palm of hand.
  • FitPaws Giant Balance Disk.  It’s not inflated yet, so we just clicked for putting paws on the giant blue circle.  He’s supremely unconcerned by this.
  • Two sessions on the grooming table learning to stack.  And by learning to stack, I mean “eating treats as fast as I can feed them so he learns to be comfortable on the table.”
  • Canaan Dogs:  we took a trip out to see Auntie Amy and he got to meet Camber, Atri, and Ian.  He immediately started playing with Ian, and took a growled “be polite to me, dumb puppy” correction from Camber with aplomb.

I think this will bring his socialization count up to around 50-60 adults (in all shapes, sizes, colors, hats, glasses, winter coats, canes, and so-forth), probably 5-10 kids, and a reasonable number of non-Ridgeback dogs.  I could wish for more dog/dog socialization, but we’ll be starting handling class and a puppy obedience class soon, which will get us caught up rapidly.

We bought him a royal blue puppy martingale, but the red Christmas sweater looks so good on him that I haven’t decided yet whether or not red or blue will be “his” color.  (Jackson has tan/gold/black, Clover is pink/black, and Loki is green/gold/black.)

Pike at pet store

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