Saturday, August 31, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mori and Totty

Here are the first individual photos of Mori and Totty's chocolate-brown tricolor boys taken by Sheryl Thelen; Mori is an AKC and a UKC champion; Totty is an AKC Grand Champion.
                                         Male #1 (above)
                                         Male #2 (above)
                                         Male #3 (above)
                                         Male #4 (above)

Three of the males have "Tinni Spots"! Can you find them? I believe Íslands Garða Tinni, a black tricolor male, gave his name to those spots that sometimes appear just behind the forehead and between the ears of black or chocolate-brown tricolor dogs.

Here are two photos of proud mom and dad; after that is a copy of the puppies' pedigree. 
                                 Mori - - - looking positively regal
                                         Totty - proud mom
Clicking on the pedigree will enlarge it - hopefully enough so that you can see clearly the ancestors. Note that none are repeated which means the pups have a very low inbreeding score.  I believe that all the health information should be easy to find. With these BreedMate pedigrees it is.

DebbieO bred the litter. She may be reached via email at: - Deb Ostrander  =

Hopefully with two parents as AKC Champions, these boys should all go on to do great things!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Captain Sofia Arya Grace

Here's a photo of Captain Sofia Arya Grace on Hamlin Lake in Ludington, Michigan. She has landed in heaven and is in charge, clearly!
Here's Sofia Arya Grace in THE classic Icelandic Sheepdog spread eagle pose!

San Salvatore/Sans Souci

This was the view from the bluff on Friday. If you click on the top photo, you may be able to see two freighters in the distance. I finished most of my work on the ravine: the brush has been cut down and the the base is 'settled' a bit. I'm not sure what my next step, if any, is. At least it's more manageable now.
There's a blacktop road leading down the bluff to the beach. This double deck is one third of the way down. Great spot for early morning coffee, don't you think? It faces east.
In the middle of this photo is the support for the fireplace; beyond is the bedroom and a doorwall to the north forest. The second photo below is the same fireplace as seen from the bedroom looking towards the gathering room. The third photo is the see-through fireplace which will fit into the supports.

The above photo was taken from the east or front porch looking into the entertainment room. Access to the attic is via the 'stairs'.
Looking south through the kitchen area on the right and down a short hall to the bathroom and storage/laundry.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Totty and Mori have puppies - 8-18-'13

Totty and Mori had five puppies born between about 2:30 and 5:30 a.m. today. She is doing fine and the healthy tricolor chocolate boys are doing good! This is Totty's second litter and Mori's second litter; their first one together.
The sire is Mori-Bjorn av Isheim (below) who is an American Kennel Club and a United Kennel Club Champion. His hips are L=0.34-R=0.29 using the PennHIP method and are OFA-Good. His eyes are clear (normal). He is owned by Deb and Greg Ostrander who live in Michigan.

Vinlands Totty (below) has OFA-Good hips and is 0.51-R=0.60 with PennHIP. She also has clear eyes. Totty is an American Kennel Club Grand Champion.
There are no repeated ancestors in the pedigree for these puppies. That means at five and six generations the inbreeding score is 0%. Even at seven generations the score is only 0.0976563% (less than 0.1%!)
Clicking on the above photos and the pedigree will enlarge them slightly. On the pedigree you can clearly see the eye test results, the hips scores, the genes, the registration numbers, the colors, etc, for the parents and many ancestors.

Debbie Ostrander and Sheryl Thelen are caring for the puppies and inquiries can be directed to them at: -
You may not be able to click on this - but you can copy and paste it onto an email.  
Photos of the pups can be seen at: -
You may not be able to click and go to this site but you can copy the address and paste it into your browser!

With both parents champions, these should be great puppies.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dream Cruise Weekend - Barking Issues

My brother turns 69 this year. Ha! Happy Birthday David.

I had an email from a friend whose Icelandic Sheepdog recently had puppies. One of the new owners is having barking issues.

Here's my response: - 

Of all the issues I deal with, barking is the most common concern.

You have to be extremely pro-active to reduce the barking to an acceptable level. The puppies can NEVER go out in the yard alone until they have learned to bark less.

Please note: - Icelandic Sheepdogs have been bred to bark as a way of herding their animals and warning about predators. Hundreds of years of selective breeding went into accomplishing that. All herding breeds have been bred to bark; that behavior is not unique to Icelandics. Border Collies, German Shepards, the two kinds of Corgis, Aussies, Australian cattle dogs, Pyrenean Shepards, etc. all bark.

That said, it is possible to significantly reduce the barking to an acceptable level but that training has to start from the time they leave their birth home. I hope it's not too late for Heather.

                                                              No Bark!

It's not hard to accomplish but training has to start early and it also takes time - not days. not weeks, months. Lots of time. Persistence  pays off.

My oldest dog is now over eleven. When she goes out into my yard (with the rest of my dogs), I am always listening. Always. They are NEVER out of my hearing. If I hear a bark, I'm on it. My neighbors have never complained - crossed fingers. If they bark, I'll call them back, thank them for barking and reward them for coming back to me and for stopping the barking. Again - for emphasis - I start my rewards with treats and praise. Over time - lots of time - I reduce the treats and increase the praise. I never stop with the treats. Reduce the frequency of treating over time, of course. Stop? Never. (Most people who 'work' would not work if their pay stopped. Treats, toys, praise and petting are your dog's pay.)
                                                              No Bark!

Dogs bark to alert their owners that there is a 'problem'. The problem may be unfamiliar people or new and potentially dangerous animals like coyotes, other dogs, wolves, etc. lurking around the herd (or yard), prey birds like hawks and eagles flying overhead, etc. If you don't acknowledge the barking, they will keep on barking until you do.

They are more likely to bark when their human is not near-by. The barking alerts their human to a possible problem so that the human can deal with the problem. That is exactly what is supposed to happen.

                                                              No Bark!

Most people try to discourage the barking. That is, in my opinion, the wrong thing to do. Instead I congratulate my dogs when they bark. They have done what they were bred to do and are extremely proud of doing that. Reward. (Treats, praise, toys, petting. Some dogs do not like to be touched or do not like to be touched in certain places. Watch their body language!)

Especially with young dogs and puppies, I take my bait bag and treats with me clipped to my belt or pants and reward my young dogs with treats, praise, toys, and petting. I use my calm voice and say things like, "Good Dog!", "Good Bark!", "Thank you for warning me!", "Good Girl/Boy!" and reward them while I'm saying those things. I also say, "That's enough!" and "It's OK now!" and, importantly, "Good No Bark!" So they get the idea that they have done the right thing and I am aware of the problem.

(For treats I have used Cheerios, small pieces of hot dogs, small pieces of low-fat string cheese, Captain Crunch peanut butter, etc. Some dogs don't like one treat or another and you have to find what your dogs LOVES if the treats are to work. I keep my treat bag with hot dogs and string cheese in the freezer so they don't spoil.)

                                                              No Bark!

None of our dogs should ever be left out in the yard alone - - - especially when they are young and being trained.

As a volunteer (read: - unpaid) dog trainer for an AKC obedience club in the Detroit Area, I see stuff like this all the time. People are always buying a breed of dog because that breed is popular (like all the retriever breeds) or cute, or pretty, or handsome, or just the right size, etc. They almost never think of what the dog has been bred to do.

Retrievers (Goldens, Labs, Chesapeake Bays, Flat Coateds, etc.) were bred to get things and bring them back to their owners. Lacking hands, they must hold those things in their mouths. They are mouthy breeds and like to grab onto pant legs, hands, arms, etc. That's what they were bred to do!! Can you discourage that behavior. Yes, but that also takes time and consistency in training. If you don't start when they are pups, the 'problem' becomes worse. Again, you should encourage the behavior - - when appropriate - - by praise, treats, toys and petting - - - and discourage it when inappropriate.

Watch experienced handlers at dogs shows or in video clips on Yahoo. Their dogs are always watching their hands for the treats. You have to be the most interesting thing in your dog's life if you want to be successful. How do you do that? Toys, treats, praise, petting. Find the reward(s) that works best for your own dog.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The sun rising in the east on another almost chilly morning; it's really hard to believe it's August. This is a view of Lake Huron from my bluff; Canada is in the distance - too far to swim, and you'd have to dodge the freighters.
Clicking on photos enlarge them.
"My" driveway looking through my woods towards M-25 in the west.
After the workers left last night I took a couple of shots showing the roof with the ice shield (the two layers near the edge) and the layer to protect against water penetration.
The actual roof will be ordered Thursday. I've been working on the trash in the ravine and it's looking better. I have at least another day's work ahead of me.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Jewel Weed - Sunday, August 11, 2013 - Jack Johnson

One of my favorite summer flowers is really considered a weed, a wild weed. It belongs to the same family as the annual garden impatiens and meets several of my criteria for "good" garden plants. It can easily withstand the dogs running through them; although it's an annual plant, it seeds itself and grows rapidly; the flowers are a pretty orange color; and the bees - especially bumble bees and wild species bees - love it. Most importantly, it flowers when the baby hummingbirds leave their nests and seek out nectar on their own so there are always plenty of immature hummingbirds flying in the flowers. 
                                                 (Clicking on photos enlarges them.)
Yes, it is rangy, rank, and grows tall which makes my yard look 'weedy' to people who don't know better. It's easily worth it and I will be taking seeds up north this fall as soon as they 'set' and are ripe. The seed pods resemble pea pods but are smaller. When the seeds are ripe and ready to be released from their pods, at a touch they explode into the air. The seeds lie dormant through the fall, winter, and early spring and finally open their large cotyledons around May in my area.
My Royal Oak garden has gotten away from me this summer probably because of the trips I've been taking up to Sans Souci/San Salvatore. My soil is extremely rich as a result of never removing any plant material; everything is recycled. My yard is actually about three inches higher than the neighbors on all sides because I allow things to add to the fertility of the soil naturally and have done so for the more than 40 years I've lived here. Of course, I will miss my yard - lots - but change is exciting and 'good'. My trees were three or four inches tall when I planted them! Most of my perennials have been with me for more than forty years. Several were passed down to me from my Grandparents so are older than I am (70!).
One of my favorite artists is Jack Johnson who was influenced by Jean Dubuffet and Jean-Michel Basquait who died on August 12, 1988. I wish I knew where Johnson is today! I've heard he is no longer painting which would be a real shame. I have several paintings by him and love them all. There must be something about the middle of August; Jackson Pollock died on August 11, 1956.
My apologies to Jack Johnson for the blurry photo of his painting above.
Rev Ike was a local minister decades ago.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

There's been a bit of drama, unnecessary drama in my opinion, in the Thumb this week.
The 'front' of the house which faces east and looks out over Lake Huron. The three windows on the left are garage windows. The front entrance is off the porch in the front. The outlines of the hip roof are visible now.

Clair Kramer, my builder, wanted to tie the house into the water line which was brought down from Lakeshore Road, M-25, to the properties in the 'subdivision' in 2004, so he went to the Forestville Village Hall to make the arrangements earlier this week.
The corner of the house closest to the camera will be the bedroom with a window overlooking Lake Huron on the left of the corner and a doorwall to the yard on the right.

They told him that we would have to prove the assessment fee, $2,700.00, was paid back then. We found out that I'm the third owner since then. The fee to tie in now is up to about $7,500.00 - which seems like a huge increase in less than ten years, at least to me. If we couldn't prove it was paid back then, then we would have to pay the higher fee.
The back porch doorwall and to the right of it the kitchen window which faces west.

I did not know who owned the property back then. I assumed it belonged to the people I bought it from. Nope.
Those two windows (with a doorwall from the front porch out of sight to the right) face east and overlook Lake Huron.

Helen Warczinsky, the lady in charge of taxes for Delaware Township, where the village of Forestville is located, has retired. Even so - - she went back to the boxes where that information was stored (in the basement of the township offices?) and searched through the boxes. She found the proof that it was paid in one lump sum.
The floor plan is 'open'. In the distance is the corner doorwall from my bedroom to the yard, The double windows of the gathering room and the doorwall from the front porch are on the right. There will be a double-sided fireplace, about four feet beyond where the more distant sawhorse is located, between my bedroom and the gathering room.

Here's where it gets more interesting. Home owners had two choices - only - in 2004. We did not know that.
The garage. In front of the garage are evergreens and some Russian olive bushes - for now.

They could pay the assessment in one lump sum or they could have the assessment stretched out over several years and added on to their taxes. Not paying was not an option!
This is the west-facing 'rear' of the house. As always, clicking on photos enlarges them.

So the assessment had to have been paid, one way or the other, in 2004 and the drama was unnecessary - but we didn't find out that 'not paying' was not an option until just yesterday. Things did not have to get a little crazy.

I had a very nice talk with Jeff and Sharon who own one of the houses north of my property. The subdivision I belong to is going to spray the beach phragmites with an environmentally safe chemical approved by the Department of Environmental Quality this fall and I wanted to make my northern neighbors aware of that.

The west end of the pole barn has been turned into a workshop for the builders. Works out very nice especially when the weather isn't nice - - and we've had a lot of not very nice construction weather. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Library

While the city of Detroit has been getting plenty of press about going bankrupt, some of the media are noticing that Detroit has a very active and exciting 'art scene'. The low prices of buildings makes apartments and lofts desirable for budding artists and what they are producing is honestly very exciting. If you look closely you can see a very distinguished gray (white!!) haired gentleman outside the Library Street Collective gallery during one of their recent fantastic shows. Tracy is next to me. Jon is inside schmoozing, which both he and Tracy are expert at. They know everyone!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Wodin - Monday, August 5, 2013

Steve and Imelda sent us an update on the progress of Wodin who recently turned one year in April!
                                                              Wodin and Imelda

                                                        Wodin and Steve
Wodin finished his six session intro agility course. He was not as successful as we would have liked as he is still very reactive to movement and found the noise of the bigger dogs going thru the tunnel and running with exuberance more than he could handle so he had to stay with the 'little' dogs!  Bernadette suggested he stay in a halty for this and he really detests it so he did not respond as well as I had hoped to the actually tasks. 
Anyhow he made it through and showed improvement....the only one to hop on the platform and do a down with one direction so that was a plus.
Otherwise he still continues to be the joy of our lives and has certainly given us a lot of "growth opportunities" ! He still chases birds and as the vultures are constantly soaring overhead he is keeping fit if nothing else. 
Each evening he enjoys his swim too  but he is not too fond of going on the boat so he and I have avoided the fishing trips. 

Actually we have been very hot and windy and the sea has been quite bumpy. We set an all time record for one month with no rain this July.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Wodin is still a young puppy but is making excellent progress. Males are not emotionally mature until they are over two years of age. Wodin will continue to mature and be more responsive as time goes on. 

Be sure to use lots of treat while training your dogs, especially if you train in agility. While staying in line waiting for your turn on the equipment, practice: sits, downs, stands, stays, come, "here", etc. Always rewarding with treats. Keep your dog focused on you. Ignore the other dogs and people. You should be more interesting than they are - ALWAYS. The use of treats and toys and praise are ways to make that happen.

My dogs all react to the larger birds of prey as they circle overhead - while technically vultures are not prey birds, they still have that prey bird outline. Herding dogs have that watchful behavior bred into them in order to protect against sheep and lamb poaching, as well as the possible theft of young puppies, by hawks, eagles, vultures. 

Most of our dogs ignore ducks, geese, and small perching birds. They seem to instinctively know the difference. Rather than fight against that DNA programmed protective behavior, I reward my dogs with praise and treats. That stops the reaction - the barking. They are letting us know there is a threat. Acknowledge that; reward that; then focus their attention on something else.

Back in the "old days" Icelandic Sheepdogs were often out in the wilds with flocks of sheep and sustenance was spotty. Herding dogs often complement their diets with small prey animals they can catch. Our Icelandics love to chase and catch chipmunks, squirrels, small rodents, and even birds. Today they seem surprised when they actually catch them but in the past I'm sure they were an important part of the diet out in the wilds of Iceland.

Kata was good at catching birds; her behavior was cat-like. Like me, she's more sedentary now.

We have an agility board called a "wobble board". It's a three or four foot square plywood board with a ball-sized compartment in the middle of the bottom. A ball is inserted in that square compartment and the board balances on that ball. The dog is encouraged to walk on this unsteady board. The ball keeps the board shaky. They idea is to get them used to an obstacle that moves. Dogs should be rewarded even if they only put one foot on the board to begin with. Encourage them to put more and more of their bodies on the wobble board. Always reward even if the behavior isn't perfect. It will get better and you want to encourage them. Soon the shaky surface will no longer bother them. 

The wobble board is one way to prepare for a teeter totter, which is also unsteady and intimidating for some dogs. Wodin's reaction to a boat may be a response to an unsteady surface. He certainly does not seem intimidated by the water!

Almost all dogs find one kind or another of agility obstacle difficult. Some have great difficulty with a tunnel, for others it's the teeter or the dog walk or the weaves. With patience and loads of treats and praise they improve and soon love all of them. 

p.s. - I did NOT miss the "growth opportunities"! Ha! We all know what that implies.