Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tully Lulu

I had a nice email from Tully the Icelandic Sheepdog's new guardians. It looks like Tully has it made! I've heard that a smart dog can easily learn 300 - 400 words. Tully is well on her way!
So much to say and share. Tully is a special sweetheart of a puppy. I must thank you a million times over for helping bring her into the world and entrusting us with her! The first day she was home Tully and I got to take a nap together (She got home in the middle of the night, of course.) As I was snuggling with her tears spontaneously welled up in my eyes. What a special healing heart she has. And those loving Icelandic eyes! You know all of this well, I'm sure. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.
Bastian and Tully Lulu
We love the full name Tully Lulu and use it about half the time, especially in a loving way. In training we use the shortened "Tully." People like the name and those from Portland say, "Oh, like the coffee shop." We may have to get some merchandise from there for fun, or at least take a photo of her by a sign.

Tully is very good in the car. She is very calm and often goes right to sleep. She did very well on the 4 hour drives to and from my mom's house on the coast in Washington. She waits in the car without hardly a complaint when we leave her there during a short grocery trip (only in cool conditions, of course).


It's hard to believe that she is only 3 months old! Tully is so very smart in almost an 'old soul' kind of way. Her intuition is amazing and she picks up on our energies quite easily. Tuning in with her is quite calming and rewarding. She picks up new commands very quickly and is eager to interact. She is making very good progress with sit, stand, down, stay, wait, come, heel, spin, wrap, drop it, get back, leave it, feet up, feet off, quiet and is learning the names of her toys! Amazing! We can see in our puppy kindergarten class how well adjusted she is, and how people oriented, too. 

This weekend we bought a pop-up kids play tunnel at a garage sale.  When we got home, we taught Tully the command “tunnel” within about 10 minutes.  So fun!
Tully in Her Tunnel
I'm so happy to have a gardening buddy again! Tully has some typical "naughty" puppy moments, which can mostly be attributed to her wonderful curiosity and exuberance. She likes to snatch a blossom here or there and shred them up. She has an uncanny ability to find grubs in the grass and pull them out. Yes, I can tell she likes to dig, but she is good about stopping when I say "leave it." So far...
Every day is a little different. Tully likes to keep an eye to the sky while we're in the garden. Today she was quietly fascinated by a huge dragonfly. She particularly likes to bark at crows. The crows seem to want to antagonize her. On the beach she barked at the seagulls and a little bit at the bald eagle that gave us a flyover. The most fun she seems to have with it is barking when other dogs are barking too. I do love the range of vocalizations she has. Gives her quite the personality!

David, Bastian, Tully
Tully is getting along with our 8 year old son Bastian quite nicely.  At first she wanted to herd him constantly and nip at him whenever he moved quicker than a slow walk.  All of that is getting better as he works with her and as we teach her what is appropriate.  Bastian and Tully play fetch in the back yard and he takes her out to go potty sometimes, too.  Bastian loves to snuggle with Tully and cannot wait until she can sleep on his bed all night.  It’s sweet to see how Tully gets restless in the morning while she waits for him to get up.
David, Tully
Tully is doing very well and growing bigger by the moment.  Of course she was born mostly black and then changed to mostly tan.  Now she is starting to grow some black longer sleeker hairs on her back.  How interesting to see the changes!  The vet told us how dogs have a gland on their tail and that is one reason she has a cute spot on her tail.  Her first new molar erupted today.  She weighs almost 14 pounds.
I’m really enjoying the updates on your blog, so please feel free to use my note and photos.  How is Totty and the gang these days?  By the way, my gardening blog of sorts is on Instagram.  Tully is the star of the show.  You can find me as @gardenflute if you want to take a look

Friday, May 29, 2015

Swainson's Vireo

A vireo, worm eating or Swainson's(?), is building a nest in one of my wild honeysuckle bushes.

It's out near the end of a thin branch and really sways in the breeze. She's still working on it which is amazing to watch because of the swinging. No doubt it's safe from land based predators. At first I thought the bird might be a worm eating vireo but on closer look I'm pretty sure it's a Swainsaon's vireo. Who knew! (Clicking on photos enlarges them.)

Grimur's potential new family has changed their minds and he is available again.  This guy is a heart stealer. If you're interested in adopting him, drop Sandi an email. He's the only puppy without a new home in this litter.


Grimur and his sister

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Courtney's new Icelandic Sheepdog puppy is doing very well. As you can read, he's living large in Maine! Like virtually all herding dogs, he does have barking issues but I believe that Courtney is doing the right thing with positive reinforcement. It is important to deal with barking early. As they say, "As the twig is bent, - - - - ."

Barking has been bred into sheepdogs, not just Icelandic Sheepdogs but all sheepdogs like Shelties, Corgis, Border Collies, Bearded Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, German Shepherds, Pyrenean Shepherds, etc. for hundreds of generations. You cannot stop it completely but it can be reduced and, to an extent, controlled but only if you start early.

Huld, my very first Icelandic, taught me that if I didn't 'talk, instruct, cajole' her verbally, she was quieter. She barked 'back' at me when I said something to her. I think her reasoning was, if he 'barks' at me, I'm going to bark right back at him. Accepting that barking is one of their traits, trying to reduce and/or control it, and then learning to live with some acceptable level will make your life and your dog's life easier - - I believe.

From Courtney: -
Here are some recent photos of our little guy. He has grown SO much! He loves to play outside and he is a fetching master! He even drops whatever he brought when you ask him. I even managed to get a pic of him with his kitty sister.

Clicking on photos enlarges them.

The pic of him with the stick was taken so I could illustrate why I really shouldn't buy him so many toys...he'd rather have a stick to fetch! He is a smart little dude. He learns most new things in about 15 minutes.

We were having some issues with barking at other people and dogs despite his extensive socialization- at least to people- so I looked up some ways to deal. I decided to put the bark on cue, especially since a barking dog is one of the best ways to deter deer from eating my veg garden. Took me just a few minutes to put the bark on cue reliably and then about the same time to teach "quiet". It's much easier to teach behaviors with positive reinforcement to than to "correct" behavior. So instead of trying to tell him "no" when he barks, I reward him for being quiet when I ask. He's a smarty pants that way.

He reliably sits, lays down, rolls over, shakes, waits, will bring it, get it, leave it (for things he is never supposed to have including the cat), and drop it (for things he is allowed to have but I want him to give to me like a ball). He is also pretty good about ringing a bell when he needs to go outside. We are, of course, still learning each other. He is a sheer delight on a daily basis and he is LOVED wherever we take him. He got absolutely mobbed by teen girls at the local ice cream parlor and took it like a champ! They took turns loving on him and he seemed to enjoy the attention. Everyone who knows dogs well is excited to see him- the trainer, groomer, daycare owner...they all fawn over him...but who wouldn't?!

My own Icelandics bark at the fox who visits my neighbor's chicken house every day, the feral cats in the neighborhood, human company visiting in the neighborhood, and, of course, the deer. I thank them for their barking and call them into the house (if they're outside) or away from the windows if they're already in the house, and then reward them for their barking with a cookie - actually half a cookie. They stop barking immediately. I tell them that they are supposed to bark and alert me. However, once alerted I'm grateful, but then it's time to stop - - - and they virtually always do stop - which often surprises me! They are seeking approbation. I give it to them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Korpur's Grandpups

Christine recently sent me photos of two of Korpur's grandpuppies all grown up now.

Alaskastadirs Korpur

"Kippa" - Vinlands Urthur
Korpur's Daughter

"Olli" - Brekkubrúns Olli
Korp's Grandson

"Spark" - Brekkubrúns Röskur
Korp's Grandson

Olli and Spark
Litter Brothers
Brekkubrúns Olli and Röskur

Monday, May 18, 2015

Blackstar Litter

Here are some recent photos of Grimur, Elna, and Asa from Sandi's current litter in California.



Kippa Jane

I just received this email with photos attached from Kippa's mom, Suzanne. Tryggur is Suzanne's other Icelandic. The professional photos are from Susan Perry and used with permission.

We had a wonderful weekend.  Tryggur finished his CPE level 1 and Qd 7 out of 8 times!!  Miss Kippa was the bell of the ball.  She was played with by many people, kids, adults and in between.  She also got to meet a lot of dogs of all sizes.  She sat quietly in her crate all weekend unless she had to potty.  She only barked once or twice at other dogs and was fine with her brothers coming and going.  She got to watch agility and was very interested.  Here are the digital copies of the pictures from Dayton.  You can post any of them. 

It's so important to get your puppies out to meet friendly dogs and people. Socialization while they are puppies is important to their temperament when they are adults.

CPE stands for Canine Performance Events and is a user friendly agility provider: -

Qd = Qualified (Tryggur qualifying seven out of eight times he was entered is amazing. There's a photo of Tryggur attached also.)


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Icelandics are Like Popcorn!

Sandi just sent me some recent photos of her current Blackstar litter. Her website is above on the right.
Here's her email: -
Drop Sandi a line if you might be interested in one of these wonderful puppies.

I love the little mostly white puppy, don't you? I also love the black & tan with white (called tricolors) pups. This is the age when they are irresistible. Aren't all puppies cute? There are four puppies: - one tan, white, and black male, two tricolor females, one pied tricolor male. Clicking on the photos will enlarge them.

Tan pup is a boy named Huni
Tricolor pup is Elna, a girl
Blackstar Elna

Asa, a female tricolor puppy

Pied puppy is Grimur, a male
Asa with the gray legs

Dad, Leiru Huni, is also a black & tan with white dog and he is from Iceland. If you look closely you can see that the "tan" of the black & tan with white is really extremely light, almost gray which is very unusual. The puppy with the most white is actually a pied tricolor.

Mom is Blackstar Birta whose lineage goes back to the revered old Palmahaus dogs from North America. (If you'd like Birta's pedigree, and/or Huni's pedigree, and/or a combined Birta-Huni pedigree, just ask me.) The inbreeding score for the litter is less than 1% (0.390%)

Below are photos of mom and dad.

Birta at the 2010 AKC Agility Invitational


Sunday, May 10, 2015


Gunnar's left ear went up today. We've been wondering and waiting for awhile, we thought we might have a one ear up, one ear down, sheepdog. (Which was very cute too) He's growing so quickly it's hard to remember how little he was when he first came home. He is getting blond highlights and more chocolate brown touches to his coat. His final stool sample was free of coccidia and he's back on track with his vaccinations etc.
Gunnar - down
Gunnar - up
We think Gunnar is a really special guy. He is much loved and admired and almost too smart for his own good. His main challenge is training the people in his life. He loves running and playing, he's created a puppy slip and slide on an old tarp. It hysterical, he runs at it full tilt and slides through the water again and again. Stuffed toys don't stand a chance, except the flower you gave him. We just replace them because he enjoys them so. You won't be surprised when I say he wants to not only be with his people but keep them all together as a flock. Watching the kids get on the school bus or Steinn walk to work brings out his herding instincts. We have a friend who has a flock of Icelandic sheep, he has kindly said Gunnar can come out when he's older and we'll see if he has the instincts to work them.
It's interesting, Gunnar pretty much ignores squirrels and rabbits but watches and will chase birds. He especially watches crows. Last night he met a cat, stayed next to me and didn't bark or chase, even when the cat came over to him to hiss! While we wait for the final fence parts to arrive some neighbors have offered their dog free fenced gardens so Gunnar can explore and play and totally let loose and run as much as he likes, but I'm always there and he checks in every once in awhile.

Our main challenge currently is Gunnar's complete rejection of his crate and puppy enclosure. He will stay contained in our kitchen but under no circumstances will he go into the crate or puppy area! Treats and games are refused, and don't try just putting them at the back of the crate because he will outsmart you and get them anyway.  I know this has its roots in those first days when we stayed with him because he was ill and we didn't want him staying in a fouled kennel so we were frequently cleaning. We are working on it.

Already Gunnar is a treasured member of our family. He gets me moving, even on painful days. Watching him play with Steinn is a joy.  He loves the kids and hangs out doing homework after school on the bed. There are people who try to schedule their walks or come out just to greet him. He offered puppy love to stressed students during finals week!  We do these things in quick bursts then go home to rest and not get overtired. The only dog bed he will use is the king size one that used to be ours! Otherwise he seems comfortable almost everywhere on the floor. Remember how he used to sleep as a puppy with his head back in that torturous position? He still does sometimes.
Gunnar, Steinn
How are you and the rest of the pack? Is Totty back to enjoying her freedom? And you? You were correct about the addictive nature of the Icelandic Sheepdog, I already would like another, but we will wait until Gunnar is a bit older and trained so he can be the role model he was meant to be!

Anneliese, Steinn, Asta, Diddi, and of course Gunnar.

PS the kids say to tell you Gunnar is the best puppy ever and there is NO WAY we would return him so someone else could raise him. (When they heard how many people still wanted puppies they got worried.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

David, Bastian, Tully Lulu

Kitty, Kippa


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Some of My Pack

I've been concentrating on the 'new' 2015 Icelandic Sheepdog puppies and neglecting photographing my adults. Here are some photos I took on Sunday of my own great dogs. They're squinting against the sun - isn't that cool. We love the sun but - - - we're just not used to it! Clicking on photos enlarges them.

My rare, stunning, and amazing black and white boy
His temperament is fantastic.

Can he really be over ten!

Kersins Kata, my heart dog. Thank you Good Helga.

People often ask how often I bathe my dogs.

Totty and Bear

Thank you J-P and Judy!
Interesting and quirky but very affectionate.