What’s with the barking?

Recently I’ve been feeling like Maisie might need some one on one time.  Annie has demanded a lot of our attention since she came into our lives and Maisie now has to share our time.  She thought Annie would be a new playmate, and even though Annie has no desire to play with Maisie (or any toys for that matter) I love Maisie’s determination because every day she tries to get Annie to play with her.

Newfies are working dogs, and they have natural instincts that need to be stimulated.   Maisie is a very active Newfoundland. She’s a “petite” Newfoundland weighing just under 90 pounds and she loves to run, the faster the better. She also loves to jump.  She has been the easiest dog I’ve ever trained (aside from the fact that she doesn’t like to put things in her mouth–she doesn’t like to retrieve, won’t bring in the paper, pick things up or help bring bags in from the car.  All jobs my other Newfie loved and needed to do every day).  I have reached the conclusion that water rescue work is not in the cards for her (because it involves putting things in her mouth) but I think I have found the perfect activity for us.  3 weeks ago we started a beginner agility class!


To say that she gets a lot of attention in class is an understatement.  The trainer has worked with dogs of all sizes, even a Great Dane, so he knows what her limitations may be and gives us great tips for success but I think he is surprised by her willingness to try everything and how well she is doing.  Everyone we see is completely entertained by the fact that she is in the agility class. She shoots through the tunnel with absolute joy and she’s doing really well with the weave poles.  Granted these are beginner weave poles that are akin to a child’s bike with training wheels vs. a racing bike.  She loves it and we are having a lot of fun.  So much fun that this week I couldn’t control her barking.

Maisie has never been a barker.  She only barks when she wants to play (and when she’s watching TV but that’s another post) and that may be once or twice and then she’s on the move. We have trained her not to bark at other dogs when we are sitting on our front porch and we haven’t had any issues with that in a very long time. This week in class she was beside herself with excitement and started barking to distraction when the other dogs had their turn. None of my usual methods worked and she was an absolute nuisance!

The tunnel was set up close to the edge of the ring where we were sitting and every time another dog went through she was uncontrollable. She loves the tunnel and wanted to join them so badly! I finally walked her all the way over to the other end of the room and that only helped a little bit.  It really put a damper on my experience and this week our homework will be dedicated to correcting this.  Hopefully next week she won’t be so loud, after all, we still have lots of tricks to learn!

Weekend update

Aren’t long weekends wonderful? For us, it means having time for fun, a house project and a little rest in between. For the dogs it means playtime and meeting new people, baths and lots of sleep. Maisie thinks this is all wonderful, Annie still has her moments of doubt.

Chris and I are finally tackling one of the projects we have postponed every summer since we moved in: replacing the shingles on the north side of the house.  When we moved in, we ripped the old siding off and began the slow process of restoring the clapboard and molding, replacing what was necessary and repainting the house in a cheerful 5 color Victorian scheme. We have worked our way around the house each summer and have even made second passes of touch-ups when needed. The top portion of the north side has been out of reach from our 35 foot ladder and has been a topic of debate every summer.  I wanted to hire someone to complete the job, I really don’t like Chris being up that high.  He  wants to do it himself, so we’ve been at an impasse. I finally caved, he bought a 40 foot ladder and 4 boxes of new shingles and the process has begun.

Chris is getting the paint stripped off of the sides and then underlayment and shingles will go up.
Last weekend the rotted and warped shingles were removed.

Setting aside time to have fun was part of the weekend plan so we managed to take the dogs to the beach on 3 occasions.  We had our niece over for dinner Friday night, friends who were in town for the weekend came by for brunch Sunday morning and we had our new neighbors over for drinks Monday evening. For Maisie, this was all lots of fun and she was completely worn out by Monday night.  I hoped Annie would be receptive to house guests since she has become so much more relaxed in the house.  She knows Maggie (our niece) and when she came in the house Annie was wagging her tail and started to approach her.  Unfortunately, she got spooked, put on the brakes and backed up until she could turn around and retreat to her crate.

When our friends came for brunch I knew Annie would spend the entire time in her crate but at one point she did venture out and walked around so that she could take a look at who was in the dining room. When she was acknowledged, she quickly turned back around. I always think this a good sign when she wants to see who is in the house.  When they left, we walked them out to the sidewalk and they weren’t even to their car when I felt Annie by my side.  She listened for the goodbye and came right out once they were out of the house.  So there she was, next to me, as we waved goodbye.  Baby steps with her and hopefully one day she won’t hide in her crate when we have visitors.

After a full day of work Monday, Chris on the ladder stripping off the old paint and me removing the thistle bush (truly one of the worst things I’ve done in a while) that the dogs keep brushing past and picking up terrible, prickly burrs that are very difficult and painful to remove from their fur.  We got our work areas and ourselves cleaned up just in time to get to know our new neighbors.  We stayed outside and while Maisie was very social, loving the kids, running in the yard with them, Annie stayed by my chair most of the time but didn’t seem to be uncomfortable with the new voices.  All in all, a great weekend.  We got a lot accomplished but still took the time to have a little fun.

A trip to the beach is a great way to relax after a day of hard labor.

Weekly photo challenge: frame

Last fall after we dropped our son off for his Freshman year in college my husband and I spent the weekend at Bedford Springs Resort in PA. The property is over 200 years old, was built around 8 mineral springs because of their healing powers and has been meticulously restored.  As a lover of old architecture and historic preservation, I was amazed by this place!  There were interesting frames everywhere I turned.

The exterior, the main staircase, the interior breezeway and the indoor spring fed pool.

a shared life with our very large dogs

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