Thursday, 15 December 2011

Travelling Trials

Some interests fade, some are in the background and others turn into addictions.

When does something become an addiction? Or perhaps an obsession?

I think I am well on my way to being obsessed with agility, but I don't think I'm an addict. I can quit any time I want... I'm sure I can..

So to proved I'm really not that obsessed, the above photographs are from our most recent agility trial. Joc and I travelled around 400km south of Perth to a country trial in Albany.

There are about three country dog clubs that holds trials throughout the year, generally each of these clubs hold two trials per year. This was the second Albany trial. My excuse is to catch up with family, it is my home town after all!

It was a great trial, there was a very good turn out of competitors and it was lots of fun. Joc got two passes in agility excellent, and earned his ADX title in doing so. Gulp, playing with the big kids now.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Putting 'letters' behind a name

Earning the privilege to put letters behind our names is something that we often don't think about. I'm sure you know people with letters behind their name that aren't in that chosen field, like me! I spent a good portion of my life earning the right to put "B.Sc." after my name. Now I work as a Veterinary nurse and play with animals. To connect what I do now to what I studied those years ago is it of a stretch. Regardless, it is still something I am glad I achieved and no one can take that away from me.

Like at university, putting letters after a dogs name still takes dedication, patience and hard work. We study, we practice, we procrastinate... In spite of me, two of my dogs have titles. My old boy is now Blake TD and my young boy is currently Joc JDX AD SPD.

Last night we had our Trackwest dinner to celebrate the tracking season and to enjoy one another's company. As part of the presentations, dogs that have achieved a title in that season get awarded a sash. Most of the dogs that people have in the club are pedigree, but there was still a good number of mixed breeds that were represented. In fact, the 2011 Club Champion is a little terrier mix, called Patch. He beat all of the classical type tracking dogs, go Patch!

Obviously, yes, Blake got a title this year. So now we can work on or TDX and then Tracking championship! 
My handsome old boy, Blake TD
The great thing about tracking is there is few restrictions on who can participate. If and and your dog are fit enough, you can track. Ditzy dogs focus on the track and reactive dogs are calm. Often restrictions are placed on the dogs by the owners themselves. Don't fail your dog before you even give him or her a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised and in time might earn your own beautiful sash.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Dogs and Cats

It is an interesting concept about cats and dogs living together and many people struggle intergrating the two different species. I really do think it comes down to the individual animals themselves. My boy dogs quite like cats and my girl is scared of cats. Gunny doesn't give a toss about dogs - he thinks small dogs are a new interactive play toy for him, while Hammerford is quite reserved around new dogs and takes a few days before she is brave enough to go back to her regular routine.

Essentially, I have found in my situation that you manage the dogs and let the cats do as they wish. Keep it low key, never drag out the cat and hold it in your arms for the dog to sniff. Unless you want some nice deep scratches up your arm and down your back.

The three dogs with a kitten that I babysat over a weekend a few years ago. It had been dumped a the vet clinic. I've often wondered where that cat is now...

I was doing a Kong TM demonstration last weekend with Gunny the Bengal and for the first time since I started doing these demonstrations, I was worried for his safety. An entire male staffy spotted him and I saw the change in the dogs demeanor. His body became tense and his hard stare never left Gunny. Now, Gunny is a pretty cool cat and he doesn't run from dogs, and running is the trigger for most dogs. However, I wasn't going to chance it with this one. In that instance putting a visual barrier between the two was the fastest and easiest thing to do. Thank goodness for shopping aisles.

Many dogs came through that day and another two in particular struck me. One was a fabulous smoochy Greyhound, who didn't give a fart about my cat - he was such a nice dog. Another dog gave his guardian a huge surprise.

A customer come in through the shop doors and spotted Gunny, "Oh no, he hates cats" she says. So, I give them some room and she shortens his leash and takes him into the store for some pet friendly shopping. I'm watching this dog, and this sweet Border Collie mix is delibrately noticing everything but Gunny. You can almost see him thinking "There is no cat here... yep, definately no cats..." This dog's body language gives me no concern.

A short while later she get to the checkout, and remembers she needs something else and hands the leash over to a staff member. Gunny spots the dog and he decides he wants to investigate. With his tail held high and confident he struts up to this big black fluffy dog. They sniff noses, then Gunny turns around  and the BC mix takes advantage of the sexy kitty butt for a sniff. You couldn't hope for a more perfect dog/cat greeting. As she was coming back the owner sees all of this and is gobsmacked.To see that your dog is not as bad as you thought, but this is one specific situation with a very special cat.

I take great stock in what the animals tell me, whether it is my animals or someone else's. I do know that my animals instincts are normally good. I love my critters and would never delibrately put them in a lose/lose situation.

On to the Saturday Pet Blog Hop (which is actually Sunday, but I wasn't able to complete it Saturday evening).
Happy Saturday, and welcome to another installment of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! You’ve found the right place to connect with other pet lovers. Whether you are a seasoned blogger, one who loves reading pet blogs, or if you’re just thinking about starting your own blog – there is definitely something here for you. Acquaint yourself and enjoy – this is your resource, so use it as you see fit! Of course, you have to follow the rules, so let’s get to that. Get those links in and have fun.
  • Link up your pet blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below. You only need to add your link once to be seen on all the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop Linky Tools for that week. Note that if your blog is not pet related your link will be removed. Also note that only one post per blog is acceptable, and links promoting giveaways that are unrelated to the pet blogger hop will be removed. This is a community building exercise and not a promotional vehicle – please treat it as such.
  • Grab the “Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop” button above and include it in your Saturday Blog hop post so that your readers will know what is going on. *Note – posting is optional. Feel free to just link and follow.
  • Follow your co-hosts listed in the first 3 slots of the Linky Tool.
  • Follow as many other blogs on the linky as you’d like.
  • Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you’re from the blog hop.
  • Follow back when you get a new follower through the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop.
  • Make friends and grow.
This is a Blog Hop!

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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Vote for Joshy!

A slight deviation today, a friend of mine who I admire very much as recently entered a photo competition.
Her photographs are just beautiful and definately deserve a mention.

Cancer Warrier Joshy
She has entered about four lovely photographs, but this one of Joshy's is my favourite.

Definately take a look through Hannah's blog, she is an amazing writer but take a box of tissues.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Perth Royal Show

What a weekend! Two full days at the Perth Royal Agricultural Show is quite exhausting. On Saturday morning we competed in agility and jumping teams event. Our team "Better in Colour" didn't do too badly and we came third place in both the agility and jumping events. In team events, each error accrues a point value, from 5 points for a refusal to a whopping 200 points for a DQ, so the team with the least amount of points wins.

We chose our name as bit of a joke, as in our team we had a Soft Coat Wheaten Terrier, an Airedale, a Whippet mix and a Corgi mix - not a black and white dog in sight!

Tottie was a superstar, she did very well for our team.

Saturday afternoon was then games, Snooker and Gamblers. Joc managed to come 2nd place in Novice Snooker. Our lovely judges were very lenient with us all on Saturday, possibly a little too forgiving on some of us.

Sunday was then the individual competitions, and Joc did OK. He actually stayed and played agility with me instead of checking out the very interesting crowd, but no quallies. He really only wanted to be the crowd favourite!

All in all, it was lots of fun. I regard it as a good way for the general public to see how much fun agility can be with your dog, regardless of who you might be. Lets hope some dogs and owners got out of the backyard due to us!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Film production

Well, today was very full as we now are in post-production for my short film Groove on the Couch. I wrote a script with 6 roles for dogs to fill. The handlers, dogs and myself then spent four weeks training and assigning the roles to the different dogs. There was a broad range in skill, size and breed, so it was definately a challenge getting the right role to the right dog.

The fifth 'lesson' was a rehearsal with our wonderful actor, thankfully Kingsley is a master at improv. Great for those unexpected things that the dogs sometimes threw at us.

Some of the cast and crew (L to R - Jason, Jonny and Kinglsey)
 Today was week 6 and graduation. It was quite fun and the dogs all tried so hard. We got most of the shots we set out to get and had to modify some others a little. Our very patient director is now doing the post production side of things, so we should get a hard copy of our lifetime memory of all of this effort fairly shortly.

It was certainly an ambitious endeavour, and we tried to keep everything as simple as we could. I don't think I have too many more grey hairs...

More of the crew (front to back - myself, Jonny and Jarrad)
So, if you'd like to see the doggies strutting their stuff, watch this space!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Ikea Catalogue: Rent

Gunny's TVC is now on television. His lovely tail stars in the Ikea TVC at about 13 seconds in.

The pet guardian in me says, I wish there was more Gunny in it, but the film and TV person in me says it is about the living space, not the cat - so the focus is appropriate. It's funny, that was about 60 - 90 minutes of work on set, to get about 2 seconds of footage.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Letting dogs be dogs

I've been quite busy in the last few weeks, but we've still managed to squeeze in a little bit of "dog time".

Buddy, the Chihuahua, has had his time in the spotlight again and has gone back to his breeder. He was so happy to se her - it was so gorgeous! The Curtin film students for "Heart Donor" will be in post production now, so it'll be a little while before we can see Buddy on the screen again. At least, watching him on DVD!

Before he went back, my cousin and I did a short hike around Lion's Lookout in Kalamunda. I do love that walk. I expected to need to carry the short dog after a while, but Buddy stuck at my heels for the whole 6km walk - I was most impressed at his stamina.

Buddy and Joc
 It is such a beautiful walk in Spring, the weather and wildflowers make it a perfect place to be.

At certain points, you can see as far as the Perth city
Here's to finding great walks around Perth!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Good Karma Trifecta

Today good things have come in three. A dog found me, I made some kids laugh and I received a free coffee. The free coffee was actually the most boring good thing!

The day started quite early at the Trackwest grounds, as there was a Track and Search trial on. I walked the predetermined track at about 9:30am and at 12pm Drift the lovely weimeraner set off to find me. The Judge deliberately has the end of the trail near a road so the track layer can leave and easily go back to the 'hide' rather staying at the end of the track contemplating the universe for several hours. So, good deed #1 - I helped a dog get closer to her Track and Search title.

Once Drift had found me, I rushed off to the Centre for Cerebral Palsy in Malaga - they do such a great job. Swan the Border Collie came with me to help with the high need client's therapy. Many of their clients are non-verbal and for some it can be very difficult to engage them. There was one particular high need patient that made everyone very excited today. For the first time at the Centre, the staff heard her laugh. Animal therapy is amazing. Good deed #2 - engaged a very special group of people in a very positive way

After spending just over an hour at the Centre, I headed home and stopped off at a drive thru coffee shop. I was buzzing after interacting with the CP kids and had a great chat with the Barista. So, he did a good deed by giving me a free coffee for my good deeds :)

Gotta love Karma.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Sleepy Sunday

A big decision...

In the last fortnight, I've made a big decision to retrain Joc's contacts. For the uninitiated, a dog must touch both the up and down contact on the see-saw. dog walk and A frame. In the video, you will see the contact area painted white. If a dog leaps off the obstacle without touching the contact area, that is regarded as a fault.

I was doing running contacts with him with mixed results - mainly due to my sloppy training. When I say mainly, I actually mean entirely. Even with poor contacts we somehow managed to pass novice into excellent and when we got it right we did get some good results, but we would blow a course more often than not. While running contacts are faster on an agility course, they take much longer to train than the old "two on two off" (TOTO) position. I've decided that sacrificing a few seconds using TOTO is better than continuing to muddle along with my existing poor contacts and getting a DQ.

Before I made the big decision, I thought I would spend more time on his running contacts. I thought it was going fairly well at home, he was hitting the white contact a little higher than I would like, but it was acceptable. Then I went to the dog club, and his contacts were rubbish, despite all of the extra work I'd put in! We need to remember the necessity of proofing behaviours in different locations and scenarios, but I was hoping for something better than leaping off the top of the A frame.

So below you will find the retraining of Joc's contacts. I started the TOTO training last week and at the first session at the dog club, his contacts were looking much more promising, he was getting into the correct position consistently.

Then for a bit of fun with Buddy the Chihuahua and Gunny the Bengal.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Animal Actors

Animals in film can be quite a interesting challenge. I have three roles within this month alone, not bad considering how small the film and tv industry is in Perth! When choosing animals in film, temperment is of most importance. It is a very stressful situation for critters, so each individual needs to have very good coping skills and be great with a whole variety of people.

Gunny and Buddy lap sharing

Film and TV 1.

Today, Gunny (Mr Cat Fantastic) was shot as part of a television commercial (TVC) for our local Ikea store. My Bengal cat continues to amaze me, he couldn't have given me more if he tried. The director asked 'can he do this and that,' 'we'll give it a go' was my reply! We went on and over and through different pieces of furniture over and over again. How many cats can do that on short notice and off their turf?

This was a very short notice TVC. I was contacted on Wednesday, Gunny was approved by Friday and filmed on Sunday. Thankfully The Guz has a good skill set already in place.

Film and TV 2.

I am also producing my own short film, if nothing else it should be lots of fun. I wrote the script specifically to star a bunch of dogs. Six dogs and their owners are coming to my Movie Star class to train to the script and in six weeks, we shall film a short comedy.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the end product, I have a really good bunch of dogs and owners and I have a fabulous director on board, who (thankfully) is as mad as myself to take on this project! Never work with children or animals! Watch this space!

Film and TV 3.

Number three production is a student film, that will star Buddy the chihuahua. You may remember Buddy from TVCs such as Lotterywest Super Sleuth TVC. This one will be filmed at the end of the month.

I'm keeping fairly busy!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A new Tracking Dog!

Today has been quite successful. We all got up in the dark to head up to the Gnangara Pine Plantation for a tracking competition, it has already been one year that I have been involved in Trackwest. Maybe that was my good omen for the day.

When the sun decided to peek from the horizon, it was a stunning clear day. Could not have asked for a better day to attempt Blake's track 3! A dog must pass tracks 1, 2 and 3 to be deemed a Tracking Dog (TD), then tracks 4, 5 and 6 to be a Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX), and finally the enormous track 7 to receive their championship. As you get further on, the tracks become more challenging.

For my track today, there was three corners and two articles (socks that the track layer had delibrately dropped). A track layer (unknown to Blake) walked the predetermined circuit and hid about 45min before we set off looking for her.

My Judge giving me a quick chat about the track, Blake is raring to go!

He started well and headed off in the right direction, then he dithered a little and didn't commit to the scent straight away. However, we were soon heading up the first leg - which was huge! A T3 is 800 metres long and I'm sure that most of that was on the first leg. We then came to the first corner and he mucked about. He overshot the corner, he told me that he'd lost the scent and then started arcing around trying to find the scent again. Unfortunately, this section was a bit scrubby and Blake did a great job of tangling me up in dead branches, grass trees and tree trunks.

He found the scent again and decided he didn't want to commit, so arced back towards me, in doing so he spotted the Judge, the steward and Jason. Of course that meant they needed a big bull terrier bum wag and wide grin. However, he indicated the track again and off we went.

Blake circling back so his adoring public can admire him.

He found the first sock and told me it was there very nicely, so he got a little game of tug with it. We continued down the track towards a fallen tree, which he jumped over, then told me the track wasn't there. Of course, in doing so he tangled the lead in the tree trunk. Once untangled, I cast him around me and he picked up that the 'lost' person headed down to the right. The next article (sock) was not too far from that corner, which he indicated beautifully again. When you are on an unflagged track, those socks are such a welcome sight!

The third corner he went right around to the left with no concerns - perfect! By this stage I could see that he was getting a little foamy around the gums and he'd need a drink soon, I chose not to stop him as he was really powering, he knew he was close to the end.

By this stage, I had forgotten how many corners we'd done, I thought we needed to go a little further and there was a fence right in front of us - either a left or a right hand turn. But wait! Blake's hips and tail are going, he'd found the tracklayer! She was tucked in behind a bush on the right. What a good boy!

Tracking gradings go as follows: fail, pass, good, very good and excellent. Blake was graded 'very good' for this track. He has now completed 1, 2 and 3, and the paperwork for his title is ready to be posted,

Blake TD - I like the sound of that!

Monday, 4 July 2011

The last few weeks have been quite busy with five different trials in two different dogs sports in the last fortnight. Joc had his first run in Masters Jumping (JDM) at the Gosnells Obedience Dog Club trial on the 25th June. Silly me forgot I was in JDM and not Excellent Jumping (JDX) anymore. I'm happily walking the JDX course after helping set it up, then realise I'm walking the wrong course - but not only that masters is already running, oops.

So I dash over to JDM to try and study my first masters course by watching the other competitors run their dog. Thankfully, it was quite a flowing course and most people ran it a similar way. So, I quickly assessed how I was to do my run when they were changing the heights of the jumps.

What did I learn from this attempt? Walk the correct course and invest in turf shoes. Joc was doing beautifully, then I tried to execute a rear cross and skidded on the slippery ground (winter condition and a grass surface). This sent Joc way off, and resulted in him quickly checking out the steward's table on the way past just in case he could get a treat or a pat from them. I got him back quickly enough to only run more cautiously and pull him off a jump. He did exactly what my body language told him, so I was happy with what he gave me.

The previous week I slipped when doing a rear cross on fell on my bum! Joc run over to me, gave me a kiss, then took off to check out the canteen which was on the other side of the rope. Hmm, there seems to be a pattern forming. Note to self, invest in turf shoes.

                                         Photo credit to Jonny Walks
The next week at the Shetland Sheepdog trial we did very well, maybe it was the new turf shoes. Joc got a 2nd place in Excellent Agility (ADX) and a 3rd place in Open Jumping (JDO). I've only been competing with him in JDO for the last few months, so I was VERY pleased with him. He even got the distance challenge in open agility (ADO) and the discrimination obstacles, but his contacts let him down. Or rather, my training of his contacts let him down.

Enough of agility, onto tracking! My "old boy" Blake passed his Track 2 in tracking. In a track 2, a dog must follow the 30 minute old scent trail of a known person over the distance of 800m, normally with two corners. My lovely husband was Blake's known person and Blake indicated his two articles very well.

When the track layer leaves the scent trail, they must also drop a predetermined number of socks at set locations and the dog must tell the handler where the sock was dropped. Blake amused me with his second article, he picks it up, prances with it (look what I found mum!) brings it over and we had a little game of tug. Good boy!!

After the second article another corner presents, Blake showed me the right spot first, but then we got tangled in a large fallen tree branch. So we muck around there for a bit before he shows me the right path again. So, we are now heading in the direction of a big fenceline towards a main road, so there is only so far we can go in a straight line and I am starting to worry - Blake was tracking well, his head was down and was giving me no indication he had lost the scent trail, but the fence!! I breathe a sigh of relief as we start to curve around and track parallel to the fenceline and road.

We power on, I am now scanning for likely places for Jason to be hiding. There are some lovely big dead fallen trees that would make perfect hiding spots, we pass two or three of them - no Jason. I found out later that the Judge had though of ending the trail there but was 100 metres short. So, we powered on again. Finally, behind a innocuous Pine tree there we find my lovely husband - hooray! I never tire of that big bum wag that Blake gives when he has found his 'lost' person.

He passed with a grading of 'very good', he would have received a grading of excellent had my handling been better. However, I was used to Blake working the edge of the scent plume, but his time he was working the footsteps - clever dog and naughty handler for not recognising it. I was very pleased with him. I am very lucky to have a natural tracker as my first tracking dog.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Lotterywest Super sleuth TVC

The film and TV industry is pretty small in Perth, but I do get to do a bit here and there. It was so much fun working with this little Chihuahua, Buddy. My colleague Tracey Lord and I work with three Chi's between us and this was what we got!

We started by teaching Buddy to target by clicker training him, canned chicken was Buddy's favourite treat. We began on the floor with clicking and treating for looking at a box, then for front paws in the box, all paws in the box and eventually jumping into the box. A box was chosen as it was much more stable than a handbag.

Once he was good with the box, we transitioned to a hand bag. We also had to add in jumping onto a table from a lap into the bag. All in two weeks, while working our normal job full time in addition to training a dog neither of us had previously met!

Jumping into a handbag or a box is a fairly easy trick to teach, but don't forget this amazing little dog left his home hom for two weeks to stay in someone else's house. After two weeks of training, he was asked to jump into that bag again and again for about an hour and a half on set with strange people fussing around, bright lights, filming equipment and cameras. Film and TV work is very challenging for animals and it is so important to ensure you use an animal with the right temperment for the role.

The production company, Factor 30, did a great job of making this advertisement!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Introducing Desma and her menagerie - part b

Just over three years ago, a pregnant cattle dog came into a local shelter and stole the heart of a good friend of mine. The dog gave birth to six puppies and were lucky enough to be raised in the home of a fantastic dog trainer. My friend managed to convince me to adopt one of the puppies, a little red male stumpy tail cattle dog.

He is such a fun dog to work with and he is doing quite well in agility. He recently won the Western Australian State agility trial for his height class in novice agility and excellent jumping. In saying that, he keeps me well grounded as he can be quite the ratbag when he chooses!

Our latest furry addition is Mr Cat Fantastic, otherwise known as Gunny. This cat came to me through my contacts in the vet clinic. Bengals are  not your average breed of cat. If you want a noisy, cheeky, nosey ratbag of a cat, then Bengals are for you! They thrive on interaction and need plenty of mental stimulation. He fetches toys, he steals food he's on the counter more than he's off it, but he is so much fun.

So, that's us. Two pairs of human legs and five sets of four legs. Ahh, but that is only 24 legs I hear you say! Where is the other four legs? The answer to that is my two lovely hens. My crew and I get up to a variety of different antics, stop in every now and then and share in the fun!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Introducing Desma and her menagerie - part a

Like many people, I have always been drawn to animals. Whether it was bugging my parents to let me have pet mice, or bugging my husband to let me bring home another needy soul. In the end, it is sometimes easier to skip the middle man and just bring them home. Poor long suffering husband, I do adore his patience with me. The compromise we have made is that Jason names the animals...

Currently, I have three dogs, two cats and two chickens. I love all of their quirks and do my best to give them all individual attention. As an accredited dog trainer, I cannot emphasis enough the importance of one on one time when you have multiple animals. It really does help in so many ways.

So, in chronological order - let's meet my first three furkids! We shall meet the others in good time.

Nine years ago, we started looking for our first puppy. I had been bugging Jason for some time to get a dog and finally he relented, along with permission from our landlord. I knew I wanted a rescue dog and I had been scouring the local shelters for a staffordshire pup. There we found Blake, (apparently) a Bull Terrier x Labrador. This was one high octane white and black devil!

He bounced out of his pen, biting and grabbing at the lead, flying this way and that. We were allowed to take him for a rather zig zaggy walk around the grounds and there was no doubt in my mind we had found our first dog. I can only imagine the frustration and grief he had caused his surrendering owner. The holes we filled in, the washing that was torn off and the dog toys we went through - I don't regret one bit. I love his enthusiasm, his intelligence and his devotion. And yes, he is still a high octane devil!

I started him in tracking training at the end of the 2010 season, he has already passed his first test (TD1) and we are going for our TD2 on Wednesday, wish us luck!

Shortly after adopting Blake, I started working as a Veterinary Nurse. I loved the people and the animals, but it could be hard, dirty work at times. Then one day, a client brings in a cardboard box she had found at a local park. In this box was one of my next furkids. The lady opened up the box and four pairs of eyes look back at me, two tabbies and two black and white kittens. I always hoped that the remaining three were as lucky as my little black and white girl.

So, I pick up some kitten supplies and took the little female black and white kitten home. When Jason comes home, "When is it going back?". To which I reply "She has no where to go back to!" So, Hammerford is added to our little family. Blake was besotted by her on sight, his most favourite thing to do is to get a face groom from his little feline buddy. She is a great little cat, sweet and tolerant.

After a couple of years I was feeling clucky again and set about convincing Jason we needed another dog. We did a little bit of fostering for the RSPCA, which worked out quite well but I never found I developed a strong bond to the foster dogs. I liked them and helped them where I could, but they weren't my dogs.

Then, into my life walks in a little tricolour Border Collie. We had a locum vet work with us for a week who had found this collie on the streets six weeks prior to her contract with us. This compassionate Vet speyed her and homed this dog with one of her neighbours. The dog wasn't coping well, sprinting in circles in the backyard, along with a myriad of other issues. So, I took her home for a trial over the weekend, needless to say Swan became a part of our family. She was very sweet, but oh did she have problems!