October is almost over? Where does the time go…

It has been over a month since my last blog entry.  This year is really slipping by and I apologize for letting the blog fall by the wayside.  Still, there are times when a person has to cut their losses.  A blog is something I can currently neglect a little and not do permanent damage.  We do what we must to stay sane!

Sooooo, what have we been up to lately?  The kids had ‘fall break’ a few weeks ago and we decided to take a few days and go camping in Pigeon Forge.  Fall break is a new concept for us, but I reallylike it.  Instead of having a ton of ‘three day weekends’ they pool all those small holidays into one week long fall break.  In any case, here are a few photos from our trip.  Jazz and Lina were BOTH in season during this event, so they spent the vast majority of their time crated in the car or camper.  Thankfully it was cool and within the National Park they are not allowed on trails anyway.

My mother is still battling fatigue and chronic illness.  She moved from a 3 bedroom home on about a half acre to a small 2 bedroom apartment to cut down on upkeep and yard work.  I think it was a smart move and she seems to really like being closer to town, near her sisters and the main hospital ‘just in case’.   Her two small dogs are settling into the routine of daily ‘walks’ to the park instead of their own large yard and have even figured out that when she is to sick to go right outside and come right back in.  They haven’t traveled much in the last few years and the youngest dog likes to run a bit, but being that he adores my mother he would much rather go pee real fast and cuddle down with her for the day than take a long walk.  This is a good reminder sometimes we all need to step back and take a deep breath, then decide how we can make our own lives easier.  I’m not saying sacrifice, but simply decide what is truly important.

Around the house we seem to have most things under control.  I built a small patio out of pavers in the flower bed in front of the house.  I love it and it is super cute.  This just what I wanted for a quiet place to read while the kids play.  Also I created a fire pit in the back yard out of landscaping bricks my neighbor was trying to repurpose.  They had a ton, but like my mom above they have decided to cut back on yard work and are dismantling many flower beds in the back yard and turning the space into lawn and deck.   She was happy someone took a few.  I was happy with the free fire pit.   The weather has been outstanding, so we spend our evenings outside around the fire, often eating dinner and telling each other about our day.  The kids love it.

On a dog related note, I’ve entered Jazz in Novice Obedience next weekend in Birmingham.  I think she is ready.  We will see!!  I’ve also got Lina entered in Rally Novice up in Nashville mid November for one day.  I’m going to start her out slow and take her with me next weekend to Jazz’s show just to see how she does at the show site.  I think she will be fine, she is a very smart little girly.

Above are some photos of Lina I took a few days ago.  I was growing coat on her to show in UKC this fall, but we missed all the shows so now I have to decide if I keep growing or cut her back for the winter.  The next UKC conformation shows within a reasonable drive are about 4-6 months out.  I suppose I will take it week by week.

MICA with her qualifying Ribbon.

Mica (Waypoints Anutta All the Glitters) earned her Coursing Ability title with AKC this past weekend.  She was able to get 3 qualifying scores on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Austin, TX.  Heather was really excited and thinks Mica will be wanting to do more coursing soon.  I’ve found the dogs either LOVE IT or do not see the point.   Mica is our silver girl from Waypoint Poodles in NJ who is fostered with Heather down in San Antonio.  She lives with Quincy, one of our black Std Poodle boys.

River (Alemir River of Dreams RN, CGC) sired a litter of pups with one of Gloria’s girls at Tintlet Poodles.  Those pups are about a month old and all spoken for as it was a small litter.  I hope to drive out there in the next month to see the babies and evaluate their structure and temperaments.

Quincy (UKC CH Anutta Commander and Chief BN, RN, CGC, Therapy Dog) might have a hot date with a girl in Oregon… well, at least his sperm does.  His real mommy, Heather, is working on getting his swimmers collected, locating a vet near San Antonio to get the job done, etc.  We will see how it pans out.  I should have more information in a week or so.

Anyway, that is the basic update on our life.  The kids are in both Horseback riding lessons and Gymnastics.  Keith wanted to do Karate as well, but I told him it just wasn’t possible at this time.  We only have time for so many activities!!  I have dog training once a week, but I am hoping to increase that to twice a week if I can find a day agility class.

So yes, we are still alive, just busy like so many families with young kids.  I promise, if I have a litter coming this blog will be busy.  But for now we will enjoy our winter without pups and see what pans out next year for litters and dog related activities.



Marlane - October 28, 2014 - 10:40 pm

Gosh, everyone is growing up so fast…what happened to the “little twins”? Lina looks gorgeous! Thanks for the update :)

Training Video: Teaching “Close Sit”

Marlane emailed me a few days back asking how to teach Mycroft (Ziva and Jordan puppy who is about 6 months old) to come in close enough for her to put his leash on.  He is one of the many dogs who is happy to come, but wants to get just out of reach.  This is very typical and something easy to correct with training.

The first thing you need to do is find something the dog values.  This could be a yummy treat, a toy, or both.  Typically I use both.  You want to work this when the dog is motivated (not sleepy and not right after a meal).  You want to do this in a safe place off leash until they are reliable and understand what you are asking.  You want to mark the behavior with “YES” or a click from your clicker when you just start out doing this training.

Watch this video of Jazz and Lina so you can see exactly what a “close sit” looks like.

Please note:  Both Jazz and Lina have done close sits before.  I wasn’t ‘marking’ their behavior right when they did it.  I was asking them to get in close and then “HOLD” eye contact before a reward.  This is more advanced than what you will be doing with your dog when you start.  I want you to reward them as soon as their butt hits the ground when they are close.  If they inch up and sit close say “YES” then drop the toy or toss a treat.  Release them and let them blow off a little steam (maybe a quick retrieve) then repeat.  After they are coming in close and sitting, you can build eye contact time like I was doing with Lina.  Remember the rules of training.  When you teach something new, decrease the time they have to hold that new behavior.  Reward right when they do it and release them at the same time.  You will build duration after they know what you want.  Another reason to do this is to insure the dog doesn’t think when they come in close you are going to leash them up and kill their fun.  Nine times out of ten you should release the dog to go back out to have fun.  Call them in, have them sit, give them the treat or ball, free them up to go have more fun.  When you do leash them, give them extra treats for being so grand.  Walk them a bit, ask them to sit, release them again to go have fun.  Lots of repetition, but broken up so they don’t get bored.

If you are doing this in an open field, let the dog drag a leash during training.  Avoid picking up the leash to pull your dog into position.  The leash really is just a safety measure.  It is far to easy to use the leash as a ‘crutch’ in training, which is way most of my training is done without a leash in my hand.  Dogs are smart, it is much easier for them to cheat when on leash than when off.  They can put just a tiny bit of tension on the leash and then ignore you, because they can feel where you are.   Smart dogs ALWAYS cheat and we all know Poodles are smart. :)

I hope to do more training video’s now that the weather is starting to cool.  If anyone has a suggestion on what to demo next or if you have a specific problem, post below!!!


Marlane - September 18, 2014 - 9:23 pm

Great, great suggestions! I will be implementing them asap. Mycroft is already doing better when I leave him in a stay and return a little closer than when I left. Thank you for the ideas!

MACH Anutta Go Out-N-Come Back!

This brag is WAY WAY WAY overdue.  Boomerang (Anutta Go Out-N-Come Back) attained his Masters Agility Championship in AKC while we were moving this summer.  Elizabeth reminded me I had not shown him off on the blog.  I’m a BAD breeder!!  He is a special boy in so many ways, I really am sorry this wasn’t posted sooner.

Boomer suffers from Addisons and IBD.  He is a ambassador for both the Standard Poodle breed and dogs with health issues.  He has shown with proper veterinary support any dog with a disease can go on to do great things.  We are proud of Boomer and even more proud of his mom, Elizabeth, for not letting his health problems stop them from achieving great things.

On a health related note, a few weeks ago Boomer became lethargic, not his normal perky self.  Elizabeth took him in to see her vet and after a few test they found a mass on his liver.  Surgery was preformed, the mass was taken out, and sent off for testing.  It was indeed cancer, but there is high hopes they were able to remove it all at the time of surgery.  It is a type of cancer that is localized and there is an excellent chance that he will have no more problems.  Time will tell, but Elizabeth says she is already having a hard time keeping his activity level low.

Here is her update and information about his title:

Here is the MACH 1 photo – yes, we plan to get 2 and maybe 3 as well!  Kind of depends on how we do in USDAA over the next year, I would REALLY like to put an ADCH on him in addition to the C-ATCH and the MACH.  And then maybe even an ATCH (ASCA CH title).  We can already claim to be multi-CH titled in agility, but a USDAA CH title is a personal goal for me.  Super Qs are hard to come by when you compete against World Team dogs on a regular basisJ.  And we are qualified for Reno!!  I wasn’t going to go since it’s so far, but after the surgery, well, life is short!!

Boomerang is doing very well, full of energy and annoyance!!  He is pretty restricted for the next month or so, no running and no jumping.  This is hard on both of us, but thank DOG I have a treadmill.  The two of us have never been great at walking on a leash together, so this works very well.  We are doing lots of core work (diagonal leg lifts), and will eventually graduate back to standing on the big peanut ball.  Then we can start some sprinting and then low jump chutes, quickly moving up to normal height once the rehab vet gives the go ahead (once he is fully healed internally). I am now targeting a show Sept 27 weekend.  That will be 8 ½ weeks post-surgery so it’s ambitious, but if I am really diligent about his exercises, I think it is doable.  ~ Elizabeth

Boomerang’s MACH was earned at the North Star Herding Group AKC Trial on Saturday June 28th, 2014 at Soccer Blast in Burnsville, MN.


Marlane - August 24, 2014 - 9:57 pm

Amazing! What an awesome moment for Boomerang and Elizabeth! You both are quite an encouragement to others.

Groomer Gal - August 27, 2014 - 7:09 am

YAY go Boomerang! It makes me so happy when people get dogs with health issues out, half the time people keep them locked up because of their health but the poor babies don’t even know they are sick half the time.

RESCUE: Standard Poodle Needs Home!!


I was just informed of a Standard Poodle here in Huntsville, Alabama who needs a new home.  He is 6 years old, silver, neutered, up to date on shots, and house trained.  He is good with cats and other dogs.  A local vet is fostering this boy until he can find a good home.   Once that hair grows out he is going to be one stunningly handsome silver Poodle!!


If you are interested in adopting, email critterrescueandrehome@gmail.com



Just when I think I am getting caught up with life, more comes my way.  We have successfully started school here in Alabama and in true Baxter style we have one child sick within the first 7 days.  My sweet little man was hugging the potty yesterday for a good 6 hours.  Today he is on the mend, but it sure takes it out of me both mentally and physically.  No one wants to watch their child suffer.

On a happier note, I have decided to take the next few months and focus hard on my photography.  I’ll be sharing a few photos here for your enjoyment.  Below we have some shots from our Saturday morning hike at Monte Sano State Park here in Huntsville.

And here are a few from the week prior at the Botanical Gardens.

And lastly, a photo from yesterday’s illness.  I made a pallet on the floor of the bathroom so he could rest between bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.  The light was coming in the window and hitting him right across the face.  I told him it was beautiful and he asked that I take a photo so he could see.

I hope to do one blog post a week featuring some photos and what I was hoping to achieve.  As an example, the hiking photos above were taken near dawn and it was extremely foggy.  Lighting was tricky and I didn’t bring a tripod.  Still, I was able to get some photos I felt conveyed emotion and told a story.  The fog left dew on all the spider webs, which I found magical.  The photo of Aiden was difficult because there was not a lot of room in the bathroom and I prefer to use natural light instead of the flash.  I had to set my aperture almost wide open and brace my camera to hold it still enough to compensate for the slow shutter speed.  The photo turned out just as I had hoped.


Marlane - August 13, 2014 - 11:11 pm

Each picture is beautiful in it’s own way. I especially like the first one…looks like the twins are engaged in their own secret little conversation. And the last….just like the soft colors.

I keep your Rule of Thirds in mind now when taking pictures…it helps!