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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 - 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!ReplyCancel

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

  • Groomer Gal - 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.ReplyCancel


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

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 - 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!ReplyCancel

Wow, am I really making a blog post?  Has it been forever yet?  Let me tell ya people, I am thrilled to be able to log in and get a post done after so long.  Brief month long history: We arrived in Huntsville, AL in early July after a month long ‘bounce between family member’ stay in Arkanas in June.  Because we are crazy people, the following week we headed down to the Gulf for a 5 day mini vacation even though the house was still mostly in boxes.  Fun was had by adults, children, and Poodles!  After arriving back in Huntsville, we had to get the kids registered for school and pick up school supplies, because school starts here in AL on the 5th of August!  Keith started back to work on the 18th of July.  It was nice having him all to ourselves for two weeks.  My mom is still battling lung issues and has been in and out of the hospital all summer with pneumonia, pleurisy, and fevers.  Yes, the same issue from many months ago is still plaguing her.  Yesterday she was feeling better than she has in weeks, but it seems to be cyclic, so who knows.  Keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Recently, I met Gloria and Kelsey near Chattanooga to do a quick trade.  River has a hot date with a Tintlet girl and I was finally able to pick up my boy Sirius!!!  He reminds me so much of our boy Major from long ago, it is creepy.  Sweet, gentle, and huge even if he is black instead of cream.  This boy is a lover, not a fighter.   Our Miniature Poodle, Lina, has been the most upset by the addition.  The little diva was NOT HAVING IT!  She is the baby and liked it that way, thank you all very much!!  She has improved and I think once she realizes he isn’t a threat to her love, attention, and meal ticket all will be well.   I’ve been focusing on giving her a lot of attention when she is sweet to him, crate time break to reflect on her actions when she is nasty.  So far so good!  Sirius is totally frightened of her, which is comical.  All she has to do is raise her lip or tense her body and he will back up or drop a toy he was holding.  Lina is only 10lbs soaking wet and 12 inches tall at the shoulders and although I have not measured him yet, I am guessing Sirius stands close to 27inches.  Lina is proof size doesn’t matter, it is all in your attitude.  On the flip side, Jazz loves him!  They are related and it shows in their play style, like two old friends separated for years and happy to be back together.  They chase, romp, bump butts, play chewy face and have a big time.   The only downside is Sirius has a lot of coat, very very thick coat.  This weather is far hotter than in the mountains of North Carolina.  He is feeling the heat and lacks stamina.

AKC / UKC CH Tintlet Anutta Secret Keeper

Sirius has not been around many children, yet he seems to really enjoy the concept of small humans.  They intrigue and often baffle him.  I have watched him closely to see how he would react to their shenanigans and he has handled it all with grace and charm.  The balloon sword was the only thing he though scary, so I had the kids drop it on the ground and allow him to come up and sniff it if he wanted.  After a thorough inspection, he was soon chasing them around the house while they slayed all the foul pirate marauders.   It has been a very long time since we had such a calm, laid back Poodle in the house.  I think even with his massive size, it will not be like having another large dog.

Thank you to Gloria and Kelsey for taking such good care of my boy until he could come home.  Now to see if he has enough energy and motivation to do performance sports.  Time will tell!


  • julie - Wow! He is beautiful. He has such a handsome face!ReplyCancel

  • Marlane - Gorgeous Gentleman…such a beautiful, velvety coat! Am curious what blade they’ve used on him.

    Almost didn’t recognize your son…changing so much and getting so tall! I know your family is glad to get settled in and get back to a familiar routine.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - It might look like velvet, but it feels like a brillo pad!! His coat is so harsh and thick it took Gloria hours to brush him out for that groom job. Speaking of grooming, his cut is all hand scissored, I do not believe they have put a clipper on him since his show hair shave down earlier this year. They are amazing groomers!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - We have Sirius’ brother (once Victor, now Zeke) – it’s such a delight to see photos of Sirius and feel like you’ve gotten photos of Z. And the description of Sirius’ personality is uncannily like Z, too. If you ever make a trip to Colorado with big S, I would love to get the brothers together for a springy poodle romp!ReplyCancel