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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Photos- “Low Key”

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The challenge in the photo group this week was a “Low Key” shot (also known as “film noir).

I am LOVING the way these came out! I was having so much fun with this that Voodoo eventually fell asleep and I got even more shots 🙂

I had to use a flashlight as my light source in the fully dark room and I needed a slow shutter to compensate for the other settings so that definitely added a challenge since any slight movement caused blur. Thankfully he can play statue pretty well :-) Definitely easier once he fell asleep though! I was then able to use a 2 sec shutter and “light paint” him, which produced my second favorite photo (laying on his side).

I had to get a few shots of Dazzle too!

It was hard to choose but this one was my favorite!:

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This is a close second, only because I love Voodoo’s eyes and I can’t see them when he’s sleeping 🙂

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He definitely got bored with the photo shoot!

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This was before I figured out I could “paint with light” using a longer shutter speed. He wasn’t quite asleep in this shot.

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If the focus in this one was sharper, it would be my favorite. But the focus is just a bit off. While I wouldn’t want to blow it up and put it on a canvas due to it’s focus issues, it looks great online at the smaller size 🙂

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Dazzle wanted to know what was going on behind the closed door, so he got to play too. Since he knows how to “rest” his head on cue, his was a quick session.

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I love his eyes in this one! He’s such a pro at being my photo subject 🙂

3-28-17 Low Key sm

Nosework titles and Qs

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On Wed. the 22nd Voodoo was entered in the CWAGS trials to try to get his Level 1 title. Well, he managed to get that plus 2 Qs toward his level 3 title!

Level 1 title run:

First Q at level 3. This was his second run of the night and I had him out of the car way too early. He was very excited and barked a lot.

His last run of the night- Q #2 in Level 3. He was more focused and not as barky. Hopefully he can Q two more times in level 3 on Wednesday for his level 3 title! But if not, I signed him up for 6 nosework runs at the National next month. He will be trying for his level 2 title (1 Q needed) as well as level 3 and/or level 4 depending on how he does Wednesday.

And just for fun, Voodoo playing with a young Pointer puppy after his Rally class at QC:

Later today we will be trying for the 2 more Qs he needs for his level 3 title. I’ll post the videos and updates as soon as I get a chance.

One year old on Saturday!

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It is so hard to believe, the past year has been so busy and has flown by so fast! Voodoo turns 1 year old on Saturday! I compiled video clips and photos to create this entertaining video of the past 6 months and you can see it here:

To see his first 6 months, that is documented in this fun video:

I am so thrilled with how well he is doing with everything I ask of him! He often gets compliments on his Service Dog work in public and his trialing success has been off the charts! He is a fun and friendly guy and I couldn’t ask for anything more! I’m really looking forward to seeing where the future leads us!

Barn Hunt CHAMPION!!

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So VERY proud of Black Magic of Eromit “Voodoo” who earned his RATCH with me m,today at 11 months old under back-up Judge Brenda Katz at the K9 Raticals trial in Kalamazoo, MI! He accomplished this just 5 months from when he got his RATI and it only took him 9 weekends (36 total trials)! He also got 70 points today in his very first Crazy 8 run. I’m still on cloud 9 and amazed at the accomplishments of this phenomenal puppy.

Video of Q #9:

Video of Championship run:

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And some fun photos with a couple props they had available

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Week 11

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Week 11- Close up
The sun peeked out and I was able to take advantage of it, and didn’t even have to go outside! I tried to get both his eyes, but the focus wasn’t working out and he wasn’t still enough to do it manually. Also got one other shot I really like (of his nose). The nose photo took way more shots to get than I would have thought 🙂

3-14-17 close up 1 sm3-14-17 close up 2 sm

Rally practice at QC. His first run was beautiful, so I figured I’d get video of his second run. Last week his second run was just as nice as the first one even though he had to wait a long time between runs. Of course the second run today was way less than stellar 🙂 Still would have Qed, but not nearly as nice as the run I was hoping to capture 🙂 I swear he knew I had someone getting video! On his first run, he ran and did the jump as soon as we turned the corner to it! He really loves to jump! This time he waited for the cue, so that was better than the first run.



Training and other stuff

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Voodoo at the C match yesterday. I REALLY wish I could have gotten his second Novice obedience run on video because it was really great! But there wasn’t anyone to hand my camera to when I went in the ring. On his first obedience run, he was distracted by the dog in the next ring and the agility equipment that was tucked to the side just outside the ring. But the second time in he was completely focused and did a great job! This video is the 5 minutes I had in the rally ring where we were working on Excellent level signs. Still struggling with his butt swinging out a bit, especially on the fast, but I know I can get that fixed. Very happy with his engagement for 5 straight minutes with only a few treats!

Voodoo and Jiff trying to get Linda to give them treats for leaving the one on the floor between them. NOT easy for either dog to do the leave it when there was competition for the treat!

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I found out what treat to use with Voodoo!  Linda was helping hide some rats for barn hunt practice and you would have thought she had doggie crack in her pockets! He wouldn’t even work for me! Kept going to her and ignoring the rats on the course. I even had buffalo jerky in my pocket, which used to keep him glued to me. Okay Voodoo, message received. Pork chops it is! I’ll just have to be careful that Dazzle doesn’t get any because pork makes him really itchy.


I did some nosework practice today at the pet store and it blew Voodoo’s mind when he found the tins! He literally did a double take, like “Mom! Look what I found HERE! In the store!” He was so proud of himself and the staff and customers enjoyed watching him. No photos or video, sorry.


A few seconds of Voodoo’s second jump training session


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Week 9 photos

I was trying to “create depth” for the challenge with an action shot, but wasn’t getting what I wanted (though I did get a couple cool shots!) So I went with a stationary shot. Also, it is warm enough today that Voodoo (& Dazzle) were seeking shade after the play session.

3-5-17 Add depth sm3-5-17 Almost got it sm3-5-17 Hi mom3-5-17 Shady spot sm3-5-17 Teeth sm

Week 10- The challenge this week is to show your dog multiple times in one photo. Found just the right dressing room mirror for this shot. Had to find one that had moveable sides and a non-cluttered background. Thankfully it was a quiet day at the mall and no one questioned my going from dressing room to dressing room with no clothes to try on. LOL There are things I would prefer were different in this shot, but Voodoo’s feet were sliding and it was stressing him a bit to keep getting put back in place so I decided this one was good enough. Pretty sure he needs another chiropractic adjustment on his hips. He’s scheduled for one in 2 weeks, but I’ll call tomorrow and see if anything opens up sooner. He is about to stress yawn in this shot. Might have to try this shot again if I happen to find the right mirror with a non-slippery floor in the future.

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This was my first attempt at it, using some mirrors off the shelf in Walmart. But I had to edit out a lot of the background and the lighting made getting a good shot hard. Only had my cell phone.

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Pro photos from the Barn Hunt by Springfield photography:

(Can click on any photo to see it larger)

Catching up- Other Stuff

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Last post of the getting caught up topics.

Had to get out and enjoy the 60 degree weather! Still can’t believe I’m out in late January in a T-shirt and it is supposed to be warmer tomorrow! Love it!! For these shots, I put the dogs on a stay, tossed 2 toys to my right, then gave them the release cue. It is mostly cloudy today, so the camera struggled with the fast action in kind of low light, and I struggled to keep them in frame so I ended up zooming out and then cropping. And I think I had the setting wrong because the camera has definitely taken better action shots than this! So the quality sucks. But I’m happy I got these.


10 mo. old


Went for a drive to get some photos today. This week’s photo challenge was “Negative Space” but I got other photos as well.

This was the photo I chose as this week’s selection.



This was just a bench, not a piece of art. But adding Voodoo makes it art 🙂


He was looking at a treat on the floor, but I thought the “sad dog” look added to the artsy feeling of the photo:


This was my second choice for this week’s submission


In addition to the art museum, I went to the convention center. Found this empty seminar room and got permission for him to get on a chair. He looks like such a big boy in this photo!


This pig is the only thing he has taken issue with so far! He froze in the doorway and stared at it for a long time, long enough for me to get this photo, then started to back up. So I walked into the room and encouraged him.  He hugged the wall till we were on the back side, then he crept up and snuck a sniff.


Once he sniffed it, he shook off the stress it caused, wagged his tail and was fine with it.


While the pig spooked him, he didn’t even look twice at this thing!  Even walked right in front of it and gave it a sniff when I pointed to it. It was also in the art museum and we went past it after he encountered the pig.


Week 5 Photo Challenge– symmetry

This was taken in front of the oldest Baptist church in Indiana still in it’s original location. It is an interesting building and the openings for the guns used against Indians can still be seen from the outside (plastered over on the inside). The church remains open to the public and you can go upstairs to look down on the pulpit area that is just behind the fire pit that was used to keep everyone warm. Lots of history and stories surround this place, including some that it’s haunted by a girl that committed suicide by “jumping off the cliff into the river” that is behind it. But given that it is more of a really steep hill (that ends in a small creek) than a “cliff” makes me doubt that story 🙂

I had to have him sit on a mat because he wasn’t too keen on staying for more than a few seconds with his boy parts on a freezing temperature rock. 🙂


“Me digging?  No, must be someone else that looks like me”


Voodoo did a great job at the CWAGS obedience trial tonight! His first run, I think he spent the first half of it wondering why I was asking him to do obedience and when we were going to start doing nosework, since that is all we have done at this location previously. 🙂 But he held it together and was very happy throughout the 4 min. run. He earned a 95 and 3rd place for his first run.

For his second run, he earned a 99 and 1st place! He was a bit more settled on the second run (not as much bouncing) 🙂

CWAGS allows treats to be given after each “exercise finished” so it is a great way to get young and inexperienced dogs some ring time experience at the various levels.

We hope to finish his level 1 obedience title at the CWAGS National at the end of April.

First Run:

Second Run:


Week 6 Photo Challenge– Make a mess

Voodoo loved this photo challenge 🙂 I used wrapping paper to add color. I wish I had more variety to choose from, but apparently all my wrapping paper is mostly red! LOL I tried to get some action shots of him ripping the paper, but they mostly came out blurry or too dark. Also got a shot of him in this pose holding a piece of the paper, but liked his grin in this one better.


He’s starting to fill out a bit:


He had his feet together more than usual, but his chest is filling out too.


Week 7 Photo Challenge– There was some confusion on what the topic of the week is supposed to be. The two topics given are: Why I love my dog and a photo taken for a specific location. It turned out that my choice for the “why I love my dog” photo also fit with the location theme that I saw after I had picked what I wanted to do.

I took this photo of Voodoo to match up with the photo I used for the background. I had to get the angles and lighting correct (which wasn’t easy on a sunny day!) so that I could EDIT him into this scene. Don’t worry, no way I’d really be up there!

I chose this scene because I love how bold and fearless he is! I could totally see him being willing to go out on boards like this (not that I would let him!) He is always ready to do or try anything. He makes teaching him enjoyable and easy. He learns new things incredibly fast and retains the behaviors easily. He is always eager and ready to pick up anything I drop and hand it to me (which really helps reduce my pain levels) and he is great at cuddling and bed warming. I also love how excited he is each morning when he realizes I’m awake. 🙂

I’m not 100% happy with this editing but not sure how to make him look less like an add-on to the scene. It is something with his feet, but I can’t figure it out.


I took advantage of the amazing 70 degree weather and did Voodoo’s very first jump training session. This is based on a Susan Salo method of teaching a dog to jump properly and how to adjust his stride as needed and eventually how to jump and turn. This is the entire first 5 min. session from start to finish. Then I had him do just a couple more jumps to get the photo at the end for this week’s photo challenge of “movement”.

Week 8 Photo Challenge– Capture Movement


Catching up- Dock Diving

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Update: added a photo at the end of this post.

While I had a forced month off from offering Barn Hunt training to others due to my rats being in quarantine (thankfully found clear of the potential virus outbreak) I signed Voodoo up for a month of swimming at a heated indoor saltwater pool that is less than an hour from me. We went down there a few times a week, mostly for him to just swim, but also to practice beginning dock diving stuff and some auto finishes on his retrieve.

Voodoo had a BLAST at the indoor heated pool today! Now that he’s 10 mo. old, I wanted to get him started on the baby dock diving stuff.

He was invited into the pool a bit early because the puppy ahead of him was hesitant to go in the water and it was hoped that seeing him in the water would help give her confidence. Not sure it helped her, but Voodoo was loving it so much! Right after I bought him on the dock, he did a quick sniff of the puppy and then ran down the ramp into the water! I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get him to come out of the pool! He just swam and swam and switched from one toy to the next. 🙂

But when the other pup left and I picked up a toy, he was willing to come out so he could go back in after the tossed toy. The extra toys were cleaned out of the pool and I was able to start with him getting the toy from my hand off the ramp. He did that no problem and I started raising it up a bit so he would have to do a small push off.

Then I went to the ledge at the end of the pool and tried the same thing, but he stopped at the edge and jumped in without going for the toy. I was happy he was willing to jump in and praised that a lot, but it didn’t get him the toy. So then I held the toy just barely out of his reach, hoping he would do a tiny jump for it. He tried hard and I’m not sure how he held onto the edge at times, but then he got frustrated. So I went back to working on the ramp for a few reps.

When we came back to the end of the pool, I let him get the toy I was holding just out of reach a couple times even though he didn’t go in. I just wanted him to be successful. Then I started him back a few paces and had him follow the toy to the edge, keeping the toy just barely out of reach. He grabbed for it and went in! He lost his grip on the toy, but he did it! Unfortunately, the person there that I had asked to video before wasn’t on the dock so I didn’t get it on video. That’s when I set my phone on the chair and propped it up with a toy (the black thing partially blocking part of the screen). I was hoping to catch the same thing, but he jumped right off after the toy! He didn’t always grab it from my hand, but he was getting the idea!

The slow-mo clip at the end was his final jump of the session taken by the person that works there. In between most of the jumps he got to play tug on the toy.

I’m thrilled with his progress and looking forward to more visits!

Baby steps of Dock diving:

30 second clip of him swimming circles at the start of the session:


More dock diving practice. I eliminated the run up and I like the results. As long as I don’t anticipate!! Only did 6 of these then let him swim and retrieve from the ramp entrance. I bought a rubber mat after today’s session that has deep grooves in it that should eliminate all slipping. If the dock is just wet, it retains great grip. But with fast reps, the water doesn’t have time to all drain and when a puddle forms, it gets more slippery for him. I know the mat will eliminate that issue.


How to blow a retriever’s mind 🙂 Rather than fetching one toy at a time, I had him stay and then threw a whole handful of toys in the pool! He had such a hard time picking which one to bring me! LOL I found that I had to let him get them all and then repeat the process. If I tossed in a toy he had already gotten, he would just keep bringing that one 🙂


Voodoo likes the blow dryer at the dog pool 🙂



Toy grab with new rig and practice of speed retrieve:


Today, Voodoo was so excited to get to the pool that he JUMPED OVER the 4′ high “door” to the ramp that leads up to the pool! No hesitation at all. Happened so fast I couldn’t do anything to stop him. He will be going all the way to the pool gate ON LEASH from now on. At least he landed on the ramp, so it wasn’t a full 4′ drop. But still way higher than I want him jumping right now!


Practicing “fetch to heel” for field work. I’m cuing this as he is coming toward me and hopeful he will be able to tell the difference between this “auto heel” retrieve for field work and “retrieve to front” for obedience.

Forgot to add this photo. Tried to get an action shot for the “capture movement” challenge, but it was just too dark and he was moving too fast to get a good shot indoors. But this is how he jumped when I put him on a stay, tossed in his toy and released him to get it.


Catching up- Barn Hunt

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Voodoo is well on his way toward his Championship title!  Only 2 more Qs needed, which I’m hoping he will get in MI in a couple weeks.

Feb 3rd:

No luck today at barn hunt. Voodoo had a close discrimination between a rat tube and a bedding tube and he hit on the bedding one before he sniffed the rat tube. Second run he had 5 rats, found 4, sniffed and ignored the 5th and then found a bedding tube he liked. 😦. Several dogs are hitting bedding. Not sure it it’s the same bedding tube or not. We’ll try again tomorrow. Send him rat thoughts for tomorrow and Sunday

Feb 4th:

Not a good start today. First he dropped a rat he had picked up and I said “shit” and NQd the run but he got to keep hunting… Till he took a dump in the ring. 😦. I had just had him outside and he gave no indication he needed to go after he peed a river. One more run to go today. Hopefully we have all the NQs out of our system.

Q #1 toward Championship: MUCH better 2nd trial! When Voodoo is “on” he is fully ON. He got first place and high in class finding 5 rats in under 2 min.! He even beat the top dog in the sport who has a whopping 39 champion excellent titles! I hope our runs tomorrow also bring qualifying ribbons. He is also wearing his “new title” ribbon that he earned the last time he was at Muncie, but they ran out of them that weekend (for his master title).


Video of 1st Q:

Feb 5th:

No joy today. On the first run Voodoo decided pooping should be a spectator sport again. I knew early in the run he had once again not given any indication of needing to go outside even though I had kept him out there as long as possible. He found 4 of the 5 rats then went to the gate. I tucked his tail to try to stop him and ended up smearing the poop all over his rear. Not sure if that will make an impression on him or not. But next time he’s probably going to get a match head up his butt! That’s $50 down the drain for his two public dumps this weekend! In the second trial he almost immediately hit on litter and I quickly removed him from the ring to end the fun to hopefully get him the message that litter is not what I want. Oh well, he’s still a baby. Lots to learn!

Feb 17-19 in Muncie:

Voodoo had a great weekend at the Barn Hunt! He got 5 qualifying runs out of 6 attempts (first run he hit on litter). And he is starting to “tell me” when he thinks the course is clear of all the rats! I’m amazed that he has the game figured out SO fast! He is only 4 Qs away from being a Champion! He has 4 shots at it next weekend.

Here are all the videos from this weekend:
Q #2:
Q #3:
Q #4:
Q #5:
Q #6:

Feb 25-26 in KY

Voodoo had a 50% Q rate this weekend. Certainly nothing to be upset about! He had a fast and fun first run in which he qualified (but my phone ran out of space part way through recording it) and then he missed a rat that I KNOW he sniffed when I pointed it out for his second run with 4 rats. It was like he had decided he was done, so it couldn’t be a rat. Oh well. Hopefully he will Q at least twice in MI in a few weeks.

Videos from this weekend. I also bought the professional photos, but have to wait for the CD to arrive.
Q #7-
NQ on day 1-
Q #8-
NQ on day 2-