Sunday, September 30, 2007

Prison dog photos & seat belt info

If you get the Downeast Dog Newspaper check out the front page article on the HSKC prison dog program. It came out great.

Here are some photos of the new dog we have started named Grizz. He is a 10 month old malamute lab cross that is very shy. He has been there for a week and is already making good progress.

Here he is modeling the easy walk harness. This was a better choice for him then the head collar for his pulling. He adjusted to it very easily. I do wish the company made more size options though. The medium was to small for him and this large had to be adjusted all the way down.

Here he is with my girl Missy. He loves other dogs so I brought her to help him relax during our session. She worked like a charm and he ate treats offered from me for a change. (sorry for the bad photo) The handler is off camera giving them each treats. You'll notice he likes to be near the wall when given the chance.

Here are some photos of the seat belt I rigged up for Missy. She isn't a big fan of riding in the car so I need her close to me so I can give her treats easily when we are riding. (counter conditioning) I am used to having dogs ride in the crate in the back for safety so I needed to come up with a new way of keeping her safe while not in the crate.

I am a big fan of repurposing items. So instead of buying a doggy seat belt I use a step in harness that I wasn't using for anything else. It fits her comfortably and is completely adjustable. I clipped a carabeiner (used commonly in rock climbing) to the already snapped in seat belt shoulder strap. Then I used a leash hook in that to clip into the two d rings of the harness.

Now I can't vouch for the actual safety of this set up. I don't know of ANY studies that have been done on dog seat belts at all. This is just MY version that I feel will help should we get into an accident. It should keep her from getting thrown around to much without putting pressure on her neck like a collar would. Keep in mind if you have a front airbag that could also pose a danger to your dog.

This gorgeous big guy is Jack. We see him regularly at my sons football practices and games. I couldn't resist getting a photo to share. I don't get to see to many frenchies around here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hope goes home, new dog stuff

Hope, our prison program dog, finally left for her new home on Wednesday. I checked in with the family today and all is going very well. She now has some kids of her own to play with and is adjusting to her new life wonderfully. He she is with her new dad. Who couldn't fall in love with that face?
Here is Grizz, the new prison program dog. He is a 10 month old lab/malamute cross. He is very shy with new people, hence the poor photo. I was taking it on the sly so I didn't scare him. Pics don't do him justice as he is quite strikingly handsome in person.

This is Zuni, a flatcoat retriever I saw today. It must be the week for handsome dogs. Zuni is learning some basic manners and to leave critters alone when on his walks.

This is my feeble attempt at a good group shot of my beasties. I'll keep working on it.
Jenny has adjusted beautifully to our home and so have the other dogs with her. She is quite the munchkin and just loves attention. She prefers to sleep under the covers with whoever happens to be under some at any time which is pretty cute.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tug O War

As requested. A few pics of Jack and Jenny playing tug.

Now watch as I stick my head in this lions mouth.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Two weeks in & Dog related reading

Two weeks and all is well.

As you can see the girls are getting along ok. Not to say there haven't been any squabbles. One last week over a scrap of food (Jenny doesn't like to share.) and one today due to overstimulation during a play session. It happens. They are still always supervised and are doing pretty good. I am doing some behavior modification and using management to deal with the resource guarding. I am very happy with how well they have all meshed together at this point.

I wish I had my camera with me the other day when Jack and Jenny played a game of tug with a rope toy. Jenny, unlike Missy, actually plays tug. She doesn't grab the rope and give the death look provoking Jack to give it up and walk away like Missy does so it was a blast to watch. Jenny apparently believes she CAN get the toy from Jack using force alone. Silly girl!

On another note: For anyone interested in dog behavior there is a great magazine I came across called Off-Lead and Animal Behavior. I have gotten the last two issues and I really like the info they provide.

Bark magazine also has some good info and Patricia McConnell PhD. writes a fantastic behavior column regularly I really enjoy. Not to be missed are also the articles by Patty Khuly DVM. (also known as Dolittler. Blog link at right.)

Of course if you are in Maine I highly recommend the Downeast Dog News monthly paper too. I am unsure of the complete area they cover but there are advertisers from throughout New England so it is pretty wide. (And you can get a subscription too!)

Happy reading!

Monday, September 10, 2007

A service dog problem and 1 week in.

This handsome boy is Hunter, just one of the dogs I saw this week. Hunter is a service dog that needed a refresher in a few things. He is as smart as he is beautiful. Training is a use it or lose it endeavor for ALL dogs so practice is essential to keep them fresh.

Just a few of his talents include opening doors, retrieving items for his person, barking to alert of a problem, pushing elevator buttons and turning lights on and off.

PLEASE when you see a service dog, feel free to admire them but do NOT pet them. * They are working and petting and handling them can interfere with their job. It causes them to be distracted by people making it harder for their handler to direct them. That is one of the problems Hunters person is having with well meaning neighbors. They come in and make of him causing him to get overstimulated. The touching is inadvertently rewarding the excited behavior by Hunter. Now he is getting over stimulated by all company and people he meets. This causes problems for his handler because he is to distracted by the other people to pay attention as well as he needs to for her.

EVERY interaction counts with dogs. So please don't be part of that problem for working dogs and their people. These dogs are not pets, but actual working dogs. Without the work that they do, many of the people they serve would not have the quality of life they have by living independently with these dogs. So remember, admiration is fine, interference is not.

Jenny has settled in nicely. I still supervise everyone well but have been able to relax more. The girls seem to be doing just fine together and have even had a few nice play sessions with one another. We have only had one quick tiff over food. Normal behavior and now managed to prevent future episodes. She has even begun playing with Jack as well. Here she is showing off her new collar tag.

(Only $7 available custom ordered made while you wait at our local shelter ) They will even engrave both sides for you!)

Here she is dragging her kong into her nighttime crate for some chew time all on her own. (note the stuffed pug collection of my son on the shelf at left.)

Here she is in her daytime crate doing the same. The daytime crate is only used by her when she wants her own space. This way Missy still has her crate all to herself as well. To avoid stare downs between the girls they are crated in separate rooms when I am gone. Not all dogs need to be crated separately. Since I brought a new bitch into the territory of another it is recommended to avoid any issues between them when unsupervised. Eye contact between dogs can be a threat or challenge and can start fights between dogs quickly.

I just loved the face she was making in this one.
As you can see she is taller than Missy.

Happy to hang out with everyone in the family.

Caught snuggling with her boy. (the stuffed animal to the right is another pug)

Now how cute is that?

(* Note: You should ALWAYS ask the owner of ANY dog you meet if you can touch them BEFORE doing so. Not all dogs are friendly to strangers and not all people know the proper way to greet a dog. Or they may simply be busy practicing a training session like ignoring people while on walks. And please, do not be offended of an owner says no. They have their reasons.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Day 3

Just a few more cute photos to share.

This was a short quick play session between the two girls.
Then of course napping time.
How about a treat lady? (OK is it me or does Jenny look like a muppet in this pic? ) Who can resist these mugs?
And this is Gina, a puggle (pug/beagle cross) client I saw this morning. She told me this was her good side.
Enjoy your day!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Akitas, and frenchies and bears OH My!

The trip went smoothly to pick up our newest family addition. DS decided to rename her Jenny, after the girl in the Forrest Gump movie. She seems to like the name ok. Especially when food is involved.

She was not very impressed with hubby's bear head on the wall. Lots of growling and scampering by showed us her discomfort. By this morning he had lost his bogeyman status however.
She seems to be settling in very well and is very much a lap dog. Any lap seems to do.

She was abit intimidated by Jack at first but she is slowly warming up to him. He'll be happy once she decides to really play.
She seemed unsure which couch she prefers so she chose both for nap time.

Missy seems to really like her so far and has play bowed to her in welcome. Normally Missy is much more standoffish with new dogs in the house but so far she seems to like Jenny ok. They haven't had a real playtime yet. They are still getting used to each other and showing alot of body language.

I don't have many photos yet because I have been to busy supervising everyone with the eagle eye. I probably won't totally relax for a couple of weeks at least. I want to make sure the smooth transition continues. It can be tricky bring another almost adult bitch into the house with one already in residence. Snarkyness needs to be watched out for and managed appropriately. I also need to make sure body language is understood and heeded between all the dogs. Of course as a trainer I know all the things that can go wrong so I need to be careful I don't over think it either. There is such a thing as to much interference as well.

She is learning all the house rules. No darting though doors, no jumping on people, sit and stay for all meals, no pulling on the leash and no toys allowed on the couch. So far she is picking things up very quickly. She knows what "Let's go out" means already. She is very food motivated so she loves to practice her training skills.

The show went very well and I had a great time. I made a fantastic contact in frenchies that was incredibly nice and had a great conversation with. (Have I mentioned I have decided to one day show frenchies? More on that later.) Plus I got to see all my show dog friends. It was a long day but well worth it.

This is Kami. He is an akita with some hearing issues. I gave his people some training tips since I love to work with deaf dogs. He is 9 months old and very sweet and mellow.

If you have a dog with hearing issues simply training them as if they are completly deaf is what I recommend. You still give verbal commands anyhow but you add hand signals to the mix. Promoting good eye contact with deaf dogs is another important tip. You can't direct a dog if they don't know you are talking to them after all. They need to look to you often for direction and feedback.

Check out the great post at on the media and reporting dog bites. It is very enlightening.