Monday, April 28, 2008

It's all about the chewie

We are testing a new chewie here at our house at the request of Lauren (my new BFF) of The Loyal Biscuit. Lauren knows what a fan I am of nylabones and thought perhaps I would also love this version, fido brand that is made here in the USA. Since I have 3 super chewers here at my house who better to do a test run on them? (Nylabones and Kongs are my top 2 dog toys. No dog should be raised without them!)

They feel similar to nylabones. The one on the left is a softer version. I really like the shape.
And here is Jenny in the act of stealing one from Missy. Mine!!!She apparently wanted to test them all first. Mmm the ring is good.
Mmmm the softie is good too.
This big bone is excellent but slippery. That won't stop me though! (note the crazed look in her eye) It was like Christmas here when I handed them out. Then Jenny stole them all for her own in under 5 minutes. No worries, Missy and Jack will also partake once Jenny has calmed down abit. I will be sure to post photos of the wear they receive as we go along. Below is a photo of what Missy generally does to nylabones.

In other news I have ordered Jenny a proper tracking harness from In red as requested by her owner, my son. He says it is his favorite color and it will show up well as she works. (smart boy!)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New to the blog roll

For those seriously interested in showing in competition obedience I share with you this blog:

It chronicles all the hard work it takes to get an AKC Obedience Trail Championship title. The best part, for me, is that she is attempting it with a doberman from rescue, Rah.

Isn't he simply stunning? He came from this fabulous group:

Now go, sit, read!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why I love it

While this post explains abit how I train for tracking I am NOT an expert tracker by any means. All dogs are different and therefore methods may vary considerably. There are many ways to train tracking and scent work, this is only one method. You do not need to use food to train for tracking. For some great tracking books for beginners through advanced check out (They also have awesome gear.)
Today was Jenny's third time out. So far I have been doing easy stuff, using food rewards in some of the footsteps on short straight unaged tracks with the wind blowing towards us. I do three in a row with a rest in between for her while I lay the next one. First thing in the morning with dew on the grass which is best for keeping the scent in. As I went to lay the first track this morning I noticed I didn't have my usual starting flags. Oops, I had left them in the field after our last track yesterday morning. So after we were done today I drove over to that field and retrieved them. Fortunately it wasn't far. We ended the day with me only using food in every 9th step. Eventually I will phase the food out completely but for now this helps her learn she has a reason to find and stay on the scent path. I think my biggest challenge with her is going to be keeping her from going to fast. She is motivated!
She is doing amazingly well. I need to call my tracking friends (who know FAR more than I on the subject) to come watch us and correct any mistakes I may be making. I know yesterday I screwed up the first track by wearing my bait bag. She kept looking at me for direction before I realized why. (bait bag usually means heeling practice to her hence the looking up at me) Fortunatly I corrected it on the next two tracks which went very well. I do need to get some new bigger flags because she is skittish of real moving flags. I currently use sticks with surveyors tape as markers but if we ever go advanced she will need to be ok near real flags blowing in wind. (note to self, buy or make real flag markers!)
While driving home after training today I got to thinking why I love tracking so much. For me it is private one on one time with my dog in a relaxed manner. Having 3 dogs this one on one time is special. They also get to do something that comes naturally to them, finding scent, and they are allowed to follow their nose instead of having to do something less exciting to them. It is in the woods or a field with nature all around, a place I love to be. And when you get to the point where you might try for a title, EVERYONE roots for you and your dog. It isn't competitive. We all want to see the dogs succeed. No one beats anyone else. I REALLY like that. Honestly I could care less if I ever title. Not to say I wouldn't LOVE to earn one, it just isn't my overall goal. The act of doing something fun with my dog is why I do it.
It has been fun this week seeing and working with a dog that really wants to track. Jack is lovely but not the most motivated about it. Could I work on that with him? Probably, but I am not about to make a dog do something he doesn't really enjoy. Tracking is about working as a team. A good team listens to each other. I'll keep tracking him, but on his terms. One track at a time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A beautiful day for tracking

First a Jake update: Check out Jakes soon to be new big brother Moxie. Some of you may remember Moxie from an older post. He lives in town and I made quite an idiot of myself the first time I met him. Even trainers aren't immune to human nature. He is a french mastiff, also known as a Dogue De Bordeaux. They have a ball playing together. This was taken after they were somewhat tired from a play session.

Yesterday was so beautiful I dusted off the tracking gear and took Jack out for some practice. Here he is in his beautiful blue tracking harness.
While it is fun for us, Jack is what we would call a lazy tracker. It really is to much work to do more than once in his book. But he looks good!
So today I thought I would try little miss Jenny at it. Now pugs aren't your normal tracking breed. Unfortunatly some can barely breathe normally so sniffing for scent for long periods isn't something they are well known for. However because miss Jenny has a longer nose than some of her fellow pugsters, her nose works quite well. And boy does she love looking for food treats.

She has started avoiding the camera these days so this was the best pic I got. (And yes she needs a better tracking harness which I shall order soon from A super site for all your tracking needs.) I am very happy to say she took to it like a duck to water. We did three short tracks and she was fabulous every time. Not bad for our first time out. I'll try to get one of the kids to videotape us on a future track to share here.

I just thought I would throw in a pic of Zeus looking cute. (please excuse the pile of laundry behind him) Don't hate me because I am beuuutefull.

Friday, April 18, 2008

We have a visitor

First here is Dobby, a cute client from this week. He is a sweetie that was adopted from our local shelter that needed to learn a few manners. He is incredibly smart.
Check out these photos of my nephew Zeus. He is here for the week while my sister is away in Florida. If I don't blog much this next week now you know why. Juggling 4 dogs, 2 with issues, is oh so much fun. Thank goodness for crate training and fenced yards! Thankfully they all get along fine. What he is best at, relaxing.

He actually managed to jump all the way up on the table after I snapped this pic. He's pretty agile when he wants to be.
There's that relaxing again. Catching some rays by the door.
And he came with me to be a distraction for Jake while working at the prison.
Jake really just wanted to go play instead. It was good practice for him.

He is cute but don't look to close or you'll see his face is kinda crooked.

And Zeus with a stuffie. He is a Katrina rescue and was adopted out twice and returned before my sister took him. One adopter was even a vet tech that couldn't take his puking anymore. (he has regurge issues, skin issues, breathing issues and some aggression issues) He is also afraid on windy days, probably due to being in Katrina. (he was found with another bulldog that had been killed by a fallen tree in his yard) So you could say he is somewhat high maintence and has been expensive along the way. Thankfully she is patient with him and has managed to give him a darn good life in spite of his many quirks. (others would have sent him to the bridge long ago) As you can see he is quite small for a bulldog of that type too. Perhaps a back yard bred dog. Who knows. If only they could talk and tell us their stories.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Missy has a brag

Is everyone sitting down? Missy has some big news to share. She is a grandma! (again)

Our Missy came to us about 4 years ago at the age of 4 as a retired mom. (wow time flies!) She had been bred and had some great puppies out there in the show ring. One of those was Lacey, who looks quite alot like dear old mom. Here is a link to her page:

And a link to her show page:

A couple of photos of the new grandchildren and watchful mom Lacey. She had 6! puppies.

When I told Missy the news she insisted I brag about them here for her. For many more photos of the cuties check out their page here: We are all very proud of the great job Miss Lacey is doing.

Wow 6 puppies. The thought of it makes ME want to take a nap!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

This weeks reading

From the book Always Faithful ~ A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII by Captain William W. Putney D.V.M. USMC (Ret)

Captain Boyd pulled a piece of paper from his shirt pocket and handed it to me. It was a memo, addressed to all personnel of the War Dog Training School, and it outlined the spirit in which Marine handlers and their dogs would be trained and cared for. It read, in part, as follows:


The handler will learn that the dog will be loyal and can be depended upon. It can be expected that the man and his dog will create a team that will be unbreakable. The handler in this course will develop a feeling of pride, companionship and ownership in his own dog by the natural response of one to the other.

To further accomplish this, the handler will furnish all care and maintenence of his charge. He will feed and water his dog on a scheduled basis. He will clean and groom his dog every day as directed by his instructors. He will maintain his animal's quarters in a manner specified by the Veterinarian.

Training will consist of the following exercises to teach the dog to heel, sit, down, stay and come (on recall), crawl, and jump both high and broad. These exercises will be taught using both voice commands and arm and hand signals.

The method used shall be one of reward for accomplishment. This shall be a combination of voice praise, physical petting and fondling. Under no circumstances will physical punishment or abuse be tolerated. Reprimands shall be restricted to oral disapproval. Any violations will be severely delt with.

Training, according to the memo, would be completed by July 15, 1943.

**I am finding this book to be VERY interesting. I was particularly struck by the training methods they used back then. Positive training has been around longer than many people realize. The book tells how they trained for different things in various manners as well as being a behind the scenes look at the War Dog program for WWII. Happily after this war the dogs (the ones who survived) were retrained and allowed to go back to civilian life, thanks in large part to the books author. Not a fate seen by other War Dogs our country has used in the past. (most notably after Vietnam) Complete with 16 pages of photos this book has alot of interesting information. Fans of German Shepherd Dogs and Dobermans might also like it as they were the two most popular breeds used by the Marines at that time. Other breeds and mixed breeds were used as well and were donated by their civilian owners. (I can only say that sentiments were vastly different back then regarding that practice.) Overall so far the book is excellent. Well written and an obvious honoring of the use of Mans Best Friend during their military service. I know I haven't hit the sad parts yet, as is inevitiable when reading of war. Obviously not all the dogs survived. (or their handlers) It is a facinating look at working dogs however and I am glad someone decided to tell their story.

(Semper Fidelis is the motto of the Marine Corps. Translated it means Always Faithful.)

I'm sick so here are some photos.

I'm not feeling my best so here is a short photo filled fun post.
This cutie is Dal. He is about 7 years old and he is completely deaf as far we can tell. He is at my local shelter and I have started working with him teaching hand signs. Thankfully he is food motivated. (FMI on deaf dogs as pets check out )

It was so beautiful out the other day I took a few pics of my own dogs playing for a change. Jack doing his best to entice Jenny in a game.

If that doesn't work he tries chasing her with his toy. Play with meeee.

She gives in and plays a little tug.
Taking a break on the picnic table. (Good thing we never actually use it to eat on!)
Jenny doing her muppet impersonation and Missy looking annoyed.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Heads up, photos and seminar info

OK I am packing alot of info in this post. Sorry for the length. I am slightly behind with news and photos. Trying like mad to keep up!

It seems Oprah will be tackling the subject on the evils of puppymills on her Friday show. I will be sure to watch. It is good that she is doing the show, she has a large following and will reach MANY people. However I have a few reservations from the woman who bought her 3 sibling white goldens from a backyard possibly high volume breeder. I hope someone on her staff did some research and that she doesn't paint all breeders as the bad guys now. It should be interesting to watch.

For a great look at the myth of AKC papers check out this well written post from Underdogged:

And here is Jake this week. He is wearing his halti in the photos.

We are now training the dogs to accept head halters as well as no pull harnesses during their lessons. (along with working them in a regular flat nylon collar) This way, should the new home NOT keep up with the dogs training, they still have options to ensure the dog is able to be exercised. We also taught him how to use the drinking fountain for water breaks.

And this is a photo essay of Orli, the fabulous store dog at The Loyal Biscuit Company. Notice the bandages on her head. She had a bit of a run in with one of the cats and it gave her a boo boo.

Geez lady are you still here? (She is elegant and she knows it!)

The seminar with Dr. Nicholas Dodman was fabulous and I learned some excellent information. I did introduce myself to him since we write on the same blog. ( Then I got to go have dinner with another trainer I had only previously known through the internet, Nancy of A Dogs Life Blog. (Because listening to 6 plus hours of dog behavior stuff just wasn't quite enough for one day.) It is always fun to meet people face to face. My next planned trek is going to be back to Happy Tails in June for a pitbull informational day with Drayton Michaels of He also writes for Dog Star Daily. He is working on a documentary about pitbulls called "Judging the Innocent" that I am very excited about. We need information out there to educate people about the breed as much as possible. For more information about the info day and seminars that Happy Tails will be having go to their website at: