Thursday, December 30, 2010
This is Jenny snubbing her nose at said hackers.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Getting your dogs attention is the first step in building your foundation to having a really reliable recall and for focus work later if needed. To accomplish this the first thing I do is teach the dog that its' name is valuable. When I say the dogs name "Fido" and they look at me I praise them verbally. "Good dog!" A happy tone of voice is important for verbal praise. Otherwise it has no meaning to the dog. If the dog comes over to me I will also add physical praise like petting and stroking if they like it. Note: not all dogs like to be handled, some are touch sensitive. Skip petting for a touch sensitive dog. Do not pet your dog on the top of it's head. Most dogs dislike this form of petting. (Watch your dog closely when you do this, do they pull away or duck? If so they are trying to avoid it.) I will also have a happy facial expression whenever I praise a dog. Remember body language is our dogs first language so they learn to read our body and facial expressions very quickly. If they come over I might also add play and/or a food reward. Our goal is to build a positive association to their name and our contact with them.
A review about using praise ~ The 5 most commons ways we can praise our dogs are:
1) verbally - in a happy tone
2) physically - if they like being touched
3) by smiling - communication in language they understand
4) engaging in play - fetch, tug, games they enjoy
5) using food rewards - high value treats
Because we can't call a dog to us unless they are paying attention we need to teach the attention first. We cannot guarantee we have that attention unless they are physically looking at us. Even then remember that we are competing with things we don't smell or hear so we may not have 100% of their attention, especially if we are outside. If they are sniffing something or looking at something else they are not trying to ignore you. Most times they are just focused on what has their attention and they don't hear us. Saying the dogs name and rewarding them for looking at us is the start of building great focus.
The next step is teaching the dog what the word "come" actually means to us. Now because I want "come" to always mean come to me and sit I teach it that way. If you want the dog to just come closer use a different word. Example: I use "let's go" to mean come along with me. One of the most important things to remember when using the word/cue "come" is to never use it for anything the dog considers a negative reason. For instance if they hate getting a bath and you call them to you and then stick them in the tub you will poison that cue. They will pause the next time you call them because you've used it with a negative association to them. For this reason I also use a completely different word for let's go back into the house or playtime is over. (sidenote tip: to get dogs to want to come back into the house or car toss some well loved treats and/or a favorite toy on the floor as you go out so as soon as the dog walks back into the house or car they get magically rewarded.)
You can teach your recall in a few ways, this is just one of them. I tend to begin with lure reward training especially if the dog hasn't learned his name means anything. Put the treat in front of the dogs nose and back away from them a few steps pulling the treat in front of your legs so they target their nose on it. AS they are coming towards you say the cue word "come". The reason you say the word as they are doing it is to pair the word with the action for the dog. Don't repeat your cue. When the dog gets to the treat simply raise it slightly back over the dogs head so they sit. You can also say the word sit AS they are sitting. Say "yes", your verbal marker (or click) and give the treat after they sit. My hand action pulling the treat towards me, and pulling the treat up, also become hand signals later for the commands. (Lure reward training is also excellent to use with deaf dogs. Use a thumbs up signal for your reward marker signal.)
If you teach your dog its' name has meaning you will notice the dog starts coming to you before you say the actual cue word "come". It can become it's own pre-recall command so make sure you separate the name from the come command with a few seconds. Otherwise "Fido come" becomes the command which isn't the goal because then when you say the word "come" alone they may not understand what you want. "Fido" should mean look at me so you can pair it with other things later, not just for the recall. Whenever my dogs come to me I always reward them in some way. EVERY time. This keeps the recall worthwhile to them. Remember that dogs are very much "What's in it for me" creatures. Rewarding them also establishes that coming to me gets them good things and therefore makes the recall a positive association. Most people have problems getting a dog to come when called because they try calling them when the dog is engaged in a more fun behavior. If we make the recall more fun than everything else that problem will resolve.
Now I know some clicker trainers prefer to get the dog doing a behavior reliably before they name it for the dog. This is also ok as long as everyone understands what they need to do to make that work. I find some people have a hard time not speaking to their dogs so I think this way accommodates that issue. There are some things I also teach before naming and putting on a cue, this just isn't one of them. (for me)
Trouble shooting: If your dog doesn't look at you when you say its name add sound. Clap your hands or make kissing noises. Say the name happily when they do finally look. Shake a toy when they look. Make them want to come to you. Whatever you do do NOT get annoyed and yell at them. Remember we are making positive associations. Practice inside first where there are fewer distractions. When moving your recall practice outside the house start out closer to the dog to be sure you can get their attention. Increase your distance over time. Do NOT say come until the dog is looking at you and on its way towards you. Make sure you remember to have them sit when they get to you. Don't repeat your cue "come" but you can make other noises to encourage forward movement. Keep practice sessions short so they stay fun.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
And urine crystals. With some bacteria and red blood cells thrown in for fun.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Pedigree Dogs Exposed - The Blog: Pugs. Let's face it.
I'm glad to see someone else has figured it out! Is it me or does one of those German pugs look like our Jenny?
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Just look at those tiny paws!
Friday, December 3, 2010
This pup believe it or not is being treated for parvo. They are helping him. (or her) I am unsure why the vets there think this is an appropriate handing method for a 4 month old puppy. I'm also sure he'll be thrilled to go to a vet in the future. If this is help I'm afraid to see what they consider cruel or harsh. This photo makes my heart ache.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
What do you think? Yea or nay? (You can also vote on my K-9 Solutions facebook page. Go to my profile photos and vote for version # 1 or #2. )
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Please pass this information on. I can't imagine the fear the poor owners are experiencing right now. Let's try to help get them all home safe.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
He is almost all grown up. Check out how handsome he is now.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I read this article recently and it sparked a conversation on facebook when I shared the link. The frustrating part of it is that so many people seem to think because Michael Vick served time for the crimes he committed that it means we should move on and forget about it. We can't control what he is doing now and he has the right to make a living. Because he paid his debt to society. Yeah right. I cannot disagree more. He served time in jail yes. Paid his debt to society? I think not. When there are victims still left living with the memories of what he did to them the debt will never be repaid.
I like the line in the article: "Cruelty to animals isn't something somebody does, it's something somebody is." This is exactly why dog lovers will always hate this man. Let's remember that he LAUGHED while he killed and tortured dogs. (by strangling, drowning and electrocutions) And not just 1 or 2 dogs either, as if that mattered, but repeatedly. He admitted it! I also think this of some other criminals as well. Do child molesters and rapists ever really pay their debt? They serve time and hopefully it is a punishment that makes them think twice about doing it again. But I doubt their victims would agree that anything has been paid. They live with that trauma forever. I have a problem with anyone who hurts defenseless people and animals. Would you trust someone who did that? What does that say about their character?
Does he have the right to work? Sure, he can pump gas or flip burgers. Should he be allowed to become a role model for others playing football? I find that sickening. If anything he is an example of having enough money or talent means if you get caught doing something horrendous it won't impact your life very much. You can still become a super star and make oodles of money. Shame on the NFL for not having a morals clause. They have only proven that the all mighty dollar is the bottom line for them. People who are in the public eye SHOULD be held to a higher standard, at least in my world. Because they are watched and emulated whether they should be or not.
Would I feel differently if he stood up and took responsibility for his actions? If he volunteered his free time at a local shelter to help out? (that was not court ordered) If he voluntarily pledged a percentage of his "earnings" to other former fighting dogs? Maybe. If it were done with sincerity I might consider it. I haven't seen any of that yet and I'm not holding my breath.
The whole topic makes me angry and sad. Angry because it is an example of how unfair life can be. That a monster is worshiped by some merely for having talent at a sport. Sad because there are still thousands of fighting and bait dogs still out there living horrific lives daily. Put yourself in their shoes and just imagine that kind of life for a few minutes.
Michael Vick is an example of how celebrity gets you a pass and how sorely lacking our society is when it comes to ethics.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
In case you can't read the text it says: Listed as missing for three days during front line action at Guam, Peppy, a Marine dog made his way back to camp and was treated for a bullet wound in his head. His handler's face is a study of emotion as he comforts his four-footed pal.
There is a wonderful book with the title Always Faithful that is about the Marine Dogs of WW2 and talks more about dogs like the one above. For those that don't know Semper Fidelis is latin for Always Faithful and is the motto of the Marine Corps.
And this is one of my favorite cartoons saved from my own time in.
Text: "He said I was the most intelligent girl he'd ever met, and that was the last I ever saw of him."
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Quite awhile ago I mentioned how I wanted to teach Jenny a trick that had her filing down her own nails. Here is some video of one of our training sessions. This video ends when she got distracted by a treat that fell under the stove. There is sandpaper glued to the board and no it isn't bothering her paws. She is holding them so that she is scraping just the nails and not her paw pads.
I also now have a dremel I have been working on getting her used to. I'm finding the noise and vibration of it doesn't seem to phase her at all. It's the taking her paw in my hand that presents the problem. We will need to concentrate on that for a spell. The tricky part of that is I need to make sure she differentiates between a flat hand held vertically in front of her face means touch with her nose and the hand held flat horizontally to the floor means give me her paw. Any mix up means she will be slapping me in the ring for our stand exercise. This is just one example of why clarity in hand signals is important.
In other news we got our certificate in the mail today for our APDT Rally Level 1 title and our Award of Excellence. She is officially Prone's that's my girl RL1 AOE! Yay Jenny!
Approximately 1.2% of Pug dogs die of necrotizing meningoencephalitis (NME), also known as Pug dog encephalitis (PDE). NME is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that is usually progressive and fatal. Symptoms of NME include seizures, depression, ataxia, abnormal gait and blindness (1). Female, fawn-colored Pug Dogs younger than 7 years of age are more apt to develop NME than older, male and non-fawn colored individuals (2). Recent research has revealed that susceptibility to NME is associated with the dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) region of dog chromosome 12 (3). The association is at or near the region containing the DLA class II genes. Dogs that have two identical copies of the NME associated markers in this region, have an observed risk (OR) of 12.75 for NME in their lifetime over Pugs that have only one or no copies of these markers (OR 0-1.08).
Here is the original site:
And here is the link to purchase a test kit.
Add this to the list of things that should be checked before breeding a pug. At least in the world according to me.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Wanna see a real "alpha roll"?
And here is a video of an alpha roll between 2 dogs.
For a more in depth explanation of alpha rolling see this post. It's hard to believe that people are still using this method on their dogs in the name of training. It's bunk. Spread the word.
(Hat tip to Retrieverman for sharing the wolf video.)
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Unfortunately dogs don't always stay on the safe parts of trails. Thank you Dr. Heather for the information. Hopefully you'll never need to use the info. Please pass this on so it can help others too.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
So even though it is for different reasons they both need the distraction work. This is just one important skill that will help them when they get adopted into a home. No one wants a dog that goes crazy when they pass another dog during their walks together.
They both did well and by the end of the session were lying down with Jack walking past them and vice versa. It will take more sessions with multiple dogs for this to be something they generalize to all other dogs. How the other dog acts towards them will also come into play. I brought Jack because he is non-confrontational and friendly towards other dogs so his body language is appropriate.
If you bring a dog that is threatening towards Gordon for instance he would take much longer to calm down. He would also be less likely to trust what the other dog was doing. I also recommend using the BAT behavior program for dogs that are fearful towards other dogs approaching. It basically teaches the dog that you are listening to them and rewarding them for not getting reactive with a functional reward in that moment. This also helps build the dogs trust in you as the handler.
As always most training is about learning how to communicate with each other. I'm pretty lucky to have Jack as my helper. I'm sure he appreciates the extra treats he gets paid for the work.
(Yes he is tethered in the above photos so I can better direct the handlers but prevent any unwanted contact. I also walked him around on leash as well.)
Saturday, October 30, 2010
It is rubbish. Well let me back up a bit, part of it is true. Height does equal status in dog language for some dogs. Let's never forget all dogs are individuals. And behavior is also very contextual. However his description that carrying small dogs explains why they act stupid towards larger dogs in a dog park setting is just completely incorrect. Smaller dogs go after bigger dogs for several reasons. Fear defensiveness, prey drive, resource guarding, or simple lack of good social skills are just a few of them. The reason they think they can do it has nothing to do with feeling superior because they get carried in their owners arms outside of the dog park. The reasons they react to other dogs doesn't matter in order to answer this question however. They act like dogs because:
A) Some dogs let them get away with it. You see smaller dogs driving bigger dogs away from things all the time. It is about the relationship between the dogs, and social skills of both dogs involved that determines the larger dogs reaction to the smaller dog. No dog purposely does something that doesn't work for them or that they don't think will work for them in some way. Small dog bullies/warns off bigger dog and big dog backs off? That's called reinforcement of the behavior. See it worked! Also remember that a dog in chase/prey drive mode isn't thinking. That dog is in a reactive mode and just acts. (Think about the dogs that get quilled by porcupines repeatedly. The curious thinking dog learns from 1 altercation. The reactive dog tries to grab it every time.)
B) Dogs have been domesticated. This means the chip in their head that tells them "I am outmatched by this dog and he could kill me so I better be careful." doesn't exist. It exists in wolves because fighting is considered to expensive of a behavior and they know that. Fighting means a risk of injury and injury can mean death in the wild. They are not domesticated. Even a tame wolf is not domesticated. Domestication is a process that takes generations to achieve. When dogs fight we step in to save them and/or get them medical help when they need it. We have taken the "survival of the fittest" instinct out of dogs. This is why size doesn't matter to them.
This theory of his is right up there with our president is a bad leader because he lets his dog walk in front of him. ~ sigh ~ Would it kill the man to do some actual dog behavior research instead of making stuff up as he goes along??
Hmmm puppies get carried around a lot. I wonder if this makes them feel superior to us since we are the ones carrying them. OK that is a joke people. I just want to make that clear before someone thinks THAT is a valid issue to consider as a problem! Don't laugh, someone somewhere might think it's true! Scary thought isn't it?
Photo above by Wendy Buretta
Monday, October 25, 2010
Roxy is making strides. She is getting more social every day. Large crowds of people still make her nervous and she prefers to be the one initiating contact with people she doesn't know well. We've found that she likes other dogs alot and loosens up when one is around. We'll probably try to find her a home with another dog for that reason. Here she is practicing her "sit pretty" trick.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
She had to come in to get her sutures removed from the c-section she needed. Not a surprise since daddy is a lab mix. She went into labor at night and we weren't on call so we missed the event. Mama and babies are doing great so far!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Unfortunately this was the best photo I got from today. I'd say I need a new camera but that would be a lie. It's all just lack of talent. Good thing I have such a great subject to photograph. It makes up for it a little bit.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
The following video is a great example of people not understanding dog communication. She thinks the dog is "Purring"! What do you think?
The vocalization is growling. Growling means either go away from me, I am uncomfortable with this or stop doing that. This combined with the body language and facial expression of the dog shows you it is growling and is NOT a happy sound. He means it. The sad part is that when the dog finally bites her she will think he "snapped" with no warning and for no reason. This poor dog is TRYING his best to communicate here!
Yes some dogs can have happy vocalization sounds in play. Unfortunately this is not one of them.
The other scary part is that she says she is a foster home. I would be very fearful of her qualifications is she can't even recognise growling. Especially in such a large and powerful breed. Do you want her chose which home this dog should go to? I bet she would place him with children who love to hug dogs. Many dogs dislike hugging from strangers. It is obvious that this one is no exception.
I wonder if anyone temperament tested this dog at all before putting him in this foster home. I know it's not always the perfect test of a dog but it can be a start for some. This behavior might have come out in a SAFER test.
I feel sorry for this dog. He could end up dead all because someone didn't listen to him. Hopefully he doesn't hurt someone to badly before they figure it out.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Back when we decided to add a pug to our family I tried finding what I consider a reputable breeder. To me this means someone that does health testing to make sure they are breeding the healthiest dogs possible. To me that's part of improving a breed which ideally is why anyone is breeding dogs in the first place, not to make a buck.
I struck out but didn't think about it to much at the time. Maybe I couldn't find one because not enough of them were online. (how I do many searches) Maybe it was because I looked in a limited area. I may have only looked on the east coast at the time. I don't remember specifically. So because I couldn't find a breeder that met my standard I went to rescue instead. It didn't take long before Jenny was on her way to us thanks to a wonderful woman in the group named Amy.
I had no idea at the time this would spark a new obsession for me. Well maybe obsession isn't the right word, but something certainly happened to me. I never expected to become so enamored of pugs. I was all about akitas and bulldogs at that point. A pug was neither of those. (I have a theory involving pugs actually being aliens and sucking out parts of our brains causing us to fall under their spell. Remember Frank in MIB? Yeah, that wasn't special effects and make up. But keep that under your hat for now. We don't want them to know that we are on to them!)
Anyways, I did some digging recently and found a serious lack of health testing for pugs in general. After going through many websites and looking at many show breeders sites, I couldn't find even ONE pug breeder doing any health testing. Zip. One person said their dogs were healthy but that was the only time I even saw the word health mentioned on a breeders site. The national breed club website lists health concerns in the breed but doesn't list which tests they suggest for their breeders, nor what tests a pug buyer should ask about. It was starting to really freak me out. I mean, obviously this breed has issues! Some can't breathe well, their eyes can pop out of their sockets, and they have a 63% chance of hip dysplasia. (second only to bulldogs)
Tonight while looking into health testing for other breeds for comparison, (like frenchies and other brachycephalic breeds) I stumbled across this site: http://caninehealthinfo.org . I was pleasantly surprised to see some pugs listed as having been tested. (hips, eyes, patellas and legg-perthes) Then I looked closer. There were only 110 dogs listed which if you think about it isn't very many. I mean consider how popular this breed is and the amount of pugs in rescue and it is a sad statement on the lack of health testing overall. You can whittle that down a little more because some of those dogs are owned by the same breeder. (21 breeders by my count based on kennel names) Only 25 of all of the dogs were tested in the year 2000 or later, and the most recent was 2008. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to connect those dots.
For years I have told people looking for a dog or puppy from a breeder to make sure they go to a reputable breeder. Look for those that show their dogs I said. They are making sure their breed meets the standard and not just throwing two purebreds together to make a buck. Then look for the ones doing health testing out of that group. (because not all of those who show are doing the testing as I have found out) Well it certainly looks like there aren't very many reputable breeders by that test in pugs!
How does this happen?? Where are their standards?
Aside from the tests listed on the canine health site there are a few other things to consider checking in the pug breed. Can they breathe normally? Are their nostrils large enough for them to get enough air into their lungs? Yes they may have been bred originally to just be our companions but they need to be able to walk outside without fainting from lack of oxygen. It would also be nice to be able to take our companions for an actual walk. If a dog needs surgery to correct small nostrils it shouldn't be used in a breeding program.
Does the soft palate interfere with their breathing? To long and it can cause the dog to gasp or snore alot. This can be fixed surgically but can be expensive and not all vets can do the procedure. Is the trachea a good size to allow airflow? These can be to small in some bracycephalic breeds. If those are not a good size to allow the dog to function, and yes they can be checked, then that dog should not be in a breeding program.
Does the dog have seizures? Allergies? Thyroid problems? Dogs in the pedigree that were affected by encephalitis? Is it prone to dry eye, born with entropion, have dogs in the line with proptosis? (This is when those bulgy eyes pop out of their sockets. This can happen if the dog pulls to hard on its collar with some pugs.) Personally I don't think bulging eyes should be a normal aspect of this breed. If your pug can't close it's eyes all the way when asleep that is a problem.
Seems simple right? If your dog has a defect then don't breed it and possibly pass those defects on to the puppies. If I were a pug breeder I would check ALL these things before breeding. Of course I would also breed pugs with some nose to them so I wouldn't meet my own test of breeding to the standard. At least the standard that looks popular in the show ring. But for me if you don't breed for health first I don't see the point. Some would argue that pugs aren't a healthy breed because they are bracycephalic. I disagree. Living with an active pug myself I can attest that some can be quite healthy. While we do battle allergies at this point she is a pug that seems pretty sturdy in the other departments. (knock on wood) And the pugs in those old photos show a pretty normal looking dog that we have really messed up over time. Maybe stepping back a few years wouldn't be such a bad thing.