Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The ball is rolling

Today I had a meeting with the new warden (and others) about getting the Canine Corrections program back up and running. It has been on hiatus for various reasons. The meeting went very well. So well that they had me go over to the shelter and bring a dog back over to hobnob with the prisoners to get interest peaked for the handler positions. We have put 7 dogs through the program in the past one at a time. This time around they want one dog for each unit. (2 units) I am very excited. The more dogs we can get over there the better.
This is Duke. He is a 4 year old bull mastiff. He was the dog I took over since he has a lot of wow factor. (one of his eyes has an injury that is being treated hence the odd look) He is very sweet and quite goofy. He did great with his little field trip. Thankfully he loves to ride.

He came to the shelter with his housemate Daisy seen below. Their owners were moving and couldn't bring them along. The staff at the prison really loved Duke and would love to have him and Daisy to start the program. They certainly could use the training, especially on loose leash walking.
It was such a nice day that after I brought Duke back I took Jenny out for a tracking training run. (44 whole degrees!) She did great. I need to start ageing the tracks for her now. This was my first time tracking when there has been snow on the ground. I admit it, I am a wuss and hate to be cold. Of course she isn't exactly a fan of the cold or deep snow either so it works for both of us to avoid it. This is her after our last track playing with the glove. I love that she is a good tracker. She has a fabulous nose. Tho I have to say once in awhile it has it's downside. Last night my husband was sharing some cheeze its with the dogs. Well one apparently ended up under the couch. I didn't see it go under and neither did the dogs. But a few minutes after he was done sharing, Jenny picked up the scent and started whining and trying to get under the couch to get at something. I knew it had to be food, she does that when treats fall out of her crate too. She simply will not give up. She'll try everything she can to get the fallen treat and when that fails she takes up her station and stares intently at the area and occasionally whines in frustration. Eventually one of us notices and helps her out. I know we will never have an ant problem since Jenny tracks down any hint of a crumb in this house.
She is also the dog that can get ANYTHING out of a Kong. I have taken to stuffing them with a hard biscuit I wedge in it and then add peanut butter and freezing. She has learned bouncing it or chewing the outside to break up the cookie works eventually and goes for broke to get the job done. Food is definitely her currency. That sounds like it would be ideal for training purposes but for her it can mean she gets overstimulated by it. Instead of thinking about what she is supposed to do she gets to focused on the presence of the food. Timing is very important as is slowing her down. It's a good thing I love a challenge.

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