Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stolen show dogs in CA, Please pass on!

ALERT!!! 4 show dogs were stolen today 11/30/10 including the one shown above from the parking lot of Motel 6 in Bellflower CA. 2 Akitas and 2 corgis.
FMI: http://akitasdreamhi.com/StolenDogs.html
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

A surprise visitor

Remember this sweet face? His name is Jack and he went though the K-9 Corrections program with his sister Patty back in the spring. He came for a surprise visit today.

He is almost all grown up. Check out how handsome he is now.

Here is another photo of him partway through the program.

And another of him now. He got a lot bigger than we expected he would. More photos and videos of him from today can be seen on our facebook page. Go take a peek. (Does anyone else think he looks like a borzoi in the face?)

I managed to keep his pending visit a secret from the handlers and let me tell you it was NOT easy. It was a great surprise and nice for them to see how well he turned out. He recognised his handler before Joe recognised him and wooed at him. It was so cute! It was a great day and I think everyone was very excited to see Jack again. I'm so glad he got such a great home and is doing so well. Score one for us!

Friday, November 19, 2010

You had me at woof

I know they say don't judge a book by its cover but..........

how could anyone resist this face? Must. Read. Now.

(Updated 11/20/10 Bought on my Kindle. Read in one sitting of about 3.5 hours. Made me laugh out loud and cry. Loved it. Just saying.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NFL = Epic Fail

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.

Whoa momma!

Congrats to our friends at Weskeag Kennels and momma Cassi on her whelping 11 healthy puppers. (yes you read that right ELEVEN!) Now that is alot of puppy breath!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Link share tuesday

Just a few links that are floating around facebook these days I thought I would share. First is an interview with Karen Delise. She wrote the fabulous book called "The pitbull placebo". Unfortunately some people still don't get that BSL simply doesn't work.
The next is an article by Jean Donaldson asking "Are dogs really pack animals"?
Then a look at the results of a study that looks at the questionable training techniques as seen on tv.
And to finish on a happier note check out the story of how they made the amazing video "OK Go" by the White Knuckles.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Puppymill rescue

Looking for a pug? Consider rescue! Why? To put puppy millers out of business!

Green Mountain Pug Rescue took in the above 20 pugs recently. They were being sold by a puppymiller because they passed a law in that state to limit the number of dogs a "kennel" can have. Sadly they can still have up to 50 dogs. They sold 10 others to another "breeder". Fortunately this group was taken by rescue so they will all be altered and adopted into homes. Yes rescue did give money to the "breeder" in order to get the dog released to them. It is a tricky thing. Do you let them get sold to another breeder or step in and pay a fee to keep them out of a breeders hands? At least this way they get taken out of the cages they lived in to go in a real home and be normal dogs. Plus they aren't being bred over and over again to be used as a cash crop.
How sad is it that there are people using dogs in that way to make money? The sadder part to me is that clearly people are still buying dogs from pet stores. How else can you explain why a breeder would have so many dogs for their "business"? If they weren't making money on the dogs they wouldn't have them. They only feed as many as they can support in order to make a profit after all. It's not rocket science people. If you buy from a pet store you are keeping this kind of person in business. You are contributing to dogs living in cages instead of cuddling on a couch and running on grass. Is that any kind of life for a dog? Don't do it. Adopt from rescue instead.
Bravo to GMPR for stepping up to give these dogs a better life. For more photos and videos of the pugs and their rescue story check out their Facebook Page.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Semper Fidelis!

In honor of todays 235th United States Marine Corps birthday (and tomorrows celebration of Veteran's day) I share the following:

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."
I served as a jet mechanic on A4 Skyhawks in seatshop and was also a watchstander on Marine Security Guard duty at embassies overseas. May we never forget those that didn't get to come home from their tour of service in all branches of the service.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Some shaping fun

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!

Making progress ~ pug health news

Remember a few posts back when I was complaining about the lack of health testing in pugs by pug breeders? Well check this out. There is now a test to see what pugs may be carriers of the gene that causes pug dog encephalitis. From the UCDavis website:

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

Alpha Rolling in Wolves and Dogs

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

If you hike in the woods, please watch this

How to open a coyote leg hold trap.

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

Wordless Wednesday

Jack loves hunting season!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More APDT Rally fun

So Sunday Jenny and I went to another APDT Rally trial at Wag It in Lincolnville. I think we did pretty good. I entered 3 level 1 trials on the road to our rally level 1 excellent title. I figured this would give me extra practice at not getting nervous while I wait to go into the ring before we start trying for our level 2 title. It is only the 4th time we have done a Rally event if you count the AKC match. (I only enter one day of most two day events due to my work schedule and the prison training schedule.)
In trial 1 Jenny was distracted and we scored a 197. Trial 2 wasn't much different and we scored a 198. Trial 3 was the last one of the day and I was pretty tired by then. I was to tired at that point for any nerves so maybe that is why we did better and scored a 206 to get a 3rd place ribbon. So that makes 3 qualifying scores towards the 10 we need. Yay for Jenny!
I have identified a couple of problems however:
One is that I think my hand signals must be slightly different in the ring than out of it. I say that because when I warm her up or practice she does the exercises with no hesitation. Yet those same exercises in the ring has her looking at me like she didn't understand the cue. Then we end up retrying the station. I guess I need to get more video both in and out of the ring to see if I can figure out exactly what it is I am doing differently.
The other is that I am becoming to competitive! Not with any of the other teams but with myself. When I get a score I think could have been better I find that I am thinking to much about it. "We can do better than that!" This is supposed to just be fun for us. Something Jenny and I get to do together to show our skills and a chance to socialize with other dog lovers. It is weird because I don't really consider myself a competitive person. I guess the good thing is that it isn't directed at anyone else. I love watching others so I can cheer them on and learn stuff from their runs. And it is just plain entertaining to watch dogs have fun with their people. I also really love that in Rally everyone else is the same way. The camaraderie in the sport is fabulous! And to be honest it is probably part of what keeps me going back for more. It's not like I need to compete in shows after all.
I need to stop focusing on high scores and be happy when we get a qualifying score. Period. I think maybe it is because I am a dog trainer. Maybe I'm holding myself to a high standard because I worry how it will look to others. "She's a dog trainer, her dog should get great scores." Which is silly because many of the exhibitors are also dog trainers and I don't think that about their scores at all. (so in theory they probably don't care about my scores either) I guess I need to work on that. But then again maybe it's a good thing. I mean striving to do better isn't all bad is it? (OK I just re-read what I wrote and think I am a greedy idiot. Those are pretty good scores!)
Here she is in between classes relaxing. She doesn't like being alone in the car so I try to give her many breaks and spend time with her frequently. For me part of showing is about spending time with your dog after all. I tried putting her into the soft crate thinking she would be warmer in the smaller space. I draped a blanket over the back of it to keep body heat in as well. When I came out to check her I found her stuck between the window I put it in front of (so she could see where I went) and the crate. Hmmm what's wrong with that picture? Luckily it looks fixable as she only pulled the door out of the zipper. Even if I have to sew that door shut it has a top loading door as well. Lesson learned: use metal fold up crates when leaving her unattended in the future.
I think we will start practicing for level 2 more so we can enter level 1 and 2 at trials. This will keep us busier and also works towards our ARCH title. (I think.) FMI on APDT Rally go to www.apdt.com and click on the Rally link. I'm still learning as I go.
And how cute is this? You can find your own at www.magneticpedigrees.com
The photo: Honestly, she either looks irritated, grumpy, or scared in most of the photos I take of her. She is so serious all the time. At this point I'm not sure she has a happy face!

Distraction work

I wrote this post Saturday afternoon and then forgot to post it because the other topic took over my head and insisted it be presented first. So just pretend it's Saturday night while you read this.
Today Jack got to come help me work at the prison. He did great. Roxy and Gordon made progress in learning how to keep focus on their handlers around a distraction. The distraction being Jack of course.
Gordon and Roxy are distracted by Jack for completely different reasons. Roxy loves other dogs and wants to play with them all. She needs to learn she won't always get to do that. Not all other dogs will want to say hello to her after all. Gordon on the other hand sometimes gets intimidated by other dogs and tries to drive them away with bullying. So for him he needs to learn to be more comfortable when one is around. Using food for classical conditioning and not pushing him beyond his social threshold is important in the beginning.

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.)