Tuesday, August 31, 2010
OK so just call me stupid. As I mentioned I am entered in an APDT rally on September 18th. (actually 3 trials on one day) Jenny and I only need 1 more qualifying score to get our APDT rally level 1 title. That's very cool. I entered all 3 because I thought once we got that title I'd continue in level 1 to go for my rally level 1 excellent title. Well it turns out that to go for that specific title you need to get qualifying scores in both a level 1 and level 2 at the same trial. I am not sure of all the exact details (I need to go read more on the APDT website.) but this means I would need to move up to the next level on the 18th if we get that level 1 qualifying score.
Umm have I mentioned we don't know those signs yet? Did you know that level has a jump in it? And heeling off leash around bowls with FOOD in them??? My husband laughed when I told him about this exercise. He thinks we don't have a chance in hell passing this one. It is definitely going to be a challenge given her fabulous nose and predilection for anything edible. The off leash part of level 2 shouldn't be an issue thankfully. (aside from the food exercise) She has a beautiful heel.
~sigh~ Well I know we will have fun but I admit I am probably going to be stressing out trying to get all this practice in before the trial. It's all my fault. I was unprepared and made assumptions that were wrong. The good part is that Jenny loves to train, AND I have a jump we can practice with. That helps alot. I also managed to download all the signs today. I just need to go get some cardstock and page protectors so I can add them to my binder.
This may be an epic fail on my part. I need to learn and teach 18 new signs not counting the 6 bonus signs. Thankfully some of them are a variation on signs we already know. Let this be a lesson to others to read all of the rules BEFORE you enter a trial. Know what you are supposed to be doing before you are supposed to be doing it.
Methinks the video from this might be a doozy! VBG
Monday, August 30, 2010
This is his leg one week out of the splint. It did a number on the fur as you can see. He's in good spirits though. I will be doing a training session with his new person at the time of pickup so I can show him what Cooper knows and how we taught it to him. He is retired and plans on taking him with him as much as possible on his daily travels. I think Cooper deserves a home where he gets a lot of individual attention. I do think he will miss his handlers, but as dogs can do he will adjust. I know he will be missed by us too.
I wish I knew the story of who left him at the shelter and why. My first reaction was disgust that someone would dump a dog in an outside pen after hours leaving us no history. Upon more thought however it is possible a good samaritan put him there. And even if it was an owner at least they didn't let him loose to fend for himself in the woods. Landing at the shelter turned out to be a very good deal for our sweet and shy Cooper.
If someone left him there to save him I wish I could let them know they did a great thing. If it were an owner, I hope it was because they couldn't keep him so found a better place for him, not that they didn't want to be bothered with him. If it was someone who couldn't be bothered, wow did someone seriously miss the boat on a great dog. He was rough around his edges when we got him but he sure smoothed out nicely.
I just love a happy ending.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
While I am happy to pass on the info that was in it, I am seriously PO'd that someone would try to take credit for work they didn't do themselves. Seriously. I wonder now how many training articles are also on other sites. I really don't mind sharing my stuff, I think it is good and worthy of sharing especially if it helps more dogs, but I do expect credit be given for my work and thoughts.
And for you "commenters" that are really trolling for people to hit your site give it up. If you do manage to get past moderation I can usually spot you later and you will be deleted. It's slimy. Get a real job or here's an idea, do your own work!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Loyalty, affability, gentleness, and strength – Fritz Spencer, author of "Maine should take the lead on the prohibition of vicious dogs," believes these are the finest canine attributes and ones that we should strive to protect as responsible citizens. I also value those wonderful canine qualities and that is why I own a pit bull. In 2008 I co-founded the group Southern Maine Pit Bulls (SOME Pit!) to improve the lives of pit bull type dogs here in our community. Unlike Mr. Spencer, I spend every day surrounded by pit bulls (I have all my fingers and toes, if you're wondering) and it is heart breaking and frustrating to read un-informed, prejudicial views such as the one published today in the Press Herald.
Mr. Spencer has crafted a sensational, myth-based opinion piece in support of banning three breeds, the "pit bull", Rottweiler, and the Presa Canario here in Maine, despite there having been only two dog related fatalities in our state in the last 45 years. I can't be sure where Mr. Spencer found his dog bite statistics (since he failed to quote a source), but if he is basing his opinion on the oft-cited Center for Disease Control study of fatal dog attacks, he might like to know that the CDC strongly recommends against breed-specific laws, noting that data collection related to bites by breed is plagued with potential sources of error, such as the common misidentification of breeds. But before we discuss the larger problems of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), let's do some myth busting.
First we can debunk the ridiculous notion that pit bulls attack with, as Mr. Spencer said, the "force of a shark." Pit bulls have been proven, in a test by Dr. Brady Barr of National Geographic, to have a bite pressure that is the same as other large dog breeds –
approximately 320 pressure per square inch (psi). To put that in perspective for your readers, human beings bite with approximate 120 psi and a crocodile with approx 2,500 psi. Pit bull type dogs are strong, but not stronger than other dogs of their size, and they do not have locking jaws. They are anatomically the same as all other dogs. If they weren't they couldn't be classified as canines.
Spencer also states, with no authority, that pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Presas are "vicious by nature." In contrast, the American Temperament Test Society, an independent group, reports that the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Staffordshire Terrier (the three breeds lumped together under the generic term "pit bull") consistently score as high as Golden Retrievers in their yearly assessments. They are steady and loving companions that, if temperamentally sound, are proven to show no aggression towards humans. If Mr. Spencer would like to learn more about pit bull type dogs, he's welcome to attend one of our free Pit Bull 101 for the Public Seminars where we break down myths just like the ones he's perpetuating, with actual facts.
Myth busting aside, what proponents of BSL choose not to discuss, because they focus on inflammatory falsehoods and unreliable bite statistics, is what actually makes a dog dangerous. Any dog of any breed can become dangerous in the hands of an irresponsible owner. These dog owners are careless, reckless, abusive, and not law abiding and they will continue to own what ever type of breed they choose – banned or not. If you take away their dogs, they will move on to another breed and continue to create dangerous dogs. We cannot ban our way out of that problem.
What needs to be recognized is that dogs (of all breeds) that are typically involved in attacks are usually allowed to run loose or are chained around the clock, they do not receive training or vet care, are bred relentlessly, are intact, and poorly socialized. They are not pet dogs. According the American Veterinary Medical Association, three quarters of all dog bites involve intact male dogs and the overwhelming majority of dog bites involved chained dogs. It seems obvious that the real culprit here it the human chaining the dog, not the actual dog.
What makes communities safer are not breed specific laws, but focusing on enforcing dangerous dog laws, anti-tethering rules, and creating affordable spay/neuter options. Additionally, enforcing dog license laws, leash laws, animal fighting laws, and laws that require guardians of all dog breeds to control their pets are proven to reduce dog bites and make communities safer. By enforcing these laws in a consistent manner, reckless owners are caught before their dogs are put in a situation where they could potentially harm a person.
Mr. Spencer points out a few locations that are implementing breed specific legislation and urges Maine to do the same. He conveniently left out cities like Denver where there has been a breed ban for more than two decades at a huge cost to its tax payers, but its citizens continue to suffer a higher rate of hospitalization for dog bite injury than Colorado's breed-neutral counties. Across the pond, the United Kingdom, after almost 20 years of BSL, reports that serious incidents involving dogs have continued to increase. Progressive countries like Italy and Denmark have repealed their BSL in recent years because there has been no decrease in dog bites despite the bans. Perhaps Mr. Spencer would not like your readers to know that in Council Bluffs, Iowa, following the enactment of a Pit Bull ban in 2005, Boxer and Labrador Retriever bites increased sharply, and total dog bites spiked. The same thing happened in Winnipeg. Breed Bans do not work.
The fact is that Maine is a safe place to live and we do not currently have any breed specific regulations in place. The National Canine Research Council reports that over the last 45 years, there have only been two fatal dog attacks in Maine – one in 1969 and one in 1999. Considering that there are thousands upon thousands of dogs living in Maine, I'd say we're doing something right and there is no need to proactively punish dogs for crimes they haven't committed here.
Not only is it short sighted to ban a breed, but it penalizes the countless law abiding, responsible dog owners in our communities. If Mr. Spencer thinks that pit bulls and their owners are menaces to society, I'd like to invite him to attend one of Southern Maine Pit Bull's free pit bull training classes held in Westbrook so he can meet our dogs and see them in action. Each week we work with a dozen or so pit bull families (and a handful of adoptable pit bulls from our local shelter), who are excited, motivated, and committed to learning how to be responsible dog owners. Among our group members are architects, judges, vet techs, animal welfare agents, police officers, teachers, nurses, day care workers, therapists, and dentists, to name a few. Many of their dogs have passed the Canine Good Citizen Test and a handful are working as therapy dogs here in Maine. We're hardly a group of thugs and our dogs are beloved family members. I'd bet that if he got know us and the facts about our dogs, Mr. Spencer would like to call many of us his neighbors.
~ Jessica Dolce ~
The beautiful dog in the photo above is Jameson and is available for adoption. Click this link FMI.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
If you want your dog to be social when they are older it is important to expose them to many different people, dog friendly dogs, and new situations while they are young puppies. It is a window of opportunity that closes which is why trainers recommend puppy classes whenever possible. Interestingly the studies they did to learn that puppies needed this critical socialization took place in here in Maine. (In Bar Harbor to be precise.) For anyone interested in a more in depth look at this information check out the book The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior by Clarence Pfaffenberger. Geek alert: This book may be a little dry unless you have a serious interest in dog behavior.
For the average person who wants to know more about what to do to help your puppy become that social dog check out the book After You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar. It explains step by step what you need to do teach your puppy everything it needs to know to grow up to be a safe and confident dog.
There is some debate about the risk of socializing your puppy before their vaccinations are complete. Here is a quote that I think sums that up nicely:
“The primary and most important time for puppy socialization is the first three months of life… For this reason, the AVSAB believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated… While puppies’ immune systems are still developing during these early months… appropriate care makes the risk of infection relatively small compared to the chance of death from a behavior problem.” - The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior *
*Read the full statement here* It is sad that there are dogs that get euthanized for behavior problems that could have been prevented simply by socializing them in the beginning.
Check out this page for even more great links on the subject. If you don't get your puppy socialized when they are young you may end up having to do behavior modification using counter conditioning to get your dog to be ok with everyday events or around other dogs later. Think of it as laying a strong foundation. Like going to a reputable breeder can statistically improve your odds for your dog not having a serious health issue, socializing your puppy will cut down on the odds you'll end up with a serious behavior problem down the line. That said there will always be dogs that you do everything right with that can still end up with some issues. There are no guarantees with puppies. However the more work you put in when they are young is more likely to mean less work you need to do later. And let's be honest here, working with them when they are puppies is a LOT more fun and easier than trying to undo problems when they are bigger and older down the road.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
It was a beautiful day and we collected a lot of money for the shelter. I even learned how to run the dog tag machine. I also had one of the most amazing chocolate chip cookies and a quadruple chocolate ice creme cone. Yum!!
And now for my FIRST EVER Razzy award!!
The only down part of the day was our neighbor in the booth next to us. I am so mad about it I could just spit. But that is unlady like so I shall use my only superpower and blog about it instead. I am not sure if she was the gallery owner but the booth she was in belonged to the Franciska Needham Gallery. Just after I arrived at the shelters booth to help out she loudly pronounced that we had "Excessive signage" and that it was "Poorly done". Wow, how truly tactless! First if we were in her way at all there are nicer ways to ask us to move our stuff. (which we did anyhow to be polite) And how incredibly rude for an "Art" person to tell us our signs are not nice considering a volunteer painted them and did what we think is an incredible job! (They were the same signs we had on our float for the parade.) Pardon us, a non-profit organization, for spending our money on things like food for the animals and vet care instead of professionally made signs. What were we thinking?? Then later she walked by with another person and we over heard her say that this was the art tent and she had "No idea why we were there." Ummm we were there because that's where the event organizers put us. Sorry if that downgraded your property. So for your efforts and kindness today lady the Razzy goes to you.
Yes I feel a little better now.
Thank you to Maine, Boats, Homes & Harbors for not only giving us space at the event but matching ALL donations this week. Bravo to you for being so supportive!!!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
We updated some of our signs. This is cat litter boy.
Friday, August 6, 2010
On the food front I will be headed to a local butcher tomorrow to pick up some organ meat and the grocery store for some sardines. All I have from the deer is muscle meat and there is a certain method to feeding raw which means making sure there is a balance to what you are feeding. It isn't just throwing some raw ingredients at your dogs and hoping for the best. For those interested in a great how to book on the subject check out Raw Dog Food by Carina Beth MacDonald. I know there are more books on the subject out there but this is the one I have found that takes the stress out of feeding raw. And if that isn't enough information for you there is a great e-mail list called Raw-Lite which is also extremely helpful.
In the vet visit front I have decided to hold off for now. After talking to a few different people it turns out that allergy and itching issues are hard to pin down for ANY vet, holistic or otherwise. What I am looking for, a definitive diagnosis and treatment that will make it all just go away, is like asking for my unicorn to be blue instead of pink. Yeah right. Neither request is very probable. So I'm going to try to relax and go with what tips I have been given and see how it plays out. My biggest worry is just in keeping her comfortable while waiting for the new diet to kick in. (and I hope it works for her because there are sometimes cases of raw not being right for all dogs)
I also think I came up with a better way of storing the meals that is more "earth friendly" so to speak. I'll keep you posted after I give it a try.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Pavlov: we fed the chicken on the opposite side of the road each day at 4 p.m. until the chicken’s autonomic system actually began causing the chicken to cross the road at 4 p.m. without even questioning the “why.”
B.F. Skinner: on prior occasions when the chicken voluntarily crossed the road, this behavior was followed immediately by a reinforcing consequence.
Cesar Milan: I bullied, chased, poked, and intimidated the chicken until it raced across the road, because I am a strong leader…
Barbara Woodhouse: You just say, “Walkies” with the right accent and place a crumpet on the other side of the road…
Karen Pryor: by associating R+ with road crossing and P+ with standing still, with a VR schedule, and offering a reward in keeping with the Premack principle, we increased the intensity and frequency of the road crossing behavior.
Bill Koehler: a few well-timed pops on the choke chain and the chicken was happy to cross the road.
Ian Dunbar: I lured the chicken across the road with a treat and then gave it the lure/treat as a reward.
Nicholas Dodman: I gave the chicken fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, carbamazepine, and azapirone and then it was happy to cross the road.
Patti Ruzzo: I crossed the road, pausing every step to spit a treat out of my mouth like a human pez dispenser and the chicken followed along catching the treats.
Electric Collar Advocate: whenever the chicken does not cross the road I give it an electric shock. But do not worry, the shock is no more than you would feel if you walked on a carpet wearing socks and it does not bother the chicken at all. The feathers standing up and the smell of burning flesh mean nothing. In fact, they are happier having nice clear communication than they would be otherwise.
Yuppie: chickens are just like little people in feather jackets, and if you love them and give them diamonds and feel sorry for them all the time, they will be happy to cross the road for you.
Paris Hilton: Because I put it in a Gucci bag and carried it.
Shelter director: Any chickens that do not cross the road will be euthanized for their own good, and the others we will “adopt” out tomorrow for only $200 each. Please send us money so we can keep doing more of this important work!
HSUS member: I do not know anything about animals, I have never been around animals and am not really fond of animals, but we passed a law mandating that chickens be kept without cages because animals belong only in the wild and cannot be happy coexisting with man, so now they are walking wherever they want.
PETA member: chickens have the right to live in world without roads. Any chicken that lives within a hundred miles of a road is suffering an inhumane existence and might eventually be hit by a car so we should kill it today to ensure that it does not die tomorrow.
~Unknown author but brilliant! Hat tip to Finnegan's Paw Print. (I may steal that pawprint design as my next tattoo.)
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
She was very excited when I started measuring. Eventually she got tired and relaxed a little. She was very happy to lick the bowl when I finished.
Tomorrow I'll be calling the holistic places to see about an appointment.