Check out this cutie pie. His name is Nico and he is an 18 month old akita mix. He is our newest resident in the K-9 Corrections program. He needs to learn not to jump on people when he greets them, not to pull on leash, and not to freak out when he sees other dogs. It turns out he used to go to dog parks when he was young but had a bad experience where he got attacked (and hurt) by another dog. He has since become afraid of them. His response when he sees one now is to get offensively defensive. In simple terms it is: attack first, ask questions later. * I don't expect to get him to want to be social with other dogs, but we at least need to teach him a different emotional response to seeing them, and impulse control. With people he is super social and everyone there already really likes him. They keep trying to label him a pit mix though which I don't believe he is. You can definitely see the akita though. (Sidenote: Pitbulls aren't allowed on the program at this time. I hope that may change in the future but unfortunately it's not my call.)
Walker went to a new home on Saturday for a trial slumber party. The bad news is that he only lasted about 3 hours. He chewed on the recliner, did some counter surfing and scared the young child in residence when he barked at a visitor. It's ok. We learned some more things about him and we will find a better match next time. He did great at the Fur N Foliage shelter event playing with the other dogs there. He is now staying at the shelter so he can be seen by potential adopters. (and play with other dogs daily)
I have another dog on deck to start the program on Saturday. I'm going to keep that info under wraps for now in case something changes. I'll just say she is very cute and needs to learn that all people aren't bad.
I was thinking about a couple of posts I wanted to write today. One is about ear cropping in pugs, and the other was about the changes in the breed over the years. I have a book fetish and one of the things I do besides internet reading is to buy history books on breeds that I am interested in. (usually of the breeds I share my life with) I recently picked up a couple new books on pugs from ebay. (Sidenote: The secret to ebay is to NOT go unless you are looking for something specific. If you go on just to browse it is like a lawn sale on crack and you will go down! Consider yourself warned.) * The books I found are "The Goodger Guide to the Pug" by WihelminaSwainston-Goodger (which is really two books in one: "The Pug Dog, It's origin and History" originally published in 1930 and "The pug handbook" published in 1959 both written by Mr's Goodger.) and "The Complete Pug" by Milo G. Denlinger second edition 1953. (copyright 1947) * So why am I angry you ask? Well if you could see the photos in the old books it would be clear. I tried to scan some of them to share here but couldn't get my scanner to co-operate. (which just irritated me even more) Yes Virgina pugs did have a defined nose once upon a time. And they weren't all round either. And I'm not just talking about old photos of random pugs, but pugs that had their championship titles, pugs that met the standard of the day. Since the standard hasn't really changed since then either, one can see that it is all about interpretation when it comes to breeding.
I recently subscribed to Pug Talk magazine so I can stay in the loop when it comes to pug stuff. (and submit the occasional article) The difference I can see in the faces of pugs of yesteryear and some today is so drastic it makes me cringe. Now I'm not saying those dogs aren't healthy, one hopes that breeders ARE breeding healthy dogs especially if they are showing, but it makes me wonder how that can be true? Of course I am not a breeder and therefore I assume I don't have all the information. I only know that when I tried to find a breeder of pugs doing health testing I struck out.
Sometimes in my daydreams I consider becoming a breeder. My dream is to build a better and healthy pug. Of course in reality I can't see it ever happening. For one thing the thought of trusting anyone with a puppy is hard for me to imagine. I see to many asshats at work for that. (my apologies to all the non-asshat owners out there for lumping humanity together like that) The other is the expense. Breeding done the right way isn't cheap. I work at a vet so I get to see all the costs involved. And that's if everything goes right.
To be clear breeders have a tough job. They, the good ones, are trying to breed healthy dogs to continue keeping the breed they love strong. I'm not picking on them. I am just disgusted by those that have taken advantage of the uneducated people out there. There are to many people who breed them to make a quick buck preying on the people who fall in love with them simply because they are cute. (Which I think they are. More on that in a future post.) I know an adorable pug owned by a friend that is a rescue. You can tell that she was bred multiple times. To say she is not put together well is an understatement. Tack on to that she is allergic to everything. As an owner of an allergy dog I can attest that continual itching is torture to dogs. Why would anyone want to pass that on? I can answer that, it's because they didn't give a shit. *
There are just to many dogs out there suffering because of those irresponsibleasshats. (I'd say breeders but that is to nice of a word for them.) This is why the term back yard breeders is one used with such disdain by people. To the people who truly love dogs, and only want good things for them, BYB's are not helpful. Not to mention the fact rescue and shelters end up picking up their slack. Cuz the typical BYB certainly doesn't take back dogs of their breeding if the home doesn't work out. They got their money. Game over.
I am angry because when I see so many pugs struggling to breathe, itching themselves raw, and destroyed in so many ways over time it gets to me. But I am aware you can say the same for many other breeds as well. I am sure I am not alone.
OK so this was a venting post for me. If anything I hope it illuminates the need to support a reputable breeder if you feel the need to buy a puppy. If you can't find one then breed rescue or your local shelter is always another great option. Just be patient for pete sake! I think many people jump for the first dog they see when they are looking because they get impatient. Remember it's a living being, not a paperweight. You will be living with all the consequences of your choice for many years after all. Be secure in those choices.
Hello, my name is Marie and I support responsible rescue groups AND reputable breeders. Please consider doing the same.
(As I finish this Jenny is curled up on the couch napping. Her tail is wagging.)
So we did a genetic test on a dog at our clinic because the owners were curious to see what their dog was made up of. She is a medium sized brindle colored dog that has the body type of a border collie. She has a feathered coat. They were told she was a golden lab mix.
Her results came back as follows: 25% Golden Retriever, 25% Alaskan Malamute, 25% Finish Spitz, and 25% Yorkshire Terrier. So what I want to know is, where does the brindle come from? Which one of these dogs has a breed in its' ancestral history that might have had that color gene in it?
My only guess is the spitz because Pomeranians are also a spitz and they have brindle in the gene pool.
But that may be a simplistic view. I admit I know nothing about colors when it comes to genetics. One wonders a little about the validity of the test. It's just hard to imagine that specific combination running around breeding.
Any other ideas or thoughts? I wish I had a photo to share.
So Jenny earned her Rally Novice title yesterday at Finish Forward Dogs in Saco. (Who hosted a fabulously fun trial!) We even got a first place in that class. It was close though. We had 3 trials and in the first one our score was to low to get a qualifying ribbon. (missed by 1 point!) The second trial got us a 191 and our 3rd leg. (And the now infamous "Title" wave from the group. To funny!) The last trial we NQ'd on the halt sit exercise. I screwed so much stuff up it was ridiculous. BUT I have to say I learned a ton from it so it was worth every second. We also got a couple lovely comments about her fabulous heeling. It's always nice to get a compliment! * John Woolley Photography was there so there will be photos of the trial posted soon. Keep an eye out because there is a super fun photo of a boxer doing his own thing in the ring. It is adorable! I didn't bother taking many pics this time. After getting up at 4:30am to get there I had moments where I was just lucky to be awake! I am so not a morning person!!
The day was not without a moment of worry. Jenny jumped out of the crate and landed badly on the pavement giving herself some road rash. (This was after her first turn in the ring.) Fortunately that was all that she hurt. No limping or soreness meant she could continue the day. It didn't seem to phase her at all.
Now I am going to go for her Rally Novice Excellent title. We'll also start training for level 2. With food bowl distractions, lord help us! Our next trial is the end of October at Wag It in Lincolnville.
Not only did she earn some ribbons she won a cute squeeky stuffed toy. I'm sure her favorite part of the day was the trip through Wendy's drive thru and the chicken patty for dinner. As you can see from her photo above, dogs just aren't that into ribbons. It was a great day filled with lots of really nice dogs. Nothing beats that in my book.
(Side note: The dog on the ribbons is Brina. I am her official dog stalker so this makes our title just that much more exciting for me. :-)
(Edited 9/24/10. Thanks to Kathi for letting me know it is RL1 in APDT and not RN, which is an AKC title, as I had it listed. The AOE means she got it with scores above 190 on each of the 3 legs. I'll get it right eventually! VBG)
I have a confession to make. I love tattoos. I think they are beautiful and can showcase some really great art. There are the exceptions or course, the scary ones make me wonder about the person sporting them. But overall I find them an interesting self expression of their owners. I even have a few. * Well of course my admiration of tattoos and love of dogs meant that eventually I would want one that was dog related. I struggled with the right design and placement for years. The tricky part of a dog tattoo is that I wanted it to encompass so much. Having had many dogs though my life of various breeds and contact with them in such various ways I was looking for an idea that wasn't exclusive of any dogs, and represented my feelings in a clear way. Not an easy task. * I had a few thoughts of Disney dogs but couldn't decide which ones would be the best representations for me. Unlike some others in the dog world I love the Disney dogs. Yes I cringe when a breed becomes popular due to any movie, but my first contact of a dog came in the form of Lady and the Tramp at the local theater with my dad. As a grown up I learned quickly that Disney dogs do NOT represent dogs in a realistic way. I don't think we can blame people that have unrealistic expectations of dogs completely on the Disney franchise. I mean, once we are adults we learn life isn't like the cartoons and movies don't we? But I digress. * I was also limited by size parameters in the space I had available. I also like to see my tattoos because they are for me. Why have art you can't enjoy? I am lucky enough to be married to a very understanding husband in my tattoo admiration. He isn't into them and wasn't all that thrilled that I was. (perhaps a side effect of being a police officer) But he loves me and likes to see me happy. My children were also very vocal on what and where I should have any of my "ink". As a mom I never want my children to be embarrassed of me. (Well, beyond the normal reasons kids have to be embassassed of a parent that is.) So their input was important to me. And for those that think I'm to old for tattoos, my tattoo guy told me about a 79 year old woman he did a foot tattoo and tramp stamp on recently! Life doesn't stop just because you age. VBG (tho one can say I am beyond ever looking "hip" again LOL) * Well recently the planets aligned and an idea finally fell into place for me. My daughter helped me with some design elements. Fortunately I have a great tattoo guy at Atlantic Studios that took my ideas and translated them perfectly for me. (Thanks Chris!!) So Friday night after work I went and got my new ink. I thought since this was a dog blog I would share my new art here:
The words say: "We strive to be worthy of their devotion". I admit the paw print is not my design. I found it in the header of another blog called (ironically) Finnegan's Paw Print . I don't know who originally designed it, but as a fan of Celtic art it struck me the day I saw it.
The quote I adapted from a t-shirt I bought recently. Some will read it as a romanticised version of dogs, however what I was trying to represent is that it is amazing what humans have done to dogs over the years and how they can bounce back to trust us regardless. We make mistakes with them time and time again and yet so many of them keep giving us the benefit of the doubt. Heck some people even abuse them daily and they still try to show love. Thankfully dogs ARE so resilient for our sake. I think (we) humans fall flat in many ways. Look at the need for breed rescues and animal shelters for instance. (and animal abuse laws) But at least some of us are trying to make things better for them and to treat them well. Anyway that is what I saw in that quote.
The forget-me-knots represent dogs I have loved and lost over the years.
It is up high enough that I can wear scrubs at work and regular long sleeve shirts and keep it covered if I choose. I am aware that not everyone likes tattoos nor think they are very professional. This way I can have the best of both worlds. I am super happy with the results and love it.
You really have to check out this unbelievable post over at Never Say Never Greyhounds. (Ignorance 09/13/10 ~ Sorry it didn't have a direct link.)
What is it with rescue groups these days? Do they not realize their purpose is to find homes for dogs? I guess in the case of the European group one might say they are looking out for the dog if they really believe that doing agility is akin to torture of the dog. But in that case I have to wonder what decade are they living in? When did dog sports or competing with your dog become torture exactly? I always thought Europe was more progressive on the dog front than that kind of idiocy. I guess it depends on the country involved.
I've had my own issues with rescue recently. I tried to volunteer with a pug rescue group back in June. I sent multiple e-mails to multiple people and even left a phone message on the leaders phone in case my e-mails didn't get through. It seriously started giving me a complex! I finally contacted a former member I knew (I didn't realize she had left.) who clued me in that they don't like to share their volunteers with other groups. Maybe that is why they weren't interested in my help. It is obvious on my blog I work with all dogs and several groups after all. So I gave up and contacted another pug rescue who seems happy to have me. I find it interesting that I was good enough to adopt to but not good enough to be a member of the group.
I have a friend at work who finds herself in a similar situation. She has two rescued purebred dogs and loves the breed so she e-mailed to volunteer with that breeds local rescue group and has yet to hear back from them. Even a "Thanks for your interest we'll get back to you." or "No thanks we need foster homes more than what you can provide us." screw off letter is better than just leaving us hanging. Is that asking to much? I mean, we are volunteering to help them after all.
Today was the Woofstock event. In a word it was awesome. Walker did fabulous and was a perfect gentleman. I wasn't sure how he would be around so many other unknown dogs which is why I had him wear his gentle leader. Turns out he is incredible! I had hoped to show off his Rally skills but we missed the demo. Here we are at the shelter booth. Now how cute it this guy? The word dapper comes to mind.
Walker met all types of dogs today.
They had all kinds of fun stuff at the event including a costume contest. Check out the disco diva.
Walker even met a long lost older twin sister. Turns out she is a pointer/lab mix. Since we are guessing at what breed(s) Walker is this may be our answer. I wish I got better pics of them together. They were quite taken with each other and had a bouncing good time.
We also learned that he is fabulous with small dogs and puppies. He knows to lay down all on his own to get on their level to play.
My local kennel club joined forces with another kennel club and we put on a 4 day show Thursday thru Sunday this past weekend. I had to work Thursday and Friday so only got to attend Saturday and Sunday. I typically steward for obedience when I can. This year was slightly different as instead of regular obedience I also helped cover Rally. I'm glad I've been doing Rally on my own or I would have been seriously lost! I have been stewarding for about 10 years now which is ironic as I only started seriously participating in obedience showing this last year. Stewarding is a great way to learn about the nuances before getting into the ring yourself. This is what greeted us saturday morning thanks to Earl:
Not a fabulous photo but it was raining. (& the only photo I took on Saturday) All things considered it could have been much worse. No tents blew down and there was no flooding. Not bad for the tail end of a hurricane. Thankfully as soon as the show actually started it cleared off. Here are some photos from Sunday. (The photos are not in the best order as blogger isn't as user friendly as it used to be.) I took about 150 shots to try to get a bunch for our clubs facebook page. (which now won't co-operate and let me upload them Grrr) I couldn't get many obedience pics as I was just to busy trying to pay attention to the stopwatch or wait for the judges direction. These are just a few random photos from the day.
A Saluki in the Rally ring. She actually did quite well. I personally love seeing non-traditional breeds in the obedience rings.
And I always love seeing happy dogs at work too.
Hmmm familiar yet so different.
Speaking of akitas, I got a pleasant surprise when a woman stopped by that adopted a deaf akita a few years ago. I had given her some advice about training him and she brought Kami to see me again. He is now a registered therapy dog and has his CGC. Yay! He looks great. I wish I had thought to take a photo of him to share. It's always great to get happy updates. (I never did get into showing like my past post mentions. I wish they had alter classes like Canada so I could dabble in it without having to own an intact dog. A topic for a future blog post perhaps.)
Did you know Saluki's also come in a smooth coated variety? Funny how I had never seen even one in person or at past shows. Suddenly they were everywhere!
Does this guy look familiar to anyone? He was on the cover of DownEast magazine (see link for story) and went to Westminster. He was very cute in the fur and super sweet.
Sorry Joanna, I didn't realize I had taken a pic of your boy (well Dawn's boy now) until I was looking through them afterwards. I would have tried to get a better shot had I been paying attention. I was literally running through the grounds snapping as many pics as possible at the time. I will smack myself with a wet noodle the next time one is available as my punishment.
I know this one is blurry but I had to share. His name is Stuart Little and he gave me frenchie kisses. He made me think of our Moo. He is 11 months old and I talked his poor owners ear off.
These were the winners of the groups: Borzoi, Doberman, Springer Spaniel, Australian Shepherd (which is an American breed for you trivia buffs) Keeshond, and Havanese. Best in show on Sunday was the Springer Spaniel. (Saturday it went to the Borzoi.)
All in all it was a great show. I spent today recouperating and getting my brain back since I had the day off from work due to the holiday. I am also very excited to have scored a new 1/4 inch leather leash from Hogan Leather that is FABULOUS. I have been looking for a new leash since the demise of my last favorite leash. I hate to say it but this one is is even better than my previous leash. It is already soft and supple and has the braided end features. I'll probably buy another one since this one is only 4 feet long. The vendor didn't have a 6 footer but I wasn't about to let that stop me from getting it. I knew I would have kicked myself later had I passed it up. We can't have that!
I hope everyone else had a great holiday weekend too!
Sometimes when I am over at the shelter I snap a few quick photos as I walk around to say hello and see who is there. They aren't the best photos but I thought I'd share some. All these above dogs are available at The Humane Society of Knox County in Thomaston Maine.
I do not mind sharing information from this site but please be courteous and give author credit to Marie Finnegan and K-9 Solutions Dog Training Inc. (And other authors listed on blog posts if applicable.) Thank you.
Real training is about communication, not domination.
Offering private in home training and behavior consultations in Mid-Coast Maine
E-mail me at CanineHelp@aol.com or call 207-354-6488 to schedule an appointment. Click on the photo for a link to my facebook page.
In 1992, after serving for 6 years in the United States Marine Corps, I decided to settle down in my hometown in Mid-Coast Maine. I got my first dog, (as a bona-fide adult) an akita, and joined the local kennel club. I also joined akita rescue and learned alot about the breed. In turn I began helping educate others. This taught me how important training is for ALL dogs. Thus began my (unofficial) foray into the world of dog training.
I worked for a few years at a local veterinarians office and then began working at our local humane society. While there I saw many dogs being given up for simple training issues. About that time the kennel club began looking for a new trainer to teach group obedience classes. I decided I might be able to handle that challenge once I had more official training of my own.
I found an excellent trainer to mentor with and in October of 2001 after a year of hands on training and study I completed my apprenticeship under Lloyd Williams of Bear Brook Kennels. During that apprenticeship, in addition to learning all the basics, I got to assist in the training of police dogs in narcotics, tracking and cadaver dogs with the medical examiners office.
Not only did I learn how to be a dog trainer, more importantly, I learned how to teach owners how they could communicate more effectively with their dogs. I consider that training just the beginning in my canine education. I continue to attend seminars and keep current through reading about recent advancements in dog training methods. I am a former member of The Association of Professional Dog Trainers.
I use positive reinforcement methods whenever possible during training sessions. Positive reinforcement helps make the training experience more enjoyable for both the dog and owner, producing a better learning environment. I also utilize hand signals in my training which is very useful with deaf dogs as well as hearing ones. My methods include lure/reward and marker training. (with or without a clicker depending on owner preference)
My goal in training is to help pet owners develop a better relationship with their dogs. Many times that includes teaching about canine communication and behavior. I also like to help dogs stay out of the shelters and in their homes whenever possible. Training for those unruly dogs can make that a reality for some families.
MY OTHER JOBS:
I am currently the trainer for the HSKC's K-9 Corrections program. I also work as a receptionist at a local veterinary hospital.
I am happily married and the mother of two fabulous children.
Can't afford a trainer? Check out these site's for free advice: