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Everything posted by Alaska

  1. Why does it not surprise me to learn that Wootie likes dock diving? Skiba, based on your description of how you currently spend time with your dog, I think you would really enjoy exploring Silvia Trkman's website.
  2. Great news! Tess certainly is a remarkable dog, in so many ways. I could barely sleep the first night, so you all had plenty of mojo coming your way from this neck of the woods.
  3. Heard about this through the grapevine and immediately raced here for details... Diane, I am so sorry. My thoughts are with you and Getty and Tess. I know she will pull through. Thank you for having the strength to let us know how she is doing.
  4. Missed this post, but better late than never. Here are some Alaska agility links: Matanuska Agility Canine Handlers Capital Kennel Club of Juneau Alaska Dog Sports Alyeska Canine Trainers Plus, for Iditarod fans, Jeff King's wife is an agility enthusiast. He even built her an indoor arena to train in during the long winters (though he's been known to use it to work his own team when the temperature dips below -40). There is also a small group of agility folks in Whitehorse YT.
  5. I agree that the new site looks great, and I have no problem adapting to change, but I have a less than stellar DSL connection and the new pages take a long time to load, long enough to be a problem for me (I didn't read the first 4 pages of this thread before posting, for instance, because I didn't want to wait for them to load). This never happened with the old board software. Are there any performance tweaks that could be done to speed things up? It seems like it's the top of the page that's causing trouble, the (excellent) banner photo and the first few bands of purple background. Even after loading, scrolling is jerky near the top of the page, but it smoothes out once the top few bands of purple scroll off the top. Typing in the reply box has a lag too, maybe because the box is near the problematic top of the page?
  6. Holy cow! You should totally send that picture to Linda
  7. There are a lot of threads I don't even open, but I ALWAYS open threads started by Jo&Tex, because I know I'll be glad I did. And I am. Great news, Jo. Thanks for cheering us all up
  8. I was told by a guy with a guide dog that guide dogs are selected to be "a bit stubborn." That is, he said, they are trained to disobey the person they're guiding if that person directs them into danger (e.g. across the tracks when a train's coming). So is it "wilful disobedience" if the dog disobeys the handler but not the underlying training? I imagine that sheepdogs would be forced to make similar choices on a regular basis (as in Karen's example), especially experienced dogs with less experienced handlers.
  9. You've probably read the report by now, but here is the rationale: "As the pet is positioned transversely to the direction of travel, loads are distributed over the whole body and the vertebral column is not compressed." The test vehicle in this study simulated a 50 kph frontal impact; side impacts were not addressed. Wondering whether the side curtain airbags in your car do any good for your dogs? Read this: Who benefits from side and head curtain airbags? Not all side curtain airbags are alike, so it does depend on the vehicle. No car-dog-crate-whatever configuration will protect against all possible accidents, but there is a lot of information out there. I just try to educate myself, then configure the car I have as safely as I can for the dogs I have. But in the end, there are other factors, like avoiding driving when drowsy for example, that can shrink the likelihood that one's dogs will be injured in a car accident to a much greater degree than any tinkering one might do with the type or location of restraint systems. Not to mention...ahem...avoiding cellphone use when at the wheel
  10. Wachusett American Eskimos has a website with photos of plastic crates that went through a similar accident. The owner of that site has also gotten permission to post a pdf of a series of German crash tests with dog dummies that is quite an eye opener. I strongly recommend checking it out. The take home message is that dogs in horizontal crates do better than dogs in crates aligned with the long axis of the vehicle (if that makes sense). Seat belts? No comparison. But if you must choose seat belts over crates, Holly at Huber Hound has an in depth discussion of what features to look for, with a number of products evaluated. As long as I'm linking, Taj MutHall has a post with several variants of the letter with instructions for rescuers, including places where you can buy fancy ones with pouches for vet records, etc. Michelle, I'm so glad you and Bill are okay, and thank you so much for posting. Firsthand reports from real people are the best wakeup call for those of us who've been blithely going through life unaware of dangers we can actually protect our dogs from with a little extra effort.
  11. With all this discussion of jumping in the water to cool off, it would be good to remind folks that certain dogs do not behave responsibly around water and can actually die, quite rapidly, from something called "water intoxication". Border collies, because of their love of splashing and biting at water, are particularly susceptible. If you have one of these dogs, you should know the signs and symptoms and be prepared to react. Here is a recent thread: Water Intoxication Here is another example from a dog I know, just this week: Part I Part II
  12. Why are you using a tossed reward? Have you read Sylvia's FAQ? Dog should initially be driving to a stationary reward. Then, in her words: Step 5 When you have 99% of running with a bowl/toy 5 meters after it, with no regard to your position, try to use a different way to focus a dog ahead. For Bu, it was a tunnel: first in the place of a bowl, then after one jump, then after two, three, four… - not necessary in a straight line anymore. With La, I kept using a bowl, but further and further away (after one jump, two, three, four… not necessary in a straight line anymore). If you have room, you can of course do this already when still running on a low plank: I started this step with Bi very early in the process and had no problems transferring from stationary reward to throwing a toy only after she has got the contact. (emphasis added) Also, Sylvia addresses your exact problem here: Q: My dog only focuses ahead nicely if there is something there. If I have a toy in my hand to throw it later, he only watches the ball and misses all contacts. A: You should do some more tricks training and teach that dog that you don't get a toy for staring in it, that the only way to get a reward is to take his eyes off it and do some thinking what to do to earn it. If you haven't seen her new website, you should check it out. She'll actually answer questions in near real time for you. Incredible generosity.
  13. However, as pretty much everyone here can attest, you could have a 100% border collie with documented pedigree straight back to Wiston's Cap, and total strangers would still stop you on a regular basis to explain that your dog is actually a rottweiler-beagle cross, a coyote hybrid, a dalmation, or pretty much anything but a border collie, and they will feel so strongly about it that you will be unable to esape without enduring a tedious argument. So if you don't like arguing with strangers, I suggest when in public that you simply call your dog a mutt. A dog without an off switch is a dog without an owner who cares enough to train and develop a relationship with the dog. Breed is irrelevant. And Bustopher, I think you forgot to turn down your hearing aid
  14. It stretches a lot, but they make a variety of non-stretching versions if you prefer. The rubber parts (where your hand and the dog's mouth go) are very durable, but I found that the bungee part eventually wore out. I just went to the hardware store and bought more bungee (sold by he foot) to replace the original. Be sure to study how it's put together before you take it apart to replace the old bungee (voice of experience...). The rubber parts are actually the thing that attaches a milking machine to the udder of a cow - they're even recycled, having already served the farmer. Most dogs LOVE them. You can buy just the rubber thing (no one seems to know the correct name for them) by itself, which is what I prefer for an agility tug, where you are just using the tug for brief spurts as a reward during training. It's easy to toss too. At our house cow-a-bungee is reserved for playtime, when tugging is an activity in itself.
  15. I use tugs made by Helping Udders and now that I've found them won't go back to anything else. The human end and the dog end are shaped differently and the dogs seem to know which end is theirs and stay there. I've never seen the shark-working-its-teeth-up-the-tug behavior with this style. I especially like this one for my "enthusiastic" tugger - saves wear and tear on my aging joints:
  16. For a weekend trip, it hardly matters what you feed. A few ounces more or less will not significantly change the pack weight (yours or hers) and the dog will have a great time even if you feed nothing at all. I feed raw at home and on overnight trips just bring along the regular raw meal, frozen when we start out and thawed by dinner time. For multiday trips, I use kibble that is very high in protein and fat (made for racing sled dogs). Again, for just a few days it doesn't matter, but after a few weeks of continuous hiking they lose weight if I don't bump up both the size of their meals and the quality of the kibble. I tried Honest Kitchen on the trail and found it to be pretty messy, both going into and coming out of the dog As far as who carries the dog food, I try not to put packs on the dogs if I don't have to. Their backs aren't really designed for it and I want them to be able to keep on hiking with me into their old age. I just carry their food myself if the trip is only a few days. On a weeklong trip, I do need them to help carry the food at first, but once they eat enough, I move what's left into my own pack and let them hike naked for the last 3 days or so
  17. I have a nearly new Ruffwear Palisades II, old style, size S, that I would love to find a new home for. The pack is almost unused, but the harness has seen some wear - there's nothing wrong with it but you can tell it's been on a dog. I looked around the web a bit and found a description of the old style Palisades that even has a video explaining the features: Old style Ruffwear Palisades II Pack If anyone is interested, they can have it for the cost of shipping and a donation to the border collie rescue of their choice. (I switched my dogs to Wolfpacks and, many hundreds of backcountry miles later, I'm still happy with that decision.)
  18. Regarding sitting in front of the first obstacle, one thing you can do is not have the next step always be to take the obstacle. Sometimes release the dog to run to a toy or treat that you toss BEHIND them. That way they learn not to focus on the obstacle but on you, to see what you want them to do next (i.e. run to the tossed reward). Because she will have to be thinking at least a little bit to pay attention to you, the thinking tones down the mindless excitement a bit.
  19. You can buy empty squeeze tubes at REI and fill them with whatever you want. Folks working with seriouly reactive dogs fill them with meat baby food and use them regularly to quickly deliver a food reward/distraction. It's even better (in that case) if you smear the food all over the dog's nose as they completely forget what they were reacting too and address the tasty food all over their muzzle instead. You can buy peanut butter already in tubes at the grocery store. I take one with me to the vet and use it to keep the dog occupied while the vet pokes around. My dogs think going to the vet is great fun (and my vet associates me with the smell of peanuts).
  20. Perhaps this is a good moment to post a link to the infamous Dogs in Elk story. This is a transcript of an actual discussion that took place on the internet prior to the days of the web, back when typing was all there was. The version linked here has been subsequenly embellished by the addition of carved pumpkin illustrations of the events as they unfolded. This story is one of my favorite things on the entire internet.
  21. If you're going it on your own, you'll be far better off with a video than a book. I strongly recommend Greg Derrett's Agiltiy Foundation Training DVD
  22. +1 for wolfpacks. I've posted on this before - do a search if you're interested.
  23. The latest issue of Bark has an article on K9 nose work. There is a video and some links accompanying the article here. Regarding needing a warrant, here is how it was explained to me today. In your own home, or any place you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, a warrant is needed. However when you are out in public, e.g. walking down Main Street or driving down the highway, no warrant is needed. Regarding keeping the drug dog kenneled when it wasn't working, I guess I meant keeping it out of public spaces. Personally, I have never encountered an enforcement dog of any kind (police, drug, customs, etc.) anywhere that it wasn't working, except when I was visiting the dog's handler at their home or visiting the place the dog was kenneled when not working (my parents are very proud that the kennel their dogs stay at when they travel is also used to house off-duty customs dogs). Not at dog parks, not going on a hike, not hanging out at flea markets or Starbucks, not at agility trials...not anywhere. The closest I ever came was meeting an airport security dog at the Boneyard at the Phoenix Airport - my dogs and I were between (delayed) flights and he stopped off to pee - but he was still on the job. Perhaps law enforcement dogs do get out and about like "normal" dogs, but the few I've known don't. Regarding the paranoid town, let's just say there was some justification for the paranoia, as the professionalism of that particular police department left something to be desired. The drug dog's handler, for instance, was eventually convicted for stealing and consuming the evidence he collected. On the other hand, there wasn't really that much to worry about as, aside from the officer, the department never once got a drug arrest to stick in court because so many procedural errors were made.
  24. Everybody wants another dog. Most of us regularly surf rescue sites for entertainment. There's nothing wrong with that, but giving in to the temptation every time you see a cute puppy is not responsible. The pup you already have needs your attention now. Once you've invested time in training him, once he's past adolescence, once you can honestly say that he's a well-behaved member of society...then is the time to consider adding another pup to your family. Sometimes fate drops a dog on our doorstep when the time isn't right and we can't in good conscience turn the dog away, but that's a different situation.
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