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Everything posted by MickeyDogs

  1. So very sad to hear that... teary-eyed at work, Deb
  2. To add to the tributes of Adequan Years back we had a sheltie who competed in competitive obedience and he suddenly started to stutter jump. Turns out his hips were awful. Our vet put him on Adequan and he was able to continue to happily compete and live pain free and lived to an old age. A friend had a mastiff who was diagnosed with dysplasia before the dog was a year old. Adequan kept her pain free and she, too, lived to a ripe old age. My springer is now on Adequan and doing great. My ortho vet also recommended putting him on a small dose of Deramaxx once a day during the winter as the cold damp weather here in PA is hard on arthritic beings (that includes me! ). Oscar showed no signs of hip dysplasia until this past fall (he's 11) and he's had a physically active life (flyball, agility, running amok ) so he’s better off than those dogs who are younger and in pain. But Adequan does seem to be an amazing drug! The down side is the expense and it is given by injection but at this point in my boy's life it's certainly worth it. My ortho vet also told me they are now using stem cells to help dysplastic dogs. They draw blood from the dog, strip out the stem cells, then inject the cells back into the dog. I don't know any more than that about it but my vet told me it's very successful. Hey Mark.... what do you mean "at the end"? Is Duncan over the bridge?
  3. I’m sorry to jump on this and I know working with the public can be tough but I think you really need to come at this with a good attitude as it is the people you will be teaching, not the dogs. Can you motivate the students to work with their dogs at home (the place where the dog learns) and continue coming to classes (where the people learn)? Can you keep the mood of the class fun yet challenging to keep them coming back for more? Can you show empathy for the havoc their lack of dog knowledge may be causing them at home? The people who are dog savvy won’t be coming to your class; it will be the ones who “don’t get it”. Can you explain what you’re trying to accomplish so they can get it? I’ve taught classes for over 20 years both as a individual and with a dog training facility and my goal has always been to give the people & their dogs the communications skills that will keep the dog from ending up in rescue or a shelter. Many people coming to a basic class are at their wits end and the class may be the last chance for the dog. To me teaching basic obedience skills is more than teaching sit, down, walk politely on leash and keep all four on the floor. It’s explaining to the owners what a dog is (a dog, not a stuffed animal or a furry human), why their dog may be behaving as it is (and why they aren’t being bad but just being a dog), and how they can develop the communication link that will help their dog to have a loving home until it gets old and dies. Ok… enough preaching (sorry, couldn’t help myself) … When you work up the class curriculum take in consideration why people will bring their dog to class. The reasons generally are pretty basic: to get the dog to walk politely on leash; to stop the dog from jumping up on people; to teach the dog self control and come when called. Each student will bring their specific problem or problems. Decide on the goal for each skill you want to teach then break the goal down into parts. Decide how the goal will be addressed each week, plan what exercise you’ll do in class, and decide how each week will build on the skill throughout the class session. For example, in the 7 week class I teach the recall is touched on each week. Each week may have a different recall game or may add more distractions to a previous recall game. Burn out happens even if you teach part time so know when to stop or take a break from teaching. I think 60% would be more reasonable, especially if it’s you who is preparing and providing the handouts. Or perhaps a lower percentage with some added perks (boarding, grooming, etc.). Definitely consider what it will cost you. Where I currently teach we get 60% and a break on any class we take.
  4. Jaime said Good point here! I had been taking private lessons for some time when the instructor finally said (paraphasing here) "Annie has all the tools. She's a trained open dog. What she needs is the right attitude." Another duh moment for me. Sensitive, very attuned to my moods, easy to have her feelings hurt, a dog given to "pouting" (so said a few well respected handlers) - that's her. She, too, is very biddable. She's an interesting mix - willing to take a ewe on the nose if asked, willing to get in those tight places, loves to be the cutting horse holding off the single. Just needs to be stronger at the top. It's been quite a journey.
  5. As some may know I have this dog too! In my inexperience as a trainer I couldn't figure out what was stalling Annie at the top. Then one year at Edgeworth as Annie & I were on the pro novice field, Robin (Shoofly) said to my friend Sue "look at that eye!". Eye. I never would have thought of it. My older dog Jill, now she's got eye! Great line dog but don't ask her to let go with that eye to flank! Annie's eye is very different. I can easily flank and put her anywhere but the eye is still there. She also has always been a dog that doesn't like to come into the bubble of the sheep but slips off and start to flank rather than push. Teaching her to drive was hair pulling, let me tell ya! On the outrun Annie would come in at the top very deliberately then, slowly lift the sheep, and when the pressure was too much, she'd burst into the sheep then flank to put them back together. I think Annie's problem is a result of eye and not wanting to burst that bubble. Some things that have made her lift better have been: 1) not letting her hang up at the top. I set up short outruns then use my voice to keep her moving as briskly as possible at the top and into the lift. There's a fine line here between her pushing just enough or her blasting into the sheep. This practice actually taught me that I was causing Annie to bust the sheep after the lift at the trials. (like duh, ); 2) encouraging her to push hard when driving and on the fetch; 3) I actually have had her push sheep into a corner or against a stream encouraging her to push against them and I think this did benefit her. (I never would have thought I was teaching her she couldn't move the sheep, but what a good point!). But in her case I think it jazzed her up - she likes catching those sheep that try to break away- and I think it also taught her to hold her temper when they don't move; 4) I also have her drive the whole flock thru gates into small pens (but have to figure out how to set the gate like Amelia suggests. So, Amelia, how did you fix up that gate?) We moved up to open this past year and in the last few months I actually began to think we deserved to be there. Annie's a sensitve dog and not one many would want to train & trial but she's been fun (other than teaching her to drive ). Great thread!! Keep the suggestions coming!
  6. Like any cues, if the hand is used as a lure or a target it needs to be faded gradually. Once the dog has the general idea of the position on a verbal cue, you could remove the hand and use a clicker or marker word to reinforce the the dog when he is in the correct position (this kinda goes back to the old clicker debate: does the click end the behavior or mark the behavior? In this case, at least in my mind, it marks the behavior.) When the behavior is fairly solid or even when the behavior is solid, the target should occassionally be brought back in during practice to keep the behavior sharp. The dog is learning the position, not a touch.
  7. You could use body blocks to teach the "leave it".
  8. Was that Warren's wife Maria describing the run and did I hear David Clark's voice? Gotta love NPR! Thanks for posting this.
  9. L-O-V-E-R-L-Y!!! Poetry in motion! So very obviously a well matched team!!! Proud indeed! Thanks for posting these. Gotta bookmark them for repeated viewing!
  10. My first dog fell 2 stories off a fire escape and got up and walked away, no harm done - to her! I was, of course, a basket case! I lived in town next to an old school that had pigeons living on it. My apartment had a small side porch that opened out to the fire escape and my dog walked around the wooden railing of the porch to get closer to the pigeons. I was right there but not paying attention (duh!) when I heard her paws scrapping the floor. I turned around to see her clinging to the edge of the porch with her front paws (looking like Gilroy, for those of you **mature** enough to remember him ) and before I could do anything, off she went! She landed in the alley (on cement, of course) on her side, stood up and started trotting off down the alley. World record sprint down the fire escape on my part and a good recall on her part. Luckily no harm, no foul (except those dang pigeons! ). Glad to hear Sport is ok from his "trip". That that doesn't kill us makes us gray!
  11. I just want to add an example of another breed's history along with Kathy H's history of the bouvier (very interesting, by the way! ). The English Springer Spaniel in America is a very separated breed - those shown in conformation and those that complete in field trials (the springer version of a USBCHA open trial), not to mention those produced by BYBs. This breed, both working & bench, have been recognized by the AKC for a long time. The last dual champion (one dog earning both a conformation & field championship) was back in the 1940s and since then the breed has taken 2 very different paths. The two versions look nothing alike but do share some broad traits. But they are also very different in drive, stamina, work ethic & the ablity to do the work. Those wanting or needing to preserve the hunting instinct have been strong and have continued to produce a valuable hunting companion, keeping in line with the breed's original purpose. Are those breeding for the work a minority? For sure. But they are keeping that "side" of the breed alive and will continue to do so much as I would say those breeding border collies for their stockwork will. I am a sport person who has gone to the "dark side" and now compete in USBCHA trials. In my day I've competed rather successfully in competitive obedience, agility, and flyball. When it was time to add another springer to join me in the fun I purposefully choose a pup from a litter what was 1/2 and 1/2 - half conformation & half field. What I got was a dog with a lot of drive, intelligence, and a willingness to work & be a partner. I didn't do much field work with him but the one time I did he showed a lot of natural ability, if a tad out of control, but also had an extremely hard mouth. Springers and any breed bred to retrieve game are bred to have a soft mouth - that is the ability to pick up and carry game without damaging it. My dog, with his hard mouth, was doing some serious crunching of the game as he brought it back to me. Is that nurture or nature? Anyway, I see the border collie in America splitting into separate versions of itself like the springer has and like the border collie has in the United Kingdom. With sheepdog trials becoming more popular even as farmwork fades with farms becoming overrun with development (at least here in the northeast), I think the border collie will retain it's sheepsense & its ability to work. Those to whom this is important will make sure of that. There is no way for a breeders of working border collies to "compete" with the sport breeders and the BYBs - they are way outnumbered. One more reference to the English Springer Spaniel. The springer came to America from England, like the border collie, but today very few are imported to add to our gene pool. Now there are those who say the breed in America has changed so radically from the English version that a name change is in order.
  12. What Olivia said. Having the kids toss a ball (supervised, of course) is a great way to alter the dog's mood from fear to "hey! these little people are fun!". And this is important too! Worked for my shy, reactive one.
  13. Wishing you and Nick the best & most of all - have fun! Can't wait to hear about your **enjoyable** flights over & back Kick butt!
  14. I almost stopped watching at segment one – incredibly hard to watch those dog suffer - but it was so compelling I watched them all. Sad, so very sad.
  15. One thing to keep in mind with any method is to be sure you are not pulling on the leash yourself (but you already know that ). The more we pull, even slightly, the more the dog will lean into his collar. The hands must remain still - neither pulling against the dog or following the dog when he pulls. In the classes I teach we call these "neutral hands". Our natural inclination is to pull back and most people do it without realizing it. In class we have the students either hook their thumb in a pants pocket or put the entire hand in the pocket, anything to keep the hands still. Pulling is such a rewarding behavior for dogs that it is hard to fix; the longer they been allowed to pull, the longer it takes to fix it. But I have faith!
  16. Ah, yep. How about Freddie & the Freeloaders? I'm tell ya now...
  17. Jill gets "Jillie" and use to be called "Shark" when she use to use her teeth to met people & dogs. (Phew! that's been a long time ago now!). Annie gets "Annie Banannie". Poor Oscar doesn't really have a nickname. Going to get a little blue here: I recently took in a kitten I found calmly sitting along side the road saying "hi" to the cars as they passed by. I named him Peck after "Peck's Bad Boy" and just the other day caught myself putting "er" after his name. I stopped using that name immediately!
  18. I feed twice a day and the times vary with whatever is happening that day. They all eat in the kitchen and it's over pretty quickly and rule has always been no hovering, no intimating, and no visiting the other bowls until everyone's finished. I feed kibble and recent started to add a little water, just enough to moisten it, as Annie was eating so fast that she was almost choking afterwards. The water helps it go down easier, it seems. I've almost always fed my dogs twice a day. My dogs live an active life and I'd worry about all that food lying in their stomach if they only ate one large meal a day. Years ago I free fed my dog (she was my only dog at the time). We lived in an old housetrailer at that time and, unfortunately, the food attracted some rather large rodents (ewuwwwww! ). It's amazing how they can find ways to get inside. That ended that!
  19. Welcome to the Boards! What cuties! I've raised 2 pups together - Oscar & Jill, now 11 years old - different breeds and a two months apart in age, but here's what I found: 1) What one puppy does "bad", the other one will follow and be "bad" too 2) Each bonded to me just fine. Our relationship is different than if there had been only one, but that would be the case whether I brought home two puppies or if second dog joined the household later. Different but good! 3) The teenage months of their puppyhood almost drove me nuts 4) The strengths of one can help the weaknesses of the other. Oscar was way more social and outgoing and helped timid, shy Jill become more "socially appropriate". 5) They have a special relationship even today that is warming to see. I think you're on the right track working & playing with them separately as well as together. One problem I've seen is where pups have never been separated - that's where separation anxiety develops as one or both become overly dependent on the other. Each pup needs to develop independence and confidence separate from their littermate. I highly recommend taking them to separate classes. Have fun and enjoy the ride (and remember it gets better the older they get ).
  20. Thanks, Sue, for spearheading this and taking care of the details !!
  21. What she (Denise) said (how do you make those pointy uppy arrows?). Each dog is an individual and their talents & skills are individual. I think use it or lose it could apply here. Focus on one part of the training and weaken the other necessary skills. Interesting thread, all. Thanks!
  22. I've only had limited nightime sheep time. Bright moon and snow on the ground makes it much easier! Like the others have said, the sheep startle easier at night and a quiet, steady dog is what's needed. It's a interesting test of what the dog brings to the work because the handler can't see much until it's close at hand (and so can't interfere ).
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