Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy (Almost) Birthday, Kittie

Introducing the: 
"Mom, please gives me attentions" look.
Think I'm going to give in?
I am.

Yeah, I said it.
I reward Kittie for all sorts of things that would make me, as a trainer, gasp.

How can I say, "NO!" to this girl?
She's trying to have a good time.
Almost 3 years old now.
Wouldn't believe she could come as far as she has if I hadn't been there myself.
It can be done.

Or at least adventured upon.


Worst case scenario? 
Howl at it.
Or is that a yowl, Kittie? 
No, you really are a dog...
Really.
 Yeoooooooooowl.
I love you. But you suck at singing.


Whassat, Mom? I no hears you; I'z grass in mah mouth!


And my personal favorite for the day:
Whassat doin theres?

We call those tails, Kittie. I know your sister doesn't have one, but you do.

Shake it off.

And Happy...Not Birthday.
I have no idea when you were born. The shelter was inaccurate and the vet can only guestimate.
So.
Here's your present:

Have fun

Whass I'z do with this?

Mom.........-_______-;;
PAWS WET! TAKES COVER! PAWS WET!


video

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Top Doggie Personalities

1.) Gage, Buddha, and Caffeine (all rescues) own Eric Goebelbecker, a trainer stationed in New Jersey who runs Dog Spelled Forward. Eric (@dogspelledfwd if you're interested in following him on Twitter) writes the Real Man's Guide to Dog Training (and other articles) on his blog as well as articles for Dog Star Daily.

I find him to be a very sassy guy with much to say. The best part? It's always interesting, and his advice is concise and useful.

I stumbled upon Eric by mistyping something into a search engine and landing on his home page. A dog trainer with a twitter? I didn't know they made those (honest!) So, I followed him. Through him, I found other very interesting dog personalities.





2.) Jasmine and J.D. own Jana Rade (@DawgBlogger,) a dog blogger and graphic designer with a sassy, to-the-point personality. She witty, pithy, and downright smart.
The best part about Jasmine's human? She loves her enough that I believe she'd do anything for her. That's unconditional love at its best.
It doesn't stop there.
Jana writes a blog called Dawg Business, dedicated to doggie health, nutrition, training, and more!
Jana is dedicated to helping other dog owners through health and other problems, and she even has a group called Dog Health Issues set up on Facebook, where you can ask doggie health questions and get answers.
Now that is someone worth following!




3.)A beautiful German Shepherd Dog named Dojo Astaire (the dog with flair) owns Dino Dogan, a trainer, motorcyclist, martial artist, and (I'm convinced) genius from NJ. 
Dino isn't what I'd classify as your stereotypical, conservative dog trainer. He runs an amazing, interesting blog that I now call home (because I read it so much that I may as well live there...) It's called Dogan Dogs Video Blogs, and it's definitely worth your time. 
How would I know?
Well, one day I got brave enough to click the link provided via Twitter, and I basically have yet to leave. I also learned, from one visit, that this dog trainer is a smart, innovative, creative guy that has a lot to offer the world. New Jersey, you are one lucky state... (Why do you get Eric AND Dino? How unfair...)
Dino also runs a Facebook group called Dog Trainer 2.0.  Dog trainers, pay attention! This group is for you. Here's a place where you can learn how to get Social Media on your side. It's also a place to discuss just about anything with other trainers. You can also find him on twitter (@dino_dogan)





4.) Maddie and Dexter own Hollie Toner, a dog trainer from North East Ohio. She's an amazing woman who is so well versed in doggie body language that she can spot a potential scuffle from the other end of the Doggie Beach (and somehow be on the other side in time to keep said potential scuffle from happening.)
Hollie runs Paws N Claws Academy in Streetsboro, Ohio. 
I have quite a bit of personal experience with Hollie - I used to take class at Signature K-9 in Alliance, Ohio with her and Maddie. 
Hollie, thank the heavens, is busy working with North East Dog Training (that's us!) to make FreeStyle and Rally popular in Ohio! 
We'll succeed...Just you wait!




5.) Daisy (the Wunder Dog) owns Mel Freer, a wonderful woman who runs Mel's Pet Pals - a dog walking and pet sitting company in Minnesota. Daisy didn't know that Mel was the human for her when they first met, as she was a surrender with some extreme fear issues. Years later, Mel works with/pet sits for dogs who have fear issues. She loves to work with "difficult" dogs and help them to reach a potential that their Moms and Dads probably didn't know they had. Thank goodness for Daisy and Mel!
Daisy has her own blog Daisy the Wonder Dog and How She Found Her Inner Lab. 
Mel also has her own blog called No Dog About It. (Daisy must have felt bad and let Mom have a blog, too! LoL)
All three sites are certainly worth checking out - Mel and Daisy are quite the team, and they have interesting stories and thoughts to share. Just don't be surprised when they capture your heart!





Human: A Dog's Favorite Pet

Confession: Having had a few bad experiences with dogs as a kid...for the longest time, I wasn't a fan. That didn't change when we first got Kittie. She was a weird little thing - followed me everywhere, was afraid of everything, and peed non-stop.

One day, I looked down at her, sighed, and didn't understand why she was in my life.

In my head popped the idea of her not being in my life.
My knees went out from under me; I landed on the floor and couldn't even breathe.

Kittie nudged me with her nose - cold, wet, slimy, and covered in dirt. I just laughed.

The feeling that took over me is something that is completely ineffable. I don't believe in love, but I know I love this girl.

I wouldn't give her up for all the money, fame, fortune, and whatever else you think you've got that's better than what I have. It isn't.

Behind every truly amazing person, there is a dog. This dog is not just a household accessory, but a family member who motivate, drives, and humbles us.


Yeah, I owe it all to the dog.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dear Agility Students

Things the agility instructor wishes she could say:

ATTENTION:

We need to get a few things clear before we continue.


Agility class has rules. I think some of you may have failed to notice this.

These rules are intended to make it so that, during class, you and your dog can have fun and learn together.

That being said, when I tell you that you need to keep your dog's attention focused on you,

I am not not talking to myself. I am also not forcing my vocal chords to make comprehensible sounds just because I am able to do so.

I am trying, dear students, to save your dogs life.

That's basically the short and the long of it.

Here Are the Rules:

  1. Your dog must look to you for direction. This means that he is not allowed to make up his own course or - God forbid - visit another dog. Use goodies or toys if you must. In fact, I encourage the use of them.
  2. Your dog is NOT ALLOWED to visit another dog. Would you like your dog to play with the dog beside him? That's great; do it on your own time. Not mine.
  3. If another dog makes the decision to rush your dog, and I tell you to move.... MOVE! Don't sit there and look at me like I'm an idiot while your dog is trying to eat another dog - and consequently almost eating me because I'm standing between the two. Just move your dog. Please.
  4. Going further with #3; I can keep the rushing dog from getting to your dog. I strategically place myself in the field so that, in the off chance that this happens, I can prevent a fight. MOVE. Thank you.
  5. Do not take equipment you are not told to take. If your dog has never gone up the Dog Walk and I tell you not to take him over the Dog Walk, it's because there is a serious potential for him to fall and injure himself. I'm not just saying no because I can. Really.
  6. Do not force your dog over any equipment. This creates fear issues and chances are, if you're taking class with us, you're paying us to help work out those same fear issues.
  7. Do NOT wear inappropriate shoes to my class. Yes, Barbie, flipflops are out.
  8. Follow all other directions you are given. This means that if I tell you to stop manhandling your dog, or if I ask you to redo a specific part of the course, please do so. You are paying me for a reason, and you must be open to constructive criticism and learning. 
  9. If you have a problem with any of the above-mentioned rules....
.... PLEASE DO NOT TAKE MY CLASS.

I have never had a dog fight in any of my classes.
I am structured to a fault - in order to prevent dog fight and in order to keep you and your dog safe.

While I am all about having fun in agility, I am more about keeping - yet again - you and YOUR DOG safe. And the dog beside you, and the dog beside him.....

At the end of the day, it's not about you. It's about your dog. I am your dog's advocate when you sometimes forget that Bad Things Can Happen.

Thank you.

The Agility Instructor.
Who, by the way, comes from a facility that specializes in basket-case dogs who would just love to eat yours. Honest. They aren't friendly, and yet we can get those dogs within 3ft of another dog, because we use structure and ...
*AHEM*
We know what we are doing.
I reiterate. We know what we're doing. You're paying us because we know what we're doing. If you think you know better, that's great for you. Don't take my class.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

DON'T DUMP THE DOG

Introducing my absolute favorite rescue personality of all time: Randy Grimm. He just might be a little crazy, but from what I've read, I adore everything about him and what he does for the strays, the forfeited, the feral, and the abandoned in St. Louis, MO.

Randy Grimm runs Stray Rescue of St. Louis. He rescues, works with, and adopts out dogs with problems that make the craziest dog you've ever met seem tame. And the craziest of all? Guess what! They aren't euthanized; they come to live with him! (My favorite being Charlie the crime-fighting Pit Bull that has to wear a basket muzzle at all times. One day, a bad guy crashed through his newly built fence, and Charlie chased him right back to the police..! .... Who ran in the other direction because a Pit Bull in a basket muzzle was chasing them.... But that's not the point.)

In his book, Don't Dump the Dog (with Melinda Roth,) Randy goes over all of the lame excuses he, as a rescue worker, hears everyday on the job. The old "the dog barks too much," or whatever else they can come up with. Every segment in his book is either heartwarming or funny, and it really puts some things into perspective when you stop and think about where these dogs come from and all the work the rescuers had to put into making the dog suitable for adoption.... And yet people want to return the little woofers because something about them isn't perfect.

Well, Randy Grimm isn't afraid to tell you how it is. He's witty, funny, and ... he's always right.

Example: In his book, he points some of the dumbest excuses he's ever heard.

"Dumping Excuse: "I am moving."
Quick Fix: Good for you. Take the dog with you. If your new apartment won't allow pets, find one that does. This is where I can't fix stupid. "

Anyway, it's an excellent read - more for the funny stories and stupid excuses than anything; although, I must admit that there are some very decent training tips in there! He's a great writer, and the book is seriously entertaining. I take it with everywhere I go in case I need to read something funny. =] It's almost better than Pearls Before Swine!

And I'm sure that just about every single one of us has the same view on those lame excuses for dog-dumping. I certainly share in his impatience.

You can check out Randy Grimm's Facebook page for Don't Dump the Dog. He does book signings and other interesting things.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Kennel It Up!

Dear Reader,
I have a question....
....and here it goes....

WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THIS "DON'T CRATE YOUR DOG" MENATLITY?

Ahem.

I ask, because my dog's mentality on crates is as follows:

  1. Kittie couldn't ask for a more fun place to lounge around on a hot summer day.
  2. The other dogs don't bother her while she's in her crate, so if she wants it to be naptime...It's NAPTIME! No muss, no fuss. Heck yes; that's what she says.
  3. All the good food toys, rawhides, stuffed squeaky things, and our shoes if she so pleases can go with her into the crate.
  4. Actually, the crate is the go-to spot for dinner, Kongs, and (vet approved) Rawhides.
  5. You've never seen a dog run to her crate so fast when it's dinner time. We stopped asking her to actually go into her crate for dinner some six or so months ago. She still thinks it's the hot spot.
  6. When we leave, she goes in her crate. She sleeps, mostly; and yes, we do know this for a fact. Sometimes she stretches, chews on her stuff, and has fun...but mostly she sleeps.
  7. When in her crate, without our supervision, she cannot do the following:
  • hang herself via the curtains
  • chew through the walls
  • chew waterbottles - don't ask how she gets them, we haven't quite figured it out - full of water on someone's bed.
  • get so strung out that she does this:
  • bark like mad until we "come back"
  • when we don't respond, decide to follow us herself
  • escape anything that needs to be escaped to do the above
  • finally, as panic settles in and she realizes that we are nowhere to be found and have, in her mind, abandonded her - a dog's worst fear - become so out-of-her-mind that she loses control of her bowels and bladder, pukes, and rips apart anything that smells like us in a heartbreaking, desperate attempt to find us.
Outside of the crate, she's a mess.
Inside, she feels secure enough to lounge, play, and nap.

I don't care if you think it's unnatural; it keeps my dog alive and sane.

It's a great training tool - and it's all in how YOU make it for the dog. If you know how to make it a positive thing, it will be a positive thing for your dog.

[This being said, yes; we do know there are escape artists that you couldn't keep in long enough to teach that it's a good thing. Or, on the other end, will escape anyhow. There are other, just as safe, options for these dogs! We keep the big black lab in the back bedroom. He sleeps on the bed, usually after having gone down into the laundry and fetched a pair of my brother's pants. He doesn't chew them; he sleeps with them. Either that, or shoes. I don't know what it is about the shoes.

[.....The point is that being left in the back bedroom is still basically the same as crating. It's being left in a safe spot while you aren't there to supervise.]