Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Boy

Doesn't his face just scream mellow?

A few Interesting Resources

As a [hopefully] final post about Jazz, here are a couple of really interesting resources I discovered while fostering him:

Deaf Dog Education Action Fund

The White Aussie Project

Deafness in Dogs & Cats

I sent these home with Jazz:

The Educated Ferret - Educational Resources - Deaf Ferret Brochure (*pdf)

Kong Stuffing Pointers (*pdf)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Better Late than Never!!

Talk about whirling dervishes....that's been my life lately. It's generally a very good thing. Having the opportunity to work with three very different dogs (Ike, Carmen, and Jazz) - what could be better? Perhaps having time to sleep!

Anyway, Jazz has gone to his new forever home. As of 5:00 pm today he is a resident of Manchester-by-the-Sea. On Saturday John and I went up to meet his prospective adopters, Martha and Fred. I did NOT have high expectations. I'll admit I was dealing with a bit of ageism (BAD Julie), they are retired and talked about having a "run" for the dog!

Anyway, my reservations were completely unfounded. They are a very robust 60-plus. They are active hikers and sailors (is that the correct term?), have had multiple rescues, and their daughter has a whirling dervish 3 yo AS who lives in the town next door.

We walked down to the beach near their house and Jazz had the opportunity to play with some dogs and run on the beach. He was COMPLETELY appropriate. Huge sigh of relief! When we walked back to their house we had coffee and THEY prepared a kong for Jazz. That was my jaw I just picked up. Okay, see, this is why preconceived notions can really screw you!

I called Jazz' local sponsor on the ride home and told her I felt comfortable that they would be a good home for Jazz. Monday the Rescue called me and said they had spoken with Jazz' new family and I could arrange for him to go home with them as soon as I wanted.

Today, when Martha and Fred came to pick up Jazz they had already arranged a private lesson with a local trainer and are planning on enrolling in a six-week class with him.

John and I are really sad to see Jazz go, but he picked up some manners while he stayed with us and that will definately help ease his transition in his new home.

On the homefront - every animal in my house sighed a breath of relief. My pigs are munching timothy hay and my birds are preening out of their cage. Ike has shown more verve tonight in the house than he has in the past month (aside from one-on-one where he has been PHENOMONAL!!).

Having Jazz stay with us reassured me that the right herding dog would be able to fit in without a problem.

Now to work on a post about my recent training - there has been lots!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hydrogen Peroxide and other stuff you should have on hand

Per Ann’s question, here is the deal on hydrogen peroxide. First make sure you use 3%!!

The appropriate dose of hydrogen peroxide is one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight. If you have an oral syringe, one teaspoon equals 5 cc or 5 ml. Once given, walk your dog around or gently shake the stomach area to mix the peroxide with the stomach contents. Vomiting should occur within 15 to 20 minutes. If no vomiting occurs, you can safely repeat the three percent hydrogen peroxide once. If it is still not effective, your dog may need to be seen by a veterinarian for stronger vomiting meds.

Once the hydrogen peroxide is given, it is important to watch your pet so that he does not re-ingest the substance. If there is concern about toxicity, collect and take a sample of the vomitus to your veterinarian.

I personally keep a small bottle on hand at all times! And I use a children’s ear irrigator (or whatever you call those bulbs you can get in the baby aisle at CVS) to administer it. Ike once ate some prescription medicine and scared the daylights out of me. I have his dosage written on my peroxide bottle (2 TSP) with permanent marker so that I do not need to scurry on the web should he eat something terrible.

Some other useful information (and again, I mark the dosage for my dog in permanent marker on the container or packaging):

Dogs can be given baby aspirin. The dosage is 5 or 10mg/lb. of body weight twice a day.

Dogs can be given Pepto Bismol if they have an upset stomach (again I use the ear irrigator) ½ TSP for every 10 pounds.

They can also be given Peptic AC – but you might want to ask your vet what the ratio would be for their weight. When I had Ike tested for allergies he had to go on an elimination diet. He started suffering from acid reflux because he was going too long between meals and snacks. He would wake me up in the middle of the night sounding like he was puking! Scary stuff.

I have a small bin that contains the above items, as well as a syringe, Pad Heal, vet wrap, and some other animal first aid items like styptic. Additional recommendations are welcome.....

If you haven’t already got such a bin in your home – I would recommend starting one! Then you can bring it on trips too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hooray, Carmen! Hooray, Jazz!


I did not even have a chance to post about Carmen's first ABC class last week. It went. Poor Carmen, who has been such an apt student at home, was completely overwhelmed. Oh well, that is part of what the class is for, too.

Tonight we practiced eye contact and I kept making 90 degree turns. She totally caught on. I am SO proud of her. She gets such a bad rap in the family and she tries so hard if you meet her even partway. Yay!!


I introduced Jazz to the flashlight as a clicker on Monday. Today we took a super long walk and every time he made a full face glance at me I flashed and treated. The second part of the walk he was nearly in the heel position! Good boy, Jazz! Very exciting stuff! And our door manners are progressing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Switches, Get Outs, and poor Jazz management

We worked on Switch and Get Out today in Katrin’s class. Well, what do you know, the seminar last weekend paid off! With my new understanding of switch I was successfully able to complete quite a few switches with Ike! Hooray! Ike doesn’t find Get Out that confusing (or maybe I don’t and therefore he doesn’t?).

Our biggest issue is that *I* am not comfortable once I am farther than 5’ to 7’ feet away from him, and he notices and returns to me or takes the wrong entrance! However, Katrin was pretty successful at schooling me to keep moving! And we were finally able to nail a few “Get Outs” at the 6’ + range! Yay Ike!

In general Ike was in a stellar mood last night. He was wagging away, moving REALLY fast (for him), and interacting with people and dogs. I think he must have taken a happy pill yesterday. Who knows, he was *on* last night.

One of the final sequences we worked on started on the table in whatever our preferred position is (down for Ike) and then 4 jumps in a straight line. Then we reversed it and sent our dog to the table and asked for whatever our criteria is, preferably from some distance. Well, I was able to send Ike to the table (YAY!).

The first time I was a goober and was all hunched over when I was asking for his down and then I essentially released him from his down for his cookie (handler slap). Next time we both nailed it. Hooray! Ike downed and I didn’t release him, I went and treated him. Very good job, Ikey P.

Switch is starting to make sense to me; last night was a great class for us.


I did ruin the vibe by taking Jazz out of the car and having very poor judgment. I was trying to walk him for a pee break and with the Competition students arriving Jazz was totally over stimulated.

I went to say “hi” to Sandy and Sadie and after some Jazz-Sadie sniffing they had a bit of a snarl fest. I deserve a major smack for letting that happen. I *hate* being such a bad foster-mum. I feel like I should have been well aware that he would be over stimulated by everything and that greeting a strange dog would be a bad combination. Argh, I suppose I should be happy it was only noise and that it was Sandy and Sadie.

For the future and I will manage better. To that end I am getting a Gentle Leader for Jazz, per Katrin’s recommendation. The GL will help with Jazz’ staring, and make it more difficult to snarf things up on walks. This a.m. (I am finishing this post on Wednesday) Jazz snarfed up a chicken bone on our walk! I was able to wrestle half of it out of his mouth but then I had to take him home and dose him with peroxide. Yikes. He seemed very down about the puking, but it is better than the alternative!!

Amanda Nelson Seminar

This weekend I attended a seminar on Foundation Skills with Amanda Nelson in Ithaca, NY. The seminar was hosted by the Finger Lakes Agility and Obedience Association and was held at Cornell University Livestock Pavilion, a nice heated barn - not quite as wide as the barn Maplewood rents.

The seminar went over foundation training and handling. Amanda and her husband Josh taught us the basic skills in the morning and discussed how we should progress on a week-to-week basis. The skills Amanda had us work on in the morning were out, here, switch, and tight. In the afternoon we incorporated the skills we worked on in the morning in some sequences.

The first skill we worked on was "out." Amanda uses large construction cones to train this. In the past she has used gates and that is what we use in Katrin's classes. Amanda had us walk past the cone as closely as possible with the arm closest to the cone extended. Your positioning initially causes your dog to choose to walk on the opposite side of the cone; combine the verbal and physical cue. Continue this exercise incrementally increasing the distance between you and the cone. Slowly transition to a smaller cone, then a 2 liter soda bottle, then a 16 ounce soda bottle, etc.

We did this exercise with multiple cones spaced a few feet apart. Amanda explained that the multi-cone exercise wasn't for week one of our practice session! This was for when we are consistently getting the performance we want with one cone and some handler distance.

Next we worked on the opposite of "out" which is here. If you work to train your dog to work "out" you must also train them to work in. Essentially Amanda had us do this by giving the dog enough space to come with us as we walked past the cone and including the verbal cue "here."

"Tight" means turn towards the handler in the most efficient path. Amanda had us train this by having the dog do an out around the cone and then using the hand that is on the outside (away from the cone) to lure the dog around the cone saying "tight." She said if we were going to use the clicker to be sure and click when the dog was bending. The handler needs to pivot as the dog is bending so you end up with the treat-hand beside the dog. I was doing this too slowly and therefor was facing Ike as he made his turn. Argh. This caused him to stop, of course. Amanda's husband Josh had me give Ike more space and try to turn quicker. That was fairly successful.

Next we practiced "Switch" which is teaching the dog to turn away from you; additionally the dog should change leads. Start out with you and your dog on the same side of the cone - dog is closest to the cone. Use your outside arm to lead the dog around the cone, AWAY from you.

Ike and I both had meltdowns on Saturday. Ike shut-down about noon on Saturday. After lunch when we went to work on the sequences poor Ike was completely out of steam. Katrin let me run Monty and he was willing to play with me!

I had *my* meltdown shortly after my first run with Monty. I was being VERY animated, trying to keep Monty involved with me and not running off to his mum and bro James.

When I finished the run, Nadia a seasoned NADAC competitor and fellow seminar attendee, said I should try being like that with Ike. I was CRUSHED. I translated that constructive criticism to mean that I wasn't being fair to Ike. One of my biggest concerns is that I am fair to Ike. I don't see *that* many handlers that are unfair to their dogs, but when I do they make me cringe. I find it incredibly distressing when a handler isn't fair to their dog and isn't willing to take responsibility for their part in the relationship.

Being Up versus Cheerleading

Later I was clarifying with Katrin - I said that Ike doesn't like me cheerleading and that he tunes me out when I do it. Katrin said that I wasn't cheerleading Monty I was just really up and animated. Katrin suggested that I am probably comfortable in my relationship with Ike and maybe I don't try to be as exciting as possible all of the time. With Monty, where I am just beginning a relationship with him, I am trying to keep him as involved as possible with me. I am definitely a bit complacent in my relationship with Ike, but he is also a VERY different dog from Monty. Ike doesn't really feed off positive emotions in terms of energy. Ike's most excited is still fairly tame compared to most dogs, but this is definitely food for thought.

I got a lot out of this seminar. Ike and I have really been having a difficult time with "Switch." I think our struggle is in part because we are both learning at the same time! This seminar gave me some really useful tools to practice this winter with Ike.

In addition I got to spend some quality time with Katrin, James, and Monty - AND meet Monty's breeders Holly and Leonard of Visions Cardigans. What sweet dogs they have!! And I met a lovely brindle pup named Chloe I wish I could steal! Of course, Ike liked their elderly mix, Jake who is about 4 x as big as Ike!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fun Jazz facts


….will not eat raw meat (at least not rabbit)

….likes broccoli

….doesn’t like smoked pigs ears, but loves regular pig ears

….will put anything in his mouth, including your hands, face, etc. a pleasure to walk because he doesn’t mind NOT sniffing every bloody blade of grass (yes, I know, my own fault)

….picked up how to retrieve in 10 minutes

….gets over stimulated by petting and starts mouthing you (the wording of this makes me laugh!)

this week

This week has escaped me. Tuesday night I had class with Ike and Katrin at the barn. I was very much in bad handler mode (stress = bad handler). We worked on Switches again which are fast becoming the bane of my existence! Just kidding, but I do seem to be having a tough time with them, it would help if I practiced them more. We also did a 90 degree turn/switch into the weaves which Ike handled well once I moved him out enough to be able to get the entrance.

It is amazing to me how the little tweaks of body positioning impact performance. We practiced a “get-out” tunnel and once I stopped FACING Ike (Gods Julie!) he handled it really well.

Katrin had the A-Frame up which was exciting since we had the A-Frame sight-seeing tour on Saturday. I think I confuse Ike when I am in Katrin’s class. I have been thinking about this because he acted a little odd about the A-Frame in the barn – and I realized that-that is the only time I ask him for a “wait.” In lessons with Erin and at trials I don’t ask him to “wait.” After some thought I realized that my criteria for Ike on the A-Frame is too keep running and this is a product of the fact that in general Ike isn’t moving fast enough (nor is he bold enough) to leap off the A-Frame and miss the contact. Hmmm. I am not sure what I think of this.

Yesterday we had a lesson with Erin at Canine Mastery. Ike was really good considering the indoor is pretty loud there and people kept arriving to pick up their dogs, etc. We saw a Giant named Rex – unfortunately he was quite overweight! : (

I find the AKC-style courses to be like trying to read in a foreign language. I understand the words I am seeing but I have a hard time making the big picture comprehensible. BUT, I think I am getting better about it and I had a lot more fun with it yesterday – not so much of a head trip. Depending on the personality of my next dog this will serve me well.

Ike was able to “see” the target plates indoors – hallelujah! So, we placed target plates at various points throughout the course. He handled 12 weaves beautifully multiple times – even getting fast enough to hop during one set. Yay!

I talked to Erin a bit about Jazz and the puppy dilemma. Having Jazz stay with us the past week plus has made me so aware of how idiosyncratic Ike is. I think he is a doggie misanthrope. Just kidding, that wouldn’t be a very accurate description of Sir Ike.

Katrin has pointed out to me – I am getting a dog for me, not Ike. However, I am hoping Ike will be around for the next 10 years – I want my next dog and Ike to get-on.

I have been thinking about all of the dogs Ike “likes” and aside from Baxter (LR who Ike adores), they are mostly small. Does this mean I should rethink my Giant plans, get a smaller dog, and make sure my next small dog really digs big dogs so I won’t be limited in that future dog choice?

I have dog sat for a variety of dogs and Ike has been fine with them all. Most of them have been on the needier side, but he has still come out of his shell and played with me while they are there. Not with Jazz.

Of course I suspect it would probably be easier with a puppy versus a two yo dog that doesn’t hear warning growls, etc. (even if he surely recognizes the body language).

So, What does this mean? It means I feel as though I am back to square one in terms of puppy decisions. I think, and Erin and Katrin seem to agree, that Ike would be fine with any dog as long as they came into the house as a puppy. He does seem a bit more relaxed with females, so….gulp…a girlie it will be most likely. BUT, what type? I want to be clunked over the head by the dog gods with “this is the dog for you.”

Talking to Erin last night, she was commenting on how nice she thinks Anna’s MS bitch Bebe is (this is the dog I was hoping for a puppy out of when I was sticking with MSs). Needless to say, I haven’t a clue what I am doing.

Last night I also practiced ABC homework with Ms. Carmen. Carmen is uber-needy. Where Ike would never touch, Carmen scratches/paws REPEATEDLY when she wants attention. I wasn't able to get her to jump up or touch me when I was standing (she sat staring at me), so I tried while sitting. She was touching, although not that consistently within about 5 - 10 minutes (versus HOURS with Ike!). So I moved into a kneel. Same story. She is the polar opposite of Ike. It is going to be fun doing ABC and agility with her. She is also VERY speedy!

I have class with Carmen tonight and then Ike and I are off to Ithaca with Katrin, Monty, and Sir James to attend the Amanda Nelson seminar. I am as excited about the seminar as I am about the fact we will be stopping to see some Cardigans on the way home!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pig Progress!

Woo-hoo! Jazz now lies outside the pig gate when I am on the computer or taking care of the piggies. He does occasionally stand up on the gate, but it is without the drive he previously did it with. Now I am trying to catch him in the act of being good and reward him for it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

All Dogs Gym, "New Years" CPE Trial

Yikes, we began the day with a repeat of the November trial for our first class. The first class was Fullhouse - in Fullhouse, Level 1 must accrue 19 points. A minimum of three (3) 1 pt jumps, two (2) 3 pt "circles" (tunnels or tire), and 1one (1) 5 pt contact or weave must be completed and the table is active the entire run. If the dog touches the table the run is over. I had planned a course that I thought suited Ike's cautious-cat personality - I wasn't trying to do anything crazy or overwhelming.

Like November, Ike shut down upon entering the room with the ring; the room seemed even louder than last time. Upon entering the actual ring, Ike tried to work, we did jump, tire, jump, A-Frame, and Ike FROZE. I literally could not get him to get off of the A-Frame at first. He finally was able to unglue himself and take a jump. I was trying to have him take the tunnel and he was still in complete shut-down mode. I should have just scooped him up AFTER the A-Frame and said thank you. The whistle blew and I scooped him up - he was so overwhelmed and distressed. I hate realizing after the fact that the kinder thing to would have been to end the run as soon as I was able to get him down the A-frame.


1. If I ask Ike to do something he thinks is overwhelming, he still tries. I need to be better about realizing BEFORE the shut-down that maybe it would be worth sitting a run out or leaving the ring.

2. After the Fullhouse run Ike was able to take treats in the scary room.

3. I walked out out to the pen behind the building and he was willing to play with me and a very cute BT who came out. (He was actually desperate to play with him! Yay!)

Note for future reference: If the first class of the day is Fullhouse, Snooker, or Jackpot avoid the A-Frame where Ike sees the full scope of all the people watching (this pertains only to indoor trials which freak him out more). I already try to avoid the dog walk as during the first class Ike tends to be in cautious-cat mode and we can lose quite a few precious seconds on the DW.

During the course change I sat out back in the crating room and gave Ike a massage so he would be a bit more relaxed. The classes were running high-to-low (levels), so while the levels 4, 5, and C were running I brought Ike into the room where the ring is to do some counter-conditioning and get him acclimated to the noise, people, etc. I sat him in my lap and tried to treat whenever the teeter banged or a handler was particularly loud. Ike handled it VERY well, and was watching everything and everyone. I walked him into the room where the vendors and food are and bought him some stinky mackerel treats.

When we went back into the ring room he was acting wary again. I brought him to the opposite end of the seating area and started asking him for some basics (sit, down, shake, other paw, jump up). He was able to do this, which he wasn't capable of doing prior to the first run. Yippee. I figured I had done enough and brought him back to his crate for a nap.

Well, it worked, Ike bounced back! Hooray!! We had an absolutely GORGEOUS Standard run (our first Level 2 Standard run). Jump, tunnel, jump, weaves - he did the odd pause half-way through the weaves to look at the crowd which I have seen him do in other trials but he continued correctly - Phew. I will have to think about how to prevent the pause during weaves. Ike does not do this all of the time, nor does he do it anywhere other than in trials.

He hesitated at the dog walk, but took it pretty confidently. His seesaw performance was phenomenal - he was really moving, I don't think he realized it was the seesaw and not the dog walk. I had him "wait" and he rode the seesaw down without freaking. What a good boy!!

As we exited the run a trainer for some of the other competitors yelled out "Good run," which I really appreciated. Later she came over and commented on my handling skills and specific handling decisions I made during the run and said I was motivational. That made me feel really good, and it should make Katrin feel pretty good since she is my primary trainer.

Unfortunately Ike did not Q, he was one second over. Ah well, it just goes to show that a Q isn't everything as it was an amazing run and I felt like Ike and I worked really well together.

Next class was Wildcard which Ike and I really excel at. We Q'd and placed first. Yay, Ike.

In Wildcard, the course is designed with three instances where the handler must make an obstacle choice. Typiclly one of the obstacles is slightly "harder" than the other. In Level 1 and 2 you must complete two easy obstacles and one difficult obstacle. You can not Q if you have all easy obstacles or all hard, or two hard and only one easy. Levels, 3, 4, 5 and C you must chose two hard and one easy.

Final class was Colors and Ike was just all done. It was 6:30 and we had been there since 7am. He stopped on the A-Frame and just stood there sight-seeing. Again with the bad handler decision. Colors is a course where there are two course designs that overlap. The handler must tell the judge and scribe which course they are running. If your dog decides to chose the other course, well you are basically screwed. I opted to run the course that included the A-Frame because I felt like it was easier to handle, with less chance of an off course. Well, I should have remembered that Ike thinks the A-Frame is a lot of work and it was the last class of the day. Oh well, these are the things you learn with more experience, you figure out what works best for your dog and change your strategies accordingly.

It was a good trial. I felt like I learned a lot about Ike and what works for him. I have more insight into strategizing for handler and games classes and that is the kind of thing you only get with experience in the ring.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Heading up North

We are headed up to Reading tonight with both dogs to stay at my mother's with Nellie. Ike and I have a trial at All Dogs Gym tomorrow. I am looking forward to it. John is taking JAzz hiking, weather permitting. Or possibly to Plum Island to run on the beach.

I noticed some names I recognize on the running order for Saturday, so that should be fun!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Jazz-Bird-Pig Truce

Katrin came by last night and we worked on Jazz' obsession with the birds and the pigs. He was a good boy about it and was able to sit and take treats right beside all of the cages. He is still a bit too over-interested in them, but with management everyone will survive and be a little happier. Yay! Thanks, Katrin.

This morninhg I was able to feed the pigs and Jazz didn't jump on the pig gate once. Yay, I rewarded him for being a wonderful dog.

As for Jazz staying, I don't think that is in the cards, but I will do my best to make him an excellent adoptee. He is now able to do "down" with an exaggerated hand movement and we have begun working on door manners.

Jazz is settling down quite a bit. Ike still thinks he is a bit creepy. I am afraid Ike is going to generalize and hate all white dogs. He will have a black doggie power thing going on! Oye!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Continuing Jazz Updates

I brought Jazz to meet Katrin last night. Typically she brings one of her dogs to agility on Tuesday and I wanted them to meet Jazz before sticking them into a small car together. Katrin decided to only bring Sky, the puppy, who travels by crate so Jazz couldn't bother her.

It was a bit nerve wracking for me. Jazz doesn't greet well. I had kind of noticed this before - almost every dog he's met while he's been with me, with the exception of Ike and the terrier/Brittany mix, has reacted by either removing themselves or snapping at him. If he stays, this will be something major to work on. Katrin's dogs are super so it didn't escalate, but Jazz didn't read their signals very well.

Katrin said that while he is about 2 years old physically, he is about 8 mos old mentally!

This morning when I was feeding the g-pigs Jazz was jumping up on the barricade. Three times I pushed him off and then rewarded him for sitting. He opted to sit and watch. That I can handle!

I am now able to lure him into a down on walks and different locations. Yay Jazz. If he stays I am going to need to pick up an American Sign Language book and do lots more research. I am tempted to work on Rally or Comp. Obedience with him if he stays; I don't want Ike to feel like he is being replaced. I remember Niche feeling like Monty was going to replace him.

It doesn't really matter, if he stays there is SO much basic work to be done before even thinking about that sort of training.

Katrin is coming over tonight to see how he is about the birds and g-pigs and that will be the deciding factor.

Super Ike

Super Ike! Yup, that's right. Ike was SUPER last night at agility. I, on the other hand, left my brain at home. Oh well, he didn't seem to mind that much.

Yesterday we worked on splicing jumps, weave entries, and a variation of a jump box. A jump box is 4 jumps set up as a box. Last night Katrin used weaves for two sides of the box. She said it is not an uncommon thing to see at a trial.

There were a lot of switches (change of lead) and back crosses in almost every variation of the course. Switches are something I keep saying I am going to practice more with Ike and I haven't yet. I forget about my outside arm and Ike does this funny thing where he knows he's not going where he thought he was but he doesn't know where I want him to go. It is almost like he vibrates!

Katrin pointed out that, yeah, I do the correct arm movement but I do it so quickly and while Ike is still behind me. Fat lot of good that does him! On nearly the final run I dropped my arm lower than I had been and Ike took the switch pretty well. So, in the future I will try to be conscious of how small Sir Ike is and drop my outside arm lower and slower!

Ike truly has the concept of splicing a jump and that makes me happy - I still can't correctly explain it, but I know when Ike does it and he knows how to do it.

Ike and I were really working well last night or rather Ike was. As I mentioned I was a bit slow on the uptake with treats and where I was going! Katrin had me click Ike for speed. The first run I clicked him for every jump and she said, "No, click for speed!" After that she yelled "click" whenever Ike was moving faster and she said he seemed to speed up even more after the click. Excellent!

Even though I wasn't that with it (I think lack of sleep is the culprit), I felt like it was a GREAT class for us. Ike was really good and even with my multiple gaffes we were working well together.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Yay for Jazz. He is being such a good boy. He does still think the birds and piggies look delicious, but he is trying SO hard! And he truly is a nice dog.

This morning I decided that since Jazz is so people-oriented it would be better if I coached John on having Jazz stay with him in the bathroom and while he is getting ready rather than crating him and having the inconsolable barking start immediately after I left and before John left.

I got up early again and took him for a 2 mile walk, did about 10 minutes of training (just sits and downs), prepped a kong for him, and basically performed the same morning routine; EXCEPT I did not uncover the birds and I did not crate Jazz when I left. I gave John the Kong and had him give it to Jazz in the bathroom while he was getting ready for work and Ike and I were leaving. I left a new-ish marrow bone on the counter so that John could put both the Kong and marrow bone in the crate when he left.

By the time John was ready to leave Jazz was asleep in the bedroom! YES!! Major or minor this is a great breakthrough.

John woke Jazz up and tossed the end of his kong and the marrow bone into his crate and left for work. Jazz didn't utter a peep.

If we could only figure out a way to get him over his excitement about the birds and pigs I would never let him go.

Monday, January 7, 2008

More on Jazz

I got up super early this morning and took Jazz for a speed walk ( about 2.5 miles). Awesome. Crated him and off to work. Upon getting home I ran him out to potty, fed him, and changed into dirty clothes. We hit Sharon Dog Park for about an hour. There was a very shy BMD and a terrier/Brittany Spaniel mix there. Jazz had a fabulous time playing with them.

Came home and worked Jazz in my mud room. I am getting super solid sits out of him, he doesn't quite grasp the concept of down but allows me to lure him, worked on eye contact and started playing the space game. He is a very attentive student!

After dinner I took him for a 3 mile walk. We came home and he just finished a Kong and is now PANICKING because I am in the other room. He is seriously bonded to me and delirious about the pigs.

All that Jazz....

I am fostering a 1.5 yo deaf Australian Shepherd named Jazz. Katrin received an e-mail Thursday night about a rescue Aussie needing a temporary foster home. Jazz was brought up from the south and when he got here the people who were lined up to adopt him decided he wasn't mellow enough. Alrighty-then.

I forwarded the e-mail to John on Friday and he said why don't we meet him.

We met Jazz Saturday afternoon and he came home with us in the evening. He is about 45 pounds, mostly white with a couple of red splashes and ice blue eyes. He is OVER-THE-TOP about people. He thinks that people rock. Eeeek!!

He and Ike are getting on fine. The big problem is that he wants to eat my birds and piggies. Not so good. I barricaded the pig room and have kept him on leash. None-the-less he is still charging the birds. They have not been allowed out of their cage unless Jazz is in his crate. Jazz HATES the crate and he has spent too much time crated in the past few months as it is, so we want his time in the crate to be minimal.

Yesterday morning I got up, took both boys for a half-hour walk, fed them, and headed off to the Bradley Estate. I decided to try there versus Borderland in hopes of there being no people there. Jazz adores people, but we all know Ike - I thought it would be easier to not have to work on Ike's behavior and to be able to just enjoy a walk with the boys. We did about a 45 minute hike and it was lovely. The dogs were sniffing up a storm, it was mild, and gorgeous out. Perfect!

On the ride over to Bradley Estate Jazz tried to climb in my lap while I was driving and steal my granola bar. I took that out of his mouth and ate it anyway! I pulled over, put my hazards on, tethered him to the "oh-no" bar and continued on my way. One great thing about Jazz - he has no issues with humans taking things right out of his mouth - even marrow bones.

Basic Manners II started (and it went well - I would like to take this class!) and Jazz and Ike stayed home with John. Jazz made some charging movements at the birds but it was minimal. Mostly he chewed his bone. However, his behavior towards the birds had John worked up enough that when I arrived home that was the first thing John wanted to talk about.

Typically my birds are out of their cages as soon as I get home and they stay out. Since Jazz has arrived they are only out when Jazz is crated.

Last night Jazz was a perfect angel. He did go after the birds once, but for the most part he chewed on an old knuckle bone at my feet while I read.

We moved his crate into our bedroom so he would not be visually stimulated by the birds all day long. He came with me when I went to go to bed and I put him in the crate. He wouldn't stop barking and since my landlord has young school age children and I had to get to bed for work, I let him out once he stopped. He slept on the floor beside me.

This morning I got up early and took him on a 40 minute speed walk. What a treat to have a dog that doesn't sniff every single blade of grass - yes, I know I created my own little monster!

We got back to the house and I debated what to do. He knew I was up and wanted to be with me - I was afraid if I put him back in the bedroom he would bark so I let him into the bathroom while I showered and dried my hair. He kept going to check out the pigs while I was drying my hair but he limited it to just sightseeing over the barricade.

When I went to feed the pigs he tried to burst through the barricade. Since we have not established a visual "eh-eh" cue I had to physically move him off of my barricade. I tied him to the door and he started barking. Argh! Lose-lose.

When I uncovered the birds he charged their cage and they flew into a panic, having the equivalent of a night-fright. Night frights are when birds, especially cockatiels, are startled during the night and begin flapping their wings in their cages in a panic mode. Cockatiels are not able to see in the dark and when they experience a night fright and frantically crash into their cage bars and toys trying to escape, it is a scary scene. During a night fright, it is possible your birds could break a wing or their feathers will become damaged, especially if one of the feathers is a "blood feather." Blood feathers are feathers that still have blood coursing in the quill potion - they haven't finished growing in.

After this incident I could not get Jazz to un-focus on the birds. And if I tied him out of sight he started barking. Where it is about 6am and I live above the owner of the house - not a good situation. I tied him to the closet door where he could still see me and he stood on his hind legs choking himself trying to get to the birds.

I am so depressed. He is a lovely dog, but he has a super-huge prey drive and that sucks for my house.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


While this is Carmen's first class, it is my last at the shelter. Sniffle. I am going to really miss Denise, who has been my mentor at the shelter. She is a good trainer and a nice person - her classes have excellent flow and I have learned a lot from her the past few years.

The positive is I am training more for Katrin and her students tend to rock! What isn't better than people invested in working with their dogs? That's the big issue at the shelter - a lot of the people are there because their adoption contract requires them to be there not because they want to be there. Then I often end up feeling somewhat like a failure for not being able to get them excited about dog training! [cue violins]

Carmen was pretty good tonight. She definitely started to shut down towards the end of class, but she learns quickly. Carmen only knew "down" if lured. The new program at the shelter asks you to shape it. Carmen was downing within 5 minutes.

I am super tempted to TRY and teach her "touch." Like Ike she appears to have an aversion to touching things with her nose and tends to use her paws. It would require major patience on my part and would probably be a good training exercise. Can you tell I am not yet committed to the idea?

One of the other trial-students is a friend of Denise's who has a 2 yo Katrina rescue - the dog appears to be a lab corgi mix? Anyway, Hershey (the dog) is very fearful of people but fine with dogs. Carmen was a bit over excited by her, and at one point growled at her. Ugh!

I think Katrin's comment about a GL is right on. My in-laws used to use one (per my request), but Carmen hates it and repeatedly paws at her face while walking on her hind legs so we switched to the EZ Walk Harness. However, for training purposes I think I am dragging out the Gentle Leader.

Carmen is a great challenge - she has a lot of potential but obviously it will require a lot of work to bring it forth. My pie-in-the-sky trial hopes for Carmen should be pushed out another year!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

the "pack" dynamic

Just a short post on the power of pack dynamics and my true lack of understanding regarding it! I mean, I get the gist of it, layman's terms colored by a fair amount of dog knowledge, but I am not 100% sure the best tactic to deal with it. Management is, of course, always high on my list!

I took Ike and Carmen to see Dr. Anne yesterday - they both had appointments. Anne did the second pelvic adjustment for Carmen (1st one held) and will do a full body adjustment in February. Ike is doing well on the Canine Thyroid Supplement and Anne wants to leave him on it until at least next appointment (2/20), so I picked up another bottle.

We were leaving the room to pay and there were two greyhounds in the waiting room (with two humans). Carmen's reaction to fear is to act like she is incredibly tough and this generally means being vocal in addition to standing up on her hind legs, which is what she did. Ike thought, Oh really? and decided to join in. I immediately opened the door and brought them out to the car. For a joint-reaction, it wasn't bad at all (just minimal barks, not ferocious saliva splattering growling/barking/lunging) but it reminded me of how they feed off of each other and how much more insecure Carmen is than Ike.

I suppose the upside is that she hasn't had much exposure to the world-at-large in general, so she hasn't really developed a well reinforced pattern of bad/inappropriate behavior. (My in-laws tend to take her for walks and that is about it.) However, this reaction is something I want to start trying to modify sooner rather than later. Since Carmen's trigger is dogs not people I think the easiest thing to do is go to Petco or the dog park in Sharon and do lots of c/t while she is well under her threshold.

Carmen has class tonight at the Shelter (finally, the forecast cooperates!), so that she be a positive reinforcing experience.

Funny, I think I jinxed myself with my little love note about Sir Ike. Walking out of the appointment room I just wasn't on my toes. Back to work, girlie!!

Birds Gone Wild

After, modeling the wet look:

Larry Joe, Cinnamon Pied Pearl Whiteface

DJ, Cinnamon

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A slow start! and walks

Well, Ike and I slept in quite late this morning and took a somewhat leisurely walk just as the snow started to fall - before it turned to cold rain. Other than that, not much happening. I did NOT get my table painted today. I did take the birds in the shower, which they adore. I will post pics tomorrow - my USB cord is fouled up and won't download my pics. : ( Very annoying.

Yesterday morning I was up early anticipating a SNOW STORM and instead we just had a dusting. Ike and I walked downtown and our footprints were the first of the day. It was quite cool to look at them on our return trip home. I am very fortunate, Ike has always been a natural loose leash walker. Don't know how I could have gotten so lucky! He walks between a foot to three feet from me at all times.

So, as I was saying on our return home we had a lovely set of matching prints to look at. It made me think of the chapter in Suzanne Clothier's book Bones Would Rain From the Sky on walking and how she views it as a reflection of a person's relationship with their dog. I tend to agree with the thought. While Ike is naturally a LLWer, our walks are all about checking in and management - after all you never know when a scary person will appear. Ike has trained me really well to have successful dog relationships in the future - he has set the bar high in quite a few ways. Of course, the way that Ike and I walk together is nothing like the way he walks with John or my in-laws. They all think he is very stubborn! And I suppose he is, with them.

Wet bird pics tomorrow!!