Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Summing up the dog world in one sentence:


Yeah, that pretty much covers it.

If you spend any time in this world you get to experience the nuances of the above in all it's endless shades...

"My rescue dog was more abused than your rescue dog."
"My breed is more rare than your breed."
"My show dog has more wins than your show dog."
"My dog bites harder than your dog."
"My hunting dog has caught more than your dog."
"My dog is bigger/smaller than your dog."
"My dog is faster than your dog."
"My dog is more aggressive than your dog."

Need I go on?

Most people are political enough not to add "than your dog" to the end of their sentences, but the implication is there. Alliances are formed. Laws are set. Judgement is passed. Some people take it so far that their lives and self-worth are wrapped up in what people think of their animals.

Take a step back. Breathe. Reevaluate what matters in your life and move forward. Examine your relationships with people, your finances, your time. In the end nobody will remember or care about your wins or losses unless it impacts them directly.

And on that note, MY DOG IS BETTER THAN YOUR DOG! :) I gotta go!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The world's largest dog door

Every year my dogs tear my screen door. Every single year I have to replace it, sometimes multiple times.

This year I was careful. When the window was open I placed a children's gate across the opening. It was working beautifully until the one day I forgot and both Schnauzers ran through it on turbo drive.

So I've left it "as is" and sealed the edges for a cleaner look. Truthfully I really love it. When I'm home I get a nice breeze, it still keeps the bugs out and the dogs can come and go as they please. They love it too. If I ever want to go back to a screen door I might consider buying a real dog door, but for now this works just fine!


Gentle Giant

One of the things I love most about Bullet is how he can turn on when needed, but that he's gentle at the appropriate times.

Here is one of the few video clips I have of him training. This was taken early 2007 at the Saugeen Schutzhund Club in the deep of winter when training outside wasn't possible.

This was taken a month ago with my nephew.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dare greatly.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt, April 23, 1910

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The treats are not the problem.

There is a Canadian Cesar Millan wannabe named Brad Pattison. His show is called At the end of my leash. The first time I saw this show I watched in horror as he let a dog, known for running away, off the leash in this family's front yard and watched as it... wait for it... ran down the street. He then did not allow a very anxious girl go and look for her runaway dog, he left that to her family. Hello?! I was fully expecting a family member to come around the corner carrying her dog's lifeless body.

He likes to show his control by putting a dog in a sit stay and then walking across the street. The intro of each episode shows him walking along a very busy downtown sidewalk with a pack of dogs all off leash. This is not a safe practice, not to mention illegal through most of North America, I don't care how trained your dog is.

He places video cameras in his clients homes and watches them. He demands their "trust" and psychoanalyses their relationships. He starts by sending the families outside so he can look through their house for clues.

Rummaging through their drawers and closets he finds collars other than a martingale which he pushes and sells on his website. I mean really, how can you expect to train a dog using any other type of collar?
He looks for evidence of where the dog sleeps. On the bed?!
He finds toys. How awful.
He finds treats. Well no wonder the dogs and owners have problems.

I laugh thinking about what he would say if he went through my house!

Putting aside his lack of people skills, his grating personality and his need for control he sometimes has good advice and does get to the root of the problem. Sometimes. I'd never recommend the show to anyone unless you get some sort of pleasure watching reality tv shows that rely on shock value for ratings.

Give me Cesar any day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's been weeks

...since I last made a post. I've had nothing to say but I have been busy. Pictures have been taken but not downloaded off my cameras yet.

In the meantime here are two pictures my friend Karen took of Foxy hanging out with Autism Dog Services Dogs.

We've got Foxy, Boomer (Black lab), Gunner (Chocolate lab) and Shelby (Golden Retriever).

Friday, July 18, 2008

A blind track

Bullet got his IPO 1 last October and I gave him a training break. A few weeks ago I got together with friends and laid a track for him. I remembered how much I love tracking and it was like we never stopped. Since then we've been tracking regularly.

Last Monday a woman laid a TD track for us. It was approx 500 metres long in a freshly mowed hay field, had 5 corners (more than is required for a TD), aged for 1 hour with a glove at the end. This was the first fully blind track I have ever done, I couldn't guess where the track was even if I wanted to. It was 100% up to Bullet.

He lost it on the first leg and I wasn't sure what to do or how to handle it. What an awful feeling. It wasn't a pretty sight and I'm sure we would have failed if it had been a schutzhund track. He was circling looking for the track, the line was getting tangled around his legs, then around my leg. I had an incredible feeling of helplessness and felt like giving up. I didn't though. He eventually worked through it and found the second leg, from there I followed him to the end where he got to play with his ball.

That is what makes it all worthwhile. The feeling of success and pride in your dog only increases the harder the test. This was a very hard one for us and we did it. I hope we can do it when we trial!