Thursday, November 27, 2008

Imagine a dog world...

Where all breeders (purebred or mixed) donated the cost of just one puppy per litter to their local humane society or rescue group.

How much of a difference would that make?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Intense focus

Tracking in Schutzhund is very precise. The dog must follow each footstep with a deep nose at a consistent speed. Articles should be indicated quickly, Bullet indicates his with a down.

As I'm training this I look for more than just a down. He must be straight, lying in a sphynx position with the article between his front paws. Not only that, but I want his attention 100% on the object. No turning his head to glance at me or the judge.

While this is not an article on a track, it shows the intense focus I mark and reward.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Now THIS is comfortable!

Two Giant Schnauzer heads using my lap as a pillow, meanwhile poor Enzo is stuck with the piano. :)

Good things come to those who wait.

When you have multiple dogs you will often have a system when it comes to feeding-time, this is the routine that works in our house.

Bullet is fed the kitchen, Glory to the left of this door and the foster dog (in this case Enzo) on the other side of the room in a crate.

While I'm preparing their dinner I let the dogs outside to play. When I'm ready I place the bowls in their feeding spots and open the door while asking them to sit.

Most often Bullet is released first, then Glory and then Enzo, but if any of them are pushy or have "forgotten" what sit means I wait them out and they are released last. It doesn't happen often.

The Schnauzers are allowed to go straight to their bowls and eat. Enzo must go with me to the crate, sit again and give me some attention before the release. Sometimes I ask for a down. Or I'll move and call him to heel a few times before the release. Training just half a minute before dinnertime is powerful.

This picture was not taken just before dinner, you can tell by the lack of drool pouring off the Schnauzer's beards!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I have a confession to make...

I'm starting to really like agility.

Yes, it's true.

Who knows, Bullet and I may actually be in a position to trial one day.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Covenant Run to the Battle - Hips & Elbows

Over the years there has only been one vet I've heard people recommend when it comes to hip & elbow x-rays. They do not sedate the dog and do an excellent job, supposedly it's over before the dogs even know what's happening. So I made an appointment and faxed all the paperwork. All I had to do now was wait.

Fast forward to the big day. Bullet was pumped before I even left my house. He had injured his paw pad the week before and had been on house arrest, all that pent up energy was leaking. We got there early so I walked him for an hour before our appointment hoping that would take the edge off. Not quite.

We were in the waiting room only minutes when we were called in and they suited me up, Bullet sitting at my feet panting. Without so much as a hello to me or Bullet the vet came in. She then had me grab Bullet's head, she took his rear end and the tech got his middle. We lifted and spun him onto the v-shaped pillow. Or rather we tried to. Bullet wasn't convinced this was a good idea and he struggled big-time... Have I mentioned that he's 75lbs of pure, well-used muscle?

The vet started yelling at him "NO!" "NO!" "NO!" "NO!". When I say yelling at him I really do mean yelling at him. I was shocked at this and not at all surprised when that strategy didn't work. If they'd allowed me to pick him up, place him on the table and just ask him to lie down and turn onto his back we'd have been much farther ahead.

When her yelling did not work she suggested that Kevin come in to take my place, maybe he was more authoritative with the dogs? Snort! No.

Bullet was still struggling when she asked me to grab his elbows. There was no way I could do that without letting go of his head and I knew what was going to happen... Yep, sure enough he spun back onto his side and we had to take him off the table because he was too far out of position on the pillow.

This is when they asked me to leave the room and they had another vet tech take my place. As she came in she said "Hi Doodle". Sigh. Yes, he was a bit shaggy and he doesn't look like one of the huge show-line Giant Schnauzers they usually see, but really. Doodle?

Ok, no problem, whatever... then the vet said to Bullet as I was leaving "Look, your mom had to leave the room she is so embarrassed by you." WHAT??? Hello! Not at all. If I were being held down in a strange room by strange people for an unknown reason you bet I'd struggle with all my might! Wouldn't you? Why shouldn't he?

For the record, he continued to struggle without me in the room...

After some more fighting they managed to get a clear hip X-ray on the first try, same with the elbows.

Bullet, for one, was glad that was over with!

At that point the vet handed me a form to sign and I accidentally started to put my John Hancock on the wrong dotted line when she stopped me. "You only sign there if you're going to breed the dog." When I asked what that box was for she told me it gave permission for ALL results to be posted on the OFA website. Whether Bullet will ever be bred is beside the point, I still wanted the results open to the public, GOOD or BAD. I finished signing that section.

I left that vet's office shell-shocked. It took all day to shake the awful feeling of the entire experience. For all I know the vet was having a very bad day but in the end it doesn't matter. I didn't pay for her personality after all.

Can I have a drum roll please... the official results for Covenant Run to the Battle are as follows:

Hips Excellent

Elbows Normal


Bullet's OFA Hip and Elbow results