Monday, November 30, 2009

Couch potato


Hey Lex, don't you know that to be a good working dog you shouldn't be on the couch? :)

Service dog puppies have very structured lives and strict rules... they are not to be on any furniture, they are not allowed people food, there is not to be any tugging or retrieving games and they are not to jump on people, etc.

Lexus is being raised as a Schutzhund puppy so none of these rules apply! I have to say that this makes it more fun, it's been a while since I've had a puppy I can roughhouse with. I can invite her up on the couch to snuggle. I can share some of my leftover supper. We tug and play ball and I allow her to jump up.

Bullet and Glory weren't sure they liked this new puppy arrangement, but we've been giving them lots of attention too and they are adjusting well.

(I didn't end up naming her in the end and the name "X" just wasn't working for me... certain sentences just came out sounding all wrong, for example "Where's X?" I proposed that we call her Lex or Lexus, and in the future if her name is shortened back to X she will not have a problem with that.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Living life to the eXtreme



Extreme de Bellator, call name "X"
(Arlie de Bellator SchH1, CD, TD X Ben von der Eisspitzen SchH3, KKL 1)



X with Dagger


We pick her up at training on Sunday, I met her last Sunday and she's a cutie!

De Bellator German Shepherd Dogs

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The best game in the world...

Before he was even born my plan for Bullet was Schutzhund. (In short, Schutzhund is a three-phased sport that was originally designed to show the versatility of a working dog and determine its breed worthiness. It includes tracking, obedience and protection.) As a puppy I focused on playing tug games, teaching him to track and obedience. Unfortunately you need a club for this sport unless you have access to your own personal decoy. I didn't. At that point I was still unsure of which club to join but I still prepared.


Tracking


Obedience


Protection

When Bullet was about a year old I began my search in earnest. Most of the clubs in Ontario were off the table immediately based on their locations and training times. Other clubs never got back to me when I contacted them about visiting on a training day. Some clubs weren't accepting new members as they were at capacity, or they plain just didn't go out of their way to welcome an unknown person.

Then there are clubs that use a very different training style than I do, and they expect all their members to train a certain way. That goes against my very nature and I will not do it. Advice is one thing, but being told you have to do it one way? Willingly handing someone else the power to correct MY dog? No. Never. I like my dog and am not willing to starve, deprive or hurt him for points in a sport. Not to mention that I feel it's entirely possible to train positively and get an impressive, high-scoring performance without resorting to those methods. (I plan on proving that.) Oh, and have I mentioned that I like to do things my way? :)

When I train, my goal is always excellence, but I will not compromise the relationship I have with my dog. Bullet is my friend and companion first of all, we train for the joy of it.

Anyway... I finally found a club I was comfortable with full of people I genuinely liked. Yay! Bullet's obedience helped us make an impression as it showed them I was serious.

We were accepted as members in September 2006 and got our BH in October 2006. Our training progressed and we trialed at a DVG club one year later and got our IPO 1.

Around that time the helper who had done most of Bullet's bitework training was injured and it was unknown if he'd ever be able to decoy again. Bullet's training became inconsistent and it started to show in his performance. At that point, as hard as the decision was, I decided to take a break from the sport.

We were nearly back at square one. The upside was that I now had schutzhund friends and acquaintances. I had some experience. I had titled in the sport.



Enter the creation of FRONTIER Working Dog Club, a new DVG club in Ontario.

As strong individuals we may not always agree on the small details but our core values are the same. We all love our dogs dearly, they are family members first.

Our training methods reflect this.

We start with a clear goal in mind and take our time building the best possible foundation. We listen to our dogs and treat them as the individuals they are. We strive to train as positively as possible, to correct as little as possible, to be fair, kind, honest and creative with our K9 partners.

And so the schutzhund journey Bullet and I are taking together continues. It truly is the best game in the world when you have a dog at your side who loves it as much as you do!


Glory

Glory doesn't get as much mention around here as Bully. There is a simple explanation for that... she's not my dog. Glory is Kevin's dog, and Kevin is Glory's human.

I've tried to convince Kevin to DO something with her like agility, schutzhund, obedience... anything really. Alas, the dog sports that interest him are walks around the neighbourhood, a game of frisbee in the park and company when watching TV. To be honest, Glory is fine with that arrangement so all is well in their world.

Here she is, freshly shaved and looking a little bald, sleeping on the couch with Kevin and Aslan. HOW she finds that comfortable is beyond me!

Glory the Giant Schnauzer and Aslan the Abyssinian

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Halloween

Once again Bullet was "Superdog" for Halloween this year. When you combine my cheapness with the fact I just don't care, you get a recycled costume.

Bullet Halloween Giant Schnauzer

"Hey kid, you got any scooby snacks to share?"

Fall portraits of Bullet

It was time to groom Bullet as he was looking more like a scruffy mutt than a Giant Schnauzer. (When people start commenting on my labradoodle I know something has to be done...)

Bullet – Shaved Giant Schnauzer

Bullet – Shaved Giant Schnauzer

Bullet is a lean, mean, muscular machine. There is not an ounce of fat on this solid 78 pound dog (give or take a pound). It makes me curious to put my hands on the 125 pound and upward Schnauzers that many people brag about. Females are included in that weight range, wow. Unfortunately there are too many people who think bigger is better and want their Giants to be truly Giant.

Bullet and Glory – Giant Schnauzers

Then there is Glory who I like to call our Miniature Giant Schnauzer. The vet weighted her in at a mere 48lbs on her last visit, she's a tiny, yet mighty, Giant.