Friday, January 19, 2018

I call him clever.

I hate when folks label their dogs. It sometimes, no, most times is a prophecy come true. I hear: stubborn, naughty, bad, evil (seriously?), dominant and more. So I start off with positive labels instead. Prince? He's clever, curious, handsome, friendly, problem solver, motivator and tenacious if it's something he wants.

Helped me take down my Christmas tree today. Sort of  an unorthodox way though. He wanted to be in the kitchen with the big dogs. So he leaped over the barrier, knocking down the tree, leaped over that and was in the kitchen.  So it motivated me to take the whole thing down. And to be more creative in barrier building.

At night I put all his toys in a box. In the morning he takes great joy in taking them all out and chewing on the box. His favorite? His foxy we call it. Second favorite? His Kong with a Himalayan chew stuck in it.

When he's out with the big dogs, he just runs and runs. Level of recall=0. We're working on it. I need more high powered treats because that snow is calling him. Big time.

We will be starting puppy classes next week. Oh boy! 🎓

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Puppy Zoomies!

Oh yes, the puppy zoomies! I almost forgot what it was like even though I taught puppy classes for 15 years. It's one thing to teach about it, it's quite another to experience it first hand. Reality is such a great teacher.

The Zoomies time usually happens around 8 or 9pm. Runs around like a maniac. If you are not in the room with him, he will chew on anything and everything including the couch, the heater, your shoe. So I figured out what helps him through trial and error because puppies are different. So around that time I sit on the couch with a few of his toys. We play tug, fetch and any thing else I can think of. He has literally a dozen toys of all kinds plus his enrichment toys. We also cuddle and hug and pet for a while. He LOVES attention! We make a last potty run and more cuddles and pets then I'll take him over to his bed. We call it his Nite, Nite. And he goes in and sleeps all night.

Whew! at least this works for now. Redirecting is HUGE. If he's chewing on something of mine, I'll redirect to something of his. I might have to do this many times as their attention span is less than a gnat's. But this too shall pass. All too quick. He will be a 100+lb pup soon enough. He's almost halfway there.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

On raising a puppy

Yep. I went and did it. 2 weeks ago yesterday. 15 weeks old. Pyrenees pup. Named him Prince. I wanted something regal, positive, strong. I thought about the different princes:Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince Charles, Prince (Purple Rain Prince) and Fresh Prince of Belair. And still liked the name. He gets called everything from pup pup to the baby to Princey.

He's so sweet and delightful. Just what I needed. 4 mos and 41lbs-he's going to be big. Really big.

He's learning every minute so I have to stay on top of my training game. Just today he went out back with Mac and Tulip for the first time. It went well in the snow but I supervised carefully. Tulip weighs twice as much or more than him. And you know she is the Queen. I took it slow for her sake. And his. I didn't want to stress him or scare him at this vulnerable time of his life.

He just has this look of devotion in his eyes. I just can't ever be mad at him. I positively interupt him and redirect. And for whatever reason he LOVES praise and petting. Even more than treats. I found that hard to believe when folks told me that about their dog. But I swear it's true with him. After he potties he sits and looks at me to pet and praise him. He waits for me to go out and in before him. He's got the puppy eyes down pat. And it works...

He loves to forage and shred. Sage was my shredder. Any chance he sent Prince my way?

He has his own page on Facebook The Amazing Adventures of Prince The Great Pyrenees Puppy. Follow his training adventure and see all his pics there.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Tribute to Sage

So I picked up  his ashes yesterday. It was so very sad. He was my spirit dog. My protector. He always had my back. Let me tell you his story.

Years ago I was looking for a dog that would be my training partner. I wanted a german shepherd. Prices for well bred ones were way beyond my budget. Animal House had wolfdogs for sale so I thought I'd take a look.

He was the runt of his litter, the last of his litter to be adopted. Legend has it that his mom was timberwolf/german shepherd and his dad timberwolf. He looked like a black shepherd and was so cute and so little. Right when I looked at him I knew his name was Sage. And that he would be my training partner.

I knew nothing, zero, zip about wolf dogs. If I had I might not have adopted him. I learned a lot over the years and they often do not make good family pets. I now know why and I know why many folks get them and end up surrendering them. And here's the catch-rescues don't want them. They don't want the liability if they bite someone. The SPCA will euthanize them. You can't just let them go in the wild. They are now humanized and can't fend for themselves. Ugh. But I was keeping him for life so that wasn't a problem.

In as much as he was my protector, I was his. I was very protective of him because as a wolfdog, he isn't given second chances in a bite situation even if he wasn't his fault. I never wanted to set him up for failure. It is said that the rabies vaccine is questionable in wolves and wolfdogs so if they bite they are euthanized and their head sent to Ohio State for testing. So there's that over his head.

His favorite dogs of mine were Oreo, Mary and Smokey (aka Mo). I think he grieved their passing a lot. He was different after that.

Sage came at the time when I was well into my dog training business. He went many places with me. He did lots of training with me and my classes. His brother Lakota and half sister Maya joined my classes and they really had fun. His other brother, Wolfgang, looked just like him. I wonder what ever became of them. 

His howl was beautiful, eerie and lonesome. Sometimes he would howl alone and sometimes he would get the other dogs howling. I miss it so. My house is so very quiet now. No howling. None.

His favorite game was Get It. I would tell him to sit and wait. I would hold up a toy or stick and say Get It. He would run and jump up grab it just as I was letting go.

He knew most all the cues I teach in class including the long distance down and emergency stop. He would Wait for his food till I released him and would give me a kiss and touch my hand. He was smart and loved to forage. A box with a treat in it was his favorite. He would shred the box to get the treat then push all the box pieces out. It was always fun to design tougher and tougher ones for him. He even like to shred pumpkins.   

He helped me with private clients and would do awesome walks with them. In his later years though he would pick out one dog in my group classes that he didn't like and it would be hard to teach with him so distracted. In his later years he didn't get along with my other dogs so well so we had more one on one time together. 

He left in hurry at 11 and a half years. He stopped eating one day and gone the next. It's like he waited for me to wake up that day. When I saw him that morning, I knew he was going. It would have been stressful to transport a 100lb dog to a vet and have him die there or on the way. He passed away peacefully after I told him I loved him and to go find Mary, Mo and Oreo. Those were his buds and they have passed over the Rainbow Bridge before him.

I will always miss and love you, Sage. I can't believe you're gone.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Late night thoughts: What's it like to retire?

It's pretty much like being on vacation but it never ends. I'm just semi retired right now so I'm still teaching in home consults. But other than doing the grandma gig, my day and time is my own. I don't feel pressed or stressed to get somewhere on time every day. It's really quite wonderful.

I miss all my clients and their dogs. I miss the friendship and connection. But I still run into folks all the time, even at the grocery store. And if you have issues or challenges with your dog, I still teach private in home (or park or store) consults. Just call/text/email or pm.

My dogs are enjoying more time with me. We're doing some brushing, training and nails. Sage is feeling under the weather so he's getting pampering. He's going on 11 and a half. He's the old guy. Mac's my baby and Tulip my girl.

Grandbaby growing like a weed. Being a single mom sucks. I was one and now my daughter is one. At least I got support from baby daddy for her. They are still close today.

My last Therapy Dogs in Training classes start this weekend. I love teaching that class. So glad I get to be a part of their journey. So many from previous classes have gone on to be Therapy Dogs. So proud of them all.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Fear free Training

Training should be fun. If you or your dog are afraid of your trainer, it's time to find a new trainer. Fear should not have any place in training whether it's humans or dogs. I just don't get it. No one needs or wants a robot dog. Your relationship with your dog is built on trust and love. Not fear. How in the world is a fear filled dog going to come when you call. Oh yeah, a shock collar. Seriously? that makes no sense at all.

I just had to make this post today as I was speaking with some folks today that train with a trainer that makes them and their dog afraid. Why would you? Probably just that they have never been introduced to a positive, force free trainer before. Once you train that way, pain and fear will never be a part of your dog's life. There is no need for it.

Science proves that positive, force free training is the preferred and better way to train. It helps the owner and dog bond together and lasts longer than pain based training. It is used on all kinds of animals and all sizes. WITH SUCCESS!  

Clearly trainers that use fear and pain do not understand or know much about animal behavior. I'm surprised and shocked that this person is still training at this place. I shouldn't be actually as there are many of these trainers popping up all over our city.

So all of this to say: BEWARE. There is NEVER a reason to use pain and fear in dog or any animal training. Don't fall for their BS. If you are looking for a trainer, check with me first. I'll give you the lowdown. I don't want you to be fooled and your dog to suffer fear and pain. There is no need for it. You guys know about positive training. It's the best method! Hands down!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Thoughts on Retiring

So this is my last week before I retire. Semi retire I should say as I will still teach in home consults for a while. It's sad in a way but I'm thrilled to have more leisure time, not have to rush around as much, time to devote to my dogs and time with grandbaby Lydia. And time to make some much needed home repairs and upgrades. Time to do some yardwork which I love. Time to visit my mom's grave site which I haven't done. Time to go to flea markets, yard sales and cook more for my dogs. Maybe get a new puppy, (possibly therapy dog )this fall or next spring.

You guys will still see me around. Maybe at the Family Pet Center, the parks, dog events, dog classes with the new trainers I've help mentor. Maybe at Krogers or Aldys or Wal-Mart. I'll have time to chat and not have to rush. 

I'm still going to keep my Playful Pooches and Parents Dog Training Facebook page, this blog, my website and Instagram. When I get a new puppy, you'll be the first to know. I'll keep you updated on Lil Lydia, Mac, Tulip and Sage. 

It's been a joy and pleasure to be your dog trainer of choice. If you only remember one thing from my classes, remember to train force free and positive. Always. Don't let anyone tell you different. 

I'm always reachable by phone, text, email or pm me. I leave you in good hands with 3 trainers I've mentored: Allison Camp, Diana Healy and Haley Howe. All great and awesome trainers. 

The past 15 years have flown by. It's been wonderful and I have the best clients and dogs! Truly!

Your trainer