There was a nice lady taking photos of the CAT this past weekend. For a donation to the club, she would email you the photos she took. I jumped all over the offer! Here are a few of the best photos.
With all but one of the pups in their new homes, I felt it was time to make a post about puppy class. You each you should be looking around for a suitable class for your new baby. Not all puppy classes are created equal. If you locate a training center near you, please drop in on a puppy class and see exactly what they do as far as training. If they do not have a class going, speak to the instructor to get an idea of what you will learn in their class. What should you be looking for in a puppy class?
The class should be structured, a basic obedience class with more breaks (breaks to pee, breaks to play with YOU, etc). It should not be a free for all puppy play date. You can arrange play dates with other family, friends, or people I suggest as ‘safe’, but do not go to class looking for an hour of puppy play time. Class is the first step to having a well trained dog who understand how to focus on you and not the dogs and people around their environment. If 6- 8 weeks is spent letting the puppy play with classmates, you will spend the next 6 months correcting the dog for not paying attention to you in class or on walks. These next few months are the sweet spot for training. You will never have a more eager to learn dog than these first few months. USE IT!! Teach them as much as you can think of while they are little sponges. Before they hit teenager and blow you off. Before they learn bad habits. Your new puppy should be able to get SIT, DOWN, STAY, COME, HEEL within a few short days. After that you can teach subtler things like WAIT and PLACE. That is right… days. If you are consistent and take 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening every single day, you will have a star. When you go to class, you can focus on getting your puppy to focus! They will know the behaviors so you can use the class to show them “yes, you have to sit here, around all these dogs and people, and be quiet”. There are some classes which are ‘half and half’ style, where you learn obedience and then have play time. This can be a good training tool, depending on how the instructor uses the time. Are they knowledgeable in dog behavior and body language? Are the pups in their class having a good time or is one getting picked on? Are the owners encouraged to let the pups play then leash up and go back to training to teach the puppies to refocus and know when play time is done? It takes a real experienced trainer to allow ‘play time’ and not leave you with more baggage and bad habits than when you started class. My dogs have never been to a ‘puppy play’ class and they are all good with other dogs. I just socialize them with friends, family, neighbors and call it done. When we are out in the world (local park, dog shows, pet supply stores, etc) they are not there to play with dogs, they are there to be with me, and they should be focusing on what we are doing, not what the Golden over the hill is doing with his family.
Below is a training video of Sonata. This is his second training session. He is 9 weeks old. Let’s see what he can do in about 10 minutes of training.
So, you can see here why a ‘puppy play’ class would be a waste of your Poodle’s potential. These pups are calm, focused, and can become amazing creatures with a small fraction of your time and energy. You spent months researching what type of dog, and where to get it. I have given your baby a great start. Now keep up my work and put in the time to grow a family dog we all can be proud of.
It has been a busy week around here!! All the puppies but little Sonata have left for their new homes. I had several families coming on Saturday to get their new Poodle pups, however everyone ended up coming during the week, with the last two girls leaving on Friday. Sonata will not leave until the 25th, so what does a dog person do when they have a weekend free? Do something with their dogs of course!! I remembered there was something going on this weekend, but I couldn’t recall exact what. After digging around, I found there was a Coursing Ability Test down in Manor, TX, just outside of Austin. This test a dogs willingness to chase down prey. Originally, coursing was only open to sight hounds, but that has recently changed. Now any breed or mix can be tested to see if they have the instinct needed to enjoy this sport. No prior training is required, you simply show up and see if your dog will ‘chase the bunny’ (3 plastic trash bags tied to a pulled string).
The host club was the Alamo Area Whippet Club, who were offering 3 shows in one weekend. Two on Saturday with two different judges, one on Sunday. If you qualify at all three, you could walk away with a basic coursing title! I can’t say enough nice things about these people. Friendly, inviting, helpful, and encouraging. They were excited to see anyone interested in what they do. Keith was working a 24 hour shift at the hospital, so the kids and I packed up the dogs and heading down to Austin early Saturday morning. Thankfully, the show was day of entry, so I could just show up early and enter my dogs at that time. I spoke to the trial secretary and asked her my entry options. You see, I know my dogs. I brought both Jazz and River, but I had a sneaky suspicion River would not be the LEAST interested. A cat could walk 2 feet from him carrying a dead bird and River would just glance at them in passing, absolutely uninterested. He is a great retriever, but chasing a plastic bag was not likely to be something he would deem worthy of attention. The show secretary suggested I enter both dogs in show one, see if either were keen for the chase, and then enter the rest of the weekend based on those results.
Once registration was complete, a soundness check was preformed to make sure neither dog was lame. They also checked to make sure Jazz was not in season, which would cause a big distraction on the field for male dogs! Both passed and we set up our home base (crates, chairs, etc) in front of the coursing field. At first, I had both dogs out in crates facing the field. However, it was apparent that was not going to work for Jazz. She was going CRAZY watching the dogs run the field. Thankfully the weather was cool, so back in the car crate she went. I took River for a walk and attempted to get him interested in the excitement happening in front of him. He honestly was more interested in my lap, hands, and the toy I brought for a reward. Admitting defeat, we played a small game of fetch while waiting for the small dogs to finish their runs. The only hope for River was to have him watch Jazz and possibly spur his interest. Doubtful, but worth a shot.
Jazz was first up, and after a brief discussion on when and how to release my dog, we were ready to begin. Jazz knew exactly what to do and ran her first lure course like a pro. Not even a small hickup, kept the lure in sight and finished beautifully for her first Coursing Ability title qualification. You need 3 qualifications under 2 different judges to gain a title, so we were 1/3 of the way done! I couldn’t believe she could run as far as she did after being pregnant and whelping a massive litter just 9 weeks prior. I checked her over closely for injury, gave her a toy to carry while we did a cool down walk, let her drink a little water, then crated her while I prepped River. When I came to the line with River, I told the judge I wasn’t sure he would even attempt to chase a bag. She shook the bag, tried to get him interested, but he was only looking at her, not at the bag. They ran the bags up a bit and back, but River just looked at me. Nope, he isn’t a hound, not even a little. I tossed his toy as a reward, which he happily carried back to the car. Retriever, yes. Courser? No. At least he had a fun day with mom, a car ride, and some retrieving.
Back to the secretary I go to enter the second show for Saturday and the one show on Sunday. The kids, dogs, and I decided to take a little walk in the beautiful park while we waited for the second judge to arrive. This show as located at East Metro Park, which has miles of bike / walking trails and one incredible skate park. The kids decided we had to come back tomorrow with skates and scooters for a day of fun after the show. I had to admit, it looked like a ton of fun.
Show two: She lost the lure once but got back on it quickly and with absolute keenness. This isn’t about running perfect, it is about a willingness to chase and desire to keep going. The judge asked me how many runs she had made, I told her only one that morning. She said “OH, well she is a very green dog. This is common in all hounds. If they do not lose it, they will not learn to keep their eyes glued to the lure. She will get it in time, she is very keen. You must keep running this dog!” Qualified!
Today was our last run of the weekend. I made sure Jazz was sound and not sore from the running yesterday. She seemed like her normal self, so once Keith arrived home from work this morning we hit the road. The course was set up across from the skate park, and the kids wasted no time getting geared up for their fun. I checked Jazz in, trotted her around to warm up her muscles, then stretched her out really good. She passed inspection again. We were clear to run. I had Keith video her run. I did not embed this video, because you need to watch it in a larger version to see anything. She is a small dark speck on the video.
Note the barking the entire time around!! She lost the lure in the EXACT same low spot as the day before, but again she found it and continued on. Three runs, three qualifications! Jazz now has her Coursing Ability (CA) title with AKC!!! I’m very proud of my girl. She has found her calling! Several of the hound people said “She runs like an afghan”, which seemed true. I can’t wait to see how much faster she gets once back in condition. Keith plans to take her running, he was excited about her interest and wants her to be able to play this game as safely as possible. That means being in top running condition. I plan to run her often this year with a goal of a CAA title by year’s end (10 qualifying runs). If you live in TX, have a dog over one year of age, and want to come hang out with me and see if your dog will enjoy this fun sport, come on!!! Today they allowed people to run some young dogs for practice. I was kicking myself that I did not bring Lina. I’m guessing Lina will also love the game. Regardless, I want entries to these events to sore, I want more people involved. We need to make it worth while for the hound folk to continue putting on test for us faker hounds!
There are at least 11 new puppy owners reading this blog. Congratulations to you all! I have done my best to socializes my puppies with people, other dogs, and kids. It is up to you to continue that good start by providing low stress situations where the dog can walk away with a great experience. There is so much to experience, so much to learn. On the same thread, many of you have children. How can you make sure the dog grows up to love those kids? How can you insure you will have a great family dog? Well, the key is understanding dog body language. When you think about a dog’s mood, do you feel confident you can say your dog is happy, relaxed, stressed out, or frightened?
The one thing I want you to take away from this is “A loose dog is a happy, relaxed dog. A tight dog is nervous or frightened”. There is an article floating around Facebook called Why Supervising Dogs and Kids Doesn’t Work. I want you all to go and read this, because the information is vital for all dogs owners to have. Look at the photo they have posted with the article. That is NOT a happy dog.
Here are a few short video’s to show you some of the signs she listed in the article above.
How to spot a fearful dog.
Why I do NOT like Cesar Millan’s training
Watch this dog try to make friends with the camera. He is unsure at first, but relaxes as time goes on.
This video below shows both happy and stressed body language.
Some of these video’s are a bit basic. Poodles carry their tail high, so saying a low tail is a happy tail is untrue. Many breeds have curled tails or upright tails. It is more about how the tail is related to THAT dog. A tight tail, either extremely high or low (tucked between the legs) are both signs of stress. One more article for you to read. ASPCA on Canine Body Language. It is long, but absolutely worth the read. The article goes into details on what the above videos were showing. If you plan on ever going to a dog park, it is vital to understand these things. Learning a new language takes time. This will give you a start and maybe you can teach a few things to your friends and family who insist their dogs LOVES it when the kids hang all over him. You can watch and see if indeed a dog is having a blast (loose, smiling, bouncing, relaxed) or if he is doing his best to avoid the situation by explaining how uncomfortable those people are making him (stiff, pulling back, licking lips, panting, ears to the sides, whites of eyes showing).
You puppy came to you as a relaxed, calm, happy puppy. It is up to you to continue to make that pup feel safe, secure, and confident in your abilities to provide everything needed for a great life. Socialization is important, just make sure it is the right socialization and given in such a way that it is not creating fear and a far greater issue to correct later.
Melody’s foster mom was open to whatever puppy I wanted to place. Because Kerry really wanted Cadence (Black girl) I decided to limited my choices to the blue girls. It was a very hard choice, but this little girl is lovely and yet different in structure and temperament. Where Cadence looks and acts more like River, Melody is so much like Jazz!! As you can see from the one photo above, getting her to gait without a BOUNCE was difficult and her tail was wagging the entire time. She is a happy girl, spunky, and determined. I had to remind her she knows stay for these photos. She kept deciding I was mistaken and she needed to be in my lap, not sit or lay 2 feet away on the grass.
Melody is being fostered by Jill and her family here in Killeen, TX. I’m so happy to have one of the pups here local. When I picked Melody up this morning at Jill’s home she recognized my voice and turned into a wiggling ball of fur! It was so sweet!! She proceeded to paw, lick, and nibble me all over. I love my sweet babies.