Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blown Dry

Do you think it reminds him of sticking his head out of the car window?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Boys and their balls

You can interpret that how you wish. :p
These pictures are from a little play session after doing some run-throughs over at Fidos.

Rugby spent the whole time doing go-outs. His new thing is when I stop him at the other end of the ring to turn around and lay down instead of sitting facing me. Huh? It makes no sense.

Cabot brought a squeeker with him and the toy dogs had fun being distractions for Sugar. Rugby was more than happy to bark his head off when I blew the air from the squeeker in his face. Cab thought the whole thing was just hilarious and was wiggling his whole entire body. That is what you must resort to when you don't have a tail I guess. LOL

Poor Cabot couldn't pick the ball up so Rugby and Sugar waited patiently (maybe not so patiently) for him to figure it out.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Out for a ride

My brother got his boating liscense the other day so he took me and Rugby on Rugby's very first boat ride yesterday. While there was no attempt to jump in the water, I think it is time to find him a life jacket of his own.

Does anyone know what kind of bird this is?? Hopefully they eat fish and not little white dogs!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Rugby is here just warning everyone - Click it or Ticket!!!
Turns out he much prefers his car seat!! Ha!
On a completely different note, I started to volunteer for NAIA Shelter Project.
"A program dedicated to further reducing the number of adoptable pets that are euthanized in our shelters...

...The centerpiece of this project is the collection and publication of shelter data. Specifically, we are gathering shelter statistics that show the number of dogs and cats impounded, returned to their owners, adopted out or euthanized..."

The beginning of this is first finding where the data is going to come from. It is my job to make a list of shelters and rescues in Maryland, and it has really been an eye opening experience!

With over 200 Maryland organizations listed on alone, the thing that confuses me the most is that everyone and their mother wants to start a rescue. Why does there need to be 230 rescues?? A number of these have no dogs. An ever bigger number of those rescues has less than 5 dogs. Can't they all just get together to help each other?

Maybe if the shelter system was consolidated, the different shelters can cooperate by trading dogs, etc instead of the empty ones importing dog from foreign countries to stay open.

Lastly, how can sooo many rescues who are trying to help dogs list some of the biggest animal rights groups on their websites? Don't most animal rights groups just kill 95% of the dogs they get in?

I hope the Shelter Project will help answer/resolve some of these questions! If you have some spare time, shoot them an e-mail to see how you can help!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thats more like it!

Ahh, so this is what Rugby looks like after 2 weeks of vacation. This was without any warm up, to boot. We did a whole run through but my camera only had 2 minutes left on it so this is all there is. It was a great run through - I was especially pleased with the go-outs.

I just love the way Rugby works, he is so serious and focused about his job. He always saves the play time for the end of the exercise (even if I try to coax him into it earlier). I wonder if it is a toy dog thing since Ellie is a very serious worker too. I think once Cabot becomes a 'dog' and grows out of his puppy-ness he will be very serious too. Hmmm....

Friday, July 9, 2010


Today we talked about learning plateaus, how to recognize them, how to avoid them and how to cope with them.

The consensus is that Rugby was experiencing his first ever plateau when I was forced to put him on vacation. A boring training session is a sign of a learning plateau (at least that is how I have begun to notice them). The cure for a learning plateau is to leave the training and come back at a later date. I had inadvertently avoided them before by introducing a new activity or exercise when the training started to get "boring". In this way we were sort of 'leaving' the training by focusing on something new and different all together.

Now not only did we walk right onto this learning plateau, but his activity level was significantly increased all at the same time (i.e. spending full days playing in Margot's yard instead of just a few hours). These two factors together = very tired Rugby. *Insert Aha! moment*

The energy is slowly coming back. He was so jealous yesterday that Red was working (being 'placed' on the stump practicing stays) while he was being completely neglected. Rugby found a seat just beside her in hopes that someone would notice and include him in the fun too.

Monday will be two full weeks since he has been worked. I can't wait for it to come - this weekend is going to go by so dreadfully slow!

The more I think about the proccess of learning the more Chem 101 just keeps popping into my head, and that dreaded Energy v Temperature diagram that they make you study for endless amounts of time. If we changed the x-axis to 'amount of training' and changed the y-axis to 'amount of learning' it would look a lot like this! Hahaha!!


I put in a request for Margot to answer the question of why aggression and reactivity have become more common recently. In the mean time, she has posted the same challenge that is still open here - to find 5 intact bitches and 5 intact dogs. That means two prizes for whoever gets around to it first!

And a little more food for though on the subject -

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


It seems I have offended a few with my recent blog posts. Since Rugby is on vacation, he has allowed me to borrow his blog for a little longer to introduce a new perspective to dog husbandry. This perspective is a logical and reasonable one. The same post about Lily the shelter dog that was mentioned yesterday provides a good opportunity for this.

I am sure this response to my comment is one many of the readers of the blog above share. I will list the flaws in this logic below, focusing on the several assumptions that had to be made in order to construct this argument.
"Samantha, there is no evidence she is "dog-aggressive". She is blind, and pregnant, and we don't know the whole story behind what occured between her and the puppy. Many factors could have come into play, including and most importantly - poor ownership skills(were the dogs properly introduced? was their interaction closely monitored? was Lily in pain and no one cared/notice? did the puppy ignore her body language?). The shelter observed NO aggression from her. In addition, being blind is not a strike against her. Many dogs lead healthy, normal, happy lives despite having limited or no sight. It is common for owners to not even REALIZE their dog has gone blind because of their amazing reziliance.

My first dog was killed by a wolf-hybrid, so I understand the tendency to be cautious, it took literally seconds and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it.
However, responsible ownership, knowing your dogs limitations, and setting your dog up for SUCCESS vs FAILURE are the most important rules in raising happy healthy and safe dogs.

I am sad that you see a possible blindness as a reason to euthanize."
Assumption #1
       The argument assumes that a dead puppy is not evidence of dog aggression.

Assumption #2
       This argument assumes that the volunteers and shelter workers are competent and experienced enough to recognize signs of aggression. I appreciate these people for the work they do, and it takes a lot of time and compassion to do their job. However, I have enough experience to know that they are the last people I will ask about dog behavior/interaction/management/training.

Assumption #3
      This argument discounts the dog in question's aggression (because of an unfounded faith in these people's opinions) and then assumes that my real meaning was that she should be PTS because she is blind. However I stated my opinion on the grounds not that she is blind, but that she is blind AND dog aggressive. If any of you have any experience with blind dogs you should know that it is not uncommon for a blind dog to become reactive to things that startle them (still not enough of a reason to warrant a kill). Being blind and dog aggressive therefore increases the risk of attack greatly.

Assumption #4
       This argument assumes that rude puppy behavior is reason to kill. It is not. Poor introductions are not reason to kill. Pain is not reason to kill. There is never a reason to kill.

It seems I was so successful at offending these readers that some comments were made elsewhere that are less than blog-worthy. However I must again bring attention to the flaw in logic here too.
"I am a little confused as to why she wants random dogs to be breeding."
Assumption #5
    This comment assumes that intact dogs breed constantly. The truth is that spaying and neutering does not keep dogs out of shelters - responsible dog ownership does. I am not for the breeding of 'random' dogs or less than quality dogs either (physically or mentally). However, I do recognize the health benefits and the hazards there are to spaying and neutering. I also encourage people to think for themselves before they consume the kool aid of the animal rights crazies. (and before more assumptions are made I am in favor of animal welfare but not animal rights)
"In fact, 28 percent of owned dogs and 16 percent of owned cats are not spayed or neutered, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association."
Rugby's regular readers are already aware of how I feel about H$U$....
even so, here are the statistics from the enemy-
"Seventy-five percent of owned dogs are spayed or neutered"

Maybe new logic is all that dogs need?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Better Safe than Sorry

I would like to talk about dog aggression. I responded to a plea to save a dog on a blog that I follow.
This got me thinking, and I believe people really don't understand completely what dog aggression is.

I think I have a better idea than most, but I can certainly point you towards a few people that know way more than I do if you are interested. The point I attempt to make here is that dog aggression is dangerous. Dog aggression come in lots of shapes and sizes. Dog aggression can go unseen to the untrained eye. Dog aggression can be unpredictable (arguably also requires and untrained eye).

Meet Mattie, the German Shepherd. She is a dog killer. She has attacked 3 different dog, one of died, one of them was attacked twice. These pictures were taken after two dogs had already been attacked and before the third dog was killed. What aggression can you see??

The following dogs are wanna be dog killers who have been unsuccessful only because they found themselves at Applewoods Dog Training before it was too late.

Meet Lily, the golden retriever. Some where about the time her thyroid stopped working all together, she caught the dog aggression bug. She has put holes in a number of dogs. It has taken me training her for two months for her to respect me enough to maintain self control around these dogs (besides the work that her owners have put in). What aggression can you see in her??

Meet Brandy, the Kerry Blue Terrier. She is dog aggressive. She has been successful at a couple attacks and at putting herself on the short list for her county of residence. What aggression can you see in her??

Meet Claudia. She is dog aggressive. What aggression can you see in her??

Catch my drift?

In the Dog House

So after the match last Sunday, I realized that Rugby hadn't been playing with the other dogs in the yard (which he loves to do) for probably a week or so. I finally decided to stop ignoring Margot since she has been nagging me, telling me that Rugby was just plain tired and not broken at all. He hasn't been worked at all since then and is on a two week vacation from all things involving using up his energy.

I was worried he might be sick since on Thursday he was still sleeping all the time and not playing with the other dogs. However he is getting quite annoying now around the house so I assume his energy is returning.

For now, Rugby is still stuck in the dog house untill next week.
It is a shame too, since he missed out on this trip to the park! I took Lily, the golden I am working with instead and she certainly didn't complain about it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Call me Mr. Flinstone....

The Bedrock Training Method developed by Margot Woods takes a spin off Koehler Method. We begin this training with a week of "Sit of the Dog" - There is no exception to this. Margot has a wonderful description of this on her blog that you can read here.
Looking for a reading list to get started Koehler Training? The following books are out of print but can be bought used for fairly cheap.
There are also books for Tracking and Guard Dog Training if that is what you are looking for.

The 'Back To Work' DVD can also be purchased which walks you through the the first book (minus the problem solving) and comes with a training manual.

Hope this helps on the search for Koehler information for those who are interested.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Earning His Keep and Challenge Prizes

Rugby was invited to put on a show for Kids Corner at our local Trader Joes. Rugby invited Pete to come along and do tricks with him for the kids. Since it was Fourth of July weekend lots of kids were on vacation, but they still got to show off some tricks and get lots of loving from all their adoring fans.

I brought along the 'bar' from my portable bar jumps and had Pete hold it and lay down while Rugby did retrieves over it. Then we did some 'placing' into hula hoops that were scattered about, and drop on recalls and Pete got to clean up by retrieving the hula hoops.

I think what impressed people the most is that neither dog wore a leash the entire time. From the time they hopped out of the car, to when they heeled over to Kids Corner, to the times they were showing off their tricks, and finally to when they heeled back to the car leave.


If you don't know about the 10 dog challenge, then go check it out here.

So it took my foreverrrrr to pick prizes because I was trying to find prizes that were relevant to the challenge. While those prizes are hilarious and do exist, I decided not everyone would appreciate them.

The prize for the first person to complete the challenge is this super cute custom dog tag by Makeyourdogsmile on Etsy.

The next five people that complete the challenge will win this custom dog tag by AoDesigns on Etsy.
Good luck!!!

More info on Koehler Method coming soon!