Archives for June 2014

Jean Donaldson

After reading Ian Dunbar’s book, I decided to read The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson.

In her book, Donaldson writes about the psychology surrounding common dog behaviours and informs readers about how things we do must look from the dog’s point of view.

I both liked and disliked this book. On one side, I think Donaldson did a really good job at explaining the positive reinforcement model of dog training and not only told readers how to do things, but why it needed to be done. On the other hand, I really disliked the way she wrote as if every dog owner who isn’t a professional is stupid. I found her writing style to be a little cold.

After reading this book, I really began to understand where a former dog trainer I worked with got her training style and opinions regarding dog owners and how dogs should be treated and trained.

It’s kind of hard to explain my thoughts regarding Donaldson’s training style, it’s almost as though to her, a dog should not just be allowed to be a dog, or part of the family. I felt as though she believes that if training is not happening then the dog should be crated or something like that. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I explained things wrong, but it’s sort of what I got out of the book and what I witnessed working with the trainer whom I feel mirrors her work according to the word of Jean Donaldson.

Bad, bad Owners!

On thursday evening Kira, the dogs’ 10 year old friend, came to visit with her friend. After having a popsicle and making a couple of paper airplanes, Kira asked if we could take the dogs over to the park across the road for a short game of fetch. Kira had to meet her mom at 6:30pm, so we decided that we would walk her to their meeting place afterwards.

It was sunny, but there was a breeze, so we didn’t think anything of taking the dogs out. Canyon hadn’t played fetch in the park since the previous week, so we knew he’d be excited to go.

After walking a few minutes to the park, we let all of the dogs off leash and began throwing the toy. Canyon ran to get it eagerly every time. We probably played for 10 minutes before he wandered over to lie under a big tree. At this point we stopped and put everyone back on leash to walk Kira and her friend to meet Kira’s mom.

Canyon was panting a lot, but we didn’t think there was an issue. it was normal for him to pant more than the labs after a game of fetch.

So we walked with Kira and her friend. The meeting spot was about 7 minutes from the park and then after a short chat, we set off for home which was another 7 minutes. We were only gone for about 25 minutes, so we didn’t think it was a big deal.

It was…

As soon as we got home, Canyon went over and laid beside the water bowl, but didn’t drink. I was worried, this wasn’t normal for him. His panting seemed louder too, which really concerned me. I got Canyon up and had him follow me down the stairs into the living room where he could lie on the cold floor. He panted and panted, I was worried.

As his panting began to slow, I got a bowl of water and brought it down to him, he only wet his tongue. This really worried me, so I got my water bottle out of the fridge and placed it on his groin area, it seemed to help him cool down even more. I then got some beef broth and offered it to him, he drank a bit of it, but then threw it back up shortly afterwards with some thick mucus.

Canyon ended up throwing up a few more times and I worried, but Huib still felt he was okay, that he just needed to cool down.

it took about 3 hours before he began perking up, but it wasn’t until close to midnight that he decided to take a big drink of water. I think it helped that after his panting had slowed and he was perking up, we gave him a coolish bath and then brought him back down into the living room.

After he drank water, we stayed up another hour to make sure he didn’t throw it up and when he didn’t we all went to bed.

In the morning I was never happier to have him greet me at the side of the bed with a ball in his mouth and his tail wagging when I reached for it.

From our research, it looks as though Canyon had a bit of both heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

From now on we’re going to be extra careful with our golden boy. he has never had this issue before, but we’re thinking his coat seems a bit thicker than previous years, so it’s possible that even though it normally wouldn’t have been too warm, it was.

We took it easy over the weekend and from now on he will only be going outside during the early morning or late evening.

Mantracker Rogue?

Maybe not quite…

Yesterday Huib and I took Rogue to a tracking session put on by Search & Rescue Dogs Ontario.

As part of their fundraising, SAR Dogs Ontario offers tracking training once a month to the public. The sessions are held at Bronte Creek Provincial Park and cost $50 for about two and a half hours of instruction.

Saturday was our first opportunity to attend, so we got our stuff ready and set out for Oakville.

There were probably more than 15 dogs in attendance, not including the ones that belonged to the instructors.

at 8:30am, we were split into three groups, according to our level of experience. Since it was our first lesson, we were in level one. there were about 6 dogs, including Rogue. there was a Beagle, a Bloodhound, 2 Shepherds and a Border Collie in our group – the Bloodhound had attended two other times, so her and her owner were quickly moved on to the next level. It is almost as though Bloodhounds are born knowing how to track, lol!

Our instructor, Dave Walker, asked us to all put our dogs into our vehicles and follow him to a field. We were then instructed on how to lay a short track.

First we were directed to shuffle our feet around in a horizontal line, smooching down the grass and leaving our scent. We were then instructed to put a flag to the left and lay several treats in the grass to mark the spot. After that, we walked about 50 feet, shuffling our feet and laying a few treats every couple feet to mark the track. At the end, we covered a toy and some treats with grass and stuck another flag in the ground.

Once we had all retrieved our dogs, we took turns having them follow the track we had laid.

When it was Rogue’s turn, Dave instructed us to keep her leash attached to her collar and then put the leash under her right leg, which would force her head downward, and then I was to hold the leash and follow her pull as Huib wiggled his fingers in front of her nose and encouraged her to follow the track we had laid for her. She did really well with her first and final track, but she was revved up and extremely excited during the second and third runs, so she was a little less precise.

Each time the dogs finished following a track, we were instructed to create another one for them in a different part of the field.

At the end of the session we all sat in the shade while Dave talked about what we had learned and recommended things to work on to each of the teams.

We weren’t too surprised when he suggested we work on slowing and calming down Rogue, lol!

Huib said he enjoyed the lesson and said he’d be willing to practice with me a few times a week and attend the July session.

Ian Dunbar

In preparation for our new addition, I have downloaded some dog training books in an effort to learn more about positive reinforcement training and also to learn about other training methods.

I totally recommend Sue Ailsby and plan to continue using her levels program to train the dogs, but it never hurts to add some extra tools to the dog training toolbox, right?

I just finished reading Ian Dunbar’s How To Teach A new Dog Old Tricks. I’ve wanted to read this book for years, but for one reason or another, I never had an opportunity until now.

It was really well written. I love the way he writes it as if from the dog’s perspective. There were some things Dunbar recommended, like repeating cues until the puppy obeys, that I don’t really agree with, but then there were other things he suggested, like making sure your cues make sense, that I found quite useful.

Dunbar suggests that when a puppy has an accident and the owner witnesses the discretion, that instead of saying “Puppy…NO…you shouldn’t have done that, let’s go outside”, that you skip the no and the conversation, and just say “Outside” in a firm voice, as you pick the puppy out and carry it outdoors.

I think this recommendation makes a lot of sense. I think that we have a tendency to treat our dogs like children, which is not a bad thing most of the time, and forget that their attention span and vocabulary is far less advanced than the capabilities of humans.

Before we pick up our little golden girl, I am going to sit down with Huib and make a mental list of the cues we want to use with her, so hopefully we will avoid some of the awkward stumbling we tend to do in the first year of training.

Short Video of Puppies

Abba’s 4 Week Old Puppies

New Puppy Pictures

abba’s puppies are now 4 weeks old!!

Three little golden retriever puppies. 1 is sitting, 1 is lying down and another one is walking around.

Two puppies sitting. One has it's back to the camera and the other is facing forward.

Six puppies in the enrichment area. You can see a tunnel, a dumbbell, a cement block, wood and various toys.

How much do you want to bet we end up getting the little girl with the pink collar who always has her back to the camera…

26 DAYS TO GO!!!

Weekend visitors

dexter, a 7 month old mini chocolate coloured poodle with tan markings sits beside my brother-in-law, Mark.

Dexter has grown a bit and is no longer scared of everything.

Brandi and Mark sit on the love seat on our back patio with Dexter sitting in between them.

My sister and her husband came to visit for the weekend. We did some shopping Saturday morning and then in the evening we all went to Mohawk raceway for the Pepsi North American Cup, it’s the biggest race for harness racing.

We didn’t lose too much, but we also didn’t win too many bets either. For the last three races, we had Rogue pick our horse and she won back our twenty-five dollars. for her winnings, she got a new martingale collar that is red and black with black deer in a hunter green circle and tan background – it looks really nice on her. She also got some liver treats.

We’ll have to take her to the races again sometime and let her pick for every race now, lol!

5 Already…

Guess what everyone!!!

I am 5 years old today!!

Mommy says she can’t believe I am already 5, but I say 5 is just a number and nothing to be concerned about 🙂

Boy, I have had a good day so far…I got a hand full of Froot Loops and some veal neck bones for breakfast, then Mommy shared some of her Skittles with me – I LOVE Froot Loops and Skittles!!

Later my friend Kira and her Mom are coming to visit…I wonder if they have presents for me…

Mommy says her and Kira are going to bake me a cake to share with Rogue and Cessna, I wonder if that means i will need to share it with Kira’s dog, Molly….she’s okay, so maybe I don’t mind sharing.

if I’m good and Daddy gets home early enough, Mommy says we’re going to Rens to get some new toys, come on Daddy, get home in time!!

It’s been great so far being 5…

2 Weeks Old

Abba’s puppies are now 2 weeks old.

2 week old golden retriever puppies

A similar picture of the puppies

Anne says the puppies have opened their eyes and are beginning to walk around.

People can go visit the puppies starting June 14th, the temperament tests will be done on the 9th of July and then we can pick up our bundle of fur on the 12th.

Huib and I are getting really excited about the new addition. I wasn’t too sure what Huib really felt about having another dog, but now that Abba has had her puppies, he has begun to show some excitement about the arrival.

I will post more pictures and updates as they come.