Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I've gone and done a mean thing.

Rocket is a very bad brother.  He feels it necessary to practice his "art" on the girls as much as he can, and while Jeremy and I have done everything to discourage what he does, after about 10 seconds he'll go back to doing what he wants to do.  His art includes:
1.  Trying to drink pee.  Gag.
2.  Following girls around and keeping his nose in their butt while they are peeing.  Yuck.
3.  Sniffing every possibly spot a girl peed in the yard and trying to taste every spot. 
4.  (see a pattern emerging?)
5.  When he wants satisfaction, he knows no bounds.  This is the main reason he and Ruby have disagreements - she is clearly saying "eff off buddy" and he's saying "I do what I want."
6.  I've noticed as he's gotten older than he will blow me off.  I tell him to quit - it lasts ten seconds and he goes back to trying to do what he wants.  I've tried everything I can think of - redirection, immediate time out in his crate, immediate "go lay down," grabbing his muzzle to get his attention...nothing works.

As a last resort and to reduce stress on the girls, I went to Bass Pro and got a shock collar.  The evil person inside of me thought it'd be funny to see his face when he goes to sniff a butt obnoxiously and gets a mild correction - would he associate vajayjay with a shock?  I sure hope so!

So I was a mean mom and set him up to fail.  I let him outside with the girls, all wound up, to see what he would do.  Somehow, he managed to foil me - everytime I told him to leave it and gave him the warning sound, he quit.

I'm sure he'll get a correction at some time, but it won't be tonight.  I'll have to try tomorrow to see if he understands the warning sound already (how I don't know) or if he needs the correction on the lowest setting.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Such a slacker.

I've been a training slacker lately.  We've had voluntary OT at work the last week and some odd days, and we're in winter break for our classes at the club, so I haven't been doing much.  I should, but I feel like I don't know what to work on...what if I start working on something and I screw it up?

I need some motivation!  I think I'll enter Ruby in our trial in Feb and see if we can get our last two RN legs and last CD leg.  Maybe that'll get me the motivation to get out and work more, since I have to fix her recall.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Prozyme: Day 5

Well well well......I'm almost ready to call this stuff magic.  Almost.  I'm going to give it a week or so more and see what a difference it makes in that amount of time, but the changes I noticed already are crazy awesome.

1.  Both Rocket and Noodle no longer look anorexic.
2.  Rocket's spine/hips/ribs are starting to no longer be clearly visible.
3.  He's eating.  Every. Meal.  Every one.  No fuss, no refusal.  Puts his head in the bowl and eats until the food's gone.
4.  He's up to 7 cups of Acana a day...and he hasn't gotten sick once.
5.  He's EXCITED.  The dog I swore wasn't going to be normal until he was neutered is excited for meals. 

I can't wait to see if he keeps getting better.  Maybe he'll actually look the way he's supposed to soon!

Friday, December 10, 2010

For some reason, I have the urge to train Allie.

Allie and Noodle are the "elusive" dogs - the ones that I've tried to train, but to only minimal success. 

Noodle is a lost cause (but I may try earthdog with her, someday - girl's got some prey drive and an awesome sniffer!) but Allie...Allie was my starter dog.  She went through all of our public classes at DMOTC, but once I became a member, I focused more on Ruby, the more willing worker that doesn't have the attention span of a hummingbird and doesn't lose her brain when people are around.

She knows all of the novice commands except for heel - I couldn't get any attention from her....ever.  Her damn nose gets in the way of EVERYTHING.  But as I've gotten more experience with training, I want to try again and see what we can do together.

I'll have to bring an extra crate with me tomorrow and see how she works at the club.  :)

Prozyme: Day 1

We're trying out Prozyme on all of the biggest worry was that Capt Butthole and Noodle wouldn't eat the powder on their food, but they were happy once I put a little bit of warm water in the bottom of the bowl.  Rocket managed to maintain interest in his food and ate everything in one sitting, so I'm hoping that means he'll continue to improve.

Cross your fingers that it makes a healthy impact on all of the dogs.....they're supposed to eat less, less shedding, no allergies..all the great things that happen when dogs have healthy insides.  I'm going to keep track of their progress here, along with their training schedules!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

AKC/Eukanuba National Championship

Rocket wanted to give a "woof" out to his uncle Courbet, GCH CH Bruda the Artist is Courbet, for going BOS at the Invitational this weekend.

CONGRATULATIONS to his breeders/co-owners, Sandi Hunter & Cherie Holmes, and his owner Elaine Herndon!!!

Making his editorial debut....

Been awhile!

We "graduated" from our advanced obedience class last night, but it probably doesn't really count.  We did novice Obed run throughs last week and last night.  Rocket's not really ready for a heeling pattern - we're still "training" heel, but we gave it a shot.  He did a good job, but I want his heeling refined more - head up looking at me at all times would be our goal, and he's just not there yet.  The world is too distracting for his intact little mind.

We're trying two methods for weaves in agility - channel and 2x2.  I have no clue which one we're actually going to use, since we just started the 2x2 and we've been working the channel method every other class.  I'll keep working on both and see which one clicks in his little brain.

Leah and I went and visited his breeder on Sunday -  and after discussion, my husband and I are going to wait until he's two to make any life altering decisions about him.  I'm going to worm him again and the Prozyme has been ordered, so we'll see if that makes any difference.  He's a much more reliable eater now, it just seems like the nutrients don't "stick," so he remains skinny.  I'm switching him to Acana Wild Prairie - we thought he had a chicken intolerance but apparently it was just the Pro Plan overall, not the protein source. 

Breeder will be featured in DPM for November, so ads were needed of her dogs, and at the last minute, it was decided that Rocket will grace a page this month!  Good thing Leah, in all of her designing creative awesomeness, already had an ad made that only needs to be changed to black and white and needed a word switched.

I'm looking forward to seeing this month's edition!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Rocket and I went to my parent's house in NW Iowa for Thanksgiving.  My parents have 3 ares unfenced, so it's an area that he can run in on a long line.  He loves all the smells, so he was really getting down with tracking down bunny smells...then he flushed one!  I was glad I kept him on a line - I didn't expect him to track anything down so quickly and was contemplating letting him off leash, but he would have been long gone after that bunny - I was only able to hold him back because I was relatively close when the chase began. 

He has this really "polite" way of doing his business while he's at their house - he'll only poop in the ditch or outside the property line.  Nice!

I also discovered that 4 days with Rocket as the only dog is a little much.  He's so much a mommy's dog already that he just gets worse when it's the two of us.  He's figured out my Dad - Dad gets annoyed with the wet nose in the hand all the time, but my dad also has the habit of when he feels a wet nose he automatically starts to pet the dog in question...which Rocket uses to his full advantage.  He uses the lean with my Mom to get attention but the nose in the hand with my Dad.  Amusing to watch, and even funnier when my Dad gets mad about it.  LOL!

He did a good job with visitors, too.  When he was younger he didn't want strangers touching him, but as he's gotten older he's gotten more confident and relaxed, so he'll basically let almost anyone touch him.  It all depends on the approach - if someone automatically goes for the top of his head and moves in his space, he backs up.  I'm glad to see his improvement.

We made it back home ok, and we were both glad to see Noodle, Ruby, and Allie when we got home.  :)

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone had a good holiday.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday night Agility Fun

Wow, something he gets excited about!

Rocket did another good job at class, was really distracted by his surroundings and his Auntie Leah and cousin Revy, but always gave me his attention back right away.  Score!

We worked on jump circles with Rhonda and she was really helpful.  I have this habit of talking waaayyyy too much, so I was learning how to not say anything unless he got off course.  He's really figured out that he needs to take the next thing in front of him and when I call his name that he looks at me for the next direction.

We took our first attempt at the teeter, and after 3 tries he figured out that he could go across FAST.  However, we were using tables so he didn't get to experience the full downhill angle - which is good, because he's still a little crappy about putting his feet where they need to go.  That's the unfortunate part with a big dog - his natural foot placement is generally wider than the boards he's walking on, so he gets nervous.

We'll continue to work on contacts and weaves!  Our next set of jump circles we'll be adding a 4th jump and varying the angles to make him think.

I'm liking the whole tracking and agility's nice to keep my mouth shut and let the dogs work!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I need a gas mask.

YUCK Rocket.  I swear I can hear him fart every few minutes when he's sleeping. 

That's what I get for switching food.  I'll have to try something new...again....

Darn dogs and their sensitive stomachs.  Poor Allie can't have anything with birds in it and Rocket can't have chicken so we're really limited on what they can eat.  I usually stick to grain free.

Guess I'll go have to scope out food again at IA Pet.  Jeremy's pretty sure that I need to work there part time, as much as I spend in there.  Most of the employees know my name...I should hope so, they see me every payday!

I would love to stick with the Orijen, but it's way too pricey for me.  Maybe when I get my raise in April I can go back...but Rocket has a hard time gaining weight on that food.

I'd love to be able to go back to Petsmart to buy dog food again.  This sucks.  Nobody light a match in my house...we'll all blow up.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Where is my puppy going?

Rocket just turned 20 months, and I can tell he's maturing.  It makes me sad to see my goofy puppy in his goofy body disappearing, but I can't wait for him to mature.  His muzzle and skull are widening again, and his appetite has increased, so I know he's going through ANOTHER growth spurt.  This dog just doesn't stop....he grew UP so fast (28 1/2" at the shoulder at 8 months) that he hasn't gotten wide at all.  His chest still hasn't dropped and his ribs haven't sprung, so he looks so gangly and thin.  He's been so slow to mature that it makes me think he'll be 3 when he's finally done, then I can show him again.  I can tell his hormones have really kicked in.  He's gotten so distracted by the world around him that it's hard for him to focus.

That doesn't mean that his mind has caught up!  He's still a baby mentally, so he's a little crazy at the moment.  He's still doing a *really* good job with his training, so I can only imagine what he's going to be like when he's a "real man." 

Unfortunately I think Rocket has turned Jeremy off of male Dobermans in the future.  I'll be able to get a female in the future, as long as she's a pet...we don't want any intact females in the house.

I'm really liking Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.  Maybe in the wwwaayyyy future I'll get a male, but it looks like our future dog limit is going to be 2.  Jeremy is convinced that he must have a Boston Terrier at some point, so I may have to compromise and wait to decide on "future dog."

Fun Matches Galore

DMOTC had fun matches last Sunday and let me see what problems I still have with Ruby and what I still need to work on with Rocket. 

Ruby - FRONTS.  For pete's many times have we been playing the front game?  I need to do more doodling with her and teaching her what she needs to do with her entire body...she's just been weird on recalls.  She doesn't want to sit in front on her own, she wants me to tell her where to go.  So somewhere along the line I didn't A) teach her exactly what front meant or B) taught her, let her learn it, but then "fixed" it so much that she isn't sure of herself anymore.  I think B may be my problem.  Also, I've noticed that her performance leaves a lot to be desired when I take her and Rocket to the club, so I may have to spend more one on one time with her.  Stand seems to also be an issue, so I'll keep working on it.  She'll stand for exam no problem, but getting her to stand from a sit can be iffy sometimes.

Rocket - We'll continue to work on our heeling and attention.  I feel like he heels well without keeping his head up, but I'd like for his head to be up.  His figure eight was really nice!  All of the work we've been doing on making his back end move is really showing.  He knows how to front on a recall pretty well, so we'll polish that, and keep working on his finishes.  His stand for exam is solid (Thank you conformation!)  His off leash heeling actually isn't that bad, but again I want his head up.  He pays too much attention to what's going on around him (A Doberman that pays attention to it's surroundings?  WEIRD.)  Also, he's still convinced that wanting to sniff everyone around his is what he should be doing on a sit/down stay.  I'm thinking about going way back to the basics on it so he won't shift - I want him to sit still and keep on his side on a down stay and not want to sniff at other dogs or worry about what's going on around him.

We have a trial next weekend, but since it's Thanksgiving weekend, I'm going to visit my parents.  I wish I could'd be nice to get another RN leg for Ruby, but family is more important than a dog show....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It was sleeting and 30 degrees with a nice strong wind...

When Rocket and I decided to get up at 8 this morning to go meet up with our tracking class.  Rocket is generally a pansy when he's cold, so I put him in his jammies and hoped for the best.  Of course, this means that he was made fun of when he gets out of the car in black and red skulls, but he doesn't have long hair!  He seemed to know what we were there for, though, so the weather didn't bother him.  Karen was nice enough to lay a 50 yard track into the wind and a 75 yard track with the wind at our backs and he took care of both in short order.  I've found that he does better work when I don't lay any food on the track..just a few pieces to start and a jackpot in the article at the end.  Food distracts him at the moment.  I've got to get a longer nylon lead so I can work our line handling - all I've got is a 6 ft and a 40 ft, but nothing in between.  It looks like I'll have to invest in leather roping gloves too.

I finally got a key to the club!  So we went there next to train...waited about half an hour to start so I could get feeling back in my toes and fingers.  He did another nice job this morning...added another bar to our broad jump....starting to realize what our "drop" signal means and that when we are coming back at Mom that we should be looking at her...not checking the floor! I introduced him to a short dowel today so he would get used to it - using it to teach him how to move his butt when we are doing left turns and when we are fronting.  I've been working more on his body position and rewarding him heavily when his head is in the position I want it in.  Did our go outs with the big box of fun and he's really into it.  I managed to keep him "up" our entire training time, loaded with distractions - especially Carson, an intact bicolor GSD who apparently returned his interest. 

I put him up and decided to help Sonia work Prada the Springer.  Prada is very much an excitable dog and tons of fun, but lacks a lot of mental maturity!  We've taken to each other so much that Sonia is thinking about having me show her instead of herself..Prada's parents are more of conformation people and wanted someone with more experience to train/show her in Obed.  Today, we're still setting up her basics..stay very much a challenge for her, and she's such a wiggle butt that she forgets her heel.  But she's making good progress and it's a good experience for both of us....I've never trained a Springer and it challenges me to think outside of the knowledge I've gained from working Ruby and Rocket.

Fun match in the morning...we'll see if Ruby's recalls have actually improved!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

If his brain is in his testicles...where does it go when he's neutered?

Rocket added further proof of his...uniqueness... yesterday while we were hiking at beautiful Ledges State Park.

A large group of us had met to go hiking - over 20 dogs!  Rocket has met Jack the Setter before, but never had this reaction.

Rocket was under the impression Jack was a she...and in heat.

I reminded him that Jack was in fact a he and had boy parts.

He didn't believe me. 

We then spent the majority of our day whining and searching for Jack every time we stopped and really wanted to give him lots of kisses.

Never has he acted like this.  It was literally the most annoying thing he's ever done..and he did it FOREVER.  I was about ready to disown my dog, since his only brain is apparently in his nuts.

The only way to stop the whining was to follow behind Jack with a lot of distance between them.


He'll have to stay intact if that's where he stores his brain.  No wonder people are concerned about Dobe brains swelling larger than their skulls and turning on their owners. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ruby, you are digusting.

When we get our first freeze, Ruby goes in search of gold.

And by gold, I mean frozen poop.  In a certain size and shape.  That we can carry around and CHEW on until it's gone, then find another.

This goes on until our last thaw.  I have no clue why she does it, just that it's completely disgusting and there's no easy way to break it.  I'm pretty sure she collects it during the winter and stores it in a hole she dug in the snow.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rocket's Progress - 15 months of Training

1.  We've mastered Sit from a distance, signal and voice.
2.  We're 95% consistent on the down, better from a slight distance than near, better with both of us moving than standing still.  Signal better than voice.
3.  Listening position is mastered - he'll go between my legs and come back to sit between my knees.  He uses my leg as a cue, no voice required.
4.  Twirl and Spin mastered up close and slightly away, but not far.  Signal and voice.
5.  Heel - we're still working on what position I want his head in at all times.  I can't decide, so of course that means that his head position isn't consistent, but he does give attention when heeling and seems to understand what the word means.  I haven't tried it with a signal.  I really need to nail down where I want his head.
6.  Front mastered at a distance of 10 feet.  We're still working on longer distances, but he knows what it means - I can shift positions and turn away when he's coming at me and he'll front no matter where I am.
7.  Finishes - eh.  I've shown him two different signals, so that's my fault.  I can't decide if I want him to get up in the air to get around or if he's good on the ground. 
8.  Dumbbell - yay for dumbbell!  He knows how to take it, get it, and hold it.  We just starting asking for fronts and jumps with a dumbbell in his mouth.  I need to get him one that's more his size, we're borrowing a dumbbell at the moment and it's not "high" enough on the ends where he can snag it and move again.
9.  Jumps - we know what over means.  The high jump is mastered, I haven't tried the bar jump yet, and the broad jump seems to throw him for a loop. We've started working on directed jumping as well, and he seems to understand the concept, but I haven't tried him past the very starting point.
10.  Recall - we know what that means!
11.  Go outs - I've been training him using a box, so he knows that when he sees a box he needs to go out and sit on it.  He's been consistently understanding the concept from all distances, and he'll usually do it on his own in between exercises if I've left the box out.  We're also going to be using a box to help him remember how to sit correctly...we're still getting sloppy sits at times...of course my fault.
12.  Agility wise, we've mastered all of the equipment except the teeter - haven't done it yet.  Weaves aren't consistent either, but we don't practice agility as often as we train Obed, so that's to be expected.  He really enjoys the table and tunnels.
13.  Backing up - he can back up in front of me with a voice and signal in a straight line for about 15 feet.  Woo!  We haven't done as much practice in heel position, but he's shown that he can also back up in heel for 5-6 steps.
14.  Stand for Exam - no issues so far!  I'd say it's mastered.

We've still got a lot of work ahead of us, but I think it's going well!  I'm using the clicker more and more to really reward him precisely - I've found that his understanding doesn't come about because he just doesn't get it, but because I don't reward him for *exactly* what I want.  I've trained the dumbbell in it's entirety with a clicker, and I've started using the clicker for his heeling.

He's such a joy to work with.  I love this dog!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Doberman musings and last night's class

We had our second week of beginners obed last night....It's so exciting watching dogs "get" what their owners are trying to teach them!  We have a bunch of stellar students, and some not so stellar owners...but everyone's practicing! 

We do breed reports at the end of class to share info about each dog - volunteers get to share about their own dog and any breed characteristics...basically a short share about their dog.  Usually not a big deal, but my pet peeves:

1.  A Goldendoodle/Labradoodle/Cavachon/Poochon/FunkyMonkey IS NOT A BREED.  You purchased a mixed breed dog!  I have no issue with those who rescue these mixes, but for pete's sake a little research!

2.  There are a few ways greeders and BYBs rip Doberman puppy buyers off.  The most common: "European Doberman."  This drives me crazy.  Yes, it is possible to get a dog imported from Europe. However, the best dogs in Europe generally STAY there...and only if you spend a lot of time with the good breeders, travel to see them will you come home with a decent dog.  A lot of commercial breeders in that country ship their cast offs over here so people can breed "a bigger Doberman."  STAY away from commercial breeders!  If the breeder is breeding a "european" dog with titles to an untitled female....don't buy that puppy! 

3.  While we're on the subject, don't buy a Doberman puppy if:

- you have zilch experience posting ears and your breeder can't help you or you won't utilize the resources available to you to figure it out. 
- you can't stand being touched constantly.
- you like to pee alone.
- you "have to get a big ole male who's gunna be 100+ lbs, that's why I got him, cuz he's gonna be big."
- you already have a male dog at home.  seriously...can't train out same sex aggression people!
- you can't keep up with a dog that's smarter than you.
- can't train a Lab.
- think you need a "working" dog because they are better than a pet from a show breeder...but have never put a title on a dog (again, the whole European rip off scheme!)

There are many more reasons - always do your breed research before you buy or rescue ANY dog!  This is not a good reason:
"I got him because I wanted a big dog. Like 100 lbs. And I like to run, so we run alot.  (Your puppy is 6 months old....not a good idea!)  He's nice even though he looks mean."

*forehead smack*
*end rant*

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taught my first class!

Last night I got to teach my first Obed class at DMOTC - beginner's obedience!

I've always liked helping the public with the basics - sit, stand, walk nicely, attention, down, etc.  Lori has been nice enough to back me up on my first attempt - we'll see how it progresses!  I think it went pretty well, we have a lot of people who understand what's going on and only a few dogs that are...exuberant.  ;)

I put Rocket in an advanced class - there are only three of us, plus Sonia.  He's doing a good job so far - I really need to teach him out to sit properly, so I'm anxiously awaiting the return of Earl so we can find matting to put on our fun box.

He really likes the box...if he's waiting for me to set something up he'll run to the box and sit.  I still need to work on our attention span!  We learned how to move our butt around too so we have nice turns and figure eights.

Allie attempted to be a nice demo dog, but got too excited and wanted to follow me around instead of staying.  I wasn't too mad at's been a long time since she's been at the club and expected to behave!

Looking forward to agility classes starting up again - ready to conquer the teeter!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Allie's Tracking Progress

I can't forget about Allie's tracking progress!  Our tracking classes are every other Saturday, and she's gone a longer/older track each time - she's up to 150 yards, aged roughly 20 minutes.  Last Saturday we tried a real challenge - I accidentally put a track upwind, so we weren't sure if the scent was going to throw her off. 

Allie likes to cast for her tracks, so she's a zig-zagger, but this time she took the straight path to her gloves.  Of course we had a party.  :)  We tried the track upwind, and the scent pulled her to the track we just ran - but I was able to re-scent her and get her on her merry way.

She loves tracking - she gets serious.  Odd for the red-zone dog.  But I figured that if it was enough to make her serious, she must be serious about it.  I'll have to improve my line handling and get her out more often to get her a TD.

Another successful Saturday for Rocket

Since most of my training experience comes from Ruby, Rocket has always seemed easy - a dog that's willing to please and likes having a "job" to do.  My failure with him is I can't keep up - I'm pretty sure I'm holding him back from being more successful, faster - since I'm still a Novice A handler.

My main issue with him is his attention span.  He's still an immature dog, so I've been doing everything I can to reward him for looking at me and paying attention to me.  I try hard not to correct him much - I want everything new to start with fun and the realization that mistakes are mistakes - Mom doesn't love you any less, and we can keep working.

He's still intact.  He's hasn't been shown in a long time - we're waiting for him to fill out and mature.  His love of girls has only gotten stronger with time, and some days I wish I could neuter him.  I think his need to investigate everything girl related has thrown off his eating habits, and he'll go a day or two without eating.  He's so distracted by everything he'll refuse to eat - so instead of the 80+ lbs he should weigh, I think he's only tipping the scales at ~70.  I can't get weight on him - I swear anything he gets besides TOTW/Orijen and his training treats makes him sick.

On to his successes today - he's starting to realize that drop means drop.  I worked on some fronts, and he's starting to sit really close first instead of me asking him to fix it.  We did a little bit of box work, so he can learn how to sit properly and what heel actually means.  I was lucky enough to find a piece of spare wood in the garage that is a perfect size for his butt, but it's really slick.  I'm going to ask Earl next Thursday where we put the extra matting when we replaced the floor at the club so I can nail it to our box.  We did a few finishes - very nice!  A little heeling as well, and he's starting to get the idea of where his head needs to stay.  A figure eight or two, all very nicely done.  Some broad jump work - also well done for a beginner.  We did some retrieve over the high jump as well - he likes to jump, so I don't think I'll have any issue with the broad or high jump.  We've started our "get out" game too, for utility go outs - he's starting to pick up the command.  We're using a box as a marker, and he's getting sharp at taking off for the box, turning, and sitting - all very quickly - and waiting for a reward.

The best part was at the end of our session.  I was helping Sonia, being a good distraction while she was working Chance's broad jump - Chance LOVES the dumbbell.  Rocket was playing with his reward for a good day - his snake toy loaded with squeakers.  Rocket watched Chance go after our practice dumbbell twice and decided enough was enough - that was OUR dumbbell.  I threw the dumbbell again, and Rocket took off after it - picked it up - and did a victory lap.  Of course we went crazy with cheers, and he felt his job was done...until Sonia wanted to work on Chance's retrieve on the flat.  He realized that he really wanted Chance's dumbbell, and so he took off after it - only to realize that it's a lot heavier than our practice dumbbell.  We waited him out - he finally figured out how to pick it up - and decided to do another victory lap.  I called him, and he came back with the dumbbell in his mouth and held it for me!  Again, cheers ensued.

Sonia wanted me to try and get Rocket to get the dumbbell and come back over the jump.  On his second successful "take it", he did two victory laps and came back over the jump - then waited for me to ask him to give it.  I'm pretty sure I don't give him enough credit.  I know he's a very smart dog, but I didn't realize that he'd watch and learn, and then pick it up so quickly.  His willingness to try new things and keep an upbeat attitude never ceases to amaze me.  Both him and Allie offer behaviors when they want something...but he's much more persistent in regards to things he wants.  I've watched him offer my husband 6 behaviors, and when my husband didn't give up the toy he wanted after the 6th, he offered one that I had only taught him once - dead dog.

He's the dog that I see possibly getting an OTCH.  I can't wait to see what our future brings.  For know, I think I'll settle for his CH.

Oh Ruby.

I had to have "the talk" with Sonia today about Ruby's future in competitive obedience.  I hate to say it, because I feel like I'm giving up on her, but it's looking more and more like she's going to struggle to get her CDX.  She's got some baggage (I hate that word...sounds like an excuse) that we haven't been able to work around for years.  I know this dog loves me - the feeling's mutual - but I don't think that's going to be enough to get around her resentment.  I don't know what she's resentful about - I'm pretty sure it's something along the lines of "why do you keep pushing me?  I love you, I listen more often than not...what more do you want from me?"

I knew when I started that she could possibly be the biggest challenge...she's never let me down on that.  But this dog, who's been through so much and struggles with her inner demons's hard to watch her get down.  I know how much potential she has, how much she loves being in the ring with me.  I've loved watching her figure out what I want when we've been clicker training her dumbbell work.  I love seeing that tail wag every time I look down on a halt when we're heeling, and the attention she gives when she is really enjoying something.  I love the zoomies she gets when she realizes that yes, she can make a mistake...but it's not the end of the world.

I feel like I owe her more.  If that means finishing up her CD and working up to her RE and then hanging up her show be it.  I only want her to be happy, and someday realize that this is her home....she can relax...the rug isn't going to be pulled out from under her again.

To those of you who believe a dog is a dog is a dog...I hope you realize the damage you can do to a living, feeling animal.  You may not realize the harm you can do...but the rest of us who rescue have to deal with the issues that come from your ignorance.  A dog doesn't forget the things that have happened in their lives, and it shapes their outlook forever.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The First of Many

I need an outlet for my training progress and woes.....what a better way than a blog no one will read?  Prepare for sarcasm, pointless exclamation points, juvenile remarks, and lots of periods...not that kind.

I'll start from the beginning, when a girl met a boy, and they decided to buy a house......

We already had Noodle when we started looking for a house.  She's an opinionated snuggler (think of that friend that makes rude snorting noises when she's pissed) that routinely steals blankets and likes to get all of my husband's affection...all 6 1/2 pounds of her.  I was only able to teach her to sit... 

Shortly after moving in, we started talking about getting another dog.  I asked my husband what he wanted for his birthday, and lo and was a dog.  Specifically, one that could "fetch and run around in water." (Because we spend so much time in/around water.....)  Petfinder was nice enough to point us in the direction of a litter of Lab puppies in a shelter an hour from home, so we made the trek and came home with Allie - all of 4 weeks old and loaded with parasites.  As she recovered from her not so great start in life, we realized that she was going to be a decent sized dog that was going to require some serious training.

I signed her up for a beginner obedience class at an obedience club.  She picked up things quickly, and I realized how much fun we were having.  Our instructors were nice enough to point out what we were doing right and what we could work on, and encouraged me to continue to put her through more advanced classes.  We also tried tracking that first year, and discovered her true love - the Sniff.

We realized that Allie needed a friend - she and Noodle got along, but a miniature Dachshund is a little small for a 60 lb dog that has no self control (also known as the "Red-Zone Dog").  I asked my husband again what kind of dog he wanted, and a Boston Terrier search was on.  I visited the HUA rescue website ( and found a few Bostons that were recently rescued from a puppy mill.  After being approved, we drove the 2 1/2 hours to NE to meet the newest member of our family.  Unfortunately, when we arrived to pick her up, the rescue had just found out she had heartworm - again - and she couldn't be adopted.  We visited the rest of the dogs at the rescue, and really liked a Siberian Husky, only to be told she had been adopted.  One of the volunteers helping us that day remembered that a nearby foster group had brought a Sibe in for a spay and shots, and suggested we visit them - Richardson County Humane Society.

We drove 45 minutes more to meet a liver colored abuse case that was being housed in an abandoned garage - all of their foster homes were full.  She was being properly cared for, but because of her previous situation, she was (and still is, at times) afraid of everything - she didn't want to come out of her doghouse to see us.  We were finally able to coax her out, and once she warmed up to us, we decided she would be a good fit.

I wish I could say she's an "easy" dog, but those first few days we had her home were rough.  She was scared out of her wits - I remember the first time we left her alone at home in a new crate - only to come home to a dog out of the crate we left her in, her head stuck in the cat door of the room she was quarantined in.  She managed to pull the wire crate door in with her teeth and open the latches..we had to have one of her bottom canines removed later on from the damage.  She had to have a leash on for the first few weeks, because anytime Allie or Noodle would walk by, she'd lunge and snap.  We thought about giving her back up to rescue - we weren't prepared for her. 

We managed to work through that first month.  Over time she adapted to our home and seemed to finally relax.  I signed her up for obedience classes, since I knew the horror stories of Sibes - digging, jumping fences, home destroyers, untrainable - and wanted to get a head start.  She did well - sadly, food is a fabulous motivator for a dog that never knew when her next meal would be. 

Later on that year I applied for membership to DMOTC - Des Moines Obedience Training Club.  Once I was approved, I was able to go to member nights, where classes are held to help prep for trials.  I assumed that Allie would be my show dog - after all, who shows Sibes in Obed? - and took both Allie and Ruby with me that first night.  It was a novice Rally class, and I remember how well Ruby did that night, and how much she wanted to work - I couldn't see her potential, but my sponsors did. 

3 years and many, many training hours later, and Ruby is Alruno's Rock of Love, CGC TDI - with 2 CD legs and 1 RN leg.  I don't trial very often - in Iowa, that would require a lot of travel I don't have room for in my life right now.  We've been sticking to local shows and fun matches to keep her Novice skills up, while training in Open and a few Futility (haha) exercises.  She's the dog that made me realize that I want to do this - training - as long as I can - it's rewarding, although very challenging, but so worth it. 

Ever heard a Sibe's opinion?  Usually a few growls mixed in with some yipping and nips..bringing us to our Growl - Ruby.

Did I mention that I have always wanted a Doberman?  I was lucky enough to meet a fellow Doberman lover, who had gotten two dogs from a breeder she had been friends with for quite awhile.  We went to visit her in IL one weekend, and I got to have my first experience with Dobe puppies.  I fell in love with the male in the house - Breaker - and always said that I'd love to have one of his sons.  I wanted to try conformation - I've never done it before, and this dog stuff gets addicting - you have to try everything once!  I gave Sandi a deposit for a future show prospect, but never expected it to happen so soon...

As luck would have it, Breaker (CH Bruda Lord of the Rings) was bred to Savannah (CH Bruda the Artist is Savannah), and Sandi had one black male left - a show prospect she saved for herself.  I met him one weekend - spunky, hilarious, but oh so loving - he followed me everywhere in the yard.  My only obstacle was my husband...did we really need 4 dogs in the house?  After a lot of conversation, I was allowed to bring home Rocket - Bruda Up Like a Rocket - currently 19 months and AKC ptd from the puppy classes.

If you've read this far, you rock.  Seriously.  That means you know what's coming next...if Allie is Sniff, and Ruby is Growl....yep.  Rocket is Fart.  Ever had a Doberman?  You learn really quickly that the farting is common and strong enough to clear a room, unless you find their kryptonite - in Rocket's case, Orijen or TOTW. does one Novice handler train three very different Novice dogs?  Easy.  A lot of free time, no expectations, and people who will help, no matter what - my fellow members at DMOTC.  Yep, it's hard.  Some days it feels like a war being waged between myself and Ruby.  I'm a pretty stubborn person, so if you can imagine how things work out between myself and one very intelligent, half mule Siberian bitch...I wish I could get video of our training sessions sometimes.

Tomorrow's another day...let's see what we can accomplish!  We usually train with Sonia - one of my sponsors - for about an hour on Saturday mornings.  I help her out with her BC Chance and her Springer client girl Prada, and then we go home and veg.

I'm teaching my first Obed class on Tuesday night - Beginners.  A little nervous, considering it'll be the first class I'm in charge of.  Might have to practice my outside voice.