Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that we cared for Brewster the Golden Retriever in our home for most of last winter while his family was away. Brew had Lymphoma, and it was a very difficult time for myself and my family as we helped Brew pass on to the bridge. Brew had been a long time client of mine,and I worked with him since he was a pup to help him fulfill his role as resident therapy dog in the nursing homes that his family own in Massachusetts.
During Brews last weeks I could be heard muttering under my breath..."they better not get another dog! I won't take care of another one of their dogs. If they get another dog they better find themselves another trainer". And so on and so on.
Anyway, much in the same way that you forget the pain of childbirth, we are thrilled that they got another golden and that Sadie is visiting with us this weekend for the very first time. She is three months old and a bundle of sweetness.
She is just what we needed.
Sophia, the Amazing Weather Doodle reminds everyone that your dogs are hot. It is well past time to get your kiddie pools out.
If you don't have one, get one!
Trainers tip: Kiddie pools can help with some confirmed diggers.
For dogs who dig and love the water, try putting your dogs toys in the kiddie pool. A lot of dogs will try to dig them out, and this will help channel your dogs energy in a proper location.
Or try giving your dog a sandbox in the shade and simply redirect them to the place that they can dig. Cooling the sand with cold water will make it a very enticing albeit messy place to be.
Finn catches early morning rays On Peaks Island
Just a few miles by boat from down town Portland, Peaks Island is a treasure and very dog friendly!
I am forever grateful to friend and fellow dog trainer Jenny Yasi for
setting up our Training and Freestyle demo, and inviting, me, my three kids and both dogs to stay in her wonderful home and training facility for the weekend. We all had a fantastic time and I got a much needed mini vacation.
This was our second training collaboration, and Yasi and I will be getting together for lots more events in the future. The Common Hound Fair was a hoot by the way, and the competition was fierce with a total of 29 dogs vying for top honors in classes like: Sleekest, best tail, best wag, best trick, most obedient, tallest, shortest, longest ears...well you get the picture. Yasi was kind enough to donate training classes to the least obedient dog. It was a tie by the way and both "winners" got certificates good towards future training from her. I just love that idea and I will be stealing it...I mean borrowing it, soon.
We do have a big announcement to make. I will be partnering with Yasi to expand her summer camp, The Whole Dog Camp, a clicker camp for kids on the island, starting next summer. I am very excited about this new venture and there will be more info coming soon.
My dogs Charlee and Finney had very different views of the island as they are very different dogs. If you have a laid back unflappable dog like Finn then a day trip with your dog to Peaks is a must. If your dog doesn't enjoy crowds and people and dogs in their faces, then there are better beaches for you. Either way Peaks is a great day trip with or without your dog.
Oh and speaking of laid back unflappable Mr Finney, lets have three cheers for "Peaks Fest Best In Show 07"! He was "handled (term used loosely) by my 9 year old and he was a real trooper tolerating her skills -- or lack there of.
Mid way through the dog show, two terriers got in a brief tiff right on his front feet and he didn't even budge. Good boy Finney!!! Finney is a great looking dog, and a wonderful mover, with a super sweet temperament. But I suppose it was
the matching red white and blue tiaras that swayed the judges.
Notice that we are abiding by the leash law, although many people don't.
A very tired dog listens to reggae just outside Jone's Landing.
In case you didn't know, Peaks Island has a Reggae fest every Sunday during the summer.
Thanks again Jenny and family!!!
A real quick doggie weekend update.
Today, tomorrow, and Sunday there is a big AKC dog show over at the Cumberland Fair grounds. I am on my way over to watch agility right now. There are also obedience and Rally trials.
This afternoon the Eastland Hotel is sponsoring a Take your Dog to Work Day event.
Saturday and Sunday the yearly Planet Dog sale has moved to the store,
and I will be on Peaks Island for the Common Hound Fair which is part of Peaks Fest.
(sorry no time for links!)
I started my work day @ 6:30 AM this morning meeting with an 88 year old client and her rescue dog with "exuberance" issues at Pine Point Beach. Our goal was to make the young dog more aware of where people were when she got to playing. Young dogs learn body awareness over time, and this one, sometimes "forgets" everything except the moment, which can be quite dangerous for her aging human.
All my kids know to speak loudly when dogs come thundering towards them. My youngest daughter can often be heard chiming "watch out for me!!!", and for the most part that works. My client also uses a walking cane and she plants that firmly in front of her to help make a barrier. Often her friends will step right in front of her to protect her.
I showed everyone how to stand tall and use their energy to keep the dogs away. I showed them all how body posture can be mistaken as in invitation to approaching dogs. Think force field. It is why your dog doesn't jump on me (usually!) Dogs have a big thing about "space".
The dog did get one brief time out so she had a chance to calm down and regroup and we are also working on endless sits. Maturation is really what this dog needs and that will take a bit more time.
This dog and owner relish their morning walks and it does wonders to help the dog be calm and manageable in the house. It was great to see the community pitching in to help her manage the dog. I will write more about this dog soon, and about how we have successfully taught her to meet and greet visitors at home even in times of great, over the top, busting in her britches excitement.
After they went home, my 5 year old daughter and I let our 2 dogs out of the car.
Pine Point is open to dogs in the summer off leash from 6-9 AM.
It is a horrible place.
Ugly and depressing.
The dogs hate it.
Next Dog Beach- Peaks Island
Charlee and I, along with Jenny Yasi and her dogs, will be doing another Freestyle demo at the Common Hound Fair on Sunday. This is part of the weekend long Peaks Fest.
Update! Of course it is a fish head!
It's a dirty job, but someone has got to do it!
This blog has taken on the grueling task of reviewing all the local beaches as they pertain to visiting with our canine friends! This past weekend, Finn And Charlee and I went to Willard Beach in South Portland after dinner only to find that dogs are not allowed on the beach until 9 pm. My bad, I thought it was 7 pm. I have been asking around and apparently the "dogs allowed from 9 pm to 9 am rule" is not true of all beaches. I ask that those of you in the know please post beach hours to the comment section pertaining to the beaches near you, both salt and fresh water. A ways back when I posted about a local pond I was inundated by regulars who didn't approve of me sharing their hidden oasis, but I can assure you that it is highly unlikely that your private Mecca will become overrun with dogs. There are just so many wonderful places in Maine to visit with our furry friends. As a general rule, people go to places that are near and convenient to their homes.
We ended going to Bug Light in South Portland and while there were not any signs posted, I was not sure if we were breaking any laws or not. There were a few other dogs off leash hanging out with fishermen.
What we like about Bug light
Away from cars and people - and the lighthouse is gorgeous! When the breakers are not too crowed you can walk all the way to the lighthouse with your dog. Great photo ops.
What we don't like
Unless the tide is dead low as was the case Friday night, there is not much room for dogs to run. Also we found a ridiculous amount of sharp, broken glass and even the shells seemed excessively jagged.
Next up an early morning romp at Pine Point in Scarborough
Finn says: excellent!
Thanks to Muttlover who pointed out dogs and people are no longer allowed on Willard beach after 9 PM, and may be subject to a $1,000 fine!
We added two new pets. Meet
Yes they are baby rats. Finney has been learning the ever important lesson...We don't eat family members! He has a high prey drive and he is obviously not to be trusted near them for a while. Finn was way too interested when they first arrived 2 weeks ago, but we have worked on quite a few self control, calming exercises in the presence of the rats, and he has become more directed at food when the rats come out, then the rodents themselves. Got to love classical conditioning. The rats are a precursor to Finney that something good will happen when they appear. In Finn's case this usually happens to be in the form of cheese. Thank you Pavlov! It is very important to train Finn to ignore the rats, as kids are kids and they are quite likely to forget that dogs are dogs. Charlee on the other hand, while a card carrying prey stocker of the canine kind, will not touch them as she truley understands that we don't eat family members. After all in the dog's world, the rats are our resource, not theirs.
I have said for years that I am not rodent ready, but my kids won me over when they printed out all sorts of interesting articles on clicker training rats.
In the not too distant future I hope to be blogging our
rats doing agility on a
course that we made ourselves.
We have already begun basic training and both rats are very smart. Interesting to note that Ice is the calm, outgoing, and social one and Onion is more nervous, shy and timid, and she likes women more than men, which is very much like having two puppy littermates. And just like having littermate pups in the same household, Onion will need lots more handling, socializing, training, and much more one on one time away from her sibling if she is ever to overcome this. Lucky for her, we have lots of rat trainers in this house. Our rat's breeder keeps telling me over and over that they can learn anything dogs can and that some can even be litter trained.
We have already introduced a clicker to them just to get them used to the noise, in conjunction with the kids giving them special treats. And just like pups, they are extremely food motivated. But unlike puppies, rats have a very strong "explore" drive , so it will be a challenge to learn how to redirect that.
For the record it took the kids years to get me rodent ready, and the rats sceeve me out, especially their long rat tails. But I do (kind of) like the rats and the rats really seem to like me. I would like them much better with a docked tail - like little mini rat pugs. Of course it would be cruel to dock a rat's tail- (or any tail!) and I am not advocating that by any means, and I would NEVER do such a thing, but I can dream right?
I can still hear the echo's of , but "come on Mom...please....you can train a rat to do anything a dog can do and you can write about it"....sigh, my kids sure got my number.
File under - what I did for love.
Charlee and I have started agility in earnest again and she needs to loose quite a bit of weight so as not to put too much stress on her aging joints and muscles.
She wants you all to know that she is not happy-
and that we never feed her-
and that you can put food in her bowl at any time. Any time at all, cause her humans don't feed her you know.
We interrupt this mini blog hiatus to announce that A Dog's Life has been "banned in China. This URL ban is most likely due to past coverage of the Pet Food recalls. If you have not been keeping up to speed on pet food recall news, be sure to check out Pet Connection and Itchmo for the latest. Recalls appear far from over.
This blog is resting up and re-engergizing, but will return real soon.
Blizzard and Brian take a nap
Thanks to Monique for the great photo of her loved ones.
Bark in the Park - a Planet Dog fundraiser for The Animal Refuge League at Hadlock Field.
Finn poses with his ticket.
Nikita, 14 years young, was one of the first dogs in the kiddie pool.
Three leashes solved the problem of which one of my kids would get to hold Finney for the parade!
Sophia and Finney made out during most of the game.
Kristen from Planet Dog gave out Buddy Biscuits to all the dogs in the bleachers.
Scooter loved the biscuits, but still wanted peanuts and crackerjacks.
Finn loved bobbing for hot-dogs on the way out.
Lots of hard work went into the planning and running Bark in the Park. Great job everyone!
I did over hear planning for the "next time".
See you there!
Sandara Davis and Pepper showcase one of the best freestyle routines to Achy Breaky Heart that I have ever seen. Pepper passed this spring at the age of 13. Most anyone interested in Freestyle has watched Sandra and Pepper's training videos over and over and over again.
"It wouldn't be fair to get another Border Collie (my heart is a "shrine" to Pepper)".
Click here to see their great routine on You Tube.