Went out to the farm this afternoon to meet Heather and take pictures of her Australian Shepherd puppies while they got to chase ducks as a herding test. It was a lot of fun! Sam got to hang out on the farm with me but I kept her in a kennel so she wouldn’t interfere with puppies and the livestock, but Terri let us do a quick training session with the sheep!
I have so much to learn. It’s tough trying to figure out what to focus on; The dog? The livestock? The pole I’m holding? I almost tumbled over sheep twice today trying to keep my eye on a bajillion different things at once. I really need to stop acting like I’m doing a terrible job though. I’m always so worried about the silliest things. So what if I mess up. Herding should be fun. It’s new for both me and my dog, and we’re going to make mistakes sometimes. Big deal!
I get out there with Sammy and the livestock and all of a sudden it’s like serious business! I just need to get in there, relax, and do what comes natural! I understand now what I was supposed to be doing with the pole. I want to get a sorting stick and work on using it while I’m at home with Sam. I’m supposed to use the stick/pole to guide Sammy into an arch around me and the livestock. But she wants to cut under the pole and bolt into the sheep. I have to figure out how to guide her in the arch and prevent her from cutting into the sheep.
I can’t wait until next time!
I’m going to go out to the county fair on Sunday to watch Terri herd and take pictures of the performance. They’ll be doing shows at the county fair a few times throughout the day but I can only stick around for the noon show. I’m excited because I haven’t been to a fair since… well, since I was a little girl and my mom and dad took me to the state fair! Geez, that was a long time ago!
I’m going out to Terri’s farm this Friday after work to meet with a woman who breeds Australian Shepherds for performance and conformation. Her Aussies are some of the best looking Aussies I have ever seen. She is taking her current litter of puppies to Terri’s farm to see how they do with the livestock. I’m pretty excited. The breeder invited me to go and said I was welcome to bring my camera, so hopefully I get some super cute pictures of the puppies chasing livestock!
Veterinarians take a stand against punitive dog training collars and methods.
They also warn against choke chains and prong collars; and they discuss when and how to start training your puppy. This is a great, extremely basic introduction to scientific dog training.
I use a martingale for my puppy because huskies are known to back out of collars. It’s safer on their neck and a whole lot better than regular collars.
I didn’t see any mention of martingales in this article; they were only talking about shock, prong, and choke collars. When martingales are used correctly,* they can prevent escape without being especially harmful to the dog. Personally, I prefer front-clip harnesses whenever possible for escape-artist dogs, because they prevent the dogs from being injured when they pull.**
The point of the article was to focus on the dangers of using pain as a training tool, and how it can be very damaging to our dogs. If you don’t allow the martingale to cause discomfort to your puppy, I don’t see much problem with it, even if it’s not really an ideal tool.
*Under correct usage, the martingale should only tighten to as tight, or slightly tighter than, a regular flat collar. They should never cause choking or more discomfort than a flat collar. Martingales are not really necessary for most breeds, but they can be useful for broad-necked dogs like sighthounds.
**I’m assuming that if your dog is slipping his collar, it’s because he’s pulling. In that case, martingales are no safer than flat collars, and they can cause tracheal and nerve damage.
I’m pretty sure they mean their dog is backing out of it’s collar, not that it’s pulling so hard it’s escaping.
Any training tool can be dangerous and used to inflict pain or injury. If that’s the case, then the tool is obviously being used incorrectly. Whether it’s an e-collar, a prong collar, or a martingale… I wouldn’t use an e-collar with my dogs, but I know people who work their dogs. A working dog is a lot different than an average dog and their owner learning new tricks. It’s really a matter of perspective.
I used to be against prong collars, choke chains (I’m still against choke chains, honestly, they are the dumbest tool ever invented), and e-collars but in the last several years I have come to learn more about these training tools and I find that it’s the people who use them wrong. I use a prong collar on my smaller dog and people think I’m cruel because of it. For my large dog I use a Gentle Leader head collar. Those tools are what work best with those particular dogs. It varies.
The average person doesn’t need these tools. Unfortunately, they are usually the ones getting these tools and using them to inflict harm on their pets because they are frustrated with the training process. It’s a shame because I have a feeling that these tools will one day be illegal in some areas because of the idiots using them when they have no right to.
That article is likely referring to dogs who have been abused by these tools due to the ignorance of their owners. The article doesn’t highlight the proper use of these tools, which is not intended to inflict pain on the animals. Even the e-collar is used to get the dog’s the attention (especially when working at long distances ie. herding, hunting, etc.), not to hurt the dog. You don’t zap him with a huge electrical charge. Half the time you only need to use the tones or vibrations that come before the shock, according to some of the trainers I’ve met who use these tools for their working dogs.
Again, WORKING DOGS are different than the average household pet. Look at herding, for example. I just went with my friend who actively volunteers in German Shepherd rescue to watch her and a few of our friends from the dog park go herding. She herds sheep and goats with her German Shepherd.
Her GSD sometimes requires an e-collar if she is too focused on the sheep and not paying attention to her handler. Herding is a game of “bringing in the dinner,” and if the dog isn’t working with the handler then they aren’t going to be able to bring in dinner. So it’s vital to get that dog to watch you AND the sheep, which can be very challenging for both the handler and the dog.
Some dogs just get so excited and focused on those sheep, or whatever livestock they’re herding, that they don’t want to listen to their owners. A small shock is used to get the dog’s attention, not to hurt the dog for not listening. Of course, it’s not exactly comfortable, I agree. But people need to stop and think about it for a moment. People get these collars and without the proper knowledge, they use them for dogs for barking and other behavior problems, and that’s not what they should be used for. 99% of the time, the dog just needs to be exercised and taught the correct behavior.
But no. People use these tools as a quick fix to inflict harm and instill fear in their dogs. I would never go to a trainer who expects me to use such a tool on my dogs. And half the time I wouldn’t trust a trainer who insists on using a prong collar on the first day of training. Prong collars should be used at the appropriate time, for the appropriate situation. Not for the average dog going through training, which is why these tools are becoming such a problem to the dog community. Improper use is just too common…
I expect a good trainer to have knowledge of every training tool available, and to know when and how to use them. They should always start off with tools like the no-pull front clip harness or the head collar. If they want their clients to use martingales, they need to show their clients how to use the martingale properly. I see too many people use martingales incorrectly, causing their dogs to choke and strain themselves because they aren’t being taught how to walk the right way on a leash.
If every dog owner would just train their dogs, the world would be a better place. All of these behavior problems we hear about could have been avoided if people would be proactive with their animals. You can’t blame the tools anymore than you can blame the dogs. It’s always the handlers fault, in my opinion.
Anyway… What I’m trying to say is that 99% of these terrible stories we hear about dog abuse and even death by use of these tools is due to owner ignorance. If the owner is that stupid and knows nothing about the tool, they damn sure shouldn’t even possess such tools.
A local woman here killed her small breed dog after trying to use a shock collar to prevent it from barking. Are you kidding me? I want to strangle these idiots. I can understand using an e-collar on a working dog in the field (herding, hunting, etc.) but I would never put one on a toy breed or a dog who’s life purpose is to be your household best friend. Average dogs shouldn’t need to ever wear an e-collar, and even working dogs shouldn’t need them often.
And unfortunately, I don’t trust most veterinarians unless they have proof of education where dog behavior is involved. A lot of veterinarians and vet techs don’t even have extensive training experience with dogs (and I can’t stress enough that pets are different than working animals). Unless they have proof of education, the only advice they should be giving to pet owners is health advice. All they see are these idiots bringing in dogs who have been mentally or physically scarred by the improper use of these training tools (which seems to be increasing). Veterinarians need to strongly encourage pet owners to seek positive reinforcement training courses. Training is for the lifetime of the dog. It’s not supposed to end after a 6 week course.
The trainer, Terri, is amazing. She has a great personality and seems to really be able to read the dogs and their people. I’m eager to give it a shot with Sammy. She said she would be available the week before Christmas, so I’m going to try to get out there and see how Sammy does.
I’m also going to fill out the application to register Helo for a basic obedience class at the Merrimac Dog Training facility. Hopefully I like the trainer. I’m so particular about trainers - there’s a reason why I like to train my own dogs!
I’m excited to get Helo into rally, though. Our friend Heidi and her Collie Sally are getting ready to start rally this session. Helo won’t be starting for a few sessions. They require the dogs to take at least one obedience course before they can participate in rally and agility courses so that’s why I have to put Helo in a class. I could probably have him test out of the class, but it would be fun for us to show off to the class and he could use some more practice around other dogs.
Sam and Helo got to the go to the beach on Friday, and to the dog park on Sunday. We met an adorable Golden Retriever puppy, and a 17 year old Cocker Spanial/Daschund mix who had such a puppy-like personality. The dogs got to see their pals Piper the German Shepherd, Tucker the Golden Retriever, Jack and Buddy the Labradors, Tailgate the Border Collie, Bailey the German Shepherd, and Sally the Collie. Sunny, a Lab/Shepherd mix, came to the park for the first time.
When the man and daughter first entered the park, we were all looking to see if we recognized their dog. Since we didn’t, we watched to make sure all the dogs did okay greeting the new dog. Sometimes it can be a little awkward for new people to go the dog park where other people have already formed a sort of friendship. We’re always happy to see new people at the park, and for the most part I think we come off as a pretty friendly bunch to newcomers. Eventually Jack and Buddy’s owner got up and went to greet the man and his daughter. He had to get Buddy’s attention because their dog Sunny clearly needed some space.
We learned that Sunny was a rescue and wasn’t very socialized with other dogs. She seemed to display some dominant behavior at first, but eventually she settled down and started playing with Tucker the Golden Retriever. Sunny plays a little rough and is very vocal when she plays, so at first it sounds kind of intimidating. Most of the regulars at the dog park are familiar with dog behavior and didn’t step in while Sunny laid on top of little Tucker. There was no harm being done, and Tucker kept going back for more. He was having fun.
I talked with Sunny’s owners (the man and his daughter). I could tell they weren’t comfortable when they first came into the park. I’m not sure if they were worried about Sunny’s behavior or worried about how other people would feel about Sunny’s behavior. I told him that it seemed like the biggest thing with Sunny is her growl. She’s vocal when she plays, and that scares people sometimes. I didn’t understand how it felt to be that person until Helo came around. He can get pretty vocal sometimes, and people are often frightened by his growling and showing of the teeth during play. People think he’s fighting, but what they don’t know is that Helo is the biggest wimp in the park.
I think Sunny would stick up for herself if it came to that, but for the most part she did pretty good for her first time at the park. I hope to see her again. I think the more she gets out there, the better she’ll do with the dogs. If she was aggressive, she would have bit several dogs today. She had more than one opportunity, but she chose not to. That tells me she was just uncertain about her surroundings when she first came into the park. Who wouldn’t be worried about a bunch of strange dogs running up to you from out of nowhere?
Sometime dogs just need a little bit of time and space to get comfortable.
I’m working on crate training Anya. Tonight I’m going to have to leave her while I’m at work from 4-12:30, so I have her in there now with the bedroom door closed and me in the living room. I’m trying to see how long she goes before she gives up and stops whining… so far it’s been about 15-20 minutes and she has slowed down but is still whining every once in a while. I need her to get better at this. She’s doing so well with every other aspect of living here, I just need her to stop whining…
Do you live in a house or an apartment? Either way, if she’s whining there isn’t much you can really do to stop the whining except to ignore her. Eventually she’ll learn that being in a crate isn’t so bad. My German Shorthaired Pointer is very vocal. When he was just several weeks old, he whined relentlessly in his crate. It took weeks of excruciating whining before he finally settled down. Now he eagerly goes into his crate without even being asked to do so.
Some things that might help Anya feel more comfortable in her crate is by covering the crate with a crate cover or a blanket (make sure it’s a blanket you don’t mind getting ruined, sometimes they’ll get a hold of the blanket, pull it into the crate, and chew on it).
You can also provide something for her to chew on. Bully sticks are great, but they’re also fattening so you don’t want to give your dog too many of them in a short period of time. They also don’t last very long. The best chew, in my opinion, is an antler. You can get them cheaper online than in the pet store, and your dog will hardly put a dent in it. They are the only truly long-lasting chew I know of.
Kongs stuffied with goodies are another great option, but they don’t last very long. It helps to provide a variety of things to do, so maybe try all of these options at once to help take Anya’s mind off of being in her crate while you’re away. Be patient with her. She’ll relax in time.
So I’ve moved my list of dog blogs on Tumblr from a post to a page. Check it out! If you know of any dog blogs that aren’t on the list, please let me know! I’m happy to add any dog blogs I come across. The only rule is that they must be separate from personal blogs - they should contain a majority of posts or pictures of the blogger’s own dog(s).
It’s very time consuming to keep up on the list, so if you find any broken links please let me know so that I can try to fix them. Whenever a blogger changes the URL of their dog blog, I need to know about it in order to keep that blog on the list. Otherwise the links will redirect people to the original URL which is no longer in use. Feel free to share the list on your own blog. It’s fun to find other dog blogs to follow! I’ve organized the list by breed so that people can meet other bloggers with the same kind of dog(s).
In regard to the digging article ... if anyone still has issues with their dogs digging, particularly at nighttime, it could be due to the weather. When it's cold, sitting in a nice big hole in the garden acts as insulation and keeps the doggy warm. In hotter weather, the earth is cool to sleep in. This isn't behavioral digging and the best way to stop this is to give your furry friend a coat in winter and in summer find them somewhere cool to sleep like a tiled laundry etc. :)
- Asked by pandorasemptyhorizons