Paws for Success blog entries – all about dogs, dogs, dogs!
|Posted by Lucy King on January 17, 2013 at 11:05 AM||comments (0)|
Paws for Success top snow tips!
|Posted by Lucy King on October 15, 2012 at 8:55 AM||comments (0)|
Phew! I was so busy on the John Rogerson course that I didn’t have time to blog again until now, so there’s a lot to go over! Having changed work partners, I ended up working with a Husky called Thor.
Thor is a young, typical Husky, jumping up, keen to play and in true Husky style, pulls horrifically on the lead. We spent a couple of days working with Thor on walking nicely on the lead, recall, sits just from a verbal command – no hand signals allowed, so harder than it sounds!
He was a lovely lad to work with, just needed some guidance as to what is polite behaviour and what wasn’t. We also worked with a little American Bulldog X Staffie called Daisie. She’d caught my eye numerous times in the kennel as she always came up, sat beautifully at the bars and had the cutest face. She was very food driven, but a total delight personality wise – In fact, if I could pick one to bring home it would have been her!
The last few days involved working with a Husky X called Saffie. Saffie is a total dreamboat for anyone with Husky experience. She’s quick to learn, enjoys spending time with people and loves to play! In fact, a tennis ball is her favourite item EVER!
We did lots of recall games, culminating in a test on the end day where we were padlocked with one wrist to the bars of the play pens and had to call our dog (who had the key on their collar or harness), control them near us with only one hand and release ourselves. To make things trickier, we had another set of people in the next pen competing against us, but Saffie was ace and we won our round.
All in all, I have learnt loads on the course – from fun games to play with owners and their dogs to keep things exciting, right through handling different breeds, especially rescue dogs which sometimes have issues and we have done tonnes of problem solving. It was an excellent nine days and I can’t wait to put everything into practice!
|Posted by Lucy King on October 9, 2012 at 2:25 PM||comments (0)|
So, day three and four of my John Rogerson course has been and gone!
Day three I continued to work with Tia, the Staffie X, working on stays and moving stays with a competition at the end of the day to see who could get their dog to stop closest to a line. Great fun and the competiveness made everyone try much harder! We also spent a long time with Tia working on leave it commands as she is quite toy posessive. It was great to see the improvement in her during the day.
We also spent a lot of time talking about puppy classes, the pros and cons and how puppies should be socialised. After all, puppies should want to spend time with humans rather than other dogs if you want to have a really good bond.
Day four meant a change of dogs and a change of working partners. The next dog I was working with was Thor, a Husky with a penchant for jumping up, mouthing and humping! Thor can be a bit headshy so we spent some time getting to know him, working on stays, play, release commands and then sits. Although he knew how to sit if you gave him a voice command and a hand signal at the same time, if you only wanted to use your voice, he didn't understand, so we worked on slowly phasing out the hand signal and building a primary association to the voice command. He really got the hang of this and it meant we could work on our emotions side of training.
Training has become an emotionless pastime. Although dogs are often praised vocally or are patted, often we forget to smile when they do something right. This is particularly hard in a scenario like this one where you have 18 other people on the course and 3 or 4 people like John walking around checking on you! Nerves make it harder to keep yourself emotionally balanced, but the importance of smiling shouldn't be wiped under the carpet. It's much better to train your dog to praise, a smile and a pat than to constant titbits!
|Posted by Lucy King on October 7, 2012 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
Having booked in for a 9 day course with John Rogerson over 12 months ago, I have been highly looking forward to it. I've done a few of John's courses in the past and have always found him to be a highly informative speaker, offering a wide overview of training techniques and styles.
The 9 day course focuses on working within a rescue centre with some of their dogs and on training, behaviour and problem solving. Problem solving therefore focuses on the main reasons for dogs ending up in resuces in the first place, including seperation anxiety, fouling in the house, poor behaviour (often recall and lead pulling) as well as working with dogs who may have suffered abuse or been dumped on the streets.
For day 1, my course partner and I were working with a small five-month-old Springer Spaniel called Jack. Jack has food allergies so came into the centre with lots of bald areas, but he's a very people-oriented dog and incredibly friendly. We worked on building a bond with our new friend by spending time with them, playing, or in Jack's case, teaching him a bit of scentwork - he has an amazing nose!
Sadly for day 2 Jack was poorly, so we swapped dogs and were offered a lovely Staffie x Whippet called Tia. Again, she's a young dog, but isn't fussed about people, unless you have a tennis ball! She's much harder to get focused on training exercises because the ball is always on her mind or she's searching for it.
We've also spent a lot of time talking about dog law, where the future of dog law is and how we can all improve things for dogs in our local communities. At the moment, the risk is that we will become like the USA and lose our rights to walk our dogs in the parks, streets and woods. Some dog owners seem to view these things as a right, rather than a priviledge but we mustn't forget that not everyone likes dogs and that it is not good etiquette for dogs to be running up to other people, or for that matter their dogs!
|Posted by Lucy King on August 24, 2012 at 6:50 AM||comments (0)|
At agility people are often asking how I got into teaching and training, and, of course, they always assume that I have been around dogs since I was little.
In actual fact, as a child, although I loved dogs, I was actually scared of them! As soon as people hear this, they always question it, so I thought I'd write a quick blog to explain.
My parents have never owned dogs and in fact my Dad was brought up to think that dogs were full of diseases and that you should cross the street to keep away from them. As a young child, I adored all animals, but dogs, foxes and horses held a particular appeal. I especially liked Australian Shepherds, Border Collies and Weimaraners to look at and would spend hours looking at pictures of them. I also collected Pound Puppies, Puppy in my Pocket and soft toy dogs!
However, the real-life dogs I knew as a child caused a very different emotion - fear. We're not talking just being a bit timid, we're talking fear to the extent that I stopped being friends with one girl because she had a GSD guard dog. It was big and black and whenever I went to her house, her brother would let it out. It would come at me barking and every time without fail I would wet myself. Not a great start!
All my friends seemed to own big, bouncy dogs that barked, snapped at fingers or were pushy and my confidence was knocked more and more until my best friends mum helped out. At the time she was a local dog sitter, looking after dogs in her own home, and everytime I went to play she would introduce me to the nicer dogs and encourage me to be braver. She and my friend owned two Dalmatians at the time, Max and Minka, both of whom as a kid scared me - Max because he was big and Minka because she was bouncy!
Gradually though, with the help of my friends mum I met more and more dogs, including smaller ones and I even went with them when my friend got her first dog - a Dachshund. He was tiny as a puppy and totally adorable - in fact, all the litter were lovely. How she picked him, I'll never know!
As my confidence blossomed, my love of dogs grew and back in the day, when Sainsburys ran a pet show every year, my parents and I would attend. It had lots of breed stands, like a smaller version of Crufts and I met lots of amazing dogs.
I was also lucky enough one year to take a Weimaraner around the have a go agility course and that was it - I was hooked! It was about another 8-10 years before I had my own dog and competed her, but my desire to do agility and to compete has only strengthened over time!
We didn't have the right situation to have a dog at the time, so I waited until I was 17 to get one - her story will follow shortly! I now train more than 50 dogs a week at agility as well as running regular 121 sessions and dog sitting, so it just goes to show, if you desire something enough, you can overcome anything in your path!
|Posted by Lucy King on March 12, 2012 at 12:45 PM||comments (0)|
As usual, Crufts is always a bone of contention amongst dog owners, especially when it comes to showing. I attended on Friday and Saturday this year, so gundog and pastoral days. There were a few highlights to my trip, mainly meeting some of the amazing SSAFA team and the Guide Dogs Sensory tunnel which was a fantastic invention and really shows you how hard life can be without a guide dog for support if you go blind.
As always, there was much shopping to be done, but it was a shame that the Crufts goody bags had sold out by Friday afternoon! Madness!
Onto the low side of things - the showing - as always had good and bad people involved. Most are good and care about their dogs, but there were a few incidents I saw that I felt were really poor etiquette. There was a Border Collie terrified by the noise and the people, darting back and forwards, desperate to hide or escape, only to have their owner act as if they couldn't see it panicking. All they needed to do was walk the dog around a bit, or move it away from the crowds for a bit for it to calm down, but nothing, they just completely blanked the poor dog.
There was another collie trying to wend it's way through the crowds after it's child owner. The dog was staying to heel unless other people barged it out of the way in which case it ended up out of position. In response to this, the child (aged about ten) kept yanking it back, quite viciously, to the point that I actually had to have a word with her, cue many glaring looks from her mum. Disgraceful behaviour in my opinion.
My favourite bits of Crufts had to be meeting the PAT dogs and assistance dogs who do such a fine job and the pride with which their owners speak about them. One particular Pets as Therapy dog, a merle Border Collie rescue who was deaf (double merle) was just lovely. Such an amazing temperament, so chilled out and I can imagine the joy she brings to those she visits.
The breed area is always interesting and again, the German Shepherds, Pugs and Neopolitan Mastiffs in particular need the breed standard changing. The pugs I saw you could hear from a few breeds away, trying desperately to breathe. Give me my healthy crossbreed any day! I'll get onto the BoB blog later when I have more time.
|Posted by Lucy King on February 28, 2012 at 4:30 PM||comments (0)|
Fascinating documentary, just like last time. As always people will have different thoughts on the programme and the logic or science behind it, but hopefully it will help to ensure that owners think a bit more about the specific health issues for the breeds they want or have.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that just because you buy a crossbreed doesn't mean you won't still have health issues, particularly if it's a first generation cross. We should use this science and background to improve the quality of our current breeds and breed for temperament and health, rather than looks.
At least Dalmatians appear to be moving forwards in some areas - having known a few with urinary trouble caused by the excess uric acid, any way this can be lessened can only be a bonus to the breed.
|Posted by Lucy King on February 17, 2012 at 5:05 AM||comments (1)|
No matter how careful owners are, dogs still wander off or escape sometimes. So, if you find a dog, here’s what to do.
o Check to see if the dog is wearing a collar and tag – if so you will hopefully be able to reach his owners and return him.
o If you can’t get a response or the dog has no tag on, call your local dog warden and ask them to collect the dog. Rehoming centres can only take the dog in after the dog warden has had the dog for seven days.
o If the dog is injured, call the local vets. If it’s out of hours there should be a 24 hour vets nearby and they will help.
o The vet or dog warden should scan the dog for a microchip – if chipped, the owner’s details will come up on the system so the owners can be contacted.
o Notify www.doglost.co.uk and the Missing Pet Register - it helps if you take a picture of the dog before you hand it over as descriptions sometimes don't match what the owner would say.
It is not advisable to look after the dog in your own home because you may become emotionally attached and by law, you have to inform the appropriate authorities that you have found the dog.
Another big benefit is that if the owners have to claim the dog from the dog warden, the warden will be able to give advice on identification and discuss responsible dog ownership, so it doesn’t happen again.