Monday, January 26, 2009

Puppy Class

Aren't these little puppies cute?

They are two of the students in Barbara's Junior Puppy class at the humane society. I go to the puppy class to act as the demo dog and show the puppies how to play nicely. These pups will get lots of good socialization, learn that training is fun and get some basic obedience training at the same time. Puppy class will help these puppies and their people prevent behavior problems in the future and get these puppies off to a good start.

If you went to a good puppy class when you were little, your teacher was probably influenced by Dr. Ian Dunbar. Besides founding the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, Dr. Dunbar revolutionized puppy training. Before he came along, most people didn't bother to take their pups to puppy class. The conventional wisdom was that we dogs couldn't learn things until we were 6 months old! 23 years ago Barbara took one of her puppies to a so-called puppy class where her Brittany puppy was put in a prong collar and spent the class heeling around in a circle! You can imagine she didn't last long there.

Dr. Dunbar showed how puppy class could be fun and educational at the same time, that proper socialization is more important than rote obedience and that we pups could learn tons of stuff.

Dr. Dunbar has a great website called Dogstar Daily. He has excerpts from his books available for free on the site as well as articles from other great trainers. Check it out when you have a chance.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


This is my neighbor, Bronx. She is a pit bull mix and is a good friend. Pit bulls have a bad reputation but it is mostly undeserved. Obviously bad people breed them to be dog aggressive and evil people like Michael Vick train them to fight. But Bronx's people adopted her from the local shelter and we get along very well.

We both enjoy chase games. Our favorite is to freeze and then explode into a pouncing, chasing frenzy. Bronx has a lot of energy.

Barbara supervises our play sessions very carefully and if you notice, you will see that I am on a long line while we play. This is because Bronx is allowed to run free whenever she likes. Sometimes she comes to our front door and calls for me. She has followed us in the dog crate on wheels. Barbara is very concerned because she has seen Bronx on the road!

This is a scary thing and Barbara is afraid that Bronx will be a Bad Influence and Lead me Astray. I don't know where Astray is but it must not be a good place for dogs.

So our play times are restricted to the front yard with me on a long line. But we manage to have a lot of fun anyway.

All my nice snow is melting and will probably disappear tomorrow when the temperature hits 57 degrees. This is too bad because I have been enjoying it so much. The smells are great and I love the cold.

Barbara thought it would be nice to take some portraits of me against the snow. I did not.

Posing for pictures is a complete snore and I am getting a bit tired of that camera in my face.

Here is what I think of all this picture taking..


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

White Stuff Everywhere!

This is what I saw when I looked out my front door this morning!

Snow all over and falling from the sky. I was a bit surprised but very excited. I've been so jealous of my blogging friends who have snow and now I have some too.

I've hardly ever seen snow. Barbara says that we have been lucky the last few years and have only had a few flurries since I was a puppy. I do not consider it lucky but a complete failure on the part of the weather to provide me with all this great white stuff to play in. Here is a picture of my dog-crate-on-wheels. You can see the snow is still falling.

We went up to the field near my house to explore. Everything smells so different when it is covered in snow.

The snow sticks to my fur and gives me a frosted look.

I am just amazed with how wonderful it is. The only thing I don't like about snow is that it gets between my toes and forms little balls on my fur. Barbara had to help me pick them off when we came inside. But other than that I think it is great.

Now I realize that this may seem like a paltry amount of snow compared to what my friends in Boston and Chicago have experienced. I also understand how frustrating it is not to be able to go on long walks and get exercise. But I think this is great stuff and the best part is it is still snowing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If She's the President, Does That Make Me the First Dog?

I'm waiting for a very exciting inauguration on Tuesday but before Obama becomes President, I have to tell you that my special person is now the President of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers!! The APDT is the largest organization of dog trainers in the world with over 5000 members.

The members elected Barbara to the Board several years ago and now the Board has unanimously voted her President. I'm very excited because I get my picture in the APDT's magazine, The Chronicle of the Dog. I will be famous!

I wonder what privileges I get as First Dog? More toys? More treats? A staff to arrange my busy social schedule?

The mission of the APDT is "promoting caring relationships between dogs and people by educating trainers in canine behavior and emphasizing professionalism and reward-based training". Isn't that a great idea? It is so important that dog trainers know more about us and use the best, most humane methods to train us. I love reward based training. It means I get lots of treats, toys, praise, petting, play and other fun things and I learn at the same time.

Unfortunately being President isn't all fun and games. Barbara has to spend 2 days at a meeting. What a snore! Even though they are talking about things that will help us, I can't imagine anything more boring. We dogs don't need to talk - we just need to do things. I will be having a lot more fun at K9 Kindercare.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Farm Friends

We got up bright and early this morning to go tracking at Fearrington. It was great tracking weather - cool, no wind and it had rained last night so the ground was damp. Damp ground holds the scent really well so it was an easy track for me. Barbara may as well have put big arrows down that said "sniff here".

After tracking we took a walk around the farm. I love to visit the animals there. Here are the Belted Galloways.

I always like to look at the cows so I stuck my head through the fence. Rumor has it that cows are really Roast Beast which is my favorite treat. I have a great appreciation for cows.

One of the cows came over to get a better look at me.

Then lots of cows came over. They are very big and shaggy and a bit intimidating to tell the truth but I could see that they were fascinated with me.

The cows stared at me and I politely turned my head. It is rude to do too much direct eye to dogs in the dog park and even though these are cows and not dogs, I didn't want to take any chances with these big guys.

You can see that we finally got along very well and I bravely put my nose near the fence to get a really good whiff of their delicious smell. They were sniffing back - maybe they like Gordon Setter smell.

AFter visiting with the cows we walked over to another field to visit the nice donkey. I don't like the big one-he is scary-but this little guy is very friendly. I put my head through the fence to encourage him to come over.

He was eating his hay but came over for a visit.

Barbara brought along some pieces of apple which he liked very much. Maybe he is friends with Mitch! He took them very gently with just his lips and no teeth.

I like apple too but only Delicious Apples. I spit out Granny Smith and MacIntosh! They are too tart for me.

After we shared our apples, we continued on our walk around Fearrington. I was disappointed that my goat friends were not out. Maybe they were sleeping late. I always enjoy watching their antics and they smell delectable. Maybe I will see them next time.

Barbara thought I would look pretty against these yellow flowers.

Hope you all had a good weekend.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

English Shepherds and Pugs in Montana Need Help

My BFF Ayla is an English Shepherd and she alerted me to a horrible situation in Montana. A kennel had 300 neglected English Shepherds and Pugs. Some are puppies and many of the females are pregnant. They are being cared for by a veterinarian and lots of volunteers. You can read about it at the National English Shepherd Rescue site and there are links to newspaper articles about the situation.

It is a shocking story but something that happens all too often. People start with a few dogs and think they are going to make money from them. In a short time they have more dogs than they know what to do with and then they can't or won't take care of them properly. The dogs are the ones that suffer. I am a peaceful dog but stories like this make me want to bite someone.

All of us dogs with blogs are so lucky that we have people who care for us. I was lucky to be born to a great mom and my breeder took wonderful care of me and my sibs. Then I came to live with my special person. Ayla was in a shelter but she eventually was adopted by her special person and has a great life. I know that many of you had tough starts in life but you now are in terrific homes. We should all be very thankful that we were not born in Shady Lane Kennels in Montana!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

Happy New Year dog bloggers! I hope you all had a good start to 2009. I started my new year going tracking with my BFF Ayla at the university campus (my goal this year is to get my Tracking Dog (TD) title). It was great fun with lots of interesting and distracting smell. Unfortunately there are no pictures. Barbara got this cool little video camera for Christmas but is technologically challenged and we get sound but no pictures when she uploads them!!! I hope she fixes that soon so you can see me in action.

Anyway, today was lovely and sunny so we went to the new dog park. I surveyed all the running room. There weren't too many dogs but I did get in some chase games (again no useful video)

Then I had to cool off by trying out the special dog water fountains.

This little guy Toby wanted to be my boyfriend.

But he tried to hump me so I had to let him know that he should mind his manners! You can see that he got the message.

Then it was back home to thrash some toys, have dinner and relax. Tomorrow I get to meet up with my freestyle friends for some practice.