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The Spotted Devil

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About The Spotted Devil

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    Thornfield ESS

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  • Interests
    Thornfield English Springer Spaniels

    Animal Welfare Scientist/Cat and Dog Behaviourist.

    PhD in Human-Dog Relationships

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  1. Crate training our new puppy?

    I haven’t had a chance to check your link but if you look on this page of my website you’ll see Ginny as a youngster plating crate games. Her mum, Em is in an open crate on the right and Ziggy my Dalmatian is on the left as distractions: http://www.thornfield.com.au/living-with-a-fieldbred-ess.asp My favourite training resources are here: http://www.thornfield.com.au/links.asp with a few fun videos too
  2. Puppy transportation interstate. Costs involved?

    I use Jet Pets. I just ring with an approximate puppy weight and I usually add the cost of a crate as my puppy people find that easier. I pick up the crate and have it at my home for a few weeks so it smells like the litter and pup can get used to it.
  3. Red Fox Labradors

    Interestingly the working line Labs and Goldens are a deep golden colour and the show lines tend to be more pale. I know of one Fox Red Lab who is from UK working lines.
  4. Crate training our new puppy?

    Crate games is awesome!!!!! Totally recommend the Susan Garrett DVD or online access. It’s not just about the crate but about teaching impulse control in a really simple environment. My dogs are rarely in crates but I still train it as a priority. For pups I have a large pen in the living room (plus crate) for when I can’t supervise. At least 2 hours awake time before I leave pup in there. At night they sleep by my bed in a crate until they can demonstrate responsibility. For some pups that takes a few months and others 13 months. During the day my maximum crate time is 4 hours and pup should be waking up and stretching as I walk through the door. They must be TIRED from training and free exercise before going in. I swear my pups say “ohhhhh thank goodness she’s GONE! Now I can sleep!”
  5. Sudden digging (4-5 year old dog)

    Mine dig for the sheer joy of it I put it on cue as well (on a towel and in the sandpit) because it’s brilliant for shoulder strengthening. So they get treats for it too
  6. What happens to breeding dogs once they’re too old?

    And to answer the question in your title... mine are spayed then continue to be actively trained and trialled in dog sports and live in the house. Nothing changes except for the desexing.
  7. Sudden digging (4-5 year old dog)

    I scatter dry food in the sandpit, put dig on command and make sure they have something to DO when I’m outside with them as they are BUSY working dogs. Also, I never ever weed the garden in front of my youngster because her idea of helping is getting straight into that area and digging it up So I’m more likely to take them training and/or for a walk/free run. They they chill inside whilst I work on the garden. We have a bush block up the back and I weed that whilst they run wild as they can dig all they like. Provided our chickens aren’t up there that is To add, my Dalmatian has never been much of a digger and he’s nearly 12 so he hangs out with me in the garden.
  8. Sudden digging (4-5 year old dog)

    The funniest photo I have is of my 4 year old Bitch showing her daughter how to dig I LOVE a nice garden but dogs love to dig. I have a sandpit for them but they need lots of reinforcement for using it. So....I use compost panels to lie on top of the ground/grass whilst I’m waiting for things to grow, I train and walk/run them daily AND they are all inside when I’m away from home. Leave them outside for 5 min unsupervised and, yep, they will dig somewhere. It’s a normal dog behaviour that I use management and training to deal with. Punishment is pointless. I just suck it up when they dig something up and balance that annoyance out with how much JOY they bring me.
  9. What wet food to feed my dogs?

    I’m not overly impressed with Blackhawk. Personally I feed a mix of Artemis dry, yoghurt, chicken frames, turkey wings/necks, lamb necks, beef mince, organ meat, sardines, salmon, raw eggs etc etc. It’s worth knowing what is making your dog itchy - a particular protein? I did an exclusion diet with one of my cats and it was a long but extremely valuable process. She can eat chicken but not turkey, beef or lamb. My Dalmatian can’t tolerate artificial colours/flavours. One of my Springers scratches on corn based foods. So I keep it as natural as possible. I’m also very impressed with the Prime rolls that I chop up and use for treats. Plus 4 Legs treats and cheese of course.
  10. interesting article

    The thing is I DO teach boundaries with my dogs...people are stunned when they see that in action. But I also want to build a fantastic training relationship with my dogs such that I teach resilience. They are not afraid of failure. They will try, try and try again - with JOY - until they get it right. Which makes them great workers in the field, sports dogs and house pets. And what people forget about “Nature” is that she has swift and exquisite timing. Something that I practice and video and work on every single day. Humans have notoriously crappy timing. They use reinforcement poorly and punishment even worse. And they assume the dog has a frontal lobe like ours and they “know” when they are naughty. Bull$hit. Dogs do what is reinforcing. If we are talking about experiences with conspecifics, well at least they are adept at reading body language and respect the wide eye of resource guarding, for example, instead of punishing the dog. The latter is what makes dogs anxious not the former. When I watch someone scruff their dog for not being steady to shot (and the dog continues to fail) and then I get success by teaching self control through a fun GAME it’s a no brainer. This is a video I made recently...notice there are no commands to sit and stay. Being released is the reinforcement. Positive not permissive.
  11. Viewing potential puppy, Alarm signal or not?

    As a breeder I am also very careful. However I get to know potential puppy buyers very well before we even meet - emails back and forth plus phone calls. No-one just rings and comes over to visit. I might invite them to meet me and my dogs at a central location or visit us at a competition, follow me on social media etc. By the time I have pups we already have established a trusting relationship. Then I take plenty of precautions so as to protect the health of the pups as much as possible. Some of the nicest people I know own pups of my breeding.
  12. Looking for a female chow

    When you say certifications do you mean ANKC main registered pedigree papers? DNA health testing? Eye certificate? Hip and elbow scores? Are you a member of your state governing body? Have you shown the dog or competed in any dog sports? How do you know the dog is worth breeding from as distinct from being a wonderful pet? I have working lines dogs so don’t show but I do a lot of activities with them to demonstrate their working ability. Plus it’s fun! I spend hours pouring over pedigrees and talking to breeders - to understand not only my lines but other lines and other breeds not to mention the risks that go with breeding. Once you’ve worked through all that I would probably go back to his breeder and discuss it with them in the first instance. They can advise if he should be bred - from a breed standard perspective - and assist with contacts. I would be unlikely to breed with a male without a very good understanding of the dogs behind him in the pedigree. I am not surprised you have had “no luck” as you describe it.
  13. Hi @Judy and Kev Hope things turn out for the best. I’m not sure if you’ve had working Springers before. If not feel free to check out my website to give you some info as they can be a shock to the system if you aren’t used to them. Great dogs though - not that I’m biased http://www.thornfield.com.au/
  14. Interactions with Mature Dogs

    For me it’s about management. Can I make sure the older dogs are not constantly harassed by the younger one? Can I be certain that I won’t use the older dogs as a “baby sitter”? How am I going to keep them separated? How am I going to keep the youngster entertained, trained and exercised given that all 3 dogs will have vastly different requirements? Am I prepared to walk, feed and socialise them separately? Can I afford the vet bills given that very young and very old dogs will likely have more vet visits? Etc....
  15. Working or show lines? It would be good to give the new owners some training/exercise guidelines as constant ball chasing can be disastrous. Physically and psychologically. I have info on my website if that helps - in my signature.