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About Wobbly

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    These hands!! I can't get them off my wrists!&#3

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  1. Also, protection "sports" is just that - a sport, the dogs aren't attacking in deadly earnest, they're trained to bite a bite suit. In the past dog training was almost entirely corrections based, the dogs back then might have been fear aggressive and thus very dangerous, but it's not so now. These days, rewards based training is the new paradigm, the top level dogs are swinging round on that bite suit by their teeth in the same way the kids down the beach swing their staffy round when it's jaws are clamped on a frisbee. I've met plenty of collies ACDs and Kelpies who love the game of tug and have the nerve to not be faked out by the decoy's aggressive posturings. Viva La Border Collie Schutzhund revolution! The prohibitive thing with Schutzhund isn't breed, it's temperament of the dog and the training skills of the handler.
  2. Video yourself with food and toys, a big variety of food and toys. Go through the video and see which things your dog likes best, what makes him strut, or even better is there anything that gives his eyes a steely glint of determination - something he would swim a kilometre to fetch? I'm going to assume your boy has a good solid temperament and you'll have done no lifelong harm with the corrections, he's so young so it's not like he has years of hard corrections in varieties of situations behind him, just those emergency "DO NOT clamp down hard on my arm! pup instances" (holy crap, I can't even imagine how much that hurt, even with puppy teeth - they're sharp!, and i too at first was informed that the only solution was hard correction, did it and regret it - it's absolutely not the best way - sticking a toy in the dog's mouth and reinforcing that is best (assuming the dog is biting from frustration, being over excited and too young or green to understand what's acceptable behaviour yet). He's really young, start with whatever he likes best (I'm guessing squeaky fluffy toys on a flirt pole) or whatever, and make it the funnest you can for him, make every game of tug or fetch the best time of his life! If you think more energy from you is increasing his enjoyment, then go faster and sound more excited. But don't overwhelm him with high spirits if he's just not into it, that is - don't put in a ton of energy dancing round if he's low energy, stop, do something else he really does like. Throw some awesome smelly food (cut up grilled sausages or something) or hide it in layers of boxes he has to tear off to get at the food, if he shows a love of tearing cardboard (mine does) you can play tug of war with that - tearing it up together into little pieces is really quite satisfying for the both dog and owner I find! Don't withhold food from him for too long - not a whole day (IMO) think about how hard it is to focus or give energy when you are hungry, it's the same for him. But it is a great strategy if you do it for shorter periods - a few hours after meal time, my dog might not get breakfast till early afternooon if we are going down the beach and I want her to be keen to take food as a reward. You can withhold tug/fetch/play rewards and only give those every few days though. That'll help you consistently be able to put in the energy you might need to to make those sessions the most exciting fun thing in the world for your dog, and rationing play like it's a precious resource will definitely increase it's value provided you can develop some initial value for it (which you have I think already?). Identify environments and activities where he's really confident and comfortable - Play with him and feed him there. I feed Jarrah for heeling on the beach because she loves the beach and feels really confident, focused and happy when she's heeling there. Vary the rewards a lot, experiment with food types, toy types, play style types - a confident dog tends to love novelty, figure out which your dog likes best and in what orderso you can vary effectively. Again my picks for resources on increasing your dog's motivations to work are Steve K9Pro, Denise Fenzi, Michael Ellis - they all use Belgians though, for us, Diane Jessup is a really great authority, she gets Bull breed dogs titles that traditionally go to the Belgians, Dutch or German Shepherd dogs if that's where you might like to head with it. I Agree with you on the no protection for our breed. It's such a shame - i know my dog has very solid temperament and she loves a game of tug, so a full body suit tug would be her idea of heaven, she'd adore protection sports. But the symbolism of it.... dog appearing to attack decoy in this BSL climate... IDK, if i could be assured of my skills enough to do it at a really high level I would totally, but since I know I don't have the training skills for that, I've never considered any protection training due to public perception vis a vis BSL laws.
  3. Haha I had to respond to your post. Similar dogs. I got mine from the pound though, so imagine your dog as an adolescent with the "bite hard and hold" instinct totally uninhibited with dogs and and limited bite inhibition around humans, I still maintain a no off lead around other dogs rule, no incidences in over 7 years, but it's a promise I made myself. We were bloody and bruised from her biting in the first couple of weeks, my husband remarked "what if we wake up one morning, and she's killed us in our sleep?". She never clamped down with humans like she did with a dog, but it was a big worry of mine that she would in the first weeks of owning her. When she'd jump up and bite, I'd hold the lead up so she choked until she calmed down and stopped the biting frenzy, I was calm about it as it was a tedious regular occurence in the first weeks. Most definitely Not how I'd handle it today, but the only way I knew at the time. Pretty harsh, but it didn't supress her generalised "drive" at all, nor her appetite for human forearms. I was fortunate that a couple of months after I got my dog, I went to one of Steve Courtenay's "Training in drive" seminars. My dog behaved horribly at the seminar, so I didn't get to take notes or take in everything that was said, but I walked away with enough to know making my dog a fetch or tug obsessive was probably my best shot at any decent form of control, punishment had got me nowhere much. And all the methods I learned at that seminar worked, she turned into a really great dog once she learned appropriate toys were great outlets to vent the need to chase, bite, tear, tug and shake. So that's really my best recommendation to you, if one of Steve's drive seminars happens again, jump on it. He does (or did do) long distance packages I think? http://k9pro.com.au/ Also Denise Fenzi is worth looking up, she has a lot of info on her blog http://denisefenzi.com/ No face to face contact as she is US based (though she has visited and done motivation seminars in Aust, highly recommended) but she runs online classes, some of which address your issue. http://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/ Michael Ellis is always great too, but he tends to presuppose a level of experience I don't have, so I thought Steve and Denise were easier for the layman. Diane Jessups site is great for ideas too, specifically catering to the peculiar bents of the Bull breeds, where most of the others are all very Belgian forcussed. The sheps don't seem to be into some of the stuff our dogs love - hanging off spring poles and the like. She has info on training and conditioning for our dogs' temperaments. Pointers for the interim, I'm gonna go ahead and say you probably won't ever reach the potential "drive" he had as a pup. The general rule is the more you use it, the stronger it gets though, so you can most certainly strengthen what's there if you want. I think you are going to need to really read him closely, you want to see what enthuses him most, what does he really really love above all other things? Is there anything that he will intently focus on to the exclusion of other things, can you get intense focus out of him at all? What with? If he's worrying about avoiding correction or intimidated by you, you may find fetch is a better option than tug because he won't have you looming over him. Fetch is also good if your dog is like mine - she caned her teeth so hard as a youngster that I'm hesitant to play a rough game of tug now she's older, lest she damage her remaining teeth, she has inadequate self preservation responses when she's excited, a breed feature I think. Try fetch, in many environments - there'll be some environments he's more comfortable in than others, and with different objects - fluffy toys is often a great one, usually the softer, the nicer it feels in the dog's mouth, so the better for a more hesitant dog. Does he like squeaky toys? Fluffy squeaky toys? Dies he delight in tearing them up? you can work with that for sure! Try a flirt pole, which will also give him some distance from you. If he goes for any of those, you're in! Make these games the funnest thing you can, a few minutes a session - short amazing awesome sessions, end on a high. Correction free, just ignore his mistakes, don't want him worrying about being wrong. Keep a close eye on his demeanour, if he's looking avoidant or excited - try to see what triggered each state of mind so you can adjust your approach. One of Steve's tricks is don't walk him one day, or even two then play fetch/flirt pole or tug, he'll be likely to put his pent up unspent energy into it if he enjoys the game. The more he has a vigourous game and enjoys the hell out of it, the better. You're on the right track. Videoing a session can really help you see how your dog is feeling, often we don't notice important clues in the moment, from the angle we're at. Buy a tripod for your phone off ebay, or commandeer a loved one to film. Videoing a training session can make what you are doing right or wrong a lot clearer, as well as being something you can submit to trainers for feedback. Here's one I did (was fat and bald from chemo at time of vid, am getting healthy have hair and lost all that steroid weight now!). I picked this vid specifically because in this one I am sort of working on the same thing to you in but in reverse. I have often had trouble getting my dog to accept food as a reward in a new or exciting environment. But I found an exploit, you know those little quirks of your individual dog you can exploit to get what you want out of them. Look for those! I have this one: My dog associates heeling on the beach with fetch/tug rewards, at this point training on the beach is rewarding in itself for her, it's like a tertiary reinforcer - heeling predicts a Yes which predicts a reward. So Heeling is great to her mind. So I'm exploiting her love of beach heeling by feeding her lots while we do it, I want her to strongly associate food with the beach heeling, it increases her interest in food a lot! She can go a long time without fetch rewards now and I omit them entirely sometimes, (it took me a long time to get to this point), which means I can concentrate solely on the food rewards. Last time I went to Steve Cortenatys, as Huski saw, Jarrah wouldn't take roast chicken :/ but I'm about 95% sure she would now (5% uncertainty because it's far easier for me when there's a body of water as her initial drive was developed with swim/fetch/tug, so that strong association "I love to work and eat near water, because swim fetch tug" will always linger. In retrospect it's not ideal to have the environment rather than a command dictate that frame of mind, but I can work with it so it's fine, and its a done deal now anyway, that's her long term conditioned emotional response, so I have to work with it). So you go through your own videos slowly in 5 second increments, and identify what you need to address. On mine we start with the dog jumping up on me. I'm not going to punish beyond that verbal..squeak? whatever it was... as this session is about drive building, she knows that, which is why she does it. I should have not bothered with a verbal emission that I knew she'd ignore, instead I should've stopped the session. Bad behaviour = you don't get to train, it's an unignorable punishment that causes her no social pressure like a physical or stronger verbal corretion. I use training session witholding to correct and find it doesn't have a negative impact, but be aware it might for some dogs, so YMMV there, gauge your own dog. She jumps again after a release at about 10 seconds. This jumping is really a problem isn't it? I hadn't noticed it was so prevalent, and my reaction so ineffective. I will in future address it with negative punishment, withholding training sessions or fetch for a minute or so when it happens. Thats why videos are great! You can see all your mistakes and figure strategies to correct your own mistakes and responses. You see me waving her away to give her brain a break, I do that every so often, so she can look around, check the environment. She ends up turning round to face me quickly enough, and is delighted to come back after having decided I am the most interesting thing in this environment and above all else she'd like to work with me. Decisions like that are crucial, give your dog plenty of opportunities to opt in himself. Release, let him look round as soon as he focuses back on you call him back. If you've set it up right, he'll decide for himself he wants interaction with you above whatever the environment holds. Make sure you get a verbal command in before he comes back and works, i missed that bit at first and believe me when i say a dog who thinks they can hassle you into training is a total pain to live with, keep it clear that only humans have power to begin these sessions. I also change pace a lot to keep it fun for her. These videos are so important to gauge what causes enthusiasm in your dog, what diminishes it. I look at this and see a litany of errors in my handling that I didn't notice at the time, and more importantly now I can see what my errors are are, and have time to consider my response I will be able to address them more effectively. We are very sloppy, that's why I need food rewards to be effective, it's a much easier reward to deliver, and much less exciting so it'll be better for finetuning stuff like forging, lagging, crabbing going wide etc etc etc. Ignore my form, it's terrible, I was pretty ill, I still need to reward in position better too. But the dog is doing great - that body language she has - ears up, so pleased to be working she's strutting - that's the effect of the tug/fetch rewards on her attitude! That's exactly the picture I want to see in my training! To start, just play I think. If you think the body language of the dog is keen and enthusiastic enough on a video, then start to add in training between games. I have found that making my dog work hard for the reward actually increases the desire for the reward, that is a real effect for a lot of dogs, but you may not be at that point quite yet. It's a balancing act - video a trial and see what you think, is your dogs enthusiasm for play increasing by adding work? if not, stop, it's too early for that. Wait till the dog decides he really LIKES your reward, fetch, flirtpole, tug, whatever your prey reward may end up being before you make it challenging. Pace the work-reward to be like a computer game paces reward-work, you want to be manipulating your dog dopamine levels in much the same way a good game's developers manipulate ours. If you get nothing out of the fluffy toys, fetch, flirt poles, try food as a play thing, throw it, buy something delicious you can play tug with like jerky, or attach to a flirt pole. People say not to mix the dog's desires for food vs tug, but I think this might be individual to the dog, I've had great results in increasing food drive mixing it up with play. Perhaps it's not entirely appropriate for a serious competition level dog, but if that's what you get the best response from your dog with, and it'll help you achieve your goal, then I'd go with it. You may have ideas for approaches in mind, video them so you can gauge whats going on clearly. Even post one here. You'll likely get some good responses. The main thing is, we all make mistakes, look back on our past training and wished we knew then what we know now. But it's never too late to fix things, you might not get as good results as whatyou would have if you started earlier, but you'll get results, old dogs do indeed learn new tricks if you care to teach them. Your dogs gonna love this stuff, playing like this will strengthen your bond with him enormously, it'll be a whole new dimension of awesome for him. It's well worth the effort. Happy Xmas everyone!
  4. I eventually read Terrierman's post. He says a lot of stupid stuff, there's some worthwhile points there too, but his brushstrokes are too broad. In some respects he's correct, for example the "American Bullies", a new breed that's come about that emphasises a blocky shape to an unhealthy extreme. It's an animal purposely bred to have a shape would lead to a life of pain, because the breeders think that misshapen conformation is aesthetically pleasing. I agree with him on that, it's cruel to purposely create a creature with shape will inevitably condemn it to live a life of pain. If you scroll down on this page about American Bullies and look at the blue dog you can see - look at the placement of the dog's shoulders, they don't support his weight in any kind of functional way, that animal must have some pretty awful shoulder joint issues being that shape. http://americanbullydaily.com But then he adds Aussie Bulldogs to the same list, which is absolutely barking up the wrong tree. Regardless of whether you agree with the creation of yet another breed, Aussie Bulldogs, as I understand it, are an effort to eliminate the genetic health concerns that can affect English Bulldogs. To make a healthy dog of sound conformations yet still preserve the look and the temperament of the English Bulldog as much as possible, because they're an iconic breed and they have their staunch admirers. The English Bulldog can have some health issues related to it's structure, (though nothing as bad as the American Bully). In a country like Australia, the excessive heat of summer isn't kind to an extreme brachy face, the Aussie Bulldog has a bit more length to his snout for easier breathing. His body is a little less extreme. It's an effort to breed a dog of sound, healthy conformation for people who love English Bulldogs, but who also want a dog that's happy about being out and about on hot summer's day. Focus on breeding for health and soundness like that can only be a good thing. And as Mel says, a lot of those young guys with their Pit Bulls are fantastic owners. Terrierman is generalising, there are some great owners and some crap ones. The dock diving days I went to were all overseen by a young guy (covered in tattoos) who owned a lovely female Pit, a champion dock diver who adored her sport. He was a great owner, and notably very stringent about ensuring all dogs in the area surrounding the pool were all leashed and kept 5 metres from each other, with only one dog at a time in the fenced diving area (yeah that was at Farmer Dave's - the leash rules for the dock diving I went to were really very sensible, funny that the Pit Bull Owner was the responsible staff member ensuring that all dogs were leashed and controlled so there was no chance of injury or fighting, make of that what you will....) Ultimately Terrierman's article is just another uninformed diatribe about Bull Breeds, written by someone who has never owned a bull breed and doesn't really have a clue. Irritating, but common enough.
  5. And a correction to that last comment where I endorsed Farmer Daves' I was this morning directed to this thread - http://www.dolforums.com.au/topic/263197-channel-7-news-tonight/ Detailing an incident where a dog was mauled to death out at Farmer Dave's in an incident that would never have happened were a skerrick of common sense utilised. The courses I did were fun, and I never allow my dog off leash around others so I had no issues, but there really is absolutely no excuse for what happened there, so I absolutely retract that endorsement. An incident like that should never have occurred, pure and simple, there are no excuses for it. Edit to add: Don't go there. That facility should be left to die. Allowing a bunch of big dogs to run free with little dogs like that isn't a "live and learn" scenario, it's a level of stupidity that noone with any real claim to an understanding of dog behaviour would have allowed to happen. No second chances for stupidity of this magnitude, it was inevitable that something like would occur when big dogs and little dogs are let loose together en masse. I can't believe it was allowed to happen.
  6. I like Bull Breeds, I don't really care about anyone else's perception of that preference. I picked the cutest dog at the pound, now I am a hardcore full blown Bull Breed addict. They're great dogs, but of course they can be high maintenance and they aren't for everyone. Like any other breed temperament varies, unscrupulous breeders produce dogs with dodgy temperaments and good breeders produce dogs with stable temperaments. I prefer the more athletic "terrier type" bull, because I love the athleticism, my dog is older now, but in her heyday she was the pinnacle of fit, muscle rippling athleticism. Amazing to watch when she was after her fetch toys, leaping and twisting in defiance of all known laws of gravity and physics. When she got a good bite on her tug you could you could swing her round in air borne circles, we used tohave so much fun. We're both too old for all that now, we're rather sedate in our dotage, she's snoring at my feet now and we'll have an amble later on as opposed to the hardcore exercise we used to do. I can't be arsed reading terrier man's column sorry, it sounds like it'd annoy me, and I want to move onto reading the news before I have to get a wriggle on and make a start on all the productive stuff I need to with my day. I really only posted here because Farmer Dave's name came up in the thread, and he probably won't ever see it to defend himself, so I figured I'd put my 2 cents in - he's a really good guy. He does dog training courses out at Box Hill in NSW and I've taken my (terrible bogan bull breed) dog out there to do a noseworks course and some dock diving, both of which were lots of fun. My (terrible bogan bull breed) dog and I enjoyed our days there immensely and so I whole heartedly recommend them. Especially the noseworks course, it's fine to be an autodidact and learn stuff for yourself, but it's really a whole lot easier and you learn a whole lot faster when you have objective, knowledgeable people to help you out. Box Hill is unfortunately a long way away from me otherwise i'd do more courses there, but if you are close enough to go here's the website. http://www.farmerdave.com.au/
  7. Dog Boarding Kennels -Nsw

    I use the Terrigal Pet Resort, which is affiliated with the Dural Pet Resort, same ownership I believe. I find Terrigal to be fantastic, my dog loves the place, she's quite demonstrative about what she loves and hates, so the fact she's always happy to go there says a lot to me. A friend of mine uses Dural, she's happy with them, her dog is in there now as we speak.
  8. Journo Tells Of How She Habitually Dumps Dogs

    Inevitably in life we find ourselves having to deal with difficult, unfeeling or high conflict personalities. Unless you're an accredited psychologist or psychiatrist you can't diagnose psychological disorders, but it can be useful to develop a "working hypothesis" to manage interaction with these difficult, empathetically void or high conflict personality types. This woman displays personality traits I'd consider to be strongly suggestive of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. We have only a limited glimpse into her psyche here - a pattern of serial dog acquisition and abandonment and her attitudes and justifications. There's clear displays here of the self aggrandisement, excessive sense of entitlement, and exploitative relationships that typify Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I don't care enough to read her other articles, no doubt they re even more damning. The hallmark of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is empathy deficit. Lack of empathy is a core trait in other personality and mood disorders too (eg Anti-Social Personality Disorder) so you have to consider the entire context to develop a solid working hypothesis. It's worth noting that Borderline Personality Disorder can sometimes be mistaken for Narcissism at a casual, surface glance, but Borderline sufferers have a huge capacity for empathy, their volatility is borne of unusual emotional sensitivity, don't mistake one for the other. I have a friend who is BPD (professionally diagnosed) and she is an incredibly awesome person whom I love dearly, one of my oldest and dearest friends. I wouldn't tolerate a narcissist anywhere near me though. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a spectrum disorder, some cases are more severe, others are subclinical with only some traits, more mildly expressed. The sub clinical variety may be tolerable presences to some, they'll strategically and shamelessly suck up to authority, so they can tend to get ahead in life. Full blown narcissism isn't very common, but the garden variety subclinical varieties abound. Inevitably in the course of our lives we will run into a clinical case or two, and many sub clinical cases of narcissism. It's worthwhile knowing enough about their traits and habits to recognise the red flags when you see them and have some strategies to minimise their impact on you. Complete avoidance is the best strategy. Purdie and Blinkblinkblink, I am so sorry you went through that, I have a friend who suffered through a Narcissistic parent, the damage and harm inflicted upon her as a child is incalculable, the cruelties she suffered almost inconceivable to those of us who had parents possessed of empathy. I hope you both have good psychological supports now, I believe there are many groups for adult survivors of narcissistic parents that can be helpful. Perhaps it's worth googling, to at least know you aren't alone, that others have felt and do feel as you do, and perhaps they might offer tools and strategies that could prove useful? I'm sorry you went through that, all children are entitled to parents who are capable of empathy and real love and care, I wish you had received the love and care to which you were (and are) entitled to. Anyway this woman, this revolting dog dumping woman. My working hypothesis for her personality malfunction would be common garden variety subclinical Narcissism. It's not a set up, she's just another waste of space whose attenuated capacity for empathy makes the world a worse place, these people unfortunately are fairly abundant. Alas there's no cure for her condition, the best we can do is learn recognise people like her for what they are and try to limit the damage they inflict wherever we can.
  9. Dog Ramps (For Cars)

    I use a big solvit ramp, because I worry about my dog's joints leaping out onto concrete. When I first got it, she regarded it as a bemusing obstacle, so i had to back up and teach her how to use it. It was simple, I placed it flat on the lounge floor and lured her up and down it, then used it as ramp to the couch and lured her up and down that a few times. Back out to the car and she understood eexactly what it was for. I've had it for a month and I still lure her up and down with food, although I expect using the ramp will become conditioned behaviour and I can fade the lure to just a cue. I find there are pros and cons to the solvit, but since it's doing it's primary job perfectly - protecting my dog's joints, I can put up with the cons. Pros: Obviously far better for the dog's joints if your car is tall and your dog jumps out onto concrete or asphalt. Easy to teach the dog how to use it, the dog took to it very well once she understood walking up and down it nets treats and praise. Cons: If your car is very tall, as my Subaru XV is, the gradient of the ramp is quite steep even though we do have the longest solvit ramp. I live on a very steep hill, which further increases the gradient when I am parked out front of my house. The dog needs a bit of speed and momentum in order to get up the ramp, otherwise gravity will make her slip back down. I generally park the wrong way around (car back facing uphill) to reduce the gradient so we don't have to rely on momentum like that. I am thinking I need to look into other surfaces I could attach - the sandpapery surface doesn't provide quite enough traction when we're on a slope. I find the ramp quite heavy, I'm not the healthiest though. Most people wouldn't find this to be a problem. Folded, the ramp is just a bit too long to slip in the boot of the XV easily, it has to go in on an angle. I had initially hoped that when the dog was loaded in the car, I could slide the ramp in the boot (it's a hatchback, she's not in a sedan boot, mafia kidnap style!) with her, but alas no. The ramp must go in the backseat when dog is in the car I do have half a mind to design something similar that solves the solvit's cons. A longer ramp for a shallow gradient, a surface with more traction than the solvit's sandpaper (wood, rubber or similar slats 10cms apart). Folding rather than telescoping to account for surface change, and folding into 3 so it can be stowed in the boot along with the dog. A more light weight ramp, if possible. It'd take some time to design and custom build something that can incorporate all of the above, if indeed it could even be done. In the interim, the solvit isn't perfect but it does what I need it to do - saves the dog's joints from heavy impact. Ultimately I'd recommend the solvit if you feel your dog needs a ramp, it works and seems like the best solution short of designing and bulding your own.
  10. D O L Meet Ginny!

    Yay!!!! What an awesome thread! I am so glad I found it for my first read of the morning! What a beautiful and fun loving pup Ginny is, you're going to have your hands full that's for sure! I had an idea about finding good committed owners; in this day and age of phone cameras, people who have owned a dog recently should have reams of training footage and photos. These really show what people focus on with their dogs. People may regularly transfer them to PC, so there isn't neccesarily historical footage, but on any random day if you asked to see, it'd show a good example of an average day. Currently my phone is full of heeling (focus on precision, pivots, side steps) under high distraction at the beach (I cajole my husband to the beach with us so I can make him film our progress). Training in particular is something I tend to film to gauge progress, I bet most people do. We also have footage of bush walks and fetch in the dam (where she just gets to be a dog and have fun). By contrast, another friend of mine, who has more sedentary, less demanding dogs, has a phone full of her dogs sitting around at home on the furniture, or playing very desultory low energy games of bitey face in the lounge room. She's a great owner of that kind of dog, but wouldn't have the lifestyle to be able to accommodate a really demanding dog. Anyway, asking for footage and photos of prospective owners current or previous dogs could give you an idea of which have a suitable lifestyle and are thoroughly prepared for a dog that needs work. And which owners are likely to be a bit shocked and bemused by how high energy and demanding your pups are and want to give them back. I don't think it'd be too weird to ask Anyway, it's an idea. Well I bet you are going to have enormous fun today - you have no choice with a pup like Ginny! It's going to be high energy and demanding and you'll all sleep well this evening! Yay Em! Give her a congratulations belly scratch! and one for the beautiful Zig and greased lightning Ginny of course!
  11. Pack Order

    That whole wolf pack model base "Dominance theory" of dog behaviour that holds there is an alpha dog that the other dogs are submissive to is pretty thoroughly discredited. A social structure develops in any animals that live in groups. But it's mutable and unlikely to be impacted by who you feed first or any measures like that. Which dog prevails in what situation can be very fluid and may well swap around a lot. Think of it more like a family group. They're dogs and you're human so it's not a perfect analogy, primates and canines have different instincts, but it's the best analogy. You, controller of resources and and primary caregiver have 2 dependents who know each other well, have long established boundaries, trust and the nuances of their relationship are long established. They are their own little clique. Enter the interloper, ignorant of this clique's customs, the clique will be a little standoffish when she is inevitably on occasion not displaying what they regard as appropriate social norms. She, like any newcomer trying to adapt is probably a bit anxious about the new environment, new social dynamics to learn. Being a little insecure she might be a bit more strident than she needs to about acquiring and keeping resources. Aggression is usually based in fear or insecurity, not always, but very often. The wolf pack model really does dogs a disservice in this area - so many anxious, defensive, fearful dogs labelled "dominant" or "alpha wannabees" when really they're defensive because they're insecure, anxious or afraid. The wolf pack model is so persistent because it was the received wisdom for so long, it got repeated so often we all thought it was true. I remember buying into it as utterly as everyone else. My dog's behaviour made so much more sense when I realised "dominance theory" is very far off the mark in most aspects. It's probably more accurate to consider your household as a blended family, comprising two species, where the canines are the dependents and the humans the primary caregivers. In respect to resources, the dogs' interaction is normally aimed at reducing the chance of violence. If one dog really wants something, and another doesn't care so much, the dog who cares gets the resource. So 1 dog may get favoured toys, another favoured sleeping spots. Sometimes there's contention for a resource (food can be contentious), the more confrontation avoidant dogs will back down (a healthy hierarchy - noone gets hurt). It doesn't mean the more confrontational winner who gets that resource is an "alpha", she just wanted that thing more and the other decided it wasn't worth his while to back up his claim. In other situations he'll take precedence, he may veto her joining some social interactions. None of it's bad so long as there are no fights or bullying. It really doesn't matter what order you feed them in, or who goes through doors first or whatever else is supposed to propel one particular dog to "alpha status", you only set up a hierarchy for that specific situation - the chosen dog gets fed first, goes through doors the door first. But that won't change his standing in any other context apart from being fed by you and going through doors in your presence. Hierarchy is pretty fluid, dogs are opportunists, they'll take what they can get away with mostly. If you see no risk of altercation, no aggression, no bullying, I wouldn't worry. Separate if you think squabbles or violence might occur, you don't want any grudges developing. Keep an eye out for stiff body language, that slow ominous tail wag, tense faces etc (growling in play can be normal, especially tug games, look at the context and other acompanying body language to assess). If it's all peaceful and relaxed, open mouthed, you're good. Really it sounds fine, new dog is settling in, needs to learn the ropes, they just have to get to know eachother, and learn the accommodations they need to make for one another. They play together well with balls, you're pretty much there - thats a high excitement volatile situation, if they handle each other well there you're good I'd say. It sounds like they're all well balanced and emotionally healthy and there's no bullying or violence, so each dog's strengths and preferences will dictate the fluid, changing hierarchies that makes the most sense for them in different contexts. Here's a reasonable enough treatment of why dominance theory isn't really valid. http://www.apbc.org.uk/articles/why-wont-dominance-die
  12. Canine Disc (frisbee) Workshop Nsw

    Oh wow! THis is tailor made for me - my dog is a frisbee nut. I'm even there at Australian Canine Sports & Training Centre that Saturday already for Nosework 101 course! I best bring a frisbee! Unfortunately I'd have to miss the morning session on the Saturday since Noseworks is 11.30 till 1pm. Is it Ok to miss that Saturday morning session and still attend Sat afternoon and Sun?
  13. Cancer Sniffing Dogs

    Hi guys thanks so much for all the kind replies! Sorry I am so late to reply (broke my computer…. ) Good to see you too Raineth! Thanks for the support. :D I am not entirely sure how I am going to go, but it will be fun trying, and so I figured I may as well aim high. It'll be good for Jarrah, really stretching her brain tires her out enough to let her be relaxed and sleep soundly when I can't take on long walls and play frisbee with her. Yeah, definitely not giving her the idea she'll get rewarded for indicating actual people at all, I wouldn't want to risk her indicating when that person hasn't specifically requested, otherwise it would be intrusive and I don't want that. Definitely scented items only! Though I wonder if you couldn't remedy the situation with your dog checking your daughter's sugar levels with some professional help from someone knowledgeable and experienced in detection work, so it's nonintrusive for your daughter? The idea is a good one, it might be doable? Thanks for the well wishes BC Crazy! i got excellent news today, MRI scan says tumours have shrunk A LOT since chemo began! Yay I better get a crackle on with this while I still visit the chemo clinic every week to get samples! I wonder how fresh the samples have to be. I believe the smell stays for a very long time (at least in the bags) so I'm OK there. Hi Huski! Hope you and Wis are well. :D I'd love more info, Steve made Jarrah a good dog! I had already definitely decided we need to see Steve at some point for this! Why do you think pairing with food is bad? Jarrah can get a bit of excitement induced neural static when the toys come out, which can make it hard for her to learn new things for a toy reward, I've always taught behaviours with food initially because of that. Hey LBD, yes Steve Austin is really well known for scent detection work. Does he do individual work with private clients? For some reason I thought he was more about consults for official enterprises; quarantine, bomb detection and the like? I think he owns Terrigal Pet Resort, where I send Jarrah for boarding when needed, so his staff there knows Jarrah well., maybe they can put in a good word for her! Thank you for mentioning, I hadn't considered the idea he may take on private type jobs with essentially clueless pet owners like myself. "D Hi Bedazzled, I really need hands on help! Thank you for the tip, I will look into that too! Hey Nekhbet, they are so literal aren't they! Sometimes it's great, sometimes not so much… Yep, this is exactly my concern and why I realise I need help! Lots of help! I am such a rookie dog trainer that I don't even know the potential pitfalls, let alone how to avoid them. You're right we are definitely still at bare bones level here, as novice as novice can possibly be, and she does find concentration exhausting, especially learning new things. I see a lot of potential for me to set us back due to my inexperience, which would be a silly thing for me to do when someone knowledgeable and experienced could easily identify elementary mistakes we might be developing and help me avoid them. I am very terrible at Facebook, but I do have an account, so I will definitely contact you through there! Thank you so much for the offer. "D And I agree - this is the sort of situation where like explosives, it is serious, in the case of cancer a false negative could potentially give people the idea they don't need to do a radiology screen, and even if they only put it off 3 months, that time could well be the difference between curable and incurable. Absolutely can't be giving people an indication they are in the clear when hey are not. As such an inexperienced handler, assuming I manage to get a good accuracy rating in training (not a given!) it doesn't mean that will necessarily translate to the field in the way I am imagining right now, or even at all. Consulting a variety of people with real knowledge and experience in detection will be really, really necessary - you, Steve Courtenay, Steve Austin, Karen Pryor, and more. Hi Anne, thank you for the recommendation, I haven't read her book, but that's something I hadn't considered! I will look for her books. Thank you so much for mentioning! If it doesn't work out that's OK, but I am really keen to give it a go. Hey Puddleduck! Thank you and hugs back! I have been thinking of you too, and hoping the warmer weather is helping you feel a lot better than winter cold. Thankyou everyone for all your input and advice it is appreciated! I anticipate this will take me some time to do, and a lot of new information for me, so i won't be able to act on all suggestions immediately, baby steps for me first. I am going to need a LOT of help, so all these suggestions will likely be put in practice. I am honestly not sure how far I will get, but even worst case scenario, the effort i put in will at the very least raise awareness of the fact it IS possible, get people talking about i, and thinking about it. The further I get of course, the more the scope for the idea to inspire others too, so I am aiming high at this point!
  14. Free Sydney Seminar From Bill Bruce

    I'm signed up for the Sydney one! See you there Mel :D
  15. Cancer Sniffing Dogs

    Hi Nekhbet, Thanks for reading and replying! Very good point, that's a problem that I was worried about too! Luckily for me, there looks to be a way around it - from: http://www.dogsdetectcancer.org/news/dogs-smell-cancer (love how it the pic there is a Labrador - it's Lab testing ofc. XD) I can't isolate the smell of cancer, but I do have access to a huge "library" of cancer samples (via my chemo centre, medical team and support groups). OFC for me, the big problem is being a good trainer who knows when to introduce the curve ball is the issue. I have signed up to this noseworks course in Box Hill (farmer Dave who originally gave me the idea) at http://www.lovesdogs.com.au/bookings/courses-and-events.html?task=view_event&event_id=142 hopefully that'll make me a bit better at training this. XD And ofc I am exploring other avenues of support and help to balance out my inexperience with dog training. Edit for linkies!