'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Tricky T-Day v2 - Jumping Jess.

Taught this to Jess in about twenty minutes. There's no verbal cue for it really, and I'll probably never do it again because I forgot that Jess likes to really dig her nails in, apparently especially when she's trusting you to catch her.

My stomach has huge raised marks on it, including one that was oozing blood for half an hour after we shot the video. Ouch.

Control Freak.

Yesterday, my mother made a comment about how I am 'very controlling' with Lola (probably compared to how I am with Jess, and how she is with both). And she's right - when it comes to Lola, I have high expectations, and in order for her to make the right choices I have to be controlling. Some examples:
- No dogs in the kitchen when food is being prepared (whether it be human or dog). Mum lets the dogs in the kitchen when she gets treats for them, and Lola spends the whole time leaping constantly up at her. She doesn't mind it and Lola doesn't do it to me, so I can deal with that.
- 'Leave it' means under no circumstances do you continue/take that. Too often, I see rotten food, or half eaten chocolate, whilst walking. I can cue Lola to leave these things and she'll barely even look at them; Jess, on the other hand, has to be physically removed. Lola's controlled experience of 'leave it' (and 'come') also means that if she goes after another dog, I can get her back immediately in the vast majority of the time.
- Playtime ends when I decide. (This is what prompted the comment from my mum.) If I'm playing fetch with Lola, I have to end it simply because she won't. When she gets to the stage that she's lying down to pant and chew the ball for a few seconds, playtime ends immediately, though I try to stop before then. Lola must drop toys on the first cue to do so, no matter how amped up she is, and she does it. If she does, playtime continues - if she doesn't, the toy is removed and I ignore her.
- Dogs eat nothing except what they are given. This means that if I give them something to eat, they can eat it - but they cannot touch someone else's food. This is specific to Lola, since Jess is an ass (and has taught Lola bad habits in the past regarding people's food), but I can now go out of the room for a few seconds, still watching the dogs, with my dinner on a plate on the floor, and it's only ever Jess that dares to try and creep forward if I take my eyes off of them.
- Listen to what you're told to do. Generally, I think of my dogs' cues as that--cues for behaviour, not commands. But there are instances when these things cannot be permitted to be broken, and I have used punishment (positive and negative) for when they are broken. Yes, they have all been situations when I should have taken things slower, but it has worked, too (not advocating punishment, still). Refusal to come immediately when called means being put on the leash; continuing to bark at guests when cues to stop means being put in the kitchen for a few seconds; breaking a stay means being penalty walked back to the dog's original placement; and trying to take something when cued to leave it means a shout. For perspective, I've only had to shout at Lola two or three times for trying to steal things, and she's only been penalty walked for breaking a stay twice. She has a rock solid leave it and stay now, and she's barely nine months old.

But it's not all work and harshness in the house. The dogs can play, correct behaviour gets more food than is probably permitted (though both girls are at a lovely weight right now), and when a certain puppy's reactivity is more manageable she'll be given more freedom. I may be a control freak, but a young, reactive terrier needs that. I dread to even think how awful she would behave if she was in a home with no boundaries and no rules. Instead, she thinks: she makes good choices, generally: and in return I trust her and give her as much freedom as I possibly can.

Below is a video of Lola following cues - down, wait, okay, blitz. If she refused to follow any of those we would have a discussion about it; but she knows that cues must be followed. And does this look like a sad, suppressed dog to you?

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Tricky T-Day: Duck.

Tricky T-Day 13: Duck.

This isn't entirely finished yet--mostly we need to work on extending the amount of time her head is on her paws/the ground. It took her quite a few sessions to learn though, as it's the only 'real' body shaping we've done so far (usually I shape to interact with other objects - I had to clear the area entirely of anything she could target).

Monday, 27 June 2011

On Jack Russell Terriers.

Quotes below from The Official English Jack Russell Terrier Site of the EJRTCA (History):

'Owning an English Jack Russell Terrier is better than watching the TV or movies. On your worst day they can make you smile.'

'Jack Russell Terriers are a challenge, they own you, you do not own them. If we can learn one thing from them it is to live life to the fullest.'

'Owning an English Jack is like having a big dog in a small body, or a two-year-old child even in their old age.'

'They prefer to be with you 24/7. They love to sleep with you, hunt with you, ride in the truck with you, work with you, laugh with you and cry with you because they seem to have so much intelligence they know when you are down and want to be by your side.'

Quotes below from the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (Breed Index):

'The Jack Russell is a happy, bold, energetic dog; they are extremely loyal, intelligent and assertive. Their greatest attribute is their working ability, closely followed by their excellent qualities as a companion.'

'While adaptable to a variety of environments, they are first and foremost bred to be hunting dogs. City or apartment living, or a confined or sedate lifestyle, do not meet the needs of a Jack Russell. These little dogs require what may seem to be an extraordinary amount of human attention, outdoor activity, exercise, discipline and an understanding and acceptance of their hunting nature.'

'Jack Russells can be very aggressive with other dogs, and in fact more than two should never be kept together unattended. There have been many instances of terriers being hurt, even killed, by their fellow terriers; even young pups over the age of eight weeks must be carefully monitored.'

'One of the Jack Russell's most surprising qualities is a kind and gentle nature. He is usually friendly with small children, provided the child understands how to properly handle the terrier. Having the natural assertive terrier characteristics, however, the Jack Russell will not put up with even unintended abusive nature from a child.'

Quotes below from the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (Bad Dog Talk):

'Many experienced, as well as inexperienced, dog owners are overwhelmed by the demands of a Jack Russell Terrier, leading to the dogs being abandoned even before they reach adulthood!'

'Jack Russells
... are first and foremost hunting dogs. The traits and skills that make them excellent hunting dogs (i.e., digging, barking, aggressive nature, ability to follow scent) are often interpreted as bad habits that cause people to give them up.'

'Jack Russells
... are a big dog in a little body. They have the same need (or more!) for exercise as a much larger dog... and the mentality to match -- they think they are at least 150 pounds, and are fearless, often challenging other dogs three times their size.'

'Jack Russells
... are often aggressive with other dogs. Same-sex aggression and aggression towards other breeds of dogs is well documented with this terrier. It is strongly recommended that no more than two Jack Russells (of opposite sex only) ever be permitted to stay together unattended.'

'Jack Russells
... can become very possessive of their owner or a favorite member of the family or of what they consider to be their personal property if allowed to do so to the point of showing aggressive protective behavior that must be controlled from an early age.'

'Jack Russells
... can be very destructive if left unattended and unemployed! Most behavioral problems are due to a lack of companionship, discipline, activity and exercise. If you've only seen perfect, well-behaved JR's, they are ones that were lucky enough to be exercised, well socialized, and trained.'

'Jack Russells
... are country dogs. When made to live in a city or suburban-type environment, their needs and instincts do not change. It would be unreasonable to expect them to be anything other than what they are genetically bred to be -- a serious hunting dog. Your lifestyle must be adjusted to meet their needs; they must have jobs to perform -- an outlet for their considerable energy and intelligence.'

'Jack Russells
... require a long-term commitment to obedience, activity, exercise and entertainment... their unique character, intelligence and high energy level can frustrate you, will undoubtedly entertain you, and can bring you great joy (when they're happy!) or great grief (when they're not!). If this type of relationship does not appeal to you, then consider another breed. Jack Russell Terriers are always a work in progress!'

Quote below from Jack Russell Terrier Club of Canada (Is There A Jack Russell In Your Future?):

'When inviting a dog to join your household, it is very important to learn about the breed you are interested in. A Jack Russell Terrier, as with any other terrier, can have character traits associated with its enthusiastic, energetic nature that you may find undesirable.'

Quotes below from Essortment (Is A Jack Russell Terrier Right For Me?):

'The very characteristics that make a Jack Russell a champion are the same characteristics that make it unsuitable for many families. They dig furiously, they bark, they are relentless when they want something. (Prey, food, a sock, a Barbie Doll's head?) They are extremely territorial, they often don't get along very well with other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex. And according to many sources, they will kill your cat.'

'Jack Russell Terriers also need enormous amounts of exercise. The most common phrase echoed around the country from breeders and trainers is "A tired Jack is a good Jack." An hour a day of running, playing chasing and digging is the bare minimum. Ask any self-respecting Jack Russell himself, and he will tell you three hours is more like it.'

'You still want to get a Jack Russell puppy for your kids? Keep in mind that the typical Jack doesn't tolerate small children very well. A reputable breeder will most likely refuse to place a Jack Russell in a home with children younger than age five . . . They also have zero tolerance for their ears, tails or feet being pulled on, and unlike a Golden Retriever or Lab, they will NOT make special allowances for children.'

'According to Jane McClay, a private rescuer of Jack Russells in Maine, most rescue dogs would make wonderful family pets, for families familiar with the breed. "Most of the dogs I get in rescue aren't given up because there is something wrong with them, but rather just because they're Jack Russells and people didn't do their research. The dog is FINE and it's the owner that just shouldn't have gotten this breed."'

'They can be very difficult and stubborn to potty train, also. Are you willing to clean up messes in the house potentially for 10 to 12 months?'

Quotes below from Jack-Russell-Terrier.co.uk (So You Want A Jack Russell?):

'Jack Russells want to be the centre of attention.
If you want a dog that is happy to sleep quietly in the corner, then don't get a Jack Russell! When bored, they will create new and fun jobs for themselves, or alternatively start destroying things!'

'Jack Russell's are great guard dogs.
They can become very territorial, protecting their domain with endless effort. They are fearless and embody the cliche "a big dog in a small dogs body". They will defend you if you're approached by strangers in the street.'

'Their traits
They will dig, both in the garden and they'll dig "phantom" holes indoors (which is hilarious!). They'll bark, guard, hunt insects and react aggressively to external noise. It is essential that you have a secure outdoor area for them.'

'What are they like to walk?
They have unlimited energy and require a lot of exercise. Be prepared for long walks in all weather. Such is the strength of their instinct and natural curiousity, they will bolt or "go hunting!" They do not fear larger dogs, indeed aggression is sometimes foolishly displayed.'

'With Kids
Despite anything that you read from other sources, a Jack Russells relationsh ip with children depends entirely on the individual dog. One of my Jacks adores children of all ages whereas the other becomes violently possessive of me in the presence of kids.'

'In summary all I can say is that if you want the biggest reward that being a dog owner can give you, want amusement, companionship, and love, then there really is only one choice!'

Return to the Trail.

We haven't been to the little reservoir and public 'circular' trail since March... And the grass has really grown since! I went today with Lola, as the fact it was a gorgeous Sunday day would have meant that our park would be brimming with other people and dogs, and we had a blast. It was awful to walk to (twenty minutes or so hard slog up an incredibly steep hill), but once we were there that all changed.

Lola also demonstrated the first 'real' terrier instinct I've ever seen in her (other than attacking toys and general prey drive) - for about fifteen minutes, she was leaping through the grass, bouncing around and sniffing and clearly trying to pinpoint what she had heard/smelled. In the following video, at about 1:23 to 1:30 you can quite clearly hear a squeaking - so I'm not sure if she could smell mice or rats or something. She didn't manage to get anything, but I think she enjoyed her hunting time. It made a change from the usual fetch routine at the park!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Photos From Last Weekend.

Me and Harley - running to get him moving up this lane (he was very fearful of going alone here to begin with and just shut down; running helped him forget)
Me and Harley
Me and 'gonna pull your arm off' Scout
Harley foreground, me and Scout background
Me and the crazy collie boys
All of us - including HALF of Eli!
Harley and Scout
Me and the boys

Me and the dawgs, melting in the sun

Friday, 24 June 2011

That Friday Feelin'.

Today has been a good day.

I got my university results, for the first year -- and I've passed everything! My results for my language modules were, on average, very obviously lower than for literature (except for one, which was amusingly the top mark I got--and that's the lesson I went to the least!), but I passed them all. I can move on to the second year now, which means no more language modules.

I took both of the girls for a walk today (Jess rarely gets walked now, maybe just once or so a week--she's just a huge hassle, and although she's excited for 'walkies' it doesn't effect her behaviour around the house either way if she's walked or not), and both behaved well. Jess gave hard looks to a couple of dogs, but she was on the lead and very close to me, and couldn't cause any trouble. Lola stayed quiet and fairly calm as a staffie passed us on the other side of the road on the way there, while we were practising LAT, and didn't bark at any other people or dogs for the rest of the walk either.

And last but not least, I came online today to find an award from the fantastic Winnie's Dog Blog. Of the two blog awards to choose from there, I chose the Versatile Blogger award, because it matches the green of my blog layout. :)

As part of accepting the award, I get to pass it on to ten other bloggers. I've tried to pass it on to those who don't already have it, so please don't think I don't think your blog is versatile if I haven't passed it to you. It was so hard choosing just ten, too! I'd like it to go without saying that these blogs are all worth following, and are all awesome. The blogs below are listed in alphabetical order:

1. 2dogcrazy: This is a blog about Kane and Ellie, a goofy eighteen month old Pit Bull and Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy - and all the craziness they get up to. The content is a mixture of informative posts on pit bulls, adorable photos, and retellings of life with the blogger's two dogs.
2. An English Shepherd: This is a blog primarily about Wizz, one of the first English Shepherds born in England for quite a few years. The blog also features the rest of Wizz's family - Auntie Breeze and Dare, both Border Collies, and Chip the Patterdale Terrier. The posts on the blog are mostly about the four-dog family and their adventures in flyball.
3. Barding Kennel: This is a 'new' blog, but one which has a lot of potential! It is about the fostering work of a woman in Northern England--so far, she's fostering her first dog, but I have high hopes that the posts (and fosters) will continue.
4. Black Dog Blog: Despite the name, this blog isn't just about black dogs--it's about blogger Jen's life with Spike (labrador cross), Sophie (labrador) and Murphy (jack russell). All that high energy just makes me cry to think about it! The posts are about daily life with the three crazy dogs, as well as interesting stuff about agility and flyball.
5. Raising K9: A blog documenting the raising and training of Via, a German Shepherd dog. There's some fantastic stuff here about living with dogs, quotes about dogs, and information on raising and training dogs - of course!
6. Reactive Champion: This blog makes me wish I'd chosen the 'inspiration' award - it would fit to a T! It chronicles the trials and tribulations of life with Maisy, a four year old Corgi cross, and how her owner Crystal is learning to help her cope with her reactivity. It is a really educational, inspiring blog, with loads of great stuff about training and dealing with dogs, both reactive and not.
7. Ricky's Life: This blog is about Ricky, a four year old Shetland Sheepdog. There is a mixture of photos, videos, tricks, training and agility here - and it's all great.
8. Save the Pit Bull, Save the World: A blog about three dogs: Luce and Mushroom, both Pit Bulls, and Steve the Border Collie. This blog is perhaps one of the most versatile - photos and videos of the three dogs, information about dog health and training, and lots of stuff about various dog sports.
9. Sara's Dog Blog: This blog is about four year old Oreo and puppy Chewy, both Shetland Sheepdogs. It has photos and videos of the adorable dogs, trick videos, and lots on agility!
10. Untrainable: A blog about a first-time dog owner and her Miniature Daschund, Gaius, who play at the dog sports of agility, obedience and earthdog. On the side, Elizabeth also fosters and posts about life with a breed that is often called 'untrainable'.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Tricky T-Day: Smack It.

Tricky T-Day: Smack It.

A little behaviour that didn't take long at all to teach Lola - we've been working on this for only a couple of days, though I originally did 'teach' her to target different feet way back not long after she first came home, but it never really stuck. She seems to get it now, though.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Wonderful Weekend.

I forgot to take a lot of pictures (as I'd intended!) because I was exhausted when I arrived on Friday, we had a full day on Saturday and half of Sunday, and I forgot to take my camera memory card when we took the collies out for a two hour walk on Sunday, oops. I'll throw up another post when Eli posts the photos she took with hers, though.

Most of the time we were with the dogs, Scout was mobbing me for attention. He was my substitute Lola - just with a whole lot more fluff, and a little bit bigger! I love these silly dogs (and Trigger the cat, and the rats... and I guess my friend too).

Harley & half of Fern

L-R: Scout, Amber, Harley

Scout, my bud!



Fatty-fat Amber



Harley (and Scout)

Friday, 17 June 2011

Goin' to Wales, to see some cool collie dogs.

I'm off to Wales tomorrow (well, later today technically - it's after midnight here) for a long weekend with my friend and my friend's awesome dogs: a labrador, a daschund and the best border collies ever. I will return with so many pictures of her fantastic pets, and will catch up on everyone's blogs after the weekend - it's been very busy here today!

Until Monday, have a picture of my silly girls to tide you all over:

Have a good weekend, all! My mum will hate me when I get back, having to look after these two.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Accidents and the Great Outdoors.

Today started out with pig snouts for both dogs, which they practically inhaled. They were very happy to have them! At around two, after a couple hours of shopping, me and my friend Jenny took the young 'uns out for a three hour walk through the park, to the res and back again. I ended up with blood beneath a thumbnail from accidentally hitting something and a strained or cramped leg muscle, and scratches on my thighs and stomach from trying to drown the puppy help Lola to get better at swimming.

She wasn't in the mood for swimming today, even with the lure of a tennis ball (she would step in up to her chest, but wouldn't go any further). I tossed her in a couple of times because I'm heartless, and several times she actually jumped out of my arms in order to dive for the ball - she just didn't want to take the final step forward, literally and figuratively, from standing up in the water to swimming in it. She's a silly girl.

And then the day took a downturn when, in the space of about forty five minutes, Jess pooped three times (one small, hard, pale lump at a time - pale from the raw bones yesterday, probably occuring from the pig snout today) indoors, including once on the back of the chair whilst she was lying down. She then threw up, thankfully giving me enough notice to get her outside, and has since perked up quite a bit.

This was a couple of hours ago and she's seemed normal since, drinking and peeing fine, so I'm going to leave it until tomorrow to decide whether or not to take her to the vets. I get really stressed about my dogs' health, especially Jess, because of her age and general stomach sensitivity, so I've been making a massive fuss of Jess since, and she's loved every minute of it.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Not-At-All-Moody Monday.

I borrowed my friend's gorgeous and expensive DSLR once again yesterday, and got a whole load of fantastic photos from it. :)