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PICKING A DIRECTION post 43 from old blog

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (5)

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Picking a direction

Trisha: Posted on Friday, March 06, 2015 7:59 AM

 

 

 

I've been having a hard time lately. I know what I want from my dogs. I want them to be the perfect golden! I want health, beauty, brains, and I want it packaged into something that absolutely fits the breed standard. I think my dogs embody the breed standard, but I also know that EVERY breeder reads the same standard and interprets it differently. I actually think that is great because it gives a bit of diversity.

 

Up to this point, my dogs have been successful in obedience, rally, hunting, nosework, lure coursing, therapy, and service. They also make really awesome pets! If I could have imagined my dogs being like this 5-8 years ago I'd have not believed it. My knowledge has changed. What I am producing has changed. In return, my bank account is empty, but my heart is full of gratitude for these amazing animals and for the people that open their homes and hearts to them.

 

However, I sit at a crossroad now and really am not sure how to proceed. I still hold this dream of the perfect dog in the front of my mind. Each litter I wait to see that this litter was better than the last. The puppies are beautiful, healthy, socialized and fearless, and most importantly they have the "I will put up with anything because I love you" kind of attitude that I expect my dogs to have because I have kids, a busy life, and flaws. If they can show me those qualities at home then I know its another check off my list that I can know they will be successful in their new home.

 

I am excited about the list of things that I can say my dogs are capable of doing. It doesn't take a genius to know that for now those are lower level titles. They are a combination of my own training ability, what I can afford to shell out for trainers, and reflect what my puppy buyers are interested in pursuing. More than anything, I hope that I am proving that in the right hands my dogs are capable. Hopefully they can rise to the occasion within what each handler/family hopes to accomplish.

 

I'm going to use Dog #1 as my example now. Dog #1 is one of my favorite dogs ever! She has given me more service dogs than I can count (I'd guess a third of her pups are fully trained/in training now) and she has also produced therapy dogs and hunting companions. Therapy and hunting are not usually 2 activities that belong to the same dog. I am so proud of that!!! That production is based off 2 litters from my dogs. Pebbles is competing for her Senior Hunt title now so of course the correct breeder thing of me to do is to find a really nice field dog to breed her to. Boy will I have the best pedigree I've ever had! And, the pedigree will prove they can hunt! Its not just me saying they should or providing instances in which many families hunt with her offspring. Its official! I'm even getting pumped up just typing about it!

 

Pup are born. They are healthy. They are beautiful. They have instincts and drive up the wazoo! Pups are evaluated and I'm told they are the best she has seen of mine. Very nice conformation and very consistent. Unfortunately, some are not anything I would wish on my worst enemy. The few are loud, stubborn, energetic beyond belief, and NOTHING like anything I'd ever experienced with any other litter. I couldn't help but wonder how in the world I could expect anyone to want those particular pups if I didn't want them myself. It was a frustrating 8 weeks.

 

I've had a litter since then with Dog #2. My gosh those pups remind me of why I love what I do. Again, healthy, beautiful, and calm at the appropriate times and puppyish at the appropriate times. They are pups that I am confident will be everything I say they will be. They will be predictable. They still should have pretty great instincts and drive, but in a more controllable package... if that makes any sense.

 

So what to do? I love the idea that I will someday have a hand in a truly exceptional dog or dogs. I am certainly trying my hardest to do that. But what is an exceptional Golden? I guess that is my problem. I believe that a truly exceptional dog CAN do it all. They should fit the breed standard and then tack on a ton of colorful titles to go with it. That is the dream. These days though, that isn't reality. Most often conformation and field dogs look drastically different. Even more different than the look is the temperament of a dog that based on the breed standard should be the same.

 

Competition is such a blessing in many ways, but it also is the cause of varying styles of Goldens. It is human nature to want to be the best and I think sometimes dogs are bred based off of human wants/desires I think sometimes rather than what is best for them. (again, not always and not trying to offend anyone)

 

I bred that hunting litter to have more competitive hunters and earn higher titles. I think that certainly some of them will be very great at it. But i'm not sure I did a service for the breed with the pups that went to pet homes. Will they really be happy there? Or, would they really just prefer to bust out of the house and chase some feathers?

 

The obvious answer I thought was to keep certain dogs for certain disciplines. This breeding is for show. This breeding is performance, etc. The fact is that I don't have a million dogs and I don't want a bunch. I do have co owns out to some so that it helps give me a wider base, but I was almost always bummed that the owner was doing the bare minimum to co own with me rather than seeing the dog through to its full potential and going beyond what I asked.

 

Another thing is that I really do like the 50/50 cross. When I can mix show and field dogs I am in absolute Golden heaven. They have drive but are very trainable and relatively calm. It makes size a little harder to predict, but the health and temperament of them have been super.

 

I guess I'm confused because I want dogs that can get to top levels of all those events, but I do not want it at the expense of making dogs that only work for competition. My pet and service dog families are every bit as important to me as a dog that competes. How do I honor both?

 

The other question that stumps me often is does the pedigree matter? Man I hate this. With my horses I'd say without question that the pedigree matters. I won't even touch a horse that doesn't involve lines that I like. I've built my breeding program on 3-4 generations now of no name dogs (mostly, but not all:) and I love what I'm getting. I guess in a way I'm maybe building my own lines?

 

I'm afraid to add well known pedigrees for fear of adding in things I don't like. As in so far my rates for hereditary problems are way low compared to the breed stats. Of course that can change, but I feel really good so far about where I sit with that. I have a high fear that shoving nice pedigrees on there will bring in some bad stuff. Extra scary to me when I consider that the fancy pedigree would be added to show off more than anything. I love my dogs without the fancy pedigree. But the nice pedigree will bring me people that would want my dogs that would otherwise not have looked at them...

 

I'M GOING IN CIRCLES!!!

 

NUTSHELL

 

I WANT A DOG THAT DOES IT ALL.

I WANT A BEAUTIFUL HEALTHY DOG THAT IS SMART WITH DRIVE, BUT NOT TOO MUCH DRIVE.

I WANT TO WIN THE LOTTERY

 

IF you are a trainer, what do you think should absolutely be kicked out of breeding decisions? What do you wish breeders would consider? What am I not considering in all of this?

 

If you are a breeder, do you ever want to pull your hair out? How do you decide how you personally interpret the breed standard? Lots of dogs can fit it and be very different. What is the final decisions that you consider when choosing if you want that certain line to represent your breeding program?

 

I had more, but its late and I erased a bunch. Plus this is plenty of rambling for a night. Sorry if I offended anyone. NOT my intent. Just bouncing around ideas

HOW DID I END UP HERE post 42 from old blog

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

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How did I end up here?

trisha: Posted on Friday, October 18, 2013 11:34 PM

I can't seem to stop thinking about this lately, so another blog entry seemed like the only reasonable fix. It comes at a time when I feel so busy at home with family (2 young babies in particular) with dogs, with puppies, and with life in general. Still things are really fantastic and I feel so fortunate for everything that I am blessed with and am able to do.

As a new litter begins to head home, words cannot express how thankful I am that I have families taking in my puppies that love and treat them as family members and plan ahead for training so that everyone can have a happy life long relationship. It sounds silly, but I am so grateful. A certain amount of "homework" is necessary to be prepared for a new puppy and I appreciate those that do it!

This Litter in particular, has brought on a couple awesome opportunities coming up soon. I'm unsure how it happened, but somehow I ended up with 5 puppies heading to California. I certainly don't usually have half a litter head out of state, but it got me to remembering my trip with Pebbles for a hunt test and I started to wonder if a hunt test was coming up around the time these guys were due to go home. A quick check tells me their is!!! Crazy as it is, a plan is born and we will soon be heading to California to deliver puppies (2 for service, 1 for hunting, 1 to a very experienced obedience competitor, and 1 as a pet) and for a 2 day hunt test.

Now, when I say we, I mean WE! I can only imagine it will be much like a traveling circus. The car will be loaded with my husband, myself, our 5 kids (ages 2months-13yrs) 5 puppies, and Bobbie for the hunt tests. I'm worn out after typing it so I can only imagine the array of things we will experience along the way :)

Today I went to train with Bobbie. She had been training very well, but today was a mixed bag. Her marking has been good, but today she was 50/50 because she got so excited she wouldn't sit still and didn't quite see where the bird landed. She also has been doing much better on her recalls. Her recall for Adrienne (who by the way is freaking fantastic at training my dogs for hunt tests :) is amazing. Problem for me is that at this point in her life, she has spent much more time with Adrienne than she has with me. So she is having a little confusion over who mom is when we are both out with her. Last time, she did great and came right to me. Today, again, 50/50. What has been wonderfully consistent is her having a great hold and now sitting pretty near heel position to deliver the bird. I can pet, love, and talk to her while she holds the bumper. When I gave her to Adrienne, I had her in a pretty bad habit of retrieving the bird and then getting 3-4ft away from me and playing keep away, or just dropping it. So her holds are a huge success! So, IF she marks, and IF she finds the bird, and IF she brings it back to me, and IF she delivers to hand, we will have 2 successful hunt tests :) THATS A LOT OF IF'S TO DRIVE 2200 MILES!!! It is a good thing I'm not banking this whole trip on this test. Remember that car full of people???

In all of this crazy planning, I also got to thinking that if I needed to take puppies, and a hunt test was at the same time, why not take the whole family and enjoy California? Last year I had an absolute blast taking Zach and Leah with me for Pebbles hunt test for the world's shortest vacation/hunt test. Great bonding with some of the family and a new title for the dog. Woo HOO! So, it turns out that this particular hunt test is smack dab in the middle of everything fun! Disneyland, Universal Studios, Sea World, the beach... the list goes on. The kids that didn't go with us last year are super excited just to go the The Jelly Belly Factory because last year, Zach got some of those nasty tasting jelly beans and when we got home we played a trick on every one and they all ate the gross ones. :))))) So certainly some fun is to be had.

Now, how does this relate to dogs and being thankful? LOL. That was supposed to be the point of this when I started writing :)

Well, can we drive to CA anytime? YES.

Can we visit theme parks anytime? YES.

Can we do a hunt test in OR? YES.

Could puppies be shipped rather than delivering in person? YES.

Is an estimated 35+ hours of driving with 5 kids and 6 dogs crazy? YES

The problem is that while I can answer yes to those, I'm not sure we would have actually done it without this falling into place. We have talked about going to Disneyland ASAP because Zach is 13 and he "needs" to go before he grows up and is too old for it. Still, we kept putting it off. So, when the stars align we have to take advantage and I am just simply going to have faith that this will not only work out, but be a TON OF FUN!!!

I am so thankful for the opportunities and kicks in the rear that the dogs have given to me. This will be my little plug for training your dog, but I never would have imagined how wonderful this journey has been. It started before this, but an amazing boy named Riley and his family totally changed what I valued in my dogs and ultimately the direction I have now headed with what they are accomplishing. I have met amazing people. I have seen dogs do things that you cannot imagine and that people are just not capable of alone. For so many things, the dog is the missing link. HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO TRAIN YOUR DOG FOR SOMETHING AND JUST NOT MADE THE TIME TO FOLLOW THROUGH???

I got sidetracked again! However this trip ends up, THANK YOU ADRIENNE for your wonderful wonderful care of my dogs and the huge effort you take to train my silly Goldens. It means the world to me that you can get them to do things that I cannot and that they like to work for you. I will never go hunt a real bird, but I am hooked on seeing Goldens doing things they should naturally do. Thank you for that!

I'm really just rambling, so stop reading this and go train your dog!!! Where will it take you?!?

On a side note... I've got camo boots now! Nobody in California will ever know I train my dogs in flip flops :)

THERAPY DOG TRAINING... WHAT I LEARNED post 41 from old blog

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

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Therapy Dog Training... What I learned

Trisha: Posted on Thursday, May 16, 2013 9:37 AM

Therapy Dog Training was nothing like I thought it would be! I say this as a person who has sent off several pups that eventually passed therapy training, but I had never personally gone through it myself.

In general, when selecting a pup for eventual therapy, I was looking for the EXTREMELY QUIET pups. (I'd also tell you the really quiet ones are harder to train than the more energetic pups... but that is an entirely different blog :) They are almost superdogs in that it is hard to even picture a puppy stage with them because they are so calm and composed. They look like pups and certainly have puppy moments, but more often are calm and quiet. Some people may even be asking if I'm describing a Golden Retriever at all, but I promise I am. Two specific dogs that come to mind when I think of this, are Butter (Sugar's mom) and Roku. These dogs were bomb proof from the time they fell out! Nothing bothered them. Noises, people, animals... it was all taken in stride. And, their was something incredibly special about each of these dogs (others of course, but these 2 I know well) and I could see it almost immediately. I had in my mind what exactly I had to have/produce in order to have a "therapy dog."

My thoughts on this have changed (as they always seem to when I have the chance to listen to new people, learn, test theories) because of my experience the past few months.

I was headed into the Nurses station for my oldest son Zach to get a couple of shots. Well, now that he's a teenager he didn't need mom to go with him so I waited outside. Smack dab in the middle of the wall, I see a small framed advertisement from Kaiser asking for volunteers that were interested in having their dog become registered therapy dogs to work in the new West side Kaiser Hospital. Keep in mind, had I not been there exactly when I was, I would never had seen it. So, I jot down the email address.

I know I want to do this! I have seen how animals can change a persons outlook. I have seen it happen over and over again. The thought of being able to go to a hospital and really being able to make a difference seemed like to good of an opportunity to miss! The class we ended up joining was a total of 4 classes, a field trip to PDX Airport, and then a test. The next part was for me to decide which dog should go with me. I started my mental list for the perfect dog.

One by one I started analyzing all parts of each dog and started to eliminate the ones I didn't think could do it (based on my old thoughts). I started with Pebbles who is needing to settle in after Hunt training... nope, I decided. She still really wants birds. She's too young to be a therapy dog. Sonic I thought long and hard about. He really has a decent amount of training behind him and he can be very quiet. Nope, he is in the middle of hunt training and I want him to get his title before I change directions with him. Maple... I thought long and hard about Maple. She is certainly calm. She does very well (sometimes perfect) with any obedience command that would be asked of her for this test, but... it still didn't seem right. That left me with Sugar.

Keep in mind that I LOVE SUGAR!!! I think she is the super dogs of all super dogs! She is the epitome of a dog that can go train forever and love it, but then come home and be the calm family dog. BUT... and this is big... to say she is extremely exuberant when she greets people would be the understatement of the year. She thinks that all people should be her best friend and that she should get to have that love and attention any time a human is within sniffing distance. Just ask anyone who has met Sugar on a visit to my house :) However, Sugar is also the dog with the most obedience training. With much work I tell myself she can do this. I was also encouraged by the fact that she had recently passed Beginner Novice Obedience. Not the end all be all of things, but knowing the way Sugar greeted people, her being able to sit for exam when the judge approached was a phenomenal accomplishment. So, I figured maybe we had hope.

I sent the email asking to participate the last possible day and left my worries about the therapy dog part to the back of my mind. Uh, how was my dog that gets crazy excited to meet people going to calmly accept attention from people that are sick and maybe not ready for that kind of energy? How in the world would that work? I thought about that often, but instead chose to really focus on the fact that it would be an opportunity to listen to the opinion of a different trainer, see what was really expected, and then maybe see if we could cut it. I've also noticed that going to a class would make me stay focused on training. Kaiser was paying for the training and I was then extra accountable. Sounds silly, but it motivates me.

I head to the all day orientation. I'm sitting in a room of 6 people. Dogs in this group are older and 2 of the 6 are guide dog rejects (super calm/never twitched), and I was there with Sugar at a hair over a year and a half. Hmmmm, not looking good, but as always, denial can be a good thing. In fact the trainer singles me out and tells me that she'll be surprised if my dog can do it because goldens really aren't good therapy dogs until they turn 7. Now, my 2nd best form of motivation is to tell me I can't do something... Darn it, Sugar can be a therapy dog!

What I really take away from orientation is any person and any dog can become a therapy dog team. Ugly/pretty, tall/small... it doesn't matter. Everyone has different needs. Most importantly, it was the first time that anyone had told me that I NEEDED TO BE AN ADVOCATE FOR MY DOG. What?!? I will talk about this later, but my perception of therapy was that the dog was there to be handled/used/touched etc. by the person in need. What I had never given thought to before was that not all people would approach my dog in a gentle loving manner. Some people may be rough, mean, loud, aggressive, etc... even if it was unintentional. It was my job to PROTECT my dog. Huh. This was different, but it is also the one reason I believe that we passed with a complex rating and why we will be a successful therapy team.

My original thoughts about a therapy dog were that it really just needed to be quiet and not care about what was going on around them. My job as a handler would be to just make sure that my dog was being good while other people gave her attention. Boy was I wrong!

Our first class with the dogs was really more about being in the same room with other dogs, noise distractions, wheelchairs/skateboards, etc. and also working on greeting another human with a dog (this is a lot like the CGC greeting, but the dog truly cannot have any interest in the other dog and can neither go in front, or look behind the handler.) I immediately formed the plan of asking my dog sit, stay, and then I'd shake hands/greet the other handler/dog. As long as I said stay first, Sugar was a pro. If I forgot that word, she was up with her tail wagging and wanting to meet the handler and her dog.

The Second class, was a surprise! It was set up much like a Rally course, but with some extra obstacles. This was going to be easy for Sugar. Now the added bonus is that since I NEEDED TO ADVOCATE FOR MY DOG, I was encouraged to talk to her or comfort her as needed. Now, Sugar really didn't need it for this, but occasionally if a another dog was on a different part of the course, I could talk to her and get her full attention again. I absolutely loved it because the #1 reason why I love Rally so much is that I can talk to my dog. It helps out my nerves. For the Therapy test, it meant that I didn't need to have a perfectly trained dog. I just needed to be proactive to her needs.

The next step was our outing to the Portland Airport. I was armed with good treats and ready for Sugar's first MAX ride and trip to baggage claim. I want to say she was perfect, or that I was perfect. I'd say both of us were far from it, but the trip was great! Sugar is very outgoing, but let me tell you that when the baggage mover thing started up she thought aliens were about to get us. This was a great reminder to me that just because something is totally normal for me doesn't mean that it is for my dog. Sugar is very well socialized, but obviously that isn't something I can normally produce for her. So I started back.

We worked on things that were easy for her, but new. The revolving doors were interesting and she was curious, but brave. We practiced sitting at the entrance, waiting, and then entering when I asked her to do so. Sometimes we stayed in the revolving door and found that it stopped. So we waited on someone to start it from the outside. We also worked on regular doors. We went up and down elevators. We headed towards the foreign flights. Turns out that Sugar only speaks dog and some English, but once she realized that people with accents still wanted to pet her, she was okay with it :) Once we had been successful at her giving me sufficient attention along the perimeter and doing specific tasks, THEN we headed back to the luggage belt where she sat and watched, talked with people in wheelchairs, and was sidestepped by noisy teenagers. All in all, a successful day of training.

I should also point out that up until this point, in my attempt to be proactive with how I thought Sugar may greet people, I had for the first time in my life used a Halti. It's like a gentle leader. It goes over the nose and attached to her collar. It was incredibly good at making introductions a cinch (later find out why it was a terrible idea) but Sugar was becoming more intolerant of it being on her nose every time we used it. It was getting so bad that often times we would great someone, she would do a cute bow with a paw over the face and come up without it on her nose. What became more noticeable at the airport was that if we spent long amounts of time waiting somewhere, she wanted to find ways to remove it. The Halti became the most distracting thing during training time.

Also included in the class was a 30 minute one on one session with the trainer. We head in and I'm nervous because thats how I get when something is new and right off the bat Sugar starts trying to get the Halti off. I start explaining that this is the ONLY time she wears it. She then introduces me to my new favorite harness. FREEDOM NO PULL HARNESS. Using it was amazing! This harness is much like the Easy Walk Harness (it attaches in front and tightens if the dog pulls), but it is different because it also has a spot on the back to also attach. The hook on the back also tightens if the dog pulls. The beauty of the leash is that the leash hooks to both spots at one time. Most times, I focus mostly on the part of the leash that attaches to the front. When I know a possibly exciting greeting is about to take place, I focus a little extra on the leash on the back and they work simultaneously. Hard to explain, but I promise it was amazing. What this meant though, is that I had to go back and retrain Sugar on greeting someone. The Halti gave me control with no worries. The freedom no-pull gave her back (she thought) her ability to have crazy greetings. So, now I had a collar that she liked, but I had to go back and remind her good manners. I was excited!!!

Our final group class was focused solely on greeting people and greeting a stranger with a dog. Sugar really doesn't care about the dog so much, but again she wants to really say hi to the humans. So it was set up that our class and another therapy class would overlap so that we could greet new people and dogs. It was very common that we loose leash walk to the center of the room, ask the dog to sit, shake hands, and then walk on. Near the end of the class the trainer suddenly tells about this other greeting. Our dog must sit. It must not move towards people. The person would be walking up to our dog (trying to entice it-sweet talking it/eye contact/get it excited) and when they get about 4 feet from us, they walk a circle around us until they come back to standing 4 feet in front of us. Our dog is not allowed to get up/move/approach the person. At this point, the person will ask to pet the dog. I can then approach with my dog and the visit can begin. Holy cow are you kidding me?!? Get me some cement for my dog! What I didn't realize until we were forced to focus on it was that Sugar had a rock solid STAY when I was away from her. That's what we practiced for Obedience. What I never thought about was practicing a STAY when she was next to me. Most often if I start talking to people while holding my dog, I don't expect anything of them. I let them check out. So this was brand new. Stay next to me, while talking... eeesh.

Now comes time for the test. Up to this point, we of course haven't practiced the test, but we have practiced all the exercises. I am incredibly nervous. I have spent the previous week going every possible place with Sugar. We went to other trainers training classes just to have extra dog/human greetings. We went to Home Depot, Pet Stores, everywhere I could think. Since we had just switched the collar I didn't want to leave anything to chance. I wanted to KNOW that my dog would do exactly what I wanted when I asked. So, I did my best to teach her what I wanted and eliminate the possibility of a mistake.

The day before the test was our real last practice. Kaiser was having a media day for the therapy dogs so we got to go and do a hospital visit. Up to this point, our class had been focused on what the dog does. However, a therapy test is judged just as much on the person as the dog. Can you tell when someone needs/wants a visit? Can you safely interact with them/the dog? Can you control the situation if a group of people rush up to your dog? Can you have a conversation with a stranger while they enjoy the dog?

The hospital visit was amazing! We actually got to visit the Cardiac unit. I met a man that was 99yrs old and looked pretty darn young! We had a few people that asked for dogs, but as we walked around the unit many patients asked for visits. Most immediately went to talking about a dog they have/had at home and that they couldn't wait to get back to them. What I didn't also consider was how excited the staff would be to see us. Seeing tail wags seems to bring a wave of relief among the nurses. It was an incredible experience to share my dog with everyone. I know that had I shown up at the hospital to randomly enter rooms I would have been uncomfortable and awkward. I'm also sure the staff would not have had the same reaction :) Something incredible happens when you add a loving dog to that picture. I may never be able to put my finger on what it is, but the fuzzy tail wagging body just begs to be loved and touched and it makes all the human interaction so much easier. I was so proud of her calm behavior. No paws on wheelchairs and no paws on the bed. She seemed to understand that she needed to be quieter and would gently rest her head on the bed near the patients hand.

So now it is test day. I am feeling like we will pass, but I'm unsure we will get the important complex rating. I am very nervous! The great thing about Sugar is that the more nervous I get, the more calm she seems to be getting. Huh? We head into the test room. We get paperwork squared away and Sugar and I make our way around. I am sure to talk and introduce myself to the volunteers. (it was made very clear that it was just as important to interact with the volunteers as it was to pass each test exercise) I feel like its a million degrees, but I am put at ease as I see the different stations and remind myself that going through this test will be a lot like doing a Rally test. I can talk to my dog. I can touch my dog. It really is more about being in control of the situation and being a team, than how perfect my dog is.

I won't talk about all the exercises, but the test begins and they start it with the greeting that I'm freaked out about. Not only does Sugar not move, but she looks at me instead of the other person with this "I got this Mom" kind of look and I almost kissed her right there :) She did great so I breathed a little easier. Loose leash walking was a cinch. Sugar gave me great eye contact and was awesome. After all, that room was not nearly as distracting as being

at a dog show. Our next test that made me nervous was the come when called. Sugar has a pretty darn nice recall, but for the test, you leave the dog in a sit or down stay. Leave the dog. Then one of the volunteers comes to the dog (who still must stay) and starts petting the dog. That is when I must call Sugar and she must leave the love. What golden retriever wants to leave someone giving them attention??? Well, she thought about it and then came :)

The extra interesting/different part of the test was kind of near the end. Again, I had previously thought that the job of a therapy dog was to put up with all sorts of things. That really isn't true. It is my job to be an ADVOCATE FOR MY DOG. During greetings (which happen throughout the test) I was proactive knowing that Sugar would be happy. Before the person had a chance to get her excited, I'd start a conversation with them and let them know that she really loved to lick :) It would ease us into conversation and I could hold her collar until I could tell how much love they really wanted from my dog. If a group approached, rather than overwhelming her with 10 sets of hands, I asked that some of them wait so that everyone had a turn. That way she is not getting over excited and I have less people to watch. We were careful about placement around wheel chairs to protect paws, etc. The very last question was going to be "can I hug your dog?" I'm thinking to myself that of course Sugar is nice so its fine, but in real life I don't want people approaching my dog and sticking their face next to hers. Just doesn't seem safe no matter how nice to the dog is. So, my answer to her was that Sugar loves to be loved and could she start petting her here? (me demonstrating how on her back) It was a diversion that still let them interact with the dog, but kept everyone out of a potentially bad situation.

I think I have rambled on and on, but I guess what I wanted to point out is that many different types of temperaments really have the ability to become wonderful therapy dogs IF you as the handler can manage their weaknesses and play up their strengths. I completely understand why the therapy team is judged and why it is the same pair. I imagine that if I sent a stranger in with my dog they may have completely different results than I have with her. Know your dog. Train them. Love them. They will give you more back than you can possible imagine :)

Often times I'm hearing that people are having a hard time with greetings/leash training because people are approaching their dog when they shouldn't be. To this I'd now say ADVOCATE FOR YOUR DOG! I had truly not given it much thought before. Don't be passive! It is your dog and only you should decide how and when it should be handled.

You can choose if someone touches them.

You can choose where or how.

You can choose how your dog must behave when receiving attention.

YOU THE HANDLER CONTROLS ALL OF THIS.

If you have interest in Therapy training please contact me and I will pass along the information. You can do it a couple different ways. You can do a class and then test like I did, or you can just find places that offer the test. I'd love to help you get started!

THERAPY DOG TRAINING... WHAT I LEARNED post 41 from old blog

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

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Therapy Dog Training... What I learned

Trisha: Posted on Thursday, May 16, 2013 9:37 AM

Therapy Dog Training was nothing like I thought it would be! I say this as a person who has sent off several pups that eventually passed therapy training, but I had never personally gone through it myself.

In general, when selecting a pup for eventual therapy, I was looking for the EXTREMELY QUIET pups. (I'd also tell you the really quiet ones are harder to train than the more energetic pups... but that is an entirely different blog :) They are almost superdogs in that it is hard to even picture a puppy stage with them because they are so calm and composed. They look like pups and certainly have puppy moments, but more often are calm and quiet. Some people may even be asking if I'm describing a Golden Retriever at all, but I promise I am. Two specific dogs that come to mind when I think of this, are Butter (Sugar's mom) and Roku. These dogs were bomb proof from the time they fell out! Nothing bothered them. Noises, people, animals... it was all taken in stride. And, their was something incredibly special about each of these dogs (others of course, but these 2 I know well) and I could see it almost immediately. I had in my mind what exactly I had to have/produce in order to have a "therapy dog."

My thoughts on this have changed (as they always seem to when I have the chance to listen to new people, learn, test theories) because of my experience the past few months.

I was headed into the Nurses station for my oldest son Zach to get a couple of shots. Well, now that he's a teenager he didn't need mom to go with him so I waited outside. Smack dab in the middle of the wall, I see a small framed advertisement from Kaiser asking for volunteers that were interested in having their dog become registered therapy dogs to work in the new West side Kaiser Hospital. Keep in mind, had I not been there exactly when I was, I would never had seen it. So, I jot down the email address.

I know I want to do this! I have seen how animals can change a persons outlook. I have seen it happen over and over again. The thought of being able to go to a hospital and really being able to make a difference seemed like to good of an opportunity to miss! The class we ended up joining was a total of 4 classes, a field trip to PDX Airport, and then a test. The next part was for me to decide which dog should go with me. I started my mental list for the perfect dog.

One by one I started analyzing all parts of each dog and started to eliminate the ones I didn't think could do it (based on my old thoughts). I started with Pebbles who is needing to settle in after Hunt training... nope, I decided. She still really wants birds. She's too young to be a therapy dog. Sonic I thought long and hard about. He really has a decent amount of training behind him and he can be very quiet. Nope, he is in the middle of hunt training and I want him to get his title before I change directions with him. Maple... I thought long and hard about Maple. She is certainly calm. She does very well (sometimes perfect) with any obedience command that would be asked of her for this test, but... it still didn't seem right. That left me with Sugar.

Keep in mind that I LOVE SUGAR!!! I think she is the super dogs of all super dogs! She is the epitome of a dog that can go train forever and love it, but then come home and be the calm family dog. BUT... and this is big... to say she is extremely exuberant when she greets people would be the understatement of the year. She thinks that all people should be her best friend and that she should get to have that love and attention any time a human is within sniffing distance. Just ask anyone who has met Sugar on a visit to my house :) However, Sugar is also the dog with the most obedience training. With much work I tell myself she can do this. I was also encouraged by the fact that she had recently passed Beginner Novice Obedience. Not the end all be all of things, but knowing the way Sugar greeted people, her being able to sit for exam when the judge approached was a phenomenal accomplishment. So, I figured maybe we had hope.

I sent the email asking to participate the last possible day and left my worries about the therapy dog part to the back of my mind. Uh, how was my dog that gets crazy excited to meet people going to calmly accept attention from people that are sick and maybe not ready for that kind of energy? How in the world would that work? I thought about that often, but instead chose to really focus on the fact that it would be an opportunity to listen to the opinion of a different trainer, see what was really expected, and then maybe see if we could cut it. I've also noticed that going to a class would make me stay focused on training. Kaiser was paying for the training and I was then extra accountable. Sounds silly, but it motivates me.

I head to the all day orientation. I'm sitting in a room of 6 people. Dogs in this group are older and 2 of the 6 are guide dog rejects (super calm/never twitched), and I was there with Sugar at a hair over a year and a half. Hmmmm, not looking good, but as always, denial can be a good thing. In fact the trainer singles me out and tells me that she'll be surprised if my dog can do it because goldens really aren't good therapy dogs until they turn 7. Now, my 2nd best form of motivation is to tell me I can't do something... Darn it, Sugar can be a therapy dog!

What I really take away from orientation is any person and any dog can become a therapy dog team. Ugly/pretty, tall/small... it doesn't matter. Everyone has different needs. Most importantly, it was the first time that anyone had told me that I NEEDED TO BE AN ADVOCATE FOR MY DOG. What?!? I will talk about this later, but my perception of therapy was that the dog was there to be handled/used/touched etc. by the person in need. What I had never given thought to before was that not all people would approach my dog in a gentle loving manner. Some people may be rough, mean, loud, aggressive, etc... even if it was unintentional. It was my job to PROTECT my dog. Huh. This was different, but it is also the one reason I believe that we passed with a complex rating and why we will be a successful therapy team.

My original thoughts about a therapy dog were that it really just needed to be quiet and not care about what was going on around them. My job as a handler would be to just make sure that my dog was being good while other people gave her attention. Boy was I wrong!

Our first class with the dogs was really more about being in the same room with other dogs, noise distractions, wheelchairs/skateboards, etc. and also working on greeting another human with a dog (this is a lot like the CGC greeting, but the dog truly cannot have any interest in the other dog and can neither go in front, or look behind the handler.) I immediately formed the plan of asking my dog sit, stay, and then I'd shake hands/greet the other handler/dog. As long as I said stay first, Sugar was a pro. If I forgot that word, she was up with her tail wagging and wanting to meet the handler and her dog.

The Second class, was a surprise! It was set up much like a Rally course, but with some extra obstacles. This was going to be easy for Sugar. Now the added bonus is that since I NEEDED TO ADVOCATE FOR MY DOG, I was encouraged to talk to her or comfort her as needed. Now, Sugar really didn't need it for this, but occasionally if a another dog was on a different part of the course, I could talk to her and get her full attention again. I absolutely loved it because the #1 reason why I love Rally so much is that I can talk to my dog. It helps out my nerves. For the Therapy test, it meant that I didn't need to have a perfectly trained dog. I just needed to be proactive to her needs.

The next step was our outing to the Portland Airport. I was armed with good treats and ready for Sugar's first MAX ride and trip to baggage claim. I want to say she was perfect, or that I was perfect. I'd say both of us were far from it, but the trip was great! Sugar is very outgoing, but let me tell you that when the baggage mover thing started up she thought aliens were about to get us. This was a great reminder to me that just because something is totally normal for me doesn't mean that it is for my dog. Sugar is very well socialized, but obviously that isn't something I can normally produce for her. So I started back.

We worked on things that were easy for her, but new. The revolving doors were interesting and she was curious, but brave. We practiced sitting at the entrance, waiting, and then entering when I asked her to do so. Sometimes we stayed in the revolving door and found that it stopped. So we waited on someone to start it from the outside. We also worked on regular doors. We went up and down elevators. We headed towards the foreign flights. Turns out that Sugar only speaks dog and some English, but once she realized that people with accents still wanted to pet her, she was okay with it :) Once we had been successful at her giving me sufficient attention along the perimeter and doing specific tasks, THEN we headed back to the luggage belt where she sat and watched, talked with people in wheelchairs, and was sidestepped by noisy teenagers. All in all, a successful day of training.

I should also point out that up until this point, in my attempt to be proactive with how I thought Sugar may greet people, I had for the first time in my life used a Halti. It's like a gentle leader. It goes over the nose and attached to her collar. It was incredibly good at making introductions a cinch (later find out why it was a terrible idea) but Sugar was becoming more intolerant of it being on her nose every time we used it. It was getting so bad that often times we would great someone, she would do a cute bow with a paw over the face and come up without it on her nose. What became more noticeable at the airport was that if we spent long amounts of time waiting somewhere, she wanted to find ways to remove it. The Halti became the most distracting thing during training time.

Also included in the class was a 30 minute one on one session with the trainer. We head in and I'm nervous because thats how I get when something is new and right off the bat Sugar starts trying to get the Halti off. I start explaining that this is the ONLY time she wears it. She then introduces me to my new favorite harness. FREEDOM NO PULL HARNESS. Using it was amazing! This harness is much like the Easy Walk Harness (it attaches in front and tightens if the dog pulls), but it is different because it also has a spot on the back to also attach. The hook on the back also tightens if the dog pulls. The beauty of the leash is that the leash hooks to both spots at one time. Most times, I focus mostly on the part of the leash that attaches to the front. When I know a possibly exciting greeting is about to take place, I focus a little extra on the leash on the back and they work simultaneously. Hard to explain, but I promise it was amazing. What this meant though, is that I had to go back and retrain Sugar on greeting someone. The Halti gave me control with no worries. The freedom no-pull gave her back (she thought) her ability to have crazy greetings. So, now I had a collar that she liked, but I had to go back and remind her good manners. I was excited!!!

Our final group class was focused solely on greeting people and greeting a stranger with a dog. Sugar really doesn't care about the dog so much, but again she wants to really say hi to the humans. So it was set up that our class and another therapy class would overlap so that we could greet new people and dogs. It was very common that we loose leash walk to the center of the room, ask the dog to sit, shake hands, and then walk on. Near the end of the class the trainer suddenly tells about this other greeting. Our dog must sit. It must not move towards people. The person would be walking up to our dog (trying to entice it-sweet talking it/eye contact/get it excited) and when they get about 4 feet from us, they walk a circle around us until they come back to standing 4 feet in front of us. Our dog is not allowed to get up/move/approach the person. At this point, the person will ask to pet the dog. I can then approach with my dog and the visit can begin. Holy cow are you kidding me?!? Get me some cement for my dog! What I didn't realize until we were forced to focus on it was that Sugar had a rock solid STAY when I was away from her. That's what we practiced for Obedience. What I never thought about was practicing a STAY when she was next to me. Most often if I start talking to people while holding my dog, I don't expect anything of them. I let them check out. So this was brand new. Stay next to me, while talking... eeesh.

Now comes time for the test. Up to this point, we of course haven't practiced the test, but we have practiced all the exercises. I am incredibly nervous. I have spent the previous week going every possible place with Sugar. We went to other trainers training classes just to have extra dog/human greetings. We went to Home Depot, Pet Stores, everywhere I could think. Since we had just switched the collar I didn't want to leave anything to chance. I wanted to KNOW that my dog would do exactly what I wanted when I asked. So, I did my best to teach her what I wanted and eliminate the possibility of a mistake.

The day before the test was our real last practice. Kaiser was having a media day for the therapy dogs so we got to go and do a hospital visit. Up to this point, our class had been focused on what the dog does. However, a therapy test is judged just as much on the person as the dog. Can you tell when someone needs/wants a visit? Can you safely interact with them/the dog? Can you control the situation if a group of people rush up to your dog? Can you have a conversation with a stranger while they enjoy the dog?

The hospital visit was amazing! We actually got to visit the Cardiac unit. I met a man that was 99yrs old and looked pretty darn young! We had a few people that asked for dogs, but as we walked around the unit many patients asked for visits. Most immediately went to talking about a dog they have/had at home and that they couldn't wait to get back to them. What I didn't also consider was how excited the staff would be to see us. Seeing tail wags seems to bring a wave of relief among the nurses. It was an incredible experience to share my dog with everyone. I know that had I shown up at the hospital to randomly enter rooms I would have been uncomfortable and awkward. I'm also sure the staff would not have had the same reaction :) Something incredible happens when you add a loving dog to that picture. I may never be able to put my finger on what it is, but the fuzzy tail wagging body just begs to be loved and touched and it makes all the human interaction so much easier. I was so proud of her calm behavior. No paws on wheelchairs and no paws on the bed. She seemed to understand that she needed to be quieter and would gently rest her head on the bed near the patients hand.

So now it is test day. I am feeling like we will pass, but I'm unsure we will get the important complex rating. I am very nervous! The great thing about Sugar is that the more nervous I get, the more calm she seems to be getting. Huh? We head into the test room. We get paperwork squared away and Sugar and I make our way around. I am sure to talk and introduce myself to the volunteers. (it was made very clear that it was just as important to interact with the volunteers as it was to pass each test exercise) I feel like its a million degrees, but I am put at ease as I see the different stations and remind myself that going through this test will be a lot like doing a Rally test. I can talk to my dog. I can touch my dog. It really is more about being in control of the situation and being a team, than how perfect my dog is.

I won't talk about all the exercises, but the test begins and they start it with the greeting that I'm freaked out about. Not only does Sugar not move, but she looks at me instead of the other person with this "I got this Mom" kind of look and I almost kissed her right there :) She did great so I breathed a little easier. Loose leash walking was a cinch. Sugar gave me great eye contact and was awesome. After all, that room was not nearly as distracting as being

at a dog show. Our next test that made me nervous was the come when called. Sugar has a pretty darn nice recall, but for the test, you leave the dog in a sit or down stay. Leave the dog. Then one of the volunteers comes to the dog (who still must stay) and starts petting the dog. That is when I must call Sugar and she must leave the love. What golden retriever wants to leave someone giving them attention??? Well, she thought about it and then came :)

The extra interesting/different part of the test was kind of near the end. Again, I had previously thought that the job of a therapy dog was to put up with all sorts of things. That really isn't true. It is my job to be an ADVOCATE FOR MY DOG. During greetings (which happen throughout the test) I was proactive knowing that Sugar would be happy. Before the person had a chance to get her excited, I'd start a conversation with them and let them know that she really loved to lick :) It would ease us into conversation and I could hold her collar until I could tell how much love they really wanted from my dog. If a group approached, rather than overwhelming her with 10 sets of hands, I asked that some of them wait so that everyone had a turn. That way she is not getting over excited and I have less people to watch. We were careful about placement around wheel chairs to protect paws, etc. The very last question was going to be "can I hug your dog?" I'm thinking to myself that of course Sugar is nice so its fine, but in real life I don't want people approaching my dog and sticking their face next to hers. Just doesn't seem safe no matter how nice to the dog is. So, my answer to her was that Sugar loves to be loved and could she start petting her here? (me demonstrating how on her back) It was a diversion that still let them interact with the dog, but kept everyone out of a potentially bad situation.

I think I have rambled on and on, but I guess what I wanted to point out is that many different types of temperaments really have the ability to become wonderful therapy dogs IF you as the handler can manage their weaknesses and play up their strengths. I completely understand why the therapy team is judged and why it is the same pair. I imagine that if I sent a stranger in with my dog they may have completely different results than I have with her. Know your dog. Train them. Love them. They will give you more back than you can possible imagine :)

Often times I'm hearing that people are having a hard time with greetings/leash training because people are approaching their dog when they shouldn't be. To this I'd now say ADVOCATE FOR YOUR DOG! I had truly not given it much thought before. Don't be passive! It is your dog and only you should decide how and when it should be handled.

You can choose if someone touches them.

You can choose where or how.

You can choose how your dog must behave when receiving attention.

YOU THE HANDLER CONTROLS ALL OF THIS.

If you have interest in Therapy training please contact me and I will pass along the information. You can do it a couple different ways. You can do a class and then test like I did, or you can just find places that offer the test. I'd love to help you get started!

General Puppy training and also ringing the bell for potty training Post 40 old blog

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Bell Ringing and General Puppy training tips

trisha: Posted on Tuesday, April 09, 2013 11:54 AM

The following blog is instructions that I sent home with a dog that came for training. She was a Golden, butnot my breeding. I don't typically take dogs from other kennels, but it was a great experience! If you read this and find things you have questions regarding your own dog let me know! The following information deals mainly with POTTY TRAINING (ringing bells to go outside), EYE CONTACT (attention to the owner), SOCIALIZATION, GOODGROOMING HABITS, and LOOSE LEASH WALKING.

…..................................................................................................................................................................

Thank you so much for allowing me to work with your pup for the past few weeks. She was fantastic! I saythat in that she is a wonderful combination of Golden Retriever,adolescent, and infant... as nearly all golden pups are :)

This past week we worked on several things. The rest of the email is meant as a guideline for you to continue what I started with her. If you have any questions please feel free to ask! I am also forwarding this email to _________ as I imagine you will continue to work with her from here on out.

Rule#1 DO NOT LEAVE A PUPPY UNATTENDED IN THE HOUSE

This is a rule for all of my dogs until they have earned my trust. ESPECIALLY when they are young! You need to know where she is at all times. If she cannot be watched, or you do not know what she is doing, she needs to be in a crate, on leash attached to a family member, or let outside to play.

In the case of you potty training her, you are breaking a bad habit. She learned since birth that the house was the place to potty. I have broken that cycle for almost 3weeks. For her to be successful you need to continue being very diligent in this area. Set her up for success.

RULE#2 MAKE HER WORK FOR EVERYTHING

If she wants a treat, her food, to play- ANYTHING, she must do something for you. Ask for a sit, or some eye contact, or a down... It will both build your bond with her and teach/engage her mind.

RULE#3 DON'T REWARD JUNK

When you are teaching something new,it is excellent to reward often. Once she understands what she needsto do you can only reward when it is done exactly as you want. When a behavior is perfect, then stop rewarding with food as often (but always reward with something... play, toy, etc).

RULE#4 REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Above all, have expectations that reflect the amount of effort that you put in training your dog,situations that you've asked your dog to work in, and the age of your dog.

READ RULE #4 AGAIN :)

POTTY TRAINING AT YOUR HOUSE

Gracie understands the bell. She understands it lets her out every time she rings it. She also knows that if it isn't loud enough she must ring again. She has been offering this behavior on her own for almost 2 full days now. Thatis an excellent sign! Whether she is ringing to go potty or she wants out to play I really don't care. I have still only had 1 accident with her and 0 since she started ringing the bell (see rule#1).

How do you show her that a bell ringing also opens a door at your house? Remember that last time she was at home she was allowed to have accidents. That is why it is so important that she be supervised all the time right now!

Start with 1 door/the main one she will be going in and out of.

Attach bells

Have AWESOME TREATS READY!!! (my treats included STEAK, CHEESE, HOTDOGS and HAM)

Stand a few feet away from the door and look at the bells, not the dog. She is excellent at this and within a few seconds should ring the bell with her nose. (I donot treat ring for feet since I don't want her to jump OR for her tail/body hitting it by accident)

ONCE SHE RINGS IT HAVE A PARTY! While I was training, she would ring and I'd mark the behavior with a “yes” and we'd go out and play fetch, give belly rubs,and get lots of wonderful treats. The first few days she is home DO THIS EXERCISE OFTEN! If you can, do it every time she switches an activity. By this I mean that if she is laying quietly and then gets up to sniff... go to the door and let her ring. If shehas been your shadow and suddenly gets very distracted and starts to sniff... to the door and let her ring. If you or the family are playing with her and then stop... go to the door and let her ring. After she eats or drinks or wakes up from a nap... go to the door. Make sense? I know it is repetitive, but it is so important for making sure she understands that YOUR house is not where she potties.

MAKE AS MANY GOOD THINGS HAPPEN OUTSIDE AS YOU CAN (for now:) I do not feed or water my puppies in my house. Bladders are small. I'd much rather they walk outside. Drink water/eat and then when they feel the urge the green bathroom is already near their feet.

LIMIT HER AREA until she proves she is ready for more space. Obviously this depends some on the layout of your house, BUT HELP HER BE SUCCESSFUL! Close bedroom doors and block off areas with extra rooms. This will not only help her in finding the door, but it will also keep her in the minds of your family members because she will be nearer to where they are hanging out.

If you are diligent with this for the next few days she WILL offer the ringing on her own. SHE GETS AMAZING THINGS WHEN SHE DOES IT and she will continue to remember that as you show her the same rewards.

EYE CONTACT

I started with eye contact because I think its the most important thing you will ever teach your dog. Ifthe dog cannot find your eyes, it cannot possibly be listening to you. I do not expect her to do anything unless we have made eye contact. Would you ask your kids to do something with headphones blaring? It's the same thing. Make sure you have her attention before you ask for her to work. I will show you some things to do with her when you pick her up.

LOOSE LEASH WALKING

Eye contact is a big one for me on this. When training for Loose Leash Walking GIVE YOUR DOG 100% ofyour attention. If you can't, don't expect her not to pull :)

START WITH NO DISTRACTIONS FOR YOU AND THE DOG. No cell phones. No small kids, etc.

Every time she looks at you(EVERY TIME!!!) she gets a treat. In order for you to see it, you need to be constantly looking at her. Again this doesn't go on forever. But it does need to happen until she understands that by your side good things happen. If you constantly reward her for being by you she has no reason to want to be any where else. This is an excellent way for her to learn to be in tune with you whichreally is the goal.

Have realistic expectations! If you aren't paying attention to her, don't expect her to pay attention to you. She is a puppy :) She will not have different habits until she is consistently taught new habits and then they are positively reinforced (treat/praise)

GROOMING

Getting her to like this since she was not handled in this way as a puppy is a matter of you spending time with her. I will tell you I clipped both front paws yesterday with no fight, no restraint... just a happy puppy sitting on my lap. She has been pretty good about putting meds inand cleaning her ears.

SETTLING/BEING QUIET IN THE HOUSE

I really like to call these the same thing. You can approach this one of 2 ways. #1 is the goal... to give her a bed/mat that she knows is hers and when you send her there she stays put and is quiet and calm. #2 EXPECT HER TO RELAX AND QUIETLY ENTERTAIN HERSELF IN A CERTAIN AREA. At my house, I asked her to stay in the living room. It is where the majority of our family spends the majority of their time. I started by leashing her. This is helping for a couple reasons. First, she doesn't know“stay” yet, so she only has about a 6 foot area that she can roam. Second, that fits in great to RULE #1... if she is on leash she is not sniffing and pottying in your house :)

While I'm asking her to stay in this area I am also giving her something to do/think about.

Have a few good options and rotate them. Some examples of good options (which I'm sending home with you) Kong stuffed with goodies she likes. Tasty bone.Chew toys.

This IS NOT the time to play andrough house with her. You want to give her things that allow her to self entertain, but be focused on what you choose, not what shechooses.

Everything in this email up to this point is super important for the first few days/weeks she is home. I can't tell you enough that if you spend time and effort for the next 4-6 months training your dog that it will not only change your experience with her, but the relationship that she has with your family. You WILL get exactly what you put into it with this dog. She is smart and willing and WANTS to please! More importantly,she'd sacrifice her body for a good piece of steak :) That translates into a very trainable dog if you're willing to show her. I truly believe that she wants to make you happy. In fact, I think it makes her day!

As time passes, you will get to be less strict with the above list. Some of that is because you will train and she will continue to learn. Some of it is because she is also going to get older. Please remember to have age appropriate expectations. Allow her to do her puppy frolic around the house when she first enters. After a minute or two she will settle down. Ifshe doesn't that is when you ask her to “her spot” to settle down and enjoy a bone. OR it is also a wonderful opportunity to work on training... let her naturally burn her energy working for you.

Even though she is an older pup,continue taking her out to meet new dogs and see new things. She hasbeen everywhere with me these past few weeks. She loves and does well in the car now. She jumps in and out of my van. She has been to pet stores, construction sites, training classes, and a dog show. Those are varying ranges of stimulation for her, but she tackled the mall. The more you do that with her, the better adult dog you willhave. The pet stores were relatively quiet so I asked her for sits and downs and to be relatively close on leash. The dog show had hundreds of dogs running about and lots of noise/people... There I asked her to remain by me and praised her for eye contact and when she offered a sit or down. I was extremely happy when she relaxed on her own.

SUPER IMPORTANT FOR ALL TRAINING!

Start your training in your home or back yard or somewhere she feels completely safe. When she can perform the task PERFECTLY then it is reasonable to take her to a new location and ask for the same behavior. If she can't, find a placewith less distractions and work your way back until she can do all her commands out and about. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DOG. She will tell you when she is ready to move on to something more difficult.

I'm sure I've not covered everything,but please feel free to ask questions.

Thank you so much for sharing Gracie with my family!

Trisha

That was the end of my email and certainly this is not how I started all of these excercises. IF YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW HOW I STARTED TRAINING FOR ANYTHING LISTED HERE, SEND ME AN EMAIL AND I WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS DIRECTLY.

HAPPY TRAINING!

 

 

post39

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Butter I could type for hours about and still not say enough things. She is perfect... to me. And, usually to those that meet her. She is beautiful and smart. Her mom is Shasta, she is a full sister to Boo the Service Dog. She is really what I think anyone who wanted the ultimate pet would look for. She is happy playing and also relaxing. I don't want to repeat what has already been said about her... She is a show Champion and has already earned her CGC, but I had stopped training with her until the past few weeks. She seemed bored with it until recently. So I am hoping her blog area will talk about motivating a calm dog and getting attention at dog shows and high stress places. I'd really love for her to earn an AKC Rally Title and maybe a Beginner Novice Obedience Title.

post 38

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Blitz

trisha: Posted on Friday, October 01, 2010 10:04 AM

blitz sunset goldens, sunset goldens of oregon, puppies, golden retriever puppies, service dogs, golden retriever puppy, sunset HHF, AKC Rally, AKC Obedience, AKC Hunt Tests, Golden Retriever Oregon, Golden Retriever Washington, Golden Retriever Blitz is one of the newer dogs we have, but his lines are not. His mother is a full sister from the same litter as Shasta. His Father was the #5 dog in the nation for UKC Conformation in 2008 and also holds an AKC Rally Title and his CGC. His Grandfather is Promises dad. So given this, I am expecting him to be quite a wonderful performance dog.

He presents many problems in that I purchased him at 1 1/2 years old and he has many bad habits... He pulls on the leash, little to no eye contact, and he listens well in the house and not so much in distracting areas. His blog area will likely follow many ups and downs as I experiment with different treats/toys in an attempt to help him realize that the person at the end of the leash matters. My belief is that under his habits is a very willing and smart dog.

post 37

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

 

trisha: Posted on Friday, October 01, 2010 7:39 AM

promises sunset goldens, sunset goldens of oregon, puppies, golden retriever puppies, service dogs, golden retriever puppy, sunset HHF, AKC Rally, AKC Obedience, AKC Hunt Tests, Golden Retriever Oregon, Golden Retriever Washington, Golden Retriever Promise is seriously a wonder dog. I half expect her to pull out a cape somewhere in all of this. She had a wonderful start to training and she just gets better and better with each day. Sometimes she is almost too smart as she will self correct in an effort to please me. She has endless energy. The great thing is that her willingness to please is not based on food or toys. She simply wants to please me.

To this point, she is undefeated in Rally through earning her Rally Novice Title and the first 2 legs of her Rally Advanced title. And as of last Tuesday about 9/28/10 (I think) we started on Agility. It was so much fun! She started on jumping games and doing tunnel work.

I haven't added it to my link page yet, but if you need dog training in the Salem area, please visit http://www.mydoggym.com. They offer darn near any class. I am obviously doing the agility there now, but previously went for a few Rally practice days. The first explained the basics of Rally and then the other days I went we just did tons of courses. Gotta love repitition!!!

 

post 36

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

uppy Info

trisha: Posted on Friday, October 01, 2010 11:22 AM

sunset goldens, sunset goldens of oregon, puppies, golden retriever puppies, service dogs, golden retriever puppy, sunset HHF, AKC Rally, AKC Obedience, AKC Hunt Tests, Golden Retriever Oregon, Golden Retriever Washington, Golden Retriever I wasn't going to add this section, but I just had an instance myself where a person was less than honest when I was trying to purchase a dog. I was not allowed to see the full litter, the parents, or the pedigrees or registration. That raises many red flags to me as a buyer. So the following are a few basic guidelines to follow and watch out for.

I want to make it clear that while I do breed my dogs, I take the training, temperment, and their health very seriously. I make a great effort to produce quality dogs that are extremely smart and able to do many jobs and be successful when called upon. I don't think that dogs should just be bred to be bred. If you are puppy searching, ask the breeder, "Why did you breed for this litter? What qualities made you want to reproduce and what qualities need improvement?"

Any dog that is of breeding age should have been able to accomplish something that would make it worthwhile to breed to. A person wanting to breed shouldn't do so because they like their pet, or want to have puppies a couple of times. Not Good Enough! Things to be considered are the health of the dog and testing! Plus how do you prove consistent behavior in an untested animal if its bred at a young age? This is where pedigrees are important.

Also, be wary if a breeder won't discuss both the good and not as good qualities about their dogs. NO DOG IS PERFECT. They all have different personalities, motivations, and tendencies. This is what makes a dog fit well with one family, but not another. I absolutely love my dogs and think they are the greatest, but I can also tell you frontwards and backwards everything about them and if they can do the job you want them to do or not. Also, be realistic in what you are expecting from your new dog.

This topic today has gone very different from what I started out. But since I'm on it, when looking for a new pup PLEASE check out the paperwork and the parents in detail. Make sure you are getting the AKC paperwork you are expecting. Make sure the testing results have the matching microchip number on them from the dog. This is so important. If they don't have it, DO NOT assume it is coming or accurate when it gets there. A reputable breeder has this and loads more of information available and on hand when you visit. After all, when buying a quality dog, you are of course looking for the initial look and temperament that you want, but also you are paying for knowledge of the breeder plus confirmed knowledge about lineage and health from many past generations.

You may view pedigrees of my dogs by visiting www.k9data.com and typing in the registered name. Health info is also usually listed on each pedigree. I always have current pedigrees and health certificates on site to view as should all breeders and my dogs are available to view, pet, and play with as to help get an accurate feel for each dogs temperment.

PEBBLES CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE POST 35 FROM OLD BLOG

Posted on May 29, 2015 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

unt Test Story...

trisha: Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 2:34 PM

I imagine I will ramble as I write this, but I just can't help it! It has now been a week since I packed up Pebbles, my 12yr old son and my 4 month old baby and we headed off to Suisun City, CA (yep, I'd never heard of it either). It is about 650 miles from home. The reason for this trip was for a Hunt Test. Pebbles needed 1 more for her title and I think I was determined to a fault that she get it this year.

If I'm being honest, about 2 days before we left I really started to panic. What if the dog wasn't good enough? What if I wasn't good enough? What if the car breaks down? What if I spent all this money and time on this trip and we still didn't get the title?

I was still having some of those thoughts as I was driving there. But in general I was happy to be off and see where this little adventure took us. Some great parting words by my husband were, "don't worry about what the dog does- just enjoy having fun with Zach." Those were fantastic words to live by, but hard to totally appreciate as I was fully aware that I wouldn't have been going on this trip if Pebbles didn't need this title so the pressure was there regardless.

The trip down was long! We arrived around 2am on Saturday and I was so tired. Had it not been for a rolled down window, loud radio, and some mighty good sunflower seeds I may not have made it! We took the necessities up to our room. I pottied and fed the dog and we crashed.

The next morning came early after our long trip, but Pebbles was waiting at the side of my bed with a bumper (which I know I had put away in a bag before I went to bed :) and she was excited so I started moving. I tried to remember all the things I was supposed to do to make sure she was ready. My list of things included potty, a quick obedience/heel reminder, a few fun bumpers, and to relax :)

For the first time this summer, the hunt test was actually convenient! We were staying in Fairfield and Suisun City was only about 10 minutes away. The grounds were beautiful and I believe the sole purpose of them was for dog training. (I won't get into east and west because that would be a really funny story) To one side were windmills that were to numerous to count. In the other direction was a Military base and town. I was admiring the location until it occurred to me that Pebbles had never seen one of those huge windmills before.

I started to look for my test and realized that as huge as this place was, we better get out and do some bumpers. I was nervous, she was excited so we better blow off some steam. I found a wonderful spot. It had tall grass, short grass, grass of various colors, and a little bit of wet marshy stuff. I get out my bumpers to play with my dog. I throw the first bumper. I send her. She of course is a pro for this type of thing and I'm smiling to myself. She returns the bumper and I grab the collar. The collar came off! It broke right there! Do you think I had an extra collar???? NOPE! I had a bazillion different leashes, but only the collar that was on her. Inside I was panicking a little, but we still played with the bumpers and she was having fun.

I decide that we need to head into town real quick and I'll just find a cheap collar. On my way out I pass by a lady I'd talked to when I first entered and when she noticed me leaving we talked about why. She was so amazing and immediately jumped to the back of her truck and found me an extra collar. Let me just take a minute to say that so far my experience at hunt tests, though limited, has been absolutely amazing! The people have been so friendly and supportive. That may change in the upper levels, but doing the Junior hunt tests has just been really probably the best overall experience I've had with my dogs. Didn't matter if I was there to watch my dog, or to actually run her. So that part has been amazing!

I, of course was early, but I was feeling prepared. People were filling in and I was checked in and ready. The test was set and we all head out to watch the test dog. In theory, it wasn't looking that hard, but there was 2 large ditches/streams the dogs had to run through before they got to the bird. Bird 1 was live. Bird 2 was hand thrown (first time I'd seen that. They usually are in a slingshot type thing). I was nervous for bird 2 because the kid wasn't throwing it high, and bla bla bla... I was just nervous! Plus the test dog went on for awhile trying to find it.

I head back to the car and text Adrienne for the first of many times this day. Now, I'm thinking to myself that ordinarily these birds would be cake for Pebbles, but a few weeks prior to this weekend, I'd randomly decided to take her to Mesa, WA for a hunt test and it didn't go well. And I didn't know why. So that added a little uncertainty to everything.

Anyways, we were dog #8 and so I got her out fairly quickly. One of the things I was trying to correct from our previous outing was that I felt rushed through the holding blinds. The other dogs in front at the other test weren't ready so they made me go sooner. Technically shouldn't matter, but if I'm trying to come up with a cause, Pebbles had to go from a potty break to almost immediately on the line. I wanted to avoid that this time. In other words, she needed to be amped up a little. So after the first dog, I pull her out of her crate and we wait behind cars (I'm told that she can't see any other dogs birds, or she may mark from the wrong spot). With each gunshot she is getting a little more excited and we move a little closer each time.

There are 3 holding blinds to wait in before you get to the line, and I was definitely more nervous, but it was changing to excitement. Pebbles was now trying to cheat to see the birds, but she was great. I then start talking to her. I know this sounds silly, but I really think that dog can understand English. Really! So I start telling her, "Pebbles, that first bird is quite a ways out. Go all the way until the grass changes color, but before the really tall stuff. Okay? Good girl. Good girl. Your so perfect :) Now that 2nd bird won't be very high so watch good. (Moving up to the last blind...) Good Pebbles..."

We head to the line and for the first time this summer I see the guy holding the live bird right in front of the blind. Pebbles is watching the dang thing flap and make noise. Needless to say, lining her up for this bird was easy getting a sit was not. I could have sworn all the other tests that the bird people were staying behind the blind, but whatever. Didn't matter now. I signal that we are ready and hold on tight! I send her and she takes off! I'm super excited as she blasts through the water and straight to her first bird. I whistle for her to come back. She's a total pro. She sits. I take the bird in a very obnoxious 2 handed grab and hand it to the judge. We line up for the second bird. "Good girl Pebbles. You're doing so good. Please mark." I signal to the judge and she immediately locks in the duck call and I send her. Again, to my nervous delight she heads straight to the second bird. I am totally elated! But, I'm trying to stay calm and I'm whistling and talking to her as she brings back the bird. Again she sits and I do the 2 handed grab. I hand it to the judge and the judge tells me, "it's okay now. You can breathe." So clearly I may have been noticeably nervous, but I was super excited and really glad my dog made it through the first two birds. We headed back to the car. I could now breathe, enjoy my kids (my wonderful son had put the baby to sleep while I was doing all that), and watch the other dogs. It was painfully obvious as I watched that when the other people would grab for the birds it was this graceful one handed thing. Just a simple grab and hand it to the judge. I know for a fact that it wasn't what it looked like when I was doing it, but whatever. She got the bird :)

I was now thinking ahead to where the 2nd part of the test would be held. After 35 more dogs went I was ready to move on. The nerve racking thing? The test didn't move! The 2nd part of the test would be done in the same spot! I hadn't watched this all summer! Usually a land spot and a water spot.

The dogs are supposed to do 2 birds on land and 2 birds in water. Typically, the dogs would face the water and the birds would end up in it or they would have to cross all the water and hunt for the bird on the other side on land. (a large number of us were hoping that our first test was the water one since they had to cross through so much to get the first 2 birds. No such luck) Well, since I had driven all this way, of course the judges do something way different!

I tried to get the picture on here, but I can't so I'll do my best to describe it. Instead of the typical way of using the water, the judges decided to go long into it. It was probably only 50-60' wide and they inconveniently set us up near the end of it. Bird 3 was across the water to the right and then another 30-40' on land. It had some very well placed duck decoys that made me nervous... I thought it would be the hard bird for that reason. Boy was I wrong!

Bird 4 was a disaster waiting to happen. Since we were still in the same area as the first 2 birds, they took the station from bird 2. They moved it back an additional 40-50' and turned it towards the water. That bird would then be shot to the far side of the water in some deep marshy grass. I was very nervous to say the least. Of course since I was a newbie it may not have been a problem. But here is what I saw as a problem and why.

We were placed for these birds in a spot that would make us send the dog swimming through water and back on land for a bird (which I was nervous until I saw the next bird). But from the very same spot we were supposed to send the dog directly long ways into the water. We had super high grass just 10' away from the line and it was nearly a solid wall across in the direction of bird 4. In an ideal test, the dog would barrel through the grass and run/swim through the water... best guess 200'+ (a really long way!) away. If the dog ran exactly straight towards it and was used to going way out and through water this far, they would have success. IF the dog chose to not go blindly through the grass, but go to the right, they would cross the water and end up back at bird #3 which was a long way away from the 4th one. IF the dog chose to go the the left along the bank of the water they would end up at the area near where 43 birds had already dropped and left scent during bird 2 earlier. Unfortunately, bird 4 was much farther past bird 2. So marking would be really important. Also, if they ran the bank to the left, they would still have to cross the water just make it to the other side near where bird 4 would land. Deep breath I kept telling myself... The other bummer was that obviously in this one there would be an obvious advantage to dogs running later because hopefully the earlier dogs would knock down a decent amount of the tall grass and leave a direct route to the bird for later dogs. Or, at least it would look more encouraging. That didn't help us much because after the cuts from the first round we went from being dog 8 to dog 4 :(

After watching the test dog struggle it adds a little tension among most of the group watching. Judges response? "This is what it would look like if you were really out hunting." Basically, tough luck.

I start to prepare Pebbles again. As I'm heading towards the holding blinds. The first dog heads off and I notice a bucket at the line. What the heck is that?!? I ask someone. I am then informed that when we send the dog, we need to do it while sitting on the bucket. Another thing to make it more life like by the judge. I hadn't seen any test using this all summer either. A little confusion, a little fear... I already was worried about the 4th bird and now I had to introduce something that I was certain Pebbles hadn't done yet, or definitely had not done with me. Again, the people were so nice and someone had a bucket I could borrow to practice sitting next to it with Pebbles. It was nothing like during the hunt test, but at least she got to see it first.

We head to the first holding blind. 1 dog passed so far. 1 dog failed on bird 4. I'm nervous. We head to the second blind. I start talking to my dog. "Pebbles, you are the most perfect dog. I love you you sweet girl. They are hard birds today. Run far on that 4th bird..." I switch collars and put my extra in my back pocket. The 3rd dog is having trouble and Pebbles is anxiously trying to see over the blind. We head to the last blind right behind the judges. "...good girl Pebbles." At this point the person behind me asks if they can go before me. HECK YEAH!

So I move back a blind thinking in my head the extra time will mash the grass a little and put a little more bird smell out there and hype her up more. I really want her to have enough in the tank to go all the way out for bird 4. Another dog fails the test. Now the person I let pass me is up. Again, trouble. "Pebbles, you are such a good girl." I'm actually massaging her ears. We head up to the last holding blind.

I'm still massaging her ears telling her how wonderful she is. She understands English right? :) I bend down and am looking her in the eyes. "Pebbles, Pebbles, Pebbles. You are gonna do so great (in a very soothing tone). That 1st bird is easy. Just run past the ducks. They aren't real. You'll be able to see the duck on land after you make it across. Pebbles...Pebbles that 4th bird is way out there. Pebbles the 4th bird is WAY down the water. Please please go out far enough. Please Pebbles run far. I love you you perfect girl. You can do it." Now, I'm right behind the judges at this point and I don't know if they can hear me, or if the pep talk was for her or me. Whatever. We are called to the line.

We heel decently up to the line and I see the very scary bucket. I heard varying rules to how the bucket was to be used (also should be noted that the test dog DIDN'T have to run from the bucket it was added for the first dog) but this is what I thought were my rules for it. 1. I couldn't move it- I had to line her up for both birds from where the bucket sat. 2. I had to stay sitting on the bucket from the time I signaled to the judge I was ready (and the bird was shot) until I sent the dog after the bird. Once she was off, I could stand.

We are now next to the bucket. I have her lined up where I want her, but she isn't sitting. She is looking exactly where I want her to though, so I let it be. I signal the judge. The bird is shot. I send the dog. She is just awesome on this one as she passes by the fake ducks, goes straight to the bird and comes straight back to me on the whistle. "Good girl Pebbles!!!" She delivers the bird great and I do another awkward 2 handed grab. Its now time to worry about bird 4.

I've got her by the collar and she is now by my side/by the bucket. I'm sitting and she's not fazed by it at all. However, she immediately focuses back on the bird station for #3. She can see that one. I am pointing her into a wall of grass and she cannot see where bird 4 will be coming from until she hears the duck call and it's in the air. I stand up from my bucket. I don't move her, but I move a leg in front of her to get her attention back in the direction that I want her looking(I'm not brilliant, but I had re watched the hunt tests when Adrienne had run her and seen this a billion times. We had talked about doing it in practice, but now it was real life). It works and I sit back down. As soon as I sit, she immediately focuses back on station 3. I get back up. At this point I have no idea if I'm even allowed to go up and down on the bucket like that, but I paid $75 for this test and drove 12 hours just to get there... I WAS NOT SENDING MY DOG UNTIL SHE WAS LOOKING WHERE I WANTED!!! She focuses again and I sit "good girl Pebbles." I am about to signal and she shifts again. It was so quick and I got mad at myself for not sending her sooner. I stand again. This time I reposition her next to my bucket and she is looking straight again. I sit. She stays focused and I signal. The duck call suddenly keeps her attention. I feel good.

The judge says "dog" and I send her. She doesn't head straight through the grass, but stays pretty on line but to the left of where she needs to be. She makes it to the left bank and as she hits the area of bird 2 I get nervous she will stop, but instead she enters the water again and heads toward bird 4. I am happy! 10 feet before the bird- where the marshy grass starts concealing the bird, she exits the water on the other side. At this point she takes a nice jaunt towards bird 2, but way further out (her distance was great! It was my pep talk :). She then heads back towards the bird like it has a flashing light on it telling her where it was. She grabs the bird with a small hunt in the marsh area and I am whistling her back. I am jumping up and down inside and I am so proud of my dog. "Good girl Pebbles. You did so good!" I imagine the judges are rolling their eyes behind me at this point. I may have said more to her than "good girl", but I'm not admitting it in this blog :) I didn't care. She had the 4th bird. I was just___________ (whip out the thesaurus and pick a word for happy/excited). I call her back and she swims almost the whole way back in the water. She did exit to avoid the wall of grass and brought me the bird. My 4th nerdy 2 handed grab of the day. I handed it to the judge. Immediately I hear Tom Jones playing in my head and I'm doing a dance that only people who watched The Fresh Prince Of Bel-air could appreciate :) Maybe not that obnoxious, but I was excited!!!

Now we just have to wait for the remaining dogs to finish. It was great to get all 4 birds, but I had no idea if we qualified. Did Pebbles hunt to much for bird 4? Did I take to long between the 3/4th bird focusing her? Was I allowed to stand/sit multiple times on the bucket? I had these questions briefly, but really I was totally proud of my dog and I didn't care. As time passed, it was also increasingly clear that this was a hard test.

In the end we passed! 14 Golden Retrievers were entered that day and only 3 qualified. I haven't checked officially, but 43 dogs total did the test and I bet easily under 20 of those qualified. I was still in awe that we were one of them.

At this point I really need to thank a few people. Without Adrienne Hardin (www.rogueretrievers.com) This adventure would not have been possible. I can only imagine she was nervous for our trip, but I had total confidence in how well she had prepared the dog... and me too! She did a fantastic job of training Pebbles for Hunt Tests. And, after I had my baby, she ran her in the tests until I had the guts to do it. I cannot thank her enough for making this such a positive experience for both myself and my dog. Also, I will never admit to anyone how many times I re watched previous hunt tests. I could literally picture me doing the things I needed to do.

Zach and Leah will never read this, but it is amazing to me that Zach at 12 years, babysat his 4 month old sister all day so that I could play around for a day. Also, my husband who might read this and was willing to send me away for the weekend while he stayed home with the other 2 kids. Though from the phone calls I got they had plenty of adventure themselves :)

I have no idea if I was able to explain the mish mash of feelings and events that I wanted to. But if you have read this really long thing, I just want everyone to understand the immense joy that can come from learning something with your dog. I will often talk to people about how amazing service and therapy dogs are. They really are life changing to the people that have them. What about our own pet dogs though? What are other ways that they can enrich our own life?

I think back to our first golden "Goldie" and I cannot help but smile. She was the perfect family pet. Put up with lots of kid stuff, but my goodness she was not pretty. Also, not very active. But seriously the best pet ever!

My next golden was "Shasta." She was prettier than Goldie (people who saw them together would sometimes ask if they were really both golden retrievers) and VERY well trained around the house. When I got her it was with specific intentions that I would show her. When she was just not conformation quality is when I was thinking it would be fun to try Rally. She was so well trained at home. I didn't even practice leading up to the show because I knew she could do it. We headed to the Canby fairgrounds and suddenly she didn't even know how to sit! What the heck was I supposed to do? Needless to say that day I had the only golden in the history of forever that couldn't do ANYTHING in the Rally ring. I was embarrassed. I still loved my dog but both our tails were tucked at that point. It was that day that put me on my quest to find trainers that could help me with my goals. It was what started to help me evaluate litters for what I needed to produce in order to make sure it didn't happen again. And it is what ultimately has led me down a path that has forever changed the bond that I had formerly had with my dogs.

Think about your kids. Every day you challenge them and they challenge you. Each day you have the opportunity to teach, listen, learn and discipline them. You have the biggest deciding factor in their success. (That scares me :) YOUR DOG IS NO DIFFERENT.

Every day your dog will look to you to teach them new things, good behaviors, and to direct them in how you'd like them to act. In return they will always listen and not judge. The human/dog relationship is always a give and take, but I am convinced they give me much more than I can ever give them back.

Believe me, I know not every person wants to do any sort of dog competition. In fact, most don't. But, I urge all of you reading this to just look into them. It doesn't matter what you choose. All will enhance your relationship with your dog. All will produce better behavior in your house and as a well behaved member of the family. Better yet, the dog that you treat as a member of your family has a mind that is kept sharp! If you are interested, a great place to start is with Rally. It is really fun for both owner and dog. It teaches great partnerships. www.akc.org has more information as well as just googling it. As always, if you have ANY questions about how to get started in a dog sport, or in finding a good trainer PLEASE ASK ME! I am so willing to pass on information. I know you can't tell that I love doing things with my dogs based on my lead in story to this, but I do. Each dog has a different personality and every time we try something new, I get the joy of unlocking another dimension to my dog that I didn't even know existed.

Have a great day and give your golden a hug for me :)


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