Monday, 21 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
I am rubbish at names - and I know how important they are.
So thinking about what I wanted the name to say
First - that training should be kind and fair to the dog
Second - that its simple - too many training methods seem to over complicate dog training. Trying to imagine what your dog is thinking and figuring out how he is being bad, disobedient or dominant and then how to assert your authority over the dog.
For example - and this is something I have actually seen
Dog chases children
Problem must be dog is thinking it is too dominant
Dog cant go on sofa or upstairs and must wait till after owner has eaten before it gets to eat
Problem - dog chases children
Solution - teach the dog not to chase children
Simples (OK well there is more to it than that but you get the point)
So thinking of my old days in the world of business I remembered their fave acronym
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid
and thought that was perfect way to say what I wanted to say
What do you all think??
Saturday, 5 December 2009
I have been asked to spread the word to as many in the UK as possible
This little girl needs a home
The lady she is with just now has 9 dogs, so even a foster place would be great.
She is in Scotland at the moment
Hi Pam, I have a 18month old terrier x bitch looking for a home. Her name
is Cara and she is vaccinated, wormed and spayed. She is about spaniel sized and
a bit of an all sorts mix. She is very clever and gorgeous although she needs
some training as she has never had any. If you know of anyone that might be
interested can you let me know. , I can send you some photos of her if you send
me your email add. I would like to rehome her asap as she was only supposed to
be here 1 night but the home she was supposed to go to dont want her as she is
bigger than they wanted. Thanks a million
She is a stray picked up in Wexford, Ireland. She is great with my dogs, great with my cat, not sure about children as she hasnt met any whilst with me but I would say yes fine with them as she is just a lovely friendly wee thing and loves people. She is very lively and a little cheeky madam but she is picking things up fast. She does not understand even basics like sit and really pulls on the lead but she will learn no problem. She has no serious behavioural problems and doesnt seem bothered by anything, she will adapt in any situation I would think. She is just a bouncy puppy that needs a good home to give her some boundaries and she will be a brilliant pet
Monday, 30 November 2009
I had heard that people use choke chains to teach dogs heelwork but I just couldnt figure out how you could really teach a dog using that method.
A quick you tube search showed me just how (and lots of other things people do to their dogs in the name of training)
If you are not convinced then have a look here.
First we have a guy training his dog with the choke chain - and when he stops he teaches the dog to sit by whacking it on the bum with the other end of the lead. Take a look at the poor dog during all this, panting, licking its lips and avoiding eye contact and when he hits her with the lead she cringes and flinches.
Not a great looking heel, not a happy looking dog - and an owner who is only looking out for the dog doing the wrong thing and punishing it for that - at no point does he praise the dog for doing the right thing.
Compare and contrast to these dogs
The position of being in heel is so rewarding to the dogs that they just love it, no matter where she walks the dogs are glued to her side, other commands are followed as fast as lightning
and for those of you who complain that treats make a dog that is too focused on the reward and has to be treated all the time - look at how much her dogs do for a tiny treat or a game of tug. They are working with her because working with her is fun and rewarding.
If I come back as a dog I hope it is to a trainer as good and kind as her
Thursday, 26 November 2009
In response to the post below and the many dog behaviour experts expressing great concern about Cesar Millans methods this petition has been started
Online petition - National Geographic: Stop showing Cesar Millan
I know that many people are divided on Cesar Millans methods but as the National Geographic channel is supposed to support animal welfare then I strongly believe that if there is any doubt at all that dog suffer during Cesar Millans training methods then it is their responsibility to stop broadcasting his show until it can be proved that his methods are not cruel and abusive.
Denmark has already banned his shows and Italy is in the process of banning him. If you are in any doubt then consider the evidence that a country would need to ban a high ratings TV show.
Please sign the petition and post links to it to all your dog loving friends
Sunday, 22 November 2009
The TV 'entertainer' Cesar Millan is coming to the UK on a tour. I will not put links to the pages to get tickets because I don't want in any way to help this man.
I have been meaning to post about his methods for quite some time but this tour has given me the boost I needed
I will try and keep it nice :D
Among other more controversial methods that I will get to later Cesar Millan I wanted to talk about his fundamental philosophy for living with dogs.
Exercise, Discipline, Affection
In that order
So to start with Exercise.
It is true often on Cesars show he sees owners who never walk their dog. This is cruel and stupid - every trainer or behaviourist will tell you to exercise your dog to a level that is appropriate for the breed. This is not Cesars way - this is nothing new.
Cesar advocates exercising the dog to exhaustion - often dragging unfit or puppies around at speed - sometimes with him on his roller blades. He even recommends running perfectly fit dogs on a treadmill (there was a case brought against him when a dog at his facility was left unsupervised on a treadmill wearing a choke chain)
One major problem with this is what happens next week when two hours running do not tire out the dog because it is becoming fitter??
Also running on a treadmill or alongside someone is good for fitness but it does nothing for the mental well being of an animal
Most zoos nowadays are looking to improve the lot of their captive animals, some animals who naturally would cover long distances every day in the wild.
Do these zoos put giant mouse wheels in the enclosures? Take lions out for a run beside a bike?
No they look at enrichment strategies
Enrichment can be defined as:
“…a process for improving or enhancing animal environments and
care within the context of their inhabitants’ behavioral biology and natural
history. It is a dynamic process in which changes to structures and husbandry
practices are made with the goal of increasing behavioral choices available to
animals and drawing out their species-appropriate behaviors and abilities, thus
enhancing animal welfare (AZA/BAG 1999).
So better to think of ways to enrich your dogs environment and have moderate exercise this way your dog will be mentally and physically satisfied.
Ways to enrich a dogs environment - considering natural behaviours of a dog
Chasing - many dogs love chasing things - just make sure its things you are happy with and not cars, joggers, children on bikes. A few games of fetch and even chasing you around the park will be far more fun for both of you than hours on a treadmill - and changes of pace, twisting and turning and even eye paw coordination will all tire the dog out more.
Chewing - Not only puppies but all dogs love to chew, I love watching Ben chewing a nice knuckle bone - he is on his side with a dreamy look on his face. This is good for their teeth, gums, jaws, and even neck muscles. If you don't fancy big stinky bones think of other things for them to safely chew - chew toys, rawhide/treats, even kongs all satisfy this behaviour
Tugging - Tugging is a natural behaviour too and if your dog enjoys it and you are physically able to why not have a game of tug - just set rules like no biting, let go when I say, and stop it before they get overexcited.
Tearing - Does your dog like ripping toys to pieces?? It is natural behaviour, how about going to a charity shop and getting lots of cheep toys he can deestuff, then you can restuff, fix them up (care not to let them swallow thread) and give them back again - you could even stuff old socks with treats and let them get them (but keep your good clothes away from them)
Digging - its fun and natural. You could get a kiddys sandbox and fill it with earth, hide treats in there and teach your dog to dig there (and not in your flowerbed) or how about a big box filled with scrunched up newspaper and a few treats?
Sniffing - teach your dog to sniff out treats or even scatter a handfull of kibble in the grass and let them sniff it out.
Working with humans - Dogs are descended from the wolves who worked best with people so most dogs (with the right motivation) love to work with people, if you dont have animals to hunt or sheep to herd then you can teach tricks and that can be your dogs work, clicker training is great because it makes the dog use its mind to figure out what you want, this tires them out far more.
Sleeping - dogs like to sleep lots, give them plenty of down time where they can chill and file away all the things they have learnt for the day - it is possible to overstimulate a dog and then they become hyper and difficult to train.
Depending on the breed most dogs need between 1 - 2 hours walking a day, if you made 20 min of that fetching and chasing, played a game of tug and did some clicker work before settling the dog down with a chew then you should have a pretty content dog
I would love to hear your ideas for enriching your dogs environment
Monday, 16 November 2009
including this fab pendant.
Which reminds me
A few weeks ago mum and myself went to the crafts for Christmas at the SECC, and of course I have come back with a new craft!
I am going to be having a go at making resin jewelery with the fur of your beloved pet encapsulated for all time in the lovely coloured resin.
Stay tuned - hopefully I will have some examples soon!!
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Dogs can be pretty bad at generalising the meaning of things
You might think you have trained your dog really well to sit but what exactly does your dog think you mean.
You like to think that 'sit' means dog still with its bum on the floor and legs straight
Its not as easy as that
Your dog might have learnt that when you are in the sitting room, with a treat in your hand, lifting the treat above its nose, when its all quiet and saying 'sit' means the dog goes from standing and puts its bum on the ground until it is told 'good boy' and given the treat then it can do what it wants
Dogs can be as specific as that
So decide EXACTLY what you want your command to mean
I want sit to mean go into the sitting position from standing, lying down or upside down. Do it from infront of me, to the side, behind or at a distance. Do it in the sitting room, kitchen, hall, outside, wherever. Do it when I say and/or give the hand signal, do it no matter what distractions, do it whether there is a treat there or not, and hold the position until I tell you to do something else.
So I have to train for ALL of these things - train in different locations with dog in different positions with different distractions.
So if your dog dosent do what you want ask yourself have you actually trained it how to do that SPECIFIC thing?
Sunday, 1 November 2009
We think about 400 people turned up and groaned and lurched our way around Glasgow.
Some great fotos on the facebook page
Thursday, 29 October 2009
I realised in terms of shipping to America its getting close to Christmas time (I know I hate that the shops go Christmassy so early)
So I have started making some Christmas themed dogs.
and I felt like making the wee yorkie
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Monday, 12 October 2009
I have been looking for this vid for ages (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pL13n-yYy8I&feature=related for facebook readers)
A fantastic example of how you can use kind non confrontational methods on even 'red zone' aggressive dogs.
uge the roots of the tooth are, much longer than the bit of the visible tooth.
The good news is the surgery was pretty easy and Mia is healing well. She bounced back pretty quickly although she is a little sore and grumpy in the mornings till she gets her painkillers.
She is a little more jumpy with dogs at the moment but we have had her on nice long walks and if I think back to what she was like before then she really isnt bad. B was handling her yesterday and another onlead dog came up. I sent them of to the side of the path and Mia was sitting nicely until the dog got to about 2m away then she started lunging. Really thats such good progress cos it used to be like that for any dog she could see on the horizon.
Fingers crossed we can get her calm and happier again in no time.
Thankyou all so much for all your kind words. Its lovely and heartwarming how much good feeling there is out there for this amazing little dog.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Sunday, 4 October 2009
I am sad to see that many many dog owners do not really understand what our furry friends are saying to us and without meaning to can make a dog become aggressive.
Pretty much everyone understands a happy dog, tail flying, relaxed happy mouth and eyes. Its when the dog is not happy that the communication problems arise.
This is made worse still if the owner is constantly putting themselves under stress to be the 'pack leader' (more about that another time)
Dogs have many many different signals to tell us they are unhappy, many are very slight and quick and us clumsy humans miss them.
What we do notice is when our dog growls. It may be the case that your dog has been trying to communicate lots and lots that it is not happy in a situation, and what dogs do is they build up the communication. They start with a little head turn or a tiny licking of the lips, mibby they will sniff the ground. But us silly humans just don't notice - or worse still we mistake this for the dog being disobedient, stubborn or just plain 'at it'
How do we respond to that?
More likely we get a little angry or more insistent that the dog does the thing it isnt happy with.
Lets imagine in this case we are taking the dog to greet a child.
It is trying its best to tell you it is not comfy being dragged over to this strange unpredictable small thing.
You keep dragging it because toddler wants to meet fluffy.
Fluffy tries and tries to tell you it is not comfy in this situation.
What is the next step? Fluffy now shows its teeth and mibby even growls at the child.
This is NOT aggression - this is a GOOD DOG telling you it really isnt happy in the situation.
But what do we do??
Now we really punish the dog, that is BAD BAD BAD, dont you EVER growl at children.
So what has Fluffy learnt here??
It was correct that the little humans make bad things happen.
Its human doesn't understand its 'errmm, I am a little unsure here' signals - so there is no point using them.
Growling gets you punished - better not growl any more.
Human is happy and thinks 'what a good dog trainer I am, look I stopped Fluffy growling at children'
But the problem is ALL you have done is taught the dog not to warn you it is not happy, you have not solved the problem of the fact that the dog is not comfy in the presence of children.
So at the least you have a dog who is not happy - but if the situation gets worse, say that unhappy dog, around a child where it is expecting bad things to happen and the child reaches out for the dog - or something else that makes the dog feel even more scared - what can the dog do?? It has no warnings it wants to use cos it will get punished - better to just attack swiftly
It makes me feel sick just to post that. Of course this dosent happen in all cases or in even many cases but you can see that
Punishing a dog for growling can make a ticking time bomb
(For those of you reading this on facebook the video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj7BWxC6iVs )
Thursday, 1 October 2009
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Monday, 28 September 2009
Turned out better than I hoped - I can still see lots of faults but decided to not fiddle with it too much else I would make it worse.
A really easy method - infact its totaly cheating! Give it a go and see if you can do your dogs too
Friday, 25 September 2009
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Just a reminder that SkylarsCandyclips is doing a fab blog givaway for all dog lovers.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
But I have to talk about this!
Scotlands law, rightly or wrongly, allow a person with a terminal illness to be sent home to die.
The Lockerbie bomber was imprisoned in Scotland under Scottish law.
That should be the end of the matter. If one of our people commits a crime in another country they are subjected to their rules. Our governments may petition for people not to get the death sentence or something but at the end of the day we have no power to do anything.
America tried to bully us and England has turned its back on us and condemned us.
I for one am actually really proud that our politicians refused to be forced to go against our law.
I am happy that our small country isnt forced to shell out for the security that would have been needed to allow this man to die in one of our hospitals surrounded by police.
I am sorry that our compassion caused people to wish to boycott our country but I am so proud that we were strong enough to stand up for ourselves and not be bullied.
Scotland will not benefit from any oil deals or anything, if there was any deals (which I dont believe there was - else England would have been happy with us) then it would be England, as always, getting the money.
Scotts, be proud of us having the strength to stand up for our laws we can hold our heads up high.
Monday, 31 August 2009
SkylarsCandyclips is doing a fab blog givaway for all dog lovers.
"So to celebrate the bond between humans and canines and the unconditional and unlimited love that we feel for them, I would like to hold a contest - an I HEART MY DOG contest.
This contest is only open to my blog readers so please follow my blog if you would like to enter. Two winners will be chosen. One for a comment entry and another for a photography entry. All photos submitted will be posted on my blog at the end of the contest. "
The winner of the comment entry will win a bag of Wendy's favorite organic dog treats from Grandma Lucy's Diner
The winner of the foto entry will win a custom needle felted sculpture of their doggy from me :D
So please tell all the dog lovers you know to pop over to her blog.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
Looks like this may have been the last show of the year, and Bens first show in grade 3
Managed to get a few vids as my mum came along (thanks mum)
A 2 day event with 3 runs per day
SatRun 1, Combined 1-5 agility - 5 faults but nice weaves and we got all our contacts!!
Run 2, Combined 1-4 jumping - Clear round - a bit time lost as I slowed him too much for the weaves and he bounced up at me But we placed 4th!!!
Run 3, Graded Jumping. Lovely right up until the last weave pole at the end of the run, even the judge went 'OHHHH' got him back in, 5 faults and a 4th place!!
Sunday - much less nice day - peeing it down with rain! But for 2 of the runs the judge was our trainer so nice difficult courses
Run 1, Combined 1-5 agility, clear round but again bouncing before the weaves so too slow for a place
Run 2, Combined 1-4 Jumping - again the last weave ment 5 faults for us
Run 3, Graded 1-4 jumpingLovely storming run, everything went perfect - except the timer broke!!!!!Ran it again for time - made a mistake and went over an extra jump so assumed we were E'd, went home as both mum and Mia had been stung by a waspFound out last night that the extra jump didnt count as we were only running for time and the clear round counted - He only went and WON it!!! Well done my wee man!!Heres the vid of our winning run - the jump we shoudnt have done was the 2nd after the tunnel (you can see I was daydreaming, happy we had got everything else right and not working the turn)
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
It seems a really useful tool for Etsy'ers - you can put everything (including your blog and tweets) together in one place - and get lots of stats with funky graphs.
It seemed pretty easy to set up. I will let you know how I get on.
My page is here
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Saturday, 15 August 2009
As everyone who has been following knows Mia is a little reactive and so very easily distracted.
I have been working on focus with her using a method I have stolen and adapted from many different trainers.
Mia is not very good in confined spaces - she is always looking for ways to get out. I am lucky and have found a park that has a large field down a slope where the other dog walkers dont tend to go. It is pretty secure but because of the slope it dosent look like it has boundries so Mia is calm enough to play around in it.
First what I do is to just send both the dogs away to play and I wonder about. Any time Mia gets anywhere near to me I chuck her a treat and then just carry on walking about.
After a short while she actually starts comming over to me looking for a treat so each time I wait for a little more before I treat, at first it is just her being close enough to chuck the treat, then its her actually noticing me, then her getting closer to me. Basically I shape it until she is running right up to my side, giving good eye contact and walking with me. Each time I treat then I send her away with big arm movments and say 'GO PLAY'
Once she is really begining to focus on me and wants to work then I will ask for a few tricks - rewarding lots and lots before sending her away to play again. I always send her away before she gets few up and runs away - this means that I have to pay attention to stuff around us that might distract her and send her away before she gets distracted.
After a while of this both dogs really dont want to be sent away but really want to work with me
At the moment this is about where we end it - but hopefully soon I will get the agility stuff down the park, that level of focus would be just great for training.
It is also teaching Mia a habbit of checking in with me just incase fun stuff happens - and a command for to go away and have fun. I like dogs to be dogs and sniff around and stuff, but because of Mias reactivity problems everything has to be a little more structured with her.
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Click here for my introduction for needle felting - the equipment
How to shrink over big ears
Here is a speed video of needle felting as well
and I have felting tutorials and kits avaliable in my shop
How do I turn a pile of fleece into a felted critter??
More links to follow
Click on the links below to see how I needle felted this wolf from nothing more than fleece, a felting needle and a foam pad.
Body and legs
Joining the legs to the body
Adding muscle and feet
Making the head and neck
Ears and adding colour
Eyes and Pawpads