Wednesday, 27 January 2010

'Red zone' dogs, compare Cesar Millan to poitive methods by a behaviourist

Many people often comment that Cesar Millans more extream methods are OK because they are saving the lives of real OTT red zone dogs that would otherwise be put to sleep.
Most people do not realise that most behaviourists will deal with these type of dogs on a regular basis. In the main these methods are not shown on TV as they do not seem as flashy, the dogs are kept calm - not as interesting for TV as a 'out of control' dog, a man v's dog struggle and then a 'calm, fixed' dog turning up as if by some kind of magic.
So I am puting up a couple of similar examples for you to see the difference

This first clip shows a positive way to do things.
At the start the dog is very stressed and giving out mixed signals to the dog. Sure its tail is wagging but look in its eyes, look at its face. This is a common problem with people with fearful dogs. This dog is stress panting, it does not know how to behaive with the other dog being there and has learnt the best way to cope is to bark and be scary because that makes the other dog go away (either the other dog is taken away or it is dragged away - either way it dosent have to interact with the other dog)
At this point the trainers are not training the dog, they are assesing the situation. The dog is not in a position to learn anything much, it is just reacting.
Like all flashy TV shows this is now cut as the dog is taught some better ways to behaive.
Training a dog at a great enough distance from the trigger (the other dog in this case) so the dog can be calm. It learns that nice things happen when the other dog is about and that the handler is not going to force it to interact with the other dog.
At the end of the clip you can see from the dogs body language that it is relaxed and happy, it is able to focus on the handler and is enjoying working with them. It is aware of the other dog being there but now the other dog being there is just a signal that nice things - like work and treats - are gonna happen, the other dog is no threat.
That dog is calm, happy and safe.

Now lets see how Cesar deals with a dog like that. (for some strange reason Nat Geo takes these clips down often - strange that - so it is working now but if it is gone when you try to watch then let me know and I will try and find one that is up)
At the start the dog is walking fairly close to the collie although it dosent look v happy it is not showing agression and there are plenty of chances for CM to reward the dog. But of course CM does not reward a dog for good behaviour he prefers to force it do the wrong thing so he can punish it and show it who is the boss.
So he keeps bringing the dogs closer together until the dog looks at the collie
Note there is STILL no agression here yet
But that is enough for CM. He kicks the dog and at the same time tightens the lead

Now people argue about the force of the kick, whether this is a 'foot tap' or a 'kick'
Have you ever been focused on something and not realised a friend is behind you until they tap you on the shoulder? Sometimes you whip round heart racing, you really jump
When you see it is a friend you calm down say 'what a fright you gave me' and have a laugh
But in Shadows case it isnt a friend behind him, its CM, who at the same time is tighting the lead up and cutting off the dogs air

Of course the dog will fight back, and it shows what a really good dog that is that it dosent do some real harm to CM. It could have if it had wanted to.

Now there is a battle, it ends when the dog gives up - whether it has run out of air or if it just gives up I do not know.
But what has it learnt here??
Strange dog is about, it is still scary, but this man is even more scary

The slideshow shows where CM goes from here
He muzzles the dog and surrounds it with strange dogs
If you look at the dog you can see it is NOT happy, it is NOT calm and submissive it is stressed and scared.
Now what do you think will happen when it sees another dog when CM is not holding the lead?? Do you think that the owners are going to be able to fight him like that to show that they are more scary than the other dogs??

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To get to the next level I need 50 people to vote for my blog
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Friday, 22 January 2010

Please spare 30s to vote for my blog

Trainpetdog invited my blog to enter in its 2010 d0g blog award contest
To get to the next level I need 50 people to vote for my blog
All you have to go is visit them and enter this code 7cn2I in the box.
Pretty please! :D

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Hare today

Sorry folks, no dogs today, no dog sculptures, agility or antics of my crazy pair

dragonhouseofyuen from McEtsy team does lots of great work for bunny rescue and she suggested I may like to try making a Hare for the Hare Preservation Trust

Sounded like a fun challenge

So I gave it a go

He is made on a wire frame with merino white fleece. I then blended some camel fibre with Shetland wool to work on the shading, with a little more black merino blended in to make his back, ears and top of his head a little darker

He is posed just rising up on his hind legs - and wonders of wonders I actually managed to make him balance on his own in that position (fancy name - free standing :D)

I am stumped for a name for this one so any ideas???

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Slowly starting to Kiss the dog

Still planing for this to be the year when I take my first steps to be a dog trainer then a behaviourist.

I have the hall all lined up, just short of funds for a few weeks.
So my friends kindly let me practise on them and their dogs.

A pair of lovely crazy collies.

I was wanting to practise some of the 'control unleashed' stuff I have been doing with Mia, so I kind of used her as a demo dog while at the same time working on her with bigger distractions.

First I did a little focus work, showing them how to build focus in the dog and what to be looking for.

Mia gave a great demo, when I started she was sniffing about paying no heed to me at all and then as I clicked her for any interaction with me she quickly turned from no focus to lots and lots of focus.

The first dog Bu**** (white face in the fotos) is a typical collie with a high work drive so had no problem with focus so we were able to get onto moving a little and the beginnings of circle work

The 2nd dog Bl** is a lot more sensitive. He gets stressed by being asked for commands.

You can see in the first foto (sorry about quality) he is looking very dejected by the clicker being out and him being asked to work.

But within about 5 clicks he realised that he wasnt being asked to do anything he just was getting rewarded for paying attention to mom - then he really started to get it

We ended this bit here but you can see a total change in his body language - focus on mom, tail up, happy looking dog.

We did a little 'go to your place' Bu has been clicker trained and is used to free shaping so got this vv quickly Bl did v well too.

Not sure if I explained the point of this exercise well but hopefully they work on it a little because this would really help with Bu's reactivity when he is watching Bl work.

Finally as a little trick and to teach back end awareness I showed them 'brick work' Both dogs figured out getting their paws on the object so thats a good starts

Next step is getting the back legs moving :D

I talked a little about 'LAT' exercises, default behaviours (Bu showed a lovely default sit) and how to keep a training sesh really short espech for Bl to build motivation.

I had fun although it was a little weird, I hope I didnt do too bad.

Then we let the dogs play a bit and practised some weaves - Mia actually did pretty good and Bu was doing them better with his owner moving a little beside him.

Pretty fun day - and now Mia is crashed out
At agility lots of people are saying they just dont have the imagination to teach tricks so I was wondering if that may be somewhere to make a start with some classes. I love training tricks, I think its the best way to make the dog think and sitting, doing agility, obedience, not chasing the postman, really they are all tricks for the dog

Saturday, 16 January 2010

What to do when my fingers are to stabbed to felt

I have been felting away lots trying to hit my targets for the new year.
I am happy to announce that I have smashed my Jan target for two sales a week with 9 sales already! Fantastic! Some are trades and some were charity listings so I am not rich but its really good to know that I can manage that target.
A downside is my arm shoulder and back are a little sore and my finger is v stabbed.
So yesterday I though I would have a little go at drawing again
Please dont laugh

The Boxer I am almost happy with, its just a quick sketch so not too much detail
The left eye went wrong but overall not to unhappy

I should have stopped there but no I had to try again

The weaving collie just didnt work out at all :(

So I felted - just a little - tiny - a poodle about 1 inch tall

Thursday, 7 January 2010

My new range - SPLAT

As I am stuck in with no pupils I have been trying to work hard at my plan of at least 2 sales a week average this year.

No idea if this is possible but you have to aim high!

So I have tried a totaly new range.

My needle felted bookmark range. - well I say range - only one so far but I will make some more.

I also did a little upcycling here too! Go me :D the 'body' of the splat was made out of an old fleece matt I had but that I had cut up for doggy coats as its so cold.

So this little guy is exactly the right size for a paperback book and you have his head and paws sticking out the front and tail and paws (with little paw pads) poking out the back.

I think I got a little carried away with the photoshoot with this one - he was just so fun to shoot :D

Monday, 4 January 2010

Clear run agility show

Happy new year everyone. I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and New year

Yesterday was our first show of the year

A fun club show in the best venue in the world!

10 min from home, indoor venue with a cafe, bar, shop, restaurant! Fantastic

The weather put lots of people off coming out which was a shame but made it run quickly.

Ben really outdone himself. 4 runs 4 clear rounds!!

The classes are small, medium and large combined so I didnt expect to place at all but in the more difficult agility run we got 2nd place - only beat by a friends dog Aero, who is amazing, nearly lost his paw to a glass injury and has made a fantastic comeback. Of the 4 classed he won all 4!


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