Archive for May, 2009

The Turbinator

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

There’s really nothing exciting going on at the moment, so I thought I would just share a short clip of my Doberman Turbo. Turbo is a special needs boy. He’s a little short on the gray matter, but is the sweetest boy in the world. He took a Doberman temperament test once and failed the part that involved an “aggressive stranger”. He was supposed to get aggressive back, but instead he just stood there and looked at the guy. I’m quite OK with that, since he’s 90 pounds of muscle. (Don’t need 90 pounds of “aggressive” muscle). :-)

Anyway, here’s a clip of his best tricks. Enjoy!

Silly Dober-boy

Micah’s 2×2 Weave Pole Update

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

I know it’s been some time since I said I was going to post video of Micah’s progress with his weave poles. Our progress has been a little slower than I would have liked, in part due to me! and my lack of organization. But I think he’s coming along nicely.

He is doing 8 poles at home, with a fair amount of speed, but he lacks consistency. He frequently doesn’t complete all 8, but I have a plan for working that. Alas, I was so excited to go to agility class the other night and show my instructor how well he is doing, and he looked at her set of poles like he had never seen one before! Ha! What was that about generalization? And how dogs aren’t very good at it? (That’s why you always have to work something in LOTS of different places, for the dog to really GET it). OK dog trainer – start moving those weaves around the yard a bit. Oh yeah, I remember now. Duh!

Anyway – here’s the video of him and his 8 poles. I have a longer version (still under 3 minutes) of a summary of 2 poles to 8 poles, but I really think the only one who might be interested in that is Gail. Let me know if anyone out there is dying to see it, and I’ll post it.

Here’s the link:

micah doing 8 poles

You Saw A What, Where?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Last night as I was working at the emergency pet clinic in Flower Mound, a man called and said that he had seen a rather large snake in the shopping mall parking lot and was wondering if perhaps it belonged to us, and went missing. I assured him that NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO it did not, but I was interested in finding out more about it.

He said it was about 6 feet long and as big around as a coke bottle. Wow! In our busy little strip center? That’s just crazy. He had actually taken a picture of it with his phone, and e-mailed it to us. It was indeed – a very LARGE snake.
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None of us knew if this would be a dangerous guy or not so we ended up calling the police to check it out. They looked around the tree we thought it was in, but to no avail. Finally the one that was pretty knowledgeable about snakes looked at the photo and determined that it was just a rat snake. Not of any danger to anyone, so that was good news. Still, I wouldn’t want to run across him in a dark alley.

The picture is hard to see, but look toward the bottom of the tree to see a good portion of the snake lying on the ground. Gives you a fair idea of his actual length.

I guess I’m always a little surprised when I see things that belong in the “wild” right in our back yard. But I shouldn’t be. We are constantly encroaching on their natural habitat more every year. More building, and more neighborhoods where there once was just woodlands. A couple of years ago I happened to glance out of my back door just in time to see a turkey – a full grown turkey, strolling along the top of our privacy fence. He went down a couple of houses and then just jumped down into the yard. It was almost as shocking as suddenly seeing a cow in my backyard! Then a few weeks ago I saw two very large (scary large) coyotes right in the middle of a residential neighborhood (less than a mile from my house). I was stunned. It made me glad that I have a 6’ privacy fence to protect my little guys. But after all, they’re just trying to survive.

So when we see these “intruders” lets cut them a break, and try to remember that they were here first, and that WE are actually intruding on them.

Another Year Gone

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

I can scarcely believe that another year has gone by since my Tessa had her last birthday. She is 11 years young today – and doesn’t look a day over 8.

I will have to admit that she is starting to show some signs of aging – mainly mental signs. She whines for no apparent reason, and barks at us if we walk outside to get the mail, and then come back into the house. I’m not sure if she doesn’t see well, or is just confused. At any rate, she seems to be doing well enough physically, and seems happy for the most part.

We decided to make this years birthday pics a little more dignified than the ones from last year, (with the crown and the boa). So we just took a few shots with some local flowers.

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Happy Birthday, big girl! You’ll get your usual fake meat sloppy joes and real cupcakes. You’re the BOMB!!!

Bo - The First Dog

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Woo-hoo! I am SO happy to see that the new “first dog” is being trained by a positive dog trainer. Sylvia Stasiewicz founded Merit Puppy Training in the 90’s and teaches Positive Reinforcement Training Classes for Dogs of All Ages. It’s so wonderful to see someone on the positive team, being so high profile.
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I don’t mean to make it sound like there aren’t others out there – there are. There are tons of them in fact, but let me tell you - when you’re actually looking for a class in your area, they may be a little tough to find. I have to credit my good friend Paula for filling me in on the scoop. I’ve been a little news negligent lately. Sometimes it’s just better that way.

Victoria Stilwell is another (even more) high profile trainer out there trying to pass along the benefits of positive training. She has a television show called It’s Me or the Dog that airs on Saturday night. Despite my irritation with her on The Greatest American Dog, I’m usually right on board with her methods.
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And I think her show provides some balance for the Dog Whisperer broadcast. Don’t get me wrong. Cesar provides some entertaining TV, and is quite a charming guy. I once went to Oklahoma to see him speak. He was mesmerizing, and very humorous. He’s a great speaker, that one. He’s an entertainer. In fact. . . no . . . I’ll stop there. Let’s just say that Victoria’s show balances him out. There’s no smoke and mirrors with her. Pretty much just straightforward problem fixing – done in a positive way. A little silly, and a little too “girlie” at times - but all in all a great trainer.

I think that as time goes on, we will hear more and more about positive training. After all, places like Sea World have been using it for many, many years. You really can’t train a killer whale using a “correction” or intimidation. And most progressive zoos are using it as well, for simple medical procedures.

So chalk one up for our team - the positive folks. And Bo - make us proud! Everybody’s watching!