Saturday, January 31, 2009

How's The Training? Week 3

Today's lesson: Leave it AND down

To preface anything we use "Drop" for down. So don't confuse anything!

To leave it:

Have food in both hands. This is a necessity. To learn leave it, you don't ever reward with what you do not want them to have.
Step 1: Take food in both hands, put one hand to your side or behind your back.

Step 2: With your other hand, stick it in front of his face so he can smell, open your hand and say, "Leave it."

Step 3: If he tries to get at the food, close your hand. Say leave it only ONCE.

Step 4: The minute he turns away and leaves it alone, reward with the food from the opposite hand.

Step 5: Switch it up - switch hands, put the food on the floor, put it on his paw, etc... We practice with rolling grapes too.

Rusty is pretty good! I can't say that he doesn't want the food because obviously, dogs need to practice their impulse control. So we're working on it! You can put a grape on his paw and he won't eat it. Which is fabulous!

Teaching down - oops, I mean we say drop.

Step 1: Put them in a sit position.

Step 2: With the treat in your hand, bring it down to the floor in front of him but don't give it until he's all the way on the ground and click your clicker.

Step 3: Reward and praise.

Step 4: Practice!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How's The Training? Week 2

Loose leash walking and sitting. Rusty does not do very well at loose leash walking, like he's not going to get it for another 6 - 8 months so we don't really practice, instead he walks on the Halti and that's that.

To practice loose leash walking:
1. The reward is the continuation of the walk, but still have treats.
2. With your first step say, "Rusty, Let's go!" and start walking. If the dog immediately runs forward, stop and stand still.
3. When the dog acknowledges you, say good dog and then start walking again with a "Let's go!"
4. I used the variation of it and turned around to walk the opposite way.

Rusty still didn't get it after a week. Oh, well. That's a rescue pup for ya!

Learning to sit:

Rusty did not sit at all when we first brought him home. Now he sits when he thinks he's getting a treat. Go figure.

1. Hold the treat between your first finger and thumb, the other three fingers straight (sorry, I'm horrible at describing hand signs) pointed to the back of the dog.
2. Put the treat just above the dogs nose to let him smell the treat.
3. Slowly move your hand towards the dog's head, making him look up and his bottom hit the ground.
4. Click as soon as the rear end hits the floor and treat.

NOTE: I did not write to say "Sit!" That comes later... So no worries!

Kennel Club Quilt

Kennel Club Percale sheets from The Company Store are on sale now! Way too cute for a child's bedroom. They're absolutely adorable!
And then there's the matching quilt and shams. A twin is $150, but it has to be going on sale soon - start off with the sheets!
OMG - How cute is this??? Absolutely adorable - especially if you happen to own a breed that's featured on the quilt. What a great decorating idea to get a child excited for a new dog.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Doggie Horoscopes? Seriously?

Oh, yes! So I really took Rusty's horoscope to be a Scorpupio - totally his personality!
Follow the link here to find your dog's Dogoscope!

Tuesday Treats

Jerky. Jerky. Jerky.

If only Rusty could eat jerky all day. Then he'd go poo all night which is NOT what I want and it would NOT be good for his rear end either.

So, natural treats we go for the MONSTER. Rusty gets Wellness Super5Mix (which I'll go into depth later about food) but I thought I'd try Wellness treats too.

Given they're edible by dogs, I thought I'd try one too. The ingredients are all human grade which means that we can eat it too, even though it might not taste like human food should... But then again everyone's taste buds are different.

Carrying on - they don't really taste like much. They smell like jerky but they don't taste like! Rusty on the other hand absolutely loves them. Bribe to go into the dog box (crate), bribe to lay down, bribe to do whatever I want him to do... Yes, these work!

You can find them wherever Wellness brand is sold AND at Petco! I'm not trying to advocate Petco or anything but there's only 4 pet stores in my town: Petco, PetSmart, London Dog and T & T Pet Supply. They're a little more expensive but totally worth it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Breed All About It - Irish Setter

Meet Darcy. She's an Irish Setter. Lately around Bloomington I've been running into Irish Setters. EVERYWHERE. Ok, everywhere doggie related. Petsmart in the grooming area, The Dog House at doggie daycare, Petco... Etc... Etc... Etc...

But as much as I see them, I can't help but think that there's many to be rescued. Lo and behold, I found an Irish Setter Rescue group. Irish Setters are absolutely amazing dogs. They're deep chested, which means their lungs can hold lots and lots of oxygen which is great for running - that also means they have lots of energy, which is typicial.

Rusty is half Setter, half Golden Retriever. I love his temperament and his energy. He is incredibly shy, and partially obedient (except when there's other dogs around). He does have a sensitive stomach, so we shall go over food this week. Mostly because allergies can go away with a change in food and fur can become much shinier and healthier with a change too.

So overall, love the setter in Rusty - but on Petfinder, there's not too many setters and I'm a little surprised!

As for the title - if you're in the mood to look for a dog, try watching Breed All About It on the Animal Planet. They give great examples of the breeds as well as health, temperament, etc... All important information for owning a dog!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How's The Training? Week 1

PetSmart does obedience school in my area, so I signed up for an 8 week course with Rusty. Of course, Bimmer Man is a little too busy to go, but whatever.

There's 7 dogs total - there were only 4 of us for the first class though. It was nice, small and very personalized. Of all the other dogs, 2 teeny Yorkies, standard poodle, rescued boxer mix, rescued lab mix, Boston Terrier, Rusty is the tallest and he wants to please his owner the most. Except for the poodle. The poodle is pretty cool - she has all of her commands down to a perfect T. Holy crap, I want to be like that!

We went over quite a few items, namely (hahahaha) answering to their names. And so the journey had begun.

"Rusty! Here!"


I take a treat between my first finger and thumb of my left hand, put the treat in front of Rusty's nose (let him sniff it), then draw the treat up to your eyes (he should be watching your hand signal/treat), while holding the clicker in your right hand. As soon as your hand with the treat reaches your eyes and he's looking at you, click immediately and give him the treat.

Even if he's too distracted, put the treat in front of his nose again, bribe him into looking at your eyes, click as soon as he looks at you and give him the treat. Say the words, "Rusty! Here!" only once. Dare I repeat that again? Say the words only once. You do not want to confuse the dog into looking at you the second time.

Example - if you're at the dog park and you want to call the dog, you want him/her to look at you the first time, right?

Yep. That's how he responds to his name now. He actually looks at me! Woo hoo!!!

So that's Week 1 of training. I'm learning and learning and learning with lots of guidance from books and hands on training from the trainer at Petsmart, who by the way is just awesome.

Week 2 preview: Sit & Loose Leash Training

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Typical Christmas Picture

Eh. We all have one right? I'm not a parent yet, so I have to be a proud doggie parent.

But you know, this year I was thinking that I didn't want to send out pictures in Christmas cards, especially of just the dog. I mean, seriously, what family members of mine want to see a picture of only the dog?

So this was taken just for us. And he's so dang cute. He has so many wrinkles and is such a squishy face dog.

I really don't know the reason why someone would give up on him - though I do have to say, there are so many people out there that don't know how to care for high energy animals and think that animals are supposed to care for themselves.

Some days I'd like to know his previous owner so I can ask a lot of questions like, "Why the heck is he afraid of the fridge?" or "Why didn't you give him heartworm medication?" or "Why on earth was he 15 pounds underweight?"

And then I know why people who adopt animals probably shouldn't know their adoptees previous owners. I don't think I'd be very nice. But then again, I'm glad we have Rusty!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Follow Me on Twitter!!!

Follow ME!!! But only if you want to...

Tuesday Treats

Rusty is an absolutely fabulous dog, after lots and lots of work, praise and TREATS he's become well adjusted (but um, still afraid of: the fridge, garbage cans, loud noises, beer boxes, etc...). Tuesdays will be dedicated to just that - TREATS!!!

Zuke's Z-filets, chicken flavored are Rusty's absolute favorite. They're $4.96 on the Zuke's website, but I've found them at Petco (not at PetSmart yet). They're all natural, have extra protein for high energy and are nice and tasty. They're on SALE right NOW at Petco for $4.39.

I break them up into smaller pieces because we'd go through the whole package in a week if I didn't. It does take Rusty about 3 minutes to devour a whole treat though.

I rate these an A for taste, naturally healthy and the high protein. Definitely give 'em a try! They are on the pricey side, but trust me, they're a fabulous treat to have on hand when training or just being a great puppy.

No worries! I'm in the poorhouse, so I'll have some definite doggie savings on here too including food sales AND treat sales!

The First Meeting

Shy. Timid. Only wanted pets.

But first I have to say that Rusty was very much the opposite of the other Golden Retriever, Honey, that was up for adoption at the White River Humane Society in Bedford, Indiana. Honey was bubbly, bouncy and a bit of a handful (read, I'm sure the previous owners didn't have the time nor the energy to care for Honey, but still, why would you get a dog if you didn't have time for it?). She jumped on me, jumped on the counter, jumped on her new owners and was a purebred Golden Retriever. VERY golden. VERY, VERY golden.

While I was filling out the paperwork, a helper brought Rusty around to the front to meet me outside.

And then there's Rusty.

Rusty met me outside. Immediately I got down on his level and he came running to me, laying down on the ground waiting for pets. He was scared. He was shaking. He was ready for a good home.

He was underweight, malnourished is not even close. He was 15 pounds underweight. He was was so scared that he wouldn't even eat treats in the car (he didn't want to get in the car, I had to pick up his rear end and shove him in, poor dog).

At this point, I wasn't even sure of what kind of dog we would be dealing with.

Neglected? Yes.

Absused? Yes.

Malnourished? Yes.

Other health problems? At that point it was unknown.

I had to be prepared for the worst...