Friday, June 13, 2008

Teaching Your Dog To Take The Dumb Bell

                                       Teaching Your Dog to Take The Dumb Bell
1st week           Teach three commands  1.TAKE IT
                                                            2.HOLD IT

Use food treat to get dog to open his mouth so that the Dumb Bell can be inserted. Hold the Dumb bell in your right hand. As the Dumb Bell is inserted, give the cue TAKE IT. As the dog takes the Dumb Bell in his mouth, place your right hand under the dogs chin and press upwards giving the cue HOLD IT. Next, take the Dumb Bell in your right hand and give the cue OUT. REWARD.

2nd week      Dog should open his mouth on his own. If it does not, work on presenting the
                    food treat and the cue TAKE IT until you can present the Dumb Bell to the
                    dog and the dog takes the Dumb Bell on CUE.
3rd week      The dog should reach for the Dumb Bell. Hold the Dumb Bell a little further
                   from the dog each time you do the TAKE IT exercise.
4th week      Increase the time the dog holds the Dumb Bell. Work on having the dog hold
                   it for at least 30 seconds to a minute. After the dog holds the Dumb Bell for
                   30 seconds, do some heeling. Have the dog take a few steps and then stop
                   and REWARD.
5th week      Start to throw the Dumb Bell a few feet from you with the dog sitting at the
                   SIDE position. Run out to the Dumb Bell with the dog and pick it up for the
                   dog if the dog does not attempt to pick it up. Place it in the dogs mouth and
                   REWARD. Back up from the dog and do a RECALL with the dog holding the
                   Dumb Bell. REWARD.
6th week      Throw the Dumb Bell farther, and run out to it and hold it on the ground until
                   the dog attempts to pick it up. REWARD. Do RECALL.
7th week      Dog should do the whole retrieve routine by itself.



     Most dog owners are somewhat amazed when their dog first shows possessiveness. This is because of the manner in which the pet expresses itself, usually verbally ( a growl or a snarl ) and orally ( a snap or a nip ). This is usually the first time the owner has ever had the animal do anything threatening against them.
     They find it hard to accept that the dog could feel that it has something that the owner has given to him and the dog does not want to have the owner touch  or take it from them. After all, ownership means that the owner owns everything and the dog owns nothing.  NOT SO MY FRIENDS! There are times that the animal will feel that what has been given to it or the animal has taken, is the sole right of possession by the animal . This could be as simple as a ball  or toy or something to chew or eat.
      While the dog is basically a pack animal, there are times that because of the dogs perceived status in the pack, it feels that it can take an object as its own and no other member of the pack can have access to that object. The dog will fight to retain possession from a pack member it views as equal or subordinate.

      How do we prevent this situation from occurring in the first place. There are several methods suggested to condition the dog so as to prevent this from occurring. The first method is related to food. In order to be able to take food away from the dog, the owner should first practice the habit of going to the dogs food bowl and placing more food in the bowl as the dog is eating.  This means that you first give the dog 1/3 of its normal amount in the bowl. As the dog is eating, you go to the bowl and pour another 1/3 into the bowl. The dog now knows that when you come to the bowl it can expect to get more food. You then put the final 1/3 of the amount in to the bowl. You do this each time you feed the dog for at least eight to ten days. This conditions the dog to the behavior of your coming to the bowl and putting more food in the bowl. Next you start with the 1/3 in the bowl and as the dog is almost finished with the food, you pick up the bowl and pour 1/3 into it and set it back down for the dog to eat. When the dog is almost finished, you again pick up the bowl and pour the last 1/3 into it and place it on the floor for the dog to finish. Do this for eight to ten days and you can now pick up the bowl and place it back on the floor without the dog objecting. Once or twice a week go back to the first method of putting more food in the bowl in order to reinforce the routine.

      The second method if generally called the trade-off method. You give the dog a ball or a toy and when you want to take it from the dog, you offer the dog another ball or toy. When the dog releases the first ball or toy, you throw the second so the dog can have that one. You do not try to get the item from the dog, but wait until the dog willingly gives up the first item. As soon as the dog releases the item. throw the replacement item. Dogs are willing to give up something if they get something in return. After five or six releases and trade-offs, you start to say "OUT" as the dog releases the item. The dog soon learns that out means that you will give something in replacement for the item the dog is willing to give up. OUT can be then transferred to anything you want the dog to give up. Don't get greedy and forget to treat the dog when it give up something. The dog will soon learn that you are taking and not giving.
     Reinforcement is necessary for any behavior to be retained as part of the dogs behavioral repertoire.
     Patience and perseverance are the keys to training, obtain them and the world is yours.

The Flood of 96

The Evacuation Of 1996
With the flooding throughout the midwest, I thought this information might be helpful.
The phone rang just a few minutes after Eleven PM. My wife, Marie, answered it. She yelled "it's Bob, turn on Channel 28". I turned on the T V and tuned to WBRE-TV 28. A reporter was interviewing the EMA Director, Jim Siracuse who was stating they expected the river to reach 36 feet. The dikes are between 37 feet and 39 feet and he stated it was going to be too close to call. The Emergency Management Agency of Luzerne County was ordering a precautionary valley wide evacuation. By seven AM it was mandatory.

De Ja Vu. We live a few block from the Susquehanna River in Forty Fort Pennsylvania. On June 22, 1972 the river topped the dikes and flooded the entire valley to a level of almost 40.6 feet. At that time we had two Giant Schnauzers, Ch. Camoli's Gem of the East and Ch. von Russ Brinny Brite, a mother-daughter pair. We had very short notice that time. I had Marie drop me off at my office a few blocks away to move some files to the second floor and pick up the State Car that was parked there. I returned to my home and was putting the dogs things in my personal car when the sirens started to sound. Until you experience the sound of wailing sirens and know that it means that the river had topped the dike or that the dikes have broken and the river coming through you cannot realize what a terrifying sound it is. When I was leaving the house with Gemma, the water was coming down the street. Marie had left a few minutes earlier and had taken Pazazz with her in the other car. We were to meet at a friends house out of the flood plain. We had taken some clothes and enough food and water for the dogs for a few days. Little did we know that we would have almost fourteen feet of water in our home and that we would be out of our home for weeks.

This time, as soon as I heard the words "EVACUATION" I said to Marie "pack clothes and I'll take care of the dog's things". I immediately thought that the next thing they would announce was a water advisory, that would mean the water was not fit to drink. I got out my water containers for the one Giant Schnauzer we have, Ch. von Russ Follie Berger' and collected enough water to last her a week (15 gallons). I also put food for a week in a metal container along with her medications and feeding pan and water bowl.

The phone rang and this time it was our friend Anna Cervenak. She and Max Bartikowsky have a Beagle, Sparkle. She said that they were going to the Victoria Inn to stay and would meet us there. I called the Victoria Inn but found out that while I had been packing the clothes and dog supplies in my Maxi Van, others had been calling for reservations. No Rooms available. I next called the Knights Inn because I knew from traveling the dog show circuit that they accepted pets. No rooms available until noon on Saturday. I made reservations for two rooms. One for us and one for our friend Bob Adams who has a Cairn Terrier, Darcy. It was now close to midnight, Friday January 19,1996.

Because of our experience showing Giant Schnauzers for over twenty-five years, we are use to packing the necessities for our dogs and ourselves. We have left the house in the wee hours of the morning many times to go to dog shows. My wife, Marie, has a list of things to take for us and the dogs. The list came out that night, only there was no Best of Breed or Group Placements to be won, this was a life and death situation. We had everything to lose if the river came over the dikes. We had thrown everything we owned out into the street to be hauled away after the" 72" flood and it looked like we were going to be in the same situation again.

The phone rang again. It was Bob. Like many dog show people, he has two vehicles, a passenger car and a station wagon for the dog. Bob needed to move one of the vehicles to high ground. I said I would be right over with my car to follow him and give him a ride back. It was now about one-thirty A.M.

Marie had the TV playing during all this and when I returned from Bob's she said that they had informed the public that the location of evacuation centers was going to be announced and they were not going to accept pets at the centers. This meant that one hundred thousand people were going to have to leave their homes. What were they going to do with their pets? We have crates in our vehicles for our dogs, but most pet owners only have a collar and walking lead for their pet. What were they going to do?

People that live in a flood plane or near the ocean and are in the path of a hurricane need to have an evacuation plan that includes their pets. The first thing you should consider is a pet carrier or crate that will fit in your vehicle. Even if you end up in a motel, you can keep your dog in the crate, or carrier if it is a cat. You need something safe to keep the animal in when you are not able to be with it constantly. This also means training the pet to enjoy being in the crate!

The next thing is taking food for at least several days. A metal. or plastic container is best as it will keep the food dry and is easy to carry and store when you get someplace to stay. Water for your pet is easily carried in two liter plastic soda bottles. TAKE ENOUGH FOR AT LEAST FOUR DAYS. Label the containers "DOG'S FOOD"," DOG'S WATER". Water from a different source could cause a digestive upset and give you further problems with diarrhea. Make sure you take any medication necessary for your pet.

Heart worm medication should not be forgotten as it is necessary to administer daily unless you have your pet on the monthly medication. Another factor that is important is that your pet be accustom to riding in your vehicle. Many pets only get to ride in your vehicle when they have to be taken to the Veterinarians. This is somewhat of a traumatic experience for the animal and if the only time it gets to ride with you is to the Veterinarians, it is not going to make your evacuation trip any easier with a dog that is upset and possibly throwing up. Another safety factor that we practice is never let the collar on your pet when it is in the crate. The animal could become excited because of the situations you could be exposed to and the collar could become caught on the crate and the dog could choke. We always hook the collar and lead to the crate door in order that it is always accessible when we want to take the animal from the crate.

If it is absolutely impossible to take your pet with you, placing the animal in the highest room in the house is the next best thing. Do not tie the animal to anything, let it loose. Pick a room that has a secure door. Place papers in one corner of the room. Place at least two days ration in a large pan such as a roaster and make sure you provide lots of water in containers that cannot be easily dumpted. The animal can go a few days without food, but water is very necessary. If it is during winter, provide several blankets for the animal to lay on to keep warm because the electric power has to be shut off and there will be no heat in the house. Place something in front of any windows in the room to prevent the possibility that the animal may jump at the window and break through in an attempt to escape. You can clean up any mess when you return to your, hopefully in a few days.

Another factor to think about is in the case of fire. There are stickers available that you can paste on your doors that tell the fireman you have a pet inside and also state what kind and how many. Your fire escape plan must include your pets and what you can do with them once you are out of the house.

The people that had to evacuate were informed by WBRE-TV there was a lady in Clark Summit, a town about twenty-five miles away, that had a large heated horse barn and was making it available to pets, but they had to be in crates. Also, some of the boarding kennels out of the flood area still had vacancies.

We decided to leave our house about 2:30 AM and go across the river to the Knights Inn area before the bridges were closed. They had closed the bridges early during the "72" flood. Marie and Bob followed me and I headed for an all night restaurant at about 3:00 AM I have a small TV that plays off the battery of my van. I took this along so that we could keep informed about the developments concerning the river.

During the afternoon on Friday, the temperature had been as high as 60 degrees. At 3:00 AM the temperature was 17 degrees and the wind chill brought it down to 12 degrees. Bob and I had our dogs in our vehicles and that meant that we had to keep going out to the vehicles and run the engine to keep it warm for the dogs. I have a curtain in my van that hangs just behind the dog crate to help keep the heat up front in the maxi van. I was able to keep the temp about 68 degrees during the night. At dawn, we went to the Victoria Inns to stay with Max and Anna until we could check into the Knights Inn.

We sat there watching TV. Remember during the Gulf War how you could watch the war going on from your living room. Well because of the coverage by the local TV stations, we were able to watch flood scenes as they happened. Some of the scenes were very graphic and frightening. There was one scene of a fireman wading in water up to his waist to rescue a dog left tied to its doghouse right alongside the river. Another scene showed a National Guard Officer carrying a Golden Retriever from the flood waters. The dog was licking his face. There were other stories of pets left behind and drowned . Not everyone had prepared to take their pet with them.

The river crested at 34.38 feet at about 5 P.M. Saturday. We were able to return to our home the next day. Our dogs were safe and healthy because we had the experience of traveling with them and being ready to take the things they needed to keep them safe and healthy. They had acted as if they were going to a dog show, thanks to their dog show experience.



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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gemma An Introduction

Gemma - An introduction to dog behavior modification
I purchased my first Giant Schnauzer in 1967.  I had been raised in a home that had Beagles and Fox Terriers.  The Beagles were raised by my father who hunted with them, and the Fox Terriers were the K-9 of choice by my mother.  As you can well guess, the two breeds were never together.  My father did some field trial work with the Beagles, but my mother was never interested in entering any of the Fox Terriers in a Dog Show, so they were basically house pets.
After marriage, my father gave my wife a Boxer as an anniversary gift and we got involved in both Obedience and Conformation Dog Shows.  Years later, after the Boxer became ill and the veterinarian advised us she was not going to live much longer, we decided to obtain a Giant Schnauzer.  We named her Gemma.  This arrogant BITCH was the beginning of my serious education in animal behavior.
It was more like "learn or give in" to tell the truth.  She is the subject of many, many of my dog stories.  Gemma had what I was to learn is a typical Giant attitude.  "Someone has to be the boss, so it might as well be me.”  She also had the attitude that "no one could get away with hurting her.”  I found this out when I took her to an obedience seminar and the well-known instructor conducting the seminar decided to use Gemma for a demonstration. 
As we were heeling, Gemma started to lag and I was instructed to give her a “GOOD” correction.  In those days that meant a sharp, quick jerk on the lead, causing the choke collar to quickly tighten around the dog’s neck and obviously cause pain!  Well!  Gemma was not going to take this abuse from me or anyone else.  Her immediate response was to take my left leg in her mouth and give me the most severe pinch-bite I have ever experienced.  She did so without ever breaking the skin.  I had the largest black and blue mark on my thigh for weeks. 
Needless to tell you, we were remanded to the rear of the class for the remainder of the seminar.  In fact, we had a lot of room to work because other members of the class were giving us as much space as they possibly could.
This experience caused me to search for methods of training that did not involve any aversion techniques.  I can't say at this time whether it was my concern for Gemma's well being or my sense of self preservation.  But learn I did. 
Gemma never competed in Obedience competition but instead became a Champion in the Breed Ring.  I had a lot of fun teaching her protection work and she loved the training sessions because she could bite without getting into trouble with me.  I always felt it was better to teach my Giants to bite on command.  That way, I knew they were not going to bite unless I told them to do so.
When  I became involved in Carting, she was my prize Cart Dog.  Oh!   Did I mention that I became aware in 1972 that Gemma was blind?  This was shortly after she became a Champion.  We had been in the 1972 Agnus flood and our home had fourteen feet of water in it.  As we were repairing the damage, I noticed that Gemma was bumping into things.  After all, everything had been changed and the newness of her environment did not permit her to move about from memory.  She did not know where anything was and had to learn all over.    Her blindness did not stop me from training her, in fact, it made my efforts to learn how to train more important.
Gemma won first place at the Carting Competition sponsored by the Giant Schnauzer Club of America at the Westchester KC show in the mid 70's.  At the awards presentation, the judge commented that she should do very well in advanced Carting ( off lead).  I told the judge that she couldn't work off lead because she was blind and needed the lead for security. 
The judge exclaimed "you mean I gave a blind dog first place!”
Blindness was just an inconvenience for Gemma, not a disability.  She responded to working with a flat collar and a lead to guide her and lots of treats to reward her.  I even taught her to jump on the grooming table by slapping the table with my hand and she would jump to the sound.  Of course she knew how to jump on the table prior to her blindness.  She had complete trust in me and I in her.  How could you put a choke collar on a blind dog and jerk it around?  Not me!
Source: Modifying Dog's Behavior published by Harry Russ Jr.