Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets. www.greytinspirations.com

Round Up

Billie as a puppy

Billie as a puppy

I told you a few weeks ago that Taylor was starting to have some weakness in his rear legs and that I thought he needed more than just his usual glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM tablets.  So, I ordered something for him called Dog Gone Pain.  He’s only been taking it for a few days but I am very happy with it.  He is acting feisty again plus he’s been trotting around the house.  He’s even been playing with the other dogs.  Taylor will be 13 in a couple of weeks and I think his new medicine is really helping him.

All of the dogs continue their clicker training.  It’s really funny.  If I just give them treats now without using the clicker they look kind of disappointed.  LOL  They want the clicker! It must give them some feeling of accomplishment.

I was looking around on eBay the other day to buy some extra clickers and maybe a new bait bag (I’m using my old fanny pack right now) and I discovered something interesting.  People are selling things on eBay at a marked up price.  I don’t even like eBay anymore.  You used to be able to go there and find good deals but now it seems that the people who sell there have their own stores and they’re just trying to sell their merchandise.  For instance, with the little clickers, people were selling them for several dollars each.  I googled the brand and I found the same thing selling for $1.29 cents at Pet Edge.  It was the same way with the training pouch I liked.  People on eBay were selling them for $15 but they were $9.99 at Pet Edge.  So they’re buying them cheap and selling them high on eBay.  If you want a good price, go somewhere besides eBay, or at least look other places, too.

Don’t rule out your local pet supply stores either.  I was buying dog food yesterday and I checked out what they had.  They didn’t have a large selection but for the things they did have their prices weren’t bad.  Of course, that’s the Tractor Supply Co. store.  I don’t have a PetSmart or other pet store near me since I live out in the country.  I think the Tractor Supply Co. store is just as dangerous as a pet store.  I am not as tempted to buy pet things but I always seem to buy some shirts or look at horse magazines when I go there each week.  It’s a struggle not to buy a Breyer horse.  I used to collect them when I was growing up and I still love them.

Billie in the field

Billie in the field

It will soon be time to breed Billie.  Just a few more weeks.  I’m very excited.  She’s four years old and this will be her first litter if all goes well.  She’s a beautiful girl but she has a very unusual personality.  If you know anything about astrology Billie is a Gemini.  She does things her own way.  She is “quirky.”  Sometimes she is very loving and wants to be petted but other times she just wants to be alone.  She will go off and lie in the sun in the backyard all by herself.  She doesn’t care what the other dogs do. Sometimes you can’t even tempt her with food.  She does what she wants to do.  She’s always been this way since she was a puppy.

I guess I’m giving this round up about everything because this is my last post here.  The GreytInspirations store will be closing soon and this is the end of the blog.  I want to thank Joanne for allowing me to have fun with these posts.  I love writing about my dogs and finding stories that might interest dog lovers.

So, good luck to Joanne and her family, both human and animal.  And thanks to all of you who have been reading.  I appreciate the time you’ve taken to stop by and read.  Many thanks and hugs to your pets.

Carlotta Cooper

July 31, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When guarding is bad

Pearl when she's not barking.

Pearl when she's not barking.

I apologize for being a little behind schedule this week.  I’ve had a cold all week long and I’ve been scrambling to try to get things done when they’re supposed to be done.  I had to take a day or two off to just stay in bed because nothing I wrote was making much sense.  Clients generally take a dim view when you give them articles with bad punctuation and grammar.

We missed our clicker training class yesterday but I was feeling a little better this afternoon.  I hauled myself and Blue and Pearl to our training class today.  I still let the trainer do most of the work but at least we were there.  Unfortunately, I had not been careful to make sure that Blue and Pearl were hungry before we went to class.  In fact, I had left a big bag of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts out accidentally overnight and, when I realized what I had done this morning (the aroma!), I gave the chicken to the dogs.  So the dogs shared about four pounds of chicken breasts just 3-4 hours before class.  I think Beau got the biggest share of the chicken breasts — he can be a real piggy!  Blue is a little more selective about what he eats.  Billie and Pearl probably ate one breast each.  Taylor only showed up at the end even though I called him.  But it was enough to make Blue and Pearl less interested than usual in treats during class this afternoon.  Blue wasn’t even very interested in peanut butter when we practiced getting him to come when called.

We did get some good trotting from him when the trainer and I took him outside and the trainer started him off in the grass on the little hill.  Desterie and I had thought that Blue was starting to trot there because it was higher ground.  The trainer thinks it’s because the grass is higher and Blue has to lift his legs higher.  I don’t know what the reason is but he definitely trots when he is coming off the little hill with the high grass, but he still paces on the flat ground.

Blue and Pearl are both learning to sit, too.  That’s coming along.  We also worked on a few behavior issues.  Oh, my, yes.  Even my dogs have behavior issues.  Pearl is a horrible barker.  Every time we ignore her to work with Blue she starts barking.  We’re trying to teach her to be quiet using clicker training.  We ignore her when she’s barking.  Then, when she is quiet she gets clicks and treats.  LOL  It’s not really fair.  Blue has to work for his treats and all Pearl has to do to get her treats is be quiet.

Blue is also having an issue with the other dog in the class.  The other person and dog who come at the same time we do are a woman with a Lab mix puppy.  Friendly, outgoing puppy.  Well, the puppy likes to walk right up to Blue and get in his face and he’s not used to that.  He doesn’t know the puppy.  I think part of him would like to play but he’s also got this status thing going on.  Then, if I’m next to him, he also acts like he is guarding me.  If the puppy comes near me Blue puts himself in front of me like he’s defending me and he doesn’t want the puppy to get close.  So, Blue needs to learn how he should react to the puppy and he needs to learn that he can’t guard me.

Lots of dogs exhibit guarding behavior, whether it’s about people or toys or their food.  When they do this the solution is to generally remove the thing that they’re guarding to let them know that it’s not okay.  If your dog is guarding his food bowl you can remove the bowl and feed your dog from your hand for a few days to remind him that the food comes from you.  If your dog is guarding toys you can remove them and offer your dog something else to stop the guarding behavior.  You can teach many dogs to trade toys with you — offer them something of higher value than the toy they are guarding.  And, if he’s guarding me (as the trainer reminded me), I can get up and leave the room to let him know that it’s inappropriate.  Because Blue does guard me at home, too.  When some of the other dogs try to come to me to be petted he will sometimes put himself between us so I can’t pet them.  Even if Blue follows me when I leave the room I’ve let him know that this is unacceptable behavior.

I can’t tell you how helpful good training classes are.  Classes where you can discuss behavior and not just learn obedience commands are wonderful.  If you have classes like these in your area I highly recommend them.  You and your dog can learn a lot.

If you’d like to read some good articles about dog training this site has some that I like.

July 25, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , | Leave a comment

More training and Responsible Dog Ownership Day

4Blue had his first clicker training class last night and it was very interesting!  The trainer had me start out with clicking and treating Blue for making eye contact with me.  Well, he had that down cold.  He watches me all the time.  So he was getting lots of clicks and little hot dog bits for looking at me when I said something like, “Blue, look at me!”

Next, we got to move on to trying to get him to trot again.  My significant other had gone with me to the class and he was very helpful.  I should say that he has a broken finger — from tubing down the river and trying to swing out over the river on a rope (don’t get me started) — so it was very good of him to offer to go with us.  He was moving Blue around and I was clicking when Blue actually trotted, which he did a few times.  Then Blue would get some hot dog treats.  I think Blue was starting to trot a little more by the time we finished.

I think it’s too early to say that Blue has associated the click with knowing that he’s doing something I want him to do, but he seems to be learning fast.

Pearl went with us, at the trainer’s request, but we really didn’t use her to help Blue, at least I don’t think so.  She was learning about clicking, too.  She learned about keeping her eyes on me and getting treats when I clicked.  She got some extra attention from the trainer when we were working with Blue.  I still don’t know how she’s supposed to help Blue learn to trot.

So, that’s where we are with our training.  I’ll keep you posted.  We have another class tonight.

In other doggy news, the AKC has announced that they’re getting ready for another Responsible Dog Ownership Day.  This is a great annual event — actually it’s a month-long celebration of dog ownership that goes on across the country.  Here’s what they have to say:

1AKC RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP DAYS UNLEASHED

— Hundreds of Nationwide Events Listed on http://www.akc.org/

New York, NY – Are you interested in learning training and grooming tips from the pros? Or considering adding a new family member? Be sure to mark “AKC® Responsible Dog Ownership Days” on your calendar. This month-long celebration includes hundreds of organizations around the country holding free events filled with fun and engaging activities for every current or future dog owner. AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day events are held throughout September and are listed on http://www.akc.org/clubs/rdod/events/

“According to an AKC survey, 99% of dog owners have a dog because of the love and companionship they provide. Dogs have become increasingly important in our lives and the best way to return the love of your dog is to be a responsible owner,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days across the country are aimed at helping owners keep their canine companions happy and living harmoniously in their communities.”

Each AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day event is unique but many include obedience and agility demonstrations, meet the breeds, microchip clinics, breed rescue information, therapy dog/service dog demonstrations, health clinics, safety around dogs for kids, giveaways and other entertaining and educational activities. If you want to show your friends and family how well-mannered your dog can be, take the AKC Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Test. This 10-step test rewards well-mannered, obedient dogs – and is offered at many events.

Listings of all events can be found and searched by state at http://www.akc.org/clubs/rdod/events/. The site will be updated weekly to reflect new additions.  Over 200 local events have been entered to date, including:

·        9/12- Clearwater Kennel Club, Tampa Bay Kennel Club and Pasco Florida Kennel Club  –  AKC obedience & agility demos, parade of over 50 AKC breeds and rescue dogs, demonstrations from city police K-9 unit and 4H kids with their K-9s. AKC Canine Good Citizen® testing, canine massage, canine first aid and CPR, Paws for Patriots, guide dog and therapy/service dog instructors, and 40 vendors.

·        9/13-Tropical Toy Dog Fanciers of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI  –  Conformation handling class: learn how to show your dog! Meet the Breeds with some of AKC’s 161 dog breeds available with breed experts. AKC Canine Good Citizen® testing.

·        9/19-Rapid City Kennel Club, Rapid City, South Dakota  –  Demonstrations of agility, earthdog, obedience, rally, flyball, basic training and more. AKC-sanctioned B-OB match. AKC Canine Good Citizen® testing, microchip clinic, youth coloring contest, dog parade, and other fun games. Educational information regarding dog laws, grooming, health and nutrition, obedience class signup, pet first aid, spay/neuter, therapy and service dogs, AKC and 4H.

·        9/26-Suffolk County Kennel Club, Oyster Bay, NY  –  AKC education tables with breeder referral, canine health issues, getting started in AKC events junior showmanship and safety around dogs information. Learn how to find a responsible breeder and talk to experienced owners and trainers. All-breed dog show will be held with rally and obedience trials held by Suffolk Obedience Training Club. Food and vendors with dog-related products will also be available.

AKC will celebrate its own AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day in Raleigh, N.C. on Saturday, September 26. The event will feature many AKC-recognized breeds, agility and obedience demonstrations, AKC CGC® testing, and low-cost microchipping.

AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days are nationally sponsored by Invisible Fence® Brand, whose behavior-based containment system has successfully kept over 2 million dogs safely contained in both outdoor and indoor environments. Invisible Fence Brand will be highlighting their commitment to responsible dog ownership this September by working with event-hosting organizations across the country to provide resources and information for pet owners. Learn more about our sponsor at http://www.invisiblefence.com/.

Organizations interested in hosting an AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day event should contact the AKC at communications@akc.org or visit http://www.akc.org/clubs/rdod/events/ .


July 17, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog Training!

Can Blue learn to trot?

Can Blue learn to trot?

My dog Blue doesn’t like to trot.  I’ve written about this before.  He uses the pacing gait instead of trotting.  I’ve been at my wit’s end because he has to trot at dog shows.  I finally decided that I would see what an expert could do about the problem.  Yesterday we had an appointment with a dog trainer.  What an interesting experience!

Now Blue has never had any formal training.  My training experiences have been in group obedience classes.  I’ve read a lot about training and applied what I needed to apply to my own dogs but I’ve never used clicker training.  So, I was very interested to see what was going to happen.

We arrived at the trainer’s place.  She boards dogs, too, but she has a separate building for training.  However, it’s not air conditioned and it was very hot.  It’s built a little like a huge garage and she had one side opened so there was air moving around.  It was still hot, especially for a longhaired dog like Blue.

The trainer had another trainer there with her.  They asked me to show them what Blue does so I put his show lead on and moved him around — he paced for them.  Their first thought was that maybe I wasn’t tall enough to move fast enough for Blue (I’m 5’7”) so they had the male trainer move Blue — he still paced.  Next they decided to see how Blue would move on his own so they told me to let go of his lead and let him move freely.  They started tossing toys for him, which he was very happy to chase for them.  He moved from one side of the building to the other, always pacing.

Then they decided to see how he would respond to treats.  HAHAHA  My boy likes treats.  They got some Vienna sausages.  One trainer stood at one end of the building and the other trainer stood at the other end.  They would call him to them and give him treats when he came.  But he always paced.  So then they decided to see if they could start using the clicker to get some trotting behavior.  The male trainer picked up his lead and started moving with him.  Whenever he trotted, even for a second or two, I was supposed to say, “Yes!” and the other trainer would click the clicker so Blue could get a treat.  Well, he did trot 2-3 times, just for a few seconds, but it wasn’t enough for him to figure out why he was getting clicks and treats.

Altogether this went on for about 20 minutes — tossing the toys, letting him run around, then clicking and treating.  By this time Blue had enough.  He was panting and he just stopped.  He said no more.  He ran over behind me and plopped down and wouldn’t get up again.  I don’t blame him, really.  I’m sure he didn’t see the point in what they were trying to do, even if there were treats involved.  That’s why English Setters don’t make the greatest obedience dogs.  They tend to think for themselves.  The last time I took a dog to obedience classes he was bored out of his mind when we were doing the heeling exercises where we practiced walking in circles and stopping.

However, I did sign us up for classes with these trainers.  I think they will help us.  We don’t have to repeat the same things over and over.  I think we’ll have to be more creative to figure out a way to get him to trot.  For one thing, they want me to bring one of my other dogs — one that trots! — to our first class, along with Blue.  Now I don’t know how that’s going to help Blue learn to trot but I think it should be interesting.  I think I’ll take Pearl.  She always has a fit when we leave her behind.  This way she can be part of things.

The trainer said that Blue was very smart.  While we were there a woman was teaching a puppy to ring a bell when she wanted to go outside.  Blue was watching everything they did.  The puppy would ring the bell with her nose, then the owner would click the clicker and give the puppy a treat.  Blue watched that for 10-15 minutes.  When we were leaving we had to go out through the door that had the bell hanging on it.  He used his nose to ring the bell!  It was so cute.  I wish I’d had a treat to give him. It’s amazing how smart dogs are.  We forget that they learn by watching others.

So, we’ll see how we do in our classes.  Can they teach him how to trot?  We’ll see.  Our first class is Thursday night.

July 15, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , | Leave a comment