Friday, April 13, 2012

Driving cross-country back to NOVA, invisible fence, Kikopup

WAAAAHHHH it has been waaaaaaayyyy too long since my last post. I do have a good reason though. lol. For the last couple months my husband and I have been packing up all our stuff to prepare for his deployment and so I can move back to VA to be with family during it. So all of our stuff got put in storage except for some clothes which I had to ship to VA and the dogs. :)
Then, after he left, my mom flew out to California and helped me drive 3,000 miles with my puppies to her house. I've been here about a week and have some downtime right now cause I'm still trying to find a job, so hopefully I'll be able to keep up with this blog a little more for the next several months.

Well, a lot has happened (obviously).
Where to begin? That's the only problem.

This is a video I was recommended by fellow trainers from Kikopup's channel on YouTube. It is about how to train a dog to stay behind an invisible barrier. I am using her methods to train my dogs how to use the Invisible Fence. (For those of you who may not know, it's the electrical fence underground that transmits to a collar that delivers an electric shock if the dog tries to go past it).

The "traditional" method of training them on the fence would be to put flags up where the fence is and then walk the dog to the barrier and yank them back yelling no. Repeat until the dog is so terrified you're going to yank on them that they don't go near the flags again. Yay! =/ Then you associate the yanking on the leash when they're near the flags with the beeping noise emitted by the collar. Then you take the protective cover off of the collar's prongs so that if the dog doesn't back up when they hear the beep, they get shocked. What I'm trying to do is get my dogs to learn the barrier using only positive reinforcement. They choose to stay on their side of the barrier because that's where all the good things are! Then, once they have that down and do not cross the flags, I'm going to associate the barrier with the beeping noise on the collar. And my hope is that they will never get shocked because they will know that the beeping noise indicates they're leaving their area and will choose to turn around. Worst case scenario, they may get shocked one time which will only reinforce their desire to remain on their side of the invisible barrier. The difficult thing is the barrier I'm training them on is HUGE. My parents have an enormous yard. So, in Kikopup's video, her barrier is minuscule in comparison and it's going to take me a bit longer to proof my dogs on it. Meaning, I still have to add in distractions! Which is in Kikopup's second video:

Harley is doing very well. I've gotten to the point where she is off-leash and will wander around inside the barrier while I am on the other side. Only occasionally does she cross the barrier, and even then it's usually only a foot and in an area we have not practiced as much. I will start adding in small distractions with her today with my eventual goal being to throw a ball across the barrier and her stopping at the flags and not going past them. Hah! That will take me a while. =/ I'd like to have both Harley and Ace perfect on the fence and wearing their collars in a week so I can actually get out of the house! I'm basically trapped here until I do. I am able to leave them in my bedroom for very short periods of time if I have to run buy dog food (which I did the other day) but I do want to get a job while I'm here and need to start going to business to inquire about openings soon. Also, it'd be nice to be able to open the door when they need to go out and not walk them on the leash. Although, for a while at first I'll probably be an overprotective mother and hover on the porch watching them to make sure that they don't shock themselves or something. Or get into fights with my parents' dogs.

Aside from the barrier training, I have a VERY long list of things I want to work on with them. I also have a very long list of books I want to read related to training.
I'll let you know what all of those are letter. Gotta leave you wanting more, right? Hah.

So once I have my dogs trained on the invisible fence, I will let you know how that went. I'd like to be able to post a follow-up video to Kikopup's showing how to combine her barrier training methods with an actual Invisible (electric) Fence and collar.

Well, gotta run do some training! :)
More later.
Thanks for pawsing!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dog Body Language and DINOS posters

I found these lovely posters by Dr. Sohpia Yin online. They have great illustrations of how to greet a dog, how kids should and should not interact with dogs, and identifying fear body language in dogs. 
You can download these and others as PDFs here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In Training leash clips and Thundershirts

Good grief it's been ages since my last post. I really need to get back on the ball so I can stop beginning all of my posts like that! The holidays really put a dent in my blog life I suppose. I didn't really read anything new or do anything new training-wise with my dogs.

So, real briefly I'll just give an update on my pups. I mentioned that Ace got neutered back in November, and now he's all healed up! We took Harley in to the vet for an ear infection the day after Christmas, and it was so bad that they had to anesthetize her the next day to flush her ear out. They decided to spay her at the same time so she wouldn't have to go under twice and to save us money since anesthesia is so expensive. We took her to get her stitches removed Saturday morning, which was the day of her Intermediate class graduation but when they removed the sutures, the incision was still open and bleeding so we weren't able to go to class. :( But luckily, one of the other students couldn't go to class either so her graduation will be this Saturday! :) Unfortunately, my husband will be gone this weekend for work so he won't be able to attend her graduation. :( Also, when we went to the vet to get Harley's sutures removed, the vet also prescribed an anti-anxiety medication for Ace because he has pretty bad separation anxiety. We left for about 2 hours one night and when we came home, seven ornaments (plastic collectible Hallmark ornaments) had basically been shredded. And another time it was the carpet, and another time it was the dog bed, and the cinnamon pine cones from the coffee table,  and my watch, and the poop bags... and the list just goes on and on. Well, I think that's all of it.

Today, I finally made the "In Training" leash clips I've had planned for months.

Today, I also bought a Thundershirt for Ace. He is very reactive toward other dogs- any time he sees a dog he barks his head off. He's not aggressive by any means, but it started when he was a puppy - he would get so excited when he saw a dog and he wanted to play with them that he'd whine and bark. And now the barking is a lot louder and sometimes turns into almost a snarling sound. Well, the Thundershirt is supposed to be good for reactivity toward other dogs and barking (as well as many many other things), and I've heard that it's a miracle worker. So I put the shirt on him when I got home and then took him for a walk to see how he would do if we saw another dog. Well, there were no other dogs out, but we heard other dogs barking and usually he'd bark back, but he didn't. Yay! The only time he did bark was when we saw the mailman, and it was only a little "woof" and then I was able to get him quiet and calm again. It's also supposed to be good for separation anxiety. I'm a little scared to try it for that though, because I think Harley would try and eat it off of him. :P

One other thing that happened today was that Harley started playing with the door stop again. She hasn't done that since she was a little itty bitty baby! And the funny part was that I just watched the video of her playing with it as a puppy last night for the first time in a while! And luckily, I got her playing with it today on video. :)

Well, thanks for pawsing. More later, I promise. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Neutering, comfy cones, and Halloween

We got Ace neutered a week ago today- November 1- and he's getting his stitches removed Thursday. Just in time for our trip to Vegas! We're having the pups stay at the PetSmart PetsHotel and they're going to do Doggie Day Camp for two days as well. I upgraded his neuter to laser surgery- which has a faster recovery time and there's less pain and swelling too. I also got him a Comfy Cone- which is a cushion-y fabric cone instead of one of those awful plastic cones.

Ace in his comfy cone:

Here is the link to the website describing the comfy cone. You can't buy it on this website however. But you can buy it on Amazon and I'm sure a bunch of other websites as well.

I plan to get Harley spayed at the same vet- which isn't our usual vet. Our normal vet couldn't get Ace in for a neutering for an entire month! So we took him to a different one- El Toro Animal Hospital- which I just loved! It reminded me of my vet back in Virginia. It had a cozy, small-town feel with lots of cute knick-knacks and a little boutique and a cat sleeping on top of the computer- just like my vet back in Rappahannock! :) Also, El Toro has the laser surgery and my regular vet does not. Well, anyway, I plan to have Harley spayed there too and then we can use the comfy cone on her as well! We also got Ace microchipped, which reminds me, I still have to register his microchip to get him in the system.

I got the dogs Halloween costumes just for fun. We didn't have anywhere to take them, but I just wanted to take some pictures. :P I got the costumes super cheap on Halloween day- I think something like $3.50 each. I got a lady bug costume for Harley and a bumble bee costume for Ace. Not as cute as the frog prince and princess costumes I wanted but still pretty adorable.

This pic isn't great, you can't really see the majority of the costume but I think it's still pretty cute. :)

Trying my best to keep up with the posts!! Sometimes it's just hard to think of something to write! Bloggers Block. :P
Well, hopefully I'll have more soon!
Thanks for pawsing

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Graduate Programs

Man it has been too long since I last posted. It seems that's how I always start off a new post. Well, I have been doing searches for weeks and weeks on graduate programs in the animal field. (And the education field and psychology field trying to figure out what I want to do). I've been searching for animal behavior, animal psychology, and ethology programs, and recently discovered a few new areas in the field- Anthrozoology and Humane Education/Leadership. I found Canisius College, which has a semi-online Anthrozoology Master's program. Here is their description of the program: 

"Canisius College offers an online Master’s Degree in Anthrozoology, the discipline that focuses on humanity’s relationship with other species.  A major emphasis is on an examination of the relationships between people and their companion animals, but the scope of our program also includes animal use in science, industry, agriculture, and zoos.Our program embraces the positive value of human-animal relations by focusing on the many benefits that accrue to humans by including animals in their lives. It also covers the benefits that are provided to animals by humans. It is an interdisciplinary field of study that includes scientific investigations, philosophical considerations, religious perspectives, animals in literature, and humane education.  Our program also examines the intersection between animal protection and environmental protection:  the special relationship that exists between two worldwide movements."

This program seems more legit -- well, that's not really the right word -- it's more... respected, I suppose? Well, it seems more respected than the American College of Applied Sciences program- their program that I'm interested in is the Master of Sciences in Companion Animal Behavior Analysis and Counseling.  "The program employs a scientist/practitioner model following the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and evidence based practice. It uses a blended-learning course delivery model consisting of Internet-based courses (both synchronous and asynchronous), 5-day residency lab courses with animals, real-world practicum in the student’s community, and a capstone empirical research project (thesis) designed to fills gaps in the companion animal scientific literature. The program is specifically designed for the working adult who might not otherwise be able to attend a traditional campus-based program.
Graduates are trained to work as companion animal behavior analysts in leadership positions and as part of a behavior management and intervention team that includes the behavior analyst/counselor, the family or facility veterinarian, and the animal’s caregiver(s). Graduates may be employed by animal-related organizations including animal shelters, animal sanctuaries, veterinary practices, animal behavior businesses, humane societies, SPCAs, NGOs, educational institutions, wildlife parks, government animal control organizations, health departments or other such organizations.
Graduates may also enter the profession as self-employed animal behavior professionals and consultants, and as  forensic consultants/expert witnesses in animal injury litigation matters; college, university or vocational school adjunct instructors, media consultants and alike."

Then there's Valparaiso University, which has MA and MEd programs in Humane Education. 
"Humane Education is a unified course of study that explores the connections between human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection and provides learners with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to become conscientious and engaged citizens for a healthy, just, and humane world. Humane Educators foster creative and critical thinking, respect and responsibility, civic engagement, informed decision-making, and problem-solving in classrooms, workplaces, personal lives and the world."

And I just found another distance learning program - University of Wales Trinity St. David. They have an MA in Anthrozoology that is a completely online program- but it costs £10,719, which is almost $20,000 - and I'm not even sure if that's for the entire 180 credits, or just one year, or what. 
"The MA in Anthrozoology will be of interest to anyone who would like to investigate the many and varied ways in which humans perceive, engage, compete and co-exist with non-human animals in a range of cultural contexts.
The MA Anthrozoology is especially relevant in terms of Continual Professional Development for individuals who are involved with the care of non-human animals in a professional capacity (eg, vets, veterinary nurses/technicians, animal trainers, dog wardens, zoo keepers, conservationists, charity workers etc.), as well as for students who have completed social science undergraduate degrees or who have a science background and would like to expand their research interests into the social sciences."

All of the programs are just so expensive! And they take so long to complete. Two years for the Canisius program if you do it full time each semester! And I can't do full time right now. I have a job and two puppies and just don't have time to be a full time student again on top of all that. Also, most of them want a GPA of at least 3.0- and I had a 4.0 at one college, but by the time I graduated it was 2.9 cause I was taking so many credits (22!) and got married all in one semester. They say they let in students with lower GPAs on a case-by-case basis, so I just need to make my case really good! Canisius says the GREs are optional, but I definitely would take them before applying to help my case! So I guess the first step would be to study for the GREs... now begins my Amazon search for GRE help books. :P

So none of this is exactly related to dog training, but it is related to the field of animal behavior and my possible career path. :) I just need to start down that path sometime soon or I know I probably never will. Or I'll do it when I'm 60 and all my kids have graduated college and are out of the house and I've finished paying of THEIR education. Which is something I don't really want to do- I don't want to wait THAT long. lol. 

Well, thanks for pawsing! That's all for now, just wanted to share my search results with you all. =D

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Graduation week and gentle leaders

So Harley and Ace both graduated from their Beginner classes this week! :) Harley graduated Monday- which was also my 1 year wedding anniversary- and Ace graduated Wednesday. It was interesting to see how the two different trainers did their graduations and it was also neat to see how the pups did on Week 6 as compared to Week 1. Major improvements in my opinion. I got some really cute pictures of both of them wearing little graduation hats!

Harley's trainer/my trainer said that Harley is ready for the Intermediate class as far as knowing all of the behaviors, but not ready in regards to her reactions around other dogs and people. She still gets super excited and barks and jumps on people. So, the trainer recommended that we get a gentle leader for Harley before we put her in intermediate. So, the other day I bought a gentle leader- well, technically it was a Top Paw head collar, which I liked better because 1) it was cheaper, 2) it has padding on the nose strap, and 3) it attaches to the collar as a nice little safety feature. She's not too fond of it, of course, but we're working on it. It does make her walk better, we just can't stop for long or she'll try and get it off.

The intermediate class with Harley's trainer isn't until November, so that gives me time to work with her more and get her ready for it. Ace's trainer is a little more lax in the criteria for letting dogs into the Intermediate class. I taught her intermediate class this week, and I think neither of the dogs should be in it- personally, I think Ace is better than them because one of them won't even sit reliably. And dogs should at LEAST be able to do that before moving into the intermediate class.

That was the first intermediate class I've taught- and it wasn't that bad. I have my own intermediate class starting on Tuesday, so I'll have to let y'all know how it goes. Hopefully the dogs in that class will at least be able to know how to sit. So far three are signed up, and I've only taught one of them previously. So at least I know one of them knows the behaviors.

Well, it's getting late and I have to get up early to go to work!
More to come, and hopefully this time I won't wait so long before the next post.
Thanks for pawsing,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Training patches and merit badges etc

So, once again, it has been way too long since my last post. I really need to get back into this full swing! But it's just hard with my husband away... I have to deal with the puppies on my own as well as do all of the home care stuff... and that's on top of work.

Well for a while now I've been looking for something for my dogs that alerts people to the fact that they are in training. I'm tired of people petting them without asking or telling me that they don't mind them jumping on them. (You may not mind if my dogs jump on you, but I do!!) I didn't think people were actually rude enough to go up to someone's dog and pet them without asking... but that's not even the worst of it. When I took Ace to his training class last week, as I was wandering around practicing, a couple came up to me and started petting him without asking. But at least they asked him to sit before they did (they just didn't ask ME for permission). Then, while the woman was petting him, Ace stood up and she proceeded to tell him "Sit, sit, sit, sit, sit" repeatedly (which is terrible training anyway) and then she shoved his but to the ground to make him sit before I could interject and correct her! I wanted to haul off and smack her. So then I did interject when the man started petting him- before he could push Ace around- and I told him that Ace didn't need to sit the entire time he was being pet. Ugh what is with people that 1) they think that that's acceptable to do to ANY dog and 2) that it's acceptable to do to a dog that's not yours and you don't even know!?

Well I found a couple of "alert" things I like, but they're either ridiculously expensive or not sold anymore or something like that.

I also love the idea of the Good Dogs of America merit badges. There was also a program called Dog Scouts USA but I think it's no longer in existence. I found a Dog Scouts USA badge on ebay which is how I found out about it, and I found a couple references to it on other peoples' blogs, but they're website is non-existent and they're Facebook page hasn't been updated since 2008 I believe. The Good Dogs of America program is so cute sounding. You put your dog through training and you can buy a bandana for them which you then iron on the merit badges they receive. They're are 19 badges total and each one represents a different behavior that they've mastered. Like down, come, sit, shake, drop it, etc.  The only problem is, you either have to be taking a training course through one of their registered trainers or you have to be a professional trainer to buy them. I am a trainer, so I created an account to see how much they cost... you can only buy the badges in packs of 5 each... and to buy all 19 badges is $199! Gah.  So that one was crossed off the list...

After I looked into these two programs, I thought of making my own "In Training" thing- maybe a bandana or a thing that clips onto the leash or something like that. I tried to make a bandana, but a couple things went awry. 1) I wrote "In Training" in the wrong spot because when I put it on Ace, the fabric folded over exactly where I wrote it. So if I make a second one, at least now I know where not to write. And 2) the pups got a hold of it and destroyed it. lol.
Then I tried to make a leash clip out of felt and fabric paint... and it just looked awful. And the dogs got a hold of that too. I swear I don't leave things out where they can easily get them- I put them up on the desk and they never pull things off of it, but then of course the two things I'd been making are the only two things they pulled off the desk. grr. haha.

I found a bunch of websites that had training patches- but most of them said "Service Dog" or "Therapy Dog" or something like that. Then I found this one site,, which had a bunch of really cute patches. Although most of them do say things like "therapy" or "service" or assistance" there are a couple that don't.

I want people to want to meet my dogs- I just want them to pause (PAWSE!) before they pet them and ask permission, and also not just hightail it if my dogs start barking. I need people to see that they're in training and give me a chance to tell them that they're training and are only puppies and ask them if they'll let my dogs practice with them.

I was going to buy these right off the bat, but they're $18 each and I wanted two for each dog- the Young Dog In Training and the Ask To Pet one.  So that got crossed off the list too.

I found some plain "In Training" patches on ebay that were only $5 each, but they were just so boring in comparison to the cute ones from There were also ones that said "Ask To Pet" for only $5. I looked into custom embroidery patches, but that usually requires a minimum number of items or a minimum total amount- also very high price wise. So I ended up getting the ones from ebay- which I am happy about now. :) I plan to attach them to clips of some sort and then attach it to their leashes.

Here is the ebay patch after I finished attaching it to a backing and some clips to clip onto the leash!

Oh! I also found the cutest dog Halloween costumes for them. I want them to have costumes just to see how they'll handle it and so I can get some cute pictures and take them out for a walk with my hubby on Halloween. I really wanted them to have matching costumes- not exactly the same, but a pair. Like if they were both boys, I'd have them be Batman and Robin or they could be an angel and a devil. I also didn't want the costumes to blend in with their fur- Harley is light colored and Ace is black. I found angel wings and bat wings, but I wouldn't want Ace to be the angel cause that's a little girly. I found a couple that were kind of cute, but none that really made a good pair like I wanted. Then I found a Frog costume that had a crown on it... *Light Bulb!* (random Despicable Me reference). And I decided that I want them to be the Frog Prince and a Princess. I found the two I liked and they're just sitting in my cart waiting for me to pay. :) Not sure what the hubby will think but he'll just have to deal with our dogs wearing costumes for one day out of the year. I am opposed to animals wearing "clothing" in general. They do not need it, that's why they have fur. The only exception is clothing that is a necessity- like for dogs that need booties because they're hiking in snowy and icy weather or something like that.

They're going to be so cute!! Even though I know I'll probably only be able to get them to wear it for 5 minutes. Oh well, as long as it's long enough for me to get a picture! :D