Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Resignation, craziness, and more craziness!

So... the trainer whose classes I covered last week resigned yesterday. With no advance notice. So I came into work expecting to be doing customer service, cash register, and trying to sell classes and stuff and ended up having to teach class again. But before that I spent almost 3 hours on the computer just trying to fix the schedule. I had to try and cancel some of K's classes and switch the name of which trainer was teaching it for others... and I wanted to reorganize the calendar so the classes were in order by time of day. What I mean is, our monthly calendar has spaces for a class to go- 8 per day and 16 on Saturdays and Sundays. What would make sense is for all the classes to be in order on each day. Like have 5:00 be first, 6:00 be second, and 7:00 be third. That's the way I was trained to do it and that's the way our store's other trainer, S has been doing it. K, however, would just pick a slot that wasn't already taken- so the calendar would read 10:00, 4:00, 12:00, 5:00, 2:00, etc. It was one big jumbled mess that I found very confusing to read- and very hard to read quickly. So if I just had to glance down to see what time my next engagement was it was impossible to do! I couldn't just glance at it, I had to study it for a minute to make sure I wasn't skipping something!

So that was part of the craziness. Then, as I was rescheduling stuff, I noticed that K had left me a note telling me what time all the classes I needed to cover this week start. There was a week 1 puppy class she said started at 6:00. The master calendar said it started at 7:00 and the computer said it started at 7:00 but her attendance log also said 6:00, so I didn't know if she'd changed the time... Then, some of the enrollment forms (forms the customer fills out saying what class and time etc) said 7:00 and two of them said 6:00! So I had to talk to the manager and figure out what to do... and then I had to call the two pet parents whose forms said 6:00 and see if they could come in at 7:00. One said no, so I put her in a Sunday 10:00am class. The other one wanted to be put into a different class anyway, so I put her and her 3 puppies (!) into the Sunday class as well. So instead of the 7:00 class having 6 dogs in it, it had 2. And only one showed up. It was totally awkward to give my big long "day one" speech to one person. I told her she could switch into a different class if she wanted but unfortunately that's the only time that works for her. I felt bad because she was looking forward to the social aspect of the class - for her dog - and having only one other dog in it is kind of not that great. So, I have to call that pet parent to see when he wants to schedule a makeup and if he's going to make it to the rest of the classes etc.

Which reminds me, there was a man that called the other day to apologize for missing S's class that morning so she told me to schedule a makeup for him and there was another class covering the same material a couple days later- at 8:00pm - so I told him about it. And he thought I meant 8:00 am because apparently that's when he showed up and he was very unhappy and apparently talked to the store manager for like 45 minutes. The manager just confirmed my impression of him - he thinks very highly of himself (only told me over the phone that he was a doctor about 8 times) and thinks that other people are stupid and that anything that goes wrong is someone else's fault. So the manager basically told me that he now thinks I'm a complete idiot and that it was all my fault- he wouldn't give up until the manager pretty much told him that she was going to have a long talk with me about it and "take care of it." Man, people are weird. I know I am. Hahaha.

Oh, remembered another crazy thing... as I was doing scheduling, I discovered that we have 5 intermediate classes starting over the period of about 7 days. And we should have one starting every other week. And unfortunately I couldn't just cancel some of them because there's someone signed up for almost all of them! Which is weird because it's so far in advance. So I have to let S handle that one because I think one of those classes is hers and she'd be the one taking K's Intermediate students since I'm not comfortable with that material yet. But man that was a shocker to find!

So this week I'm now working Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday... which sucks because my husband is off Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for Labor Day weekend. And since I don't work Monday at all or Tuesday during the day- it would've been nice to have a couple days with him in a row! I'm not supposed to work Saturdays- I told the managers many times that I want one day on the weekend to have off since he works weekdays and goes to bed early. And since I work weeknights and weekends, I would hardly ever see him if I didn't have one weekend day off. So my schedule was supposed to be Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday. And once Harley and Ace graduate, then it can be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday.

But that reminds me that I'm still not done scheduling. I came home tonight and found some I need to fix. Somehow with this craziness, I ended up scheduling myself to work 6 days a week in October.

Anyway, that's enough for now.
Nighty night y'all.
<3 L

Homeowners insurance and CGC certified dogs

I just wanted to share this... I think it's hilarious. But also sad. Not in a "boo-hoo" sad but more of a "what is this world coming to?" sad. Make sense? It's an article from the Chicago Tribune about a man who lost his homeowner's insurance because of his dogs.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/problemsolver/ct-biz-0828-problem-stephenson-20110827,0,2244177,print.column?ST=1

It's really short. So, you know what, I'll just post the whole article:

Allied Insurance paid Tom Stephenson's claim after a storm knocked down his backyard fence.
A short time later, the insurance company abruptly canceled the West Chicago resident's homeowners policy.
It wasn't the claim that led Allied to pull the plug. It was his dogs.
In July, an Allied adjuster visited Stephenson's house as part of a routine check. A few weeks later, Stephenson received a letter from the insurance company saying his policy would be canceled because he has pit bulls.
Stephenson was apoplectic. He could handle the policy cancellation. What he couldn't accept was his dogs, Bumper and Tease, being called pit bulls.
They are, he said, highly trained, award-winning American Staffordshire terriers.
For Stephenson, it was a matter of perception.
"It's insulting to call my dogs pit bulls," Stephenson said. "When pit bulls bite someone, it makes headlines because, honestly, they have a very strong bite. But they call everything a pit bull. Well, they're not pit bulls."
Stephenson said that after he received the letter from Allied, he called to complain. The customer service representative told him that certain breeds of dogs are prohibited from coverage, including both pit bulls and American Staffordshire terriers.
"We got the policy out and there was nothing about dogs on it," Stephenson said.
Even so, he told the representative he wanted a new cancellation notice calling Bumper and Tease by their correct breed. His primary concern was that Allied would send his information to other insurance companies, which might also have a problem insuring homes with pit bulls.
Stephenson said he asked his agent and Allied to send a new letter, but none arrived. So he emailed What's Your Problem?
"I'm not saying anything bad about pit bulls, because there are some great pit bulls," he said. "It's all the way you raise them and what you do with them, for crying out loud. I could take a poodle and make it the terror of the neighborhood."
He said both his dogs are sweethearts, and the older one, Bumper, has been used as a therapy dog in visits to senior centers and children's hospitals.
"We've got every obedience degree possible," Stephenson said. "Everybody brags about my dogs."
The Problem Solver called Nancy Smeltzer, a spokeswoman for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, which owns Allied Insurance.
Less than a week later, Stephenson received a corrected cancellation letter, stating Allied dropped his coverage because he owns American Staffordshire terriers.
In an email, Smeltzer said Allied's dog policy is pretty standard.
"Like most insurance carriers, Allied does not write certain dog breeds in Illinois," she said.
Included on the list are both pit bulls and American Staffordshire terriers, along with 15 other breeds, including Rottweilers, Dobermans, chow chows, Akitas, mastiffs and English bull terriers.
The policy also excludes coverage for houses that have any mix of an ineligible breed with an eligible one, such as a Rottweiler-Labrador mix, Smeltzer said.
"These dog breeds are not written because they have a higher incidence of causing property damage and bodily harm than other dog breeds," she said.
Smeltzer added that "exceptions could be considered" if the policyholder's dog has received the Canine Good Citizens certificate from the American Kennel Club.
Stephenson, while glad to get the corrected letter, said he was never told about the possible exception. Both his dogs have Canine Good Citizens certificates.
"All my dogs have much higher certificates," he said. "They didn't even ask me if my dogs had certificates."
Not that Stephenson has to worry about coverage. Shortly after Allied dropped him, he signed up with Allstate.
"I was very upfront with them. I told them that I got dropped (because of my dogs)," Stephenson said.
Allstate told him owning American Staffordshire terriers was no problem.

And that's why I think that it's so important to have dogs get CGC certified. Not that it would've mattered in this guy's case since his insurance apparently didn't tell him about the exception... But that's why I tell anyone who comes in with a "bully breed" (I'll be PC and not call them all pit bulls), especially if it's a puppy, and especially if they admit to me that they're hiding it from their landlord- that many landlords are lifting breed restrictions if the dog is CGC certified and that our Advanced class preps dogs to take the CGC test.

I plan to get both of my pups CGC certified- not that it'd really matter for homeowners insurance since neither breeds are ever on breed restriction lists, but it's just a good thing to do. Then, I can get them both certified to be therapy dogs so I can take them into hospitals and things of that sort.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bark-alaureates and impregnation

Training class tonight went pretty well. Harley was so excited by all the other dogs- one of which was a 5 month old Golden Retriever who was much calmer than Harley. She kept barking- though not as much as this little Yorkie-mix. But it was helpful for me to see how all the pet parents feel when in class- especially when with a crazy dog! :P It was very hard to listen to the trainer and make sure my dog was behaving at the same time. So, had I not been trained to know exactly how to teach the things we covered in class, I probably would not remember the material very well and struggle a bit to remember and work with my dog correctly over the course of the next week. One thing that's a bit of a downer... there's no class next week, which means we'll finish one week later than anticipated. And I start working on Mondays the week after the original graduation date- so that means that I'll now be working the night Harley graduates. I scheduled a class to start that night too so it's not like I can just ask off. So hopefully my hubby will be back from his training by then and can take her to her graduation. Or I'll just have to find a time to schedule a makeup.

I just remembered that I haven't been keeping up with my dog college. :P It's pretty fun and informative though not at all "real." But here's the link- it's done by the same people that produce the Dog Fancy magazine. http://www.dogchannel.com/dog-college/default.aspx  I have two diplomas from it- for the 100 and 200 level courses - Bark-alaureate, meaning that I graduated with better than 90% on all the quizzes. And actually, I graduated with all 100% in the level 200 classes and all but one quiz in the level 100 classes. Which was so frustrating- I missed it by one question on one quiz. And if you get 100% on all quizzes in all 4 levels then your name is submitted into a drawing to win free dog food for life. Oh well. :P Can't remember what brand of dog food it was anyway- I'm probably feeding mine better stuff. haha.

Well, I was so worried about Ace tearing the kitchen apart while he was home alone while Harley was at class... and he totally surprised me and didn't destroy anything! I'm not sure if he barked or cried, so I can't call him a perfect little angel like I'd like to because I'm not 100% sure that he wasn't a nuisance. 

Just remembered that I need to get them registered so I can get their rabies tags. I also would like to get Ace's pedigree and get him registered with the ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America). And I need to get them fixed before Harley's estrous cycle starts and Ace starts mounting her at the right end. So far I'm not worried about him impregnating her... cause he mounts her at the wrong end. And then she proceeds to lick and bite his... for lack of a better word... thing. Which is just plain weird. But he's not humping her rear so I'm not too worried. Poor confused little Ace has no idea how to procreate. haha. I'm fine with that though. :P

Anyway, it's late and I have to work tomorrow. I must admit I'm afraid that there'll be a little drama about the shenanigans that went on on Saturday. Ugh... lol.
Until the next post,
Thanks for pawsing :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saturday's surprise classes, kids' activities, and oblivious people

So yesterday was much crazier than I anticipated. I thought the trainer whose classes I'd covered Tuesday and Thursday would be back but when I got into work the other trainer began telling me what time K's classes were. Very confused, I asked her if K was coming in. To make a long story a bit shorter, the manager was under the impression that I knew I was covering her classes on Saturday when in fact, I was not... so I had scheduled a makeup session for one of K's students for 10:00 and K also had a class that I was supposed to cover at 10:00. And one of the students in the class had missed the two previous weeks so they were behind the rest of the class... So thank goodness S was there to cover the class while I handled the makeup - I had the student from the class who'd missed the two weeks come to the makeup with me and I taught both pet parents the curriculum they'd missed. And though makeups are only supposed to be about 15 minutes long, because there were two of them and because one of them had missed two weeks, it ended up being almost an hour. Then I just spent the rest of the day trying to sell classes, rescheduling classes and waiting to see if anyone would show up for the new dog orientation. But the manager was incredibly grateful that I stepped up to the plate and covered the other trainer's classes even though it was spur of the moment. I was fine with doing it. I love teaching classes- I can't wait for my own to start! Though I have to admit, I wish I was getting part of the commission for it... :P

Well to steal my area trainer's idea, I plan to print out some coloring pages for kids to do if they get antsy when they're in class. So I looked up dog-related coloring pages and found a couple okay ones, and then I found activity pages from the AKC about dog agility, safety, training, etc. Like crossword puzzles, find the hidden picture pages, fill in the blanks, etc. I bought two boxes of crayons (24 each) to take to work with me when I go in on Tuesday.

http://www.akc.org/pdfs/public_education/agility_matching.pdf
http://www.akc.org/pdfs/public_education/bailey_goes_home.pdf
http://www.akc.org/pdfs/public_education/CanineCrossword.pdf
http://www.akc.org/pdfs/public_education/canine_words.pdf
http://www.akc.org/pdfs/public_education/grooming_crossword.pdf
http://www.akc.org/pdfs/public_education/hidden_picture.pdf
http://www.akc.org/pdfs/public_education/safety_scramble.pdf
http://www.akc.org/pdfs/public_education/tail_tales.pdf
http://www.akc.org/pdfs/public_education/where_breed_come_from.pdf


I just remembered something that happened when I was training with the area trainer. I was with her and the other trainer (which was strange that the three of us would be at the same place at a time) talking to a man looking at dog food, I believe. I'm not sure how he got onto the topic, but somehow he strayed from talking about dog nutrition or whatever to bashing us and our coworkers. To make a long story short (again), he rambled on and on and on basically about how we were not going to make anything of ourselves or become successful working there and we should quit and go to school to get a degree because he is getting his MBA and is very wealthy and successful, blah blah blah... He mostly was talking to the area trainer the entire time - well, she was the only one interjecting and answering him - but oh how I wanted to interrupt to tell him that I do have a degree, and in Psychology no less, and I plan to get another degree (or two!) somewhere in the near future. I kind of have to have money first though. Well he was just completely oblivious to our reactions and terrible at reading body language- the area trainer tried to tell him she needed to go about a thousand times (gross overstatement of course, but you get the idea) and he kept saying "but one more thing!" and I'm pretty sure the three of us were showing how offended we were in not so subtle ways.  Not in rude ways... but generally I think it is very hard for a person to completely hide when they are hurt, or offended, upset, or angry and so though we did not intend it, I'm sure we showed it.

I just finished watching Julie & Julia which is what inspired me to write a blog in the first place. So it's taken me about two hours to write this post because I basically have only written during the commercials. Haha.

Oh just remembered that today I went to Borders- they're having the 50-70% off closing sale. So sad that they're going out of business, but it's great on my wallet. I bought two more books for my dog-related library. I got From Baghdad With Love and AKC's Citizen Canine. As well as a bunch of other books that I'll read in a year... when I have free time. Lol. Certainly don't have very much now.

Well... unless I think of something else to add to this post in the next minute, this concludes this post. :)
Until tomorrow - Harley starts class tomorrow night!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Training classes and puppies as cats

Today I taught some more classes- again, covering for another trainer. I taught a week 2 Puppy class and a week 4 Beginner class and then had a personal training camp in the hotel. First, I'm not going to bash the other trainer, but I'm just confused as to what the pet parents have been taught so far. There are certain behaviors that they should've known by now and they told me that they hadn't learned some of them or had no idea what I was talking about. So, for example, in my second class of the night, they were already supposed to have been taught drop it, leave it, and down. And one pet parent said that they did not do drop it and only briefly covered down which means that the only thing left that they were supposed to learn that week was leave it. And that does not take an hour to teach. So what the heck else were they taught that day?

Anyways... So I kind of had to squeeze a lot into an hour for that class covering things they should've already known so that we could get on to the next things. And one of the pet parents that had missed the previous week specifically asked if they could schedule a makeup session with me. So I scheduled to meet with them on Saturday first thing when I come into work. I'm not sure if that's really right but I don't know when the other trainer will be back and they wanted to get the makeup in before next week's class, and I felt bad that the trainer had not scheduled the makeup with them before she left for this week.

Another whoops for the night- after my first class ended, one of the hotel managers told me that there was a personal training camp that did not get done and the dog had already checked out. And that was the third personal training camp for that pet parent that a trainer did not do. Now, no one had ever told me how to tell if I had training camps scheduled, no one told me when I came in to work that day, and I kind of figured I wouldn't be doing training camps for a while since I just started training. So it's partly my fault- since you know what happens when you assume. (You make an ass out of u and me). I felt so bad and I really hope that the pet parent schedules another training camp that someone will actually do. 

There was a second training camp scheduled- and I did do that one. It was a cute little Boston Terrier mix- brindle with floppy ears and a bit bigger than a standard Boston. He had the sweetest, goofiest personality. He was also one of the most toy motivated dogs I've seen. He actually preferred a toy to treats sometimes and would work to play with the toy. Apparently he's had issues in the past with automatically rolling over when someone asks him to lie down. This is a problem I had with Harley too.  This happens when you create a pattern- if every time you ask your dog to lie down you then ask him to roll over, eventually they're just going to roll over when you ask him to lie down because they're anticipating that that's what you will ask for next. Not once today when I asked him to lie down did he roll over! He did roll over at other times, but never immediately following the cue "down."

Something I want to mention that I find incredibly odd is a behavior that Ace does. I've noticed that (usually at night) he will go to a specific toy, put his mouth around it and then just sit there like that for a while. I'm not sure if he's sucking on it or very subtly licking it or nibbling on it, but sometimes he also wiggles his toes and curls his paw up kind of like cats do when they knead. So I googled this behavior and apparently dogs do knead like cats in rare occasions. I read conflicting descriptions however- one resource said that puppies will grow out of it and the other said that they never grow out of it. I have yet to see any harm in Ace doing this so I see no reason to stop him because it calms him down and he does not do it obsessively. 

video

Off work tomorrow- so hopefully I can get a lot of reading in! Another of the books came in- High Energy Dogs. I'm really looking forward to reading this one since I have a Lab and an Aussie- two very high energy breeds! haha.

Well, night y'all. :)

Dog parks and group classes

I read an article and a bunch of comments about how dog parks are great in theory but in reality not that great or safe for pups or people. And now I will not be taking mine to any dog parks.
Here is the link to the article- following the article are a bunch of stories and comments supporting what was said in the main article. http://leerburg.com/dogparks.htm

This snippet is from an especially touching story- I cried, no surprise there seeing as I cry at Lowes commercials, but still- about a dachshund attacked by a rottweiler at a dog park. "Grr the brown dachshund was just getting used to being around other canines at dog parks. He stopped soiling the ground whenever he was approached by a dog and wasn't afraid to sniff another mutt. Grr became that scared little dog again on July 2 when a hulking Rottweiler cornered and attacked him in a central Bakersfield dog park. Despite getting kicked and punched in his face, the growling Rottweiler only stopped after it fatally punctured Grr's throat. The dachshund would die about 31/2 hours later, according to Animal Emergency and Urgent Care."

So now, I mostly just intend to take mine to a regular large park (not a dog park) that I have previously taken them to, as well as a pet friendly beach (but I'll still be very wary there). And I'd like to take them to doggy day camps sometimes as well- just because I know that all the dogs there have their vaccines and have been evaluated and it's a safe environment.

Harley (hopefully) will start her training classes next Monday and Ace should begin the following Wednesday. I'm taking them to classes, not because I have doubts about my own abilities to train them, but because I can't provide them with the social aspect and the distractions that a group class can. Sure, I could train them outside where people walk there dogs, but the second one of my dogs barks, the other person usually freaks out and whips there dog away in fear of mine- not realizing that mine are puppies and just want to play. So then there goes a chance to train my dogs in the presence of another dog. And that's what I really want to work on- getting them used to being around other dogs and behaving "properly" around other dogs, so that when we do encounter another dog on a walk, they won't go berserk with excitement and unintentionally scare people off. That's something I don't think people realize- is that even trainers have issues with their own dogs. We're not perfect, our dogs aren't perfect. Although I want both of mine to be able to be demo dogs for the classes I teach, that'll be a ways down the road yet.

Speaking of classes, I came really close to selling classes yesterday- like 4 of them. I was very proud of myself for clearly impressing a couple people with my knowledge in different areas, and for "planting the seed" (to borrow the phrase from my area trainer) of training in a couple peoples' minds. This one couple in particular had come in a few days before buying a bunch of stuff in preparation for a pitbull puppy they were going to get in a couple days. Then yesterday they came in with said puppy (adorable, 7 weeks old- too young to be taken from mama in my opinion) and I spoke to them again about training. The first time I'd encountered them they'd seem at first against the idea of training them outside the home, since the man had trained all his previous dogs himself. But when I mentioned that the Advanced class preps dogs to take the CGC test and some landlords nowadays are lifting breed restrictions if the dog is CGC certified, their entire demeanors changed. They admitted to me that they weren't supposed to have a Pit and were going to have to "hide" her til they found a new place. And so when I saw them yesterday, they were very happy to see me again and genuinely seemed as if they will sign up for my puppy class a few weeks down the road since the pup is still too young.

Well shucks... time for work. But at least I'm teaching classes again tonight!!!
More cute pet parent stories to come!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Contest, Sit Means Sit, and more rambles

My pups' picture is in a contest for "Sit means Sit" best Action shot. So... please vote for it!
http://www.sitmeanssit.com/photo-contest/?photo=754


On that note though, I decided to look into the Sit Means Sit training program because a customer was gushing about how amazing it is and I wanted to see for myself what was so great about it. First, I hate the way the website is laid out. It's taking me forever to find anything regarding the training program's methodology and beliefs. Plus I had to register twice to get access to articles which is just plain annoying. And I just downloaded an article of theirs which explains why electronic collars are humane. Hmm... not sure I believe that one no matter what they say. I will admit that possibly they are not as awful as they used to be, but I still do not believe in using them. Dogs learn so much faster with purely positive reinforcement (though apparently people want to use the term progressive reinforcement now). Using positive/progressive reinforcement is enjoyable for the dog, it makes training fun, it helps create a better bond between dog and parent and helps stimulate their mind as well. Dogs trained with this method are - I won't say smarter- but better problem solvers, and dogs trained with the "traditional" method (choke chains, prong collars, shock collars, "dominate" the dog, etc) generally end up being very fearful of a lot of things, including the pet parent- plus, they end up being not very independent or mindful or happy-go-lucky or any of those kinds of things.

I just conferred with my area trainer and she was not a fan of their program either. And I read some more articles- and all of them had a plug for their electronic collar. I watched a video where they used an electronic collar on a 5 month old puppy in place of a clicker. They shocked the dog to mark a desirable behavior. One, that just sounds backwards, Two, why would ANYONE put an electronic collar on a 5 month old?, Three, although electronic collars may not be as bad as they used to, why would anyone substitute a collar for a clicker- clickers work wonderfully! If it aint broke, don't fix it.

I entered the contest though because I am somewhat competitive and it's for a $25 gift certificate to their store- and though they do sell electronic collars (ugh), they also sell normal toys and treats... and I could always use more of those. Seriously, I go through like a bag of treats a week! I guess that's what two 5 month old puppies will do to you. :P

That rabies shot really knocked them out. They slept most of yesterday. I was afraid that then they wouldn't be tired and wouldn't sleep through the night, but they did, thank goodness. I still have issues with that occasionally- seems like either Ace can't hold it all night, or he just wakes up and wants attention. So I decided to "test" him and not get out of bed to take him out if he wakes up and whines- to see if he'd have an accident or if he'd go back to sleep. So I tried it- the first night was awful he cried forever but I was hoping he was going through extinction and I just tried to go back to sleep. But now, he rarely ever wakes up anymore- or if he wakes up, he doesn't wake me up. So, I've come to the conclusion that on accident, I trained him to wake me up so that he would get to see me. Does that make sense? I think he just doesn't like to be without us and he realized that because whenever he'd cry I'd take him outside and he'd get to see me, he began crying just to see me not because he had to go outside. So, I extinguished that behavior and now I usually can go all night without having a puppy whine and bark and wake me up!

Man, I really went off track from the original topic of this post, but that's alright. Time to start reading Don't Shoot the Dog! I suppose. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Under the bridge... that's falling down

Today I taught my first classes. They weren't even technically mine, I was just covering for another trainer. I had a Puppy class's graduation, and the third week of a Beginner class to teach. I was so nervous! But I think it went pretty well, and I think it's easier this way instead of my first class being day one of a class when we have to give this big long speech about training, positive reinforcement and a bunch of other stuff. Plus, the customers didn't have to know that this was my first time so that helped. I was able to kind of pretend that I'd done this a million times and that helped me get through it without stumbling too much.

In the second class of the night, there were only two dogs: a Pug and a Jindo. We were supposed to learn "Down" which can be very difficult for many dogs to learn. My own dog, Harley, had a difficult time learning it. But none of the normal techniques (i.e. luring dog from a sit to down with a treat starting at their nose and bringing it to the floor, plus some variations on this technique) worked for either of the two dogs in the class so I had to use the bridge technique for both of them. This is when you sit on the floor with your legs together and knees bent to make a little bridge for the dog to go under. It's a lot easier with small dogs, but I was able to get the Jindo under my legs pretty successfully. The point of this technique is that they'll follow your hand/treat under your legs and you click and treat when they lie down. Your legs should be low enough that they can't just walk under your legs but not so high that they will refuse to go under them. Each time you should lower your legs a little bit until you hopefully get to the point where the dog will not want to go under your legs and will lie down next to them. It's kind of complicated and a bit hard to explain, and it is very difficult to fade from going under the legs to just using a simple hand gesture or verbal cue. But I was very proud of myself for remembering this technique because for my final exam during training, I had to teach a week 3 Beginner class and completely forgot about the bridge technique for one of the dogs in the class that was having a difficult time with "down."

Tomorrow I'm not teaching any classes but I'm teaching two more on Thursday- I can't remember which weeks but they're both Beginner classes I believe.

Whew what a day- I'm exhausted! Oh and one of the books I ordered- Don't Shoot the Dog! came in, so I'll try and start reading that soon.

Don't dog ear these!

Just wanted to jot down my list of dog books that I thoroughly enjoy. And since I am against dog ear-ing pages of books, please use a book mark with these. :P

Inside of A Dog by Alexandra Horowitz. Truthfully, I haven't finished it yet, but so far it is very interesting. When I flew from VA to CA, the man in the seat behind mine saw me reading  Reaching the Animal Mind and recommended to me the book he was reading at the moment, which was Inside of A Dog. Although I'm enjoying it, I just haven't had time to finish it yet.

Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds by D. Caroline Coile. This isn't really a good "read" but it's got a lot of great information and is organized very well in my opinion. I like to study it so that I will be able to know a little bit about each breed.

Reaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pryor. This one goes into the method of clicker training- and I thought that it would be a bit like a text book- kind of dry to read with a lot of information shoved into it, but it was very funny and a really quick read. There was a lot of information in it but it wasn't given to the reader very obviously. It made me cry- there were a couple very touching and sad stories in it.



Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin. I read this for a class I took in college on Animal Minds. I really enjoyed it- it has chapters on different animals: Cats, dogs, horses, cows, chickens. I especially liked the chapters on cats and dogs.


51 Puppy Tricks by Kyra Sundance. I love the way this book is set up- the tricks are very easy to understand because there are step by step pictures accompanying each one. And then there are little troubleshooting tips for each trick as well. Although some of the methods used to teach the tricks aren't exactly in line with what I would do, I like the book for the most part. Mostly I just use the book to give me ideas of what to teach my dogs next and then I come up with my own technique for teaching it. (I'm not saying I'm inventing new techniques, I'm just doing whatever comes naturally- which could be based on things I've read in the past).



And I am hopefully going to begin reading It's Not the Dogs, It's the People! A Dog Trainer's Guide to Training Humans by Nicole Wilde, High Energy Dogs: A Practical Guide to Living With Energetic and Driven Canines by Tracy Libby, and Don't Shoot The Dog! by Karen Pryor soon. As soon as they come in. I ordered them almost two weeks ago... so hopefully it won't be long now.

Also on my "To Read" list regarding animals and dog training...

101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond With Your Dog by Kyra Sundance
101 Ways to Do More With Your Dog: Make Your Dog a Superdog with Sports, Games, Exercises, Tricks, Mental Challenges, Crafts and Bonding by Kyra Sundance
10 Minute Dog Training Games: Quick and Creative Exercises for the Busy Dog Owner by Kyra Sundance
Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin
Dog Language: An Encyclopedia of Canine Behavior by Roger Abrantes
Training the Hard to Train Dog: Effective Training Techniques for Working With Shy, Controlling, and Stubborn Dogs by Peggy Swager
The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller
and the list goes on and on......

I still have yet to read Marley and Me by John Grogan, and although the following books have not as much to do with dog training, I still want to read them. From Baghdad With Love: A Marine, The War, and a Dog Named Lava  by Jay Kopelman, Oogy by Larry Levin, One Dog at A Time by Pen Farthing, Saving Cinnamon by Christine Sullivan, and Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan. All of them are about dogs- and the majority are about dogs in Afghanistan or Iraq as military dogs. Since my husband is a Marine, the books are combining my two biggest interests right now.
When I finished my training to become a trainer, the area trainer gave me a huge list of books I should read. I think I'd already read maybe two that were on it. And I haven't made that dent any bigger because my books have not come in! They should arrive by next week. Hopefully. Well as soon as I read them, I will review them!

Two Shots in the Rump

So today my pups Harley and Ace are going to get their rabies vaccines. They are almost five months old and are about to start training classes. I think that it would be easier to sell the training classes to customers if I can tell them that I put my own dogs through the same program. Plus, I want to get them CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certified and I think this is the easiest way because the Advanced course preps the dogs to take the CGC test.

Harley is a yellow Lab and Ace is a black tri Australian Shepherd. My husband and I got Harley first- right when she was 8 weeks old. And then about a month later we got Ace- when he was 13 weeks old. Funnily enough, they are only 3 days apart in age. Ace is older and they really do act like brother and sister. Harley is the adorable yet irritating younger sister who always wants to play and Ace does his best to ignore her when he doesn't. Though if they are playing and he wants to stop, he always runs to mom and hides behind me.

Ace is also the alpha. If she has a toy and he wants it, he'll take it and she won't do anything about it. But if he has a toy that she wants, if she tries to take it he'll growl at her and then she'll just spend the next five minutes lying next to him and barking in his face. :P