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