Sunday, September 20, 2009

Afternoon's play

Sometimes I get the feeling that what everyone sees here is all work and no play and that couldn't be further from the truth. One the the best things about working with dogs who not only have a good bit of training, but have training that teaches them to be flexible and able to understand commands when they are used to communicate new ideas is that when we decide to play everyone understands what we are doing. The following video footage is of myself and a group of students, apprentices and interns all working with a couple of dog (Tiny the Mastiff and Rugby the Maltese)on what we hope will turn into an entertaining video short.

What we learned was that Rugby needs more practice being carried and Tiny needs more practice carrying things that don't necessarily hold still. At the end of the afternoon, everyone agreed a good time was had by all. The downside of this shoot was expressed by the dogs who had to sit on the sidelines and watch since they didn't have a part. Guess the screen writer is just going to have to get busy and come up with some more parts. Who knows? This might just turn into a feature film.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Scammers, get a life

I actually have an entry in rough draft form that I planned on finishing and posting today. My plans were shot down when I opened my inbox. And this is what resulted. Can you tell I'm not pleased?
Hello Dear yourself. Today I received the below correspondence in my inbox. Here is the short list of my problems with you and your request.

First starting right at the top, if you in truth do currently reside in Italy, pray tell why on this earth are you using a Peruvian mail server? That does give one a pause or should I say paws?

The next thing that popped into my mind was to wonder just how your “client” was going to be able to come to the US and in the same 3 week photo shoot be in Maryland, Illinois, Texas, Ohio and Maine just to name a few states your inquiry was sent. Yes, Dear we are all on the same page, which in part, is why we talk to each other.

Then I continued to read and come upon the information that said “client” owns a teacup Maltese puppy, whatever that is and it is to be trained to do what? And this training period is to be for how long? Oh yes, that’s right you did specify the time. It is to be for 2 one hour sessions each week for 5 weeks. So tell me, just how long is your client planning on spending in training said pup. And are you really sure it is a teacup Maltese. Seems you told a dog trainer friend of mine it was a Maltese Poodle and there were two of them. So just how many dogs are we talking about? Last thought on the actual dog. Can you tell me for sure, is it a Maltese or a Poodle or a Poodle from Malta?

Now about Jennifer Moor, seems that is a fairly common name. When I did a Google search I found more about you than I did her. I very much doubt your Jennifer Moor exists anywhere but in your head.

From there it is easy to just skip over all the rest until the last, the coup de grĂ¢ce so to speak. You actually expect me to accept a money order from you? Surely you jest? And just how much over and above my fee will said money order be for? Or perhaps I really should be asking, just how much are you hoping to stiff me for? What a load of dog cr*p.

My best suggestion to you and your mates would be to find an honest job. If you put half as much effort into honest work as you are putting into trying to scam people, you would be a very rich person.

So tell me, does anyone actually fall for this sort of drivel? Oh and by the way, this is how I feel when I get yet ANOTHER one of these stupid, nuisance scams.

*****Begin Scam****

Hello Dear,
How are you today? Moneta Bianco, i am 42 yrs old. I use to work
in England as a pet sitter 7 yrs ago before i relocated with my family to
Milano, Italy where i now work as a caregiver, I have lots of happy clients here
in italy.

I have a client Miss Eliska Kovarova a model here in italy.
She will be coming to the U.S in 3 weeks time for a photo shoot job and will be
residing in Maryland temporarily until the neccesary arrangement for her job has
been made before she leaves, She has one 11months old teacup Maltese Puppy and
would be needing a Dog trainner to train the Puppy while she is out on her photo
I have been looking for a dog trainner for over two weeks now, till i
met an old friend Ms. jennifer moore, She use to live in America before she
relocated with her family to Milano where she works now. I met her at Cosmetic
Surgery and Beauty Conference that was held over the weekend in Florence I spoke
with her about my client and was referred to you. She gave me your referral, So
i decided to contact you to know if you will be able to train her Puppy.
Miss Eliska asked me to come with her to the US but i told her i would not
be able to go with her to the US as i have a course i will be going for in a
week time and i do not know much about trainning a dog. So i promised to help
her get a good dog trainner in your Area. Pls tell me a little more about your
self, how long have you been a dog trainner? and would you be able to train her
Puppy from the 12th of next month to the 20th of November, 1hr individual
training session twice a week for for 5 weeks?
Pls i need you to get back to
me with the amount you charge per her and also let me know if she can pay you
via US money orders?
Do send your reply to my personal email address ( ) for a quick response as i do not check this email often.

Thank you very much and do have a nice day.

Moneta Bianco
Via Merkato ,
Milano Italy
********end scam******

Any of you readers interested in sharing your thoughts on this matter? Sure would love to hear from you. m

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Beast has been tamed

Personally I have always found watching a group of dogs doing a set of stays to be about as interesting as watching paint dry, however in this case I'm sharing this video because it is doing a pretty good job of showing how far the Kerry Blue, aka: the Beast, has come since May 29, 2009. When I first met her she had only one goal in life and that was to make sure she became the only dog in the world. KB's sure do have high opinions of themselves in my experience and Brandy certainly wasn't about to disabuse me of my opinion.

As you see when watching this video, for the most part she it totally focused on her owner. And here I must add, this focus is Brandy's idea. It has been achieved through the liberal use of properly selected distractions, praise, patience, praise, a steady step-by-step form of teaching first, praise and then training, corrections when mistakes are made, praise and yes, in the very beginning a couple of short, sharp and very serious "punishments" to make it easy for her to understand where the behavior line was drawn. Meaning very specifically, good dogs don't try to eat other dogs or people. After that Brandy was and continues to be given ever growing amounts of freedom to make her own choices.

Before anyone asks, no we did not use bribes, be they treats, food, or toys. What we did do and will continue to do is to honor her 'dogness' and show respect for her ability to learn by a method that acknowledges her unique idenity.

However, food, toys, treats have been used and will continue to be used on occasion as low intensity distractions. It takes much practice at saying 'no I won't' before the pride of being able to say 'yes I can' takes hold. We are just starting to enter that phase now. Her ability to maintain focus on her owner clearly shows that. Brandy is very typical of all good terriers in that she is able to call into action a laser beam form of focus. In the past that laser beam was turned on any and everything she considered as prey. Now she is learning better and certainly more acceptable ways of making use of that focus. The thing that is always so very interesting to me is how when the same intensity of focus is turned toward the owner, in every single case that laser beam has been softened to a mood light.

Lest you think all Brandy can handle are the stationary exercises here is a short clip of her working at a reasonably close distance from other dogs. Notice that she must deal with not only dogs on both sides of her, but also dogs either in front or behind her. I know it's difficult, but do try to keep your eye on the Kerry Blue since that is the dog we have been following.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Taming of the Beast (Part 5)

Actually this is Brandy's youngest human. We thing she is just the cutest thing for miles around. She's currently learning how to move, play and "work" around lots of dogs and who knows? Some day she might just become a dog trainer.

And now moving on, here is a short clip showing Brandy doing her first set of stays in a group. This is very special since Brandy came here believing she would be doing the world a big favor to eliminate all small dogs. Note the dogs on either side of her.

If you look very closely you can see just how hard Brandy is working. She was a vibrating machine during the entire set of stays. I left the voice so you can hear the dialogue as I do my very best to build human confidence while Brandy learns how to control herself.