Friday, October 31, 2008

Send these guys to Jail!

This has been a bad week for animals, as is often the case in the week coming on Hallowe'en (aka Samhain, Third Harvest, Samana, Vigil of Saman, Shadowfest, All Hallows Eve). October is the month that you should keep your dogs and cats inside and hidden away from the nasty ghouls out there ...

Dog found hanged from tree East Finley, PA (US) Oct 26, 2008
Dog shot with shotgun Omemee, ON (CA) Oct 25, 2008
Horse stabbed to death Linwood, KS (US) Oct 26, 2008
Cat shot with arrow, dies Houston, PA (US) Oct 25, 2008
Dog found dead in oven after break-in Dillon, SC (US) Oct 22, 2008

Law Enforcement Officers Need Your Help. If you have any information about these cases, I strongly urge you to contact police. Let's hope the guys (or gals!) who did this are caught and thrown in jail.

I have never understood the mindset of animal abusers. Of course, abuse comes in all sorts of different forms and types from setting an animal on fire to simple neglect (forgetting to feed and water it).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Training Rant - Chewing

How many of you out there have a dog that chews your belongings?? How many of you think this is a bad behaviour that can be removed with training? Here's my opinion ... you don't train your dog not to chew - you teach your dog what is and is not appropriate chew toys! Most of the time, destructive chewing is caused by boredom. The big, bad, "B" word.

95% of the time, chewing is something that you can fix SO easily because it is caused by boredom and people don't even realize it! That means that if you start challenging your dog mentally and/or physically, you can usually stop the boredom chewing.

I was working in a school this week speaking with the custodian about her Dane. Her dog is 2 1/2 years old. She's had the dog since a pup. Her dog chews. Not only does she chew - but she destroys things! The latest victim of her chewing?? The livingroom couch. The lady I was speaking with had been waiting to hear from her daughter who was on a mission to find matching fabric to replace a couch cushion ... before the hubby got home!!

This dog has chewed large holes in mattresses, furniture, tables, shoes, remote controls, and pretty much anything else that she can get her large mouth around (which is a LOT!). Because she knows another Dane who has the same behaviours, she is convinced this is a breed specific trait.

I suggested that her dog is probably bored and asked how often she goes for walks (not simply putting the dog in the backyard). Of course, I got the standard answer of "we walk her ALL the time! We even take her out for runs". I spoke with her for a while giving her some ideas on what to do about the 'chewing' problem ... She wouldn't accept that she's not exercising the dog enough, so among other things, I suggested a treat ball and that she should put one of the dogs daily meals in it instead of in a bowl.

Here it is at Petsmart
And here at Petacular

Mental stimulation is more tiring than physical stimulation. As always, I will recite my favourite motto ... A Tired Dog Is A Good Dog.

What boredom busters have you used to prevent your dog from entertaining himself?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Breeder Update - Miniature Australian Shepherd - Buyer Beware

Ok, so I thought I'd post my findings on that bad breeder that I mentioned in my previous blog post (see post here), O'Neill Horse Farms (who not only breed horses, they also breed Miniature Australian Shepherds ... Um ... woo hoo??).

Now, I have found that the AKC does not recognize the Miniature Australian Shepherd (hereby referred to as MAS). From what I have found, neither does the CKC. Both organizations do recognize the Australian Shepherd, but neither "Mini's" or "Toys".

As stated below, I would have retracted my comments and "bad" classification had the breeders (who I emailed last week) offered any sort of proof that their dogs should be bred. (Proof other than "they're pretty" or of "good temperament"). Hello? Do you know how many "pretty" dogs there are in rescue with a "good temperament"?? Puppies, Adults, and Seniors ... oh my!

Their website states that if an interested buyer would like to contact them they will be happy to share the dogs' pedigrees with you. So, I emailed them. The reply I got was not overly encouraging - it stated very much the same as the website. Here's what it said:

Thanks for your email about our pups ..Yes they are registered with MASCA and NSDR. If you call me we acn go over the pedigrees of my dogs. Are you looking for anything in particular?? Be fun to talk to you, Thanks again , Donna Oneill 563 568 2197

I emailed back asking if the pups are AKC or CKC registered, among other things such as colour, temperament, etc. The reply I received is not encouraging. There was no mention of registration for either AKC or CKC, no comments about temperament.
I asked about a specific dog on their website (#1 Blue Merle Female) and asked to know what dogs they had available as a blue merle and / or red tri. In the reply sent, there was no mention of the dog I had asked about. She sent me 5 pictures of dogs available ... I checked and don't think that any of them are listed on the website (unless I need to cross my eyes when comparing the pictures?).

This little guy is 5 months old, male. That's all I know - she didn't give me any info other than that. I'm not overly partial to his face ... and he doesn't look much like a blue merle or red tri to me ... but maybe it's bad light? Could I give them that as an excuse?? Personally, I think he's kinda Fugly ... but that's my honest opinion ... I find his muzzle isn't as short and cute as most Australian Shepherds ... maybe it's just a bad picture angle.

To be fair, here is another picture of one of the pups she sent to me. The picture is named "red tri female sittingcuteface". Now, if I look at the difference in the two picture qualities that we have here ... I would swear that these pics were taken with two different cameras. In fact, this one almost looks like it was a very old pic that was scanned in. Mind you, with today's cameras, there sure are a lot of neat and funky things you can do with them - perhaps that is why it looks so faded and different. (WHY you would do that purposefully if you are trying to sell your dogs is beyond me!)
Again, I have no information on this dog. No age, etc. One of the dogs pictured on their website is supposed to be 4 months and the pic looks like it is closer to 8 weeks ... so I'm ready to accept that this dog could be ANY age and probably isn't the same age now as when that picture was taken.

Now, I did a little research and looked up MASCA (Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America) and NSDR (National Stock Dog Registry). I'm not suggesting that either of these organizations are not qualified in any way - they are probably great clubs. I would only like to point out a few facts that I have learned about them. Here's what I found about each one:

- The minimum membership fee is $7.50; the highest membership fee is $25
- To become a member, you should own Miniature Australian Shepherds. You don't have to provide any proof, nor do they need to be registered with the AKC.
- You don't register dogs with them - it is simply a club that your become a member of
- Breeders are able to be listed on the MASCA website by putting a checkmark in the box on their application form. The most interesting thing about all this? O'Neill Horse Farms is NOT on their Breeders Directory!? Why do you think that is?

I couldn't find any interesting information on this at all! There are no forms, no descriptions about the organization ... nothing. The only interesting bit of information I did find was that there is a breeder's directory which costs $50 to be listed in. Again, when searching for O'Neill Horse Farms, they are NOT listed.


So, to conclude - I have asked this breeder for information that the website states I am encouraged to ask about. The little information that I have received from the breeder is not impressive and after a little searching, really doesn't state anything other than "I know a few acronyms in the dog-world" and "I am trying to impress you with big words - aren't the pictures of my doggies cute?"
The unfortunate thing in all this? People fall for this tactic. Potential buyers think they should ask certain questions because the "how to find your perfect puppy" article they read told them to. They don't understand what any of it means, and can't be bothered to find out - which is a problem.

When you are looking for a dog, don't just read a list of what you should do. Learn what it means! Understand what the term 'registered' means and if they start throwing acronyms at you, ask them to write it down so you can go research that particular organization - who knows ... you might just save yourself an awful lot of money.
You may want to remember this post when thinking about buying a puppy from O'Neill Horse Farms ... I certainly wouldn't buy from there! Unless you really want to pay $1500 for a dog that isn't really worth that much? I'm sure you could find a dog with more interesting bloodlines and conformation for less.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Featured Rescue - Jake the Australian Shepherd

Spurred by my post about Australian Shepherd breeders, I would like to post a featured rescue for one. There are currently 3,391 Australian Shepherds looking for homes listed on petfinder. There are many more that are listed elsewhere and are not on petfinder.

Jake is an older dog (7-8 years) who really needs to find the right home. He is reportedly blind due to cataracts in his eyes. This guy just needs someone to take him home, love him and care for him until the end of his days.
Jake is currently located in New Casle, PA.
Blind dogs can be wonderful additions to a home. Once they get to know an area, they are often just as playful and rambunctious as normal dogs. Building up trust between the handler and the dog is extremely important for these dogs to ensure that they have a full life. The handler should take all steps necessary to ensure that the dog feels safe and secure - which isn't that difficult.
See for more information about blind dogs.
Also, I have been working on a follow up posting regarding one of the breeders I mentioned below. Waiting on an email to come in (figured I'd give her a few days to reply) - I will wait until tomorrow to post it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Training Tools - NILIF

So, what is NILIF and why have I listed it as a Training Tool? Well, because I believe it is something that trainers should use (or at least try) and also that it is just as much a Training Tool as a Clicker (follow up post on this later). With NILIF, you may be using food, toys or attention as your rewards, but they are still tools to be used at your (the trainer's) discretion.

NILIF is an acronym for Nothing In Life Is Free. What does this mean? Well, it means that everything the dog receives, eats, everywhere he goes, etc is earned. Here's the basic break down: (if you want details, go to the link above)

- Every time the dog gets a cookie or a meal, he has earned it
- Every time you touch or pat the dog, he has earned it
- Every time the dog wants to go through a doorway or gets up on a piece of furniture he has earned it
- Every time you play with your dog it is because he has earned it

I have seen time and time again how well this training works with rescue dogs and I've also seen it work well with pets people have had from the puppy age. NILIF is a wonderful base that you can build on with most other training.

So many people I know are looking for ways to help them bond with their dogs. People want to feel closer to their dogs and they want to feel that there is a link between them. NILIF is one of the many great ways to do this.

It can teach the dogs that they are important in your eyes and that you are aware of every little thing that they do. It's like the mom who knows when the kids are getting into trouble even when they are in another room ... how does she know what we were doing?!

Some of what I have mentioned in earlier blog posts is that your dog should want to be with you. How do we accomplish this? Why would the dog want to be with you? You teach the dog that it is a good and rewarding thing to be with you, whether that means that they are rewarded with an item or with praise, you still have to teach them that these things are good and that they come from the handler. Remember - behaviours are learned habits and/or reactions.

NILIF can give you a good base or foundation to build your future training routine on (such as those immediate recalls and the building of desire to be with you). If you have already had your dog for a while, you can still introduce NILIF - your dog can and will learn. Sometimes something as simple as NILIF can give a dog enough of a challenge, stimulation and excitement in its day to prevent a few bad behaviours - it's a win-win situation for both you and your dog!

Why don't you give the NILIF a try and see what it does for your dog and you? Do you already use NILIF? What experiences have you had with it? What is your opinion?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Breeding ... The Good the Bad and the Fugly

The Australian Shepherd has been gaining status as one of the top sports dogs of our time. This breed is known for its versatility and ability to excel at most dog sports that focus on agility and speed. What many people forget is their need to be busy. These dogs require mental and physical stimulation and, being a herding breed, have a lot of prey drive. Some people aren't ready for the special needs of the Australian Shepherd.

The Good

Good #1
Below is what I would classify as a good breeder. Their dogs are all registered, have won ribbons, are well cared for and they don't breed as many puppies as their bitch (or bitches) can pop out! They breed for conformation.

Good #2
Just so you all don't think I am against breeding for specific traits, here is a breeder that I found that breeds for sports - kinringaussies ... a quote from their site is "Active in flyball, agility, obedience, conformation...breeding versatile dogs for great people!!" You will notice that all their dogs are registered, have also won ribbons, competed in shows and are well cared for.

The Bad
Bad #1
Now ... I only have one question ... Why would you breed Australian Shepherd / Border Collie Cross dogs on purpose? Apparantly this breeder thought it was a good mix! There are so many that are bred by an "oops" that breeding this mix on purpose just doesn't make sense!

Bad #2
Next breeder to avoid would be this one - O'Neill Horse Farms. They have many dogs listed as "Some of our breeding stock" ... does that mean you have more breeding dogs not listed?? As far as I can tell from the website, not one of them is registered and not one has done anything exceptional other than have pretty colours.

I have emailed the people to find out if these dogs are registered and asked to see their pedigree (as is recommended on their site). If I hear back from them and there is some info to support their claims then I will retract my opinion on this one.


Ok - so here's some Fuglies from Maddenstables. Check out the pictures of their breeding stock! Do you think they could have at least brushed their dogs before taking the pictures?? There are a few dogs with mud and shavings all over. There is one bitch (Arrie) that looks like she hasn't been brushed in months - there are clumps of hair falling off!! Not to mention one of their studs (Marshall) that has thinning hair in large spots - almost looks mangey!?

Their Horsetopia ads certainly don't show us some nice quality puppies. It says they have champion bloodlines, but there is no mention of the registration numbers.

The obvious breeder to avoid? That would be this one! First hint? If the breeder can't afford his own website, then something is wrong. Next hint? The puppy is $150 USD. No papers, no docked (bob) tail.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Featured Rescue - Ginger the Airedale Terrier

Today's rescue is Ginger the Airedale Terrier. She's 4 years old and has lived with children. Ginger was surrendered by her owner due to economic problems. I wonder how many other dogs will meet the same fate?

So here's my big question to those of you out there who are reading this ... Do you find that keeping your dog is getting more difficult due to the economic issues of our time?

EDIT: There are 215 Airedale Terrier's available for adoption on Petfinder. (10/27/08)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Training Rant - Running Away

Have you ever known a dog that runs away at the first chance it gets? Doesn't come back when called? Bolts out the front door and is off down the street before you even get your shoes on?? Have you ever wondered why?

Did you know that not all dogs do that? It has nothing to do with the dog being a bad dog. So, why does the dog do that? Because something down the road or way off in the distance has rewarded the dog more than the owner.

Boiled down basic idea - if your dog wants to be with you, then it won't run away. That means that you keep the dog entertained, prevent boredom from sinking in, and generally provide it with what it requires mentally, emotionally and physically.

I have heard people say that "all beagles are runners" or that "small dogs run and don't recall". I don't believe this is true. I have had beagles that don't run. I have known small dogs that don't run and do recall. (By "run", I mean run away)

If you make yourself important in your dogs life, then it won't run away. I have taken foster dogs that are 'runners' and they don't run. Why? Because I make myself important and teach them boundaries. We don't have fences on my property. The dogs could all run if they chose. They don't.

Train your dog not to run away and it won't.

Teach your dog that it gets a reward when it recalls and it will come back when you call.

Show your dog that you are important and that they should cherish every moment with you and they will never want to leave your side.

Training Tools - Gentle Leader

Ok, so let's look at the Gentle Leader. This device is often used by people trying to teach their dogs to walk beside them. Honestly, I don't think this device is necessary to use while training your dog.

Usually it is used by people who are so busy trying to get to the destination, they are forgetting about the journey. Here's the thing. Big or Small, you can teach your dog to walk beside you. You don't need a fancy head collar.

I know a lot of people talk about how they have to use it for the big dogs because the dog is "SO" much stronger than they are. Uh ... hello? I'm a pretty small person and I have trained some pretty big, pully, scary dogs. When the dog out-weighs you, you need to figure out a better way to train them that DOESN'T involve physical "persuasion".

The thing is that you spend time teaching them how to walk properly on a leash so that by the time you are ready to walk further, then they know what they are doing. You don't need to take your dog to the park in the first two weeks you own it! You don't need to walk it a million miles in the first month if you are spending lots of time (like 15 - 30 minutes every hour you are home) training him or her. Why? Because if you are spending that much time actively training, then your dog won't be bored, will he?

Did you know that I watch a total of 3 hours of TV per week? I have two shows that I watch (after dark) and THAT'S IT! The rest of the time I am outside with my dogs, working around the farm, training the other animals, or spending quality time with my hubby. If you keep your dog stimulated and teach him that he wants to be with you, then why would he ever try to run away when you're walking him?

One of my mantras that I use regularly is - A Tired Dog is a Good Dog. Well did you know that mental fatigue is more tiring than physical fatigue??

Here's an article about the "Not So Gentle Leader"

Here's a bit about Gentle Leader causing sores on the nose and hair loss

A few more on Sores and Hair Loss caused by the Gentle Leader

There are many other articles, stories, and instances of people whose dogs end up with sores on their faces after using the Gentle Leader. The sores can occur for a few reasons but the most common is that the device is not properly fitted to the dog. Sometimes people buy one for their 6 month old pup and the dog grows ... the device stays the same.

When I worked at the vet clinic there were many people who came in with dogs with nose sores from the Gentle Leader. Sometimes we could treat the wounds. Sometimes it was permanent. It was very sad when the owner of a 10 month large breed dog was told that their dog would probably have the bald spots for ever ... some would be grief stricken (not to mention guilt ridden!) ... others would opt to euthanize their dogs. All for the sake of a bit of training ...

Always remember - A Tired Dog is a Good Dog.

Have you used the Gentle Leader? What was your experience with it?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Featured Rescue - Edwin the Labrador Retriever

Building off my comment on the last post regarding Breeding, I thought I would feature one of the 20,075 Labrador Retriever dogs looking for homes that are listed on!

This is Edwin, an 8 week old Chocolate Lab mix pup who is up for adoption from a shelter in New York. Edwin came in with 10 brothers and sisters (he's the 11th) when their owner decided that they weren't wanted anymore.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Breeding - Good or Bad?

The question of breeding was posed to me this week when someone I know came up to me and asked why I seem to go back and forth on breeding. Why sometimes I think breeding is bad, and sometimes I think breeding is good?

That's a pretty big (and vague!) question. Breeding in and of itself is neither good or bad. It is the application or execution of such an action that dictates its intent and its polarization (good vs. bad).

Responsible dog breeding is a good thing. What does that mean? Well, if someone is breeding by intent (on purpose), then all the pups should be show quality pups. They should be registered, tattooed and properly socialized (as is acceptable for young pups - this does not mean that a million people should be handling them; I will get into "socialization" vs. proper socialization later.) The responsible breeder should interview people and there really should be a waiting list for the puppies - this shows that there is a need for more of the breed. When there is no need, you see the shelters fill up with purebred dogs - just run a search for certain breeds ... you'll notice that in North America there are 7,884 chihuahua dogs available for adoption today on So why are people still breeding so many non-show worthy dogs?

Poor breeding is not acceptable. If you aren't breeding good quality dogs, don't breed. If you don't know what you're doing, don't breed. You're just filling up the shelters with your poor quality, problem ridden dogs. We've all seen the stories of puppies born without limbs from poor breeding. Here is a relatively recent one from North Shore Animal League regarding some chihuahua pups:

These are obviously poorly bred puppies from a BYB'er who shouldn't ever have owned dogs let alone bred them! But what about the ones that don't have such blatant defects? What about the ones that are poorly bred but have all four limbs?

Here is an example of a chihuahua breeder (and yorkie, maltese, "morkie", shi tzu, etc breeder) that is a classic example of what I believe is bad breeding:

I went through the site and can't seem to figure out whether the pups are registered - which usually means they aren't. They also don't tell you a smatter about the parents of the pups. Notice the "Free Puppy Contest" that you can enter in!

Did you see the hind end on the puppy called "Teacup Autumn"? For reference, here is a link to the AKC Standards for Chihuahua: Notice that the "Topline" should be level. Not rounded as you see in the video of the puppy called "Teacup Autumn". See how low the tail is on the hind end? It should be placed much higher up. Also, there is no such thing as a Teacup Chihuahua - according to AKC, the dogs should all weigh under 6 lbs at maturity, otherwise they are disqualified.

And finally ... here is my example of a good breeder. The dogs are show quality - and many have won best of breed.

This breeder has links up that show the results of the puppies that they have sold. They also show their own dogs winning again and again in shows. If you compare these dogs to the AKC Standards, they should all come very close if not meet the specs outlined. Not that I think that we really need many more chihuahuas out there that need homes, but at least these people are breeding responsibly.

And ... Last but not least! I thought I would include a Chihuahua available for adoption from one of the N. American rescues simply for comparison's sake. Scary thing is that the below linked dog Koko is actually closer to AKC Standards than the above BYB'er!

** NOTE ** I chose chihuahua because the breed is getting so much publicity right now. There is a new Disney movie coming out that features the Chihuahua, celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon (insert ... Paris Hilton, etc), not to mention the Taco Bell Dog! I have also seen ads that push that this breed is very easy to train ... then why are there so many on that can't go to a home with kids, cats, or other dogs?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Training Rant - Jumping Up

Personally, I hate it when a dog jumps up on me uninvited. I have a certain expectation of dogs, and jumping up is not it. Nothing irritates me more when dogs jump up as soon as you walk in the door. Or when you are working outside and the dog takes a running leap at you. I have had to change my clothing more times than I would like to think of because dogs have jumped up and muddied my clothes!

Here's a PERFECT example ......... For my wedding, we made sure that dogs were allowed at the ceremony and reception (dogs are a big part of our lives! can you tell?). It was a place with 400 acres and the people told us that the dogs didn't even have to be on leash - just controlled! Many people we know have dogs that jump and their owners encourage it. Now, it sure is nice that I have pics of me and my dogs on the wedding day - and I wasn't worried at all that any of mine would jump and ruin anyone's clothing. They were well behaved and had a great time - you could even see their great-big-grins when people quietly slid them snacks and then pretended that they hadn't.

Now, I probably should clarify something. My dogs don't jump up unless invited. Yes, you read it right - invited. If the dogs don't jump unless encouraged, then I think that's fine. I have 3 dogs. They are allowed to jump up to give us "hugs" when we call them up.

Both big dogs jumped up on people when they first came to live with me. We have had to train them not to do this. Undoing a behaviour is more difficult than teaching one. This is why we taught them that they can still jump, but only when we tell them it's ok.

So why do people have their dogs jump? Is it some sad desire by the person to be needed? Accepted? What is it in that person's life that is missing so that they need to be jumped on?

For some of the people I know, the need to be loved and accepted by their dogs is certainly true and very strong. They yell at their dogs and push them down when the need suits them. Otherwise, they think it is cute. YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS! The dog can't tell when you have your Sunday Best on! Nor can he tell that Great-Aunt Jodie doesn't like dogs and experiences a panic attack that will manifest into an anxiety attack if he jumps on her.

Why do people think this is ok? Why are there so many people who don't know how to teach their dogs not to jump up??

I know one person who has been trying for 4 years to teach their rescued lab not to jump ... hmm ... well, that dog doesn't jump on me when I walk in. She just wiggles at me. So really, who has the issue ... the owner? or the dog?

The owners should take a good look inside and ask themselves why they are having troubles teaching the dog not to jump? Dogs should not jump up when someone doesn't want them to.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Training Tools - Electronic Collars

One of the many training tools out there are electronic collars (commonly referred to as the "shock collar"). I have seen trainers recommend them for dogs thinking that it will resolve the issues. In my opinion, it may resolve that specific problem, but in using such a device, you are actually creating more problems that you will just have to fix later. It does provide the "quick fix" that some people are looking for.

I know some trainers believe that for certain things, this is the best way to teach your dog. Here is one link from a trainer's site that promotes the use of the collar ... thought I'd include it so we look at both sides of the picture here. I had tried to find a few to post, but turns out ... not many trainers seem to make a good enough case for using them! I found quite a few sites that simply state that they use it, but don't suggest where, when or why.

In my experience, by training with these sorts of devices you aren't teaching your dog to listen to you, pay attention to you or care a smidge what you say - it only teaches them that they shouldn't disobey in certain things. If you want to train recall, why not teach the dog that there is something in it for them and have them WANT to be with you?

Regarding the link above for Dr. P's dog training - I have trained dogs to keep out of the garbage without electronic collars ... among many of the other things listed. If you want to teach your dog not to pull on the leash, why not take the time to teach him how to heel?

There are so many better ways to train your dog. Sure, the electronic collar may seem to work to eliminate an undesired behaviour ... but what are you creating? Why not spend more time with your dog, bond with it some more, and train it fully?

These collars are sometimes used by people to train dogs to do (or not to do) certain things. Some are bark collars that shock the dog each time that the dog barks or makes a loud noise (they can often still whine without a shock). Some are used as training tools and they have a remote control that allows the handler to shock the dog each time the dog does something the handler doesn't want.

So if you're going to put this thing on your dog's neck, why don't you try it out first? So many people I have met that use them have never even tried it, they just buy it and put it around their dog - no adjusting. Here are a few videos of people trying out this collar to see what it feels like.

Make your own decision on whether or not to use this tool, but at least know what you are getting into first! Or know what your are getting your dog into. Personally, I don't use these collars.

It takes years to teach children how to function in the world and to prep them for it, so why do we expect our dogs to learn it in a few days? Training takes time and effort but you will find that the results will be well worth the work!

Featured Rescue - Pepper the Border Collie

I would like to include featured rescue regularly in this blog. I think if you are looking for a dog, the first place you should look is rescue. You can often find great dogs there. Many St. John's Ambulance dogs I know come from rescue.

This featured rescue is for the Border Collie. These dogs are highly intellegent, active dogs that often end up in rescue because their owners just don't have the knowledge or ability to deal with them. Problem is, they are a breed that sometimes doesn't do well in shelter situations. You will find that most Border Collies end up in breed specific rescue because the people that volunteer for the breed specific rescue know what to expect from the breed.

Today, there are 4,747 (what a number!) Border Collies listed in that are listed for adoption. Some are puppies, many are adults. The dog I will feature today is Pepper, a 10 month old female Border Collie (see description on the link). Yet another wonderful young dog in a situation that it couldn't deal with. Probably not the previous owners' fault, but issues they could have worked through.
Pictures below are of Pepper.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Welcome to my new blog, DogsDeserveFreedom! In this blog, I will discuss my thoughts on dogs, dog ownership, dog breeding and dog training. I'm sure other things will come up as we go along, but I will try to keep to the topic. I truly believe that all Dogs Deserve Freedom. So, what does that mean? That means that every dog has the right to be free and in order to make this happen, all dog owners have the responsibility to properly prepare, train and educate their dogs to give them that freedom.

I am going to state some simple facts before I begin. These are not the be-all and end-all of my beliefs regarding dogs, but it is a good place to start:

- I believe in Crate Training
- I believe that dogs should be able to function on leash without harming themselves, their owners, or other people/dogs.
- I believe you should be able to trust your dog to interact safely with children/other animals/adults in any situation
- I believe that breeders should breed responsibly and that BackYardBreeders (BYB) are making more problems by helping us fill our shelters with poorly bred dogs
- I believe you should be able to take your dog to a restaurant and your dog should be well enough trained to take a nap under your table without begging for food or bothering anyone around

I would like to take a few moments to talk a bit about training since the essence of this Blog is to give your dogs the Freedom that they Deserve.

I am amazed at the dog training world today. There are some really good trainers out there, and then there are the nut-jobs. It is quickly becoming a dog-eat-dog world in the dog training sector. I see people jockeying for the 'top' in the dog training world - many trainers will bad-mouth others. Just in my area alone there are almost a dozen different "trainers" and only two or three will say good things about the others ... all the rest have nothing good to say. Makes you wonder at that - didn't their parents ever tell them that if they "don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".

We have trainers with shows on TV that have disclaimers on each episode warning people that for their own safety, not to do this at home. We have trainers that focus only on accomplishing the "trick" and ignore the behaviours. We have trainers that focus only on what I call the Soft Skills, or the Behaviours, and believe that tricks are for show. We have the quick-fix trainers that will see results immediately but then have Behavioural problems down the road. We even have training tools that people use and so they don't have to bother training! I will likely touch on each of these things at least once during my time blogging here. There are more dog training theories and methods out there than you could shake a stick at. There are NILIF, Clicker Training, Obedience Training ... the list is SO very long.

So, to open this up ... which training methods have you used? Which ones do you like? Which ones don't you like? Tell me about them - give me some fodder to use for my blog!