It’s Never Too Late for Training…Dogs or People

In February, 2014, a beautiful red Doberman Pinscher named Devon came to live with Carole Moen and her husband, Bill Rock.

Things haven’t been the same since. Devon was 4-years old when he went to live with Carole and Bill. Bill had never shown a dog before, but he and Devon didn’t let that stand in their way.

Here are some photos of their journey.  Devon’s first title was Canine Good Citizen. Carole showed Devon in Beginner Novice and got the first of 3 legs with a 2nd place. Bill then entered Beginner Novice and got a first place for the second of three required legs.

Devon a new beginningThey didn’t stop there…after Beginner Novice, Devon earned the CGCA (AKC Community Canine) title and in November 2015, he got his CD (Companion Dog, the novice title) in obedience.

Devon (with help from Bill and Carole) shows that for many dogs, Canine Good Citizen is just the beginning.

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It’s Time for Spring Cleaning

Springtime is here! Even though you may live in a place where you still have some melting snow, it’s time to clean up your property. My top two tips for outdoor Spring cleaning follow.

Maintain your property
Start this Spring season by keeping your lawn waste free. Remove grass clippings, tree branches, and any trash. “Ranger,” a German Shepherd puppy, cut his foot as he walked through a large pile of grass clippings in his owner’s yard. No one realized until it was too late that there was a piece of rusty metal under the grass.
Woman With Dog Having Coffee Break Whilst Working Outdoors In Garden

Cleaning up trash and repairing walkways can prevent accidents. While you’re cleaning up the yard, check all outdoor lighting to make sure it’s working, including outdoor lights and stair lights.

Use Dog Friendly Gardening Practices
Springtime isn’t all about cleaning. It’s time for planting new plants, fertilizing, and watering. Make sure that all of your gardening products including fertilizers and pesticides are stored in a secure location and that you have selected pet friendly, non-lethal products for the safety of children and pets.
Several years ago, we had a very close call at our home. Not realizing that the product would be a problem, my husband put snail and slug bait at the base of some plants. My beloved Border Collie, Laddie, ate the bait and was rushed to the emergency veterinarian just in time to save his life. Laddie was not a dog who went around eating things on the property, but it turns out that snail and slug bait actually attracts animals.

By keeping a watchful eye and closely inspecting your property, you will ensure that dogs and visitors stay safe.

And to ensure you have the proper home insurance coverage, get a free home insurance quote from our CGC sponsor, Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance. Call 855.531.9301 or visit ameriprise.com/akc.

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Quincy Kennel Club (IL) Gives CGC Test to Vets & Service Dogs

The Quincy Kennel Club in Quincy, IL conducted a CGC test with veterans and their service dogs. Here’s the story:

http://www.whig.com/article/20160228/ARTICLE/302289948?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_Quincy_Herald-Whig

AR-302289948

Photo: Michael Kipley

 

 

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From AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy to Diabetic Alert Dog

Today’s guest writer is Michael Burkey of Michigan Dog Training.

SaoirsePuppyStarClick here to read about a STAR pup that is on the way to becoming a service dog.

Future Service Dog becomes a S.T.A.R. Puppy

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Historic FUN Obedience Event at Westminster

Photo: Cathy Sheeter Fine Arts

Photos: Cathy Sheeter Fine Arts

cathy2

Never say never. That’s what I learned this week at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The nationally recognized Westminster show takes place every February in New York City. For nearly a week, dog people from across the country descend upon New York and the city is abuzz with everything dog.

For many years, I’ve heard obedience people say, “wouldn’t it be great if some day our sport could be at Westminster to show the public about the benefits of training dogs?” And every time, someone would inevitably respond, “It will never happen.” That’s because Westminster has been a club steeped in tradition and that tradition has always been conformation shows.

But then, there was a change. Westminster Kennel Club decided to add AKC Agility to the show, and this year, everyone cheered at the show (and at home as they watched via television) for this year’s National Agility Champion.

And this year, in another beyond-belief extraordinarily progressive move, the Westminster Kennel Club decided to give AKC obedience a try. AKC obedience staff went to work on the idea. Doug Ljungren, the Vice President of Sports & Events (who is responsible for Obedience) gave the team one requirement: “This can not be like watching paint dry. You have to make it fun.”

And that is exactly what they did. Borrowing an idea from figure skating where there are both compulsory and creative (freestyle) events, the format for this national obedience championship event had required exercises and then handlers did their own creative thing.

Some of the creative routines bordered on canine freestyle, some bordered on tricks, and MAGIC happened. The crowd cheered, and clapped and roared, and everyone held their breath in suspense during the run-off between two dogs. Judge Sharon Ann Redmer played to the crowd, with her stage-presence voice and dramatic flourishes as she tore score sheets off her note pad.

And so it was, at this historic event, the crowd screamed and roared for AKC obedience. It was entertaining and it was fun. And it was at the Westminster Kennel Club.

If you missed it, watch the live stream on the Westminster Kennel Club web page at http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org

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Videos to Teach Safety Around Dogs: Are They Effective?

There are a number of videos that teach children how to be safe around dogs. The American Kennel Club’s video, “The Dog Listener” uses young actors to show children how to handle potentially dangerous situations with dogs including how to react when an unknown dog is running in a park (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTjTzP5Bod0).

The “Eddie Eagle” video of the National Rifle Association (NRA) teaches children what to do if they encounter a gun in a place they didn’t expect, and numerous “stranger danger” videos aim to prevent kidnapping by teaching children to never get in a car with someone they don’t know.

kid meets dog - beachHow effective are these educational videos? As it turns out, there is experimentally controlled research on this very topic of using videos to teach children safety behaviors and the answer is…drumroll please……

Videos alone are not effective in teaching safety behaviors to children.

A well-known researcher in this area, Dr. Ray Miltenberger, taught a group of children everything they needed to know about gun safety using stand-up training and a video. “If you find a gun, don’t touch it, go and get an adult.” The children learned the material, and answered questions correctly. Then, immediately following the instruction, they were given the opportunity to do an activity and have a snack. The researchers had placed a (disabled) gun on the snack table. With a group of mortified parents watching via a hidden camera, one child found the gun, picked it up, and pointed it at the head of another child.

When dog trainers use a video such as AKC’s “The Dog Listener” to teach children to be safe around dogs, the video can serve as a good starting point for the discussion. Then, two things need to happen for the instruction to be effective: 1) the children need to have practice using the skills with real dogs; the instructor provides modeling and reinforcement of correct behaviors, and 2) the training with real dogs needs to be generalized to the child’s home and neighborhood setting with a parent or adult providing training and feedback.

– Mary R. Burch, PhD, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D)

 

 

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How To Know When It’s Time To Say Goodbye

In the last few months, I’ve watched several close friends as they’ve had to make some heart-breaking decisions about their older dogs.

old dogWhen it comes an older dog who is a beloved family member, making the decision that it is time to say good-bye is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever have to make.

For me, I think the two main factors are 1) is my dog still comfortable—is there any sign of pain, fear or confusion and 2) does he still enjoy being here?

An older dog may be slower and have a hard time getting down the steps, but for an issue like this, adaptations can be made such as providing a ramp. Many physical problems of older pets can be managed without a euthanasia solution.

Older dogs may have incontinence (bladder and/or bowels) and this can be handled with more frequent trips outdoors, keeping the dog in a space with a floor that is easy to clean, or waterproof pads.

For some older dogs, particularly those that are larger, one problem that can signal the end is getting closer is the dog’s rear end fails—it has a hard time getting up when laying down, or the back legs may become unreliable.

Your veterinarian can always guide you from the medical standpoint. For the rest, you’ll have to decide what is in your heart. Many people say that the dog you love so much will let you know when it’s time.

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