Only once has Ace plunged into the surf with reckless abandon.
That was his first time. At a beach in Delaware, upon his first sighting of the Atlantic, he bolted out into the water, only to get hit face first with a giant wave that flipped him over. Ever since then, he has exercised caution, and only with encouragement from multiple people has it been possible to beckon him out any deeper than his knees.
Yesterday, though, as we continue to drag out our departure from Figure 8 Island in North Carolina, he ended up playing in the surf – and without seeming preoccupied about how big and scary the next wave might be. That was thanks to two dogs, a blue tennis ball and a girl named Georgia.
We’d stopped at the Winston house — the same family that provided a personalized watering station for Ace, complete with signage, over the weekend — to visit again with Mac, a golden retriever, and Jet, a black Lab.
Ace had seemed only mildly interested in the dogs on our earlier visit, partly because he was worn out, partly because that’s the way he is. While he immediately warms up to people, it takes him a while with dogs. (I’m the opposite). He’s nice enough upon meeting another dog, but it usually takes him 15 minutes or so of sniffing and acting aloof and reserved — especially with other big dogs — before he’ll even consider playing.
But getting together with Mac and Jet, and realizing there was no shade he could lay low in, he participated in some canine frolicking, all instigated by 8-year-old Georgia.
She’s a take charge sort, but not in a bossy way.
Georgia told me she plans to become an animal doctor. (That was her term, and a much more manageable one than “veterinarian.”) And she did seem to have a way with dogs — not just her own, Jet, but her aunt’s dog, Mac, and even Ace.
On the beach, she seemed a master choreographer, leading them in their antics, and she offered to throw the tennis ball I’d brought along, assuming Jet and Mac would chase it even though Ace wasn’t likely to.
At one point, I stood in the ocean with my camera and asked her to throw the ball over my head, so I could take pictures of Jet and Mac charging through the waves to get it. Surprisingly, a couple of times, Ace showed up in the frame, apparently not wanting to be left out of the fun.
Later, with the help of some peanut butter crackers, Georgia demonstrated Jet’s obedience skills, and soon had Mac and Ace under her spell as well.
One gets the sense, even at 8, and even if her plans to become an animal doctor change, Georgia is going to accomplish what she sets out to in life. When she heard I was writing a book, she asked to be in it. When told the book was based on my travels with Ace a year ago, she said she’d settle for being on ohmidog!
Told that would require permission from her parents, she left, returning a few minutes later with a note from her mother.
“I hereby allow ohmidog! to place any and all photos of my sweet Georgia “Peach” Winston,” it said. “Jet Winston, too!”
When I jokingly asked her if she wrote the note herself, Georgia said no, adding that she hasn’t mastered cursive yet.
I assured her that would be easy. It’s just like printing, only with waves.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animal doctors, animals, ball, beach, dogs, figure 8, figure 8 island, georgia, jet, mac, obedience, ocean, pets, photography, playing, surf, swimming, training, travels with ace, veterinarians, water, waves, winston
But, being a big dog’s human, I’d have to agree with Joan Klucha, a British Columbia dog trainer: It’s not entirely right — emphasis on entirely — for big dogs, and their humans, to be held to a higher standard than small dogs.
Klucha, in a column for the North Shore News in Canada — one I’d guess she’s going to take some grief for, diplomatic though it is — points out that little dogs can get away with a lot more than big dogs can.
A case in point is poop, which is what she starts the discussion with, recalling a visit to a client who, once she saw the condition of her home, Klucha assumed wanted help with house training.
“Oh, we don’t care about that,” the client said. “They are little dogs. Their poop is so little we clean it up and it’s not a bother at all. It’s their barking; it’s driving us nuts.”
A little dog can jump up, drop a load, be yappy, be rambunctious, even attack, but it’s often not taken as seriously as when a big dog does those things. As Klucha notes:
“There is a general consensus among many people that the size of a dog determines its behaviour, meaning a small dog automatically means a good dog. Let me set the record straight: The size of a dog is never the issue that determines whether a dog is good or bad. It is always the owner.”
Klucha points to a recent case in Ontario in which a small dog bit a child and the dog’s owner argued her dog was too small to be vicious, and not a threat to anyone.
“If this was a large dog, the outrage over the incident would have demanded that the dog be euthanized,” Klucha says.
“When someone sees a small dog lunging, barking and snapping while pulling at the end of a leash, they chuckle to themselves or don’t give it much thought. If it was a large dog behaving like that, animal control would surely be called out to deal with the situation.
“Small dogs get away with many inappropriate behaviours simply because they are small … Large dogs live under a microscope and are scrutinized for every misdeed.”
When you have a big dog (and mine’s 130 pounds) you do have a heavy responsibility. But small dog owners have a responsibility, too, and while most live up to it, there are those — not you, of course — who think their precious little one can do no harm and let them get away with anything short of murder.
Where the double standard most offends me is when it’s in the form of rules – at motels, in apartment complexes or from other entities that set weight limits under the thinking that big dogs automatically cause bigger problems. That’s just wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I’m going to go pet a little dog now. His name is Bogey. That’s him in the picture. He lives a few doors down, and he’s very well behaved. I will try to make sure my dog Ace doesn’t pee on him again. Even though Bogey likes to walk under Ace — perhaps for the shade, perhaps for the view, perhaps for the sake of sniffing – he doesn’t deserve a surprise shower.
Being a big dog owner, making sure that doesn’t happen is my responsibility.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, behavior, big dogs, bogey, discipline, dogs, double standard, joan klucha, manners, obedience, pee, perceptions, pets, poop, rules, small dogs, standards, train, trainer, training
In honor of Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday (yesterday), we present a scene from the episode “Little Ricky Gets a Dog,” featuring the cairn terrier — named Fred after neighbor Fred Mertz — who would regularly appear in the show’s final seasons.
In this episode, Fred returns from obedience school graduation with his diploma, but Lucy seems to be the only one who learned the tricks, which, of course, meant she had some “splainin’ to do.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100th, animals, birthday, cairn terrier, dog, dogs, episode, fred, i love lucy, little ricky gets a dog, lucille ball, lucy, obedience, obedience school, pets, ricky, television, video
A few minutes of doggie CPR brought some fame to a well-known Washington state dog trainer, some notoriety to the dog’s owner and — more important than either of those — new life for a 4-year-old boxer named Sugar.
Sugar and owner were attending an obedience lesson last weekend when the dog suffered a seizure and stopped breathing.
Ron Pace, 54, who owns Canyon Crest K9 Training Center in the Tacoma area, used a version of CPR to get Sugar breathing again — with everything after Sugar’s seizure being captured on videotape.
Sugar’s owner, Tiffany Kauth of Bremerton, has received numerous interview requests and some Internet fame, not all of it positive. Among those who have commented on the video on YouTube, many are critical of her crying during the traumatic experience.
Pace has been getting calls for interviews as well, the Tacoma News Tribune reports. “E-mails are coming in every five minutes, Facebook posts. It’s pretty amazing how quickly it can spread nowadays,” he said.
A dog trainer for 34 years, Pace helped launch the Tacoma Police K9 program. He also started a program that trains service dogs to assist people with diabetes.
In the video, Pace calmly checks the dog’s airway and continues doing chest compressions until Sugar finally moves.
Sugar was rushed to a veterinarian and has been diagnosed with a heart problem, for which he’s being treated, his owner said.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 10th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, boxer, canyon crest, canyon crest k9 training center, class, cpr, dog, dog cpr, dogs, first aid, health, life saving, lifesaving, obedience, pets, rescue, rescued, rescusciation, ron pace, safety, saved, seizure, sugar, tacome, tiffany kauth, trainer, video
This video may not have you on the edge of your seat. It’s pretty long, and it has its lulls.
But it features George Richards and his very well-trained Dachshund, named Hummel, who won his division in a competition last month at Point of Rocks, Maryland — an achievement that’s all the more impressive because George Richards is 92.
Here’s a sweet story out of Owosso, Michigan about a somewhat anti-social stray dog who, given a second chance, became a prize winner.
Heather Good and her son Dylan Davalt found the Chihuahua-terrier mix in April 2008 in the woods south of Owosso, the Argus-Press reports. He was avoiding humans, and had bit one man who tried to approach him. After three weeks of coaxing, and a lot of treats, the dog consented to come home with them.
There, the dog, named Meko, proved to be a bit of a terror.
Meko didn’t get along with Dylan’s other dog, Sassy, and, for the first six months, had to be kept on a muzzle when guests came to visit.
Some people advised Dylan and Good to put down the dog because of his aggressive behavior, including Good’s father, John.
Meko and Dylan’s grandfather “weren’t buddies,” Dylan said.
But the family worked hard to train Meko, teaching him the basics, and working on his aggression. Meko and Sassy were taken to obedience training, and, for socialization, to a 4-H Club training program called “Hush Puppies.”
A year after taking him home, Dylan decided to enter Meko in a dog show at the Curwood Festival, where he dazzled the crowd and took first place honors.
“I didn’t figure that dog would amount to anything but a vicious mix breed,” said Grandpa Good. “He has made a complete turnaround.”
“My thing about Meko is that every dog deserves a chance,” his daughter said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 30th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, aggression, aggressive, anti-social, behavior, bite, chihuahua, curwood festival, dog, dogs, dylan davalt, heather good, meko, michigan, mix, mixed breed, mutt, obedience, owosso, rescue, second chance, stray, terrier, trained
You might think former Marylander Donna Rock would be at a disadvantage when it comes to dog obedience competitions — given as the dogs are required to follow non-verbal signals, and given Donna has no arms.
Yet Donna and her 8-year-old Doberman Pinscher, Annie, have won numerous obedience and agility titles, including the prestigious Obedience Trial Championship (OTCH) and the crown jewel in agility, the Master Agility Championship (MACH).
Donna, who now lives in Lacombe, Louisiana, was born without arms. She originally purchased Annie to be her companion and to train for obedience competition, but the two developed such a bond that Annie became her service dog, assisting her with everyday activities.
In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, Donna lost her home, belongings, and even her job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. When she was temporarily reassigned to work in Washington, Annie went with her helping her in the subways, and on escalators.
Annie was a 2008 winner of an American Kennel Club Award for Canine Excellence (ACE), winning the exemplary companion dog category. The awards commemorate loyal, hard-working dogs that have made significant contributions to their community.
Annie is only the second Doberman pinscher in the nation to be named an American Kennel Club champion in both agility and obedience training.
Donna, over nine years of training the dog, created her own method of non-verbal signals, using her feet and legs, shoulder and head to communicate. While she can accomplish most things with her feet, from turning on faucets to feeding the dog, Annie helps her with the few things can’t do for herself.
Donna is shown working with Annie in the video above, from about five years ago. To see a newer video, check out this report from WWL-TV in Lousiana.
Annie is now retired from competition, and Donna is training a year and half old border collie named Roller, running him through the agility course, teaching him the same foot and leg commands, and showing him what his job will be.
“He’s got some awful big paws to fill,” Donna said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ace, agility, akc, american kennel club, annie, armless, award for canine excellence, championship, competitions, doberman, dog, dogs, donna rock, louisiana, non-verbal, obedience, roller, signals, trainer, training, video
But between busy schedules, foul weather and the recent rise in leash law fears here in Baltimore, wearing your dog out with a good romp can be difficult.
My spring schedule involves farmers markets, trips to see family and friends, graduations, cook outs, baseball games, and weekend journeys – all of which starts to eat into my time to exercise my border collie.
It has been made much worse lately by the monsoon season we have been experiencing — great for the crops, terrible for dog owners.
The soon-to-be-corrected hike in leash law fines to $1,000 really cut into the number of people taking their dogs to Baltimore parks, too, with many who once let their dog play off leash, turning instead to settling for a quick on-leash walk.
It’s harder to raise a dog in the city, harder yet when the weather doesn’t cooperate. A dog owner in an urban area has no choice. Assuming you don’t have a pricey doggie treadmill, you, like the proverbial mailperson, have no choice but to be out there – rain, sleet or snow. And even if you do have a yard, you still have to deal with snow covered fur, wet dog smells, and muddy paws. This April, soggy as it was, reminded me how important it is to have a variety of ways to exercise your dog in your own home.
So, I thought I would share a few:
1) Spend a couple minutes a day training your dog. If you have taken an obedience class or even watched Victoria Stilwell, you have some basic idea of how to teach sit. Running through a couple minutes a day with your dog on behaviors they already know, or things you want them to learn, will keep them out of trouble.
2) Play ball in the house. This is only an option if you aren’t an antique collector, and it won’t work for large dogs unless you live in a warehouse. But roll a ball across the room to your dog. Let him/her bring it back. Repeat. Keep repeating until one of you grows bored.
3) Present new or new-again toys. If your dog has toys that have fallen out of rotation, or that are no longer fun, take them away. Wash them, and hide them in a closet. When you have a rainy boring day, or a 10th rainy boring day, you might be surprised how excited your dog becomes for any kind of distraction. Other ways to make toys fun, even if they weren’t before, include burying the toys in kibble for a day to get it smelling like food, and inserting replacement squeakers because, as we all know, it’s all about the squeak.
4) Take a class. This is great in the dead of winter and in the sweltering days of summer. Sign up for an obedience class. The spaces are climate controlled and you will be amazed how tired your dog is after an hour of using their brain. It also helps you have options for training sessions in the house.
5) Mental Puzzles are another great option. You could buy a commercially available dog puzzle, such as the ones here. You could serve dinner in a food dispensing Kong. Even dumping kibble on the kitchen floor, putting it in a stuffed animal that has already been gutted, or turning dinner into a game of fetch will buy you some exercise credits.
6) Set up a play date. If you have friends with dogs that get along with your dog, set up a play date. Move the fragile stuff out of the room, and let them play. Better yet, find a friend with a garage and get a couple dogs together. Even an hour of romping and wrestling will wear your dog out. Some of the daycares and training spaces in Baltimore are available for rent in 15 minute increments during off times. We rent out our training space for play dates or practice sessions any day of the week.
The key to surviving rough weather with a pet that requires exercise is to find ways to entertain them. If none of the above seem to be enough, I can recommend a great place to buy rain boots.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ball, behave!, behavior, busy, challenges, city, class, day care, devices, dog, dogs, exercise, fetch, food, house, indoor, indoors, inside, kong, leash law, mental, new again, obedience, old toys, play date, puzzles, sit, squeakers, stay, time, tired, toys, training, training centers, treats, tricks, urban, weather
The eighth annual championship saw nearly 3,000 dogs vying for $225,000 in prize money. The show also hosted the second annual Eukanuba World Challenge, an international competition featuring the top dogs from 52 countries and six continents. The highlights and the winning moment from the challenge will be included in the telecast.
The show was also held in conjunction with the AKC Agility Invitational and the AKC National Obedience Invitational. Highlights from the it will be shown on Animal Planet next Saturday, Feb. 7, at 8 p.m.
For more information, visit the Animal Planet website.
(Today, ohmidog! kicks off a new feature, a monthly column on dog training and behavior, written by Lauren Bond and Carolyn Stromer of B-More Charming School for Dogs. To keep up with their reports, click on the Behave! tab on the right side rail.)
I’m sure that by now just about every dog person has seen the movie “Marley and Me.” We laughed, we cried, then we cried some more.
Some experienced dog owners, and trainers like ourselves, have even offered our two cents about Marley’s upbringing, saying that his owners were irresponsible, that if we owned a dog like that we would most certainly have put him in his place. We wouldn’t have allowed our couch to be eaten, or our drapes to be torn down, or our gold necklace to go in one end of the dog and come out of the other.
But the truth is we have all been there.
We’ve all been first-time dog owners, overwhelmed, unsure where to turn. Some of us, even by our third or fourth dog, remain that way.
Why won’t he get off of the furniture? Why do my shoes, hairbrush, wallet, cell phone, (insert object of choice here) always wind up in his mouth? Why can’t I come home, just once, to the trash can being upright, untouched, with all of the trash still inside? How come my “NO’S!” and “STOP ITS!” only lead to a game of catch-me-if-you-can? Is it really too much to ask of man’s best friend that he just be calm, listen to what I tell him and lay quietly at my feet waiting for further instructions?
To be completely honest … yes, it is.
Think back to the day you brought your first puppy home. He didn’t come with an instruction manual. Maybe, at best, the shelter gave you a brochure, or some information on his vaccine record and what kind of food and toys he liked. But there was nothing on how to influence his behavior, no foolproof tips for getting him to stop jumping all over guests when they walk through the front door. Or teaching him to walk nicely on leash. Or keeping him from chewing up your new Blackberry.
You might have tried staying one step ahead by reading up on dog behavior before you brought him home. There’s a ton of conventional wisdom out there, books galore, dog magazines and an entire Animal Network. How could you go wrong?
Posted by jwoestendiek January 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, b-more charming, behave!, behavior, carolyn stromer, chewing, column, communicate, destruction, dog, dogs, housetraining, language, lauren bond, marley & me, monthly, no!, obedience, ohmidog!, puppies, scolding, train, trainers, training, wisdom