Monday, February 13, 2017

Clicking with Your Dog by Peggy Tillman

Clicking with Your Dog by Peggy Tillman

While deliberating on which book to headline in launch of the Clicker Training Animals blog; I pondered a few titles, before realizing I wanted this book to be the introductory blog.

Now this title is dog specific, but the principles of application are sound, and “Treat Fairy Approved”

With Clicker Training on the rise. It only felt right to give the Clicker shout out to the Clicker queen herself Karen Pryor.

Karen has worked diligently with her team of professionals to publish standard works; on clicking with your dog; in a variety of sports, Canine Good Citizen, Obedience, Rally, and more.

But I didn't want to flood you with all the specifications. Instead, I wanted to focus on the core of what is Clicker Training, and how to apply it effectively.

For this reason. I think Clicking with Your Dog by Peggy Tillman is the best place to start. Right from the start you have Step by Step picture instructions. Guiding you through this complete guide to learning to Clicker Train.

This book may not be designed as a beginners guide, but I thoroughly suggest it to those interested in Clicker Training and learning more about its implementation. For those avid professionals, and modern handlers. This is also a good catch up, on your skills, and understanding of the tool, and it's process.

Bottom line to shaping behaviors. Starts with a thorough understanding; you are simply waiting for the behavior to occur. Know that waiting period could be a second. It's all dependent on the behaviors you are working with. Put attention onto a schedule, and promote good feelings.

While reading through this publication I was thrilled to see the charts, graphics, schedules, and more already created. Designed as a potential guide for instructors; I often remind myself. All handlers and clients are potential trainers. They need to understand the technical skills they are applying, and how to implement them properly. This book inspires it all.

This book has been number one in my recommended reading list for years, and now it's time I highlight it in the digital age. Hats off to these ladies on a masterpiece for Clicker addicts everywhere.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Once upon a Labrador

Once upon a Labrador

I remember waking up with the chickens; and watching the rooster crow. I would shuffle down the halls to sneak bacon from the fridge; as I made my way to the backyard.

There stood in all its glory two chain link dog run kennels, and a really big dog house; filled with straw for bedding.

Every morning a cute Uber black Labrador Retriever was ready for his play time with the little human. His name was Annisette. He was a kind lil’ thing with only one thing on his mind. “play”.

We took long walks out through the back nine; into the woodlands, and across the Brooke. It wasn't expansive, but I was a child. Everything looked big.

He would always stay close. Tapping his nose against my pocket; where I hid the bacon; before leaving the house.

This was my quiet place. These are my fondest moments.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Scent Games; Educating your Dog's Nose

Scent Games- Educating your dog's nose

Start simple. Start with a game of "which hand is the treat in". If the dog guesses wrong show the treat but don't give the treat. When the dog gets it right you give the treat. Once the dog has mastered this then try another game.

Try "lights out". Put a toy or treat in a dark room. Use the word you have chosen to distinguish between food and toys. (i.e. seek, find, locate, search) so the dog isn’t confused if you decide to use the dog for finding lost people. Increase the difficulty by putting a tarp or blanket over the item. Once the dog has mastered that, start putting it in harder places like a low shelf or shoe.

There are more games like this to play with your dog. It will keep your dog interested and focused on the situations that you find yourself in. Be patient with your dog during the learning process. 

Safety Tips; Wildlife and the Great Outdoors

Safety Tips: Wildlife and the Great Outdoors

Being able to bring your dog on enriching nature trails, out in the fields, or in an urban environment. All comes at a small cost. We have a responsibility to check these surroundings to provide the safest hiking available.

What should you watch out for. These are some fun safety tips for wildlife and your dog's.

Plant irritants affect humans and dogs a like. Make sure that your take a look at your surroundings and take notice of the plants that surround you. Some of the plants that are toxic can be found in your own backyard. Some of these plants are: Sago Palm, Tulips (bulb), Azaleas, Oleander, Chrysanthemums, Crocus, Pothos and Lilacs. Foxtail is a particularly bothersome so keep a lookout for this plant. It gets into their coat, paws, nose and ears. Some of the signs to look for if your dog does happen to eat any of these plants are: Stomach problems and depression of the central nervous system.

Snake bites, Bee Stings and Spiders
Each one of these can be serious. Dogs enjoy a good game of chasing insects, mainly bees. Try to keep your dog from chasing them. The bite from a bee, ant or spider can cause skin irritation, extreme swelling and anaphylaxis. Fleas and ticks are another nuisance. The bite from a flea or tick could cause dermatitis, lyme, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Make sure you use the flea and tick prevention that your vet suggests you use for your dog. For snake bites seek medical help immediately. Take notice of the snake if you see it. Sometimes you don’t always see it but it helps if you do. Take in every detail of the snake so the vet can identify the snake and make the proper decisions on medication and treatment plan.

Lakes, Ponds, and Bodies of Water
Some algae can be toxic and/or fatal to humans and animals that swim or drink the contaminated water. Algae can be found mostly in the summertime but can also be found in the winter in your fish tanks. Things to look for: Cloudy patches that may look like scum or foam. Color may vary from blue, blue-green, yellow, brown or even colorless. Algae may emit an odor that is unpleasant or no odor at all. If you or your dog experience any of these symptoms seek medical attention immediately.  Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, malaise, excessive thirst, skin and mucus irritation, staggering/motor weakness or respiratory/ muscular paralysis. Be careful of your home water garden or pond. Chances are some wildlife may come seeking water or a bath from it with possibility of the animal using the bathroom around the area slipping into the water garden or pond. The most common contamination in this type of water is: Giardia, Coccidia, Leptospirosis and Tularemia.