Thursday, January 27, 2011

Playtime with Nemo

So a co-worker of mine adopted a little Pug puppy recently.  Of course being the insane dog lover that I am, I offered to puppy sit for a night.  The little Pug puppy, Nemo, came over and played with my two dogs (Caravaggio & Nekita).  Nemo had a fabulous time and got a head start on some potty training and basic manners by staying at my place.  I don't care what your dog might get away with around you or at your house, but my house has rules that ALL dogs will follow.  It's funny how much better behaved my friend's dogs are after spending a day or two with me.  People are always amazed how well positive reinforcement training works...that's why we use it :)

Oh yes, I will chase you!

Playing is hard work you know.

Monday, January 10, 2011

History of Dog Training

Before WWI, dogs were responsible family members that had various important jobs to do, such as:  personal protection, herding, guarding property, killing vermin, hunting, pulling sleds and carts, and finding lost people.  When WWI began, people found a need to have dogs help them in a new way.  Many dogs were used in the war to assist our armed forces, and the need for trained dogs rapidly grew. This brought about the birth of formal dog training and the compulsion method of teaching dogs.  When the war ended, many military trainers that were discharged were now educated in the new compulsion training methods.  As people began transitioning from farm work to factories, dog owners began to find it necessary to "train" their dogs.

Because so many military trainers were now available, society accepted punishment as a proven method of training dogs.  The idea of now training the family dog through this method caught on quickly.  The door for compulsion training was opened by our society's acceptance that learning is done through punishment.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) introduced obedience training in the late 1930s in the United States, using compulsion training for competition dogs.

The release of military trainers after the Korean War (1950s) and the Police Action of Vietnam (1960s) brought about the wide use of physical punishment and choke chains.

As people began training their dogs themselves with help from new books and television in the 1970s, harsh training methods began to take a turn.  Even though operant conditioning research was done in the late 1800s, it did not come into use by the masses until the 1990s, in the form of clicker training.  As trainers started noticing the positive effects of this new method, they began to change their ideas.  Although operant conditioning uses negative reinforcement, negative punishment, and positive punishment, the main component of this training is positive reinforcement.  Using positive reinforcement training can produce greater results in a wide variety of dogs.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Breed of the Month--Presa Canario

Perro de Presa Canario
a.k.a  Presa Canario

Color:  All shades of black, brindle, fawn, brown, white markings
Height:  Males:  23-26 inches/  Females:  21.5-25 inches
Weight:  Males:  92.5-110 lbs/ Females:  84-99 lbs
Life Span:  9-12 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Elbow and hip dysplasia, cervical vertebral instability, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, bloat.

Coat:  Short, flat, coarse single coat
Country of Origin:  Spain

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

The name Perro de Presa Canario means "Canary Dog of Prey."  This breed was developed off the coast of Spain on the Canary Islands, where it gets its name.  This breed comes from Matiffs and Bulldogs.  The large dogs were used to protect livestock and homes.

Before outlawing dog fighting in the 1940s, the Presa was popular in the ring.  The Club Espanol de Presa Canario (CEPRC) was formed in the early 1980s.  The breed wasn't imported to the United States until the late 1980s.

The Perro de Presa Canario, commonly referred to as the Presa, is a very intimidating, powerful, large dog.  This breed is extremely protective of his family but is loyal, sweet, and can be quite gentle.  The Presa is NOT FOR FIRST TIME DOG OWNERS!!!  This dog is highly athletic, confident, and intelligent, and must be properly trained and socialized.  This is a very dangerous breed in the wrong hands.

This breed needs extensive daily exercise.  The Presa requires several long walks each day and requires training games that exercise his body as well as him mind.

The Perro de Presa Canario's coat is easily cared for.  Special attention should be taken to make sure his face folds stay clean, as he usually drools after drinking and eating.

The Perro de Presa Canario needs extensive time and attention when training.  It is vitally important to properly train this breed!  Positive reinforcement should be used to encourage this breed from puppy to adulthood in proper obedience and manners.  I can not stress enough how important training is.  If you are truly considering getting this breed, please do your research.  These are extremely powerful animals that can easily develop problem behaviors if not properly challenged and trained.