Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Akona Pet Travel

So after trying to understand the many rules envolved with flying dogs to Hawaii, we started to get a little frustrated.  The paper work and all the things needed for entering Hawaii itself we had under control (LOTS of paper work...lots!), but we were having a very difficult time actually booking the dog's flights to Hawaii.  Our younger dog, Caravaggio, is part Great Dane, and therefore insanely tall.  He was too big to fly.  How is that possible?  After trying to understand the many insane airline rules and regulations and extra paper work on top of all the other paperwork, it was just too overwhelming.  I'm very happy to say that we found a fabulous company to get through all the red tape for us, Akona Pet Travel.  

Today we received the dogs' Personal Akona Pet Passport Kits.  We're just 2 weeks away from flying the dogs, so I was happy to see them arrive.  Below are some pictures of the kits sent to us, and us applying the necessary items to one of our kennels.  

Follow the directions and start your stickering!

Caravaggio even gets his picture on his kennel.

Please be gentle with my pets.

Information sheet.

Documents pouch.

Bowls and leash.

They even gave us a lei for the pups!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Caravaggio & Nekita playing fetch

As one of the last things for us to enjoy with our dogs before our long journey to Maui, Hawaii, we took the dogs to the park near our house for some good old fashioned fetch.  Both our dogs love playing fetch, and as you can see, will play for as long as possible.  This video is our dogs doing one of their favorite games...fetch the tennis ball.

Keep in mind there should always be rules to games for your dogs.  As you can see from the video, our dogs must sit and focus (look us in the eyes) before being rewarded with another throw of the ball.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Basic Manners--Class #6

We had our last day of this block of Basic Manners Class.  The last Basic Manners class is all about reviewing everything we have learned (see Basic Manners Class #6--Notes post), and having a little fun.  We go over all cues and behaviors learned in class, practice them, and play some games (like Red Light/ Green Light with Loose Leash Walking.)  Here are some pictures from our last day of class.

Final day class participants

Lilly posing for a picture.

Red practicing come when called.

Red was adopted right before class started and became our most improved student!

Two 3-Legged Dogs

So our dog Nekita has been somewhat of a "gateway" dog for several of our friends.  Many people have fallen in love with Nekita's sweet disposition and then decide it is time for them to find a pup of their own.  Our friends, Aaron and Laura, are two of these people.  After they both fell in love with Nekita, they started looking on line for their first dog.  Laura actually ended up finding a dog on the internet that she fell in love with.  They actually drove all the way from Minnesota to Georgia to get their new dog.  The gray fluffy dog in the pictures below is their first dog, Ursa.

Ursa has something unusually about her...she only has three legs.  The shelter in Georgia where they got her was unsure of what had exactly happened, but Ursa ended up needing to have her leg amputated.  For a 3-leggeded dog, she can sure move pretty quick.

One day while they were walking Ursa in the local park, they came across a pet adoption fair.  They stopped to talk to a lady that was holding a cute little pit bull that was up for adoption.  After telling the adoption lady their story of how they adopted Ursa, the lady put the little pit on the ground.  Surprise, surprise this dog only had 3 legs as well.  What's more crazy?  The pit puppy was missing the same leg as Ursa.  They decided it was fate, and adopted their second dog.

So these are our friend's two 3-legged dogs, Ursa and Yoshi.


Yoshi & Caravaggio


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Basic Manners Class #6--Notes

Review of all cues learned, questions, and games.

Marker words
3 things on your body that are rewarding to dogs
Food Lure
Watch Me/ Look
Come when called
  -3 rules
  -3 steps
Loose Leash Walking
Impulse Control
Leave It
Drop It/ Give

Questions from participants.
Answers and further demonstrations.

Money saving tips:
Roll your own poop bags.
Left over human food.

Remember to be consistent in your training.  Be sure that all family members are using the same cues for each behavior.  Remember that every member of your team must learn to be a leader to your dog.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kennel Training

In preparation for moving from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Maui, Hawaii, we have been kennel training our dogs.  It is important to get your dog familiar and comfortable with kennels before sending them on a long trip such as this.  Over the past several months we have been teaching the dogs to go into to the kennel, wait while we close the door, and lay down.  Then they must wait when we open the door, before being released out.  Remember that dog's do not generalize well, so it is important to move your training.  Although are dogs were very familiar and comfortable with their kennel's in the bedroom, they became a little skittish of them when we moved to the yard.  Practice your training in as many areas as possible so the dog will understand that this is what will happen no matter where I ask you to do it.

Our dogs are now comfortable entering, being confined, and exiting their kennels in different locations. We have now begun picking up the kennels and moving them with the dogs inside, so that they will also be used to this while traveling.  Today was the first day we actually picked them up while in the kennel.  They both freaked out at first.  We let them calm down, and then tried again.  We will be practicing this many times over the next few weeks so that when they do actually fly in their kennels, they will have no issues with strangers moving them around.

Food luring Nekita into the kennel.

Give the command, "kennel"

Always make sure the dog is waiting and calm before closing the kennel door.

Nekita calmly laying in her kennel.

Vaggy, kennel.

Caravaggio is black and hard to see inside the kennel.

Door re-opened...dogs waiting to be released.



Monday, August 6, 2012

Christy & Lucky demonstrate down

Christy and her dog Lucky have been working very hard in class together.  In this video they demonstrate down.  Notice when he does not respond right away to the verbal cue of down, Christy uses food to lure him into position.  Very nice.

Cati & Lily demonstrate things learned in class.

Lily has taken several obedience classes with her family since she was a pup.  Both of Lily's owners (Cati & Kim) want Lily to learn as much as she can and to always be improving on her skills.  (Which I hope is what most people want out of their relationship with their dogs and I hope that we are all always working to improve).

In this video, Cati & Lily demonstrate some of the things they have learned in Basic Manners class, such as Sit, Down, and Stand.  And also demonstrate some more advanced things, such as Back, and Wait for an extended period of time.

Athena & Lily demonstrate "Drop It/ Give"

In this week's class the students learned how to teach their dogs the "Drop It/ Give" cue.  After explaining the concept of teaching your dog this cue, (see notes for Basic Manners Class #5), I demonstrated for the class with Lily, who did a very good job.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Basic Manners Class #5--Notes

Questions/ anything class members would like to review.

Watch Me
The T position

What are the 3 parts to stay?

New Cues:
Drop It/ Give:
When teaching this cue we must be aware of possible Resource guarding: Dogs sometimes think they have a prize, or something they really like, and they want to have it.  Low level resource guarding is simple things like putting paws over the object or lowering their head over it.  High levels of resource guarding can include air snapping, growling, and biting.

Some dogs learn to guard because humans snatch things, we try and steal them from the dog.  This is not what we want.  Instead we must teach our dogs that all good things are provided by us.  We can trade whatever object they have for another object.

In order to begin teaching our dog the Drop It or Give cue, we must first learn what most motivates our dogs, what the dog values most.  What are your dog's Like It, Love It, Gotta have Its?  You can not successfully trade an object if it is less important to your dog than what he already has in his mouth.

To teach this Cue:
Give the dog a toy that is not of super high value; engage the dog in the toy.  Once the dog is holding the toy in his mouth, present or drop a treat for the dog.  When the dog releases the toy to get the treat, say Good!  Do this several times...once the dog gets the idea and the training is moving forward, add the cue AS the dog is releasing the toy from his mouth.  Always remember to add the "Good" marker word after the dog has succeeded in what you were looking for.

Loose Leash Walking:
Adding turns to loose leash walking.  Instead of just stopping and waiting for the dog to release the tension on the leash, when the dog pulls, abruptly turn your direction and keep walking.  Left, right, or about turn.

The Stay Cue
Can your dog now make it to 30 seconds?  One minute?

Questions/ Review cues upon request.

Drop It/ Give Cue
Review all cues at home and practice.  Bring any questions to next week's final class.