Saturday, February 28, 2009

Check Out This Weeks New Training Tips!

Rafter's Not Leaving!!

Yay!! I get 4 more days with Rafter (including today). This weather has permitted me from taking him home & effectively showing the owners how to reinforce the training so we've decided to reschedule him for Tuesday afternoon! This is great because I can work with him more on his distraction proofing & just having him around is great! Duke will be thrilled to have his wrestling buddy around for a few more days...... all though there will be no wrestling outside in this yucky weather. It's very much needed but it sure does put a damper on my training schedule :)

Stay safe & dry everyone & I'll update more on the pups later on!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

Well.... Today isn't going to be as productive as I would have hoped. In fact, I don't know that the whole weekend will be very productive. There will be a lot of working on our place command, working on off leash commands in the house but both Rafter & Lucy are great without distractions. It's the distractions that always need to be worked. Today is Rafter's last day :( He goes home to see his momma tomorrow. I wish I had a few more days maybe even a week to work with him on his distraction proofing. He's super 95% of the time but there's that small chance he's really going to push the envelope. I'd like to spend a bit more time in that area. I took him to the dog park yesterday to work. He was full of himself & crazed when we got out of the truck. It took 2 minutes or so before he realized the rules applied there too. He played great & didn't show any of his humping problems..... thank goodness. We didn't stay long. There were some very irresponsible owners that I didn't want to get into blows with & I had to get home.

Lucy was introduced to the remote collar yesterday. She did fantastic. She wanted to pout about it for the first few hours but during our second time working with it she showed great response & I think she's moving along nicely. But, that will have to wait until Monday I suppose. That's all for now. Stay dry everyone!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Complete Frustration

These last few days with Lucy have been very frustrating to say the least. She is constantly trying to play the catch me if you can game & she's not wanting to mind with her obedience. She's VERY defiant. No fear, just defiant. If it's not play or fun she doesn't want any part in it. Her remote collar came in yesterday so today will be a big day. We'll start the advanced part of her training & nip this catch me if you can business in the bud.

Rafter & I have a park date this afternoon. We're going to work on his social skills a bit more & practicing heeling past the heavy distractions. He needs a big of a refresher since that was in the beginning.

So, updates on Lucy & Rafter later on tonight! Have a great day everyone :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quick Update

I hope everyone had a wonderful day ;) Today was very tiring for me. I had my riding lesson this morning. Bullet is doing wonderful by the way & our first show is March 14 & 15th in Alpharetta. I am sooo excited. On the home front, Rafter had a bad day today. He was a little full of himself & he thought he was going to play the "you can't catch me, I'm the Rafter-man" game when we were working outside. It took almost an hour to get through that problem & then he spent about an hour on his place while I tidied up the house, did laundry, etc. He only got up once so that was a drastic improvement. I hope he's ready to go home Friday. Lucy is doing pretty well also. She wasn't so stubborn today on her obedience. She's responding much better & with less correction. But every time I take the camera out to video her or take pictures she turns into a scared girl & we are completely counter productive. So, we'll see how tomorrow goes. The problem with my camera is even if I have it set up & bring her in I have to hit record & it makes a beeping noise. Lucy knows what that noise it & her demeanor changes. Blah. Oh well. Keep you fingers crossed the weather stays nice the rest of the week so I can get a lot done with them :) Have a good night everyone!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Latest News

I guess I'll start with Friday. Friday Murphy joined us for 6 days of boarding! I love having Murphy. He's so full of energy & always has a look on his face like life is great. I need to take lessons from him. Also I met with a potential client. She is needing a service dog. She is wheel chair bound & physically challenged in some areas where she would need an assistance dog. She is unable to afford to purchase a trained dog herself. I am going to try donate Diesel & then we'll just need to raise the money to fund the remainder of his service dog training & equipment. Please forward the information on to anyone you may know that would either like to sponser her & donate all of the money or a portion of the training. This would strictly be a charitable donation & I wouldn't be able to provide a tax deductable receipt. It's just going to have to be good old fashion helping out a person in need. Please e-mail me or call me if you need more information.

Rafter is doing great with his off leash training. He's only had a few slip ups but he's so eager to please that it doesn't take much to get him back in line. Not much to report on him. He's right where he should be & moving right along.

Lucy is still making slow progress. She's being defiant with her obedience so that's a good sign she's not feeling nervous anymore. She's just being defiant & wanting to see what she can get away with.

I know it's been a while since an update but everything has been pretty boring. Progress with everyone. Nothing excited. Please don't forget to tell people about Ms. Harrison needing donations so we can get an assistance dog for her! Thanks ahead for your help :)

Friday, February 20, 2009


For those of you that haven't noticed the changes to the website, I've obviously moved my client slideshow to showcase first from now on so if you have pictures of your dogs I've trained or pet-sit, please feel free to send pictures for me to add. I've also added a "Training Tips" section, which I'll update weekly with a few tips to help you continue your training at home with your pups!

Yay! It's Friday!!

I've tried over the last few days to get pictures & video of Lucy but I have found she is scared to death of the camera, especially the flash. I set the camera up yesterday to video her & she was so aware of it that she didn't listen AT ALL. I'm going to try & set it up outside before I bring her out & see if I can get some video of us working outside with the distractions of the other dogs running around. That will be a new one :) We'll see if she balks. We worked a bit more on her place command yesterday & she did wonderful. She stayed when I rang the door bell, knocked on the door, made the other dogs bark, threw toys around her. Foxie even came over & snuggled with her for a bit. I worked with Rafter at the same time on his "place" command as well. They both did great. Rafter only wants to get up when I leave the room.
After "place" time, we enjoyed the cooold, beautiful weather for some PLAYTIME!!Rafter has a thing for Jake, hence the stern look on Jake's face. We've had to work on Rafter's humping issues also :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Rafter has been full of energy today! It's killing him to not be able to play. I don't allow much playing in the house because it would be chaos if I did :) So we've worked on his place command today. It's a bit sooner than I would normally do this command but I didn't want to lose a day of working because of the rain. I don't have him for very long & I have to make the best of it. He's great at holding his commands & is always willing to please. His problem is just distractions. He things EVERYTHING is for him, about him, to see him; it's aaaall Rafter in his mind. He's progressing very well. Hopefully we'll get some time tomorrow to work outside. **fingers crossed**


Lucy had a very productive day despite the constant rain we've had. We worked on her down command & her holding it around heavy distractions. This was very hard for her considering she's a bit spooky at most everything. Sorry there are no pictures today, my camera is charging. Hopefully I'll have video & new pictures of the trainees! Not much to report since we weren't able to do any park runs today. But Lucy is getting more responsive to her commands & learning to hold them so I'm very pleased with her. Good job Luc!

Shelly's Home Coming Reunion

Today was Shelly's last day with me :( We would keep her if her momma & dad would have let us. She's been quite a stinker the last few days & I was hoping she would have snapped out of it but no such luck. Hopefully she's not giving her owners too much of a hard time. I knew she was going to keep them on their toes but they need a break now & again! I'll have a follow up lesson with her next week to see how things are progressing & how they're adjusting to all the new rule changes :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Duke Update

Duke is officially done with the tape on the ears. No more tape, no more Breath Right strips!! Yay!!!! The vet was pleased with his ears & said he's quote "a moose". Yes, he is 21 weeks yesterday & 80lbs. Dun, dun, dunnnnnn. His obedience is coming along. He's such a sensitive wuss, and I mean that in the most affectionate loving mommy way possible. But he is. I've been a bit more focused on my training dogs so I've neglected his official obedience commands. Bad, bad, momma. :)
Duke just before he got his ears untaped for the last time. They're sting purdy now ;)

Rafter's Temptations

Rafter had a pretty good day working yesterday. He's been known to be quite the thief when it comes to taking things he shouldn't have. He reminds me much like a small child that's learning to walk & they are pulling up on tables & pulling everything off of them & putting them in their mouth. He just likes to chew on & have EVERYTHING in his mouth. So we worked on just that. Resisting the temptations of having things on the ground & he has to either hold his sit or down command & completely ignore the goodies all over the ground. I think the pictures will explain better....

Rafter holding his down command while ignoring a leather glove, my shoes, a roll of tape, crunched up paper & the vacuum is running.
OOOOh, Foxie really wanted to add to the temptations. But he never broke his down.Rafter's relaxing on the envelope while ignoring the tempting roll of tape.In this exercise I have placed an open bag of treats next to him & he's been asked to ignore the food because he's in a down command. This one was really hard! The reward at the end of the exercise was of course, me giving him the treat but he didn't get to make the decision to eat the food.

Now he's holding the sit command with the treats out of the bag
He loved getting that treat at the end. All that work made him very thirsty!


Lucy had a pretty good day yesterday, Monday. Nothing special to report. We've started on her formal obedience so we're just starting from the ground up & moving forward. She's learned to heel at my left side & stop & sit when we stop, sit & hold her sits with distractions (that one is hard for her), & today we're going to start on down at the side & holding her down. I'll be glad to start her on her place command. I don't feel much up to going to the park today, I have a bit of the crud going around now, but she definitely needs it so we'll see how I'm shaping up this afternoon. Maybe we'll do a PetSmart or Co run. She needs to meet people :)

Shelly's Great Day!

Shelly had a wonderful day yesterday. I worked with her yesterday during playtime on coming when called & she hit the mark every time! I was very happy. She definitely likes to push the envelope though :) She keeps you on your toes. She came in after playtime & stayed on her place for a while; and happy to, she was pooped after running around! Today is Shelly's last day & she goes home tomorrow morning. I hope it's a good day!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Friday, Saturday, Sunday...

This was another big weekend. Friday I picked up Rafter for training! He's an 8 month old Bernese Mountain Dog that is here for the Intermediate Obedience! Probably one of my favorite breeds so I'm super excited about having him. He has some counter surfing issues as well as being overly friendly & jumping on anything that moves :) He is such a sweet boy but he definitely doesn't know his own size. Friday after I picked him up, he did a Petco run with me & he did pretty good. Of course he wanted to jump on everyone so I had to correct that problem so he's doing much better now. After our Petco thing, we came home for him to meet the gang & for me to work with Luc & Shelly. He LOOOOOVES the other dogs. He plays super great. He's going to be an easy "fix" so to speak. He's super willing to please. He's right on schedule so more to come on Rafter!

Shelly had a rough weekend. She's been quite the stinker when we work on the come command. She's getting better though. She stayed on her place command for about an hour on Saturday without any corrections. She's scheduled to go home Wednesday morning. Her mom & dad definitely are going to have to be one step ahead of her. She's a smart cookie :)

Lucy has made a complete 180 in her trust issues with me!! I couldn't be happier. Saturday she started to play with me & want attention from me. So awesome. Since she's trusting of me now I was able to start working on her obedience & really start her on the recovery stage, so to speak. She plays non-stop with the other dogs now when she's outside. I can put my hands in her crate while she's in there to change out her water & food. She's made tremendous strides in the last 7 days. Her momma requested a video of her playing with the other dogs so I'll try to get that this week. My next step with her is to continue getting her out in public around more people & changing her association with strangers. It may take a while but she's definitely willing to try :) Hopefully the weather will cooperate this week so I can have her & the other trainees out a lot.

Lucy chasing Diesel

Lucy, Ruger & Diesel playing chase.

Lucy - "hey Diesel, whatchya doin?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sunny Days Sweeping the Clouds Away. . .

Yesterday was a wonderful day! The dogs really enjoyed playtime, especially Shelly. I think it's her favorite part of the day. She did really well with her place command yesterday. Not as much reinforcement to stay on; she stayed all by herself! We worked on her walking yesterday as well. She still gets spooked by things walking by us or coming up from behind us to pass. We have another park day today so we'll work on it a bit more. Lucy actually started playing yesterday!!! She played with little Shelly & then she played with Diesel! I was so happy to see that. She's starting to let her hair down & relax. I started giving her commands & slowly starting to work on her behavior now that she's responding to me. She's well on her way! They both will be joining me at the park today to work a bit! Another beautiful day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shelly Update

Shelly is doing pretty well for a crazy energetic, spit fire :) She really is a love & has soooo much energy. We're still working on her attention to hold her commands. She had quite a time with learning the "place" command. The simplicity of just staying in one place with other things going on deemed too much for her zoom, zoom, zoom, go, go, go kind of attitude. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully more success!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, Monday.....

Today was a great day for Lucy. We went to the park & walked about 2-3 miles before my lesson with Gus. She did great. She was very alert of everything going on but very curious. She didn't seem scared at all. She was ready for a nap after our little walk though. We sat on a bench for a bit after our walk & she let me scratch her bottom & she seemed to enjoy it a bit. After working with Lucy, I walked Shelly for about a mile. She was completely over whelmed of all the people, noises, other dogs. It was very unproductive from an obedience stand point but it was great exposure for her. We'll work there again in a few days. They both can benefit from it. I didn't have to leave the leash on Lucy in the crate last night!!! She came right out & I leashed her up & we were good to go. Definite progress!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lots To Catch Up On....

Well it's been a while. I've tried to post but for some reason it kept saying error. Okay. Where to begin? Okay, I started with a 4 month old Bichon Frise, Shelly last Monday. She's a little spit fire. Super smart but she is 4 months old & FULL OF ENERGY! She loooooves to run around the back yard. She gets the zooms & she tucks her bottom down & takes off running as fast as she can around the yard & she covers the whole yard (an acre)!! She definitely loves to run. She is doing pretty well with her training. She knows to heel at my left side & sit when we stop, sit & hold her command, down at the side (we're perfecting that), come & sit in from of me & this week we're working on her place command and her attention to the commands. She needs to hold her commands longer off the leash & I need her responding better when there are distractions around. She's doing great meeting new people. It's very hard for her to control her excitement! There's definitely not a mean bone in one inch of her little body. She's a doll & she loves playing with the other dogs. She's great!!

Erin the Harlequin Great Dane went home last Friday after her remote collar work. She did AWESOME with the remote collar. It was the missing link in the bad behaviors she was getting away with. It was nice having another Dane around. It was funny to see Duke is almost a big as Erin & she's 2 1/2 months older that she is! She loved playing with the gang & re-socializing! She is super sweet & loves to play. She and Ty had races every time I'd let them out to play. I have a follow up lesson with her today to see how her owners are adjusting to the luxury of not having to chase her around & correct her :)

Duke also had another follow up lesson at the vet on Friday to have his ears checked. They are standing but the very tips were bending inward so as a fixer the vet added Breath Right nose strips to the tips of his ears to pull just the tips in. He'll have those on until they fall off (around 10-14 days).

I had a follow up lesson with Gus at the dog park on Friday. This is his usual freak out place when he's with his momma. Well, he freaked out. So we had to work on him walking down to the park. It took a while. He's still barking at other dogs & sometimes people when he's being walked with his momma. We have another follow up lesson this afternoon at the dog park again to work on his walking. She was instructed to not have him out walking without me since his behavior is progressing negatively. We have to get him under control & he can't be getting away with these small freak outs. They should be completely gone at this point in his training. Hopefully we'll be able to reward him with a playtime at the dog park after he walks the trail nicely past other people & dogs :)

Friday was a big day. I picked up Lucy a 1 1/2 year old German Shepherd who I did an evaluation on about over 6 months ago. She is completely non-social with people other than her owners. She has a tendency to get into scuffles with her owners other small female dog. She warmed up to me by the end of the evaluation but I instructed she be in training immediately or her behavior would get worse. She is a classic "basket case"..... case :) Meaning, she's not out of her surroundings much if any at all. She reacts aggressively or scared to death of new things because of her lack of socialization. Months, & months, & months later now, she's waaaay worse. She has serious cage aggression & she's not barking with fear in her, she's barking with intent to hurt. Our first day was very hard for her. She spent the day in the truck running errands with me. It was nice enough & cool enough with the windows down for her to hang out with me as well as get used to riding in the car. It took me almost 3 hours to get her out of the crate once we got home. She didn't have a leash on, which was my mistake & she was aggressively charging & biting the front of the crate every time I would put my hand near the crate to unlock it. Her behavior is quite different out of the crate so I wasn't much worried & just wanted to have her leashed before she came out. I had to use a snare pole to get her out after coaxing wasn't working, which I didn't want to use but I didn't want her hurting herself or me. So, she was out, I leashed her up with a slip lead & took her outside & walked her. She didn't want me touching her but she was fine to walk along side me. I wanted to wear her out in a long walk before I put her back in her crate for the evening. After her walk she nibbled her food and drank a ton of water, which I was happy to see. I left the slip lead on her so I could get her out without a hitch the next morning. The following morning was a significant improvement. She didn't lunge the front of the crate in the morning she just showed her teeth at me. When I'd tell her "no" sternly, she's avert her eyes from me & I could open the crate & grab the slip lead as she walked out. She likes being in the back yard & she's seems to like the other dogs big dogs, so I'm going to build her confidence with the other dogs. They'll be her therapy dogs :) I can't let her off the leash when she's in the back yard because I'd never get her back so she's on the 25 foot runner. She's liking these warm days as much as me!! So the weekend was getting her trusting me. She starting sitting next to me & I could get in a few pets before she walks away. She would snap at me before so that's definite progress. As of last night she came and put her head under my hand & then spooked herself when we were sitting on the couch. Silly girls. She's staying leashed all the time right now while she's learning & for safety reasons. This morning when I got her out I got a small tail wag from her, she had eaten all her dinner & licked the bowl clean!! YEAH. Eating means she's not stressed out anymore and she's starting to feel comfortable. I was able to put her on the runner without having to leave the leash attached to her collar. She let me get near her face without hesitation & I was able to give her a little butt scratch for a moment & she didn't spook away from me or show her teeth!! YESSS!!! So today, she's going to ride around with me when I go to my morning lessons & then she'll have a break & I'll take her to the park & work with her before I meet with Gus & Abigail. I'm throwing her right into everything & pushing her through this fear. She already knows her basic commands from a previous trainer when she was a puppy so that will help me out a ton! I'll take pictures of her today since I'm able to get a bit closer & she's 'not intimidated by me looking at her now. So, more to come on Lucy!

On Saturday morning I had a follow up lesson with Jemma, the Black Great Dane. She is doing AWESOME!! Abby, her momma is doing great as well. I only needed to correct a few things but over all Jemma is responding to Abby & Abby is being consistent & I couldn't be more pleased! YEAH JEMMA & ABBY!!

So on the agenda today. I have to work with Shelly & Lucy this morning. Then I have a follow up lesson with Erin. I'll come home & work with Shelly a bit more before Lucy & I go to the park to meet Abigail & Gus. I'd like to get in a bit of work with Duke. He needs to learn down at my side & hold the command. He did great walking with the group at the park on Friday but he needs work on his commands around distractions. He's up to 73lbs now as well, & he's 20 weeks today!!

On a personal note, the make over to the backyard has started. Tom fixed the fence where the tree had fallen on our fence from the terrible wind we had last week. We had a TON of pine trees between a few inches tall to 3-4 feet tall growing all over the yard. I pulled all the trees yesterday & limed the back yard. Now in 500 sq. foot sections we're going to plant grass seed on the hill. We'll have to put up silt fencing to keep the dogs off of it while it's germinating & growing. From the back door out to where the hill starts I'm going to sod with Bermuda. Its the high traffic area & it gets a lot of sun there so it makes sense. We also are going to build a 24'x34' deck right off the already poured concrete patio. We'll have a fire pit, seating & a swing. Also, where the hill starts in the back of the yard we're going to have a guy come in and quote us for adding a 3 foot retaining wall & level it & then another retaining wall as a 3 layer & level the top of that. If that makes any sense. We're trying to add functionality to the bark yard with the steep hill. Right now if I leave it like it is it will slowly start to erode away. No bueno. And the grand finale.......... (drum roll sound)......... Tom is building me a 500-600 square foot kennel!!! This way I won't have kennels in the house & in the garage. We currently have a heating & cooling system in the garage to accommodate the dogs during hot & cold times but it's cramped in there. So this new kennel will give me a spacious kennel, bathing area, & work area. The dogs will of course still be in the house with me when I'm home but they'll be in their kennels at night & when I'm away at lessons. I'm super excited!! All this will take place over the next few months because I'm not made of money...... unfortunately & I'll have to take it as I I have the money to do it. I'm not much for borrowing because I hate paying interest to people. :) So all my pet sitting money & money I have saved will go towards this huge investment so please, send people my way. It will be much appreciated!!

Here is where the deck will be. From the far corner of the house, out 34' twards me & then back to the edge of where the concret pation is. Along the fence side will be sod & landscaping.
This is me standing where the deck will be. From the pation out will be soded with bermuda, which I will be laying myself so any helpers are welcome. The green in the distance is pine trees that I pulled up yesterday :)
So here's another shot of the back of the house from a long time ago, hence no fence. I'm standing at the top of the hill. That's my friend, Wendy. So, on the right side of the house from the edge of the concrete pation to the edge of the house is the deck. From Wendy straight out to where the hill starts will be sod, as well as from Wendy & everything to the left. All these pine tree on this hill are now gone & it's just fresh dirt ready to take seed!
I tried to do a panoramic shot of the back yard standing from the patio to show where the retaining walls will be. Imagine all 4 pictures side by side. The sod will go out about 3o feet the here will be a 3ft retaining wall & it will be leveled & then about 10-15 ft up from that will be another wall & that will be leveled.

Here is where the kennel will be!! It will be about the size of a 2 car garage. It will have the same siding & roof as the house. I'm super excited. If I ever sell it will make a great workshop for someone!

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Nice Trip To VA!

I had a great 4 days away to Virginia to visit my dad & little sister. Tom & I took Dakota & Beau, two of our 5 horses, to ride & Ty & Duke were our sidekicks! We rode a ton & when we weren't riding Tom & I were trying to keep up with a 10 year old with sass & energy I haven't had in a long time. It was a great trip to catch up with my dad & have a little time away from work. It's not often I get to get away so it's always super special when I do! I hope you like the pictures!

Me on Beau crossing the water
My Dad & siter, Emilia on Rocket & Malijah
Tom & Dakota
A long day riding require hard sleep
Me & my boys - Beau, Ty & the Dukester

Erin's Back!!

Erin the Harlequin Great Dane is back for her intro to the remote collar!! She's an adolescences now & she's really testing the waters. Her owners would like that added control & reinforcement with the remote collar for her sneaky behaviors & her quickness to duck away from corrections :) It was right back to a routine when I picked her up. She & Duke rode home great together! She came right in & I put her on her place, where she's been for about an hour now. Only 1 correction so far. She's doing great :) Tomorrow we'll work on her intro to some of the commands with the remote collar. She's just going to be here for a few days so we have to get as much done as possible!