Tuesday, December 24, 2013


I haven't updated this thing because I always wonder if there's a point in posting if I have no pictures or video to share. I mean, I can try to describe the awesomeness of training, but I feel like it would be more meaningful with video.

We are going back to training on the 1st of January, because my dog is practically a pro, I've been making a huge attempt at tracking with him. We are so far behind. The thing about tracking is that I have limited knowledge on teaching it/training it, and without a club or other people to track with, it's hard to be motivated.

First I guess I will share the limited knowledge I have on tracking, what I use for bait, my track laying method etc and then I will share a couple of videos of my dogs following a track.

In IPO tracking the dog is following the scent of crushed vegetation or disturbed soil. Their nose should be on the ground, they shouldn't air scent.

I use Natural Balance or off brand food logs. The large logs can be cut into small pieces and frozen for later use. They are about $10-$12 for a big one and it gives me 6 sandwhich bags full of bait for all of my tracking and training needs!

I am very limited in my tracking knowledge. I know you should watch for wind and you shouldn't lay a track on freshly cut grass as it can be really hard for the dog to follow. I also think tracking in tall grass almost makes it too easy for the dog because they can see the path of the track - but I don't know this for sure. I think tall grass would be helpful for a dog and owner first starting out because it would make it nearly impossible to lose your track.

I lay a track by finding a spot in a field, you find your starting point, set a flag in the ground to your left and make a scent pad. The scent pad should be like 2ft x 2ft in the beginning to help your dog get used to the smell of crushed vegetation. You basically stomp around in a square, and then put a small handful of treats in the middle. From the scent pad you walk heel to toe, putting food in every step [when you are just starting out]. Initially you should go in straight lines and as your dog builds confidence start adding soft arcs or even circles. As your dog progresses you can start baiting every other step, progressively baiting less and less. You end your track by making another scent pad, maybe 1ft by 1ft, and adding a handful of treats.

There are many ways you can set your dog up for tracking. You can use a harness and 6ft lead[or 12ft], you can simply have the leash attached to their collar, or you can put them on a long line [12ft] and string it between their front legs and let them track that way. I started Seth with the leash attached to his collar but not between his legs. When we trained up in Washington I started putting the lead between their front legs.

Something that I would encourage you NOT to allow your dog to do, is back tracking. When I started Seth the trainer we worked with told me not to allow him to turn around and back track, I would follow next to Seth and encourage him forward if he lost the track. With Seppel, he was allowed to back track a little and it's become a bad go to for him if he loses the track. Instead of turning around, the dog should work the track sniffing the foliage ahead of him to find the "broken" section where you've laid your track. When they have tracked enough they can easily differentiate what portion of grass has been walked on and what portion hasn't.

As far as commands go, I use "such"[sook], which means "track" in German. You could use "Find it" or "search".

When I trained Seth to track I taught him to do so on a loose leash. Seppel on the other hand has learned to pull when he is tracking. As of late I use a 12ft line and I try to keep loose tension. I would prefer my dog not to be frantically pulling but I do want them engaged and going forward on the track. I think whether or not they pull is a personal preference, but most people I've trained with prefer a slack line.

Here is a video of an IPO III dog from here in the NW, he's amazing and has been trained using positive methods, this just give you an idea as far as leash tension and what I think would be preferable:

Another portion of tracking is articles and article indication however we've barely started article training and until I get further into it, or learn more about it I don't really have anything exciting to share in that respect.

Here are some videos of Seth and Seppel tracking:

First track since the summer pretty much! This was 100 paces long with food in every 3rd step.

We did this track on the 22nd, I took both boys out and they both did fairly well! Both tracks are 150 paces long. Seth's food was spaced 5-7 steps apart, Seppels was spaced 3-4 steps apart.

I hope this was a reasonable intro to tracking. Seth absolutely loves to track and I hope in the future he can earn a tracking title or two. Seppel isn't naturally good at it, but I feel like he's coming along and learning to follow his nose more and more! Both dogs seem to enjoy it and know what we're doing as soon as they see the flags.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

IPO Training

Seppel was AMAZING today!!!

Ryan and Jennifer took Sepp onto the field while I hid to try the hold & bark. Jennifer sent Sepp to Ryan and he not only barked at him but also muzzle punched him a few times - something I've seen real IPO dogs do. Jennifer sent him to Ryan twice and both times he sat and barked at him. I came in after that and he did the same for me!!

After that we practiced transports, he was a little forgy, but I hardly corrected him at all today. He was so ON today!!! He's come SO far, we're finally fine tuning things and he just gets better every time.

I'm going to try to get some video next week, I could hardly believe it was my dog out there today and I can't say enough how happy I am to be able to train with Ryan and Jennifer.

As far as Sepp's leg goes he's still using it all the time, it's still smaller and a bit floppy but you can't see the muscle difference unless you really look at him.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

24 Weeks Post FHO Surgery & IPO Training

I think we're at 24 weeks post FHO surgery! I think that means we are 6 months post surgery! ***PARTY!***

Seppel rarely limps or holds his leg up, I will try to measure his leg this week or next week, but the muscle continues to grow and you can hardly tell there is a difference. Since the weather has been cold and occasionally wet I have been running the dogs on the treadmill a few times a week - Seppel doesn't skip a beat. I am very happy that he is where he is at at 6mos, I can only see him being completely back to normal in a year.

Training was really great today. We did some heeling before Ryan came on the field. I think it really helped get Seppel engaged. He wasn't overly amped because he didn't need to be, which made for a better training session all around. Ryan usually gets his gear on in a nearby building, he came out not wearing the bite sleeve. Sepp was heeling really well, but when he caught sight of Ryan he took off for the fence! For a moment I'm like "I really hope he doesn't jump the fence and bite him!" Fortunately Ryan kind of deflected him by moving back and down, Sepp hit the fence but knew he was supposed to be heeling with me and came running back. Just the fact that he was like "Ooops" and came back shows he has come a long, long way. He's getting faster about coming into heel position and is giving me more eye contact, I'm going to try to get some video soon - this dog rocks.

Anyway, after doing some heeling Ryan put the sleeve on and came onto the field. We did a couple of bites, some outs at a distance, and also practiced heeling and transports. Sepp actually did really on everything, he forged a little bit initially heeling, but Ryan slowed the pace down which actually helped. After the transports and bites we tried the hold & bark. Sepp actually let me call him to me and into heel position AND HE LISTENED! The best part was going to blind 6, the blind we always work him in that he will never bark, AND HE BARKED! And he didn't get too dirty and try to eat Ryan. Ryan also had me send him in, without the leash attached to my hand and he came back to me when I called him!

I felt like I really had a lot of control - I mean, sometimes he was still a little naughty, but I didn't have to pull on him hardly at all, and overall he did what he was supposed to do. I really feel like his training is coming together and we are able to fine tune things a little bit better. Today was absolutely awesome. I love going to training, I think Sepp does too, and I also really appreciate the awesome trainers we get to work with.

Here are a couple of pics from last week, my friend Danielle took them!

Monday, November 18, 2013

22ish Weeks Post FHO Surgery & IPO Training

Seppel is doing very well, I'm a bit late in blogging but last week we measured his leg and it has grown 4cms! Progress! I feel that the treadmill has really bumped up his progress as he's using the leg to run on it. He is definitely still using it at least 95% of the time, lately he's actually been choosing to trot over holding it up. I am very pleased to have him back to nearly all of his normal activities, and better yet, he is pain free!!!!

Today the weather was pretty crappy so we trained inside of a building. Sepp has been in this building before for obedience and also for the beginning of protection training. Of course, he really didn't want to bark in the building. We did the escape a few times, as well as worked on outs with me at the end of the leash. His outs are fairly reliable even with me not standing next to him. We practiced heeling and Ryan had me take the leash off of Seppel. I didn't write about it, but we did heeling without the leash last week as well.

Shockingly enough, my dog seems to heel better off leash than on. He's such a weird dog. After working on heeling we went outside to try the hold & bark. Typically we practice at blind 6, but today we went to blind 4 instead. I kid you not, my dog barked! After trying it the first time Ryan had me run in with Seppel and give him a loose leash to see what he would do. He did try to go for a bite[naughty!], but I gave him a correction and after that he was really good about standing there barking. Ryan has said a few times that Seppel is just messing with us, and I'm starting to believe it. He knows more than he lets on. It makes for interesting training sessions, I'm just very pleased with his progress in training - at least he's finally doing some kind of barking!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

19 Weeks Post FHO Surgery: Treadmill

I am pretty sure I've mentioned this here, but just in case I haven't, I have been staying at my late grandmother's house since June to keep it occupied while it is up for sale. The house is literally two blocks from work, and isn't that far from my folks, about 3-5 miles give or take. That being said, I haven't run the dogs on the treadmill very much, even though my parents aren't too far away - it is very out of the way to go to their house.

Last night I house-sat for a friend just overnight so I left the dogs at my folks. My dad said he had to split Seppel and the cat up three times. He thinks they were just playing and that the cat started it - but just the same that says to me that he has some cabin fever.

I did some flirt pole with him today and then decided to put him on the treadmill, Seth too. I took some video and I am very excited to share the footage. He can now trot like normal, and can also run on the treadmill and will use his leg! So when I say I think he's about up to 95% in using it, I think it's true!

Well, blogger is being a poop - here is Seppel on the treadmill on July 19th, a month after surgery:

He isn't using the leg much like he is now.

Here is a video of Seppel today:

It makes me absolutely ecstatic to see him using it and see him feeling comfortable and confident enough to trot! Even though his muscle mass isn't measuring huge, he is making progress!!!!

For kicks here is Seth:

I'm hoping to move the treadmill to my grandma's soon so they can get back into the routine of using it regularly - it really is wonderful exercise especially in the crappy weather!

Black & White Sunday

Monday, October 28, 2013

We came, we saw, we weren't impressed.

Saturday we met with that guy that I mentioned earlier for training. I'm not going to go into huge amounts of detail, just because I don't want to defame someone's character on this public platform, but, needless to say we probably won't be going back.

One really important thing I want to bring up, whether you are seeking a trainer, a vet, a farrier, a plumber - whatever it may be that you are seeking professional help, if that professional talks bad of other companies and actually name drops, you need to run away! One of my first farrier experiences was a farrier [horseshoer btw] who would talk trash about all of the other farriers and even veterinarians in the area. Not only is that kind of illegal, it just makes you look really bad.

I tried to show this trainer a video, to show what we do normally, and he barely looked at it, he also went so far as to judge Ryan. Ryan is a level three helper, according to Pet Village "A level 3 is the highest certification you can receive and you can work competitions on the National and International level." I am pretty sure I did not tell this guy that Jennifer is a Schutzhund judge, and I KNOW I didn't mention anything about Ryan's credibility as a helper. This is a giant red flag to me because I asked him to watch the dog and what we were doing, not critique it.

We never did any heeling, and working on transports was a large part of why I wanted to be there.

He did get Seppel to bark, and he did try to 'calm' him by petting him while he had a hold of the bite sleeve. It worked and Sepp's tail was wagging and he relaxed. I did like his decoy work, he's fast moving and exciting so my dog was very interested and was barking immediately.

Mostly my reason for making this post is that I think it's very important to try new things, but also to be aware that anyone can claim they are a trainer. I trained with this guy in 2010 when I first got introduced to the sport, which was actually by him. He may have been at it since 2009, but ultimately he has only been in this sport for a few years, and as far as I know only one dog is titled with a BH. While I do feel like he knows quite a bit, I do not feel he has the level of experience that Ryan and Jennifer have, and I felt that if I were to train with him we would be doing things completely different from what we do in Salem which I fear would completely confuse my dog.

What I had pictured for this experience was that I would pay for his time, and his decoy experience to work on transports and hold & bark with Seppel. Because I am paying him I expected him to want to see what we were already doing, and would want to do the things I would want to do. I mean, he could do it in his own way, but I thought we would be working on barking and transports.

The other thing is that Ryan was completely supportive of us seeing this guy. He was all for us having an opportunity to train with someone in-between sessions there because it was close by. If I weren't the willful bossy person I am, this experience could have led me to believe what we are doing in Salem is incorrect. It could lead me to question the things we are doing. If I were the 'follower' type, I could be heading in a completely different direction with my dog.

I likely won't be going back to this guy again. Aside from differences in training technique it is also more expensive, I might consider going for some tracking experience but would not go back for bite work.

In closing I think it is important to go with your gut instincts. Be firm, don't let people boss you around, especially if you are trying a new training technique that you are unsure of. Remember that almost anyone can claim to be a dog trainer and not necessarily have tons of experience or a long list of credentials. Be open minded when it is safe to be because it is always good to learn.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

18 Weeks/ 4.5mos Post FHO Surgery and IPO Training!

It's kind of crazy that we are over 4mos since Seppel's surgery. I had our vet[the surgeon] feel his leg this past Monday. While he didn't feel that his leg had grown much muscle wise, and it truly didn't when we measured, he did feel like he was definitely improving and on course as far as healing.

Not as exciting as I had hoped. I have seen the muscle changing in his leg, it's still skinny, but it is more toned than it was when he was barely using it.

In other news, we went to training today. I gave the bite sleeve back and told Ryan I didn't think it had made a huge difference because he doesn't get as amped here at home as he does in training. I was pleasantly surprised that I have my dog back! We started off with just heeling around Ryan and Ryan would walk around us/past us etc. I had to correct Seppel a few times, but nothing major. He was also giving me a lot of eye contact while we were heeling, which was pretty awesome.

Ryan was really happy with his progress, which also makes me really happy. We also worked on the hold & bark just a little bit, and Sepp barked both times! That is some serious progress when you consider all this dog could do before was make garbled growly noises. We primarily did a lot of heeling today, Sepp got some bites because he was being AWESOME, he was actually listening, which was amazing when you consider the last two weeks he's been giving me the big finger.

Saturday I am meeting with someone I have trained with before. He's located here in Hillsboro and if I can afford it, and if we jive training wise, I would like to meet with him in-between going to Salem so we can practice some more. We'll see how it goes, I don't have super high expectations, but if I don't go, I won't know!

And a picture that makes me smile:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

16-ish Weeks Post FHO and Heeling

Seppel is still doing remarkably well. It is very amazing to me to see that we went from this:

To this:

I am very pleased with his progress!!

I also wanted to share some videos of him heeling. This first video was from yesterday after he was very worked up. My trainers are lending me a bite sleeve to practice heeling because Ryan wants Seppel to be off-leash soon, and I need better control over him. When he is amped he looks abused and sad heeling:

This is practicing from today. We didn't rile him up hardly at all, and he was a lot more relaxed. I am extremely happy and hoping we can get more heeling like this:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

15 Weeks Post FHO Surgery

Here is a video of Seppel walking today:

Seppel is back to normal activities these days. I've started allowing him to chase the ball, play with the flirt pole, and go back to training. He has his moments where he will three-leg-it sometimes in the yard. His surgery leg is still not that strong but I feel like he is slowly making progress in terms of building that leg muscle up. He can still jump just as high as he could before and he can jump onto tables and other high surfaces. At this point I am happy with the decision that I made to do the surgery because I am confident in a year he will be back to 100%.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Being Good Enough

At the last Rally match I took Seth to I felt somewhat deflated. The woman who would be judging our class was on the sidelines and said some pretty nasty [although honest] things about my handling. I tried to do what she told me would 'help' the situation and it didn't. That's really beside the point because I keep forgetting that I haven't taken ANY classes with Seth.

There have been many times on this journey that I have felt like I don't know what I'm doing. Everyone has an opinion and everyone is going to tell you that you're doing something wrong. Sometimes it's hard to take when the people telling you this information know more or have been at it longer, because you start to second guess yourself, and your dog.

It is then that I remember that I got a URO2 title on Seth, by myself. All of the people we have competed with are people who have taken many obedience classes, several of them obviously train together because they use the same signals and commands. All of these people also have dogs that are finished in AKC obedience/rally and are now moving onto UKC - so unlike me, none of this is new.

I'm very proud of Seth and I'm proud of myself. My friend Lynna did help start us on the path to obedience and showed us a few of the motions that would be required, but everything else was kind of just winging it. I remember our first Rally trial I knew NOTHING. Luckily there was a nice gal there willing to share her rule book and help me figure out the signs!

I still get stuck sometimes, and I am still intimidated a lot. Even though it's "just rally" I still feel very good that we have come as far as we have, the commands we use in rally can be applied to regular obedience and when I get more experience under my belt we may find ourselves in an obedience ring at some point. I guess what I'm saying, and why I wrote this post is to tell anyone out there reading this who can't afford a trainer, or doesn't have one nearby - use the internet! Read articles, watch videos! The point isn't to win, or get the highest score, the point is to have fun working with your dog, and if you get a chance to go to a trial - show off what the two of you have learned and accomplished!!

On that note, we have been working diligently on an attention heel. I will have video of Seppel eventually but he isn't nearly as far along as Seth is. I have NEVER taught a dog to 'watch me' while heeling, this is our first time. I have managed to get a couple of short clips with my phone, he's making progress!! We started practicing after reading this article: Tarheel k9 Attention Heeling

With Seth I did start with the food in my mouth... he just 'gets it' so quickly that we actually only used that method in one session. Both dogs had a good idea of eye-contact from a sit... I haven't specifically named it, most people say 'focus' or 'watch me'. I may put a name to it eventually, but they know in sit to give eye contact, and Seth is learning to give eye contact now while heeling.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What about LiLo???

I thought I would take some time today to make a post about LiLo. I realize that I introduce her on the internet, but don't post nearly as many photos or videos of her. I realize that I sometimes question people of the inter-webz when it comes to their own dogs, wondering why someone in particular only posts about one of their dogs. Then I realized, I am kind of like that myself.

I guess I'll begin at the beginning with LiLo.

                                                   I got LiLo around 14 weeks of age.

This would be back in 2005, I was 16/17yrs of age. I got LiLo from a coworker who couldn't keep her. LiLo was very smart and quick to learn new things. Unfortunately as she matured she became more and more leery of people she didn't know. I honestly think LiLo was born an insecure dog, but at the time I didn't know what I know now and didn't see the signs early on. As LiLo aged taking her places, like to stores, was kind of pain. Everyone wanted to pet her and she would bark and growl and carry on like an idiot as soon as they talked to her. I worked with this as best as I could at that age. I tried taking her to pet stores to 'socialize' her, when people wanted to pet her they only could if they 'followed my instructions'. Of course, LiLo was already at an age where nothing was going to change. We worked on 'management'. What that meant for her is that barking and growling like an idiot is not okay and that she needed to listen to me and what I wanted. It also meant that I would tell people she wasn't friendly/didn't want to be touched. I also quit trying to 'socialize' her.

I have toyed with the idea of LiLo getting her CGC, but I don't see her allowing someone to pet her without barking or growling. She knows how to walk politely on leash, she can sit, down, roll over, stick 'em up, play dead, spin, and speak. She is my buddy, she's my friend. My second tattoo was her pawprint:

I got this tattoo because for everything LiLo is not, she is a WONDERFUL dog. She will let me do absolutely anything that I want to her. When I got her back in 2005 two of my coworkers had two amazing dogs, Shadow & Mojo. These dogs would let their owners do absolutely anything to them and I so wanted LiLo to be like them. LiLo's insecurity made for a very mold-able dog for me and with some time she turned into an awesome dog. I've drawn blood from her before without anyone holding her, she's fine for nail trims, let's me pick her teeth, takes injections. She's never once even thought about trying to bite me [except over her first nail trim, tee hee :)]

You may be wondering, why don't we do obedience if she is so great? LiLo was very easy to train to do the things she knows how to do. She learned all of her tricks in 10-15mins, and would get a good idea of what I was asking on the first day. However, she is so completely food driven that her brain goes out the door when food is involved. I've tried to teach her to heel, she doesn't get it. She does know a 'wait' command, which typically when I say it means to get behind me and wait until I give the 'okay'. Also if we're on a walk and she is ahead of me I can say 'wait' and she will slow down to be at my side. If I try using aversives she turns into pancake dog, so we get nowhere that way also. She also has bi-lateral hip dysplasia and all of the sitting for Obedience would be painful, plus she cannot lay down squarely, she will always down on one side or the other.

LiLo is absolutely the best behaved of my three dogs. She's 8 years old now, she still barks at people, and now will also growl and be nasty with other dogs. She's not one to start the fight, but she will try to hold her own if another dog is being bossy with her. She's great with the people she knows. Although, if my dad and I wrestle - she will try to bite him ;)

I don't post nearly as many pictures of her as I do of the boys because she is also very camera shy. She always looks away when I try to get pictures. LiLo will forever be my buddy, and the very first puppy that I raised. I may not talk about her a lot, or post many pictures, but I absolutely love her with all of my heart.

Here are some pictures of her over the years:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

14 Weeks Post FHo Surgery IPO Training

Training was absolutely AWESOME today.

I wish I had brought a camera and someone to take video because HE BARKED!!!

This isn't the first time he's ever barked, but it's the first time he has REALLY barked on the field. He was absolutely WOUND from the moment Ryan walked out of the training building.

We worked on the hold & bark and it actually didn't take him very long to give some 'woofs'. Then we did quite a bit of heeling, without bites because Seppel was being an asshat and wasn't listening.

In the words of my friend Kay, there was conflict. Should I listen to mom? OMG I want to bite the thing! Oh crap I need to heel! His brain was everywhere. So he didn't get a bite on transports. On the side transport we stopped and Seppel just starts BARKING at Ryan.

He has NEVER barked during a transport, EVER. We wanted to give him a bite, but couldn't because he's not supposed to be barking, but we let him bark, because he needed to.

We went back to the hold & bark blind and he gave us a few barks again and we ended on a great note.

I am SO excited, we are that much closer to having a good hold & bark.

I tried remeasuring his leg today and it doesn't really appear to have grown in mass, but in pictures it looks bigger - so I'm not sure. I think he also has more muscling over his butt on that side, which he had lost in week 4.

Here is a picture of week 4 next to week 13. Week 4 was taken by Lilly Mae Photography

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Flirt Pole

I have wanted a flirt pole for a long time. I really wanted to buy this one: Squishy Face on Etsy

Money has been tight and it just hasn't been something I've been focusing on. With Sepp having surgery I have only now just started to let him be as active as he was before. We had a good break, time to get back on the exercise wagon!

My friend Kay uses a lunge whip for her flirt pole. She introduced Sepp and LiLo to it:

I happened to have a lunge whip that I am no longer using so last night I decided, what the heck. I tied a poop bag to it and boom - Seppel and LiLo were like "This is awesome!!"

Look at him use his leg!

Both of the dogs absolutely love playing with this thing. Lilo is SUCH a herder *facepalm*. The incessant barking is awesome xD

The flirt pole is another great way to exercise the dogs and you can play with it almost anywhere. I think for people who have a small yard this could be a great toy because you really don't need much space, and your dog will be TIRED.

If you have a dog who isn't fooled by the plastic bag I think purchasing or making one like the one in the link I posted is a great way to go. You could put your dog's favorite toy on it to encourage them to chase it.

My friend Kay did also have a very light ball toy [it was made to float] that she would put on her lungewhip, but I haven't been able to find something like that. Seth has absolutely NO interest in it, playing with me in general gives him anxiety apparently. Poor guy!

Speaking of Seth I did take a short video of us practicing an attention heel. I've never taught an attention heel to a dog before so we are way green at this. Seth is further along than Seppel is [which is why I only have a video of him doing it!]. I think we've made some good progress.

Anyway, if you're interested you can usually find lungewhips at a local feedstore. You can also go here to find one online. It's a pretty cheap and easy toy if you've got dogs with pent up energy and prey drive!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

13 Weeks Post FHO - and IPO training!

The weeks just keep flying by, at least that is how it feels to me.

Seppel is still doing about the same. I wish I could have an update on his FHO that says "OMG MASS IMPROVEMENT!" but, he is really doing about the same. I think he may be growing leg muscle, but I haven't taken measurements to see.

Here is a video of him fetching a ball from yesterday:

Training was pretty awesome today. After seriously googling "Hold & bark, dog won't bark" I started reading about 'prey locked' dogs. These are dogs that are high in prey drive that won't bark because they are 'locked' in prey mode and don't want to make noise. Wit German Shepherds a lot of times you can push them into defense mode by being more aggressive to try to snap them out of it. With Pit Bulls it's harder to get them to go into defense mode, if it's even possible because they are not a defensive breed.

A quick video I found on youtube will give you a general idea on the Hold & Bark:

I went down to Salem today with a goal in mind. I told Ryan we could try two different things, either he needed to stand in front of Seppel and wait for a bark, or he needed to get a little more aggressive and animated. Ryan was up for it so we went to the blind we usually practice at. Ryan brought a whip out this time and agitated Seppel a lot. Sepp made a lot of growly noises for a long time - we probably worked at this for 10-15mins with him just lunging and gargling, but eventually he started to try to bark! We could only get one bark at a time, but that is better than it has been in the past.

We took a break from the hold & bark and did a few transports. He said Seppel's side transport is PERFECT. Here is a video I found that is just a quick example of a side transport, hopefully we can get our own video soon!

My friend Kay did catch a pic of Sepp from June doing a side transport:

Anyway, we went back to the hold & bark and after lots of gargling and lunging we got a few more barks. The plan is to work on this more extensively. He pretty much knows all of the IPO 1 Protection Routine, but he isn't 'good' at any one part of it, except maybe the side transport. I really, really, really, want to get his hold & bark, and get him barking!!

After bite work I took him to the park down the way to swim. As long as the weather holds out I think we'll end our training sessions with swimming. It allows him to cool off and it's also good therapy for his leg.

Today was a lot of fun, I am so excited to get back into it!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

12 Weeks Post FHO Surgery: IPO Training!!!!

Today marked 12 weeks since Seppel's FHO surgery! His progress is about the same although he is walking better on the 'bad leg' as in fully placing his foot down when he walks. It is still significantly smaller than his other leg. I found a local rehab facility through a friend, Newberg Canine Rehab and after I sort some things out financially I am going to take Seppel there to talk to the rehab folks and also maybe use the underwater treadmill.

My friend Lynna came out with me today and got some video. Still no bark for the bark & hold... just flailing and growling haha. Heeling is pretty painful for him as well. However his OUTS were absolutely AWESOME! Ryan said it was like he had been doing it all week. I absolutely love Pet Village and feel so lucky that we are able to train there!

I'm very excited to get back into it, in the video he's using his leg fairly well [except when he lunges at the gate], I think this was a very good form of PT for him because he was using the leg and looks really steady on it. Today was awesome!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Seppel is SUCH a good dog.

Fair Warning:
Lots of bragging about Seppel in this post. Shamelessly.

Seppel really is a great dog. He's quite honestly, the perfect Pit Bull for me. He's high drive both for toys and prey, he's high energy but can still sit at home on the couch, he is particular about dogs, but isn't going to haul off and grab something [unless it is small and fuzzy!].

Here's the thing, I house sit a lot. Seppel has had the opportunity to come with me a few times and he's always really well behaved. He mostly just ignores the dogs I'm watching, and they ignore him. We've also been walking with my friend Lynna who has Ibizan Hounds on a daily basis, she rotates the females that she brings and Sepp has been completely fine with them, even if they randomly come up and sniff him on a walk - he doesn't care.

Don't get me wrong, he wouldn't hesitate to grab a small dog, and he wouldn't hesitate to fight with another dog if they challenged him. *not dog fight fight, Just saying he will stick up for himself. He has been questionable before, but other than two instances that were iffy he has growled as a fair warning when he is very disinterested in another dog. We've had rude dogs come up to us and he's been able to ignore them, he's very obedient in that respect because he's always looking at me like "Oh god, I'm not looking at it!"

The thing is, I love Seppel and I love this breed. So much so I have been looking at kennels for my future dog, which is probably at least 5+yrs down the line if not longer. I actually contacted Joanie of Tatonka kennels to talk to her about her dogs.

Tatonka Kennels produces real, traditional American Pit Bulls. These dogs are not show dogs, they are bred for sport/working. This kennel in particular prides itself on producing sound and stable dogs, both in mind and body. I called Joanie up just to get a feel for what she produces, and honestly because I wanted to know if it was even reasonable for me to want one of her dogs. She was super nice to talk to and at the end of the conversation I felt like I could handle having a dog from her kennel someday.

However, lately, I'm torn. When I get this next dog I might not even be housesitting and it might not even be an issue. But it does make me wonder that even though I like the temperament and look that these dogs have, that maybe it isn't the right fit for my lifestyle.

Basically, I need to clone Seppel, and his clone needs to have TWO good hips, and the same personality. Wishful thinking.

In almost having this dog for two years I feel like his true true colors are starting to show. I think it's also that we are doing a lot more, going a lot more places, he's getting more exposure and I'm learning just how far he's willing to take things. In previous posts I was uncertain as far as how DA he could be, and I feel pretty confident now that I would consider him selective or picky, but I don't consider him a high risk DA dog. It is also situational because this is the same dog who runs the fence barking at other dogs and I'm not sure if he was super amped up that he wouldn't go after a dog - I just haven't seen him act that way in a normal situation where he is not amped up. Obviously he's shown me his ability to follow things through in the scuffles he's had with LiLo, so I'm not saying he is totally bomb proof, but overall he is not that serious.

I feel like I've gotten a very good starter dog for this breed, although maybe too good because I'm not sure that I could handle a 'real deal' Pit Bulldog.

Part of the inspiration for this post is the dog we're currently watching. She's a spayed female who is older, and is the queen bitch in her house. Her and her housemate [who is away] have to be crated & rotated because they will fight. In the past this dog has been fine with my dog LiLo [although I think now they would get into it because LiLo is a boob!], and she has also gotten along with Seth. I brought Seppel with me because he's still rehabbing from surgery and also because my dad can't watch him all the time. When I brought Sepp into the house he completely ignored the other dog, he let her sniff him [I gave him the stink eye the whole time!]. She was actually kind of annoying and even tried coming up to him while he was lying down minding his own business. I shooed her away because I didn't want them to start something. Seppel was totally oblivious. I keep them separated mostly because I don't trust her to not try to 'lay down the law' and I know that Seppel would be like "Nope" and not hesitate trying to eat her if she was being bossy. Seeing this interaction and seeing how well behaved he's been, just makes me very happy and very proud to have him.

He's just a good dog!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

10 Weeks Post FHO Surgery

I feel horrible because my surgery updates don't hold much substance, however, right now progress is pretty slow. I wish I had exciting things to talk about 10 weeks out - but things are pretty steady and about the same. It is my goal to try to get some video of him playing ball this week so you can see him move when he's doing other things. He is using the leg 90% of the time and when we're walking he's fully placing the foot on the ground.

As of yesterday I have stopped the tramadol and we will see how he does. He didn't get one last night or this morning. If we go on a long walk I will give him medication, but I don't think he's in much pain these days.

The most exciting part of this update is that he goes back to training, for sure on September 11th! We have an appointment at 3:30 and I cannot wait!!!

Here are a few videos, the first is an entry for a hangtime contest, although... he doesn't even make the cut. They have novice set for 5mins... I don't know that he will ever hang for that long. It just cracks me up because he's doing the major hula.

Second video is him leaping for a toy.

The third video is Seth when I go to trim his nails, he makes me laugh.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

9 Weeks Post FHO

I just have a small update - I will hopefully have some videos to share this weekend.

Seppel is doing pretty well. He is using the leg more and more, but still has moments where he will carry it - like when he is running.

I have completely stopped giving the vetprofen, although I have it on hand if he starts acting painful.

As of the last few days Seppel is getting 50mg tramadol 2x a day.

About a week ago he did go on and complete a 5 mile walk and he not only didn't miss a beat, but he didn't come home sore. I'm hoping to take him on more of these type of walks, in hope of building his leg muscle.

I'm hoping to schedule an appointment for bitework on the 11th! I'm very excited to get back at it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Your Puppy and the Vet

Last week a 5month old dog came into the clinic for an exam and vaccines. When the veterinarian tried to scan the dog for a microchip -  a simple thing, the dog growled and tried to bite the vet. The vet went to get a muzzle, so that she could finish trying to scan the dog, as well as try to continue her exam, when she tried to apply the muzzle the dog proceeded to scream and pee and poop all over while doing the alligator roll and trying to bite.

People of the internet, THIS IS NOT NORMAL! This kind of behavior is NOT okay.

This type of dog is rare and fairly extreme in terms of his reaction to the overall visit - in which he could not have a complete exam. However, it made me think that it would be good to write a blog post about what YOU can do, to make going to the vet better and easier on your dog.

I'm gearing this mostly toward puppies, but all of this can be utilized with an adult dog.

Making your dog's 1st appointment:
-When you call to make your appointment, shoot for a date two weeks away from the day you're calling.
- After you book your appointment, let the receptionist know that you want your puppy to become familiar with the vet clinic, and that if possible you would like to bring your puppy in for treats and to get on a scale. Most likely the clinic will either ask that you call ahead, or they will offer a time that is best during the day to do this.
-Since you have two weeks before your appointment make it a point to go to the clinic and weigh your puppy at least 3-4x. You're doing a few things here, you're familiarizing your dog with the clinic, your dog is getting yummy treats so they are understanding this place has good things, AND you are also familiarizing your pup with getting on the scale - which is something that will be a part of their exam.

Things to do before your appointment:
-Familiarize your pup with being touched all over. The vet is going to feel their tummy and should also do a mild orthopedic exam - they will be picking up all four of their feet and moving their legs. The vet will also be looking at its ears, checking its teeth, etc. It's helpful if you can get your pup used to being handled in this manner - again, use lots of cookies as a reward when they allow you to touch and mess around with them so they understand it isn't a big deal. This is also something that you should encourage friends/family to help you with so that your pup is used to being handled by different people. Don't forget lots of treats!
-If your puppy is showing a potential to be fearful, or fear aggressive like barking or growling at strangers, get your pup used to a muzzle! You can start with an over sized muzzle that you can still feed treats through, and eventually upgrade to a smaller fitting size. The whole idea with this is that if your puppy does get very scared, or if YOU get very scared, your pup can easily be muzzled because they have had one on before and it is not a big deal.
-Get your puppy used to being leaned over, held onto, and picked up. In most cases with a young puppy they are familiar with being picked up/carried. If you have gotten an older dog from the shelter who is larger I wouldn't focus so much on trying to pick them up, but I would get them used to being held [like a hug/embrace]. 

These things are pretty basic, but I cannot stress enough that taking your puppy or adult dog to the vet for treats/weigh ins is really crucial to helping them develop a good association with the vet clinic. So often people only come in when their pets are due for their physical - which mostly means for the dog "I am going here to get poked! No thanks!"

Most clinics should be happy to help you in terms of socializing your dog to their clinic, it makes it easier for everyone when your dog is not stressed out.

I really take for granted that my dogs can come to work with me. They come to the clinic everyday, it isn't a scary place at all and they feel comfortable there. I have taken both Seppel and LiLo to see the orthopedic vet here in Portland and in both instances neither dog was really concerned about being in a vets office.

Puppy LiLo 'cause we're talking puppies.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

8 Weeks Post FHO Surgery

Tomorrow marks 8 weeks [56 days]  since Seppel's surgery. I went ahead and took an x-ray today, since we are two months post op just to see what things look like. Mind you he is crooked - but the FHO hip looks nice and smooth. He's a good sport for x-rays but is always super stiff!

I've recently started riding my bike with him, trying to get him to trot and use the bad leg. We don't go very far before he's pretty tired, but we are getting back to regular activity. I have also played some ball with him and he has been able to run after the ball.

I have another weeks worth of Vetprofen and may bring him down to 50mgs once a day when we go for our next refill. I still think he has some sore days and until he builds more muscle I don't want to back off of the pain medication too soon.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Biking with Your Dog

I lightly touched on this topic in December of 2012:
Biking with Seppel

It's been a bit cooler this weekend and I've been able to take the dogs out with the bike and the idea for an entry on biking/safety/how to do it came to mind.

I have a bike attachment for my dogs called the Springer. I use this thing maybe 50% of the time when I bike with the dogs. If you view the above post you'll see that I don't use it with Seppel because he tends to lag behind, I do however use it with Seth.

There are a few other types of bike attachments for dogs:
Walky Dog Bike Leash
Bike Tow Leash

There may be other products out there, but I have the most experience with these three. I have only personally used the springer but have a neighbor who has the walky dog and the bike tow attachments. My neighbor has a dog who loves to run, and she rides with the dog attached only to the bike accessory.

How I Ride:
When I got the springer I made a couple of minor adjustments. The springer comes with two plastic hooks, a nylon piece of rope, and some breakaway plastic bands. The idea behind the plastic breakaway pieces is that the plastic will break if you and your dog go around opposite sides of an obstacle. Well, I ride on the road - my dog is not going to go around a tree or mailbox. I chose to hook one of the plastic snaps this product comes with to the top of the spring on the springer. I then had a slip leash that I cut up and I tied to the plastic clip and then tied the remaining plastic clip to the other end. Here is a picture of the modified clips:
Modified Clips

The Springer on my bike.

Seth attached to the springer.

If you go to the springer website you'll see how they recommend attaching everything. I chose to do my own thing because the little nylon rope that comes with the springer isn't very solid looking, and there's no need for a breakaway option because I don't plan to run into anything. Not to mention I'd rather that my dog not get free and run off if I get dumped with my bike.

Here are the Pros with the Springer and probably any bike attachment:
-You can ride hands free.
-Your dog pulls your bike so you don't work as hard.
-The springer takes the stress off of your body if you're used to riding w/ one hand holding your dog.

-With the springer in particular, because the spring portion moves, your dog's head is either at the same level as your front tire, or is actually further out than your tire. If they saw something, they could try to run in front of your bike.
-The springer minimizes the pull, but I can feel a big difference between Seth and Seppel. I think if a dog is determined and in the 60lb range, I do think if you weren't careful a dog could pull you off balance.
-You really cannot ride hands free like the videos show.

My neighbor rides hands free with her dog, the dog is only attached to her bike. However, even though this dog is reactive/high drive she just speeds up when passing other barking dogs. She appears to be in the 30-40lb range, so that wouldn't be a lot of pull anyway.

When I ride the dogs wear a harness, I attach the springer to the harness and attach a leash to the harness that I hold in my left hand. I would never ride without a leash attached to the dogs because it allows me to deliver a correction [if needed], but I can also shorten their slack and control the direction they are pulling with my arm. When there is minimal distraction I can loosen the slack in the leash and ride with two hands once my dogs have settled down. However, most of the time I still ride one handed for control.

Here is a video to show Seth on the springer, and then to show Bella who I just ride with one handed. Other than biting the leash Bella is a really good bike dog, she doesn't get distracted and is easy to handle.

A few commands your dog should know to bike:

"Leave It" - so if you pass another dog, cat, or squirrel you can tell them to leave it alone in hopes that they don't run into your bike, or in front of it.

"Easy" - I tell them this and start breaking before we get to a stop sign because I slow at the signs before crossing. [Sometimes I even stop!]. They know in terms of biking that 'easy' means we are slowing down. Sometimes I will say 'wait' too which is a loose heel command I have more my dogs.

If your dog is easily distracted/might lunge at things/super prey driven I personally would suggest getting a bike attachment, hooking the dog's harness to the attachment, and riding with either a prong collar or choke chain in hand. This way your dog can pull the bike without hurting their neck [they will pull with the attachment] but you can give a correction if necessary so they don't go flying after something.

When you bike ride it is really important that you as a rider are proactive. If you think you are going to pass something that will make your dog go over threshold - like another dog, you need to be vigilant, when you see the dog coming your way - stop riding. Let the dog pass. You can't just be a passenger when riding with your dogs, you really need to watch your surroundings. I had TWO squirrels run in front of us today! TWO, like within 2ft of my bike! Thank goodness Seth is very obedient, I was able to tell him to 'leave it' and we were able to pass without issue. I'm just glad I saw what was happening in time to tell me dog "hey!" before he decided to get wild and try to take chase.

I also highly recommend wearing a helmet. I used to not wear one when biking because they look stupid, but I then realized it would suck if my dog ran into my bike and I suffered head trauma over something so stupid.

I think this covers a lot of the how-to's when riding with your dogs and hopefully gives some more insight on the use of dog attachments!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

7 Weeks Post FHO Surgery

August 7th will be 7 weeks since surgery - here's a quick update!

All I can say is, you can't keep a good dog down. Sepp can still leap for his toy. Maybe not as high as before - but maybe in a year that will be a different story.

As far as meds go, he is still on vetprofen/tramadol only, 2x a day. Stopping the gabapentin didn't seem to make a big difference. I'm not sorry I gave him the gabapentin, but I'm not really sure that it did much of anything, other than make me feel better.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Day #40 Post FHO

We're nearly 6 weeks out from surgery.

6 weeks!!!!!

There are moments where I'm impatient and wondering why we can't be 6mos out... and then there are moments like right now, where I'm wondering where the time has gone.

Seppel has made a lot of progress between last week and this week. We've been alternating swimming with the treadmill and I've also been having him jump up on a picnic table & the picnic table benches. Especially for the benches, he has used his bad leg several times to pull himself up. I've also noticed him using the leg more to scratch his head/face - something he hasn't done in a long time. He has also been jumping on people which he hasn't been able to do in a long time. The surgery leg is still weak, but I do think he is beginning to build muscle and is continuing to get stronger.

Last night we went for a mile walk, I decided to ask him to trot, and he can do it! He hasn't been able to gait between a walk and a run since the surgery. He is also using his leg to run, which 3-4 weeks ago he was still bunny hopping!

Here is video from today of him trotting and then him walking from the camera. He absolutely cracks me up watching him walk with my dad - his tail won't stop moving:

How can you not love a Pit Bull? He is SO happy! He is ALWAYS happy! It's impossible for me to not love this dog. He just cracks me up and makes me so happy because he is so happy all of the time.

I did run out of gabapentin this weekend, I'm going to see how he does without it because I'm not totally sure that it offered him that much pain control. It's a fairly cheap drug and I will definitely refill it if he starts acting like he's painful. I'm sure those of you reading my posts are like "Quit messing with his pain meds!!" I just want to be sure that what I am giving is necessary and is actually helping him, because if it isn't doing anything I don't want to be giving it. If he starts acting painful - like he did without the tramadol, I will definitely start giving it again. I think this is also an very important part of the process and I couldn't find much information online on pain control for the FHO. As of right now he is on vetprofen 2x a day, and tramadol 2x a day.

Overall I am happy with his progress. I am itching to get back to IPO training and I'm thinking if things continue to go well, maybe he could go back in 2-3 weeks. I think it could be good physical therapy and might encourage him to use his leg - unless he decides to cheat and not use it at all. I'm not going to get too excited about it because I don't want to take him back prematurely, but I think if he continues to do this well, training could be in our future soon.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

5 Weeks Post FHO Surgery

Well, today is 5 weeks since Seppel had surgery. In some ways time has really flown by, but in other ways I feel like we've only just begun.

Seppel is doing pretty well, I feel, for the time frame. I'll try to get some new video of him walking soon. I like to think he is putting his foot down more and is walking on it more properly than he has been. However, there are other times I'm watching him and I feel like nothing has changed.

There are a few things he's been doing lately that make me feel like he's getting stronger. For one thing - he's jumping on people more. Yeah - he's naughty :p Fortunately the people he jumps on usually allow him to do so - so it's no big deal. He has also been scuffing outside when going potty - he has always been one to scuff, since the surgery he usually just flicks his bad leg out once, in a very sad attempt. The last two days he has actually scuffed, with both feet which is a huge improvement.

Aside from the treadmill and swimming, I also make him jump into the pool:

Another thing that makes me hopeful is he jumped for the ball in the beginning - jumping and flips are something he used to enjoy and was good at, which makes me hopeful that he is feeling stronger on his bad leg.

Just for kicks - here he is trying to get the pool skimmer:

The improvements are small, but I'll take them. I am also going to see about taking him off of the tramadol. He had the last one this morning, my thoughts are to continue the gabapentin and vetprofen and see if we can stop the tramadol. Then maybe in a few weeks we can stop the gabapentin, and then eventually the vetprofen. He's been doing fine on the pain meds twice a day - I don't feel like he is painful. Of course if he shows any signs of being uncomfortable I will definitely put the tramadol back in the pain med rotation.

EDIT 7/25: I am keeping Seppel on the tramadol. Last night he cried under his breath for most of the night. I guess he is more painful than he lets on, or the pain meds are really doing their job in keeping him comfortable.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

4.5 weeks Post FHO Surgery

Sepp will be about 4.5 weeks out from his FHO surgery tomorrow.

I've discovered another way to rehab him!

He hasn't been on the treadmill since before surgery. I have been wanting to put him on it for some time now, but would always forget. Not to mention we've been excited having the pool. Yesterday afternoon though I got a wild hair and put him on the treadmill. He's mostly using the leg! I've decided to alternate between the treadmill and swimming. Yesterday he did the treadmill, so today I let him swim. I'm very excited and hoping he will start to regain the use and muscle mass of his leg.

Overall he's been doing about the same, but I do think he is possibly placing a bit more weight on the leg and I do feel like he is using it more. Today I chased him with the pool skimmer, a game, and he used the leg to run around. I'll have to get some video, he looks seriously vicious!

It's nice to be able to exercise him other than just going for walks. When I swam him today I let him jump in and out of the pool after the ball - it's great to be able to get his mind and body engaged and be doing a bit more than we were before.

I'm very happy and excited with our progress. I think we're doing pretty good for nearly 5 weeks out.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The pool fairy came!

Like the subject says...

Sepp says "Just give me the damn ball woman..."