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!!