Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Training: What we are working on.

We are still going to training every Wednesday, it's hard to believe in August we will have been going to Pet Village for three years!!!!

Since we have been at this for a while, Seppel knows how to do the majority of the exercises in the IPO Protection phases 1-3. It's a good and a bad thing. It's great in that we can do each exercise fairly quickly, but it's a bad thing because there isn't a lot to work on. I have been told it is stupid that I drive an hour to show up for training that sometimes only lasts 15-20 minutes. I don't care. When my dog is doing well there is no reason to work for an hour. We have a great time when we go and it is completely worth it to me whether we work for an hour or for only 15 minutes.

Anyway, last week Ryan and I started talking about other things we could work on to keep things fun. I told him I really wanted to work on Seppel's heeling, just to fine tune things and also get better attention from him. Ryan suggested doing building searches [k9 type work], and also teaching Seppel to muzzle fight.

Here is an example of muzzle fighting:

I bought Seppel a baskerville muzzle. As far as basket muzzles go they fit a lot better than the wire ones and appear to be far more comfortable. It was also reasonably priced, I paid $20 for it. I got it last Friday. Seppel already knew how to put his face into the muzzle courtesy of his previous owner. I bought a can of squeeze cheese which helps deliver a speedy reward when he is wearing it. I plan to try to get video of him learning that he can do things with the muzzle on. It's kind of like the first time you put a collar on a puppy - they don't like it initially, but they get over it when they realize they can still do things.

In June there is a trial down in Salem, our goal is to try to get Seppel his BH. I plan to work on the obedience and pattern as much as I can so we can hopefully be successful. Last Saturday at club he broke his down stay to try to catch a bug. Haha.

Today Seppel got to try the building search! First Ryan amped him up and then let him come at him. He then let Seppel watch him "hide". The third time he hid while Seppel was out of sight. It was pretty hilarious because Seppel was using his eyes instead of his nose. I swear he looked in Ryan's direction three times before he found him. That was also after Ryan made some noise. It will be fun to see him progress with this - it's just another fun thing we can add to his resume and he thoroughly seemed to enjoy it, even when it took him a bit to find Ryan.

We aren't going to training next Wednesday so I'll have a week to work with him more on wearing the muzzle, and to practice some obedience. I also want to track him a couple of times before we go to club. We were told he can graduate to a 12ft line, I also want to work on articles with him more.

I am really excited for this summer and I hope he can get his BH!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Owning a stable Pit Bull.

A very interesting situation came up at work the other day. I won't get too specific but someone brought in an extremely fearful pit bull type dog. The dog's breed is actually unknown because the dog was a rescue, but the dog looks to be some type of a "pit thing". Anyway, this dog was fearful but all fight - no flight whatsoever. The dog had no qualms about lunging and barking at the vet who was simply standing nearby.

What made this situation more painful is that this dog's owner just sat there coddling the dog. She did not give the dog any tools to deal with this situation. It was very obvious that she was completely clueless that the dog's behavior was not okay, that it was abnormal. The dog has to be sedated to be worked with. This owner has done this dog a huge disservice because she has not sought out a trainer or a behaviorist. While this problem cannot be fixed, it could be managed much better. You cannot change this dog's personality, but you can help give them tools to better deal with "scary" situations.

When the gal was paying her bill I brought Seppel out to give him some treats. I won't lie, I really wanted to show what a stable [semi-stable? :p] pit bull type dog looks like. She said hi to Seppel and he went right up to her happily for some attention.

I don't think she really understands just how much of a liability her dog is. I don't think she understands that her dog's behavior is completely abnormal for ANY dog, but is very atypical for a pit bull type dog.

It made me feel really great that I could bring my own dog out to meet a new person and feel confident that he would be polite and friendly. It makes me feel proud that we can go out in public and represent the breed in a positive way.

To quote Tom Garner:
"Ever wonder why so many of us are drawn to and build our lives around the pit bull? There are a number of reasons why people gravitate to these animals. My list would certainly include; A) an appreciation of their physical/ athletic excellence, B) their unrivaled capacity for unconditional love of humans, and C) the pit bull’s unparalleled gameness, i.e., "the willingness to self-sacrifice in order to achieve an objective." 

I absolutely agree with and believe that the above best describes why I love this breed. I know I am extremely lucky that Seppel was raised in a decent home before I got him. I feel very fortunate that he has turned out to be a wonderful dog and I thoroughly appreciate having a stable pit bull type dog in my life.