Thursday, November 29, 2007
But I still think this looks very, very cool! You have to look closely to even see that there are two dogs in the shot above.I don't usually post photos taken of show wins on this blog, but I'm posting this one because I really like the expressions on both dogs. Pretty boys, if I say so myself!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
This was taken on Friday, November 2 for the Brace Working Group competition. As you can see, Gus and Teddy were absolutely wonderful but it's still a challenge for Ronnie to steer them! Left turns are especially tricky :-)
And I think the boys deserve extra special kudos because we found out later that the Akita brace behind them were both bitches... who were both in season!!
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
"Why did you wake me up?"
But sometimes she is more regal, like when she's on the lounge chair on the deck watching the younger dogs play:
Sunday, October 28, 2007
The Heart of Minnesota Great Dane Club web site has a lot of great photos up, and more will be posted over the next several days, thanks to the efforts of a couple of terrific people (Zeli Schulte and Mary Ann Land).
Also, Sandy Hann at Von Shrado Great Danes has several pages of great photos that make you feel like you're there!
Here is my first attempt at posting a video:
This is Keeper opening our patio door.
Breathtaking video, isn't it? :-)
He learned this trick from his mother Kinsey (or possibly he learned it the same way she did, from watching us open it). But whereas Kinsey gently noses it just far enough open to let her through, Keeper opens it much faster and he usually gives the door a giant push that opens it about halfway. The only reason he's more cautious here is that I'm standing right there, telling him not to come out!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Isn't he a doll?
Friday, October 26, 2007
Everything is fine this time - his owner is out of town for a few days so he's here at Camp Symmetry. We are always glad to see the big goober - and as I've said before, we firmly believe that having frequent visitors is good for our crew. I really think that is one of the reasons they get along with other dogs so well. For example, remember that both Teddy and Keeper are intact males - and although I still think of them as "puppies", they are over two years old so are fully mature sexually. We're careful about introducing them when they haven't seen each other in a while, and we do keep an eye on them to prevent minor incidents from escalating into anything major - but really everything is very peaceful.
Well, "peaceful" in between all the running around:
But you gotta admit, they are having a good time!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
This year it's in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and the trip just didn't work out for us. But I was going into withdrawals (yes, despite having
...and then to the rescue come Scot Billings and Ginnie Saunders! With lots and lots and LOTS of wonderful pictures!! Scot has been documenting the National for many, many years - you can see pictures from this year's festivities here, and on the home page for his Rokadane web site you can find links for previous years.
Ginnie's DaDane web site is one of the best all-around Dane web sites anyway - she has written weekly articles for many years about Danes and also has a wonderful and HUGE links directory on her site.
But her photography is breathtaking - go look at her photos and you'll swear you can just reach out and touch the dogs! It absolutely is the next best thing to being there!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Her picture will be used on the box... so if you see a Pet Mate Giant-sized brand black wire folding crate, with two doors (one in the side as well as the one in the end) and a Great Dane on the box, you'll know who it is!
It's a nice crate by the way - very stable for a folding crate, and wider than most crates that size which makes it more comfortable for a dog to turn around. I was hoping to get one for our payment for the day, but no such luck.
In case you're wondering, these things do not pay well - often not enough to compensate you for taking a half day off work. And there are no royalties. It's different of course if the animal is a professional actor on a sitcom or in a major movie or something, but for this type of thing it's all about vanity - it's just a lot of fun to see your dog in an ad, or on TV!
*I'll tell you later about some other commercials I've done with our dogs that weren't so easy!
Monday, October 22, 2007
I started thinking about this when I reviewed the post I wrote yesterday about Teddy finishing his RN title. The caption to his picture there (it's a photo of him that doesn't have a thing to do with Rally but it's one I really like) said "give me a cookie" but in truth he got not only several handfuls of treats after we came out of the ring at the show but also got a double cheeseburger on the way home. That's our tradition - on the way home from a show the dogs get a burger if they did well.
Now, I totally understand that this has nothing to do with being a training reward - the dog doesn't associate the burger with whatever they did some time before back at the show site. It's just our way of celebrating. And you have to understand - for a Great Dane, a plain double cheeseburger is just a little snack. Not something big enough or rich enough to upset the dog's stomach!
For their birthdays, I usually bake them some treats. When I have an elderly dog, I make more of a fuss over birthdays and try to make it a special day. Maybe not so many special treats since an older dog's digestion may not handle it well, but we'll take a fun trip to Petsmart or some other place they enjoy.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Teddy says: "Now give me a cookie!"
To give you an idea of what a Rally course is like, here is the map of the course we had today in the Novice class:
The first exercise consisted of the dog & handler weaving in & out of 4 cones. The second exercise requires the dog to drop into a Down next to the handler - the handler gives this command while the team is still moving forward. Next, the handler calls the dog to sit in Front. Then the dog moves around behind the handler and sits in Heel position at the handler's left side.
The 4th sign is for a Left turn. The exercise after that requires the team to make a small circle to their Left. Exercise #6 is a 270 degree turn - it's called a "270 Right Turn" because the team turns to their Right as they make this turn... but it's actually a Left turn.
Exercise #7 requires the handler to call the dog to sit in Front, then move to the handler's Left side to get back into Heel position. But this time, the handler begins moving forward before the dog sits. Exercise #8 is a Spiral Left - meaning the team turns toward their Left, into the dog. Spirals in Rally are a series of concentric ovals - you do the largest one first. Exercise #9 is the Left About Turn - the handler makes a quick Left turn toward the dog, and the dog meanwhile circles behind the handler and winds up back on the Left side. I really enjoy this particular turn, but it can be confusing for some people to learn. It reminds me of a square dancing move! (I'm probably sounding really old here - do they still teach square dancing in elementary schools?? Somehow I think not! But they did when I was there.)
The next exercise calls for a Fast pace - the handler should break into a trot, and the dog should keep up. At the "Normal Pace" sign, the team slows to their normal (should be brisk) walking pace. Exercise #12 is a Right About Turn - the team makes a tight 180 degree turn to the right. The last exercise sign calls for a Slow pace - the handler should noticeably slow down and again, the dog should adjust to stay in position. I tell my students that the Fast should be the sort of quick trot you'd do to catch an elevator. The Slow should be a window-shopping stroll, and the "Normal" pace should be a brisk but comfortable walk. As the team passes the Finish sign, they're done!
Through all the exercises on a Novice course like this, the handler is free to talk to the dog, give multiple commands and/or hand signals, even pat his/her leg or clap hands. The dog is on lead throughout. It's a lot of fun, and like I said above, not too difficult. Hopefully as you are reading this you are thinking that maybe this is something you could do with YOUR dog!!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
For example, this sign directs the handler to come to a halt with the dog sitting in Heel position. Then the handler directs the dog to lay Down (still in Heel position). The handler tells the dog to Stay, and walks completely around the dog and back to Heel position. Once back in Heel position, the handler pauses to release the dog from the Stay and they proceed to the next exercise.
Also like Agility, throughout the course the handler is permitted to talk to the dog, give hand signals, use body language etc. in order to communicate what the handler wants the dog to do. This is one of the reasons Rally has become so popular, because in regular Obedience the handler is strictly limited in what you can say to the dog during the exercises, or what hand signals you can use.
The ability to talk freely to your dog during a Rally course makes it easier to keep the dog "up" and also is more relaxing for the handler!
I've been teaching Rally classes since the summer of 2004, and in 2005 Rally became an AKC titling event. I love how Rally is at once a great option for novice dogs and handlers just coming out of a basic Beginner obedience class; and at the same time is a fun option and stress reliever for advanced dogs and handlers. Since it is easier than regular obedience - and although some jumping is required at the Advanced and Excellent level, it is minimal - Rally is also a terrific option for a veteran dog who can't compete any longer in regular Obedience or Agility but who is too healthy to be happy just sitting at home.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
What the FDA Wants Your Vet to Tell You
It's an article on Pet Connection about pain treatments for dogs. It contains a link to a new brochure from the FDA for dog owners, but the article contains a lot of other great information. Share this with your vet, and other dog owners.
This information could save a lot of dogs' lives, and also help improve the quality of life for many dogs living with painful conditions. There are so many great options available to us now that are safer and more effective than those available in the past. There is no need to let a dog suffer from a chronic ailment like arthritis - or to euthanize such a dog when new pain treatments may really help.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
The obstacles are really sized for medium to large dogs, but the Giant sized dogs seem to enjoy it too. You do have to be careful when training Giant breed puppies to do agility. Since they grow so fast and so much, it is possible to injure them.
Some basic rules are:
- Keep jump heights low with a young dog. My rule of thumb is ankle height until 6 months of age, then elbow height until at least 18 months old.
- Introduce tunnels while the puppy is still short enough to run through the tunnel without crouching, if possible. Once he gets taller than the tunnel, practice having him go through a tunnel only once a month or so until he's mostly grown. Don't overdo the tunnels even with a mature dog - it can be really tiring.
- Be careful teaching weave poles. The back & forth movement can put a strain on the dog's shoulders. You can practice these with young Giant breed dogs, but not to excess. 5 or 10 minutes a week is plenty.
There are lots of other great ideas on the ChromaDane web site.
Here are some pictures (courtesy 2MC Designs) of Kinsey from a recent agility trial - there are more on our web site. I finally updated it!
Monday, October 01, 2007
Now, don't think that Thatcher isn't already well socialized - he is! But it's a very good idea for puppies to occasionally spend a night or two away from home. Even if you never plan on showing your dog, this will make any future trips to a vet or boarding kennel MUCH less stressful. Dogs are pack animals and will always be most comfortable and most happy at home - but they do need to learn that they will still be safe and loved and OK in other places, and with other people.
Monday, September 24, 2007
If all you know about "Pit Bulls" is what you've been fed by the media, you are sorely misinformed. Breed specific legislation is becoming a national tragedy that tears apart families and murders good dogs - all so that the politicians can say they are "doing something" about a made up problem... and the criminals stay underground and aren't affected at all.
Sorry this isn't a funny post, but BSL is just too sad...
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Anyway, she went to the side door of her van and opened it to get something, and the two dogs poked their heads out as she started to open the door with Keeper's head on top.
My favorite part of the story is, she had the presence of mind to shut the door, go get her camera and then open the door again to take the picture! And it was worth it:
Doesn't Topper look pleased????
Friday, September 14, 2007
As you can see, he's a very handsome boy!
He and his brother Teddy particularly love playing with each other. The girls (their sister Topper, mother Kinsey and aunt Aeryn) pretty much ignore them.
And then after all the playing, it's nap time:
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Oh, the horror!! (the silver thing is the bandage on his foot, that we replaced each afternoon to be sure he didn't hurt it again. There is normal bandage material underneath, but - you guessed it - good ol' duct tape works best to save the bandage from wearing through, and resists minor removal attempts.)
I can't bear to watch...make it stop!!
I will blast you with my laser eyes if you try to make me get off the bed.