Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, February 1 2012

Something Waggin' Train Your Dog Month Challenge

So, on January 3, Pamela at Something Wagging posted the Something Waggin' Train Your Dog Month Challenge. I immediately jumped on the bandwagon (could you imagine me not?) and stated

Oh, this is a great idea!
I’d like to teach Elka how to close a door. I’d also like to teach her the every so cute “say your prayers”. We’ll see if I make headway on both, or either!
See, January is what the Association of Pet Dog Trainers has designated as Train Your Dog month. On that site, they state "We selected January as the perfect month because so many dogs and puppies are adopted or purchased from breeders and brought home during the winter holidays. Our desire is to help these new pet parents start off the new year right with their newest family member", which I think is great, and I definitely support!

Elka tends to be a big fan of training sessions, because she loves treats! When she hears the clicker rattle as I get it out, she comes running, and watches treat preparation with enthusiastic interest.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Happiness is a Monster Mouth

Teaching Elka "Where's your Kong?" and "Where's your Monster?" have been pretty easy, all things considered. You know why?  When she brings me her Monster Mouth, or her Kong, we get excited, and then we go to the kitchen, and then we stuff it!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rawr, a Dinosaur

I occasionally will get Elka a squeaky toy. In the past, she's been somewhat leery of them, perhaps because of how we taught her bite inhibition. In short, when we felt those puppy teeth, we would yelp like she was killing us and stop play. Immediately. She learned very quickly (but we all know what a smart girl she is!)

Cue her first squeaky toy. It made its first squeak, and Elka leapt away from it, and stared at it from a remove, "muppet mouthing", with a concerned wrinkle on the top of her head. Was she hurting it? But it was a toy! But she didn't want to hurt it. Cognitive dissonance in action. She's gotten a little..."braver"? More cavalier? And will now play with a squeak toy, occasionally squeaking it, but for the most part gentle enough on the toy itself that it doesn't squeak., but while jumping around and talking to it. So I got a squeak toy dinosaur at the Dollar Tree.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Conversation with the Pizza Delivery Guy

So, we ordered pizza and a sub the other night. It arrived quickly, which was a pleasing surprise in itself. The guy knocked on the door, shave and a haircut, and I went to open it. He told me the total, and as I got my cash ready, he looked past me at Elka, who was by her bed, head down a little, looking towards the door. I hadn't said anything to her when I opened the door, and she didn't make any noise, she was just watching at a good remove and waiting (what a good girl!)

Delivery Guy: Wow, that's a big Doberman.

Me: Yes, she is. *silence* She's just excited that pizza is here.

Delivery Guy: Oh, does she eat Sal's?

Me: Yup! She'll eat a tomato off the sub, or some of the pizza. She loves it.

Delivery Guy: *going through his change* Here, I'll give you five dollars off. You guys order from us a lot. Have a good night!

Me: You too!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, January 25

Elka was apparently pretending her foot was a monster. And then the pillow fell on her head. And then she went to sleep because it was dark. She poked her head up when I took the picture, but it's fairly representative.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Monday Mischief January 23

Elka has a game that she plays.

When she gets to the top of the stairs, she dances around on the landing, "defending" it. She spins, she bows, she paws, she shakes her head around. It's a good deal of fun! I've tried to capture accurate photos of it, but the camera makes her a little shy. Still, there are some, and you might get the gist. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Awkward Pause

I occasionally mention having a discussion with somebody at the library, where they mention Mr. Millan, and I end up able to steer them elsewhere. The same thing will occasionally happen on the topic of what dogs are fed.

Now, I'm not a nutritionist, canine or otherwise. But, as I described in What's For Dinner? , I do try to be right by Elka, in feeding her a high quality kibble. I also try to make sure her treats don't have sugar or creepy dyes in them, and give her veggies (which she loves, mysteriously!). You might imagine, then, that occasionally I'm in the store near somebody with a giant bag of Pedigree, or Kibbles 'n' Bits. What, then, do I do?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blog the Change, January 15 2012

Blog the Change (for animals) is something that I've been thinking about doing since I heard of it, but I wasn't sure what cause I was going to champion. I mean, thematically, I'm all into Dobermans here, but it doesn't mean I feel every household is suited for them. I'm anti Puppy Mill, but not actively spearheading anything against them, and I do applaud the people who do. Especial congrats go the Republic of Ireland, who just this month strengthened their laws regarding commercial breeding in an attempt to eradicate them.

But no, my cause is training. Sounds kind of minor and silly, right? To a lot of people, "trained" means your dog doesn't poop or pee in the house. To other people, "trained" means your dog will gait around the show ring with them and stand to be judged, hopefully garnering points towards a Championship. To other people, a trained dog is the difference between whether they feel able to leave their house, put on their sneakers, anticipate a seizure, ride out Post Traumatic Stress.

I'm having a difficult time finding the actual statistic, but I've heard in various places that the number one reason dogs are turned into shelters and subsequently euthanized in the United States is behavioral problems.

He won't stop jumping up.
She won't stop chewing.
He growled.
She snapped.
He doesn't get along with other dogs.
She doesn't like kids.
He pees in the house.
She pulls on the leash.
He barks.
She has too much energy.

Can every single dog in the world be "fixed" by training? I'm not qualified, really, to say yes or no to that. Can a whole lot of "broken" dogs be fixed by training, or could they have never been "broken" in the first place if their humans were trained to listen to them and work on their behavior together? Oh yes.  A dog who is worked on in obedience style commands, and even just household manners, is more likely to be a dog that's a pleasure to be around. She's a dog more likely to have the behavioral tools to deal with the things going on around her. Did I teach Elka to lay down when kids approach? No. Does she do it sometimes anyway, on her own? Yes, and it's endeared her to several parents who were obviously uncertain about this upcoming potential interaction. 

I see (and hear) many dogs who I think seem to be lacking in training, and stimulation. They bark. They pull on their leashes and dart around and bark, and never look at their owners. The owners never give them any cues (that I can see or hear), or talk to them in any way. They instead look embarrassed (or not) and say things like "I can't stop him" or "that dog would eat you in one bite" (meaning Elka). Elka has certainly had her pulling days, I assure you, and I imagine will have some again. But "freak on a leash" doesn't really apply to her anymore either.

A dog without training is a dog without mental exercise. A dog without exercise, physical or mental, is a bored dog. A bored dog is a destructive, frustrating dog who drives you crazy with whining and barking and chewing and getting into what she should not. Through the cold, Elka and I haven't really been getting on our walks; as a direct result, Elka has been whining more, and picking up things off of the coffee table, and pacing around. That kind of thing. A peanut butter Kong or Monster mouth helps with that, directly. A laser pointer is a fun way to blow off some of her energy, and for me to get some laughs. 

A trained dog is a pleasure to be around, and one who your friends and family enjoy as well. A trained dog has a home for life. Isn't that what we all want? A home for every dog? Keep dogs out of shelters; teach them how you want them to live in your house, and share your life.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 Pet Blogger Challenge (I almost missed it!)

When I did my New Year's post, a few people mentioned to me that I ought to take the Pet Blogger Challenge. I replied in the spirit, thinking "oh, of course!" Well, I almost didn't get there...But I'm here now!

Pet Blogger Challenge

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Mischief, January 9 2012

This is going to be one of those posts where mostly,  the only bad thing is my photography! I guess to people who are horrified of dogs on furniture, it's mischievous.

Last week, I did mention that it was so very cold for a few days. The cold makes me sluggish, and lazy, and really, I just wanted to park it on the couch and play video games or watch movies. And Elka, with her love for being warm and snuggling, obliged as well.

First she was under the little fleece blanket as well, but then shifted to this:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: Part Wild, by Ceiridwen Terrill

The only reason I heard of Part Wild, by Cerirdwen Terrill, is that it was mentioned on Dogster a few months back, when it was about to be published.

It's one of those books that, while I can say that I'm glad that I read it, and it really gripped me while I was in the process, it made me feel sad and regretful, even though the situations that transpired were not my life.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why a Doberman? Redux

My very first post here, on April 7 of 2011, was Why a Doberman?

It's a new year, though I'm still me and Elka is still Elka, but I thought that post could use some attention. I thought maybe I could reevaluate, and reconfirm, why I feel Doberman is the breed for me. You with me?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Are You Gonna Eat That?

Elka wants your food.

It doesn't matter what you've got, or whether her food bowl was just filled (or emptied). She wants it.