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Training the Tough Stuff: Part 3

Class has been over for several weeks now. I miss it and Maybelle probably does as well. I admit, I just like dog training. I’m sure part of it is that it’s a good outlet for my inner control freak tendencies. But there’s also something cool about learning how your dog thinks and seeing it respond.

During the second to last class she had a good day with the trainer’s new dog. He’d come to class once before but May wouldn’t let him get close at all without popping off. She was willing to accept him by the second class though, and we parallel walked without much trouble. I thought this was especially interesting because I suspect he is just the kind of dog she tries to bully–a submissive male.

On our last day we were meandering through the park, and the only other dog still left in class was up ahead of us. When class first began this huge mastiff mix wouldn’t get anywhere near the rest of class. She was so dog reactive — and so strong — it took two people to control her. But on the last day she was maybe 30 feet ahead of us, and barely noticed we were there. But at one point she started to strain against the end of her leash, which set Maybelle off into a brief barking fit. Nothing major but she definitely wanted to let the dog know she had her eye on her.

The trainer said, “Out of control dogs are definitely a  trigger for her.”  Read the rest of this entry


Ira Glass’s Dog

Apparently, mild-mannered This American Life host Ira Glass owns an attack dog, and you can hear all about it on this episode.

It’s a humorous story, though one that seems all too familiar. We’re talking about owners who go to great lengths to give their dogs the best care possible — in this case, that means importing kangaroo meat for the dog’s food — but probably causing the dog great anxiety in the meantime.

Piney, the Glass’s adopted pitbull, has a number of health issues as well as behavioral issues. He’s a fear biter and has auto-immune issues, and basically sounds like a neurotic mess. And whenever I hear about a dog like this — an anxious dog — I assume the owners are behind it. In this case, they got Piney as a puppy.  Read the rest of this entry

Training the Tough Stuff: Part 2

Just a cattle dog and h er Cabbage Patch kid.

Maybelle and I have been to six out of eight classes now, and we’ve had some mixed (and interesting results). By the third class or so, May was all but ignoring her pitbull buddy. The other owner and I were able to walk past each other without a problem, and eventually we even stopped, asked the dogs to sit and stay while we shook hands and then continued on.


But then the pitbull graduated, and we had to start from scratch. There are only two other dogs in class at the moment, and they both have dog reactivity issues as well — and aren’t necessarily friendly. So we can’t really practice with them. The trainer brought her dog, but he was new to her, and for whatever reason, Maybelle was not loving him.  Read the rest of this entry

Fur Code

Maybelle has lost her tags more times than I can count, so I don’t really consider a tag to be a backup to her microchip. It’s the other way around, honestly. Still, if you are willing to bet the person who finds your roaming dog will have a QR reader then, by all means, go ahead and get this instead of a tag with your name and phone number on it.

Red Dog

This looks like a cute movie… though I’m partial to Australian dogs.

My Worst Nightmare: The Deer Chase

Before she’d even seen the deer…

May and I have been wandering around the woods all summer, and she’s chased all manner of things. Squirrels, chipmunks, pheasants, and many things I couldn’t even see. I’ve been dreading the day she encountered something she couldn’t chase up a tree… and it finally happened. I’m just glad it wasn’t a bear. Read the rest of this entry

Doggy DNA: Would You Want to Know?

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I got an email today advertising a Doggy DNA kit. Swab your dogs cheek, send the swab off to a lab, and wait for results. For $60 you can get an idea of what pooches may have been mixing it up in your doggy’s DNA! But would you want to know?

Probably not enough to pay for it… but if the “Mixed Breed Identification Test” were to appear on our doorstep, well…we wouldn’t scoff at the chance to figure out why Maybelle’s  ear stick out at a 45 degree angle, why Tulla drools, or why Charlie used to poop while hanging from a fence (no lie…he did that).