My dogs live here

My dogs live here, they’re here to stay.
you don’t like pets, be on your way.
they share my home, my food, my space
this is their home, this is their place.

You will find dog hair on the floor,
they will alert you’re at the door.
they may request a little pat,
a simple ‘no’ will settle that.

It gripes me when I hear you say
‘just how is it you live this way?
they smell, they shed, they’re in the way..’
WHO ASKED YOU? is all I can say..

They love me more than anyone,
my voice is like the rising sun,
they merely have to hear me say
‘C’mon , time to go and play’

then tails wag and faces grin,
they bounce and hop and make a din.
They never say ‘no time for you’,
they’re always there, to GO and DO.

and if I’m sad? They’re by my side
and if I’m mad? they circle wide
and if I laugh, they laugh with me
they understand, they always see.

so once again, I say to you
come visit me, but know this too..

My dogs live here, they’re here to stay.
you don’t like pets, be on your way.
they share my home, my food, my space
this is their home, this is their place..

———— Author Unknown

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A Dog’s Rules For Christmas

A Dog’s Rules For Christmas

1. Be especially patient with your humans
during this time. They may appear to be more stressed-out than usual
and they will appreciate long comforting dog leans.

2. They may come home with large bags of things they call gifts. Do
not assume that all the gifts are yours.

3. Be tolerant if your humans put decorations on you. They seem to
get some special kind of pleasure out of seeing how you look with
fake antlers.

4. They may bring a large tree into the house and set it up in a
prominent place and cover it with lights and decorations. Bizarre as
this may seem to you, it is an important ritual for your humans, so
there are some things you need to know: – Don’t pee on the tree –
Don’t drink water in the container that holds the tree – Mind your
tail when you are near the tree – If there are packages under the
tree, even ones that smell interesting or that have your name on
them, don’t rip them open – Don’t chew on the cord that runs from the
funny-looking hole in the wall to the tree

5. Your humans may occasionally invite lots of strangers to come
visit during this season. These parties can be lots of fun, but they
also call for some discretion on your part: – Not all strangers
appreciate kisses and leans – Don’t eat off the buffet table – Beg
for goodies subtly – Be pleasant, even if unknowing strangers sit on
your sofa – Don’t drink out of glasses that are left within your
reach

6. Likewise, your humans may take you visiting. Here your manners
will also be important: – Observe all the rules in #4 for trees that
may be in other people’s houses. (4a is particularly important) –
Respect the territory of other animals that may live in the house –
Tolerate children – Turn on your charm big time

7. A big man with a white beard and a very loud laugh may emerge from
your fireplace in the middle of the night. DON’T BITE HIM!!

Dogs and Chocolate

Generally speaking, dogs and chocolate do not go well together.

Here’s a national geographic page that charts how much chocolate it takes to kill your dog. If for some reason that page link doesn’t work (as I’m finding sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t), just go to national geographic.com and search for chocolate.

Do note….some dogs can eat a chocolate bar and be just fine, whereas another dog the same size and weight can do the same thing and NOT be fine. Just like people, different dogs have different tolerances for things that perhaps might not be the best in the world for them to have.

In fact a better link would be right here.

Puppy Testing for Performance Homes

 puppy.jpg One of the big discussions to hit the lately has been the issue of Puppy testing. Have to admit, I never really would have thought this necessary. Shouldn’t a puppy be the dog that you want to live with? You pick the puppy that you connect with on some level and be happy with the dog you got. Agility to me is just one aspect of life, not the summation, so pick the dog you like.

But then I got to thinking about it. Some people have NO clue what to look for in a puppy so have some sort of standard to go by might be helpful to them.

So there yah go. 🙂 Volhard put together a Puppy Aptitude Test. Now it doesn’t tell a person how to interpret the results, or what makes or breaks a good dog. Generally speaking you want a dog want a dog who is too much or too little in the testing. A Dog that scores high on everything might be a bit too dominant for most dog people to handle. A dog that scores low on everything might end up being a fear biter and just too scared to deal with life on an everyday basis without some serious training with a light hand. You want a dog middle of the pack. My tendency is to like dogs that have just a enough dominance to handle a “NO” or a light whack on it’s butt without taking lots of offense (can bounce back from correction), but biddable enough to want to listen.

Breeders often use tests such as Volhard or scott and fuller or Sheila Booth. Suzanne Clothier is apparently working on some sort of testing as well. They use them to show new owners at that point what the puppy’s strengths and weaknesses are. Gives the new owners knowledge that they can use in training this puppy.

All that the tests really show is where that puppy is at that particular stage in life. It does not show what that puppy will become through training. Most any dog with a good trainer has the capacity within to become a well trained companion, suitable for a lot of things in life. Not all dogs end up happy with all the different dog sports available (which is one reason why there is so much variety to choose from), and some dogs will always just be happiest at home with their people.

Pick as best you can a structurally sound dog, then pick the dog you really like. Just pick your dog. Hope that it has the temperament you can live with and the ability to do the dog sport you want it too. If not, just enjoy the dog for who it is. That’s the best you can do for that dog. 🙂

Additional thoughts:

  • Structure is, I think, the most important for a working dog. It can’t work for years if it’s not well put together.Yes, I agree 100 percent that you must start with sound structure as without it, despite all the intelligence and training put into a puppy you may well at some point down the road either be stopped by the dog’s inability to meet the physical demands of your chosen performance dog sport OR many times the dog’s owner
    will either not recognize this and continue to push the dog to do things it is not physically capable of doing — or at least it is no longer capable of doing them.
  • If you want to mine the scientific literature regarding puppy testing (largely focused on police and guide dogs) then I recommend delving into Google Scholar. A quick search in Google Scholar on “puppy temperament” revealed several interesting and recent articles.
  • I do think an inquisitive dog is nice, but, I suppose that all relates back to what type of performance dog you want. Different people different ideals?
  • In other words, if you want success in agility, first and foremost the dog has to be put together correctly. Slipped hocks, feet that go in all different directions a topline that looks like the Grand Canyon will all work against you (notice that I didn’t say that it eliminates that dog from agility because many many agility dogs run on heart and not body). But then after that you need to find the temperament that suits yours. Do you want a needy dog that will wait for your every word, do you really want that free thinker, do you want a dog that can repeat behaviors or one who offers behaviors on his own? Do you want the dog that will challenge you at every turn?
  • There are no wrong answers here but just an insight into what you are getting for a companion. All of these temperaments have their own challenges once you start training them – you may not want to fight some of those battles so that dog should not be the one you select.
  • We use two panels from an xpen, one side against a wall, an opening at the other side with the panels forming a V. Pup is placed in the V, breeder is a few feet on the other side when s/he calls the pup. We time how long it takes the pup to find the opening. We then do the exercise again, hopefully the pup does it quicker. Problem solving is a great asset, the ability to learn even better. The barrier I use (depending on the breed and the size of the pups) is high enough that they can’t get over it without a lot of work. I’m basically looking to see if they can “think” and find their way around the barrier.
  • One thing I did with my pups was put them on a blanket and drag them around to evaluate their sense of motion and whether it was concerning to them or loads of fun. Do they attempt to jump off and run away, do they jump off and attack the blanket, or do they hang on and have fun? Also a wobbly board of some kind. I also pay attention to how they interact with water, rain or a pool or sprinkler
  • might be useful for agility evaluation:
    –drive: Volhard measures retrieving as well as whether or not the puppy will follow. But what about how hard the puppy will push/struggle to get to a treat or toy (lightly hold the puppy back and tempt with the toy or
    treat in front)? –tugging: get a toy, drag it on the ground and see how easily the puppy is stimulated by it and then how hard the puppy fights to keep the toy as
    you tug on it.

Some things I like to see in a puppy are:

1 A puppy that prefers to play with me than its littermates.

2 Lots of energy and enthusiasm (with an “off” switch when nothing is happening).

3 Curiosity about new things (not timid, but but not totally foolhardy)

4 Resilience ie the puppy bounces back quickly after a slightly unpleasant/scary experience.

5 A puppy that really likes me that I like a lot too (the X factor). .

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
With no thought of the dog filling their head

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap
Knew he was cold, but didn’t care about that

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter

Away to the window I flew like a flash
Figuring the dog was free of his chain and into the trash

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But Santa Claus – with eyes full of tears

He un-chained the dog, once so lively and quick
Last year’s Christmas present, now painfully thin and sick

More rapid than eagles he called the dog’s name
And the dog ran to him, despite all his pain

“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONNER and BLITZEN!

To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Let’s find this dog a home where he’ll be loved by all.”

I knew in an instant there would be no gifts this year
For Santa Claus had made one thing quite clear

The gift of a dog is not just for the season
We had gotten the pup for all the wrong reasons

In our haste to think of the kids a gift
There was one important thing that we missed

A dog should be family, and cared for the same
You don’t give a gift, then put it on a chain

And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight
“You weren’t given a gift! You were given a LIFE!”

Author Unknown

Why I Love Ontario

Why I Love Ontario

It’s winter in Ontario

And the gentle breezes blow,

70 miles per hour at 52 below!

Oh, how I love Ontario

When the snow’s up to your butt

You take a breath of winter air

And your nose is frozen shut.

Yes, the weather here is wonderful,

I guess I’ll hang around.

I could never leave Ontario,

‘Cause I’m frozen to the ground.

***** The REAL Ontario Driver’s Handbook

For anyone who has commuted or even just driven on the 401 through Toronto, the 2007 version of the Ontario Driver’s Handbook has been rewritten to include the following guidance:

1. Turn signals will give away your next move. A confident Ontario driver avoids using them.

2. Under no circumstance should you maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you; the space will just be filled in by somebody else, putting you in an even more dangerous situation.

3. The faster you drive through a red light, the less of a chance you have of getting hit.

4. Warning! Never come to a complete stop at a stop sign. No-one expects it and it will result in you being rear-ended.

5. Never get in the way of an older car that needs extensive bodywork, especially with P.Q. or Maritime plates. With no fault insurance, the other operator has nothing to lose.

6. Braking is to be done as hard and late as possible to ensure that your ABS kicks in, giving a vigorous foot massage as the brake pedal violently pulsates. For those of you without ABS, it’s a chance to strengthen your leg muscles.

7. Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right. It’s a good way to prepare other drivers entering the highway.

8. Speed limits are arbitrary figures; they are given only as a suggestion and are not enforceable in Ontario during rush hour, especially in the G.T.A.

9. Just because you’re in the left lane and have no room to speed up or move over doesn’t mean that an Ontario driver flashing his high beams behind you doesn’t think he can go faster in your spot.

10. Always brake and rubberneck when you see an accident or even someone changing a tire. This is seen as a sign of respect for the victim.

11. Learn to swerve abruptly without signalling. Ontario is the home of high-speed slalom-driving, thanks to the Department of Public Works, which puts pot-holes in key locations to test drivers’ reflexes and keep them alert.

12. It is tradition in Ontario to honk your horn at cars in front of you that do not move within three milliseconds of the light turning green.

13. To avoid injury in the event of a collision or roll-over, it is important to exit your vehicle through the windshield right away. Wearing your seat belt will only impede your hi-velocity escape from danger.

14. Remember that the goal of every Ontario driver is to get ahead of the pack by whatever means necessary.

THANK YOU
The Ontario Registrar of Motor Vehicles