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Archive for November, 2006

You Don’t Need Professional Handler

Monday, November 27th, 2006

Who are the people who show dogs? Are they lunatics or fanatics? The dog people have a favorite joke about themselves. They say you don’t have to be crazy to enjoy shows, but it certainly helps! This is because they actually go through many hardships and disappointments but still enjoy it and call it fun. It is one of the fascinating peculiarities of the dog game that the people who are thrown together in the pursuit of this sport are from so many different walks of life: dentists, carpenters, teachers, bankers, housewives, farmers, musicians, engineers, artists, industrialists, young and old, rich and poor. All have the same desire—to take home a blue ribbon.

Perhaps you wonder why they show dogs. I take it you are interested in showing or you wouldn’t be reading this book. I warn you, however, that the day may come when you will

wonder why you ever decided to go in for something involving so much hard work and heartaches but so much sheer enjoyment! Well, why do they show dogs? There are many reasons, and here are a few. First, we have the serious dog breeder. He makes a promise to himself to improve the breed in which he is interested, and he is anxious to compare his dogs with good competition, for it shows him if he is on the right track in his breeding program. This is important. Many dogs look very good at home and only when they are compared with other good dogs can you see if they are better. Comparison is the material of which dog shows are made. Every dog looks good in the back yard, but how does he look in the ring ? To the serious breeder showing is important for another reason. It gives him a chance to let other breeders and fanciers see what he has accomplished. He may own an excellent specimen of the breed, one which would be very valuable particularly for his ability to sire exceptional puppies—but no one would know about him if he were not shown.

Then we have a group of people who look at the dog shows as a competitive and active sport. The dog game affords plenty of action but is not so strenuous as, let us say, skiing or tennis. As a matter of fact, there are a great many physically handicapped persons who show dogs successfully.

We have another group. A man buys as a pet or receives as a gift a puppy which turns out exceptionally well, and he is advised to show it. He does so—makes some nice wins, and the dog becomes a Champion. (I’ll explain Champion a bit later on.) Very frequently this man is “bitten by the bug,” he succumbs, he dreams about breeding his own Champion—he stays
The Brussels Griffon (a toy breed), “Champion Barnumtown Penneywise Gala” shown to her championship by her amateur breeders and owners, Edgar and Ruby W. Klein of Bethel, Conn. around and often becomes an important member of the first group, the serious breeder.

Then we have the person looking for a hobby or perhaps a weekend activity. What better hobby than one which offers you some traveling, some outdoor activity, and a great deal of pleasure and good fellowship while also keeping you fairly active and very much interested ? I remember being at an outdoor show rather early one very beautiful Sunday morning talking to Mr. Percy Roberts. Percy was then a top professional handler—one who shows other people’s dogs for pay; he is now a well-known professional all-round judge—one who is eligible to judge all breeds of dogs. Percy told me that one of his relatives had chided him earlier that morning for being in a profession which occupied all his weekends. He looked around the beautiful show grounds, at Long Island Sound sparkling in the background and dotted with a few sailboats, at the clear blue sky overhead, and as he lovingly patted his dog he began to laugh, and he said to me, “And to think I get paid for this!” Yes, there is much enjoyment to be had in the dog game.

Finally on our list of those who exhibit dogs we have the “show-off,” the exhibitionist. If you like to be in the public eye, here is your chance. Go ahead, show a good dog, you’ll really enjoy it! But I’ll tell you something. One of two things will happen: either you’ll fall in love with the sport and become serious about it and a part of it, giving you an interest which will lessen your need of the spotlight; or you’ll look elsewhere for that spotlight, for without a genuine love for and interest in dogs and the dog game you can’t last, you will become bored, you’ll be forced to find a new spotlight.

If you have thought that you might like to get into dogs, but
have not yet purchased your first one, let me give you a word of advice. There are so many wonderful breeds, each with its own particular charm, that I’m sure you can find just the right breed for you. However, decide on one whose size and temperament fit into your life. Don’t get a Great Dane if you live in a tiny apartment, and don’t get a tiny dog if a high-pitched bark grates on your nerves. Once you have decided which breed you want, please do some studying about what is right and what is wrong for a dog of that particular breed. Read a book on your chosen breed, go to shows, watch the judging, talk to the breeders. Be sure you don’t buy a dog which has a disqualification for his breed and, too, you will be ever so much happier in the show game if you at least start out with a dog which has no serious faults. I cannot tell you here what the disqualifications or faults are, as there are more than one hundred breeds for you to choose from and each breed has its own particular faults. When you are ready to buy, go to a reliable breeder and tell him that you intend to show. A sincere breeder would not sell you an inferior animal if he knew he was to be shown. Many people when they are buying a dog ask for “just a pet,” thinking they will get the animal cheaper. A good breeder wants his stock shown and does not want to be embarrassed by having a dog of his breeding with a serious fault show up at a show, and by the same token he does not want to sell a top dog to someone who will never show him as for all practical purposes he would be lost to the show and breeding world. He would rather sell you a good dog for less money if you promised he would be shown. If he is a big breeder, he cannot possibly get all the dogs he raises to the shows under his own name, and he is always looking for someone to come along who is interested
in showing. He will not give the dog away, because experience has taught him that the dog receives better care if he has been purchased and he has a much better chance of actually getting into the show ring when the new owner has paid something for the dog.

Types of Dog Aggression

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Dominance Aggression

Dominance aggression is motivated by a challenge to a dog’s social status or to his control of a social interaction. Dogs are social animals and view their human families as their social group or “pack.” Based on the outcomes of social challenges among group members, a dominance hierarchy or “pecking order” is established. If your dog perceives his own ranking in the hierarchy to be higher than yours, he’ll probably challenge you in certain situations.

Fear-Motivated Aggression

Fear-motivated aggression is a defensive reaction and occurs when a dog believes he is in danger of being harmed. Remember that it’s your dog’s perception of the situation, not
your actual intent, which determines your dog’s response. For example, you may raise your arm to throw a ball, but your dog may bite you because he believes he’s protecting himself from being hit. A dog may also be fearfully aggressive when approached by other dogs.

Protective, Territorial, and Possessive Aggression

Protective, territorial, and possessive aggression are all very similar and involve the defense of valuable resources.

Territorial aggression is usually associated with defense of property, and that “territory” may extend well past the bound-aries of your yard. For example, if you regularly walk your dog around the neighborhood and allow him to urinemark, he may think his territory includes the entire block.

Protective aggression usually refers to aggression directed toward people or animals whom a dog perceives as threats to his family, or pack. Dogs become possessively aggressive when defending their food, toys, or other valued objects, including items as peculiar as tissues stolen from the trash.

Redirected Aggression

This is a relatively common type of aggression but one that is often misunderstood by pet owners. If a dog is somehow pro-voked by a person or animal he is unable to attack, he may redirect this aggression onto someone else. For example, two family dogs may become excited and bark and growl in response to another dog passing through the front yard, or two dogs confined behind a fence may turn and attack each other because they can’t attack an intruder. Predation is usu-ally considered to be a unique kind of aggressive behavior because it’s motivated by the intent to obtain food and not pri-marily by the intent to harm or intimidate.

Four Things Every Dog Owner Should Know!

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

I know you’ve had a day or two when you felt like your dog just wasn’t paying any mind to you at all, right? You talked, you yelled, you shouted, maybe you jumped up and down and waved your arms, but she wasn’t fazed in anything you had to say to her in any tone of voice. You’re not alone.

1. Your dog isn’t human.

Unless you believe in pet psychics, there’s legitimately no way for you to read your pooch’s mind and figure out exactly what she’s thinking. The good news is that, the problems you’re having can probably be traced to one thing: you’re trying to communicate with your dog from a human standpoint, and your dog isn’t a human. Sure, you know that, but lots of humans try to particularize with their dogs in the ways that they think are rational as humans. The problem is that dogs are driven in every act and every moment by very strong instincts. Deciphering those instincts and leveraging them to build a profitable bond is like finding the keys to the city.

2. Your dog doesn’t speak English.

Take the word “no,” for example. Does your dog speak Good English? Not understand English. Does she speak it? What’s valid to her is your tone of voice, not the tete-a-tete itself. Now let’s think about that - we’re taking up excess time humping it to teach our dog a word she’ll forget it yam and that maybe doesn’t penny-pinching much to her anyway. Sure, it’s material to us, but that’s only one side of the equation. What about something that’s meaningful to both ethological and dog?

3. You know what a growl means, and your dog discriminates what a growl means.

If you judge that mutually meaningful language doesn’t be extant, you’re not thinking creatively enough. What does it say to you when a dog growls at you? Anything from “get elsewhere from my meal” to “back off, flash,” right? Yet in every case, a dog’s growl typically means that she is not happy with whatever you’ve down. And you’ve seen dogs recoil to fresh dogs’ growls, scrupulous? So you know what a growl means, and your dog knows what a growl means. Where’s the disconnect? Growl at your dog!

No, seriously. The closest time your pooch starts stepping outside her bounds or accomplishment something you don’t selfsame, growl at her. A decorous, strong, guttural growl that would put the alpha wolf in a backpack to shame. While you’re growling, look directly into her eyes. You’re bordering on bonded that she’ll back off.

4. Instincts save time and convey effectively.

See that? You worked with her instinct and the what’s what hardwired into her mastermind, and the result was instantaneous. Why drop tons of continuance trying to work against that instinct and end up flummoxed, angry, and deathlike miscommunications? This drawing near works in everything from intrinsic discipline to full-on obedience training. You just need to figure out how to apply it in each of those situations.

I’d like to guidance you soak up to exercise it, and that’s why I designed the multimedia presentation Instinct vs. Man. It addresses day-to-day life with your dog as well as specific topics commensurate playtime, practice, and territory. Beyond that, you’ll get some great insight into why your dog thinks the way she does and how it touchs her animations and reactions. You’ll master why those months of coaching stopped engaged after a few weeks and how to get her back into the accustomed and surrogate like the fun, upbeat dog you love.