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Archive for January, 2007

Basic Dog Obedience Training

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

A dog is a man’s best friend, which is a fact.  But sometimes, reality bites.

Dogs may be instantly likable creatures, but they are usually not possessed with the good behavior that is expected from their title.  Remember that dogs are like just any other four-legged animals. They are fluffy, messy, sometimes cute, noisy and definitely crude in manners.

To train them so that they’ll have good manners, their obedience must first be developed. Obedience is a must. With this comes the dog obedience training stage. There are dog obedience schools, as well as dog obedience training paraphernalia such as books, videos, and equipments that comes with basic tips about dog training.

It is said that we are not born with good manners, we learn them as we go along. Just like with humans, proper behavior is essential for dogs if they are to develop self-reliance in many daily tasks. Manners are learned through dog obedience training. Dog obedience training employs different methods. Sometimes, dog obedience training are mixed with existing theories or even new ones that are discovered during the years of teaching our pets.

Before anything else however, a working knowledge of the basics is necessary. Primary of these is the handler’s acquaintance with the particular characteristics of his dog.  The handler must know the dog’s quirks, likes and dislikes, among others. 

Dog obedience training can also establish a stronger bond between you and your dog.  Often, the two of you would develop a language between yourselves that would facilitate easier communication. This is the most basic among the basics before commencing on an obedience training program for your dog.

Showing your dog that you are a loving master, that is, you will reward him or a job well done but you are ready to punish him for a bad deed, can be fruitful in the long run. But bear in mind that displaying your authority to your dog in obedience training can also be fun and enjoyable once it is done right.  If the dog recognizes that what you say or command should be followed, this would take him to a higher level in the dog obedience training you are conducting. 

Since you should know your dog, right down to his favorite scratch area, reward your dog every time your dog answers a command or understands a specific order. Practice makes perfect. You shouldn’t expect your dog to quickly understand a basic command in the dog obedience training method you are using. For example, you could try to play fetch-the-stick with him. In this basic game of obedience training, your dog should learn how to follow your orders by delivering what you commanded him to fetch. 

During this exercise, basic stuff like stand, sit, and stay can be incorporated to the training so that you may be able to develop obedience from your dog. Aside from fetch, other games can be practiced to include those basic commands of obedience training.  As this basic obedience training becomes a daily game for your dog, it should not be a surprise if your dogs would show fascinating progress at a short span of time.  There is no better teacher than one who loves the student with all his heart, after all.

Training Your Dog With Positive Reinforcement

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

Whether human beings or animals, every one likes to be praised rather than punished. So too with your dog. In fact, this is the basis of the theory behind positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement refers to giving your pet something nice or rewarding immediately after he does something you wanted him to. Your praise or reward encourages him to repeat that behavior in future, whether on demand or not—and it usually results in being a powerful shaping tool of your dog’s behavior.

1. Time it well: The timing of handing out positive reinforcement is critical. Your reward must occur immediately—within seconds—or your dog will fail to associate it with the proper action. For example, if you ask your dog to “sit” but reward him after he’s stood up again, he will understand that he is being rewarded for standing up.

2. Be consistent: This is as important as timing. Everyone should react in the same way to his actions and give out the same commands. It also refers to rewarding the same good behavior that the whole family considers good and never rewarding the same bad behavior that the whole family shuns.

3. Using Positive Reinforcement: To your pet, positive reinforcement means food treats, praise, petting or a favorite toy or game, but of them all, food treats give the best results. Your pet should find any food treat enticing and irresistible—perhaps a small, soft piece of food that he can down immediately and look inquiringly for more. But if you give him something hard that he has to chew or that breaks into bits, his attention will be as scattered and fragmented as the crumbs on the floor.

Once he learns the behavior, move on to intermittent reinforcement. First, reward him with a treat three out of four times that he performs well. Then, slowly reduce it by one until you stop rewarding her. However, continue to praise her each time. Keep varying the reinforcement so that he doesn’t get used to it. He will soon learn to keep responding in the hope that he will get your praise and a treat.

All about punishment: This can either be verbal, postural or physical. What you do is to give your pet something unpleasant after he does something wrong so he doesn’t repeat it. For best results, give it when you catch him in the act. If you’re late in doing it, he loses the point completely.

If you punish him, he will learn not to trust you. So, it should ideally not come from you directly. However, if you’ve tried punishment and it hasn’t worked, stop punishing him and use only positive reinforcement instead. Never use physical punishment that involves pain, or this may make him bite you in self-defense. Instead, give him a few shakes of the head or even alpha rolls.

Collie

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

CollieIt is a pity that the hard-working dog of the shepherd does not receive the attention in the way of feeding and grooming that is bestowed on the ornamental show dog. He is too often neglected in these particulars. Notwithstanding this neglect, however, the average life of the working dog is longer by a year or two than that of his more beautiful cousin. Pampering and artificial living are not to be encouraged; but, on the other hand, neglect has the same effect of shortening the span of life, and bad feeding and inattention to cleanliness provoke the skin diseases which are far too prevalent.

There is not a more graceful and physically beautiful dog to be seen than the show Collie of the present period. Produced from the old working type, he is now practically a distinct breed. His qualities in the field are not often tested, but he is a much more handsome and attractive animal, and his comeliness will always win for him many admiring friends. The improvements in his style and appearance have been alleged to be due to an admixture with Gordon Setter blood. 

In the early years of exhibitions he showed the shorter head, heavy ears, and much of the black and tan colouring which might seem to justify such a supposition; but there is no evidence that the cross was ever purposely sought. Gradually the colour was lightened to sable and a mingling of black, white, and tan came into favour. The shape of the head was also improved.

These improvements in beauty of form and colour have been largely induced by the many Collie clubs now in existence not only in the United Kingdom and America, but also in South Africa and Germany, by whom the standards of points have been perfected. Type has been enhanced, the head with the small ornamental ears that now prevail is more classical; and scientific cultivation and careful selection of typical breeding stock have achieved what may be considered the superlative degree of quality, without appreciable loss of stamina, size, or substance.

Twenty years or so ago, when Collies were becoming fashionable, the rich sable coat with long white mane was in highest request. In 1888 Ch. Metchley Wonder captivated his admirers by these rich qualities.  He was the first Collie for which a very high purchase price was paid, Mr. Sam Boddington having sold him to Mr. A. H. Megson, of Manchester, for P530. High prices then became frequent. Mr. Megson paid as much as P1,600 to Mr. Tom Stretch for Ormskirk Emerald. No Collie has had a longer or more brilliant career than Emerald, and although he was not esteemed as a successful sire, yet he was certainly the greatest favourite among our show dogs of recent years.

Mr. Megson has owned many other good specimens of the breed, both rough and smooth. In the same year that he bought Metchley Wonder, he gave P350 for a ten-months’ puppy, Caractacus. Sable and white is his favourite combination of colour, a fancy which was shared some years ago by the American buyers, who would have nothing else. Black, tan, and white became more popular in England, and while there is now a good market for these in the United States the sable and white remains the favourite of the American buyers and breeders.

The best Collie of modern times was undoubtedly Ch. Squire of Tytton, which went to America for P1,250. A golden sable with quality, nice size, and profuse coat, he had an unbeaten record in this country.  Another of our best and most typical rough Collies was Ch. Wishaw Leader. This beautiful dog, who had a most distinguished show career, was a well-made black, tan, and white, with an enormous coat and beautiful flowing white mane; one of the most active movers, displaying quality all through, and yet having plenty of substance.  He had that desirable distinction of type which is so often lacking in our long-headed Collies. Ormskirk Emerald’s head was of good length and well balanced, the skull sufficiently flat; his eye was almond-shaped and dark-brown in colour, his expression keen and wise, entirely free from the soft look which we see on many of the faces to-day. Historical examples of the show Collie have also been seen in Champions Christopher, Anfield Model, Sappho of Tytton, Parbold Piccolo, and Woodmanstern Tartan.

In recent years the smooth Collie has gained in popularity quite as certainly as his more amply attired relative. Originally he was a dog produced by mating the old-fashioned black and white with the Greyhound. But the Greyhound type, which was formerly very marked, can scarcely be discerned to-day. Still, it is not infrequent that a throw-back is discovered in a litter producing perhaps a slate-coloured, a pure, white, or a jet black individual, or that an otherwise perfect smooth Collie should betray the heavy ears or the eye of a Greyhound. At one time this breed of dog was much cultivated in Scotland, but nowadays the breeding of smooths is almost wholly confined to the English side of the Border.

The following is the accepted description of the Perfect Collie:–

SKULL should be flat, moderately wide between the ears, and gradually tapering towards the eyes. There should only be a slight depression at stop. The width of skull necessarily depends upon combined length of skull and muzzle; and the whole must be considered in connection with the size of the dog. The cheek should not be full or prominent.

MUZZLE should be of fair length, tapering to the nose, and must not show weakness or be snipy or lippy. Whatever the colour of the dog may be, the nose must be black.

TEETH should be of good size, sound and level; very slight unevenness is permissible.

JAWS—Clean cut and powerful.

EYES are a very important feature, and give expression to the dog; they should be of medium size, set somewhat obliquely, of almond shape, and of a brown colour except in the case of merles, when the eyes are frequently (one or both) blue and white or china; expression full of intelligence, with a quick alert look when listening.

EARS should be small and moderately wide at the base, and placed not too close together but on the top of the skull and not on the side of the head. When in repose they should be usually carried thrown back, but when on the alert brought forward and carried semi-erect, with tips slightly drooping in attitude of listening.

NECK should be muscular, powerful and of fair length, and somewhat arched.

BODY should be strong, with well sprung ribs, chest deep, fairly broad behind the shoulders, which should be sloped, loins very powerful.  The dog should be straight in front. THE FORE-LEGS should be straight and muscular, neither in nor out at elbows, with a fair amount of bone; the forearm somewhat fleshy, the pasterns showing flexibility without weakness.

HIND-LEGS should be muscular at the thighs, clean and sinewy below the hocks, with well bent stifles.

FEET should be oval in shape, soles well padded, and the toes arched and close together. The hind feet less arched, the hocks well let down and powerful.

BRUSH should be moderately long carried low when the dog is quiet, with a slight upward “swirl” at the end, and may be gaily carried when the dog is excited, but not over the back.

COAT should be very dense, the outer coat harsh to the touch, the inner or under coat soft, furry, and very close, so close as almost to hide the skin. The mane and frill should be very abundant, the mask or face smooth, as also the ears at the tips, but they should carry more hair towards the base; the fore-legs well feathered, the hind-legs above the hocks profusely so; but below the hocks fairly smooth, although all heavily coated Collies are liable to grow a slight feathering. Hair on the brush very profuse.

COLOR in the Collie is immaterial. IN GENERAL CHARACTER he is a lithe active dog, his deep chest showing lung power, his neck strength, his sloping shoulders and well bent hocks indicating speed, and his expression high intelligence. He should be a fair length on the leg, giving him more of a racy than a cloddy appearance. In a few words, a Collie should show endurance, activity, and intelligence, with free and true action. In height dogs should be 22 ins. to 24 ins. at the shoulders, bitches 20 ins. to 22 ins. The weight for dogs is 45 to 65 lbs., bitches 40 to 55 lbs.

SMOOTH COLLIE only differs from the rough in its coat, which should be hard, dense and quite smooth.

MAIN FAULTS to be avoided are a domed skull, high peaked occipital bone, heavy, pendulous or pricked ears, weak jaws, snipy muzzle, full staring or light eyes, crooked legs, large, flat or hare feet, curly or soft coat, cow hocks, and brush twisted or carried right over the back, under or overshot mouth.