Friday, January 31, 2014

New foster boy arriving tonight!

Give a big hello to Tremolo!  This sweet boy is a tan brindle and he's roughly 9 months and 14lbs. Tremolo was listed as a stray and despite his adorable shelter picture, his time was rapidly running out at the shelter due to lack of shelter space.  Tremolo is said to be an all around great fella.
We are very excited to meet this adorable rattie boy!

And what's with his name? 

Per our wine naming theme, we chose Tremolo by Waters winery


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Clicker Expo 2014

I was lucky enough to attend Clicker Expo and are you asking... what the heck is Clicker Expo?! That was a question I asked the first time I'd heard of it!  Well, it's a three day conference with lectures and hands on training from leading positive based trainers and behaviorist. 

Here's the link to the ClickerExpo Faculty & Speakers - I'm telling you this is an amazing group of people who have scientific data to back up why positive based training works and should be the training model for everyone.
Faculty answering questions - a great discussion!

One of the biggest issues for me was trying to decide which sessions to attend!  I wanted to go to all of them.  Here's the link of the Session details again all amazing. 

And the sessions I attend:

- Emotional Fluency: Capturing emotions in training
- You're in Great Shape: Understanding & applying shaping
- Power of Choice: Locus of control and dealing with problem behaviors
- Training the Easily Frustrated Dog
- Transformers: Training shelter dogs
- The Power of the Conditioned Emotional Response
- On Guard: modifications of food guarding
- Effectiveness is Not Enough: The ethical intervention
- Wallflowers: reaching the shy dog
- Parameters of Premack
- Criteria Raising Re-Examined

I was pleasantly surprised that all of these speakers held my attention and they went even further by getting me to do a lot of thinking about my own dogs and the fosters that come to me.  Keep in mind this is a huge amount of information to take in over very few days.  This speaks to their content, skills and the power of the information they were sharing.  I though I might be a bit bored on the lectures by the behaviorists but, they were amazing and in fact, one of my top favorites was the ethics lecture.  I could listen to Dr. Friedman talk all day, everyday.

While I left the conference energized and my brain was overflowing - the themes that resonated with me were around: emotions, giving control to the animal, flexibility of the human and building/strengthening relationships.  All of these have the science backing of why they are so important and help the human and animal.
So, stay tuned - I have no doubt that as my brain settles down, you will be reading how I'm incorporating this information with our dogs and the fosters that come to us! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Puppy Mill Survivors - Book 4 in the photo book projects

Back in 2011 I was lucky enough to find out about an amazing photographer, Melissa Mcdaniel who was working on her newest photo book project.   This was to be Melissa's fourth book - her projects are designed to raise awareness about issues affecting companion animals, especially those animals who are discriminated against, mistreated or misunderstood.  Her other projects focused on: deaf dogs, rescued dogs and pit bulls.  All of her books are beautiful, the stories are heart wrenching, heart warming and inspiring.

Melissa lives in Philadelphia and she completed a US driving tour to capture these amazing dogs and to share their stories.  I feel very lucky to have met and worked with such an amazing and compassionate woman.  Words cannot express my gratitude to her for working so hard and giving so much of herself and her time to publish this book.

I recently received my copy of the book "Puppy Mill Survivors" and it lived up to all the anticipation! The book shares 33 stories of dogs, each of whom started out their life in a puppy mill, survived and now have happy lives as a beloved dogs. 

I've been looking forward to the publishing of this book and our sweet Catty is featured as well as 4 other rat terriers who were fostered in Washington back in 2011.

The foster pups page includes a story about the 15 mill puppies that New Rattitude rescued at the same time and gives a great shout out for New Rattitude. The pups were a commercial breeder's overstock.  To read more about the 15 mill puppies rescued, read this past New Rattitude newsletter OVERSTOCK 
I also want to thank Melissa for her special thanks page at the back of the book - she gives a lot of thanks to New Rattitude and that's great press for our rescue!

These four boys pictured are 4 of the 15 rescued by New Rattitude in 2011.  The 4 were flown to Washington from the midwest. 
Hoagie & Reuben

Jasper & Alex

As you can see Melissa takes wonderful pictures  and should you purchase the book,  you will also read of some touching stories and learn more about puppy mills.  Yes they still exist and many are legal.  The ASPCA estimates there could be as many as 10,000 puppy mills in the US.

Quoted from Melissa's book:  "Putting an end to puppy mills is simple.  Don't buy a dog from a pet store or off the Internet.  This stops the demand.  If you stop the demand, the mill owners will be unable to make money.  If they can't make money they will close the mills."

This is Henry and his story is typical, frustrating and thankfully ends in happiness.  This is not the case for many puppy mill dogs.  Buy the book - his story like all the others in worth reading!

So, are you excited to purchase this amazing book?!  Here's the Link to the photo book

The 33 dogs featured in the book

As I type I'm working on my next project with Melissa!  We are creating an awesome Pop Art portrait.  Here's the information and it's super cool as you can send her an image of your dog and she'll create a one of a kind portrait for you!  Here's the  Pop Art link

Who's this amazing Pop Art rat terrier.....
It's Skip - a personal dog of  one of New Rattitude's foster parent in Snohomish, WA.  Click here to see her blog


Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Pet Professional Guild

What are you doing between January 17th and March 15th? Can you find 30 minutes to promote FORCE Free Training with your dog? If so, you may win a great prize while having fun with your dog! 

Here's a great link with the invitation complete with a video and more information and Let The Games Begin!

The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is the only professional pet industry member association that advocates for force-free dog training and pet care and requires that its members adhere to its “Guiding Principles” which are made available to the public. Check out The Pet Professional Guild Company History  & here's a link from Pet professional guild providing more information, it's a bit long but full of good information about the guild. 

And did you know that as a pet owner, you can join the guild for free?!  Here's the the link showing you how to join and there are some great benefits to becoming a member. 
Here's the Pet Professional Guild website and they have a facebook page too!  Both are full of great resources, video's and webinars.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nosework "Going to class" - Part 5

As I said earlier we are lucky enough to be taking classes with Erica Wells through Dogs Day Out . The rattie's do a great job representing New Rattitude as there are 3 New Rattitude Alum in our group - D'light, Catty and Corwin.
a picture from an earlier class of Corwin & his dad at work!

All the video's below are at class and we are doing blind hides.  Meaning neither the dog or human know where the hide is located.  All dogs are working at locating odor (Birch in these video's). 
This is going to be a post on trust your dog!  Erica our instructor tells us this over and over and over!   And as you will soon see,  if you don't trust your dog - you the human look & feel like a big goober.  This is a very humbling experience of not knowing where the hide is.  We forget how easy things can be when we know what to expect and where things are.   This work has given me a whole new side of experiencing the unknown. Talk about anxiety and it helps me to appreciate how taxing an unknown situation can be for a dog!

And off we go - I don't know where the hide is located and clearly I'm not trusting that Catty knows where it is.  Wrong thought on my part and this video has me shaking my head each time I watch it.

And here's Corwin! When he started out with nose work he was nervous and very cautious.  As the weeks have progressed, he's become more  confident and just watch his tail!  Also, that lit up dog would have scared him in the past.  Once Corwin figured out there was food involved and that he was making his own choice to work he quickly decided this was the best thing ever.  Go Corwin go!  And silly Corwin, he decided past foster dad and foster mom needed a few hello's while he was working.

And below Corwin says "hello dad, it's right here!"

All the humans struggled with the blind hides and each dog kept telling their person "it's here" and the humans as usual, were about 10 steps behind. Again TRUST YOUR DOG!
And the only reason I look like I have a clue below, is because I knew where the hide was with D'light since I was running two dogs.  I was pretty shocked with how uncomfortable I was with the "not knowing" where the hide were located.  I clearly have my own homework to do around trusting that my dogs know where the hide is located.

Oh fun!  Time for another blind hide and I did a great job of blocking the odor and not paying attention... another couple strike for the human.   As you can see Catty knows the hide is in the area and she says "Come on mom!"

Here's a nice video of D'light working the different containers in the room.  He still gets a little nervous when the room is staged differently and with the people in the room, thus those shake off. And, he's doing great - watch his tail and he's focused on searching!

And now we are in a much larger room with different noises, smells and furniture.  You can see how we work with D'light. This is a lot for him to take him and we let him move at his own pace.  He checks in with mom, then dad and then Erica and that's perfectly fine.  Watch him... he catches the odor!

And he know roughly where the odor is located but, being under the table and sticking his nose up onto the odor is scary so we help him out.  With D'light all we are doing is creating a positive experience and building his confidence.  Many thanks to Erica who is excellent with all the dogs and especially with our sweet D'light!  Notice that lean in love that he gives Erica at the end.

In the big room with Catty and she's ready to go!  Again human not paying attention and not being quick enough.
And this you may have to watch a couple times...  again back to trust your dog and pay attention.  The odor was right at the threshold and I wasn't watching Catty and I was moving to fast.
This nose work series of blog posts, gives some nice examples of nose work and I truly love this game/work/sport.  It's great for my dogs on so many levels: builds confidence, assists them in becoming more comfortable in new environments, builds trust and most of all they have fun.  For me it deepens my connection with Catty and D'light and it helps me to slow down, pay attention, trust my dogs and learn more about their body language and movement!  A win win for all of us.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Nose work with Catty - Part 4

Catty's approach to nose work is the exact opposite of D'lights.  She's a zoom, zoom hightly efficent girl and she LOVES nose work! 

"Found it!"
She's so fast that we have to start at the opposite end of the house. She pulls up that back leg when she's excited and boy oh boy is is excited to work!

And watch her go! She has two rooms to work and only one room has the "find".  She locates the right room and wasted no time.

Now there are "finds" in both rooms.  Go Catty go!

Catty does well with challenges so we take it up a notch.  Both rooms have boxes and no "finds" - ok Catty, get your nose going and locate the "find".

As you can see, three very different dogs all having thier own style and all having a ton of fun!

Nose work with Soos - Part 3

I had no doubt that Soos would think nose work was awesome! And I was right on target.  We started off easy - couple of boxes, all open and the box that would have the food in it had no flaps.

Off he went, he quickly figured out what he was searching for.

"Found it!"

Soos is amazing at nose work and clearly we are going to have to make this harder as this boy loves the challenge!


Keep in mind, Soos baby gated in another room while I'm hiding the box with the food...

And look how fast he is even with hiding the food box within a box! 

 This series of video's were only Soos' third time doing nose work - he's a very smart boy! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Nose work with D'light - Part 2

While D'light, Catty and I do take a formal nose work class, I wanted to show how easy and fun nose work can be at home.  You will also see how each of our dogs "work" differently.  With nose work the dog can eventually works up to locating a targeted odor (Birch, Anise, Clove) and both D'light and Catty can locate these scents. Searching for odor is often done without boxes but it's searching interiors, exteriors, vehicles along with other cool and fun things.  However, at home we still do a lot of box work. It reinforces the basics and for D'light, it keeps his mind working and he's always successful.
So what do you need to start nose work at home? 
- Boxes
-High value (preferably stinky) treats
Really that's all you need! 
Then you chose your "food" box and start laying out all the other boxes.  Start the work in just one room so your dog can be successful quickly and learn the game.  When I'm laying out the boxes, I have the dogs put away.  We are dealing with "smarty pants" terriers and they quickly figure out that if they watch you when you place the food box, that's the first box they go after.   Rember this is NOSE work!
With D'light his motto is slow and steady wins the "find". He likes this work as there's no pressure from anyone or anything.  All he has to do is use his nose to find the reward. 

"Found it"
Having D'light participate in nose work, we've seen an increase in his curiosity, a decrease in his anxiety and he's willing to take more general risks!  All of these things have been challenging to him over the years.  So, when he takes a risk by sticking his head in a box - he gets a tasty reward. And this "self rewarding" has been a wonderful experience for him.  D'light has complete control over where he goes, what decisions he makes and he can take as much time as he needs.
You can see that D'light starts out somewhat tentative and then he gets into his grove as the searches go on.

 And it's getting a little harder for him with the flap down.  I'm particular about which boxes I use with D'light since my goal is to set him up for success. 
So, if you have a fearful, nervous, under confident dog - tuck in the flaps or find boxes without flaps.  As your dog gains confidence and is comfortable with the game, you can add in boxes with a flap out and build on adding more exposed flaps.
Mixing it up we are now working two rooms!
The above video was a challening "find" for D'light. Because the box was under the table.  Working in small spaces takes some bravery on D'light's part.  Way to be brave sweet boy!
It's time for an easy "find" and in the below video, he locates both "finds".  Good boy D'light.
See how easy this is to do at home!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Nose work - Part 1

Wondering what to do with all those boxes from the holidays?!  Here's a great idea - use them for nose work!
 I've been doing nose work in our house with our dogs & foster dogs for a couple of years.  I did this a lot with foster boy Gramercy since he couldn't exercises due to his spine issues.  All dogs that have passed through my house have loved this game and it's perfect for any dog as the dog is always successful! 
You might ask, "What is nose work?" Here's an overview of Nose Work  The activity and sport of K9 Nose Work is designed to develop your dog's natural scenting abilities by using their desire to hunt and their love of toys, food and exercise. It's a great way for your dog to have fun, build confidence and burn mental and physical energy.  At a lecture I attend it was said that a dog doing 20 minutes of nose work is equivalent to a 2 mile walk.  At first I thought that was crazy. However, watching how much a dog "works/searches" I can see how it wears them out.   So, on those rainy days when my dogs are getting stir crazy, out come the boxes!
Last year I decided that I wanted to broaden D'light's world so,  I looked to enrolling him into a formal nosework class. One might ask why I made this decision since doing it at home is a lot of fun for him. One of the ways D'light moves forward in life is by having positive experiences.  New environments are still hard for D'light so, finding new environments where he is safe, successful and can excel is what I'm always looking for.  Nose work provides all of this and so much more.  From January 2013 through late July D'light and I were spending the bulk of our Saturday driving to Lacey to attend a nosework class.  While it was a lot of drive time, it was well worth the trips!
Anyone in the South Puget Sound looking for a great nose work class I would hands down recommend Rachelle Bailey-Austin, CNWI & Dorothy Turley, CPDT-KA, CNWI There are two other NR foster parents in a nosework class with Dorothy Turley - YEAH!  Check this post talking about their Nose work experince
D'light did wonderful in the nosework class and I decided that I wanted to get Catty involved as well. She too struggle with new environments so, I knew this would be perfect for her. My challenge was that Catty gets car sick and has car anxiety. So, the long drive to Lacey or Gig Harbor wasn't an option for her.  
I am lucky enough to have built a strong trusting relationship with Lori Stevens who is very connected to the force free trainers in the Puget Sound area.  Lori is who recommended Rachelle and Dorothy to me.  Lori's suggestion of someone closer was through a great force free training school Dog's Day Out with locations in Ballard and Georgetown.  I contacted Erica Wells  (who is a certified Nose Work Instructor) asking her a number of questions and then she invited me come observe one of her classes.  You know you will likely be getting a good trainer/instructor when this is offered!  So, I went and observed the class and the next step was getting both D'light and Catty signed up. 
Stay tuned for a series of posts talking more about D'light, Soos and Catty's nosework adventures!  Yes, Soos has gone home but, hey might as well show off his cute self  since I had the video.
Getting the boxes ready for nose work at home...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Soos has been adopted!

Little Soos has found himself a wonderful new home and he's going to have an older rattie brother to look up to and of course a set of very loving parents.  Soos' new brother is a very sweet and spry 11 year old rattie.  We have no doubt he's going to be a great influence and help with building Soos' confidence.  Soos' parents are pretty great too and they are very excited to work with Soos helping him be even more amazing.  Soos won't be living to far from us and we wouldn't be surprised if we see them when we are out walking.
So way to go Soos - we are thrilled to have been a bridge to your new wonderful life!

My favorite picture of Soos!

And because Soos' parents look to rescue they were able to help out this rattie in need.  This sweet boy will be our next foster and he will arrive on January 31st so stay tuned!
We are looking forward to fostering another rattie!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

More fun inside while it's raining outside!

And its still raining so, what did Soos and I do for fun and an energy burn?  We played with the Tail Teaser! 
"WHAT is this thing?!"
Because of it's long handle, the tail teaser can be a bit scary for dogs.  So, we introduce it laying on the floor.  Soos can take as much time as he needs to look, sniff and walk around the tail teaser. 
As you can see Soos was ready to play!
Let the teasing begin! I start with keeping the sessions short and letting him grab ahold of tail.  This encourages play and it builds his confidence. 
Watch Soos in the first couple of seconds. You can see from his head that he was unsure about the tail moving over his head.  And he recovers quickly and is having a lot of fun.

Soos says "lets get playing!"  This is really wearing him out with all the jumping and the thinking about how to get ahold of the tail.
Run rattie run! 
We played this game for a good amount of time and then he was ready for a nap!


Friday, January 10, 2014

What's a dog to do on rainy days...

Wondering what to do with your pup(s) when the weather is wet or to cold to go for a walk?
  Here's a great link giving you some ideas to try at home:
Here's a good video on playing "find it" - this is a fun and super easy game!
 And what did Soos do to burn some energy during the pouring down rain?  He played fetch while jumping over cavalettis. The boy has skill!
"What is this crazy thing?"
"Do I go under or over it?!"

We walked back and forth over the cavalettis, slowing raising the height.  This gave Soos a mental workout - thinking about how to maneuver over these new thing in the hallway.
After a bit we were ready to play fetch!

Then we tried it from the other direction with an added twist!  The ball was caught behind the baby gate...


Off to do more jumping and fetching!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Working the walk

While Soos generally walks well on or walks, he does get more excited than I like when he sees other dogs.  This is pretty common with foster pups that come to us for fostering.  I believe it's likely a result of their very limited experience of walking on leash in environments with a good amount of stimuli.  This being something I want to work on with him, I needed to come up with a plan. My main goal is to set him up for success which means breaking the work down into small parts so that WE are successful.  I've learned the hard way that it doesn't make sense to just start the work outside/once we see a dog.  That's frustrating for both the dog and myself.
So, in our house I've been rewarding Soos when he looks at me.  Basically the work is:  Soos looks at me, I mark that behavior with a verbal "yes" or a click of the clicker and then he gets a treat.  Once he had that down, we then added in the next step - walking down the hallway in his walking gear.  When I stop, I want Soos to look at me.  By doing this work in the house there are less environmental distractions.  Soos is super smart and it took him no time at all to figure out what I was wanting from him.  Remember - reward the behavior you want!  These little "training sessions" last just a couple of minute and happen 3-4 times a day.  These training sessions are fun for Soos and it reinforces our teamwork and connection.

Here's a great post on 8 tips for successful dog training
Over the course of a week and seeing that Soos had this skill down, we were ready to take it to the street.  I opted to try this out on a quiet street where we rarely run into dogs.
"I'm ready!"
So, when we are walking and I stop, I want Soos to look at me.  I'm marking the behavior (with a "yes" since I can't video, click and reward all at one) and rewarding him when he looks at me.  Good boy Soos!

And then our work pays off despite me not being aware of what's coming... foster mom trying to do too much with getting a video for this blog post.  And I'm very lucky this didn't go south!  As you can see, Soos did great - there was no barking or getting overly excited about seeing that dog.

As with anything training requires practice, repetition and an ongoing commitment.  Soos and I will keep at this in and out of the house and I have no doubt he's going to continue to do great! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Amazing Coconut oil

Everyone (humans and dogs) in our house eats coconut oil!  It has a ton of
Health benefits and it tastes good too.
When Soos came to us his coat was dull and flaky.  I slowly started incorporating coconut oil in Soos' diet and sure enough, his coat is no longer flaky and it was soft and looked beautiful.
Here's the brand we eat and you can buy it on Amazon or at PCC in Seattle
When Gramercy was with us he had a funk to him that we couldn't get rid of.  I was talking with Lori Stevens about his funk and she suggested incorporating coconut oil in his diet.  We began feeding him coconut oil and the funk went away!   Here's the post on Coconut oil helps out Gramercy 
Below is Dr. Karen Becker talking about why coconut oil is so good for pets
If you are going to incorporate coconut oil into your pets diet you will want to start out slow.  The optimum dose for dogs is about 1 teaspoon per 10lbs of body weight daily.  This is a general guideline some dogs need less and others a little more.  Beginners can start with around 1/3 of a teaspoon a day.  Because coconut oil kills harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeast and fungi, the burden of removing dead organisms can trigger symptoms of detoxification.  You can increase the dosage every few days until reaching the recommended quantity.  If your dog starts having diarrhea, you're increasing the amount to fast so, back of and go slower. 

Did you also know there are many other ways to use coconut oil?  You can apply it to fur, pads, noses, ears, cuts and scrapes!  We've been battling an ear issue with D'light - he shakes his head, clearly his ear bothering him, scratches at his ear and they gets red inside. We'd been cleaning out his ears on a frequent basis but it just wasn't going away.  Again... talking to Lori Stevens about this and she suggested we try putting a pea size amount of coconut oil in his ear and then massaging the base of his ear which worked the oil down his canal.  We've been doing this for a couple of weeks and I'm pleased to say it's helped a ton.  He doesn't scratch at his ear, he's not shaking his head and the redness is all gone.  And an added bonus is that he smells like coconut.  The biggest challenge is keeping Catty away from D'light's ears and she wants to lick out the coconut oil - silly rattie girl.

Here's another great video by Dr. Karen Becker what else you can do with coconut oil!

Time for a nail trim

As you can see below Soos is due for a nail trim.  We've known this for a bit and we've been working on desensitization of the nail trim experience.   We do this by having the nail clippers around him and he gets a treat on them, around them so that he sees they aren't scary.  Also when we are relaxing we will touch, rub and massage his feet in hopes of him getting use to the handling of his feet.  Soos has been doing great with all of this.       

 So we started trimming and he did super!  We didn't want to push our luck so, after doing his front feet we stopped.  We'll do the back feet in the next day or so.
Here's a FANTASTIC video by Dr. Karen Becker on how to do a nail trim!

And here's an article that shows why keeping nails trimmed is so important.

Why is nail trimming important

Soos was a super star and for being so great, he was rewarded with a bully stick!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Sunny Sunday morning

It was cold yesterday morning!  After a long chilly walk, the dogs were ready for some resting in the sun.
"Awww so nice!"
Tired boy - having a tough time staying awake.
Off to sleep he goes in the warm sun
But wait!  I came back in the room and it seems Soos didn't want to nap on his own...

Made us laugh seeing how he's laying with the toy

Having sweet dreams!

Silly boy
and oh so adorable too!

D'light enjoying the sun

and Catty too!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New toy in the house!

It's a very long squirrel whose body makes lots of crinkle noise and it's tail has a squeaker that sounds like a dying animal - what could be better for a rat terrier?! 
We let D'light check it out and he quickly said "No thank you!"
Then it was Soos' turn....
"This is rat-tastic!"

"I love this tail!"
 Soos feel asleep after all that fun and I draped the squirrel behind him so you could see how long it is! 
Too much fun for Soos!

And then a couple days later out came the squirrel!
Look who has learned how to play tug - good boy Soos!
More play time and look who's coming to see what all the commotion is about....
Catty's turn to play with the squirrel!  All she wants is for me to play tug with her.  Don't you worry about Soos - hear that squeak?!
Catty keeps playing with the squirrel and Soos has found his favorite ball.

Catty is done with the squirrel so Soos and I keep playing.  I toss it and it lands on the peanut. 
The frustration barking we don't want.  So, I lower  the criteria for Soos and move the toy to a place that Soos can grab it with some help - which boosts his confidence!  And guess what - foster dad is home so Soos says "time to go get some snuggles!"