Hello from Alberta!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by greytbigdreams, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. greytbigdreams New Member

    Hey everyone! I'm so glad this site was recommended to me, it's exactly what I've been searching for! People seem to really know their stuff here, and are friendly to boot.
    I have been studying, formally, to be a dog obedience instructor and trainer for almost a year, however I have been learning and teaching myself about dogs since I was 5. Considering I'm almost 20 that's a lot of information!:dogbiggrin:

    I have had several dogs in the past, though all but one have since passed on. My very first dog, Blossom, is still with me at 9 years old and is embarking with me on my training journey.
    She was content to just sit around and watch TV with the family and play fetch for most of her life, and that's honestly all she really did until I got old enough to know what it was I wanted to do with my life. Now she's a student again, with me, after some 8 years of learning almost nothing at all. And she's loving it. I see a spark in her now that she is being trained again that I haven't really seen since she was much younger. It's that spark that makes training such a rewarding and fun experience, accomplishing our goals one step at a time. My favorite thing is seeing the little cogs whirling in her head while she tries to figure out how to get the click, and watching her rapid fire off all her behaviors, trying to see if perhaps one of them might work as they did in the past.:msnblushing:

    In the future, once I am settled into my own place and have my life well established, my dream is to adopt a retired racing greyhound. There are only a handful of breeds out there that are really suited to each person and I have found one of mine in the greyhound. It was like a light switch got flicked on inside my head and all the pieces slid into place when I met my first retired racer and it has been the pursuit of owning and helping one of these fabulous dogs that drives me even when all the chips seem to be stacked against me. Another breed that I have been in love with for years is the Chinese Crested. I love big dogs, but having spent most of my life in the company of small dogs, I have a soft spot for them as well and I don't think I'd really feel complete if I didn't have one of each size. Same as my not feeling right without a cat in the house.

    Once I'm finished with my current training course (only 11 more mods to go!) and have finished my high school upgrading I will be heading 9 hours west to Salmon Arm BC to the Canadian West Canine Center to work towards my Master Dog Trainer certificate. Then hopefully I can open my own business back in Alberta and work towards weaning myself off my two jobs and slowly getting to where I can fully support myself with my training business.

  2. sara Moderator

    HI and WELCOME!!! I am also in Alberta!!! If I were you, I'd carefully research that training course, there is one in that neck of the woods that gives Master Trainer Certs that uses all correction based training and no treats. I had an x-roommate that took a 6 week course that gave her a Master Trainer Cert, and it's all about correcting the dog... not a good way of training, so please do your research carefully. If it's the same one, their philosophy leaves ALOT to be desired. This site is all about positive, reward based training, and is a FANTASTIC tool for learning about positively training your dog.

    It's amazing, isn't it, when you find the dog/breed that matches you best. I have a short list of breeds that would fit me best, if I ever decide to buy a dog, not rescue one. I have 4 rescues, 3 of which are Mutts, 2 are deaf one severely abused and one street dog from Houston, Texas. Rescues are in my opinion, the absolutely best, and deaf dogs are my passion. I know several people that work with Chinook Winds Greyhound Rescue, they ADORE their retired racers, they just had a bunch of dogs surrendered to them (11 seems to be the number that comes to mind) I would sure take in a greyhound... If it was deaf, lol.

    I hope you learn alot from this site, you sound alot like me, I've spent my whole life learning about dogs, I got my first one when I was 7 and I spent her whole life training her, as I learned new ways. I am currently training one of mine for skijoring (the dog from Texas... kind of ironic really) My 2 deaf dogs do demo's on deaf dogs, one knows 47 signs, and I've had her for 2 years, the other is a puppy, whom I've had for 4 months (she's 9 months old now) and she already knows 12. the abused dog just kinda hangs out and is happy lol.

    It's nice to "meet" someone so close to home!
  3. greytbigdreams New Member

    What part of Alberta are you from? I'm about an hour south west of Edmonton, In Drayton Valley. ^_^
    And thanks for the warning, I will have to check that out. It doesn't mention anything about that on the site, but nothing about positive methods either and now that you mention it, the instructor is an older fellow who bred and trained GSD for like 40 years for protection work so it might fit the bill for him to have an "old school" type approach to training...I am talking to a lady who went to one of the schools courses a few years back so I'll be sure to ask her what methods they teach there.

    I know right? I mean I really took looks, breed preference etc, and just everything superficial out of the equation and was completely honest with my answers on breed quizzes and I came up with greyhound and Chinese Crested every time. Looked in the greyhounds, more specifically the retired racers, and it felt like I was home, you know?
    Chinese Crested's have been one of my "must have" breeds for a long time and that breed and I clicked for just some unknown reason, even without any background knowledge. Just, you know everything about me and them matches perfectly. I am not certain, but the next puppy I buy, will most likely be a show CC (I've been scoping out breeders and pouring through dozens of pedigrees for years already! And i've, almost nailed down my breeder and line I am looking for. ^_^) and I might try my hand at conformation showing. I've watched and read and learned a lot about it and I've already got an eye for CC's in the ring. Watched 5 different CC specialty dog shows online and every time I picked the winner, which I guess is a good sign. But that won't be for years though I don't think.
    Oh and Chinook winds is the group I've been talking to about adoption and will most likely go through them!

    That's really cool about the deaf dogs, it must be a unique experience to train them. What method do you use to get their attention? I know some people use vibrating collars and flashing collars and things like that, though I've heard of other methods.
  4. sara Moderator

    That does sound like the same course my x-roommate took, I hated her style of training, so yes, look into it.

    I am in Red Deer, so only about an hour and a half from you! I've been through Drayton a few times, they have a FANTASTIC pet store!!! I've been thinking about taking a trip there, just for the pet store! LOL.

    I find I dont need to have any tools to get their attention, they check in with me often enough that I can call them to me anytime... infact, they are always watching or touching me. Mouse, my pup, will still get into things, but I keep a spray bottle on hand and squirt her with water everytime she's doing something she shouldn't. I'm also teaching Ollie to "go get Mouse" He runs over to her and hits her with his paw, now I just have to get Mouse to come to me for a treat when he hits her. I've had a couple of threads on here with the video's of my deaf dogs. if you search this forum for deaf dogs, you should find them. I thought a deaf dog would be a challenge for my abilities... but I actually find them easier to train than hearing dogs, less distractions, I think. Scout knows 47 hand signals, and Mouse already knows 12, she's 9 months old and I've had her for 4 months. Scout is my perfect dog... she is brilliant!

    My breed is the Irish Terrier, second is St. Poodle. both are extremely smart, and very versatile, good gun dogs, which I'd eventually like as I hunt. I am allergic to dogs, so I have to be somewhat careful about the dogs in my house... tho I seem to get used to the ones I own. I'd also really like a deaf Pit Bull, and a deaf Great Dane... those are way more likely, as i dont think I'll ever buy a dog, I cant justify using up space that a rescue may need... if you know what I'm saying.
  5. greytbigdreams New Member

    Darn...Well I will look into it. I am a positive rewards type trainer, though I am open minded. Not everything from the old style of training is cruel and torturous, when done properly, to scale for the dog and most importantly without anger, violence or by someone with a superiority complex. Like using a martingale or even a prong collar depending on the situation. I use one (the marti) on my dog and she's only about 11 pounds, though I use it mostly just for walks, so she is reminded (by the sound of the chain which she used to hate quite a lot) not to pull, and if she does ignore my commands and pulls, she corrects herself and snaps back to being a good girl. I have had to use it as a correctional tool in conjunction with the clicker system and have had to give quick little tugs to let her know she is about to choke herself, maybe 10 or 15 times since I started using it 6 months ago. And that was with training every single day almost for a month to get her to understand proper leash behavior. So, used properly with the right motivation and gentleness, even
    "tough love" type training tools can be used.
    One analogy I learned from my school work, was a prong collar can make all the difference between a grandma nicley walking a rottie, and the rottie dragging grannie into the path of an oncoming car when he sees a squirrel across the street. ^_^ The school work I am doing is all very objective, and it explains how to do everything in different ways, though they don't include anything inhumane of course, and most detail is given to the clicker methods. But in order to best help dogs you have to have an open mind. What works for one dog might not work for another and you have to keep all options open so you can really create a plan that will work for the individuals involved.

    If, and that's a big if, I can't think of someway to use the clicker to do something, only then do I really look at other methods or options. Though it has been made quite clear that literally anything (and more) you can scare or correct a dog into doing, you can do faster and easier and funner with the clicker so it is definitely my prefered tool and way of thinking about training.

    Wow you are quite close! I am thinking of moving to Red Deer when I move out. Either Red Deer or Edmonton. Not sure yet, might just stay in Drayton, though really it has nothing to offer for a dog person like me and I need off leash parks and more of my own kind, dog people, to be around. Also trying to find a place that allows pets it almost impossible. But yes our petstore is phenomenal. The diversity is so amazing for such a relatively small place. Lots of holistic foods, dog clothes (which I am a huge sucker for) books, and knowledgeable and helpful staff. I have snakes and a leopard gecko also and that's the only place for me to get my pets' food in this town, but it is really expensive. Their prices are fairly competitive on most everything except frozen mice and feeder insects. My 2 corn snakes and my gecko cost more to feed per month than my dog and my cat combined and they don't eat cheap food either, (both are on Evo brands.) I'm almost tempted to order bulk mice online. Sure I have to oder 100 but I'll be saving money in the end when those hundred come at 50 cents per, instead of in Drayton where they are 1.99+ depending on the size. But if you ever do plan on coming to Drayton for the pet store let me know! Maybe we could go shopping there together or have a cup of coffee? That's one thing Drayton does have is good coffee shops!

    Oh you have to post videos of that if you train your dog to go get your other dog! That's such a good idea! Dogs are scent creatures, but they are also very visual as well, hand signals always stick faster than voice commands it seems. They pay more attention to movement, being predators I guess. It makes sense that a dog's vision would only improve if they had no sense of sound.

    Ah two great breeds! Feisty and athletic! Good mix. I am a big fan of poodles. I own a toy poodle/ terrier mix. personality wise she's very terrier, vocal, sort of standoffish and scrappy, but she also has the toy poodle temperament. Friendly, energetic, cautious, somewhat reserved at times and she get's very jealous of the other pets when she isnt' the center of attention. We haven't been able to figure out what type of terrier is mixed in there, but it's so funny she has this nice white (though it's doing the classic white poodle age trick and turning browner every season) curly poodle hair, but over her withers and then slowly tricking down her back she has these wiry rough copper hairs mixed in randomly!

    A great dane is another of my dream dogs. Huge in every way, size, needs, vet bills, etc. but lovable as all get out and kinder than most dogs. A deaf dane would definitely be a real treasure I'm sure. I know that white dogs, especially those with blue eyes, are prone to deafness, so you'd probably end up with a harlequin, probably one with very few black spots. Harlequins are my favorite coat pattern in danes, so this (deafness training) was something I have been researching off and on and stuff (hence the vibrating collars).
  6. sara Moderator

    I have also used a prong for teaching not to pull. My deaf girl Scout was HORRENDOUS on a leash, and no matter what I tried, she pulled. she was damaging her neck, and couldn't stop coughing and choking when you touched it... so I needed to do something drastic. the prong worked, however, she is an extremely confident dog, and not prone to fears. What I like about the prong, vs a choke collar, is that you do not have to correct the dog, it corrects itself. I do not pull back on the collar, or check her, when she pulled against it, she corrected herself... it took 2 walks to get her paying attention.

    It's not the white coat and blue eyes that signify deafness, tho alot of deaf dogs have these traits. 95% of deaf dogs are predominantly white. prob. only 50% have a blue eye or 2. Mostly where people get that idea is there are alot of Double Merles (2 merle's bred together produce 1/4 of the litter that is double, and depending on the bloodlines, they have a very high rate of deaf/blindness) Harles were bred from Merle, to get the colour, so they have the same problem as Merles when bred together. I took a lightly marked harle, who was completely deaf and extremely nearsighted to a rescue in Spokane, Washington. There are several others that have gone through the Dane rescue here lately... it seems there is a puppy mill north of Edmonton that is producing them. My Dachshund is a Double Dapple (same as Double Merle) She has merle markings on one ear, and her back end. the rest of her is white, and yes, she has blue eyes. Scout is deaf due to the terrier in her (prob Jack or parsons, as those breeds are commonly deaf) She is white with brown spots and freckles all over her, and brown eyes... sooo adorable). If you ever get the chance to take in a deaf dog, you wont regret it!

    I clicker train mostly too, and yes i do clicker train my deaf dogs... just substitute a thumbs up for the click. I find my dogs are sooo eager to please me, not just listening because they have to, all on my dogs are just as happy to work for a pat or toy, as a treat, so i think I've done my job well. I do have a fear aggressive dog that is a huge challenge for me, but I think we are slowly getting it. His fears have been very hard to deal with as alot are developing where he seemed to have none before. It's understandable tho, as he came from an extremely bad neighbourhood, where he was a stray. He's such a wonderful dog, tho, and makes all the time I spend working with him totally worthwhile! He's my buddy. I am training him for Skijoring, I think it'll really help him gain confidence, and running out his excess energy will help as well. i can only leash walk him, as I cant trust him off leash anywhere there may be dogs or strangers. We've already progressed to rollerblades, as he's so quick to learn, I cant wait to get him in a proper harness and really fly!!!

    Red Deer is a great city, with TONS of dog people... it may be a great place for you, as it's alittle closer in size to Drayton than Edmonton is, and we have tons of dog people here. I hate the big cities.... I actually live in Penhold, which is a tiny town just 10 mins south of Red Deer, so I have all the benefits of living in the big... ger city, without having to live in the city! We have a FANTASTIC off-leash park, and a new one being built, tho I never go as Zoe vomits as soon as she's in a vehicle, Scout hates going there and keeps trying to get back to the truck, so has to be leashed, Oliver cant go period, and Mouse doesn't like being there by herself.... but I used to go all the time with my old dog and my roommates dogs... I miss is actually.

    I'd love to meet you if we ever wander up your way, and by the same token, if you ever tour in this direction, look me up.

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