Category Archives for "Personal"

New Camera for Dog Photography and Video

By Jean Cote | Personal , Posts

Hi Jean,

It was over 10 years ago since I laws owned a really nice camera. Back then, everything was still on 35mm films and I remember I had to bring the films to the camera store to get them developed. The pictures that came out of that camera were outstanding – I loved them.

But unfortunately, with most technology it eventually stopped working. And I didn’t want to spend money to get it fixed so I eventually stopped taking photographs altogether.

But today, I’m excited because I just got myself another really nice digital camera. This one can also do video so it will be really nice to shoot the dogs with. Here are some sample pictures that I’ve been able to take with it this weekend.

Although I have yet to explore every feature of this camera, I think the results are simply amazing. I am so happy to have gotten this camera, even though it wasn’t cheap. And if you are wondering which one I got, it was the Panasonic GH2.

Why I Love My Dog Pt. 2

By Jean Cote | Personal , Posts

Hi there,

Meet my dog Chase, she’s the friendliest Border Collie I’ve ever met!

In fact, as a puppy they had nicknamed her ‘Kisses’ because she would kiss everyone that she met. (She still does that!)

In this blog post, you will learn why I love my dog and how she’s impacted my life…

The photographs you see on this page were taken today in my ‘home-made’ studio.

Here’s why I love my dog…

  • She is the most playful dog I have ever seen. I often wish that I had her energy. She will literally play until she is completely exhausted. And after 10 minutes, she’ll want to play again.
    The funniest thing happens when I watch a movie on TV. Chase wants to play so badly that she’ll bring all of her toys to me, and I usually don’t notice until the end of the movie at which point I am surrounded by toys.
  • She is the best ‘work-buddy’. I used to be allowed to bring her to work with me and she’d be there to cheer me up as I worked through the day. Sadly the new regulations don’t allow me to bring my dog with me anymore … but I still sneak her in sometimes. (shh, nobody is supposed to know)
  • She is so easy to train. Border Collies are notorious for being smart and Chase learns new behaviors and tricks very quickly. Although she prefers tricks and behaviors that are physically demanding, like weaving in and out of my legs (figure eight) or jumping in my arms.
  • Do you want to know what’s the best though? She’s an awesome swimmer and loves to jump in the pool to retrieve a toy or just to cool off. It really makes the summer that much more enjoyable!

Below, you can watch a short video recorded today of Chase doing some tricks. This is just something we do for fun!

Although she would do those tricks simply to please me, I usually reward her with a toy (her much preferred reward).

How about you? Why do you love your dog?

Leave a comment below and let me know!

Why I Love My Dog Pt. 1

By Jean Cote | Personal , Posts

Hi there…

Meet my dog Onyx, she’s my personal favorite Siberian husky (I know, I’m a little biased, he he)

I wanted to create a short blog post about the reasons why I love my dog and how she’s impacted my life..

The photographs you see on this page were taken today in my ‘home-made’ studio.

Here’s why I love my dog…

  • She is the most outgoing dog I have ever had in my entire life. She desperately wants to meet strangers, play with other dogs and really just wants to explore the world. In fact, I think of her as a little ‘explorer’.
  • She is an ‘angel’ in the house. Well, kind of. Of course when she was growing up she had to learn the house rules. I remember when she was just a puppy she completely unrolled a roll of toilet paper because it was just so darn fun to play with.
    Oh… And how could I forget how she figured out a way to unlock her crate? That’s right! I’d get home and she’d be so happy wagging her tail and I was there thinking … hmm.. Did I forget to put her in her crate?
  • She has been (and continues to be) my biggest challenge as a trainer. Because she is so happy and instinctively wants to explore the world, trusting her off leash has been a challenge.
    But when there is a will, there is a way! Through the power of positive reinforcements, I was able to compete with her in Agility and win 1st place! (I won’t mention that she was the only dog competing at 26″ that day, oops, I just did.)
  • But more importantly … she is my best friend. She cares when nobody else does. She’s there when I’m bored and got nothing else to do… But also, she’s the happiest dog to welcome me when I come home! What else could you ask for?

On the right, you can watch a video recorded today of Onyx’s recall. This is something we’ve worked a lot through the years.

As you can see, it was pouring, so I didn’t want her to get all muddy so I whistled (which is her cue for coming) and she immediately ran inside the house.

Excellent response! I even rewarded the behavior with a some praise “Good Girl!”

How about you? Why do you love your dog?

Leave a comment below and let me know!

A Lesson Learned: Feed My Dog on My Terms

By Sally Gutteridge | Personal , Posts

Extreme barking, of the high pitched Yorkshire terrier variety, is by far enough every morning to have me click on the kettle and feed my dog. I pop open the dog treats purely to silence the demanding holler.  Being a somewhat relaxed dog trainer has its perks but this is not one of them. Each bark provokes a twitch of the eyelid equal to none.

The Yorkie in question is a tiny female called Penny, rescued from a classified ad with her four sisters because they had reached the end of their breeding use. Penny is 4kg and 10 years old.

Despite her tiny size and generous age, Penny the Yorkie has me wrapped around her little paw. I know that I am reinforcing her bark by rewarding it with a treat. I know that she will never stop whilst the tirade is fueled with a gravy bone. This morning I even thought about giving her a second treat because she didn’t settle too well after the first.

I feed my dog because she demands it. I admit that she is actually, albeit inadvertently, trained to bark for a biscuit. I did this by reinforcing the first bark and in response I feed my dog every time she carries out the unhelpful behavior. She is simply doing what I have taught her. My advice to you is never get into this position with your dog. It is much more difficult to remove a reinforced habit than to train a good one in the first place.

Dogs are bright creatures. They will soon begin to read each little behavior that you carry out, then chain them together in the hope that this chain leads to a walk or dinnertime. Watch your own dog as he reacts to things you do. Particularly at the times of day he normally gets a meal. If he always observes a behavior of yours that leads to him being fed then he will soon begin to anticipate the meal. Soon his behavior will show the anticipation and the big brown expectant eyes will have you thinking “I had better feed my dog”.

If you are responding to his behavioral prompt to feed him then it will not take your dog long to realize this. Now all he needs to do is decide that he would like his meal earlier in the day, or before you were ready to offer it. Your dog will soon work out that if he bugs you long enough then he will prompt mealtime. He knows that you will automatically think it must be time to feed my dog. You have probably already wondered how your dog knows the time. He doesn’t, he just knows what you do each day before it’s his dinner time.

This works in exactly the same way with treats, walks and everything else that your dog will benefit from. I knew a hearing dog specifically trained to touch his owner and lead to a sound. Every single day at dinnertime this lovely dog would touch his owner and lead to the food tub. A cute trick which he had learned by prompting for food and that his owner had happily reinforced.

So, to prevent the demanding behavior at mealtimes is actually quite easy. Never allow it to develop in the first place. Do not respond to your dog’s prompts with his infiltration of the idea to your mind of, I must feed my dog. Do not even acknowledge these prompts. These thinly veiled hints can range from kicking the food bowl, barking, whining and scratching at you or the food cupboard.  If they begin to develop just change your routine slightly to keep his mealtime a surprise.

Another thing that will help you whilst feeding your dog is control during mealtimes. You can teach him that only by offering a sit position until released will you provide his food. This is an easy thing to teach by simply asking him to sit and wait whilst you place the food onto the floor. If he moves from the position before you give permission then just take the food out of his reach until he sits back down. When he sits and waits nicely just release him by saying something like “take it”.

Initially this may need to be repeated a few times but will quickly become the established behavior at mealtimes.

The way our dogs work things out is brilliant. Their thought processes are intriguing to bear witness to and next time you think I had better feed my dog, take a look around and see what your canine is up to. You might be surprised.

Do Dogs Dream?

By Sally Gutteridge | Personal , Posts

You’ve seen your dog pawing, yipping and even barking in his sleep. Every time it happens you wonder if your faithful dog could be dreaming. We’d like to think that our beloved pets are able to enjoy the fun and mystery of dreams, but we’re not sure if the brains of dogs work the same way ours do. Do dogs dream?

Yes, say the experts. Scientists have studied many kinds of mammals in order to answer this exact question. And these same scientists have found significant evidence that dogs do in fact dream. In fact, almost every pet is able to dream.

Dog Sleep Basics
Dogs have the same kind of sleep that human do. They have rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and slow movement sleep (SMS.) During REM sleep, the brain processes events of the day and stores new material. This is true in both humans and pets. Dogs spend 10-13% of their time in REM sleep, and puppies can spend even more. Of course puppies have a great deal more information to process.

Dogs Dream
Humans have consistently reported dreaming when woken up during REM sleep. The brain is actually working the same way during REM sleep as it does when you are awake. Dogs have the same REM sleep and the same brain patterns during that sleep that humans do. Therefore, scientists are confident that dogs dream. In fact, they feel confident that almost every mammal dreams excluding the duckbilled platypus whose brainwaves are different than other mammals.

But what do dogs dream about? That is something scientists don’t know. It is reasonable to assume that dogs dream about their experiences and adventures during their waking hours. After all, REM is when the brain is working to organize information, so it is logical your pet might be reliving experiences.

Most of our dreams stem from our experiences combined with our imaginations. But we’re not sure if dogs actually have imaginations. So we don’t know if they are branching out beyond the walk through the park to new realms during their dreams or if they just get to enjoy their bone one more time.

But one thing is definite. Dogs do in fact dream. So the next time your pooch is twitching, yowling or running in his sleep – don’t wake him. He’s simply reliving his most exciting experience of the day.

Share your thoughts… What do you think dogs dream about? Leave a comment below!

A Must Watch! Amazing Pet Show!

By Jean Cote | Personal , Posts

My father e-mailed me this amazing pet show video today, I thought it was so great and special that I had to create a blog post about it! It’s only about 5 minutes long but well worth every second, especially the ending!

As I watched this pet show, I wonder how much time and effort went into training these dogs. I wonder what training techniques they used to achieve this high level training and how they were able to coordinate the entire show. I’ve trained my dogs to do quite a few tricks over the years but never anything quite to the caliber that is demonstrated in this pet show. I found this inspiring and showing what actually can be done if we really set our mind to it.

Since I am experienced in training dogs, I was able to spot several signals, in the beginning obviously the whistle being used was a signal, but throughout the video there were several distinct hand and body signals.

Overall, this was an outstanding performance and would love to see it live in person. I think that the best trick performed in the pet show is the two dogs standing together while getting other dogs jumping above them. You can clearly see that both of the dogs are cautious to get hit as they tilt their heads back. There definitely must have been quite a bit of training involved to get this behavior.

What do you think? Leave a comment below if you enjoyed watching this pet show and which trick ‘awed’ you the most!

How to Train a Hamster

By Jean Cote | Personal , Posts

Well, this is very surprising! I woke up this morning and found a funny hamster video in my e-mail inbox. A friend of mine thought that it would be funny to train a hamster to spell the name of this website.

I am not sure if the hamster is actually trained or if it is all a video editing effect. I have no idea how to train a hamster and I’m curious to know if this is even possible. Are hamsters trainable and are they intelligent enough to do something like this?

I noticed a small glitch at 0:15 of the video which tells me this must be a video editing effect…

Watch the video! And leave a Comment Below!

My Personal Story about Huskies

By Jean Cote | Breeds , Personal , Posts

Huskies are one of the most beautiful dogs that I have ever seen. I’ve owned one for the past seven years and every one that meets her, compliments me on how beautiful she is. In this blog, I will talk about the pros and cons of owning Huskies.

Huskies are a medium size breed that can weigh from 50 to 65 pounds depending on the gender and level of activity. To me, this is the perfect size as I can go on hikes with her and she fits nicely on one side of the couch.

The experts always say that Huskies are a high activity breed. I’ve personally not found this to be the case as my husky is extremely lazy, but when I do go hiking or sledding then yes, I would agree that huskies are able to burn quite a bit of energy.

Huskies are very clean dogs, or at least mine is. She will not step in a puddle or walk on wet grass unless she really has to. I guess she was brought up as a little Princess. The only inconvenience in owning a husky is the huge amount of shedding that occurs. Every week I can find fur balls that have accumulated over the week in areas of high traffic. Of course this is not a problem as I own a very powerful vacuum cleaner, but if you are thinking of getting a husky, then you must be prepared to have hair everywhere and on pretty much all of your clothes.

I’ve always been told that Huskies loves the cold and that they strive in the cold. Well once again, mine is definitely not that. In the summer when it’s about 35°C, she will go outside and lie down in the sun for an hour or two until she’s too hot. And in the winter, instead of ravishing the cold, she instead barely goes out to pee, then scratch the door to get back in. I find it ironic how a winter dog loves the heat and hates the cold.

Huskies are extremely smart. I trained my husky to do all of the obedience skills, to do agility competitions and a whole bunch of tricks. She is extremely agile and loves doing it. My only complaint, if you call it that, is that she loves other dogs so much and always wants to play with them. So whenever my husky would get off leash she would suddenly have a “hearing problem” and decide to go play with the other dogs. Although I’ve managed to train her to be responsive in an off leash situation, I am still a little weary about letting her off leash in an area where there are cars.

If you are thinking of getting a husky … then I recommend that you do your homework, and that you are prepared to train him. Do you best to read the most about huskies in books and online, then be ready to bring her to a local obedience school, or at the very least buy a training course online that will teach you how to properly train huskies.

Huskies in general are very loving dogs and they are eager to please. I wish you good luck and leave a comment below if you want to share your experiences with huskies.

Done Deal Dogs

By Jean Cote | Personal , Posts

Are you looking to welcome a dog into your home? My intuition tells me that if you were searching for a done deal dogs then the answer is yes. But before you commit yourself to adopting a dog, you should know the following before buying.

You need to know that having a dog in your life, especially getting a puppy is a 10 to 15 year commitment. Having a dog will change your life drastically. If you are not ready or aware of those changes then chances are the dog will end up in a shelter. My purpose for this post is to inform how your life will change so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should get a done deal dogs.

The first thing that you must consider is the cost of having a dog. Sometimes when people purchase a dog they think “oh I just have to feed it and that’s it”, the reality is you will have to pay much more than that. You will have to pay for food, vet bills, toys, treats, training, leashes, collars, dog beds, and more that isn’t on this list.

The second thing I must advise you before you get your done deal dogs, is that your free time and freedom will be limited. What I mean by that is that you won’t be able to suddenly go on a vacation or work late hours or go on weekend camping trips without arranging someone to doggy sit your dog or put him in a kennel. And again, those services costs money.

And lastly, I really want to emphasize that the dog will need exercise every day and at a bare minimum some obedience training classes. A dog will need at least an hour of your time per day, every day, depending on the breed that you choose. So if you are a busy person already, getting a done deal dogs might not be the best thing to do right now.

I hope that I didn’t discourage you from getting a done deal dogs, my purpose with this article is to help you make the right decision and to avoid dogs ending up in shelters. Dogs are really great to have in your life and they’ve brought me the greatest joy and happiness.

If after reading my article you’ve decided that getting a done deal dogs is suitable to your lifestyle, then I recommend that you train your puppy or dog from the very first day that you get him. From my personal experience, there is no better way to connect and build a relationship with your dog then by training him. The mission of the dog trick Academy is to promote this very concept by training tricks.