Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Kiko surveys her territory


Desert wonderland

Splash strikes a pose

Sedona portrait



Icicles! 

Kiko's not digging the cold weather!

Splash totally digs the cold weather!

Group photo!

Kiko wearing a leg warmer for a scarf!


Nothing quite like a good game of fetch the stick!



Finding her coyote spirit!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WHY TEACH TRICKS?

WHY TRICKS? A question I get asked a lot!

1- Dogs need not only physical exercise but mental exercise as well, a tired dog is a good dog!
2- It builds communication skills. The dog is learning how to learn. Great if you want to do obedience
3- You are building your relationship with your animal. So your dog actually WANTS to do what you ask them to do.
4-It actually makes your dog smarter!
5- It is a fun way to interact with your dog, besides sitting on the couch together. If your dog isn't a fan of the rain, you could do a trick training session inside instead of a walk.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Splash! the 'Puppy Picasso' flaunts her talents on the news


Splash! was on the news a couple of times.  She will be on Channel 6 tomorrow. 

This is my all time favorite news broadcast!  I love the story that they edited together, about a dog that paints, and an owner who paints dogs.  I love that they included Kiko in the piece!

Here is another cool newscast, on Channel 8. 


Monday, December 1, 2008

House Training a Puppy

House Training

House training consists of essentially 2 things: prevention and teaching the dog where to go.

Starting today there must be ZERO mistakes, as every time there is a mistake the dog is learning that the best toilet area is actually indoors. It’s easy to understand, if a person had an outhouse in the garden and a bathroom indoors, the person would pick the indoors toilet (it’s more reinforcing).

Depending on how the puppy was raised, some will prove harder to house train than others. Puppies that had a separate toilet to their whelping box will find the concept easier than puppies whose toilet area was in the same room (very often the case with toy dog breeder setups). Small dogs are notorious for being hard to house train! There are many people in the same boat.

1- MANAGEMENT/PREVENTION

The key is management! If you are not there to see the mistake, then the dog is reinforced for peeing in the house because relieving the bladder feels good so it’s as though they received a treat for going indoors. It’s a big pain, but if you can’t watch them 100% of the time, put them in a safe area.

If your dog is peeing in the house, they are not trying to teach you a lesson, get back at you for leaving them all day or drive you up the wall; they just are not 100% house trained. A dog that pees in the house cannot be left alone for 1 second because a mistake can be an enormous setback. So instead have the dog tied to you on leash, leave them in a pen, leave them in a crate, hold them on your lap, or have your eyes GLUED to them the whole time. Just because they went to the bathroom 1 minute ago does not mean they won’t go again at any second.

Leave no evidence- Clean the spots that have been soiled with an enzymatic cleaner like Natures Miracle or XO, other cleaners will still leave the smell of urine which is an invitation to pee on again.

Hang out in areas that were peed on, train and play with them on that spot, put a bed over it, or a food or water bowl telling them this is not a toilet! It’s the den!


Home Alone- One option is leaving a puppy in a exercise pen with a bed, toys and water, as well as a toilet area- a square of grass in a shallow tub. The problem with newspaper or pee pads is that they teach the dog to pee on substrates that are similar (like the bed! Or white t-shirts etc). Another option is to have the puppy in a crate, with a dog walker to come by to let the puppy out to exercise and use the bathroom. I prefer the exercise pen or safe area, over a crate, because the puppy has choices throughout the day of what to do and will essentially be less energetic when the owner returns from work.


2- TEACH THE DOG WHERE TO GO

REINFORCE THE RIGHT LOCATION
Bring the puppy to the location you wish to be the bathroom, let them sniff around, if they don’t go to the bathroom, put them back in their puppy safe area, have them attached to you by leash, or watch them like a hawk. If they DO go, click and treat with tons of praise.

Keep in mind that many dogs prefer to pee and poop in different locations.

Putting the behavior on cue- This is very helpful if you travel, or if you are late for work and need your dog to go immediately!

Go to the location you prefer with the puppy on leash. BEFORE the dog starts to pee as they are just about to squat, say your cue whatever it may be “Hurry up!” if you wish. When the dog is peeing you can praise your dog and click then feed the dog an amazing treat afterwards. You are essentially conditioning the dogs neurons to tell it “THIS IS THE BEST PLACE TO PEE!”

THE PROBLEM WITH PUNISHMENT- Punishing the dog for going to the toilet in the house can be confusing if there is at least one time when the dog goes in the house when you are not there- they learn it is bad to pee in the house if a person is around, but when a person is not around it is perfectly ok. Secondly there is the issue of the dog learning never to pee in front of human beings ever. It is very hard to house train a dog that won’t pee in front of you.

What to do if the dog does pee- If you see your dog starting to pee, say “outside!” or any cue you want, and rush them outside by their collar or carrying them, this is punishment enough. Better to catch them when they start to sniff rush them outside and reward them profusely.

A trick that I love is- When the puppy has a FULL bladder, have them on leash in the area that they are prone to go in the house say “outside” and quickly escort them on the route to the RIGHT location. Some dogs just don’t seem to get that when they are upstairs they should go all the way down the stairs and out the door. By showing them the way, they will be more likely to think of it on their own.

Two timers- Some dogs need to pee twice in a row. So if you are blessed with a puppy like this, you must praise and reward the dog for peeing and then wait another minute. Some people find that bringing the dog in and then going directly out again can speed up the process.

Teach the dog to ring a bell- If your dog doesn’t figure out a way of letting you know they need to go out, you can teach them to ring a bell on the door.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Miyako youtube addict





A very shy and sound sensitive Border Collie Miyako rescued by Tracy, was very worried about the noise of the clicker among other noises.  While watching a youtube video with a clicker in it, her owner noticed Miyako seemed interested, so she started conditioning the noise of the clicker on the computer with treats! I think that is such a cool thing to do!  A great game to play with a sound sensitive dog.  The cool thing is you could raise the volume incrementally with just a click of a button. 

It's so wonderful to see a dog blossoming when she is in the right situation and given the right information. 

'Her confidence is building in many ways and this shows in her posture in the last photo. She looks relaxed, content, and no longer fearful of the camera.'

Gosh, had to post the pics too, because Miya is so darn cute! 

Splash! wins Starpet 2008 in New York!

I will come back and post a video and more info. But Splash! and I had a blast in New York City!

Kiko update: Eye 100% better!

I am so grateful! Kiko's eye is better!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Keeks continues struggling along...


This morning I woke up to find Kikos right eye black and cloudy. So I rushed to the ER.  I am hoping that its temporary and that its just from bumping into something and not the beginning of blindness.  Poor little girl.  Just recently I found out that her back legs have no joints at the ankle and I am in the process of making her braces.  *Sigh* What next?  Hehe, no mater what happens nothing will change her attitude for life! and for food!  My little crippled toothless Keeks! If she can survive Distemper she's got the will power to pull herself through ANYTHING!  Below is a video I made when I was feeling glum today, of the last time she ran a lure course. I will no longer be able to let her run like that.  Gosh she used to love chasing the lure! She gave the big dogs a run for their money. 






Friday, October 17, 2008

Playdate with Jack-Fiesta Island


Jack strikes a nobel pose. 


 Splash does her imitation of a Golden Retriever. 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chihuahua beach adventure


'No swimming today thank you very much!'



'Now that's more like it!' 

'We are determined not to have fun at the beach.'

'WTF just happened to us!'

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thank you for voting for Splash! She is one of the two semi-finalists picked to go to New York to compete for Starpet 2008 with host Montel Williams.  The event will be a fund raiser for Bideawee- an animal welfare group. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

APDT 2008 VIDEO CONTEST WINNER- all 4 categories!

Four of my videos won the 2008 Video Contest of  The Association of Pet Dog Trainers.  Check out their home page (www.apdt.com) to see my Loose Leash Walking Video and click on 'more training videos' under that video to see my other winning entries. 

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.
-william shakespeare


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kiko crate trains Max

"I'm not so sure about this..."

"I can't believe she likes it in here!"

"Actually it ain't so bad!"

Max came to stay for a couple days.  I worked on crate training with him, and Kiko helped out.  I would not advise others to put two dogs in a crate! Especially unattended! But in this case Kiko really helped Max to realize it wasn't a punishment, but a safe place to relax. 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Splash! wins Canine Runway in Las Vegas!



Splash! won Canine Runway- "The search for America's most paw-pular pooch" in Las Vegas on Sept 9th.  She was on the Las Vegas news the day before.  And was supposed to be on the news again on the 10th but there was a mix up.  Instead there was a segment on pet products, so Kiko ended up being on the news advertising a doggie car seat :)

The winnings: The cover of Dog Fancy, her face on Bamboo pet products, A years supply of Natural Balance, a year supply of NuHemp treats, 3 nights stay in Sedona Arizona at a dog friendly hotel, and a gift basket. 






We drove up from San Diego on the 15. 

















Kiko and Splash! loved staying in the lush hotel! 








Kiko got to see one of her favorite people in the world. Alex, a guy that works at South Bark Dog Wash.








Splash! enjoyed the car rides through the strip.