Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Hey there. I fell off my horse a little over a week ago and I can't do much on the physical side of things. So....it means I have some time to process some of the video I have been taking but not posting.
This one is just me and Teddy in my neighborhood, having a blast. We hit about 25 kph for the first few minutes of this run before settling down into an easier pace. It's pretty funny, because Teddy is so fast, usually adding another dog to the mix actually slows things down instead of speeds them up. I think adding Dodge, way back when, sped us up, because Dodge was a running fool too, but since then, although Tango kept up with Ted, nobody else has added a single MPH to our top speed.
If I ever find another dog who can actually keep up with and add speed, I think I will just have to keep him/her!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
All work and no play makes a blog an awfully dull place, but I managed to get a quick video of Teddy and the latest foster dog having an absolute riot. Looks like this guy is going to make a pretty good scooter dog, so be on the lookout for another scootering video soon!
BTW, the sound isn't broken, but they were pretty noisy, so after giving a little sample of the noise level, I muted it to keep the video size down and to cut down on the annoyance factor.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I am so glad I got an electronic training collar. It has made a huge difference in my life and in Teddy's. The dog LOVES to run and if he manages to get loose, he will run and run and run, disappearing for hours at a time.
However,with the e-collar, he almost always (98%)comes back either when called (no stim) or when beeped (just audible stim). I only ever have to zap him when he is really hot on the trail of something.
And don't think it's cruel, it is well worth the trade-off to him. Whenever I pick up th ecollar to put it on him, he starts to jump around and go nuts with excitement. He knows the collar means that he will get to run.
As you can see from the photos, he's having a ball. Not only does he get to run,run, run, but he also gets to go places that just wouldn't work on a leash.
I picked the SportDog 2400 - a model that has a range of 1.5 miles and is waterproof. I had a problem with the first receiver, probably because Teddy is what I call "an extreme pointer" - always going at 150% of max- but the company sent me a replacement with no hassles at all.
You can see that it looks a little more bulky than some collars, but it also has a range of a mile and a half which is a lot farther than most. With a dog who is super fast, I didn't feel comfortable going with anything that had a shorter range.
Even though Ted is kind of a little guy, weighing in at between 45 and 50 pounds (depending on his exercise level) wearing the collar doesn't seem to bother him at all.
Posted by Brady at 5:26 PM
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
This is my first German Shorthair Pointer, Thelma. Thelma was an SPCA dog. I actually got her from the Dallas SPCA when picking my cocker spaniel mix Idgie up from her spaying. It was pretty slick - they said "It'll be about 20 minutes, why don't you look around while you're waiting." Talk about a targeted adoption market - dog owner who cares enough to get the dog spayed...
I had Thelma as a member of my family for 10 years. She was a wonderful companion, watchdog, entertainer, supervisor of other dogs, and a generally all around good dog.
I had to put Thelma down in November of 2006 because she had bone cancer. It was very hard and I miss her very much. Since Thelma died, I have been fostering German Shorthair Pointers. I wasn't sure whether the things I loved about Thelma were part of her individual character or if they were part of the breed's characteristics. After having fostered several pointer, my answer is, a little of both.
The high energy intensity, focus, and enthusiasm are definitely characteristic of most pointers. The steadfast loyalty and desire to be with family is also a breed characteristic. Thelma was a very dominant dog however, and I found that this is not universal among pointers. In addition, Thelma was brave beyond measure. No one and no thing could intimidate her if she saw a threat - or prey. Not all pointers are quite as courageous. Thelm was also, unfortunately, not quite as smart as many of her breed. She wasn't an idiot dog by any means, but I have been constantly amazed by the quickness of mind that some of my fosters have displayed. On the other hand, friends used to say about Thelma, "Thank God she's pretty."
Posted by Brady at 8:03 AM
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
OOPS! Here are yesterday's and todays's pointer pictures of the day. The first one is Budrow camping out in the kayak to be sure he doesn't get left behind. The second one is Teddy chasing ducks after jumping off of the front deck of the kayak.
Budrow was reluctant to go boating at first, but as his swimming skills improved (rapidly) he became more confident and more insistent that he be included in kayak ventures.
This scene was played out many times over the summer. GSP Teddy would start out riding on the bow of the kayak. When we started to get close to ducks he would start to quiver. Finally, he wouldn't be able to stand it anymore and he would launch himself from the deck and start swimming after them.
He would swim and swim and swim, following them until they flew off. If he could spot where they landed he would strike out in that direction. Once he was either exhausted or he couldn't see them anymore, he would turn back to the kayak for a pickup. If I tried to pick him up before he felt he was done, as soon as he had his footing on the deck he would launch himself over the other side, basically treating the kayak as a stepping stone.
See Recipe for a dog-powered kayak for a brief video about this.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Teddy, eagerly awaiting his next command in a training session
Just like humans, a balanced diet and regular exercise help to keep a dog healthy, happy, and sane. Especially with the sporting breeds and working dogs, exercise and training are essential to keep that cute little puppy from turning into a large destructive monster.
A lot of the dogs that I have fostered have obviously been the products of failed attempts at training, but without exception, these dogs HAVE BEEN TRAINABLE. I know because I house trained them and taught them the basics, like sit, lie down, stay, and no.
There are some important principles to keep in mind for every dog:
- Eliminate distractions. Do initial training in the same quiet place, one dog at a time. Make sure there aren't any toys or fascinating objects to be played with or examined. Put other pets somewhere else so that the student doesn't think he has to compete for rewards. Also, take the dog out and make sure he goes to the bathroom before starting. You don't want to have to correct him for peeing on the carpet when that is not the lesson of the day.
- Keep it simple. Only teach one simple behavior at a time. Once your dog has gotten some experience with positive, successful training, you may be able to get more ambitious, but it is especially important at the beginning to get him used to the idea of training itself. He's not just learning the lesson of the day, he's learning how training works. Think of it as preschool, and keep your goals small and achievable.
- Keep it short. Just a few minutes for puppies, 10 or 15 minutes for adult dogs. Let the dog be your guide. If he gets bored, he'll stop cooperating and then it becomes a drag instead of a bonding experience. It's much better to have a few short sessions a day than to have one longer session.
- Keep it successful. Start and end the session with a "no brainer" for the dog to be sure he warms up and warms down with a positive experience. This may be as simple as calling his name and having him look at you. If that's the only thing he can do reliably, then that's where you start.
- There's no such thing as a free lunch. Many dogs have to learn the concept of rewards and at first won't draw the connection. A good rule of thumb is to not ever give out treats "for free". Even if it's just walking over to you, make sure the dog has to do something to get a treat. Once he or she knows sit, that's always a good one, especially since it will help keep him from jumping on you to try to get a snack.
- If he's not getting it, you're probably not asking right. Don't get frustrated with the dog. For example, many dogs learn sit by having their rump pushed down. Some learn sit better by having a gentle upward pressure applied to their collar with a leash. If these don't work, think about when your dog does this behavior on his own.
With one dog who had a hard time learning to sit, I had to get creative. She just didn't get it, and finally I decided to bore her into sitting. I told her "sit" and then just leaned on the wall until she got bored and sat down. Then I praised her and treated her and did it again. As I repeated this, her response time got shorter and shorter as she figured out what I wanted. This only worked because she was in a small, quiet room with no furniture, no toys, and no other dogs, so boredom was really the only possible outcome.
- Dogs are context dependent learners. For example, especially at first, if you teach your dog to sit in the den, he may only sit on command in the den. When he goes to the kitchen, he might not realize that it still applies. You'll have to show him all over again, but each different place you do it, it will be quicker. Teach him in one place and make sure he gets it for a few sessions first, then start introducing the behavior in different places. For many dogs, after getting it in a few different rooms, they generalize the behavior.
Some important exceptions are indoors vs outdoors and home vs away. It may be like starting from scratch when you make a transition like this because because to the dog, it's an entirely different universe and there are distractions everywhere.
- Be aware of how different surfaces and situations affect your dog's behavior. For example, my small dogs don't like to sit on tile and vinyl floors because they can't get a stable grip on the floor. The big dogs find it easier. Also,the little guys don't like to sit or lie down around the excitable pointers because the pointers sometimes step on them.
This is Buddy. Buddy was found heartworm positive and had to be crated most of the time while he recovered from treatment. He could be out of the crate if he was being quiet, but for a young dog, that's asking a lot. Buddy really loved balls of any sort. As soon as he'd spot one he'd pounce on it. Buddy was a typical German Shorthair Pointer in that he was sweet, affectionate, and had tons of energy. I would let him out of his crate for a while, but sooner or later he would want to play and I'd have to lock him up again.
Friday, September 28, 2007
This is one of my favorite pictures of Teddy. It pretty much sums up his enthusiatic attitude towards life - go full bore whenever possible. Here, he's playing in my back yard with foster dog Daisy who seems a bit put off by his superman act.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
We went hiking at the Mina Anthony Common Nature Center at Wellesley Island State Park. There are trails around the park and in the winter there is inexpensive cross country ski rental.
Some of the trees, like this birch, were turning, but others hadn't started yet.
Can you find the hiker in this picture?
Here's some nice color in Depauville, NY,
And some more.
And lets add in some sunset colors....
Posted by Brady at 4:46 PM
I hadn't been to Boldt Castle in a long time, so I hadn't seen any of the renovations.
There was a really big difference from the last time I saw it; I have dim memories of graffiti, boarded up rooms, broken windows and lots and lots of grime.
This is the pumphouse, where the electricity for the castle was generated. The roof had burned in a fireworks display but it has been fixed and a stone bridge connecting it with the island was erected.
The castle is very dramatic from any angle, but I thought this was a particularly impressive one.
The gardens have been planted in the same style as was originally designed for the castle.
I liked the curved glass of this window. Some of the windows have been paned with plexiglass, but this one got the real treatment.
Posted by Brady at 3:56 PM