Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tango and the Big Blue Ball

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ballet with Teeth

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

My handsome guy Teddy

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.

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."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sparky v Teddy part II - the grudge match

Sparky the Impaler kicks Teddy the Innocent's butt again. Check out the great save Ted makes when the dog toy rips apart...

Teddy goes solo!

Teddy takes a scooter run through the autumn woods. Now that Budrow has been adopted he is once again the lone pointer.

Sparky v Teddy part 1

Sparky the Impaler beats up on Teddy the Innocent.

Bunny bunny bunny

Why did the bunny cross the road? Who knows, but it sure makes things interesting.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Saturday, October 6, 2007

PPOD 06 October

This is Teddy who has just gotten done scootering and is now trying to figure out how to get at some ducks.

Friday, October 5, 2007

PPOD 04, 05 OCT

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

PPOD 03 OCT 2007

This is Daisy. She's actually an English Pointer not a German Shorthair, but she's awfully cute.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007

PPOD - 01 October

A frog's eye view of Budrow the GSP as he swims.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

PPOD- 30 September

Teddy asleep. Is he trying to relive the past, back when he was young, free, intact?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dog training basics - setting them up for success

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.

PPOD-2 Bonus photo!

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.

Pointer Picture of the Day (PPOD) 29 Sept

Dodge and Jade were both fostered at my house for a time. I think they were sweet on each other. They spent a lot of time snuggling and just being close to each other.

Friday, September 28, 2007

PPOD 28 September - Flying Ted

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.

Too cute

Sometimes working from home is a real drag. Like when you can't just curl up beside these guys and take a nap with them.

I think I'll do a pointer picture of the day. I've got lots of them...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Other photos

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....

Boldt Castle . . .

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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Scootering Point Salubrious

Teddy and Budrow show a little bit of Point Salubrious, NY.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Budrow gets a belly rub

It looks like he has really gotten over his fear that somebody's going to whack him when he least expects it.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Budrow comes when callled and sits

Might not seem like a big deal, but it sure didn't happen when I first got him.

Dog Scooter Drag Strip

Flat pavement, wide grass verge, and enthusiastic dogs make this a great run.


This should be more exciting, but it was unplanned, so you have to imagine what it looked like.

Slightly OT- The Cat Toy, the Ceiling Fan, and the Pointer

I was playing with the dogs with a cat toy and I looked up at a ceiling fan and thought "why not?"

I've Got the ER on Speed Dial

My third scootering video. Three dogs instead of two. The title comes from the advice another dog powered sport afficianado gave me -"If you do that you'd better put the ER on speed dial!"

Zip Clips

This is essentially Scooting with Dodge and Teddy with all of the boring (slow) parts cut out.

Scooting with Dodge and Teddy

My first dog scootering video:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pointer Blogs Have Moved!

Other fosters have shown an interest in blogging their dogs, so I have set up a new central location for foster pointers in the TX/OK area.

GSP Foster Blogs GSP foster blogs

Monday, May 7, 2007

Dodge has a very sweet personality

Dodge loves to run and he loves to look for interesting smells and critters in the yard, but he also is really people friendly. Given his choice, he'll give the yard a going over, but then he's at your service.

He definitely wants to please. He'll check in with you in the yard and come if you call him (in a fenced area) but if you tell him it's OK to go play he'll do that too.

He hasn't shown much interest in fetching, but he will track the ball sometimes. Of course, real live birds and squirrels are more interesting than a nasty old ball, in his book.

As for toys, so far he has played with the tug rope, a racquet ball, and the Combat squeeky heart. He and Teddy spend just as much time just plain wrestling as they do playing with toys.

Dodge would do well as either a single dog or as a housemate with another young dog.

Dodge will be working on ....

Well, he's got a good start. He's pretty well housetrained, although he isn't perfect if he can't get outside. So he's doggie door good, but not necessarily locked up in the house good. He has engaged in a bit of counter surfing, so he can't really be left alone anyway.

However he does know "sit" and "no" and he's learning "outside" and "inside".

Although he has escaped from a yard with 4' chain link in the past, hot wire appears to be effective with him, no escapes so far.

Goals for him so far are:

  • no feet first into the water bowl - he's getting this

  • no trampling people or furniture when playing with another dog - he's getting this too

  • getting more familiar with scootering - first time was good...

  • "stay" (since he already has sit)

  • "eat your own food" (no cruising back and forth from bowl to bowl)

  • "go to bed"

  • "off" (which he kind of knows but needs a little brushing up on)

  • no counter surfing (I'm going to have to set him up and catch him for this one I think)

  • no making a break for it out the door (see above)

  • play with dog toys only - I think he's getting this one pretty well because he has started going to the toy basket when he wants to play

He definitely likes the birds and squirrels, and in general finding high ground and being lord of all he surveys. Found him on top of one of the dog houses today....

Introducing - Dodge

Wow! Dodge is tall, light, and handsome. He's working on putting on some weight right now. Dodge really likes to run, and was running himself silly all day.

Preliminary experiments show that he is a prime scootering dog ( is a good intro). So far about 2 in 8 of the pointers I have tried liked scootering, but I hooked him up with my guy and he really loved it.

I don't have pix of that yet, but I'll work on it.

Congratulations to Mark, Cindy, and Bob on their adoption of the Buddy and Steve!

Two great guys for a great family!

Friday, April 27, 2007


Well, I've been pretty busy, so I haven't been doing as much doggie school as I'd like the last few days. Last night I got a chance to work with Buddy a little bit and - ta da! - he has gotten the rudiments of "lie down". It will take a little cementing, I'm sure, but he gave me a lie down when I aksed for it. I made a big deal about it and gave him pets and a bit of peanut butter.

We're also working on "out" - as in "out of the kitchen" "out of the bathroom", and on "go outside - out the doggie door". He has definitely gotten the hang of the doggie door. It's pretty cute - he sometimes goes out paw first, but he's getting much more comfortable with the idea of pushing it open with his nose.

The only thing that keeps him from going directly out is his social nature. When he comes out of the crate he wants to say hi, check things out, etc, but I send him straight out as a matter of principal.

Once again, he's under the dog bed in the office. Maybe the closet is too big for a dog used to being in a crate - maybe it's not enough like a den, but for whatever reason, he looks pretty goofy sacked out with the big bed draped over him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Definitive proof that there is an under the bed monster!

So I really have no idea what this guy was thinking. For background, Buddy tends to get whiney when left in a crate in a different room. So, since I work from home, it's pretty easy to just move him around with me.

In my home office, instead of putting him in a crate, I put him in the open closet and just block him in with a pet gate. It has a lovely cushy memory foam bed in there, and room to really stretch out.

So I turned around from my computer expecting to see the usual sprawled out pointer, or maybe his favorite "ded dawg" pose - belly up, but no. For some reason he decide to go under the dog bed.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Buddy loves any kind of ball

You name it, racquet ball, tennis ball, even the kibble ball - he loves 'em. He does seem especially fond of tennis balls though. I showed him the basket of dog toys and he snagged the tennis ball and made a beeline for the bed. For other balls, he just hangs out with it where he found it.

I'm guessing he likes to fetch, but we'll have to wait a bit for that.

Is camo really effective?

Well, Buddy seems to think that if he gets onto the bed and then lies down next to the chocolate colored body pillow, that maybe he'll be invisible. Or maybe he thinks I'll consider him a matching accessory. I'd let him hang out on the bed and crash out with me and Teddy but they always start chewing on each other and then Teddy wants to wrestle, then its back in the crate for poor Buddy.

What a guy!

Buddy is a real charmer. Going through heartworm treatment is a real bummer for him, because he loves to snuggle - which is allowed - but he also loves to play - which is NOT allowed.

It wouldn't be so hard except Teddy, who we can charitably call energetic, really wants to have a good old rough and tumble wrestling match.

And Buddy, poor guy, wants to oblige him. So Buddy gets snuggles and belly rubs and then goes back to doggie jail.

Monday, April 16, 2007

other pointer blogs...

Marley is a lean mean fetching machine. He's fast and fun but also loves a good snuggle.

Steve is a very handsome guy with a truly mellow personality. He gets along well with other dogs and is learning appropriate household behavior.

Congratulations to Elizabeth and Sergio.

Congrats to Elizabeth and Sergio on the adoption of Daisy. Their meet and greet went well, and now Matilda and Daisy are playmates!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cheese is the answer!

Well, I think the sit thing is starting to come together for Daisy after a bit of a slow start. I found that upping the ante a bit, specifically using cheese as an inducement, helped her make better progress.

Daisy continues to be a total love hound, snuggling whenever possible, and when not snuggling, playing with the other dogs.

We still have a few instances of her choosing an inappropriate item as a chew toy, but she has really improved about that, especially with just a quiet "no" when she starts to go for the wrong thing. I still wouldn't leave her unattended for any amount of time, but she's great with her crate, so it's not going to be a problem.

She seems to be a collector, at least somebody in the household is gathering all of the dog toys and putting them in one spot that happens to be her favorite place in the living room. Maybe she's just a very neat dog.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Working on "Sit"

Well, Daisy is still pretty skittish, but she is starting to get the hang of "sit" at least some of the time. It's not smooth yet, but the training is going a little slowly because of her shy nature.

She also shows a t least a little bit of an inclination to play fetch. We have had a couple of sessions out in the yard with a raquet ball. Like all pointers, she loves to run, and will tear around the yard in circles when she is first let out into the back yard (as opposed to the dog run).

Daisy's ideal home would be with one or two quiet adults. Although she hasn't shown any problems with children, sudden noises and motions startle her. However, she has shown absolutely no signs of agression, neither with me nor with other household dogs. When frightened, she yipes and runs for cover.

I have been working on desensitizing her, and overcoming her reluctance to come when called (because she doesn't know if something bad will happen).

To try and increase her trust of humans, she has been sleeping in the bedroom.

After she goes outside, she comes back in and looks around anxiously until she finds me. If I'm in another room, she sometimes whines until I call her to let her know where I am.

As for eating, she eats in her crate, but still shows strange food behavior with the other dogs' kibble. She will slink up to an unattended bowl, snatch a few pieces in her mouth and then retreat into another room to eat the few pieces she "stole".

I have been hand feeding her outside of her crate and trying to overcome her apparent belief that she can't just walk up to a bowl and eat, but it is often tough to get her to actually eat what she is given without running away.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

By George, I think she's got it!

Wow! What a successful day with Daisy! Not only has she been 3 days without a lost carpet accident :-), today, even though I have purposely left her alone long enough to get into trouble, she has only chewed on "approved dog toys"!

She is using the outside doggie door on her own now, but is still tentative with the one between the house and the back patio.

Poor little girl is scared to death of sticks - or anything else that looks like it could be used to beat a dog. She darted into her crate and cowered against the bacl wall when I picked up a dressage whip yesterday.

She's also not too happy about thrown objects - we're working on those issues. I got her to come to me today despite the fact I was holding a piece of 2x2.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Two days and no accidents!

Wow! Two days and no indoor potty problems. Daisy really seems to have gotten good about not going in the house! She has been sleeping through the night in my bedroom, out of the crate, with no mishaps and then eagerly goes outside in the morning when I get up.

This despite the fact that the doggie door is a little challenging right now, because it startles her when it flaps in her face (like after another dog). She's still pretty shy, especially about new noises and situations. Tried to do a little clicker with her the other day, but she's scared of the clicker.

We're still working on the concept of "an approved toy" - she wants anything that's soft or stuffed. She's really a lot like a little puppy on this one - almost like she was never taught some of the basics.

Speaking of the basics, we're working on "Sit" also. She's not resistant at all, just still getting the hang of it.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Daisy loves snuggles

Daisy definitely loves snuggles. She is respectful of the household's other dogs and their space, but she can manage to squeeze her way in to collect some pets or some touching time.

Daiasy is very eager to please, but tentative about what's expected of her. Already, after just a day, she is getting more confident about the household and what she can and should do.

She loves to play, and she and Teddy have done a lot of racing around the yard.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Daisy in motion

Daisy loves to go out in the yard and play. She is currently working on learning to use the doggie door so that she can go out when she wants or needs to. Right now, she clings to being inside, but once she figures out that she can go in and out as she pleases this will probably change.

Daisy is a petite girl - probably about 40 pounds. She needs to put on a little bit of weight, but she probably won't ever top 45 pounds as a healthy weight.

Daisy is a love dog

Daisy is a bit timid at first. She's been through a lot of changes recently, but she is friendly and happy to share your company.

She may have been hit in the face in the past, because she is a bit hand shy around her head.

Daisy is working on houstraining.

Daisy loves her crate

Daisy plays in her crate, and often goes into the crate if the door is open, just to lie down and relax.

Meet Daisy!

Daisy is a gorgeous pointer, probably English, who is a super sweet, super good dog. She's a little shy at first, but she really loves human contact.

She's good with large and small dogs - she gets along with my maniac GSP Teddy, plus with my two little 15 pound dogs. She has her shots and is microchipped.

Daisy's owner got ill and couldn't take care of her any longer, so she has to find a new home. She crates very well, and will actually go in her crate just to hang out.

GSP Foster Blog v. 0.01

There's not a ton of space on the adoption page, so here's my go at blogging my foster dog - whoever he or she may be - so that people can get a good sense of the dog's personality.