Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tuesday Training Crew

A couple months ago I told you that I was finally able to reinstate the German Shepherd Dog Club's weekly training. The good news is that it's still going, despite the afternoon downpours of late. We have a few dedicated members of "The Tuesday Training Crew." And we have a couple more that show up sporadically. I'm disappointed (though not surprised) that we don't have more participants. Any ideas on how to impress upon club members that they should take advantage of this free opportunity to work their dogs and make friends?

Here are a few pictures from Tuesday nights. Don't mind the goofy chick, just look at the beautiful German shepherd.

Working automatic sits. The shirt is Teddy the Dog
and says "Come to the Bark Side." LOVE it!
Jedi's front positions are getting better. The shirt says
"Leave me alone, I'm only talking to my dog today."
Our trainer is a 5 foot tall, 75 year old woman who knows more about training
dogs than I ever will. It's amazing to see her work.


Believe it or not, it's Wordless Wednesday. One of these days the Moderator is going to give me a stern talking to about my overly wordy posts. But for now, just enjoy! Don't forget to click around below and see what others are sharing today! -- K

P.S. No rain last night, so Tuesday Training went on as planned. Yippie!


Monday, June 19, 2017

Canine Infleunza

Have you been following the news about Canine Influenza? Whether or not you have, it's a big deal here in Florida. About three weeks ago I got the following message from a training group:
“We have received reliable information from a vet in Deland that a number of dogs who attended the Deland Dog Show this past weekend have been treated in her office for canine influenza. The same vet reports that one of her patients who attended the show (a young, healthy dog) is currently being treated in Gainesville and is in critical condition. This appears to be a fast developing strain and symptoms typically develop within a few days.”
I thought "Crap! Deland is close." I've shown there before. Then reports came in that sick dogs were coming back from Perry (GA) as well. I've shown in Perry too! What people were assuming was Bordetella (kennel cough) was actually canine influenza. Even worse, this was a newer, stronger virus (H3N2, not H3N8 which has been around for a decade). Within days the University of Florida had confirmed the first 7 cases of H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus in the state of Florida. Last report I heard there were 30 confirmed cases, with dogs sick in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. There are an estimated 300+ infected dogs (suspected and treated like flu, but not confirmed through laboratory testing). A majority of these cases are either:
  1. dogs who participated in recent dog shows or
  2. dogs who live with dogs who were in shows.

The dog show community is in a panic. People have pulled out of shows in droves and some clubs have cancelled shows completely. Others clubs are taking precautions with viruscide disinfectants, judges are not handling mouths (exhibitors are showing bites instead), no public x-pens set up, vets on sight the entire show, gallons of hand sanitizer and conspicuous signage warning exhibitors about contamination.

It not just the show community that's worried either. Training clubs all across the state have closed their doors for a week or more. Households with dogs that attended the Perry and Deland shows are asked not to return until July. I know of two June Barn Hunt trials that have been cancelled. Even the 2017 DOCOF (Dog Obedience Clubs of Florida) tournament -- a super big deal that has dog teams train for months -- has been cancelled.

I've been following the news closely. Here's some of the information that I've gleaned from my reading:
  • Canine influenza viruses are relatively new viruses, so virtually all dogs are susceptible to infection because they have not built up natural immunity.

  • The dogs most at risk are those with a social lifestyle, participate in group events or housed in communal facilities. This includes boarding kennels, dog parks, day care centers, shelters, dog shows, training classes, veterinary clinics, pet stores and grooming parlors.

  • Two different canine influenza viruses have been isolated in the U.S. -- CIV H3N8 and CIV H3N2. H3N2 just recently emerged in the Chicago outbreak of 2015. This virus is of avian origin and not related to the earlier H3N8 virus, which is of equine origin. Vets are suggesting that dogs at risk be vaccinated against both viruses.

  • The H3N2 virus is HIGHLY contagious. It's spread by direct contact with an infected dog or contact with a contaminated environment or person.

  • A cough from a sick dog produces invisible virus‐containing mists. These mists can travel more than 10 feet in the air, spreading the virus and quickly contaminating everything around it.

  • The virus is hearty. It can survive in the environment (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars, leashes, toys, beds, etc.) or on people’s shoes, clothing and hands for 12 to 24 hours. However, it's easily killed by washing hands with soap and water, normal laundering of clothing and bedding, and washing bowls and toys. Take away: Wash everything and wash often.

  • Symptoms of influenza include sneezing, coughing and nasal discharge, and symptoms can last for two weeks or more. Many dogs also experience fever, decreased appetite and lethargy. More serious cases can result in pneumonia and require hospitalization.

  • It can take two to five days after infection for symptoms to appear. This means handlers and owners may expose their dog not knowing their dog has been infected. Also frustrating, some infected dogs never get sick -- yet those dogs are as contagious as the sick dogs. However, because these dogs appear to be healthy, owners have no warning to keep them away from other dogs. As for sick dogs, they may remain contagious up to a month after they recover.
Scary, isn't it? When my vet gets back from vacation I want to talk to him about the CIV vaccine. For now, I'm keeping the dogs at home (the oppressive heat and afternoon deluges help). I'll share if/when I learn anything more. Later, -- K


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Show-n-Go

K-9 Obedience Club of Jacksonville (my other dog club) holds an Obedience and Rally Show-n-Go on a regular basis.

A Show-n-Go is a practice trial. There are (unofficial) judges, ring stewards, competitors and classes. The judge scores your performance, but there are no ribbons or placements. Unlike a real trial, you can use treats, toys, praise and corrections in the ring.

The idea of a Show-n-Go is to create as much of a real trial atmosphere as possible so you and your dog can get used to being in a competition without the full stress (or entry fees) of an actual trial. It's a great way to:
  • Rehearse the full set of exercises for a trial, especially if you or your dog are new to the ring.
  • Find out what the dog will and won't do when you can't carry a treat or reward her after every exercise.
  • Cure the ring-wise dog who hates being in the ring because you've never rewarded him with food or play or a toy during a real trial.
  • Desensitize the dog who thinks judges and stewards are scary and evil.
Show-n-Gos are $5 a run, and are a small money maker for the club. The events manned by volunteers. The club offers one free run to anybody who volunteers. The club announced another Show-n-Go was being held on Saturday and RK suggested that we volunteer to:
  • Learn more about how a Rally trial works
  • Use the free run to see how Jedi and Chili perform in a different environment
  • Get feedback from someone other than our regular trainer
In a moment of false bravado I agreed. Then I spent next five days stressing myself out. Our Tuesday training has been rained out for the last month. I meant to practice regularly at home. I didn't. (Surprise!)

I waffled back and forth about taking Jedi to the Show-n-Go and possibly making a fool of myself. Eventually I put on my Big Girl Panties and . . . ended up not doing it after all. I had car trouble and rode to the training site with RK. I volunteered, but Jedi stayed at home. I put on my Big Girl Panties for nothing! I'm so bummed out. Guess I'll go play with Jedi and hope it doesn't rain again on Tuesday. -- K


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rats and More Rats

A couple weeks back I told you about Hide and Seek, our new rats. After Seek's sudden passing, we had a rough time finding another female rat. I knew Hide was lonely and didn't want her to be alone too long.

Meet Cache
Our rat hunt wasn't any easier than before. We stalked every pet store in town to no avail. Hubby kept saying we should go back to the lizard store and buy another feeder rat, but I was worried about health issues. Like I said before, I don't think feeder rats are held to the same health standards as rats intended to be pets.

I work Sundays but Hubby is off. Sometimes Hubby does crazy things when I'm at work -- like make rat tubes! Last Sunday he made a command decision. He cleaned out an old 10-gallon tank, found the corresponding screen cover and set it up in the dining room. Then he hopped on his Harley and went to the lizard store. Hubby picked out two friendly feeder rats and brought them home -- on his bike. The lizard guy felt so bad about Seek that he offered to replace her for free. He said that sometimes the feeder rats get colds (told you!) and that's probably what happened to Seek.

And Sport
Hubby set the girls up in the dining room. He wanted to quarantine the new rats in case they were sick. He said he bought a second rat "just in case one didn't make it." I told him that sounded pretty harsh, but he felt that taking a chance to live in a loving home was better than the guarantee of a short life ending in a snake's belly. So how do you argue with that?

Well, right away one rat started sneezing. I was glad that they weren't in with Hide. We watched the new rats closely. The white-faced girl had bright eyes and was very energetic, whereas the brown-faced girl looked lethargic and squinty-eyed. After 24 hours we made the decision to move the white-faced girl (now named Cache -- keeping with the hidden theme) in with Hide. They bonded right away.

I named the other girl Sport (since she rode home on a Harley Sportster) and kept a close eye on her. After three days she seemed to be doing much better and we put her in the big cage. So now we have THREE rats. They each have a distinct personality too.
Hide wants attention -- and treats!
  • Hide demands attention. She will stomp on anyone to get to the front of the cage when people walk by. She loves having head rubbed just behind her ears.
  • Cache tolerates human attention, but doesn't seek it out. She'll sit in my hand and let me stroke her back. She loves the exercise wheel. I hear her running in it day and night.
  • Sport is a loner. Hide and Cache will cuddle together on the top level, but Sport prefers to hide in the cubby at the bottom of the cage. Sport doesn't like being held either, so socializing her is more difficult. (She doesn't bite, she's just really squirmy.)
Hide is about a month older and significantly bigger than the new girls. I've already introduced her to the tube. She runs in with no problem and is calm when Jedi sniffs with her inside it. In fact, getting her to come out was more difficult than getting her in. Apparently she liked it in there. I'm going to work on socializing Cache and Sport before introducing them to the tubes.

So, we have our hands full of rodents right now and I'm loving it. Even rat-hating Hubby is coming around. I'll catch him baby-talking to the girls. And he keeps baggies in the fridge of cheese bits and vegetable scraps that he doles out when he thinks I'm not looking. Don't tell him I know, OK? I'll share more later, but for now I have to feed animals and clean cages. That's one of the drawbacks to having your own personal zoo. TTFN, -- K

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tricky Jedi

I told you about the AKC's new Trick Dog titles way back in March. Well on Saturday my other dog club hosted a trick title test. Long story short: Jedi earned his Novice Trick Dog (TKN) title! Since he has already earned his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title, he only needed to perform five tricks (instead of ten) for the evaluator. I chose the five tricks I thought he knew best:
  • Speak
  • Shake
  • Sit and Down (hand signals only)
  • Paws Up (2 paws on a step)
  • and Touch
He did them . . . and nobody thought to take a picture! I was able to pull a picture off the K-9 Obedience Club FB that someone took while we were waiting. (I cropped out our faces. I've got a bad case of "Resting Bitch Face.")

Jedi earned the title, but it wasn't an easy gimme like I had thought. First of all, these are tricks that we've only done in the living room. Performing them outside surrounded by a bunch of other dogs proved to be quite the distraction. Both Hubby and RK were there to cheer us on. I think Jedi was distracted by them add well.

The tricks become more complicated as the titles progress. Some over-achieving members tested for multiple titles on Saturday. We're not that ambitious and only tried for Novice. (Good thing too, Jedi was not at his best on Saturday.) I'd like to test for Intermediate Trick Dog eventually, but it'll take a little work. We'll have to perfect 10 new tricks from a list of 20 and I think he's only solid in about four of them. Apparently we'll also have to practice with distractions.

But Tricks will he to wait for now.  We've got our plate full with Rally, Nosework and Barn Hunt. In fact, I need to cut this short and go practice some Rally moves. Silly me, I signed up for a Fun Run (practice under test-like conditions) on Saturday, despite the fact that Tuesday Training has been rained out for a month. Am I glutton for punishment? YOU BET! -- K

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Peek-a-Boo


German shepherds are herders. Not only is it in their name, it's in their DNA. Seriously, don't get one if you like personal space! It's important for Jedi to know where I am and what I'm doing. Sometimes it's amusing (he's currently laying in the doorway of my office). Sometimes it's annoying (I can't close the bathroom door else he sits outside and whines). However, it's always comforting to know that he's there. With just a look -- this look -- I know I'll never be alone.


It's Wordless Wednesday! Click around below and see what others have to share today. -- K


Monday, June 12, 2017

Awww...Rain Again?

Pathetic Pup
Right now the weather in North Florida stinks! We've had rain nearly every afternoon for the past month. This had cancelled the last three Tuesday Night training meetings and any chance of an after work walk in the park. Jedi is bored -- and when he's bored we all suffer.

Hubby and I try to entertain him with games of Hall Ball (a fancy way of saying fetch in the house) and Monster (we crawl on the floor and growl). We also practice silly tricks and rally positions to work Jedi's brain. Despite our best efforts, Jedi is still bored. When not underfoot and whining, he likes to lay in the corner and sigh. Loudly. Jedi is not fond of rainy days. For fun, I ran his Pathetic Pup picture through a SuperPhoto filter.

How's that for an Awww... picture? It's Awww...Monday, where a group bloggers try to brighten your Monday with Awww-inspiring posts. Click around below and see what others are sharing today. A big thanks to Sandee over at Comedy Plus for hosting this hop. -- K