Puppy Proofing

Preparing for Puppy May 13, 2013 One of the puppy homes suggested that I talk about puppy proofing a home. This blog post could go on for a LONG time, but I will try to boil it down to a couple of simple bits of advice. In my experience, Vizsla puppies love dirty socks, dirty underwear, toilet paper, paper towels, glasses (eye glasses and sun glasses), lip gloss, chapstick, lipstick, stuffed toys of all kinds, and soft plastic anything. Children’s toys must be placed high on shelves or closed away when not being used. When you come home from the store DO NOT put your paper towels and toilet paper packages within reach. They will instantly be transformed into tiny bits of paper. Close y

Puppy Evaluations

Puppy EvaluationsMay 4, 2013 I often get asked about how I evaluate puppies and line them up with their forever homes. Evaluation begins the instant the puppies are born, but it’s nearly impossible for one person to have a clear, unbiased view of a dog’s many traits. It takes a team of people to assess various traits - structure, temperament, trainability, birdiness, prey drive, etc. I prefer to have people that specialize in these areas help me make the final list of qualities associated with each puppy. Homes that plan to hunt with their dogs will need a high-drive, birdy dog. Families with older kids need a quieter attitude (I will not sell Vizsla puppies to homes with young children

Food vs. Toy Motivation

Reprinted from April 10, 2013 I have been listening to DVDs and reading quite a bit on motivation in dog training. In agility, it’s much easier to motivate dogs with lots of drive. "Drive" is a combination of extreme passion, intensity, speed and focus (think Border Collie herding sheep or a Parson Russell Terrier intent on chasing a ball). On a scale of “drive” from one to ten, I think Vizslas are somewhere in the 5 - 8 range depending on the dog. They can be extremely intense and are capable of running very fast, especially when out in the hunt field, but they don’t have a hard core tug on toys and they don’t insanely chase and retrieve balls. They are rather selective in their intens

It's Not What you Say, It's What you Do

Reprinted from April 4, 2013 Back to the topic about dog training. Since my last entry, I have run across a couple of articles/e-books that are well written. Here is an e-book that gets into details about dog training concepts (rogerabrantes.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/the-20-principles-all-animal-trainers-must-know/). It may be more than you wanted to read, but it’s free and you might pick up a few new ideas. Another great read to inspire your training is on a recent Susan Garrett post called How Good is your Glue (susangarrettdogagility.com/2012/03/how-good-is-your-glue/)? She has written a number of blog entries on her DASH system of training, so keep that one bookmarked, or sign up for her

Do Dogs Understand Words?

Reprint of blog posted March 30, 2013 In my last entry, I mentioned that I observed an obedience class recently and I was very disappointed with the method of training being taught. The list of issues is long, so I want to address them one at a time. Today, my topic is the choice of commands used in training dogs. OK, I will concede that this particular class was being given to basic average pet homes, so the instructor needed to keep it simple. However, should any of those dog/handler teams wish to go on with their dog’s performance career, well, they pretty much messed it up from the start. Let me just say up front that based on my own experience, I’m convinced that dogs don’t understa

More on Training Methods

Reprinted from March 22, 2013 OK, so in my previous entry, I started to talk about dog training. I recently watched a local obedience training class and I wanted to jump in and grab the instructor and shake him/her up and rescue the dogs from his/her outdated training style. Choke chains, pinch collars, popping the lead, shouting commands, luring - and dogs that predictably looked worried, weren’t interested in the treats, and were more interested in the dog on the other side of the room than in their owners. The owners didn’t look happy either. It was total chaos. How can anyone enjoy learning in that environment? Dog owners need to be more careful when picking their trainers! There ar

Reflections of an old school dog trainer

Reprinted from March 18, 2013 (slightly modified) I’ve been around awhile. I have spent many years training horses and dogs. I’ve been around since the days of dominating your dog, jerking the lead for corrections, using shock collars, etc. It’s quite sad now to read the old style hunt training and obedience training books. Most of the old books leave me wondering how anyone could have thought those methods were acceptable, but that was a different era. I’m happy to say, those are days long past - nowadays, there are many more positive options for training any animal. It seems like every year there is a new popular trainer on the scene selling books, DVD’s, seminars and on-line training

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