Strider’s goals

Aka These are all the things I want to do with him. Maybe writing them down here on the internet for other people to see will force me to follow through some more.

Herding lessons – I’d like to enter some AKC trials in the future, I have limited knowledge for this so I don’t have specific title goals

Rally (currently doing a drop in class with our friend Dani) – I’d like to get up to RAE

Agility- I want to put a MACH (Master Agility Champion) on Strider but since we haven’t been training any agility this may be a very lofty goal. Our local trainer Amy is starting classes soon so I need to figure out if she’ll have any evening classes.

CGC (starting class 3/8/17)

AKC's Canine Good Citizen logo.

Obedience (Preferred track, no out of sight group stays involved) This is pretty lofty too, I really don’t fully understand Obedience so yay making stuff up.

NACSW Nosework (entering an ORT [odor recognition test] in May in Pueblo) We take classes from our friend Jessica.

Trick dog titles( through the new AKC program starting in May) This is an extension of the DMWYD program that already exists online but makes it more recognizable

AKC scentwork (another new program that starts in the fall)

BH (a beginning level IPO/Schutzhund title that requires no bitework, see heeling pattern below) Really outside of my comfort zone but would be so cool.

 

Heeling pattern for BH

Conformation- I’m going to have my friend Kassey help us with this. I suck at it and feel overwhelmed and stressed and Strider feeds off of that. If Kassey finishes him I’ll die of shock (that tail thing again) but it would be lovely to get a few points at least.

Parkour- This is a cool program where I train and video him and submit the videos for titling. We are going to start by taking the FDSA (Fenzi Dog Sports Academy) online class next month.

We may do some Fenzi TEAM titling as well since it is online video submission with really awesome break down of obedience skills since that will help us title in other venues as well.

Non-title related goals:

Hiking- I try to make it out at least once a week.

FDSA 2017 camp- We are signed up and have a trailer spot reserved. Strider and I are going to road trip out to Oregon this June.

Daily walks to the park- currently our walks are on hold, there is some construction closing down our route right now. The rest of the neighborhood is full of fence fighting dogs make our walks perilous.

Getting his reactivity back under control- He got into it with a friend’s husky in October 2016 and we are still working through those issues. Its bled over to all nordic looking dogs and sometimes other dogs. He also has some intermittent man reactivity that is typically directed at older men or bearded men (makes little sense as Chris has a beard but whatever).

Working on his arousal levels- I suspect this is part of our reactivity stuff, fast movement pushes him over the edge sometime. He jumps and punches his human friends, its lovely.

 

 

 

A new house, a new dog, a new year oh my!

I sort of fell off the face of the earth, or at least this blog last year.

I decided to sell my condo last May and that turned into a hectic mess for a bit. First we got it all ready to go and then discovered we had some legal stuff to deal with because my dad was on the title and he had passed away and the title was held stupidly so basically that ended up taking months to get sorted. And in the mean time we had to keep the house clean and start packing to move to some unknown location. Once everything was taken care of the house sold in 3 days on the market so we were scrambling to find a place to live. Pro tip: Find a place to live early. Also probably not owning a boatload of animals would help. We ended up buying a friends house but that was also a long and drawn out process because of various financing issues. It all worked out in the end but Chris, Trixie, Strider and I ended up camping  out for about a week in various wilderness and not so wilderness areas near Fort Collins. Then we were saved by some friends and we camped out in their back yard/their office for a month in a half before we were able to move into our house, a real house with a back yard!

We are crazy and ended up adopting a sweet female rottie puppy 2 weeks after we moved into our new house. We weren’t even done with the renovations yet! I questioned my sanity for a while but Arwen is a very sweet girl and she is perfect for Chris to learn more about dog training. She is really bright and really easy to train, its nice to not have a real challenging dog.

Arwen is finishing up Smart Dog 1 with our friend Dani at Come-Play-Stay and starting a Recalls and Stays class at Summit Dog Training this week.

Trixie is starting a reactive dog class at Summit Dog Training this week.

Strider went on a hike this weekend and is currently not enrolled in any classes but that will change soon I’m sure. I may sign him up for the reactive dog class once Trixie is done. I fear her influence has left him feeling like he needs to yell at other dogs occasionally. Moving into the new house with a private back yard has helped immensely but the months in the condo with a shared open space and random strange dogs never on leash definitely didn’t help him out any.

Anyways we are getting settled in still but I’ll be better about updates on all the pups this year.

 

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Herding Instinct Test

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I wasn’t sure I was actually going to try herding with Strider. There is a lot of dog stuff to try! In some ways losing Moose young is making me branch out. I had grand plans with him but really didn’t do anything beyond agility. So when a friend shared the local herding club’s instinct test on Facebook I was interested. Luckily I’ve got Dani (with Fleet) to be my accountability buddy so we went out this morning!
Strider was really good for a puppy who had never seen stock. He has been around horses a couple times but I worked hard on him ignoring them. He barked at then in excitement and frustration at first and did a little bit of chasing and biting vs herding but once he got his brain back he did a decent job of droving. We’ll have to take some lessons! He passed with no problem.

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Dani and another nice lady videoed our run for us! Fleet is being very mad the Strider was playing with her goats in the beginning.
https://youtu.be/SSHvJv-gEL0

Strider is staying intact

I’ve been asked about this a few times recently so I thought I would explain why I am not having him neutered. I’m not a guy, and I don’t have the weird over attachment to testicles that some men-folk seem to have. I even know that testosterone is not helpful in social situations. I actually have very good reasons for my decision.

  1. Rottweilers neutered before 1 year of ages have an increased risk of developing osteosarcoma, that is bone cancer.  This link goes straight to the paper: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/11/11/1434.full
    I’ve already lost a dog very young to cancer and ostersarcoma has a much worse prognosis than lymphoma (the cancer Moose had). If I can do anything at all to reduce the risk I am going to do it.
  2. Another study in rottwielers found that female’s that kept their ovaries longer than 4 years had increased longevity. They lived longer than both males and females spayed in the first 4 years of their lives. Again here is the paper:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/j.1474-9726.2009.00513.x
    Yes Strider is a male and so this may not benefit him but again I’m hedging my bets.
  3. Then there is this study done in golden retrievers, that discusses increased risk of multiple cancers (including lymphoma) and joint/ligament issues which often require surgery to get the dog back in action.
  4. Its in the contract between my breeder and myself that I will not nueter Strider before he is 2 and I will discuss it with her first.
  5. By far the least important thing to me is Strider is showing in conformation. He cannot be neutered and show.

I am not opposed to spaying/nuetering and I do understand why it is heavily pushed. I’m just not the typical pet owner and I did a lot of research in the time I was losing a 5 year old dog to cancer. I feel comfortable with my decision as the risk of cancer is greater than the risk of Strider accidentally having access to an intact bitch at the exact right time to breed her.

Growing up

Handsome baby boy!007

I took some pictures of Strider for my cosplay for charity group. He is one of our “K-9 units” basically he comes to events, hangs out, looks handsome and draws people over so we can chat them up and try to raise money for our charity of choice. I’m not above using my puppy as a lure for this. We don’t have a ton of events in the winter so he has only gone to one huge even when he was 11 weeks old but hopefully when we get over our barky puppy nonsense that is going on he can come to a few more events. His barking seems to be a mixture of not being sure of older men and demand barking for people to pay attention to him. Either way its something we are working on and is improving. Chris works at a male dominated shop in town and I take Strider in a couple times a week to work on barking and general manners. We had no barking or excited peeing (which has happened twice at the shop because the guys love him and do big man hand loving of him) and he made friends with a little girl that was probably 6 or so and her little sister that was just starting to toddle (so maybe a year old?). I don’t have a lot of kids near me, my closest family is in Montana so its nice to get him around some kids so when I get to visit he isn’t worried about my nieces.

We are working on standing and staying standing for conformation so he got to have a play date with Fleet last week after Dani helped me. He loves Fleety and follows her around adoringly but even on a field run he checks in with me often. I’m so happy he will be old enough to enjoy some short hikes as the weather starts to warm up.

 

As far as the competitive dog world goes. Strider and Trixie are both rocking out with Nosework. There is an ORT in southern Colorado that I am considering entering them both in. Once that is passed Trixie will get to do NW competetions as she is an adult and Strider will keep working on NW training, conformation, and learning the basics for obedience and agility. We are going to a herding test on Sunday to see how Strider likes that as well. Basically we are trying a little bit of everything!

 

The big dog show

We did it and survived!

Chris had Thursday off so he came and helped me set up at the dog show. I joked saying I was starting out like a Pro-handler with my own bucket bitch. We showed in 6-9 regular classes and 6-9 sweepstakes. My friend Kassey got video and provided some serious moral support as well as explaining some of it because conformation shows are confusing.

I’ll try to break it down for my non-show friends here. Basically dog shows are a little like a tournament bracket for other sports. You start out by showing against dogs of the same breed as yours, in the same class of the same sex. Classes are generally age groups. So 6-9 months, 9-12 months, 12-18 months (sometimes? it sounds like that is an optional class that isn’t at every show) and open (which is dogs over a year basically). Ok before this gets confusing I’ll talk about what we did and try to come back to explain more as we go.

So we showed in 6-9 month dogs. Strider is a male (dog. females are bitches so they would be 6-9 bitches). There were only 2 dogs in Strider’s class, himself and an 8 month old puppy named Thalese (I probably butchered that). Thalese was clearly better trained and had a much more mature look than Strider. We struggled with showing the judge his teeth, stacking, staying standing even actually and generally gaiting. And me being a nervous freak.  But here is the video of that:

 

We took second despite how ridiculous we were. I am very happy with it. We just started training for conformation in January and I didn’t do a good job of actually training because I was so nervous and overwhelmed about the whole thing.

So I thought we showed and were done and could run away right after we left the ring but Kassey explained we needed to stay in case Thalese won overall. After you show in your class the winning dogs of each class (age group) of the same sex go back into the ring and are judged against each other. The winning dog gets Winner’s dog or Winner’s bitch. Then the winning dogs of both sexes go against each other and they take Best of Breed and Best of Opposite sex. At least that is how I understand it. Anyways if the dog that Strider went up against won we would have have to go into the ring to compete for Reserve winners(? maybe?) I don’t really understand. Anyways it didn’t happen so it doesn’t really matter for this case. I’m mostly writing it so I can remember for future shows.

 

We also enters Sweepstakes. Its set up in the same manner that regular classes are but you get money back from your entry fee if you win/place (a larger percentage if you win obviously). We didn’t do very well in the ring. I mean we took second again but Strider was very freaked out by the judge. We have a lot of work to do for desensitizing him to old men.  The judge was fabulous and didn’t push Strider at all and gave him tons of chances to let the judge approach and examine him.  And Kassey was fabulous and took video of us in the ring.

 

We were also entered in regular classes on Saturday. Strider was the only puppy in 6-9 months and the judge gave us first. I’m very pleased with how it worked out. I was freaking out because I had to go in alone but Strider wasn’t uncomfortable with this judge (also older and male) at all. He actually really liked the judge and was very cooperative and let me show his teeth. It was amazing! Because we took first we had to go back in and it was also another good experience for us. No video because Chris had to work and Kassey was showing a Great Dane in another ring at the same time Strider and I were showing.

All the rottie folks were very nice to us and made us feel welcome, tail and all. Apparently I was worried about nothing. The secretary of the local rottie club, Randi came and talked to me on Saturday and invited me to come to the carting test that is coming up. Another lady (didn’t catch her name) came up on Thursday and gave me some hints on showing teeth and holding his head. Some were great and some were a little more rough than I am willing to be but I appreciate the kindness she showed me coming up and talking to me at all!

Overall I’m calling it a learning experience and information. I have things to work on before we go back to a show but for our first time out I don’t think we did too badly. I’ve got to contact my trainer for teeth showing training (I have an idea already) and actually start working on training a stand and a stack. I think I’d rather freestack him but I will work on hand stacking as well so we can do both.

 

Getting a puppy: A rant

If you are going to buy a dog you need to go to a reputable breeder. I know you have heard it before but what does “reputable” mean?

Health Testing

The breeding stock is health tested. Every breed has issues of some sort and anyone who says they don’t is lying. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is a great place to start looking to see what health tests should be run at a minimum for each breed. This link is your friend: http://www.offa.org/breedtests.html?btnSearch=Tests+by+Breed

For example I’m a rottie girl. At a minimum they recommend evaluation for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye exam by an ophthalmologist, and cadiac exam. All of these should be done on both parents and registered with OFA/CHIC. If they aren’t done, don’t walk but run fast and far. If some are done and not others ask, you can have a conversation about this. This is a relationship not a business deal, if it seams like its headed towards transaction only territory walk away.

Breeding should be done to improve the breed not because they “love Fifi and want her babies”, not because they want to make money (ha! ask a reputable breeder the last time they made money on a litter).

Puppy Availability

You may need to be patient, it might happen that they do have a litter available just as you start looking but expect to wait. I didn’t have much of a wait for Strider (not even a full year from when I decided to start looking and I was willing to wait more than a year if needed). If you are an instant gratification kind of person please please please consider going to a rescue. Do not just run to a pet store or place that constantly has a litter available. A reputable breeder will not have a litter on the ground year round for you to impulsively purchase. They may have an older pup or two that they held back or that they chose not to place right away for one reason or another but they will not have brand new babies.

Socialization

If they let the puppy go home before 8 weeks of age run! Puppies under 8 weeks old still need their mothers and siblings to develop proper social skills. Just don’t do it. Often times they may hold onto the puppies longer than 8 weeks, up to 10-12 weeks even is pretty standard. If you are getting a 12 week old ask questions about what they do with the puppies for socialization as you have missed the critical window.

I highly recommend finding a breeder that does Puppy Culture (https://www.puppyculture.com/) .  This is a whole program that give the puppies a really awesome start and tends to result in more resilient dogs. The kind that bounce back from weird and scary situations rather than panicking or getting very nervous.

Titles

The breeding stock (aka mom and dad) should have some sort of titles. The actual parents, not the grandparents. This doesn’t mean that they will have every single title under the sun or even be a champion in the show ring. This means they do something with their dogs.  I’m more of a performance dog person, that means I look more for titles like obedience, rally, agility, or bite sport. If conformation is your gig look for someone who shows in conformation. If you want both, look for both. If you want a plain old pet still look for breeding stock with titles. Not every dog ends up being a show prospect or a performance prospect. Sometimes its silly things that make them not show prospect like too much white on their face. Sometimes its something so subtle you as a pet person won’t know the difference like too little angulation in the front shoulders. Performance dogs can be subtle structure difference or even having a soft sweet cuddle temperament rather than a go-getter attitude. The traits makes a puppy a pet quality dog rather than a show or performance quality dog are not going to matter to you if you are looking for buddy to cuddle or take on walks but it matter for improving the breed. That is why even the most focused breeding program produces both kinds of dog.

strider

Contract

The breeder should have some sort of contract you need to sign even if you are “only” getting a pet quality puppy. My contract involved titles Strider would need to be able to be used as breeding stock, health testing requirements, and a portion that said I would contact my breeder if I could not keep Strider for whatever reason so she could be involved in getting him a new home (seriously because these people care, they want to know where dogs they produced end up and will take them back even years later. I have seen it. ) It also included a health guarantee, training requirements and a few other things.  There was a slightly different contract for people who received their puppies on limited registration (ie could not be bred in the future). A good breeder will have their expectations for you as a puppy owner laid out for you. Many times spay/neuter requirements are in the contract as well. The other thing is registration, the dogs should be registered in an actual registry like AKC (American Kennel Club), UKC (United Kennel Club) or FCI (european registry) not some made up registry like Continental Kennel Club (code for puppy mill special).

 

No dog is going to be perfect but going to a good breeder hedges your bets. I chose to ignore the things I knew about selecting a good breeder and bought a puppy out of the paper and I lost him to cancer at just barely 6 years old. I consider myself very lucky that he didn’t have a terrible temperament, or worse health issues even earlier.  Instant gratification isn’t worth the loss of a beloved friend so early in life.