Archive for October, 2011

Tribute to my Best Friend, Eclipse

Windsong’s Ecliptic Phenomenon CD, WC, JH
8/20/1996 to 10/1/2011

Eclipse was a great dog. She was so special that a client once offer me $1000.00 for her. But she wasn’t always a good girl.

Eclipse at 8 weeks

In fact the first 2 years of her life she ran wild. You see someone else was in charge of raising and training her. He tried, but he wasn’t a dog trainer. I decided to take over after it took me 20 minutes to get her to come. Once I took over she learned very quickly and became a fantastic working partner.

Doing What She Loved

She could hold a sit stay for as long as I needed her to. She amazed people because, I would put her in a sit stay in a client’s home, run outside to my van, come back in and she would still be in a stay. Believe it or not I still have the stuffed alligator toy that Eclipse won for placing 2nd place at an AKC obedience trial back when she was 3 years old. She loved that toy. If I said go find your alligator she would run around until she found it.
Eclipse had a charmed life. Not too many dogs get to go to work with Mom. The best part was that it was her job to play with other dogs. She was my distraction. In the last 11 years I couldn’t even start to think about how many dogs she has helped train.

Eclipse Giving a Helping Hand

She would stay in the van and sleep until it was time for her to do her job. I could leave the windows open on the vehicle and she would stay for hours if I needed her to. (But, never on hot days or if it was too cold.) Sometimes while waiting for me she would sneak into the driver’s seat waiting for my return, but most of the time you never knew she was even in the vehicle. I did teach her a trick for her and my safety and that was guard my Van. I was always afraid that someone might try to steal her, so I taught her guard or no guard. If ever I went into areas that had a higher potential of cars being stolen. I would say guard my van. I know she wouldn’t have done anything, however she sounded like a ferocious watch dog. Otherwise I would say no guard and once again. You would never know that she was there.
Now there were times that Eclipse wasn’t the brightest dog. Whenever I would work with dogs that were dog aggressive and the dog would be growling at her. Well Eclipse thought that they wanted to play. She would bounce around trying to get them to play with her. Once she even tried to play with Coyotes. They weren’t in any mood to play and she quickly ran back to Mom. Actually she raced back . Yet she also had a calming nature about herself. Whenever a dog came into bootcamp, she was the welcoming committee. She just had a knack for making the dog feel at home.
Many clients remember Eclipse at our once a month maintenance class. She would hold a sit stay while Mom was running the class, but once class was done. She would go up to every person to say hello. Since she loved her bumper (retrieving toy) she would carrying it around and tease people with it. She would walk around to everybody holding her bumper challenging them to take it from her. We used to have pizza at class and she always managed to get a few crusts. I eventually had to tell people to stop as this always made her sick. I actually think she was upset. After all that was the best part of class.
In some ways Eclipse was a celebrity. She had been on TV several times, been in numerous radio stations and of course a star on my training DVD.

The Movie Star

If you count all the times that she got to play with celebrities dogs. Well I probably could have let her have her own fan club. The problem is all that attention might have gone to her head.
Well this was Eclipse’s public life. Her private life was just as special.

Playing Tug of War With Gareth

She liked lying down by my feet while I was working on the computer. If I went outside she always wanted to go with me. I think she was hoping I would throw her bumper or take her for a walk. She loved her walks. Even in the last year when she no longer could go very far, she got to go at least around the block. Of course she was a fantastic retriever and loved to swim. If I brought out a bumper she would perk up like a puppy and would race out to pick it up. I knew it was getting close to the end when last week she ran out to the bumper, but never picked it up.

Eclipse

In the last 2 years poor Eclipse has been battling cancer. She had a tumor on the inside of her right front leg by the elbow. I had it removed 3 times. She was 14 years old the last time it was removed and unfortunately within a month it started to grow back. It was decided to let it alone as the last surgery took so much out of her. She made it to 15 years old and for this I am grateful. She will be missed by many. I know it will take me some time to stop looking for her on her favorite dog bed, however; I know she is running in the fields of Heaven chasing bumpers and being happy.

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October 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm 5 comments

Biting and Growling Jack Russell Terrier

Mayo is an English Jack Russell. He is 6 months old and has already snapped at 2 people. He often growls when someone goes to pick him up and he might growl if you try to take something away from him. The scary part is that he growls at the 2 little girls that he shares his life with. On the other hand he is adorable.

Mayo showing off the Fall Colors

Mayo showing off the Fall Colors

Loves to play games with the family and is very happy. The good part is that Mayo’s family is awesome. In fact I would hate to see if anyone else had him as I am sure he could be a big problem.

When he was very young around 10 weeks old, they hired me to do a puppy consultation. Mayo or should I say the family were shown how to teach him to walk on a loose leash, sit, sit-stay, down and come. The family really got on board and practiced all exercises. They were also very good at putting in place the suggested structures. Unfortunately, four weeks later I received a call that Mayo was starting to growl, so I went back. Upon arriving I was quite impressed that the family were practicing all the obedience exercises. In that regards he was doing great. The problem arose when one of the little girls went to pick him up. He would growl. So I told them about time out and discussed several other options. I also went over the calming or settle command.

The puppy is now 6 months old and is a little better, but will still occasionally growl. On top of it he tried to bite 2 people and is still struggling with housebreaking. So he went off to Bonny’s bootcamp.

When I went to pick him up, I could see he was very nervous about me being in his house. He would run around playing with his toys, but would always keep one eye on me. To be honest allot of his aggressive behavior is based on fear. Once again when a dog is afraid they will either flee or fight. Jack Russells for the most part don’t flee.

Once I got him home he wanted to attack and bite my dogs. Even my 15 year old Labrador Retriever (Eclipse). So I spent a good half hour acclimating him to my 3 dogs. He finally was okay with them, but still cautious. The funny part is that despite the fact that after several meetings and accepting them. When I let him outside at night in the dark. He once again tried to bite my dogs. Don’t think little kids are the only ones who think that there are boogie men in the closet.

I spent the first 2 days improving his obedience skills. I also worked on teaching him to ring the bell to go outside. The next step was socializing him by taking him places. Our first field trip was to Pet Supplies plus in Royal Oak.

Who is faster a Turtle or a Jack Russell?

Who is faster a Turtle or a Jack Russell?

He did great with the obedience exercises in this distractive environment, but we were also there to socialize him. So I started having everyone give him cookies. The good part is that he would run up to people to take the cookies, but as even one of the staff noted. “That he seemed very nervous.” I kept the visit very short as I didn’t want to stress him out. The next day I took him again to the store and now he felt very comfortable and greeted many people. The next trip was downtown Rochester and once again he was nervous. It wasn’t hard to have people give him cookies as he is so cute. After a while he relaxed and stopped trying to bark at everything that he perceived as fearful. The more I take him around people the more relaxed he gets.

Upon one of the visits to the pet stores we were faced with his aggressive reactions to other dogs. A dog came over to say hello and he tried to attack the dog. So off we went to get him socialized around other dogs. He seems very comfortable being around little dogs his own size as he can try to dominate them. Bigger dogs make him nervous. He is making progress. To be honest in the beginning he wouldn’t even play with my dogs.

Mayo with Coco and Bella a foster dog

Mayo with Coco and Bella a foster dog

His first friend was a more submissive Golden Retriever named Coco. He did try to snap at her first and after corrected quickly warmed up to her. Mayo and Coco now play very nicely together.

I have 2 more days with her. I plan to continue to socialize her and to work on some of her other issues. Such as when she has something in her mouth and you go to take it away from her. She will growl. Housebreaking is another. Yesterday she actually ran to the bell. Rang it and as soon as I took her outside she peed for quite some time. Of course the hardest part is when she goes home, but I have full confidence that his family will follow through

October 2, 2011 at 11:07 am 1 comment


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