Sunday, September 10, 2006

Athena - The Goddess of Wisdom and War ;-)

Checking in...

Well.... it has been awhile. I have been so busy with a huge project at work that I haven't had much time for much else except work, family and dogs in that order. But my lady is shaping up to be a fine dog.

I have done a lot of OB and bite building work with her (bite cloth and soft tug)and she is pretty intense at times but the OB work seems keeps her in check.

She is an awesome dog… she graduated from the crate to the bathroom about a month ago and has done very well as far as potting goes… She still chews anything in sight. Now that she is 6 months old… I am gearing up to do a little more some serious training with her

Monday, April 17, 2006

Puppies First Easter - 19 Day Old

Wow... the puppies are waking up. I can tell they can see me as they track me with there eyes and they wake up and look around if they here a loud sound. The Early Nero Stim is over and we are approaching the critical week between 21 and 28 days. It also happens to be April vacation this week so the kids are home. It will be a challenge to keep them all separate.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Observation Day 15

Well the puppies are awakening... My independent Girl started opening her eyes last Friday at 10 day... the remaining three started at 11 days and by 12 days they were all open... although they had a very glassy look about them. Yesterday their eyes seemed to brighten up. By day 12 they were all standing and bearing weight on their legs and attempting to walk... today they take several wobbly steps on there own. They don’t even try to scoot anymore.

They are getting much more aggressive during the Early Neurological Stim... in fact, all have mouthed me during different points of the stim and they are getting much harder to control because they are so wiggly and getting so big so fast. At first they were very calm for the most part... but when there eyes opened... so did other things.

I have actually seen them playing and mouthing each other. It is so cute.

I have so much more reading to do. I am currently reading the Schutzhund: Theory and Training Methods. After this is done... I have Advanced Schutzhund, Cesar's Way, Try Tracking, fun Nose work for dogs and Another Piece of the Puzzle = A lot of reading.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Questions about “The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior

Well I was relived to find out that the research in the book still hold true to this day and is practiced regularly buy trainers in the sport and working world. I also found out that it is true that a dog is destined to be a failure if raised with his mother until adulthood. The remedy to this is to keep them separate from 12 weeks until adulthood.

This does pose a challenge as I have always been the type allow my dogs (who have earned the privilege) to roam freely in my home. I do have one small male Sheba that is kenneled away from my children when the kids are home because he has shown aggression and once my trust in the dog is gone no amount of training can overcome that.

Since Marsha is my second shadow… it will be more challenging to keep the puppy and her apart after the puppy reaches 12 weeks of age. Marsha has become accustom to following me everywhere and since she is never been any trouble to have around or take with me… I haven’t seen a reason not to have her around. I actually prefer to have her around and it’s sweet, she has touched the heart of some many people that when I get calls… my friends and family always ask about her.

She did give me a swift kick to the curb when the puppies were born, but over the last couple days I have seem my girl coming back around. When she hears me grab my keys she is on my heels. She is also much calmer about letting people see the pups. The first couple days she was pretty nervous and even growled at a few people that came to see them. Now… she just lays back and loves it.

The female I call the independent one (she is the one by herself in the photo below) started opening her eyes last night. Her sister has started standing on all fours briefly. Last night when doing the Early Neurological Stimulation... the two boys were perfect, they never whimpered or struggled a bit. The independent female struggled on her back... which she never has done before and her sister struggled when flipped upside down. On all other tests the female were quiet and clam even the cold towel.

Last night I curled up with a new book, Schutzhund: Theory and Training Methods. I was happy to see the Author started the book right off by referencing, summarizing and clarifying Pfaffenbergers and Dr. Scotts research and how it impacts other sporting / working dog training.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Critique of “The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior, by Clarence Pfaffenberger

Yesterday after reading the first 85 pages of “The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior” I was not very impressed with the book. I bought it to learn about dog behavior and a significant portion of the first 85 pages where devoted to the life history of the author. Personally I think these 85 pages could have been condensed in a couple of pages and included as a forward. The experience and education of the author is useful information, but 85 pages are, in my opinion, excessive and I nearly ditched the book for a more interesting read.

The book sped up at page 87 and was so interesting I could not put it down until I was done. It was a fascinating and educational read but I have to wonder if the findings still hold true after 45 years since publication. I will have to investigate this further. My other concern is that the Author's studies were motivated by the desire to produce excellent guide dogs and although the 4 stages of critical development are true for all dog species, I suspect the test he does for guide dogs would be significantly different for other working dogs like PPD, SAR, Shcutzhund, ASR etc…

It was neat that he was able to determine that dogs that possess the natural desire to “retrieve” prove to be dogs that have the strong desire and willingness to please their owner, which is an important trait for a GD and was the single most notable test administered to indicate whether a dog would become a suitable guide dog.

It was interesting that he was able to determine that dogs that initially tested well did not go on to pass the training if they were deprived socialization after 12 weeks when the preliminary tests were concluded.

I found it disheartening that a puppy raised with its mother to adulthood could never be successfully train as a GD… I would assume that would carry over to other fields of work. Since I am keeping a puppy for training, I have to wonder if my puppy is doomed from the start just because the pup will be raised with his mother.

The author explains that a dog needs to “learn to learn” in the first 4 months and if learning and socialization are deprived during this time, the dog has almost no chance of success even as a family pet.

I have a far better understanding of linebreeding now and how genetics play a huge roll in determining the success of a dog however; even the most genetically superior dog will fail if it is not properly raised during the first 4 months. According to the book once this window is closed there is no going back and the dogs natural abilities are forever retarded.

Overall the book was great…I learned a lot about the 4 critical stages of dog development, all which occur in the first 16 weeks of life, and the things you should do with the puppy to maximize it’s learning capabilities, but I have to wonder if further research over the last 45 years has changed any of the findings in anyway?

If all the research that was discovered back in 1960 still holds true, I would highly recommend the book

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Nine Days Old

The pups are all doing about the same. One female still likes her independence but I am not sure if it is in fact independence of if it is really low drives as she is also the one that sleeps the most. I guess we'll see when it comes time for exploring.

The boys are still the big eaters, and all 4 are tolerating the Early Neurological Stimulation very well. They all seem to get the most squirmy and squawky when I tip them upside down. They handle the cold towel with little outward display of distress other then being wobblely and they are all are relaxed on their backs.

Last night I trimmed their toenails and the independent female handled it with the most grace... she squawked just a little but didn't totally fight it like the other three did.

I am getting excited for the fun playful days to come… and all the things I want to expose them to.

We took another short ride in the car yesterday and I started reading "The New Knowledge of Dog behavior". The verdict is still out on that book. I am halfway through it and so far the author, Clarence Pfaffenberger, has spent the entire time talking about his life. He has touch on Linebreeding a little... but otherwise I haven't read much about dog behavior.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Daily Observations Day 6

I have been doing early neurological stimulation and all the puppies for 3 days and they all seem to tolerate it very well. They get a bit squirmy on the cold towel but not unreasonably. They all lay on their backs very well… The first day I did this test the first born male was more squirmy and vocal then the rest but yesterday and today he was much more relaxed and quiet.

There is one female who seems to be the independent one in the group (not the female with white toe). I often find her off sleeping by herself while the other 3 stay grouped together when moms not around.

The two males eat a lot more then the ladies and they seem to stay closest to mom's belly while the girl’s frolic around mom's head and chest. They have all squirmed their way out of the closest at one point or another. I need to put up a gate ASAP.

Marsha is doing better too. At first no one except me could handle the puppies. Today anyone who came to the house was able to touch them and she didn’t seem to mind. We took a road trip today. I had to go somewhere and Marsha jumped up and met me at the door when I grabbed my keys. So I packed up the babies and off we went. I really want to socialize the crap out of them and expose them to as many noises and experiences as I can once they can see and hear. I have been vacuuming around them and they seem oblivious. I would love to find a really noisy cd with all kinds of different sounds like gun shots… horns honking… loud music… etc… When they get older I will expose them to water. Marsha hates water and I can only assume it is because she was not exposed to it. That will not be the case with the puppies.

I found a great link to some good ideas for working / sports puppy development.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Daily Observations

Momma is doing such a good job. I was a little concerned that she would not be attentive enough since she has been my right heal since she joined our family. She seldom left my side and I enjoyed having her with me. I went to Arizona for a week and the poor girl laid sulking at the door for the entire week and refused to eat. We'll I just got a sharp kick to the curb. Other then memento bathroom breaks she hasn't left their side. She is fine with me but has growled at the spectators that have come to see the babies.

I am going to keep notes on each pup so when the time comes I will choose the soundest dog for my needs.

First Born... Male. Is the largest of the 4. He immediately took to the breast and hasn't strayed far since. He is the family pig.

Second Born female (marked by a little white dot on the left rear toe and also the smallest of the 4) is a little more adventurous. She eats but also drifts off by herself. Mom gets nervous when she strays too far.

Third born female. She came out crying but didn't take to the breast right away. She eats the least of all 4 and spends the most time off by herself. She sleeps the most of all the pups too. Maybe that will develop into low drives later? We’ll see.

Forth born Male: The village crier. He came out screaming and has been the most vocal so far. He like his brother spends most of his time not far from the breast.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A very happy mom

Marsha and babies... all are doing fine.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Number 3 and 4

Number 3:Girl

Number 4: Boy

All Four: 2 boys and 2 girls:

First Born

First Born: boy

Second Born: Girl

And then there were Two:

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Momma Marsha

After much research… I AI Marsha with a beautiful male in NM. He is a two time VA and also a KKL1 like Marsha. I have no doubt that they will make a positive contribution to the GSD breed.

Here is a picture of her Sire: V Dian vom Baronenwald SZ 2018764.

His pedigree: click here

Dian and Marsha’s breeding match: Click here

Linebreeding - 5 generations
4 - 4............................................. in VA1 Ulk von Arlett
5 - 5............................................. in V Dolly von Arlett
5 - 5............................................. in VA1 Uran vom Wildsteiger Land
5 - 5............................................. in VA5 Yago vom Wildsteiger Land

I am giving all the puppies away but plan to keep one for future Schutzhund or Protection work, which is why I wanted a solid male that would improve on Marsha. I can’t wait to raise and train a puppy myself from birth.

My family has also become fascinated with the Sport of Schutzhund. They been involved in coon hunting and competition coon trials for generations... so naturally they are interested in something new. Plus you have to agree that GSD are much more suited for home companionship then ugly... coon hounds. And GSD don’t bark at all hours of the night.

We are all is so excited. I am fearful that Marsha won't have enough puppies to supply the demand for one. We are going on March 20th to have an x-ray to see how many there are. I have a feeling a few people are going to be disappointed because there just won’t be enough puppies to go around.

My Lady is turning out to be the most amazing dog. We have one neighbor that has such a vicious dog. This dog has actually launched through the picture glass window before and gone after people. The owners have been very good (so far) at keeping him on a chain which has always made me nervous because chains wear out. We have walked by this house hundreds of times and whether he is in the house or on his chain he barks viciously at us. Marsha is always relaxed but alert when we approach this house. A couple weeks ago we were on our daily walk with my two youngest children ages 3 and 5 and just as we were passing this house the owner was bringing the dog out. The dog saw us and just hit a dead run knocking his owner to the ground. I was terrified… mostly because my two kids were with me. I let Marsha go and she sprang into action. As the dog was charging us… she charged him… They faced off and he took one close look at her and headed for higher ground. As soon as I saw the other dog retreat. I called Marsha back and she came right back to my side. She regained her composure and we got the hell out of there. I saw a side to Marsha that was scary… I never knew she had so many teeth. Wow.

The owner came over after and apologized. I told him… you really need a kennel for your dog. I warned him, that there will come a day when he breaks that chain and someone is going to be seriously hurt. I could tell he knew that, but I haven’t seen any changes made.

I was so proud of her. My babies were crying because everyone around here knows this dog is an asshole and had Marsha not been there… I have no doubt he would have attacked us. He has been planning this attack for a couple years.

My sister is moving to FL… and I plan on visiting often. When she told me I immediately thought… I will have a reason to bring the kids to Disney and check out some of the clubs down there. I have heard there are several good clubs in FL.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Happy New Year 2006

I partied hard on New Years Eve and hung out with my new friend Max. He's half dobbie / rottie... not my type but we had fun. We played a tug of war a few times with one of his toys.

I gave him a kiss at midnight and he growled at me. Males... no manners.

Happy New Year

Friday, December 30, 2005

Stanta Got Chewed Up Byyyyy... Marshaaaaa

It was actually my toy so mom wasn't to upset. The month of December has been slow around here. Mom went to Jamaica for a week and left me behind. I was not particularly impressed :-(

Then the family was busy with Christmas and I have been feeling a little green (literally, but that's another story)

But, we are gearing up!!!! We’re headed to a 3 day training weekend in January and mom is busy trying to find me a mate if the vet says my health is 100% for my Feb heat.

Mom has also made some remarkable progress with Ozzy (the other dog in her life) who has had a hair across his ass since I arrived and started biting the family. It has been slow... but dang... he and I are actually bonding. His manner and respect are much improved.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Air Jordon Live!!!!

Man... I am feeling so much better now that the nasty rash is gone. Mom has been doing a lot of low impact drive building with me while I was recuperating. Toys are becoming more and exciting every day. Playing ball was inconceivable to me just a few weeks ago. Now take a look at me. I have to admit... I ROCK!

For all you critics who said I had no prey/play drive… watch this…

Air Jordon Live

Sunday, November 27, 2005

My trip to the emergency hospital

The pain in my neck got increasingly worse yesterday and was traveling down my back and sides. Mom finally distracted me with a treat and started carefully peeking through my hair at my skin. She found open seeping sores and decided after consulting the advice of her Leerburg friends that I should go to the hospital.

The DR seems to think I had a nasty reaction to the shampoo from my recent grooming for lack of any other reasonable explanation. He had to sedate me just to get a look at me and then he clipped my hair off, It's not pretty.

They gave me an injection of ketoprofen and an injection of Cefazolin, and sent us home with three prescriptions: rimadyl, Simplicef, and topical animax cream.

I hope my hair grows back real fast. It's cold here in the NE? I don’t know how this will affect our training. I’ll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Under the weather... neck injury

Mom was just getting back in the training mode after her recent loss, when I hurt my neck at the groomers. I can’t even wear a collar at this point. Mom is giving me buffered aspirin and watching me closely. If the pain worsens we are headed to the emergency room. Otherwise... I am going to the vet on Monday.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Rest in Peace J Mayhem

No training since last Thursday. Mom’s 19 year old baby brother walked into the arms of the Lord on Friday November 18th 2005. May his soul find eternal happiness!!!!! So many loved you… we will never know why you chose to leave us… your song will be sadly missed. I love you!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I've Got Grip

We are still working on building my drive, focus and grip. My prey drive has come along way from zero when I arrived in August (mom seems pleased with my progress) and my endurance is good. Mom can’t out last me. My out… is excellent!

Our major obstacle now is:

I spit the toy when the fight is over. I reengage immediately when the prey is put back into motion... but mom wants me to hold it. I'm not sure why... and I don't think she knows the reasoning behind this. I think she is going to seek advice from her Leerburg friends. Mom keeps trying this "into my arms" move. I want to fight and she wants to hug... what's up with that? Crazy Americans.

Today, after I worked the life out of mom I got to give Dad a shot. Mom's force is limited by the fact that she's a girl and she wanted Dad to put some real force into the fight.

Click on the link below to view a 15 second clip of my grip work. The heavy panting in the background isn’t me… it’s mom getting ready to drop from exhaustion. (Wimp)

Video My Grip

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Old Habits Die Hard

Two big boxes arrived for me today. One from that contained some new drive building toys, a scratch apron, DVD's for mom Julia and a new SchH1 dumbbell for me. Mom Julia bought me the SchH3 dumbbell already... but didn't realize the smaller dumbbell is used for the jumps and wall. She’s still learning.

The second box was from which contained my favorite smokehouse treats, which mom says is $15.00 cheaper for a 20oz canister of chicken tenders then the local Petco or Pet Smart. You gotta love a thrifty woman who knows the quickest way to my heart.

In spite of the new videos mom could have watched… she sat down and watched the Finks, building drive and focus again for the 3rd time. I knew then and there where this day was headed.

Armed with a new arsenal of toys... Mom gave me the choice. I was offered the ball on a string or my favorite plush squirrel. I choose the Squirrel. I was offered the Squirrel or a tug. I choose the squirrel. I was offered the squirrel and the SchH1 dumbbell... and the choice was Crystal Clear... I wanted the dumbbell. I have to admit old compulsive habits die hard.

I could tell mom was disappointed in my choice... but I’m trying. Mom says we will work some more on drive building. She doesn’t have the nerves for the whole force method, and from the other side of the leash… I appreciate that.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Building Drive and Focus

I must admit when I first arrived in the US it took several weeks for me to acclimate to my new surroundings. I arrived in heat with a urinary infection which in itself can make any dog a bit sluggish. Mom Julia was concerned that I might be depressed so she called a local animal behaviorist who suggested she bring me to a protection class. He thought the atmosphere might be familiar and help ease my anxiety.

That was the BEST advice EVER. Wow… when I saw the sleeve and suit come out… I knew my fate wasn’t doomed and my owner got a good glimpse of a happy dog. I had a grin from Ear-to-Ear that was unmistakable. This one class was the turning point in our relationship and I knew from that moment on… I was not destined to be a "just family pet". THANK THE DOGGY GODS.

My prior training was rather forceful and harsh. Prey and play drive were not encouraged in my development. Mom Julia kept introducing all these crazy round things, noisy things, flying things and would say: bring the ball, bring the Frisbee… bring… bring… bring… but I couldn’t find the dumbbell. I was looking but couldn’t find it. I was starting to think this lady was crazy… until one day it all started to make sense. First she rolled me a round thing filled with cream cheese. How could I resist that… yummy. Then she made this big fuss. I wasn’t sure exactly what I did right but as long as it wasn’t doing something wrong I wasn’t gonna argue about it. The next time she rolled the ball past me. When I got up to get it… it was like Christmas. She was hugging me and kissing me and praising me and I have to admit... I am kind of liking all this “praise and attention”

To cut a long story short… over the course of the last six weeks I learned that playing was fun and it was okay to relax. My previous owners taught me a lot fast. I have a lot to thank them for. I got my SchH3 at 2 years 4 months… but fun wasn’t a big part of it.

I think I am really starting to like the American family.

Click on the links below to view two of my driving building videos. I still have a long way to go… but I think it is starting to make a little sense.

Video One

Monday, November 07, 2005

Maine Schutzhund Trial

Finally… my owner and I attended the Maine Schutzhund Trial this weekend and although I was only a spectator (darn it)… we made some great connections in the community and mom Julia has a trip planned for us to visit Raino Fluegge’s training weekend in Canada.

Special thanks to:

Chris Harriman
Deanna Thompson (Mom Julia needs to teach her how to spell Tompson) :-)
Angie Cangiano
Judy Knapp (? )
Raino Fluegge
Rachel and Petter Haslett.

For all their help and support, especially Ranio Fluegge who let me have a real bite and gave my owner solid advice. He said I was a fine dog. (hey I knew that).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

My First Bite In 3 Months

I am Marsha von der Ernetranch. I was imported from Germany in August 2005 by my current owner, Julia Tompson. Initially I was relocated to the US to serve as a beloved family member… but after a little coaxing I have convinced my owner to give the sport of Schutzhund try. I have to say… my big brown eyes were hard for her to resist. :-)_

Vidoes of m first bite

video 1

video 2