Tags: spca


So glad it's over...

I'm really SO glad that the CGC thing is over with. It's funny, but I didn't think that it went all that well last night. She was a bit distracted (the woman with the testing dog had treats...argh) and not paying 100% attention, but I guess she did what needed to be done.

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In other news, I'm really tired of all the rescue people up in arms over the Obama's choice for a dog. His kid has ALLERGIES so they can't just go to a shelter and bring home any dog. Most dogs at the shelter are either mutts or some really common shedding breed like labs or Golden retrievers. The only dog they were perhaps likely to find was a poodle, but they didn't seem too interested in poodles. So they got a dog from a reputable breeder who needed to rehome the little guy. What the hell is so wrong with that? Sometimes I'm embarrassed by my fellow animal welfare advocates. *smacks forehead*

It's already midterm night for class. I can't believe it's week 4 already! I'm looking forward to this being over for a bit. In another 4 weeks, I'm basically done with teaching until August. More time to relax at home with David and Dahlia!

David was really restless last night. He fell asleep on the couch while trying to do work and finally came to bed around 1am. Then he almost immediately got back up and didn't come back until almost 4am! I guess he suddenly got inspiration and ended up back in his study working all night. Good for him!

I went to bed way too late last night as well. It was after midnight when I crawled into bed. I wasn't tired for some reason and ended up starting to clean my study. Oops. lol That is the ONLY room in the apartment that is still a disaster. The living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and David's study have all been cleaned, vacuumed, things put away. The place looks freaking AWESOME. Awesome enough that I think we could soon have my folks over (though it still looks dingy, especially our living room floor which is really beaten up -- see the floor in this picture -- that's not dirty...it's clean...*sigh*). We're having some friends over this weekend, so that should be fun.

On a side note, I'm rereading Susan Kay's Phantom. God I forgot how much I love that book. *sigh*

The big day

Well, tonight's the big CGC test for Dahlia and I. She's been awesome this week. Peppy, excited, going down when I ask her to. But I expect she'll forget all of that when we get into the room and she's distracted by the smells and the new dog they're bringing in for the test. Sshe's gotten used the the instructor's hound mix who has been the "helper" dog for the past few weeks. On the bad side, that means she's going to have to remain calm in the presence of a new dog. On the good side, the dog is going to be a calm, dog-friendly dog who will basically ignore her. The instructor's hound mix is really reactive and often starts barking at the other dogs and people who come too close to him. She keeps him under great control, but he's definitely reactive (like she kept pointing out, HE would never pass the CGC).

I contacted a local training place that has an Agility for Fun class that starts on May 12 and registered us. As long as they get one more dog, the class will run and Dahlia will get a chance to try her hand at some agility. I'm looking forward to it. But I'm refusing to take it all too seriously. I just want her to have a good time.

SPCA calendar

I just found out our local SPCA is having a calendar contest and anyone can submit pictures. So of COURSE, Miss Dahlia wants to be involved. We can submit two photos, so I thought I'd pick one that was more serious and one that was more silly (you know how hard the latter is? Dahlia tends to look dignified in all her photos!). So help me out! Which do you think should be involved? Vote in the poll below the photos!

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Thanks all!

CGC class #2

We arrived far too early last night. I decided that instead of going inside the building and waiting for the other class to end that Dahlia and I would stay outside. She could wander around and sniff, explore a bit. It was just a really nice night so there was no reason to go in and disturb a class that really needs no more distractions. She did approach the dog statue again, but I wasn't quick enough with my camera. Ah well. As were wandering around, the other class came out and I, along with the guy with the GSD (Jackson), assumed that they were done. I used it as an opportunity to wander through the crowd of dogs, trying to keep Dahlia's attention on me and keeping her from trying to rush to the other dogs. She did great.

I got chatting with a couple people from that class. One woman had a fairly fearful dog who was interested in meeting Dahlia, but not interested at the same time. Poor guy was rather conflicted. Dahlia just sat there calmly, eyes trained on me most of the time. As we were talking, I discovered that the woman thought I was a volunteer at the SPCA who was there to train the dogs. I took that as a compliment. She was pretty impressed with Dahlia. It made me happy!

I also met my coworker's sister, who was there with her Jack Russell terrier. I chatted with her for a few minutes and she brought up Cesar Millan and how she'd been reading his books (apparently she missed the steam coming out of my ears at the mention of his name). GAH. When will people learn???

As we were talking, the instructor came out and called them all back in. OOPS. Jackson's guy and I looked sheepishly at each other because we both thought class was over. Oh well! We chatted for a few and he seems like a decent guy. He breeds GSD -- champions apparently too. I can't say that I've ever met a real breeder before, so it was interesting talking to him. He was also impressed with Dahlia and said she was a really nice dog.

And then their class really WAS over and it was time to head in. Class began with us just doing some review of sits, downs, and stays. Dahlia does well with those of course. We had the additional distraction of the instructor's dog tonight, who is fearful reactive (rescue dog with a bunch of issues, but she's gotten him to behave pretty well). After that we did tests 1 (dog remains calm while you shake hands with a stranger), 2 (stranger asks to pet the dog and then does), and 3 (stranger comes over, pets the dog, lifts both ears and both paws and lightly brushes the dog). Dahlia did brilliantly during all three. She only moved one time to get to the person petting her quicker. She does love being petted. But other than that, she sat nicely and didn't move. She's a good girl! I'm really not worried about that part.

We then moved on to test 4 (walking on a loose leash). Danielle (our instructor) set up the course we would be following during the CGC, which is pretty easy. Start with a sit, walk forward, take a right turn...pause...continue, take a left turn, continue, then do an about face, continue and then come to a complete stop. We did this twice (the second time I forgot to pause but that was my fault, not Dahlia's!) and both times she did really well. I found out that she does NOT have to be heeling the whole time. She can sniff and whatnot. I can also talk to her and do slight vocal and leash corrections to keep her with me. Ok THAT I think I can do. She did well enough her first time, without treats, so hopefully we can do it even better in a few weeks.

We also sort of did test 5 (walking through a crowd, which includes one dog). Danielle set this up so that two people stood at cones and kept their dog's attention on them, while one at a time the other two people did a figure 8 pattern between and around them. Dahlia and I were first in the group to stand by the cones and she did well with looking at me and not trying to go to the other dogs (even though both dogs were fearful ones -- Ruby, the Great Dane, is the type to run away, the other dog, whose name I did not catch, is reactive). Then it was our turn to weave around them in a figure 8. She did pretty well with this. She wanted to lag behind, especially on the right turns and I had to try to keep her going. Eventually she did keep up with me and started to look up to me to see where we were going. Overall, I think she did pretty well with it.

Danielle seems to think we're doing fine and Jackson's person thinks we'll pass easily. I hope they're right!

Class ended with a repeat of the first three tests and then Dahlia and I spent some time talking to Ruby's owner and working on keeping Ruby calm around me and Dahlia. Ruby actually does REALLY well with us -- she'll go right up to Dahlia and touch noses with her, sniff around her. Ruby has also started to come up to me and when she does, I offer her a treat. Apparently poor Ruby was originally the pet of her brother's friend, or something along that line. She lived the first 6 months or so of her life with a family that had three rambunctious kids that drove her nuts AND a bossy Jack Russell terrier that scared the bejesus out of her. Poor Ruby! She has a ways to go, but I think she'll get there. She did really well last night with the walking through the crowd and walking on a loose leash parts. It's the obedience commands (like sit and stay) that she has the most trouble with. I doubt she'll pass the CGC, but that's not the goal -- socialization and some training IS. Ruby's owner (I forget her name...typical dog person aren't I?) is a really good person who really cares about her dogs (she has two -- the other is an Old English bulldog).

CGC class #1

Dahlia and I had our first Canine Good Citizen class last night. We're going to the local SPCA for the class. Our instructor, a woman named Danielle, seems very positive and upbeat. I was a bit worried as I heard her talking about people walking out the door in front of their dogs in the class before, which is usually a big part of dominance-based theories, but she seemed to be very positive-based training oriented. She's been teaching classes for the SPCA for 7 years and is a certified CGC tester, so she'll be giving the test. Hopefully that will bode well!

The class has just three dogs -- a German Shepherd named Jackson who seems fairly well-behaved but possibly a little dog reactive/aggressive; a Great Dane named Ruby who actually has NOT ever had an obedience class and is a bit out of control (but is very shy and would not do well in the basic class, so she put her in ours because it was small); and Dahlia, who is...well, Dahlia.

I got a chance to see the 10 test items of the CGC in action last night (you can see what they are here). They demonstrated it with a test dog, a shepherd mix named Gordon. I THINK Dahlia can do all of this. She did very well last night. We worked on some basic sit/down/stay exercises, which are no problem for her. And we also did the first two test items (ignoring a stranger who approaches and sitting politely for petting). She did great -- didn't move a muscle on the first one and happily accepted the petting on the second. She didn't break the sit on the latter either. She just stuck her neck out to get petted.

The other thing we did was walking on a loose leash in a circle. Here she didn't quite get it at first. I think the fact that we weren't walking in a straight line threw her a bit. She eventually she got it and kept walking with me, but frankly, *I* didn't care for walking in a circle either. I couldn't keep an eye on the other dogs to keep pace with them AND keep an eye on Dahlia. Ah well. We don't have to do that in the test. But it was good practice nonetheless. We made the dogs sit and go down during the walk and she did both just fine. During the down/stay, Ruby came over and was sniffing her all over. Dahlia didn't move a muscle until Ruby stepped on her tail. LOL I was pretty impressed with her self control.

During the demonstration part, they dropped one of the crutches near to her and I got to see her reaction, which was a slight startling and then leaning forward in curiosity. She did pretty well with that, especially since she has issues with noise (the time the DVD player fell off the TV, she fled across the room and jumped up on the couch and cowered there for a bit -- it took her awhile to go anywhere near the other side of the room again).

Dahlia can do all of this. The only problem? We can't use treats during the test. If we could, I'd have no worries. But getting her to sit, down, and stay without a treat might be tough so I have to figure out SOME way to wean her from them. I'm thinking that if she just knows I do have them on me and will get one later on, she might work anyway. But we'll see!

Just what you've been wanting on a Saturday night...

That's right. More Dahlia pictures. *ducks and runs*

This morning I took Dahlia down to the SPCA to get her picture taken with Santa. I did a stupid thing though and didn't bring my camera too. Oh well. Here's the picture they got of her.


Then when we got back, we took her down to the park to run around in the snow. We got a good 5 or 6 inches of the crap on Thursday night/Friday morning, so there was a lot to run around in. She loves the snow. This is her first real winter. She came from a town in Ohio that gets about 16 inches of snow a year. We get 120, so she's NEVER seen so much snow on the ground like this! She had a blast.

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