RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: March 2016

Video: serious about their food!

Posted on

The daredevil puppies of the Shelby x Ruger Vacuum litter:

They are all serious about their food!

Boy puppies

Posted on

Finally, a boy was born! Oreck arrived as 8th puppy on March 26th at 2:11 Pacific time. Six hours and one minute after the first girl was born!  He is a little undercooked- you can just barely see in this photo that the bottom of his little pads are still pink- but he’s doing great and will soon have the dark pigment that his siblings have. He weighed 11.3 oz at birth and is already up to 15.7 oz.

3-28-16 Oreck

Hoover was born 9th, at 2:39 am. He weighed 12.4 oz at birth and has grown to 16.6 oz.

3-28-16 Hoover

The last Shelby puppy ever to be born- Kirby- arrived at 4:35 am. He weighed 13.7 oz at the time but is now the biggest puppy at 17.4 oz. The breeder put the same collar on this pup as the one I bought for Voodoo- premonition? We will see!

3-28-16 Kirby

The breeder will pick out my puppy first, from these 3 boys. That won’t happen till after they are at least 7 weeks old.  This is so the structure of the pups can be assessed and their personalities are better known. So for the next 7-8 weeks, I’ll be posting about all 3 since any of them could potentially be Voodoo.

Group B-day photo

Posted on

3-26-16 birthday group photo

First photo of Voodoo and his littermates and a very tired mom Shelby!  Giving birth to 10 pups is hard work!  I don’t know which of these are girls and which are boys, but Voodoo is in there somewhere (one of the 3 boys). I am over the moon excited!!!


Posted on

Shelby gave birth to TEN puppies last night and three of them were boys!  The birthing started about midnight my time (9pm their time) and I tried to stay up to get the “it’s a boy” message, but at about 4:30am after several girls, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  The three boys were the last 3 puppies to be born so they have a March 26th birthday. I am SOOO thrilled!! Can’t wait to see their first photo and watch them grow up! End of May will be here before we know it and Voodoo will be home!

Would you want to be your dog?

Posted on

10-1 found some burrs edited sm

I have had a number of people comment to me “When I die, I want to come back as one of your dogs!”  So it got me thinking… Would you want to be YOUR dog?

Think about your dog’s life for a moment.  Do they have an enriched life?  How often do they get to experience something new?  A new place, a new activity, a new toy, working on a new behavior?  How often each day are their brains engaged in training or problem solving (like food puzzles, or other enrichment activities)?  Novelty is enriching. Lack of novelty is boring. Doing the same things, seeing the same sights, hearing the same sounds over and over, day in and day out is not an enriched life. Zoos around the world are learning that their animals are much happier and healthier when they get enrichment in their daily life, so it seems reasonable that the same would be true of dogs.

Also consider your interactions with your dog. How much time do you spend actively engaging with your dog?  I’m not talking about being in the same room or house together, I’m talking about DOING something with your dog. Going for a walk, training, feeding, playing, grooming, etc.  Go ahead, take a moment to add it up for a typical day or week. This is the amount of time the dog gets to practice listening to you and for you to listen to the dog and learn to read their body language and other communications.

Now imagine you are dropped in a country where the language and cultural customs are completely different from your own, where you don’t know the language or what you should or shouldn’t do to keep from offending someone. Now consider that you only have as much time to work on learning the new language and skills each day as you currently spend working with your dog. How long would it take for you to be able to communicate your basic needs?  How long would it take you to become fluent and socially acceptable?  Aren’t dogs incredible in what they can master in a very short amount of time?

Now consider HOW you communicate with your dog. Consider that the person teaching you the new language and skills uses the same training methods and equivalent tools and has the same skill level as you do with your dog training. Do you look forward to those language lessons?  What happens if you make a mistake? What if the trainer assumes you understand what they wanted, even though you actually have no idea what they want?  Do you get any say or choice in what you learn or how you learn it? Do you want to be your dog?

Does your dog get routine care?  Is he kept groomed so that he doesn’t have painful hair mats or long nails that push his toe joints into unnatural positions? Is he free of fleas and ticks and internal parasites? How quickly do you notice and treat illness and injury? Are his teeth, ears, eyes, and coat kept clean? Is he a proper weight? Do you know what the proper weight looks and feels like? Is he fed a quality diet? Does he get enough exercise to be fit and healthy?  Do you want to be your dog?

How much choice does your dog have? Does your dog get to choose when to go outside? Is he a willing participant in routine care or is there only tolerance or is force involved?  Is training a two-way conversation or a dictatorship?  Does your dog have the option to say “no”?  Do you want to be your dog?

There are 168 hours in a week. If you get 8 hours of sleep (does anyone really get 8 hours of sleep?) that leaves you with 112 waking hours per week for you and your dog to occupy yourselves. Most dogs DO sleep more than humans and depending on your dog’s age or breed, might sleep a LOT more than most humans. But their active time each day should be filled with as much mentally, emotionally and physically stimulating things as possible rather than the same ol’ boring stuff.

There is a big difference between “having a dog” and being willing to live the life you are giving your dog. Is it “just a dog” to you or do you feel that your dog deserves to have the best life possible? What can you do to make your dog’s life better?


Low profile ID collar

Posted on

ID collar smI created this low profile ‘ID only’ collar for Voodoo (not intended for attaching a leash) since I’ll be using a harness on him till he masters loose leash walking. It uses a slip on ID tag from boomerang tags, a piece cut from a 10′ sample of high flex 3/4″ wide biothane (I’ll need to create new biothane lengths as he grows). And a clasp from an “elite” wrist band from

If you decide to replicate this, please use this link to get to the RoadID website (I’ll get a site credit) This would work best with an adult dog, so you don’t have to cut a new piece of biothane as the pup grows, but with a 10′ length, I think I’ll get several collars out of it before I need more. And the clasp and ID tag should last a LONG time.

The biothane is from and comes in LOTS of colors! Get it 3/4″ wide to work with the RoadID clasp. It is waterproof, flexible, and doesn’t get “stinky” like nylon.

Training for distractions

Posted on

When the floor is food:

This ClickerExpo session was actually about training horses and the title of the session refers to working with horses when they are standing on grass or hay. But it uses many of the “leave it” and “zen” type concepts that are used in dog training. This is an especially important task for Service Dogs (and therapy dogs) that might encounter dangerous but tempting items on the floor or in the environment.  It was really interesting watching horses learn these concepts without any force or corrections or intimidation, just like dogs can be taught the same concepts.

  • Animal nose targets the back of the trainer’s hand to get hand to flip over and deliver treat- this means the animal is likely to reach for the hand with a closed mouth instead of grabbing with an open mouth and slows down the food grabbing from an offered hand after a click.
  • Wait till I bring the food to you (zen) More training for “don’t grab” which is critical when working with a very large animal like a horse that has teeth that can crush hand bones. (And dog trainers think German Shepherds have “hard mouths”!)
  • Wait while I play with the treat pouch/pocket. Just because you reach for the treat does not mean a treat is coming, especially if the animal reaches for it in anticipation.
  • Wait while other animals get treats first. Helps to call each dog’s name first.
  • Leave it when something drops till told to get it.
  • Leave it with other people (just because they have treats, doesn’t mean those treats are available).
  • Wait for head up when food is tossed into a bin/bucket/dish, click when animal picks his head up and then toss next treat into container.
  • Repeat with food on floor (head up is marked with the “get it” cue)
  • “Treasure hunt walk” (random goodies placed along walking path).