Tag Archives: canine outward bound

Those “Graduation” Moments

This is Firkin. She used to be super reactive. If anyone listens to the Podcast…. She’s the one that snapped the long line and went Zombie style on the door I narrowly exited.

But that was then…….

THIS. Is now.

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This was outside a Starbucks in a strip mall. There’s a grocery store, a pet store, and a children’s bus stop there. No small feat!

Notice, the leash. Definitely prepared in case there’s a mistake…. But, loose from Firkin’s perspective. Not adding any negative energy. Her owner is learning to trust her ability to make good decisions.

New life for Firkin!

Good job.

Fun Pull Pics/Vids!!!

Got the pics/vids from the Fun Pull last weekend! Check it out-

Milo Making it look easy! (ok it was a warm up run, but still):

A few Shots of Mabel in Action-

Here is Mandy handling-

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And here we pull out the “Big Guns” and bring in Grandma to handle!!!!

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She LOVES her granddaughter!

And yes Mabel’s weights are super light, but……..

A. It’s about the experience, not “winning”.

B. She had double TPLO surgery about a year ago, so we think this is DAMN impressive!

Last but not least…. Bella:

Fun Pull Quick Report!

Yesterday was a BLAST at Finish Forward! They had both a Competition Pull, AND a “Fun” Pull, for dogs ad handlers with no experience. We pulled 3 of our 4 Bullies (jax is out with an injury), and they all did GREAT!!!

As we’ve said before…. Weight pull is pretty much amazing for both the dogs, and the relationship with the handler.

We will have a full report up ASAP with pics/vids.

Stay tuned!!!

In the mean time Check out Finish Forward’s Tuesday nights Weight Pull Class. Mandy is there for pretty much every one! Introduce yourself.

Oh, and…… Want you dog to pull, and don’t have the time? Give us a call…… We’ll work them out for you!

Sled/Skijor Event In Westbrook ME.

Oh yeah! Down East Sled Dog Club and the City of Westbrook are hosting a sledding/skijoring event. Its part of their Winter West Festival downtown.

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I think it’s too late to enter, but the races are scheduled to loop a golf course, so it should be super spectator friendly.

This is my second season sledding recreationaly, and I’ve only skijored twice, and I’ve never even seen one of these events, so…… I’m watching this one to get a feel for it. I plan on taking our dogs to the next one at the end of Jan!!!

I’ll keep you posted.

Dogs Are Crazy Super Fans

I like to use analogies when I learn. When I teach martial arts, I go to the analogy “well” quite a bit! I think they help everyone learn, not just me.

So, one I came up with for understanding how some problems develop in dogs, is…….

“The Super Fan!”

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None of the dog trainers that I’ve told it to, like it. Here’s why:

They see the balance of power in the human dog relationship all out of whack. The dog runs the show. The dog chooses everything. Which couch is it’s. When this obedience nonsense will be happening. When you pet them. And it goes on and on.

One dog trainer I knew, described it as the dog having YOU trained. He was fond of saying “Open the door, Monkey.”, “Pet me Monkey.”, etc, etc…… He had a million of them. And they were totally accurate. And, they were really hard to hear. I watched that dude pitch that line to a lot of people, and I never saw anyone not struggle with the implication that their dog didn’t care about them. That the relationship that they imagined with their dog didn’t exist. That their dog was a cool, economist, who was only tolerating “the Monkey” because of the payouts it was getting. It feels like they’re implying that the dog doesn’t love you at all. They seem to imply you’re being deluded into servicing this animal.

They don’t like the super fan analogy because to them, it seems, like the rock star is in control of the relationship. One trainer said to me “The rock star can walk in the room and say do this, and the fan will drop everything, and do that.” That seems right….. On the surface anyway. But if you look closer, you’ll understand my point. If a famous country singer walked into his fan club, and in all seriousness, asked them to dress and act like gangster rappers…… I bet they wouldn’t be quite so in love with him anymore. So really fans are pumped to drop everything and do what you want, IF you want something they understand, enjoy, and agree with. Sounds like most dog’s obedience, doesn’t it?

See, fans are actually fickle as hell. Many a star has kept some aspect of their lives a secret for fear they would lose all their fans. They are careful to craft their PR very carefully, just to stay in their fans good graces.

So, if we look deeply, you’ll see the analogy is quite accurate:

You want to be a rock star. So, you behave certain ways to attract fans to you. and it works, they love you. They follow you around. They stop seeing you as a person, and just start to obsess over you. They develop an unhealthy lopsided relationship with you. You have to hire security. You have to change your behavior to stay out of their site. Disguises. Avoid your favorite places. etc…. Next thing you know, they’re mailing you hate mail, and tearing out your hair when they run past.

Doesn’t sound like you’re much in control. Weird. You’re the rock star. But you do everything you do to keep your fans in love with you, all while managing the huge pain in the ass having them has become.

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Hmmmm……. Sounds like your average dog owner.

Wanted a dog for the sense of love and companionship. Get the dog, and just lather it with love and anything that may make them like you more. And it works. They love laying on top of you on the couch. And they love the way you pet them when they ask. They love how you’ll give them food if they stare at you. And, all the toys you leave out for them. And they love how you respond to their bark right away if they do it just right.

Some of them really get the obsession going, and really feel like they need to be attached to you. And you get the dogs that have separation anxiety. And, the dogs that are crazy jealous and possessive.

You end up with a dog who loves you deeply. It’s just that the relationship is not balanced or healthy for them…. Or you.

To fix it, you have to do the same thing. You have to get past the superficial part of the relationship. You have to set healthy boundaries. You have to teach them to see you as a real person. You have to develop an ACTUAL relationship.

That means learning how to really relate to them. To see and understand them for who they are, not just what they can do for you. And to teach them who you really are, so they can see you for more than just what you can do for them. You have to share experiences, and develop trust.

Maybe then, you won’t be the Beatles, you’ll just be you. And they won’t be the nutty super fan. They’ll just be them.

Maybe. you could get rid of your bodyguards, and go for a walk in the neighborhood again.

Winter Fun

Here’s a collection of photos and a short video of an outing we just did during the first big snowfall of the season.

Amanda ran with Milo (65lb APBT) and Mabel (45lb APBT) on the kicksled. And I used Bella (75lb Alapaha), and Jax (50lb APBT) on my new Ski/Sliding snowshoe things.

What a blast.

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(Jay going down!)