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Le Adventures Log (Part 2/2)

August 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Lele: Let me continue on my adventures…

9th August (Tuesday) –  Woofy wishes, Happy 46th Birthday Singapore! Woofy ya, today is the National day which is alsoSingapore’s birthday.That explains why pappi did not wake up for work. Mummi brought me a new pressie from Doggie Wardrobe to go along with this special occasion. It’s neither fun nor squeaky, but makes me look truly a Singapore Beagle. She got me a new clothing accessory, a red/white bandana featuring the colours of the Singapore flag and the wordings “I Love Singapore”. I was happily wearing it until mummi mentioned she will NOT be bringing me along to celebrate this day with Grandma (Mummi’s Mummy) at Marina Bay Sands later in the evening. Well, Grandma had booked a hotel room there to watch the fireworks and the hotel policy stated no pets allowed…. Well, why can’t they just try to smuggle me in there? I’ll be a good gal and try not to bark at the security guards. I woofy promise!!!

Sadly, Mummi and Pappi went gai-gai (walk-walk) without me.

“Wow, yummy fireworks!”

12th August (Friday) – Mummi brought me to my 2nd therapy dog volunteer work today. We went to the Thong Teck Home for Senior Citizens this time round. There were so many ah gong (Grandpa) and ah ma (Grandma) there. They are all so nice with some wanting to pat and treat me. I had fun during the first half listening to mummi’s commands and performing tricks and hoop jumps. However, I got startled and stress out at the second half. I got frightened by a young volunteer somehow and kept woofing him away. Mummi tried to calm me down but I simply cannot hear her. Next thing, a loud sound of pots and pans came from the kitchen and I reacted panicly. Not knowing what to do, I walk into my chihuahua pawpal who shooed me away. Mummi said at that point, I’ve reach the peak of stress with my tail tuck between my legs and also refused her treats even fresh liver treats which a kind lady tried offering me. I wanted to get out of the new environment so badly that I pulled hard on my leash when it’s time to go home. I got relaxed when I’m out at the open, got a water refreshment to cool down. But the worst came, when another pawpal suddenly lunged on me fiercely. I was not hurt but mummi say my soul has flew away. She immediately carried me and comfort me. I was trembling in fear in her arms. Mummi apologised to me for having such a bad day. She said it’s nobody’s fault but hers and promised to look out for me in future volunteer work and make sure I am comfortable and relax to enjoy the experience. Mummi has learned and understand me better through this experience. Hopefully I will forgotten the bad things when I get back and see the ah gong and ah ma.

Do check out some of my pawpals at work in Therapy Dogs, Singapore Facebook Page!!!

Dog Body Language by Jean Donaldson

This is something very useful which I would like to share in my blog. I read it from a fellow blogger, Romeo and Juliet in which I agreed with her totally as quoted “Yes, when you go around pissing off the other dogs at the dog run. If other dog parents know how to tell if their dog is happy, stressed or pissed off, they’ll be able to help the dog out so the dog doesn’t take things into its own paws and get into fights or become really scared or get hurt!”

Having seen couple of fights occur in dog run include Spot the Dalmatian’s owner whom got bitten in the hand when trying to intervene the dog fight between his dog and another bull terrier. Another is an incident at Pet Mover where the pet owner of the aggressive dog was no where near in time to stop his jack russell from trying to bite the cocker spaniel whom kept avoiding the fight. It really terrified me when such things happen. It is we, pet owners responsible to ensure safety of our own dogs as well as others when they interact and socialise. Hope everyone be more insightful and understanding towards our furkids as well as protect them from unnecessary harm.

There are total 7 parts on the videos – Dog Body Language by Jean Donaldson. Below is the Part 1. Do check out the rest on Youtube.

 

Dog Body Language Part 2: Contrast Happy and Stressed

Dog Body Language Part 3: Fear

Dog Body Language Part 4: Threat

Dog Body Language Part 5: Contact Intention & Threat

Dog Body Language Part 6: Fear & Aggression

Dog Body Language Part 7: Ritualization

A Case of Misunderstanding at Dog Run

Lele went for agility practice at Bishan Dog Run yesterday. It was a great practice at the end of the day only to realise a fellow pet owner was displeased with us and voiced out his one-sided of the story instead of being detailed of what had happen at the dog run. I arrived at the dog run at the same time with the displeased pet owner. He brought his 2 terriers for a day out at the dog run. As usual, a smile greeting and I moved lele to the bench to put down my bag. I tried to get lele as calm as possible or focus on me before off-leashing her. It’s something I always do like a permission or reward for her being a good girl.

So as expected, when I release her, she get into her play mode with the terriers. The play started out excitedly with the owner’s terriers and a silky which has arrived the dog run earlier. As, I chat with my mentor / good friend on what we are going to do, the play continues. But at some point, the play went out of normal as the 3 dogs seems to be ganging up chasing lele down.

I was ignorant once when I first started going out to the dog run. Lele was once ganged up and pinned down to submissive (belly facing up, frozen and stiffen body) by a family of 3 whippets when “play” and I thought that was normal. The whole experience left me distorted at that time as I do not know is that appropriate. When we reach home, lele was found with 7 pin-size bald patch around her head and face area. This then make me recall that she did not even get to socialise during the dog run as she was constantly being pinned down meter by meter even when she tried to interact and play with other dogs.

Anyway, the displeased pet owner posted his unhappiness in one of Singapore pet forum. My reaction was fuming and blood boiled the moment I knew it and read his comments. The incident started to go through my mind and I told myself to be in his shoes and think in his point of view. Personally I felt if he is seriously interested in socialising, he can go for the smaller dog run which is just meters away since he did not see things going well at the bigger dog run which we were at. This is what I would do. Eversince what had happen to lele and the whippets family, I tried to avoid them whenever I see them which is also why I stopped going to saturday morning dog run to meet up lele pawpals. But going deeper, I do not know whether he saw the fear and stress in Lele when she was being chased down by his dogs. I left him a lengthy reply and hope that he can see what I saw and like I mentioned in my reply, a mistaken misunderstanding.

This is where it all started.

My Lele is Growing Up (Part 2/2)

May 13, 2011 4 comments

I’ve mentioned on lele’s negative behavior on part 1 of the post. Let me sing her praises as she has fine-tuned to a very interesting doggie recently. Since after her heat and the smooth recovery of her tail injury, lele’s appetite has grown so such that she just can’t get enough of her treats (even for kibbles). Our whole family has also realised her change as she behaved like a famished dog constantly seeking food opportunities with any member of the family. Not as if we’ve ill-treated her but she got her standard 2 meals a day consist of raw dehydrated lamb in the morning and home cooked food (Fish and Sweet Potatoes) in the evening. We probably thinks she is at the “puberty” growth stage right now. But acting like a straving dog, I realise my training with her has been smooth sailing. Her currency or motivator at the moment is food. I’m trying and learning to phrase out the treats and introduce toys as time goes.

Lele is undergoing competitive agility training right now. Being a beagle with hunting instincts in her blood and her nose as the boss, she can be really stubborn and inattentive. Although lele has completed her obedience training, I felt there is something amiss that I cannot catch hold of her.

Frankly speaking, after going through tons of training videos on Youtube, I finally came across Dr Ian Dunbar training videos. He was an enlightenment in redirecting my standpoint in dog training thru a 360 degree view. Rather than wanting our dog to do what we want them to do in our perspective, why not try looking into their dog eye view.

Lesson 1. Getting her attention – Lele has always been pulling her leash during walks, getting very excited when she sees her buddies, sniffing when not suppose to, no responses in recalling…… But after watching a video on Active Attention – SIRIUS Adult Dog Training, I was speechless. It’s a simple technique to get eye contact and attentiveness from the dog. I remember my first few training with lele, it was quite disheartening. Probably due to my previous techniques constantly “luring” lele to watch me, she did not get to understand the game at all. The first time, I have to stand there like 5 mins with my back facing her and she just simply lie down on the floor looking at my back (feedback from my MIL who is watching). It was even hilarious when she pull the leash and try to went off sniffing with me standing firm on the ground. Subsequently after the 8 mins. She walked to my side and took a peek at me. That’s when I wildly praise her and the training has start to progress. In additional, I learned from the videos by a fellow beagle owner in putting treats in my mouth. I know it may sound yucky but it works by making lele looking up at me. Now I’ve stop doing that but every time I treat her from my hand, I will move the treats to my lips and give it to her. This makes her assume that the treats come out from my mouth and she will stare at me constantly.

Lesson 2. Convert distractions into her rewards – Lele is on a martingale collar. Hence every time we go for walks, she will pull and choke herself even when I’m standing still. As I learned to get her attention, the moment we step out of the house, everything is to be in a calm manner and look at mummi. With the treats packed for the walk, she is rewarded for walking nicely beside mummi and also looking up. But there’s no way we can constantly do that during walks, where’s all the fun then. Since her favourite activity is sniffing and exploring, she gets what she wants BUT only when mummi gives “go sniff” command. Initially when we reach the void deck of our flat, she will start her frenzy sniffing. Since I expected thats what she’s going to do, I made her sit first. Once she looks at me (took around 2mins the first time), I gave her wild praises and then the go sniff command to let her have her fun. Our first “new” walk took me 45 mins with almost 30 mins on sniffing and 15mins of walking nicely and stopping to wait for her eye contact. Now she has made vast improvements on her walk and really make me very proud of her. I used to stop the moment she pulls her leash and “lure” her to watch but now she knows the game and every walk seems so much easier and relax. Just let Dr Ian Dunbar mentioned, let the dog thinks they are training the owner. Just like lele now, look at you means you give me treats. LOL.. it works very well with my MIL. Her heart just gives in when lele shows the “Puss in Boots (Shrek)” eyes.

Lesson 3. Training is all about fun – I used to have a stance when I train lele, whichever is on tricks or basic obedience. I have a tendency to rush for results and hoping for quick end products for the tricks. I realised lele hardly wags her tail when doing training with me. Does it means she’s not enjoying herself with me? I guess so. As I browse through the net and some facebook references from friends, 3 other trainers came across whom are Zak george, Silvia Trkman and Barby (Xsara and Tani). I read through their website and watch their amazing videos and all concludes similar teaching. Training is to let owners and our dogs have fun as well as develop their learning skills and awareness of their body. Training and learning is also to resolve bad behaviors from our dogs. Lele do not knows what the end results I want. But she knows that she is learning always. As I start to change my viewpoint and make training short and fun for lele, I can see her changes and bonding with me. Her recalls have also improve slightly and now I also get to see her wagging tail which always bring a smile to my face.

Training may be a tedious journey and a continuous effort. But the fun and fulfilling feeling when lele is able to perform and listens when ask to is just overwhelming. I enjoy training a lot and I love to see lele’s looks trying to figure what I ask her to do. The moment she gets it, she will get her food rewards and an after class playtime with mummi. 🙂

There is no bad or aggressive or un-trainable dogs, only lazy owners.

 

One of lele’s training videos – Lele Beagle Heeling  (*Sorry for the shaky video*)

My Lele is Growing Up (Part 1/2)

May 7, 2011 2 comments

Lele had been a different dog since the heat. Me and CS are quite puzzled by her sudden change of character and behavior. The change have both positive and negative effects. Wondering if this is because lele is entering to adulthood soon, therefore she is starting to get wary about the surrounding. I guess my lele is growing up and big girl now. Mummi is getting to know lele once again.

Negative behavior

1) Increasing in barking frequency– Le le gets quite paranoid with surrounding nowadays whenever we are out for walks or even at home. She used to whine and wag her tail when she see strangers. But now she tends to bark at strangers (those she don’t like) and had her tail between legs. One such incident is when walking down the stairs. If steps are heard from someone walking down, she will bark and lunge forward once sighted. I usually get to hear her bark like only once a fortnight. Now I can hear it like few times a week.

Mummi’s reinforcement: I prepared a bunch of treats every time we go out for walks. If she barks, I will immediately tighten the leash and try to get in front of her view. At the same time trying to get her to sit or down with the treats in my hand. I will immediately praise her and treat her if she looks at me or keep quiet. If she trys to lunge forward to the person, I usually uses my voice “ackkk…. + No”. The moment she stop I give her a treat and praise her. As the other person is walking pass us, I will try to constantly get her attention and treat treat treat + praise praise praise. And stop until the person is distance away from us. Then I will ask her to heel about 2-3 steps and then “free” her to go sniff (favourite activity when outside).

2) Growling – Aggression over food and toys – Lele for the first time growl at me during her dinner time when I tried to put my hand in her food bowl. (That day lele was served a special delicious dinner.) I got startled and suddenly felt so vulnerable. (No matter how, lele still have fangs that can puncture my hand.) It actually break the trust between me and lele. I felt angry and frightened at the same time when I tried to go near her food the 2nd time. And she growled at me again. I know I cannot let this behavior go on without correcting her.

Mummi’s reinforcement: I have no idea what to do as this is the first time experiencing such behavior head-on. I scolded her very loudly “No” and tell her I feed her not taking her food. Next , I stroked her head and talk to her nicely. Afterwhich, I just push my hand into the bowl (closing my eyes and praying she won’t  bite). Immediately I grab a piece of her food and feed it to her muzzle. And I go on and on until dinner is finished. It was a heart-stopping moment. The reason I do it is more of an impulsive action. Well, this is not the first time I’ve been reaching into lele’s bowl, I almost do it everyday once on either meal time which no aftermath. Somehow to think back as in putting my hand in with gut feeling is stupidity.

So I went to check for the appropriate reinforcement online and came across a video, Doggy’s Dinnertime – SIRIUS Puppy Training Classic by my favourite dog trainer Dr Ian Dunbar. At least now I know the correct method to reinforce so to ensure my safety in future, should it happen again.

***

As for toys, it have been a while since lele last socialised. She don’t like other dogs to snatch toys from her when out at the dog run. Most of the time she will try to get her toy back by knocking on other dogs or being sneaky when the dogs drop the toy. There is a couple of times that she growl at other dogs who tried to take her ball. I will simply stepped in, take the toy and tell her “No”. Subesequently I will keep the toy to avoid unnecessary conflicts between the dogs.

So these are the negative behaviors lele has been showing. I like to share my experiences so that others will take note especially not repeating my insensible actions. My actions may not work for your furkids but at least to understand the importance to teach and correct them when their behaviors are inappropriate. We do not want them to get hurt or hurting other people resulting to a point of no return.

Next up will be the positive actions she has been surprising me!!!

“I’m watching you. Do not come near my poof…”