Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Homeschool Your Puppy

I have a book!  You can get it at Lulu under the title Homeschool Your Puppy, subtitle With Mary Belle Brazil-Adelman's Optimum Placement Technique.  Happy reading!  Enjoy the cute puppy pictures courtesy Kimberlite German Shepherds!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bar-Mill Tales of Hoffman -- Pictures

 Dustin, leash-free profile...
 ...and expression shot.
 At a dog show at ten months, where the light was rather low.
 Second leg of his HSAs, High in Trial, 97.

 Third leg of his HSAs, High in Trial, 97.5.
We started young.  Here he's about five months old.

His full name and title roster is IntCH (IABCA) Bar-Mill Tales of Hoffman BN RA HT PT HSAs TC CGC, OFA H&E, cardiac tested.   He is at stud to approved bitches, eye exam and brucella test required, fee by private contract.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Safety Alert

Every summer I recieve a half-dozen emails, facebook posts, and news alerts telling me to make sure I never leave my dog in The Magical Dog Oven, the car.  Here's the truth: if the car is in the shade and is open, the dog is fine.  If the car is closed and there isn't sufficient ventilation for the dog's evaporative cooling system to work (panting, slobbering, and sweating out his pads, doesn't work if the humidity in the car reaches 100%), then the dog will bake.  If the car is open but the dog is left too long and dehydrates, the dog will bake.  Got it?

However, nobody seems to be giving the following alert: PICKUP TRUCKS ARE DANGEROUS TO DOGS.  I watched someone hauling a big black dog in the back of one yesterday, down the highway at 70 miles an hour in the sun.  Yeah.  There are a few things to think about here.

1) Dogs fall out.  One sharp turn or slammed-on brakes when the dog isn't expecting it and he's out of there.  If he's tied, he could be dragged or his neck snapped.

2) Dogs get thrown out.  You hit something and stop, he keeps going at your original speed.  If he's tied, see #1.

3) Dogs jump out.  Something interesting?  He may go after it.  You drive in the sun long enough that your truck bed could bake cookies solar-oven style?  He's out of there.

4)  Remember that point in #3 about baking cookies?  Baking paws.  Ever sat down on a truck bed while wearing shorts?  Ever crawled around on one on your hands and knees in the dead of summer?  Evaporative cooling works until the dog gets dehydrated, but he's still horribly uncomfortable.  I saw a man at a gas station once with the shepherd he'd put in the back of his truck.  He had her on a bed of ice and was shoveling more onto her head while she licked at a heap of it.  She looked miserable and so did he; I hope she made it, and I hope after that he kept her in the air conditioned part of the vehicle instead.  It's insanely hot on the bed of a pickup truck.

If you absolutely must haul your dog in your pickup bed, use your head.  The dog should be in a crate.  The crate should be tied down securely to the frame of the truck.  The crate should have shade over it, and that shade should also cover a good area of the bed around it.  And there should be a water bucket, ideally full of both water and ice.  Got that?  Secure against bumps, jolts, interesting things, and heat.  Then your dog won't be a victim on the highway.

Post, share, whatever it takes to get the word out.  Please!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Upcoming SAR Workshop

  Sun Treader Training presents

“My Dog Could Do That” Search And Rescue (SAR) Workshop
You’ve always wanted to try SAR; you’ve always wanted to know whether your dog could do it.  Let’s learn to find some people!

  • REAL training exercises
  • REAL retired SAR handler and training officer
  • REAL thorns and poison ivy (really!)
May 18, 2013, 8 am to approximately 2 pm, lunch break for tailgate picnic.  Session will include basic training for dogs in using air scent and for humans in understanding it.  Not sure what air scent is?  We’ll cover that, too.  Cost is $45; maximum enrollment 10 dog/handler pairs.

No previous experience in SAR required; dogs must have solid off-leash recall and be friendly toward people.  All breeds welcome.  Call 678-642-9303 or email ms.e.tracy@gmail.com for more information.  Event will be halted or postponed in case of strong winds or lightning.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Price List

The basic six-lesson plan doesn't seem to be suiting anyone much.  I'll still offer it, as it's a great path to a dog trained to do whatever you like, but most people seem to want a dog that comes when he's called, walks on a leash without being a complete menace, stands still on request, and sits when told.  That's all in Lesson 1 (compare that to your other puppy classes!)  Also, this area seems to need a few services that aren't currently being provided, or at least aren't easy to find.  So, here's the new system and costs:

Six lessons, $200.  Will cover the fundamentals of pretty much every dog sport and dog job.   Dogs are dogs; that's about 30 basic concepts.  Yes, you have to practice at home.  Lessons last around an hour.

One lesson, $50.  Will cover bonding, coming when called, walking with the human, standing still, and sitting.  Yes, you still have to practice at home.  Lessons last around an hour.

Consultation, $25.  If you're uncertain of your puppy or adult dog's ability to be trained or to meet the physical demands of the training you're hoping to do, I'm happy to have a look at him or her.  It may be that the dog is trainable, but not by me, and I'll be honest with you about it.  This will probably take about half an hour.

Puppy-Raiser's Checklist, $25.  If you're about to whelp a litter and want to raise the best puppies possible, we'll discuss nutrition, socialization, early training, and the Superdog system in the puppies' first eight weeks.

Pre-breeding Checklist, $25.  Thinking about breeding Soozy Floozy for the first time?  We'll discuss whether you, your wallet, your dog, and your puppies are likely to survive the experience and go over a checklist of necessary health tests and other preparations.  (Free hint: if you think that fee is too much money, you're not ready for puppies.  Doing it right costs!  Doing it wrong may cost more!)

The above puppy is Piglet.  She was rescued from an intersection some months ago and is a mostly good girl.  Her worst habit is draining the water dish no matter how much is in it, with certain inevitable consequences about 20 minutes later.  She is available to the right sort of permanent home.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Current projects

Dustin the German Shepherd Dog is currently polishing his routine for his Companion Dog title and for the optional Graduate Novice class.  His reward for the strict and rather dull Obedience is a brisk few moments of Rally-style moves, backward and loopy and pivoting and all sorts of fun things.  Occasionally we tango a few steps.  Part of polishing obedience is working places other than the yard, so you may see us out and about.

Bronwyn the Unregistered is working on Rally Novice moves and on coming when called.  Being contrary to most dogs, she is brilliant in an obedience-class setting and a stinker at home; no "But she did it perfectly in my living room!" with this one!

Bruce, also unregistered, is working on more fundamental things.  He was born wild and still learning to cope with a world of humans, so I am shaping his ability to walk on a leash in public places with carefully timed "Good!" on a gradually more demanding basis.  This works pretty well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Information on Sun Treader Puppy Training

Sun Treader Puppy Training will now be posting all news and information at this blog instead of at the completely ignored webpage.

Who is this person? Erika Tracy has raised a number of dogs, including a SAR dog who worked for several years in the field before developing cancer. In addition to the scentwork required for SAR (tracking, trailing, and air scent), Erika's dogs have titled in obedience, rally, and herding. She trained with Mary Adelman for about five years, and now learns new tricks and dog facts at the German Shepherd Dog Club of Atlanta and Sugre Herding. Also, she reads a lot.

 What methods will we use? Sun Treader uses primarily a lure-label-reward system to gain the cooperation of the dog. All training is done by individual lesson, somewhat in the manner of piano lessons, for one dog and all humans involved in the household. Canine students between the ages of seven weeks and five months are preferred, for the same reason that teachers of humans would rather teach reading in kindergarten rather than college: it's best to catch them while they're still forming opinions about how the world works. Caught behaviors, or shaping, will also be explored. Required equipment will be a buckle collar, a long dragline (rope with a snap on it is fine), and a leash of reasonable length for the handler. Handlers of any age are welcome.  

What will my puppy be learning? Sun Treader has a list of basic concepts which can be built into good manners, useful behaviors, working abilities, or titles in obedience, tracking, or agility. Your puppy will learn to come when called, walk on a leash, and sit; he will also learn to go to a target, sniff out your belongings, and step onto or over obstacles. The Introductions To Concepts course takes about six lessons. Individual lessons to work on coming when called or walking on leash are also available.  

Where do I find you? I'm in Decatur, GA. Email ms.erika.tracy@gmail.com or call 678-642-9303.