Sunday, January 26, 2014

Golden Gake Kennel Club 2014 Dog Show

Yesterday, Frank and I made an impromptu trip to the GGKC Dog Show where I had the opportunity to meet several friends from the Tibetan Terrier facebook group and was introduced to their stunning "little people" companions. What magic must these show dogs have in their genes, or must their owners posses that keeps those TT coats so long and silky! The little darlings were adorable, scuttling around the ring.

Rosy, to the right, is pictured with the famous Jeanette Chaix. Delightful little pup, bouncing all over the place! She sure was entertaining.

After the TTs had their show around the ring, Frank and I [and my sprained ankle] limped all over the cow palace, looking for the Borzois. Frank wanted to get home, but I insisted! This was a benched show, so when not in the ring, all the breeds would hang out in these benched areas where their breeders, owners, and or handlers could display them and interact with the public. We wandered in and out of every possible place, stopping to say hi to the Irish Wolfhounds, the Pembroke Welsh Corgis, the Greyhounds, the St. Bernards... I was ignoring the pain in my ankle (why did I forget my crutches??) because my excitement to interact with a Borzoi again was overflowing. We got to the last room, winding up and down the isles, getting to the very end. "I dunno, Ash. They showed in the morning so they've probably gone home by now." Frank really wanted to go home-- I couldn't blame him. I was tired and in pain!

But there they were, big, long, elegant, and standing at the very end of the last isle of the last room. I gasped and despite my better judgement, I practically ran! 

We spoke with Bunny Kelly of Kelcorov Borzoi for quite a long time. She overheard us saying that we were looking for a Borzoi to bring home this summer, and the conversation went from there! All about her wonderful dogs, the people protesting breeders outside the show, the litter she named after Dr. Who, how we wouldn't just be adopting a puppy-- we'd be getting a relationship with her as a breeder too! She doesn't cut dew claws, she happily takes puppies back if they don't work out in their new homes, and basically said everything I could possibly want to hear from a breeder. I checked her pedigrees on and all of the COI% are very low! She invited us over to her place, and once we're closer to being ready to bring a puppy home, I'm definitely going to give her a call.

We spoke with several other breeders in the greater bay area as well, all of whom were incredibly kind and also value low-0% COI -- health and temperament first, show quality 2nd. Thankfully, Borzoi conformation goes hand in hand with health in many cases, unlike some of the newer breeds (GSDs). And everyone very much advocated for Borzoi as psychiatric service dogs. It's that calm, intelligent, gentleness ♥♥♥

I'm so very excited to move forward with this!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Beginning Clicker Training

After watching several videos on youtube, I've finally decided to take the plunge and invest in a clicker for the dogs. The clickers I'm using are the Karen Pryor i-click Dog Training Clicker.

The decision to give clicker training a try came mostly from a hope that it will benefit my sensitive, slow Tibetan Terrier boy. Hopefully utilizing the clicker will help eliminate any confusion he might have, and help provide immediate reinforcement.

Up until this point, I was just baiting and using food motivation to work with the dogs. Lassie is incredibly food motivated, and as of this post, she knows: Sit, stand up, play dead, roll over, left-foot touch, right-foot touch, stay, and recall. Izzy on the other hand, is not quite as food motivated (unless it's popcorn) and just knows: Sit, down, stay, and a very selective recall.

The Karen Pryor clicker is the perfect volume for indoor clicker training. I gave it a try last night and within 10 clicks, the dogs were starting to associate good things with the sound.

This morning, I've noticed significant results in Izzy. I've taught him to lay down and crawl on his belly, as well as circle around my legs in a figure eight. He picked it up faster than Lassie! Lassie has a whole arsenal of tricks, but it seems that now when I ask her to do something, she likes to cycle through all of them until she hits the right one. We'll have to work on that.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Introductions ♥

 That little curly haired Hobbit to the left is me, with a poofy Tibetan Terrier named Izzy on my lap. Hello.

My name is Ashley and I am many things, but this blog in particular is about my complete love and adoration of animals. But in the event that you are the curious type, I am also an artist, gardener, and goof ball.

I created this blog because in the last year, I've thrown myself head-first into research about dogs. Dog behavioral research, genetics, nutrition, training, breed histories, and so much more! I need a place to track my findings, share my stories, and hopefully connect with other enthusiasts like myself.

 Aside from dogs, I'm also collecting information on bee keeping, felines, parrots, falconry, and chickens. Eventually, my boyfriend and I will have a small house on a few acres so I can really meld all of my passions. For now, we live in a condo on the beach with the Tibetan Terrier mentioned earlier and visible to the right, Isaiah (aka Izzy) who isn't motivated by much, a Chiweenie (Chihuahua x Dachshund) named Lassie who is very food motivated, four finches, and one old Cockatiel.

There will be much talk of Lassie and Izzy on this blog. True to Chiweenie form, Lassie is very protective of the big poofy boy. They're silly little things and I enjoy practicing the things I learn with them.
Sometime within the next year, I'm hoping to bring home a Borzoi. A dear friend told me of her wonderful experiences with a 'zoi as her psychiatric service dog. After researching as much as possible on the breed, and then meeting and interacting with several at a local conformation show, I fell completely in love and knew this gentle, sensitive, and striking breed was right for me. I may even train it to be my own psychiatric service dog to preform anxiety alerts, medication reminders, distractions from OCD behaviors, and blocking in public spaces (we'll see how the doctors/professionals weigh on that one).

I suppose this post is probably long enough at this point. Looking forward to learning as much as I can, and hopefully connect with other animal enthusiasts.