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The dog trainer’s back, one hour at a time August 3, 2009

Posted by PAS in dogs, survivorship.
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A Hungarian Vizsla negotiating an A-frame.
Image via Wikipedia

Two weeks ago, I substitute-taught an advanced beginner dog agility class at Syracuse Obedience Training Club. No big deal for someone who’s been a club member for 28 years, taught obedience classes for 20 of them and is training and competing with her third agility dog–right?

Right…except that in July, 2000 in week 4 of my new 8-week curriculum, Obedience for Agility Puppies, I had an intracerebral hemorrhage.

Nursing the worst headache of my life, I called my assistant and all of my students to cancel that Monday’s class. Roxanne, my assistant, continued the class after I was hospitalized. And although I’ve taught many other things since that Monday night in July, 2000, including teaching dog trainers how to be better instructors, I haven’t taught a class full of inexperienced handlers and their dogs since that summer nine years ago.

I was a little nervous. Sure, I knew the curriculum and the principles of the class–teaching the dogs to sequence (working multiple obstacles.) I had worked with two of the students, but knew none of the dogs and had never worked with the class assistant. I would have to teach from notes to be sure to stay on track. What if I lost my train of thought, what if I couldn’t adapt each sequence to the skill level of the student and dog? It felt like my first day at school.

When I arrived, sequence areas were set up–A-frame to weaves, tire to tunnel to jump to chute, teeter to table. As the students came in, I introduced myself to the miniature schnauzer, visla, australian shepherd and toy dachshund while everyone grabbed a stanchion to set up a jump circle. One student helped me move the table so that it could be part of the circle and the teeter sequence. We warmed up with the jump circle, small dogs first, everyone analyzing each other’s efforts and the handler paths. I felt them out, they felt me out, and with everyone prompted to chime in with comments, soon all of the students relaxed (I was still nervous as a cat.)

After the jump circle, I asked, “Who has equipment at home?” and “Who practices outside of class?” That segued into my favorite subject: home practice. I explained simple sources for practice equipment: the Dollar Store, the farm supply. I explained how every sequence we were going to practice could be modified for at-home practice, and how in five minutes a day, they could work control commands like here and out and go. I moved into the jump circle with my imaginary (perfect) dog to demonstrate a simple one-jump practice to work on straight lines and curves. I could see the AgilityNerd blog drill practice in front of me, explaining to them how to work the straight lines in the circle and switch sides for the curve.

I was teaching again. And taking my life back, one hour and one class at a time. It IS just like riding a bike!

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Traveling light – Flying with dogs July 8, 2009

Posted by PAS in dogs, travel.
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I like to travel light…and when I fly, it’s a 20″ rolling carry-on that really IS 20″h x 13″w x 9″d, including the wheels, and a small (15x10x6″) backpack from eBags. My carryon fits in most overhead bins, even on small jets, and my backpack fits easily under the seat. In fact, on some planes, even my carry-on fits under the seat in front of me.

But I don’t have the same issues traveling light that hair stylist Sally Hershberger faces, and recounted today to a NYTimes interviewer. her “carry-on” is a dog-carrier for her Miniature Pinscher Cherry Ann, and Cherry Ann is an escape artist.
Sally Hershberger & her traveling Min-Pin

I’ve considered taking Madison aboard with me–she’s small enough to fit into one of the new soft pet carriers that fits under an airline seat, even though she’s an English Cocker. She can curl up into an amazingly small space, and fits nicely into a #100 Varikennel; an airline pet-carrier would be no problem.

But she CAN howl. It’s excruciating to hear. And once started, I can’t make her stop; she has to howl it out.
Maybe I should rethink it before I ever make M. a carry-on dog.
Meanwhile, I hope Hershberger’s new pet carry-on is a little more Cherry Ann-proof.
Happy travels!

More NY state anti-dog legislation in the Assembly this week June 1, 2009

Posted by PAS in canine legislation, dogs, pets.
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A purebred dogImage via Wikipedia

Senator Aubertine’s office advises that 10 bills of interest to dog owners are on the agenda for next week’s (June 1-7) NY State Senate committmee meetings.

**Regarding “puppymills” **

S4961A Oppenheimer (same as A 7983A Paulin) Redefines “pet dealer” by REMOVING the exemption for residential/ hobby breeders and ADDING “any person who SELLS, OFFERS FOR SALE OR NEGOTIATES THE SALE OR PURCHASE OF ANIMALS BORN OR RAISED ON ANOTHER PREMISES;

The proposal also adds numerous requirements for care of animals by “pet dealers” including veterinary protocols, exercise, and more. Also requires pet dealers to authorize release of their records with breed registries and veterinarians to New York State or its agents.

link: http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn= A07983&sh=t
– – – –
S5392A Squadron (same as A7285 Paulin)
Prohibits ownership or custody of more than 50 intact dogs or cats

Allows for seizure of dogs or cats if any person or business “has in its care” more than 50 intact dogs or cats over the age of 4 months. Note that such animals may be sold off or killed by the impounding agency if security bond requirements are not met within five days.

link: http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn= A07285
Note: this bill is endorsed by HSUS
– – – –
Please join the Dog Federation of New York in opposing these bills and immediately write or phone NYS Agriculture Committee Chair Darrel Aubertine and the Agriculture committee members to express your concern regarding such extremist proposals. If enacted, both will devastate
lawful, humane pet breeders.

As always, be brief, be polite, mention the bill number and “oppose” in the subject line

Contact information:
Hon. Darrel Aubertine
Chair, NYS Senate Committee on Agriculture
903 Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12247
518-455-2761 (office) / 518-455-6946 (fax)
email: aubertin@senate.state.ny.us

committee members:

Sen. William Stachowski
918 Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12247
Phone (518)-455-2426
Fax: (518) 426-6851

Sen. Velmanette Montgomery
711 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Tel: (518) 455-3451
Fax: (518) 426-6854
Email: montgome@senate.state.ny.us

Sen. Neil Breslin
502 Capitol
Albany, New York 12247
Tel: (518) 455-2225
Email: breslin@senate.state.ny.us

Sen. David Valesky
416 State Capitol Building
Albany, New York 12247
Phone: 518-455-2838
Fax: 518-426-6885
Email: valesky@senate.state.ny.us

Sen. Catherine Young
Room 513 Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12247
(518) 455-3563
(518) 426-6905 (fax)
Email: cyoung@senate.state.ny.us

Sen. James Seward
Room 711B Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-3131
Email: seward@senate.state.ny.us

Sen. George Winner
Room 415
Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976
email: winner@senate.state.ny.us

Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer
315 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Tel: (518) 455-3161 / Fax: (518) 426-6963
Email: ranz@senate.state.ny.us

also copy or call
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith
Office of New York State Senator Malcolm A. Smith
909 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Tel: (518) 455-2701 / Fax: (518) 455-2816
Email: masmith@senate.state.ny.us

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