Friday, September 17, 2010

Dogwalk and Wyatt

I repainted my dogwalk with the hope that that would fix some safety issues with it.  Wyatt had 2 or 3 slips, one of them rather frightening.  I had also been wondering why Wyatt was reluctant to do agility at home.  I had not connected it with these dogwalk issues.

I repainted it but it still seemed to be slippery and/or unstable so I was not sure what to do.  I tried Patriot on it and he was had a problem so I decided to take it down rather than repaint (again) and try to make it more stable.  It was the right decision.

One interested thing is that when I took the dogwalk out and replaced it with a tunnel, Wyatt still showed reluctance to go into the area the dogwalk was located.  After 2-3 sessions, that seems to be abating.  Dogs seem to be much more location specific in their learning.  They don't generalize like we do.  In this case, it worked to my favor since he did not become afraid of all dogwalks.  But it has worked the other way too when we had to proof contacts at trials for years! 

Since he seems OK at trials with the dogwalk (still jumps off occasionally), removing it at home seems like a good decision.  I may get a new rubber one at some point.  But not having it there opens up a lot possibilities for distance work and the A-Frame at a distance.  That's much, much more common that the dogwalk in NADAC Chances, which is my major goal right now.  9 more for our NADAC championship.

Just goes to show you that going cheap is counterproductive in the long run.  It did seem to work OK for years though.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Designer Whippets

There's been a recent controversy about a whippet breed club (American Whippet Club) member who was asked to resign because they purposely bred their purebred whippet to another breed of dog.  I believe this refers to someone who bred one of her dogs to a border collie with the intent of producing "border whippets" who would excel at fly ball.  I do have concerns about the plethora of new designer breeds like Golden Doodles and the like and I think that people should really consider an established breed first.  However, the whippet was itself a "designer breed" at one point in its history.  Also, the American Kennel Club is now letting mixed breed dogs compete in agility, obedience, and rally. 

Good breeding is the most important thing, which includes health testing, temperament testing, having good homes lined up, and being willing to take back dogs.  In this case, this was all done. This has been a major concern of mine with some of the designer dog breeders cropping up.  Established breeders don't always so all these things either.  Unfortunately, a lot of people believe mistakenly believe that purebred dogs are inherent less healthy.  I've always thought it was about the health testing though certain do have issues, they can largely be dealt with by testing the parent dogs. 

So while I do have concerns about all the new designer breeds, I think the breed clubs should focus on promoting and improving their established breed and not trying to police people who, for better or worse, are experimenting with mixing breeds as long as these people don't claim they are whippets.   Breed clubs have plenty of work to do improving purebred dogs.  [I think established breed is actually a better term than purebred dog.]

Monday, September 06, 2010

For Best Results, Leave Your Dog All Day

We were running late from my parent's house yesterday leaving Wyatt and Patriot home alone for the afternoon until 9 PM, which is something we don't usually do.  We called a neighbor to let them out and feed them.  They were so happy to see us, especially Patriot.  When we did some obedience late that night, Patriot was super motivated, much more than usual.  Makes me wonder if I should do less warmup and hanging out with the dogs at the trial and the few days before.