Sunday, October 24, 2010

2010 USDAA Championships

We had a good weekend last weekend at the USDAA Championships!

Splash and Edan went to the Championships with me. Both were on a team. Splash ran in the PGP quarterfinals, no bye, and PSJ Semifinals. Edan actually had a bye into the Semifinals.

Splash had an awesome PGP quarterfinal run, except I slipped and was proud of still getting there for my front cross then oops!! did not turn enough in my cross and sent her to the wrong jump!! Her running dogwalk was awesome!!
Edan was running really well and had a beautiful Semi GP run going, but missed a weave pole and I did not want to fix it, just kept going!!

Team snooker, I did the same plan for Splash and Edan, except I did 1 less red for Edan. With no lead-out for Splash I did 5-6-and 2 -7's. She was sitting in first place till the end of the day when a Sheltie did 2-6's and 2-7's to beat her by 1 point. So she ended up in second.

Splash then had a great run in Steeplechase. second in her group. waited all day to see if it would hold. Ended up going into the finals in 5th place. We were too nervous, and not in sync at the beginning of the course. after an off course at #4-5. I relaxed and we enjoyed and smoked the rest of the course!!

PVP jumpers, Splash again had a very nice run and ended up in 6th place! So we came home with 3 ribbons and a silver medal!!

Edan ran nice all weekend, but the 22" class is so competitive!! Edan however did get to go lure coursing Saturday and Sunday. He got to run with his Toller girlfriend, Quantum, on Saturday. I think it helped him speed up!!
Sunday he got to go into the final round and ended up 2nd after his other girlfriend, Snafu. so he came home with a red ribbon after all. He got to run with Snaf after their finals run. Knowing Snaf was faster, I released Edan first. He blocked Snaf the whole way to the last turn and she then squeaked by to win by a nose.
The lure course workers loved to see the run!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Copper goes home!!!! Last Copper post

I am just so excited!! I packed up Edan, Splash and Copper yesterday at 5AM to take Copper to meet his new owner, Matt.

We met at a State Park in Lake City PA, Erie Bluffs State Park. There were 2 parking lots there. One had a trail that went back to the bluffs overlooking Lake Erie. I got there early and scanned both lots, then took Splash and Edan on the trail for a 30 min hike to see the Bluffs. Kevin and I will be stopping at this place again. It was really nice. I wish I had more time to hike. But, I wanted to make sure I was ready to spend time with Matt and Copper.

We then went over to the Elk Creek Access area and I walked Copper at bit, then got Edan and Splash out to swim. I swam Splash until Matt got there. The Elk Creek access area has a boat ramp to put small craft into the creek, then short trip down to the lake. There was a trail along the creek to walk down to the lake about 1/2 mile.

So Matt met Copper and we walked Edan and Copper down to the lake with some bumpers to retrieve. They got along very well, although Copper was still looking to me for direction.

At the Lake there was an engine near shore that the water was breaking over. Copper started barking at it. So I showed Matt the touch exercise I do with Edan when he freaks out at something.
Matt took some treats from me and waded into the water and worked with Copper, till Copper touched it several times. He then was able to ignore it and started to retrieve past it with no issues.

I showed Matt a couple other useful exercises back at the car. He practiced those with Copper and by the time I left them they looked very happy and like they were bonding already.

It was a very fun trip to enjoy the park and to see Copper and Matt starting out with a good experience. It was worth the drive, rather than sending him out with someone else, to be able to see Copper transition and start to bond with Matt.
The drive home was easy with a good book and the good feeling of having been able to see Copper to his Forever home.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Copper has learned to swim!!

My other Tollers are swimming maniacs, and Copper has so wanted to participate. He tries but just too scared. Our lake drops off drastically so a bit scary. This weekend I worked with him at a different lake and he finally got it. He is now swimming out about 10-15 ft. He splashes still most of the time but is settling in and starting to swim more smoothly. He is even more excited now when the bumpers come out. He has the Toller scream!! if he is left behind.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Things have settled into a routine for Copper. He like routine, and when it changes he gets a bit stressed. His favorite things are going for walks and riding in the car. He will go with to train, I can teether him to the car and he just hangs out while the others train. He was exposed to boys 10-13 the other day and shows no fear with them. He responds better than Edan.
He has traveled to shows with me, and travels very well. We still hand feed him, if we get lazy and start to feed him in his kennel too many times in a row, he growls at the other dogs when they go near his kennel. If we hand feed out of the kennel and have him work for his food he is much better. We still work on dropping anything he picks up for food and also placing toys, food bowls etc next to him and picking them up. He is doing very well with that exercise, but need to take more time to do it in diverse areas.
He is doing better with grooming and wiping feet.
Copper is ready to find his forever home, but it is going to be a very special home, that will be willing to work with him with clicker, positive training methods, and learn to read his stress signals to not overload him. He needs a quiet environment, as he is very noise sensitive. Once he learns to trust you he can work past scary noises. He can be a very brave boy, but I think that it comes from trusting me to not let bad things happen. He has learned to trust me and needs someone patient enough to gain his trust.
The one project that I would like to accomplish with him before he goes is to get him swimming. he loves the water and loves to retrieve, but is afraid to swim yet. It has not been good weather the last couple weeks, hope to get better weather soon so I can complete that project.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Copper bit Kevin

So it has been one week since the bite. I needed time to process and get my game plan adjusted. Copper was doing well and we let up on our management. Big mistake.
Here is an excerpt from an email sent to those involved in Toller rescue and professional trainers and Behaviorist.

We had an incident today that really disheartens me.
I will tell it like I remember, there is a bit of background over the weekend to read on my Blog if you have not.
We had Copper in the house with his drag lead on, he was trying to get into things he was not supposed to and we kept distracting him from those, he finally got a Squeaky toy and was busy with it.
He was under the grooming table, about 3 feet from Kevin on his right. Kevin was sitting at the Desk working on something, I was across the room to Kevin's left. Copper squeaked the toy and Nitt jumped out of my lap.
Copper started to growl, I got up and was trying to assess the situation, at the same time trying to grab Nitt, in case it was him he was growling at. Nitt was closer to me.
Kevin turned in his chair and leaned over, put his hand down to block Copper, and said drop it (Copper did not have anything in his mouth). Copper then lunged about three feet at Kevin's hand and bit him.
We have tightened our management program and I have a printed list of Copper's core Management program.
Below is an email from Kristen in answer to my original email.


How bad was the bite? Was there bruising, swelling, punctures, or just a red mark? Dog under bed, table… and human hand reaching down is a pretty hot spot for a dog bite from a guarder. Bones that the dog has been chewing on for awhile may be more valuable than a bone that has just been given to a dog. We will need to re-create that situation in a level at which the dog is comfortable, break it down into pieces, and train for the appropriate response. Lots of work.

Regarding the Bluetooth: Interesting that Cooper is still getting into things that he shouldn’t and choosing to chew on them rather than bringing them to you so that you ask him to drop and he gets a treat. Most dogs with a strong reinforcement history for dropping still pick things up that we don’t want them to have but they just bring them to their people instead of chewing them up.

I read your blog. Please keep Cooper off of furniture. Resource guarders are more likely to bite and do damage if they’re on furniture. And he’s more likely to guard it as a location as well. Also, foster dogs are more adoptable if they don’t have furniture habits and once adopted should not be allowed on furniture for a few months anyway.

Beef up your management. There were too many variables present (Nitt, Kevin busy, toys, bones) at once while both of you were busy. Crate him when you’re not actively training and the other dogs/toys/bones are around. Have Kevin work to fix his relationship with Cooper. Force/intimidation does not work on hard wired resource guarders or anxious dogs. It only makes them more anxious.

Add up the # of bites that Cooper has had. How many bites are acceptable for your rescue to adopt him out?

It has been a week now and no major problems. He went to the show in Indy with me and did very well. First time in the building he was pretty stressed at first but settled with lots of reinforcement. Copper loves riding in the car!! He seemed to prefer staying in the car rather in my friend's house at night. Seems to be like Splash in finding the car to be a safe zone.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Copper, aha or learning opportunity

I was tired last night and did not put two and two together. I now know why Copper did what he did last night.
Yesterday when I was cleaning, Kevin was sitting in his chair, Copper stole his bluetooth off of the table. I told Kevin he had his bluetooth, and Kevin flew out of his chair and pinned Copper on the couch and took the bluetooth from him. He did growl at the time but was not able to snap.
I was getting up quickly to go to distract Copper, and he felt threatened after the situation earlier.
So Kevin has learned that no matter how precious, what ever Copper has, he needs to give the drop it signal calmly. This morning Copper got hold of my raincoat bag, I calmly gave him the signal, and he dropped it immediately. I have a container of food and rewarded him. He does want to be a good boy, just does not take pressure well.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Well, we had a good couple of days that did not end well. Copper has been doing good with giving things up, and last night he got to lounge on the couch, cause he was being good.
Today, I actually trimmed three nails!! He then got to try to swim, well he really wants the bumper, but was afraid to swim out. I had the long line on him but did not really need it. He would give the bumper up with no problems, even with Edan around. No growling on Copper's part.
He was outdoors most of the day, as I was inside spring cleaning.
This evening I tried to let him stay out, but he was trying to find something to grab and as I went to try to distract him to go somewhere else, he growled and snapped. He now is in his kennel contemplating his loss of freedom.
I wonder if today was too much for him, a lot of activity. I thought he would crash like yesterday, but we may have over done and needed to kennel him sooner. He did not growl at me when I put him in the kennel which surprised me.
We go to class tomorrow. I will have to ask Kristen what she thinks. I still need to work up to taking him to the vet for a Thyroid test. Also, I was too tired tonight to make him work for his dinner. I just let him eat out of the bowl while I held it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


This weekend I had an agility show Fri-Sun in Crystal Lake About 1 hour away. I took Copper up with me Sunday and was able get him out and go into the building to socialize. He showed no aggression but was very busy looking at a lot of noises. One time we got a bit close to a BC that was barking a lot, he seemed a bit distressed by it but I was able to easily distract him and get him past to quieter area.
He wants to lunge at and play with the other dogs. But with getting his attention and rewarding him for giving me attention, he can easily be distracted from any dog he was focused on.
He really loves going with and starts to whine when I go to the car. He just jumps right into the kennel in the back of the car.
Copper has been progressing well with his grooming. Tonight I filled a food tube and Kevin slowly metered out the food as I groomed his ears and tail. He tolerated that really well, and we were the one who needed to take breaks, he was just ready to keep eating while I groomed. I got a lot off his ears, but need to do just a little bit more. He had a few mats on the right side that took a bit of time.
Just need to pluck a bit more from his ear flaps. and move onto his feet. After feet we will start to try to do nails.
We have very few instances of his resource guarding with toys. He usually responds well to our release signal, and gets rewarded every time.
He still growls or barks when he is in the kennel at feeding time. I still have a few instances when he goes into the kennel and growls when I shut the door. But most times he goes right in and gets a reward after I have latched the door.
He is still a very busy Puppy and seems easily distracted and sometimes distressed by noises.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Copper, almost 2 weeks

Copper is doing well. I have not had a lot of time this week to work with him, so his meals have been getting up on the grooming table to eat his meal, if he jumps off, okay, the food is still on the table. He has to get back on, with my help to finish eating. He progressed to me massaging and now even able to comb his coat a bit!! Tonight I used the furminator on him as well and he did not jump off. Through all of this I have not held him on the table, if he wants off, so be it, no more food. If he gets back on he can continue eating while I groom. He has not growled one time through all this.
He stresses easily and gives up on things if it stresses him too much. He is learning that he can walk away, so seems he does not growl as much. The only consequence of him walking away is no reward till he re-engages. If he comes back to work, then he gets more reward.
Kevin took him to class this last Sunday. And brought back some god stuff.
He did state that when he came back from a walk, Copper found a toy and started to growl, he doid not have the toy in his mouth, so Kevin told him to get it then gave him the release signal and he gave it right up. What a good boy!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010


Well we are getting close to 1 week of working with Copper.
Yesterday again a good day. He really likes car rides! He was so happy to jump in the car! He does whine a bit when either Kevin or I leave, I think because if he gets to go that way out of the house with us it is for fun, walks with Kevin and rides with me. That is the only time he goes out that way.

So no more growling when I put him in the kennel. I still work that exercise along with the give the toy up exercise, sits, and give me paw.
Last night he got to go with Edan to class. He got to walk in and get fitted for a harness, as he chewed Edan's. No more leaving it on in the kennel! He did well with that.
When we got home I gave him a toy and let him play with it with Edan around, no growling at Edan or me, but when Kevin came over to sit down he did growl at him and bit at his toy harder. Kevin just sat there and it eased up. It was time to go to bed so Kevin took his lead and put him in his kennel. When he started to walk away, Copper dropped the toy and followed him.
This morning I gave him a toy and all the dogs were around, he did not want the toy, but wanted to cuddle with me, Nitt came up and he growled at him, so off the the kennel he went.
That is the first time he has growled with me as a resource, but I usually have been trying to push him away, as I can tell he is trying to resource guard by position.
Just a note, when he goes to his kennel for time out, it is with a neutral tone-"too bad".
On the nutrition aspect, he has gone grain free. His treats are Ziwi Peak, an air dried food. He get Bravo Raw at meal time. Sometimes in a food tube or sometimes I just scoop a bit out of the bowl with my hand. Then I wash my hands a lot. He is showing some signs of "detoxing", increased tearing and goop in the corners of his eyes. He really loves his beef and can hardly wait till meal time. He is starting to work harder and stress less.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


This morning went very well. Copper came in the house wet. We worked on wiping his feet. I played with him. And was able to hold him so he could not bite and lightly wiped one paw then played. Trying to not let him think if he growls and snaps that I will quit but making it as much of a game as I can so as not to stress him.

He is very mouthy in his play, never learned to not mouth. We have started to work on that by holding his jaw momentarily each time he mouths our hands.
Play session this morning went well with that. He stared mouthing and it increased a bit at first(trying to figure out if this will happen every time) then all of a sudden he quit and just rolled and wringled and let me "rough him up" without any mouthing.
He got a bit of freedom this morning with just Edan in the room with him. So he got bored with what was on the floor and started to shop, I went and got him a stuffed toy that he could tear up and let him have that. After he had that a while I got a fleece tug and traded for the dead stuffed toy. He also has a favorite ball he played with, Edan was next to him a few times and no growling.

Each time I put him in the kennel so far no growling. I worked on going in the kennel then would reward out of the kennel, then in the kennel, close the door, and reward with door closed.

He went out and played with Edan for awhile while I got some things done. So nice for him and I that he likes to got outside in the fenced in yard and just hang. Really helps the stress level for both of us.
I had worked on give me paw earlier, and again when he came in, he caught onto that game, so started to put a towel in my hand. was able to wipe one paw with no growling.
He is learning, and starting to gain some freedom back.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Today was a good day-
We had a good training session this morning. Copper likes the beef Bravo the best, and today we switched to beef. I'm using a food tube(backpacking gear) and can squeeze out a bit at a time.
Copper did have One incident of resource guarding yesterday with Casey and I. He actually lunged at me, But I had his drag lead on and was able to step on it to hold him till he calmed down.
He still growls and lunges at the kennel door when I close it at times. This morning we worked on him going in and closing the door, turn away if he growls and feed him through the bars if he doesn't. He caught on to that pretty well.
Rode in the car most of the day. Got out to play when I stopped to train agility and again when we went to do retriever work. He met Kraig, Arlene, and Amanda and was very friendly. Put him on a long line and threw a few bumpers for him, He actually did pretty good with that and gave it up when I asked. He met Buddy and wanted to play, had to stop cause his lead got tangled, Buddy needs to come play with him in my yard.
Back at home another meal fed with working on resource guarding and sit and downs. When I put him in his kennel to take a break, no growling, so he got another treat.
When I am working him if I start something new he seems to stress a bit, eyes get dilated and he paces a bit. I try to mix it up with something familiar.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Well it has been an interesting day. Poor Copper has lost his freedom. He can not be out unless we are interacting or watching him closely. So I have worked on his RG(resource guarding) issues several times today, trying to find the thing that works best. I have gated him in the kitchen with my dogs just on the other side, and once with Edan present. He seems to do well with that. Had one incident where he started to guard and did give it up. However after I rewarded him he still snapped at the other dogs. So back into the kennel he went
Every time I put him it the kennel today and close the door he growls and bares his teeth. I'm not sure what that is about, but it is something that Splash has done often and seem to diminish when I just ignore it.
He again did this at meal time when I was working on fixing meals at the table. I fed the other dogs and cleaned the table, lingering near the kennel till he quit, then walked away once he quit.
He is getting better at sitting away from the door to go outside, he really likes it outside, and has not gotten into trouble out there. So he has gotten many breaks to spend some time outside. He really loves to play! And he seemed really hungry tonight finally. I have been using Ziwi Peak and Raw food in a food tube to reward. So really good and healthy stuff, and basically he is getting his meals at training time.

Yesterday we went to the foster dog drop in class. Copper was so excited he would not pee out side. So we did have an accident inside.
He did very well with going in and with the exercises. There were two other dogs in the class and they barked at one point, and no reaction, but then I think I automatically managed him. I'm so used to Splash. Kristen was trying to get me to Not manage him so we could see what he would do. He was okay with the other dogs and with Kristen.
At the end of class we were chatting, and another person walked into the room, he barked at her.
He was at one point wagging his tail as he was barking at her.
but was able to stop and I worked on him sitting and she was able to come up an give him treats. He wanted to jump up and greet her. So we have some issues but not bad.
Now last night his true colors started to come out. I had him out on a drop lead and was on the phone. There was too much noise in the living room so I took him back to the bedroom and put the gate up. He is a busy boy so I found a ball and we were playing with it. He did fine until one of my dogs came to the gate. He growled at them and went into major resource guarding growling at me as well. So of to the Kennel he went.
Now this morning I was getting food ready he went into his kennel and started to resource guard when there was nothing in the kennel. I was fixing food above him. So I gated the rest of the dogs out of the kitchen. He continued even as I was taking food put to the other dogs. He did stop and did not do it again when I let Casey and Nitt out right past his kennel.
I had in the past given him food in the kennel, but this morning after the others were fed and let out I gated them from the kitchen, got a good toy and fed him to release the toy. Also worked on sits and recalls.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Copper the rescue dog

I am going to start posting my experiences with Copper, a Toller rescue who came to me as a "highly reactive dog who has "nipped" and Lunges and barks at other dogs and people. He was originally rescued by a first time dog owner who lives in the city. Copper became very stressed and his behaviors escalated.

This is day 1-
He got here just before noon, I was anxious as this could have been a very challenging dog to work with. I took it slow with him but had treats, in hand, which he loved. I will copy excerpts from emails I am sending to the regional rescue coordinator.

My first impressions, I can type this cause Edan and Copper are playing!
He is a 1 y.o. puppy! His eyes were dilated when he first arrived but no aggression so far. He is an obnoxious puppy. I let Edan outside with him. Edan chased his ball, and Copper chased Edan. Edan growled at him and he would back off.
I think his biggest problem in he is a dominant, resource guarding puppy.
I picked up all the bones, but he did find one, I did not take it away, I went to the kitchen to get some treats and he followed, I went and picked the bone up. Previous to this he kept trying to get right next to me and keep the other dogs away, with position only. I would push him off, and he would run and play bow then try again. Edan wised up to that petty quick and is getting himself next to me a bit more. Edan is also trying to put him in his place by humping him now. Copper has growled and nipped at Edan a couple of times to back him off. Things so far are normal. He just found another bone. I think I may go ahead and put all the bones down, he seems to like to chew.
Okay, I just got up to put more bones down, Edan jumped down just next to him, and not a peep. So it rained bones!!!
He is groomed like a Golden except his ears. I will be working on his ears.
Yes he is stressed a bit, but not much, he has regurgitated water a few times, like dogs will when they are playing too much and drinking too much.
He does shy away when I reach for him, but I think I can work on that with the clicker. He is having to sit till Edan goes out, then sit till I open the door and release him. I will be taking him to a drop in foster dog class tomorrow, we will see what we have with that. I'm almost expecting him to lunge and bark to play!! He does a lot of get in your face then play bow with the other dogs.
As I a sitting here he is chewing a bone, he has growled at Edan a few times, Edan now has his own bone and chewing it only a foot away and things seem fine. He is such a pup that when I go to get something to trade to take it, he gets up to see what I am doing and forgets the bone.
I am going to work him a dinner time to get his sit really sharp. So that maybe we can use that to distract him tomorrow.
I have had to separate him an Edan 1 time so far to get them to relax, he is a busy boy!!!
9 PM
So we are getting some resource guarding with a toy that he got the squeaker out of. but after a time out and picked up the toys He is doing well. He is independent and strong willed, need to work on recalls and quickness of response to commands. He does test you and is not sly about counter surfing!! Does not even wait for you to get distracted or turn your back!!
Needs work on impulse control.
I am exhausted, will head to bed and let Kevin deal with letting them all out.
I am posting this the next day.