Pet Food Stamps

foodstampsI read this (http://wildewmn.wordpress.com/2009/09/) blog post from Nicole Wilde(http://wildewmn.wordpress.com) , and as much as this is an awesome development for Florida, I’m concerned it will be abused. Just like the welfare system is already abused so much.

Then, I hear about these ‘pet food stamps’ they recently added into the Food Stamp program. I think the theory is great, and the ‘heart’ is there, but is this a good thing? Government funded programs seem to … fail. For more than one reason! Where is the money coming from? The general public, of course.

Again, the theory is awesome. Shelters and rescues are full, and there are still unwanted, homeless pets coming in every day. The theory is that people can’t afford their animals anymore, so food stamps will help. For some, yes. But that’s not the main reason. Training, behavioral concerns, lack of responsibility, lack of education, and people who just don’t want their animals anymore are just a few of the reasons why people give them up. Money is a very small portion of why so many pets are given up or dumped.puppy

In my honest opinion, if you can’t take of yourself (meaning you, yourself are on welfare, or are having trouble paying bills, etc), is it really a good idea to have animals? However, I understand if you weren’t always in that situation, and hard times hit. It’s happens, and this program will help you with that. However, if you are already struggling and you have already been on the welfare program, adopting an animal is not in the best interest for you, or your new furry friend.

The Pet Food Stamps program, due to the generosity of contributors and patrons, are able to eliminate that heart-wrenching decision by making sure these pet owners are given free monthly home delivery of all necessary food supplies to maintain the health and vitality of their pets.

With the continued growth of the Pet Food Stamps program, it is expected in the 4th quarter 2013 to expand into offering free or heavily discounted veterinary care for all qualified program beneficiaries as part of the Pet Food Stamps program.
Source: https://petfoodstamps.org/

Free…. Deliver of pet food monthly… and heavily discounted veterinary care. Again… I think pets are privilege, not a right. Some people don’t deserve to have animals. However, low income families already have a struggle. Maybe, instead of adopting a cat or dog, choose a fish, or a rat. Something that’s a little less expensive per month to take care of. I’m not saying that low income families can’t have pets, I’m just saying live within your means.

What do you think?

Syn Alia Training System

Syn Alia Training System developed by Kayce Cover. I have wanted to learn it for the last little while, and finally I thought to myself: What’s stopping me?

NapoleonandMia

Napoleon and Mia

So, I logged on to the website, and studied all I could without actually purchasing anything. Then, after re-reading a few things, and re-watching a few of the videos, I understood the concepts and how powerful this technique is.

I bought the start up documentation, and got to work with reading, researching, and practicing this new procedure. It’s foreign and a little different at first. But, when I started working with my dog… he learned the very first step in less than 5 minutes. THREE TRIALS! He got it! I was so impressed. Then, I had the opportunity to speak to Kayce Cover last night. I could not contain my excitement, I was so impressed with everything she has done, and I want to be great at this! I listened to everything she had to say, and I practiced my ‘bridge’ on the phone. She said I’m doing so well already! Whoo hoo! (*Try to contain excitement!*)

So, after we got off the phone, she added me to a few groups on Facebook where I can connect with a few other trainers, and learn from their videos, comments, and experiences. I watched another video about a dog who seemed constantly aroused.

The video was 17 minutes long, and in that time, the dog learned how to be ‘Alert’ and ‘Easy’. This hit home because my dog (as I have mentioned before) needs some work on this. So, we practiced this morning. He responded to the ‘bridge’ quickly this morning (again, SUPER IMPRESSED!),  and then I worked with him this morning. I have some practicing to do, and WAY MORE RESEARCH, as he responded to ‘easy’, and then to ‘alert’, but I couldn’t get him to quickly go back to ‘easy’ again.

I will be practicing all the material I have so far, and then buying the material ‘Talk To Me’, to learn more about his queues, and behaviors. It seems I don’t pick up on a lot of what he is trying to tell me, so that’s a good starting point.

Tank

‘Tank’, the 6 month old Mastiff puppy

Anyway, I’m very excited to get started, and I’m so happy I was able to meet Kayce last night. What a great ending to a 13 hour work day! On top of that, I met with a new client yesterday, and his name (for the sake of privacy, and since he isn’t my dog) is named ‘Tank’.  He is a 6 month old, wild Mastiff puppy! He’s adorable, and just a big 150 pound love. However, a bit out of control, and needs to learn some manners.

If I get good enough with learning ‘Easy’ and ‘Alert’ this weekend, and I am able to correctly use it on my own dog, I will try it on Tank. I have a bit more reading to do about perception modification before I try again, but we will see how he does this weekend.

Random Post is Random

So, when I’m bored during a meeting at work or in the shower, I tend to think about things. Random things, usually.

This morning, I was thinking about my funeral, and how mine would go. I don’t have a lot of friends, per se, but the ones I do have, are full of awesome. They would go. Would my dog training clients go? Would they be sad? What about my fellow coworkers at my company? My neighbors? My dog training mentor? My family in other states… they didn’t come to my wedding. I had a wedding full of my husband’s family and friends. I’m really grateful my family came to my wedding. My grandfather came too. That was nice. I don’t get to see him often enough.

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I got around to thinking about how my service should take place. I don’t want it to be expensive. That’s hard for the family. I would like a tree to be planted in my name, but my body donated to science. Maybe people can learn from me, I don’t know. Pick apart my brain and see how I tick. I would want a big non-poison oak tree planted in a nice animal sanctuary. I would just like a gathering of all my friends and family to come around this tree to be planted. I’m fine with dogs peeing on me, and cats scratching me.

Food at my funeral would include junk, mostly. And wine. Definitely wine. You can pick your favorite, white, red, and drink around my tree. That would be very nice. Oh, and music! We’ll have to play songs from my favorite bands, whether they are appropriate or not. Who cares? It’s my service! I would want Muse and Apocalyptica… maybe some Metallica, and Evanescence. Anyway, play what I like, not that shitty funeral drawl. Make it fun, make it a party. Remember my awesome, dammit! 😡

Somehow, all this talk about funerals reminded me of if I should have a living will. Where will all my stuff go? To whom? What about my animals, my business? Well, obviously, to my husband first. But I think I would have my cats go to my best friend. I know she would take care of them. Again, for privacy, we will call her Mary. Her name really isn’t Mary, but she loves cats. And they would be well taken care of. My dog, well, I would probably want him to be taken by a good friend, who studies nutrition, and is good at training. They don’t have to be the best, just enough training to understand what my boy needs.  Strong leadership, and they have to know when to correct him. What is acceptable, and what is not. My bearded dragon would go to the person who ‘co-parents’ him with me.

Then, my business. I would just have it die out, I think. I don’t trust anyone with it right now. I don’t have employees, and I don’t think anyone can run this shit like I can! So, they can come up with their own business, not steal mine. When I get bigger, maybe things will change. But for now, it’s ok to have it shut down.

All my shit. Meh, donate or sell it. My parents can have the money. I have nice shit, as we just refurnished, so they can have some of it if they want. But we have junk too. But not much. I tend to keep on top of it. My online-blog-friend, Viv, dedicates her own blog to selling her shit. She has way more than I do, fun read!

However, I did just buy a juicer! I purchased a Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus! And I’m pretty excited to use it! It comes in on Friday, and I will be making juice… with my new juicer! I have always wanted to make juice, but I thought it was a lot of work. Not with this baby! Stick those vegetables in, and this machine auto-magically pulps everything, mixes everything, and blends it all into a nice juice! Yay! I’ll let you know how it goes.

So, this weekend, I will be juicing, and learning SATS (Syn Alia Training System). It’s a whole new way to train your dog, and I’m so excited to learn it. It’s kind of hard to follow, but once you learn it, it’s pretty easy to execute. I have just started the material, and I have a pretty good idea of how to train, but my dog and I will be practicing. Check out the website, and watch this video! It’s pretty amazing!

A Little Ray of Hope

FreedomI just LOVE it when I get REALLY good news! Life changing good news!

Though I’m not ready for a public announcement, it is still exciting, and I wanted to share.

Good feelings, good plan, and a great prospect for the future. It will still take a while to ‘brew’, but I see good times in this happy future!

Still a lot to do, and still a ways to go, but now, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. This little light is hope. Hope that was trapped in the blackness of uncertainty and difficult never-ending challenges.

But now, I have seen that hope, and it’s giving me the drive to keep going for the time being. Today, I am at peace. What a good day.

The Rules about Leadership, In my Opinion

I wanted to write an article about leadership because this seems to be a highly controversial topic in the dog training world. Some trainers say things like “Don’t let your animals on the furniture ever”, ”Make sure to make your dog watch you eat dinner first. They only get fed after you.” “… walk through doorways first.”,”You need to establish you are the dominant one, and you are alpha.” Do I follow these rules with my clients? Sometimes. Do I follow them at home? Sometimes. But isn’t consistency the key? Yes.

Now, I know what you are thinking. She just said consistency was the key, but she ‘sometimes’ follows these rules?

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Here’s the thing: I think leadership is important in any house with a dog.  However, how strict the leadership must be is up to the family, the dynamics and scheduling of the family, and the dog. Some of the scheduling and strict leadership programs out there aren’t feasible for some families. I want the client to want to practice everything we talked about. I don’t want it to be a challenge, and have it be work. In the end, if they aren’t having fun practicing everything with their dog, they won’t do it.

Also the level of how strict the leadership must be, depends on the dog. If the dog already respects humans’ and their boundaries, then the dog is already making the decision to let the human be leader. Which is exactly what we want.

If the dog in question has many behavioral problems, and/or has aggression, a pushy attitude, or never had any socialization, then a strict leadership structure needs to be put in place to set the dog up to succeed. This is my approach. With pushy dogs, there need to be boundaries the dog can never cross. At least until it is trustworthy enough to not push those boundaries anymore.

So, when do these ‘strict’ rules apply, and when can you be lax with leadership with your dog? This is a tricky question. Think of a child. A child who constantly gets in trouble needs more strict leadership. Eventually, when that child starts to make better decisions, he has earned more freedom. Then, somewhere down the line, he makes another bad decision. So, he loses some of that freedom. If he keeps making bad decisions, more and more structure gets put into place. However, if that child makes good decisions, he is rewarded by having the opportunity to make his own choices and either reap the benefits, or face the consequences.

PetConvincerThink about when you learned how to make your own decisions. You made a bad one, and paid for it in some way or another. You made a good one, and realized it’s much easier to make the right choice, than constantly paying for the consequences. And everyone learns at their own pace. Dogs learn in the same manner. They need to learn if they always jump up on the counters, they will get the Pet Convincer used on them. (This is the tool I have handy and use often). Eventually, you will learn to watch out for their signals, and catch them before it happens. Then, because they haven’t self-rewarded in a while, they will forget what that feels like and won’t want to do the undesirable action anymore. There’s no ‘fun’ in it anymore.

So, I hope that makes sense. Basically, just like a parent, you set the rules, and then give the child an opportunity to make the right decision. How strict you need to be with your leadership depends on the dog, and the behavior you want to correct.

Questions, comments? This is in a nutshell, by the way.

Facing the Day with Confidence

I just read Naughty Dogge‘s article about how trainers need to learn to not be indecisive. Which, I agree with. Hesitation, or lack of confidence is something that can actually cause a lot of problems. If you hesitate while training a dog to ‘Sit’, it is not nearly as damaging as if you are indecisive with an aggressive dog. However, in either situation, you just missed an opportunity, or put someone at risk.

I may not know everything, and I know I have a lot to learn. But at the same time, I present myself with confidence. I can admit I was wrong, and that I made a mistake. I learn from those mistakes. It is very easy for me to stop and think ‘I can’t do this. I shouldn’t even call myself a trainer.’ But I am. I am inexperienced compared to some people who have been working with dogs for 10 years. However, I have drive. I want to learn, and I am building my clientele while I am also working full time. I am planning on going to school in July to obtain my certification, so I can be ‘more legit’.

I am excited, and nervous of making mistakes. But I can pick myself up and face another day. I do this… every day. I make mistakes, and I struggle with making the right decision. Sometimes, it’s not the right decision. But at least I made a choice at all. I’m doing this. I’m not waiting ‘for the right time’, ‘for the money’, or ‘for an opportunity’. I’m doing it. I’m living it, and I’m making it happen.

I have confidence, and I don’t struggle with being indecisive. I make decisions quickly, and I am prepared for when a dog throws me a curveball. Which has happened, and recently. I won’t give up, and I will face every challenge head-on. I might be confused, and I may have to take a step back to look at the bigger picture. But believe me: I’m not giving up. I won’t.

Update: Ryder, the Project Dog

RyderMy project boy, Ryder has stopped making improvements. The family is frustrated, and just wants him to be a good dog. For him to be a ‘good dog’ it will take time, patience, and LOTS AND LOTS of training. He has made many improvements, and his pushy-ness has really gone down… until recently.

This is Ryder, the very same Great Dane I have been working with for quite a while.  He was recently neutered, and I have seen him a few times since. It seems his behavior is worse after the procedure than before.

I have come to the realization that he desperately needs harsher corrections. Positive reinforcement isn’t working for him anymore, and he isn’t responding to verbal commands (yet). He respects me when I walk him, or give him a command, but he doesn’t have any impulse control. If he wants something, he will go for it.

He is also still reactive towards men. The last encounter was when I was training last week. We had a neighbor (man) come over and did a slow introduction. The neighbor actually doesn’t know how to behave around animals very well (seemed like he wanted to play rough with Ryder), and it was making Ryder uneasy. I was watching his behavior, and he did very well. We just really need to keep working on socialization.

We have recently introduced tethering inside the house, where he has to earn his freedom. When he is tethered, unless he is lying down calmly, he will be ignored. Slowly, I believe he will get there. We discussed consistency, and how important this is – more for Ryder than a ‘normal’ dog, as he is incredibly pushy and needs to learn some respect. I use this technique often with puppies and dogs who need to learn to respect boundaries.

He hasn’t been to the Saturday Socials lately because of the surgery (down time), and time constraints. We plan on taking him on Saturday, and I’m eager to see how he does. He does so much better once he has received some discipline while at social.

Apparently, he has also been barking when he is outside at passersby and being a nuisance. So, a new bark collar was introduced. I don’t have a ton of experience with bark collars (eCollar), so I am learning as I go on these. I don’t recommend them yet, because I want to learn how they work, and have a bit more experience. I don’t recommend anything that I haven’t used personally. So, I will be getting experience in these as well. With Napoleon, and you can find out why here.

Anyway, I am open to suggestions on anything else we can try, as my ‘mentor’ is out of town right now, so I can’t ask her. I will ask the trainers on Saturday what we can do about his pushy behavior – other than what we are already doing. Thanks all for reading! Feel free to comment any suggestions you might have!