Saturday, October 24, 2009

Living with a teenage Lab

Another week with Charlie the Chocolate Lab Pup

Puppy Play

Charlie finally talked Gigit into some fun and had her playing with him for a few minutes. They zigged an zagged in circles around the yard. Gigit can make much tighter circles than long legged Charlie. Then Gigit got tired, but Charlie didn't and being a teen he didn't want to take no for an answer which made Gigit mad and she had to do some snapping and growling to get through to Charlie that playtime was over and it was time for him to leave her alone.

Poor Charlie wants to play with my dogs most of the time and they being older dogs really get a bit tired of his constant play nagging. He has put his nose under Gigit and has lifted her back legs off the ground. He tried to do the same with Logo, but 95 pound was too much to lift.

Charlie barks in their faces, licks their faces, rolls around on the ground and kicks them with his feet, and does anything he can think of to try to get one or more of them to give him some attention and play with him. He has managed to get Gigit to play with him a time or two and has cause BooBoo to get mad enough to chase him for a short distance. He even aggravated Logo until he growled at him.

From Charlie

Toy Time

Charlie is slowing learning how to play with dog toys. I guess whomever owned him didn't introduce him to toys so he was not sure what to do with them. He likes a small stuffed toy that squeaks and today I got him to play tug-a-war with me for a while. He may never be a gun-ho retrieving fool like some Labrador Retrievers are, but with a little more time I think he will really look forward to playtime with dog toys. That will make my three older dogs happy.

Bicycle Running Time

Oscar Bluhm VerfolgtImage via Wikipedia

I have started bicycling with Charlie running alongside the bike. I have a special attachment for the bicycle that has a short lead that I attach to Charlie's slip collar. He was a bit scared of the bike at first and the tug on him when he tried to move away from it. But I walked the bike along for a while and then rode it slowly at first. Now I can ride it much faster and Charlie gallops alongside the bike.

Biking with your dog is a good way for you both to get needed exercise and biking is so much less trying than jogging with your dog. I really thing more people should give it a try. But do not try it by just holding on to your dog's leash or you could end up hurt.

There are a few different bike/dog products around. I have the K9 Cruiser Bicycle Leash and I like the way it keeps your dog towards the back of the bike where he has less chance of getting in the way of the moving tires.

There are some other dog bike leash attachments, like: Springer, WalkyDog, Bike Tow Leash and others.

You might also want to use a special dog harness with your dog bike leash. EzyDog Dog Harness is a comfortable padded dog harness.

And there are other options, two of them shown in this video...
Terra Trike and Dog Powered Scooter, Willie

Some people with large, active dogs really like the scooter where the dog is pulling you. The dog gets more exercise this way and you don't have to work peddling a bike.

Bicycle leashes comparison Compares the K9 CRUISER and the SPRINGER

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

A week with Charlie the foster Lab

Seven days living with a Lab Puppy

Teenagers can be cute by tiring too. Charlie has a lot of young healthy energy as most Labrador Retriever puppies do. He wants so bad to play with my three dogs, but so far they are not amused with his puppy antics and will not play with him. Maybe they are getting too old for puppy play. Charlie pounces at them and barks in their faces. He also runs circles around them and from time to time goes under the large one or jumps over one of the smaller ones. Lobo my large male German Shepherd dog mostly ignores Charlie and Gigit the blue heeler mix wants to bust his but when he will not listen to her, "Get Lost" warning growl.

So like most teens he picks on the one that he gets to the most -- my little terrier, BooBoo. BooBoo curls her lip and snaps in his face and growls, but this just seems like a fun game to Charlie so he keeps going back to her for more. I have to keep asking Charlie to leave her alone. If I had another young adult dog I think they may play together well. My dogs are just getting a bit too old for his active play.

Charlie still doesn't show much interest in balls or toys -- maybe he just was never given them when he was younger.

Charlie likes to run through puddles, but so far he hasn't taken any dunks in my goldfish pond -- I'm sure my fish appreciate this -- he is a bit much for my little pond. Charlie also like to bite at the watch coming from the garden hose, until I try to wash him with it, then he rather not. I have not taken him yet to the two ponds to see if he would take a swim. Most Labrador Retrievers like water, but not all.

From Charlie

Charlie doesn't like the rain pounding down on the tin roof and barked and whined a lot on two nights when we had downpours along with lots of lightening.

Clicker Training

HEEL: This week I have continued to work with getting Charlie to pay more attention to me on our heeling walks on lead. He is doing pretty good about not pulling on the leash but he does keep walking ahead of me. When he reaches goes ahead and draws the leash taunt I reverse direction and when he catches up and is alongside me I click and treat him. He will learn that the only time he gets a click and a treat is when he is in the correct heeling position. From time to time he does catch himself as he is passing me and slows down and looks at me. I click and treat him to his good self control.

He is now eating both the dry dog food and the hot dog slices on our training walks. Charlie also like raw chicken gizzards which I cut into small pieces with a scissors.

DOWN: Charlie had a hard time figuring out down. I had to keep placing him in the down position time and time again before he had a light bulb moment and figured out what I was wanting him to do. Some dogs can be trained down just by moving the food out in front of them on the ground while they are sitting, but this didn't work with Charlie. He is still slow to go in the down position but should get faster with more training.

From Charlie


Charlie has no problem with being handled. I can put my fingers down his ears, between his toes, tug on his tail and ears, and even lift his hind legs a bit off ground by his tail without him showing fear or nervousness. He will also let you clip his toenails without a problem. Of course I am clicking and treating him for his calm behavior at my antics.

Charlie is available for adoption from Labs4Rescue

Dog Clicker Training - Teaching the Down Cue

Puppy: 2 Month Yellow Lab Tricks

If you are on a roll and want to learn more here is another video to watch:
YouTube - Re: Every Dog Must Know This: How To Train Your Dog To Stay

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chocolate Lab Charlie

Charlie my new foster dog is a chocolate Labrador Retriever

Charlie is available for adoption from Labs4Rescue He is a young dog - under a year I believe, as he is as lanky as a teen, very playful, and still squats to pee instead of lifting his leg like an adult dog would.

From Charlie

Charlie was an owner-turn-in; I didn't get a reason why they could no longer keep him or the yellow male lab that was also turned in with him. So many people are now running into problems and cannot keep their pets.

While visiting our local animal shelter in Hammond, LA we saw quite a few dogs that were 'owner-turn-ins'. They are usually sad and stressed and miss their homes.

Well Charlie also acted very upset when I first got him on Thursday evening (Oct. 8, 2009). He barked and barked -- keeping me up most of the night. I walked him in the middle of the night and he peed and pooped. He drank a lot of water - his throat was dry from all that barking.

But this is how some dogs act trying to deal with the stress they feel from losing a home and their people. Some dogs withdraw and don't make a sound, hanging to the back of the kennel and just watching and waiting and some like Charlie wail out their miseries with anxious barks and whines. I wonder if the people that give up their dogs to shelters realize what the dogs goes through after the walk away.


Friday I walked Charlie on a leash and started clicker training him to learn to pay attention to where I was and not pull on the leash. Because he was still upset and anxious he was only half interested in the hot dog slices and notat all in the dry dog food I was using as treats. But this too is common, with some dogs not eating much for a day or so when you first rescue them.

Charlie takes the treats nicely from my hand. By evening he was starting to look into my eyes to ask for the treats and I would blink my clicks with my eyes and treat him.

I let him explore my fenced in acre size yard. I tossed a ball and kicked a soccer ball around for him, but he didn't show a whole lot of interest in either of them. He did do some fast large circle runs and try to play with my two female dogs, which don't play with new dogs right away. They growled at him and he kept a bit of distance.

Friday night no barking, yea! He slept quietly in his crate all night.


Rainy morning. I took Charlie for a short leash walk up and down the gravel road a bit and walked on heeling. He is doing better, learning to watch my movement more and stay to the left side of me. When he happens to be in the right spot on the left side I click and treat him. He was hungrier today and eat the dry dog food offered.

Also worked on SIT. He is a doing good and learning to sit and watch my eyes for my blink click, then treat.

I let him out a few more times during the day into my yard to run around. Whenever he would return to me I would click and treat him. If he would sit by me I would click and treat. I tested him by rubbing him all over and playing with his ears, tail, and toes. He doesn't mind this handling at all. No fear, no nerviness, no mouthiness - good he will probably be fine around children. I do recommend that dogs and young children should always be supervised when together. 

He chased some butterflies -- puppies do this, and he squats when he pees, so he may still be a puppy and will fill out more. He is pretty lean and lanky for a lab.

Charlie still barks when I place him in his crate and leave him, but he doesn't bark for as long and he doesn't sound as stressed as at first. His barking will lessen with time and as he learns that he will get out and get attention and playtime a few times per day. Labrador Retrievers are active dogs and need a good amount of playtime and exercise to keep them happy and healthy mentally and physically.

Charlie is up for adoption at

From Charlie

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Labs4Rescue needs pet foster homes in Louisiana

Labs4Rescue Urgently Needs Foster Homes

Labs4Rescue is always in need for more people to foster labs until they are adopted. Please consider this lifesaving adventure.

Here are a few of the current labs in Louisiana you can consider fostering...
More Labs to Adopt

And here is a video made by a lady that also fostered some labs for Labs4Rescue...

Youtube Video: Foster Dogs 2008 - From: jenrosepes Views: 108 Posted: January 28, 2009

Labs4Rescue foster info

Labs4rescue is a volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing a new life for rescued or displaced Labrador Retrievers and Labrador Mixes.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Benny Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog

Adopt a Blue Merle Catahoula Leopard Dog Puppy: Benny

From 2 Catahoula Pups
Cute, friendly, and full of play! Benny is a rescued puppy that was not in the best of health when first brought to the vets office. The vet rescued this puppy and his sister, Bree and is fostering them until they are adopted or new foster homes are found. Benny is a bit smaller and gentler than his bold sister.

Benny likes toys and tennis balls and of course food! Both of the young puppies love mealtime.

Here is their short youtube video clip: Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog Puppies up for adoption

From 2 Catahoula Pups

From 2 Catahoula Pups
Please check out their photo album here: Bree and Benny 2 Catahoula Pups

Benny is listed on petfinder here: Benny; male puppy: Adopt a Blue Merle Catahoula Leopard Dog

I have Benny and his sister, Bree at my house this weekend so I could have the time I needed to take some photos of them. It is not easy taking photos of active, playful puppies! It also gave these two some time to run around a large yard and meet with other dogs.

I also took them both for a walk through the woods with my three dogs this evening and then gave them a cool down bath.

Thank you for considering to adopt rather than buy!!!!!

P.S. Puppy do grow into dogs, so we are only looking for people that knows this and are willing and wanting to keep a dog for the life of the dog 10-18 years!

If you can not adopt, what about fostering one or both for a few weeks? These two are staying at a vet office and would do better in a home setting.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cooper the Lab is doing great

Cooper is doing well with his daily lessons

He will make someone a great pet if they are upto the energy of an active Labrador Retriever. Labs need regular vigorous exercise and training for a healthy mind and body.

Self Control

He now has some self control and is able HEEL by my side most of the time without surging ahead. When he does I just turnabout and head back where we came from. When he catches up and is in the right position at my side I click and treat (clicker training). He is also getting good at sitting without being told the command SIT when I stop -- the automatic sit. 

Today when I took him to my mother's house down the road I left him clipped to the picnic table while I was inside for about 25 minutes and he didn't bark or whine.

Evening Fun

I just had him loose in my yard with my three dogs and he found an old bone to chew on. My dogs walked right pass him while he was chewing and he didn't growl or snap. I also was able to tug on his tail while he walked pass me with the bone in his mouth and he didn't mind (please don't do this to dogs you know well). I can handout treats to each of the four dogs while they are sitting close together in front of me without a problem.

He found a box turtle this evening and was chewing on it--didn't hurt it, their shells are quite hard. I was able to take it away from him -- once I got to him -- he did trot away from me a couple of times. I couldn't find any of his toys so I just played IN and OUT of his crate for a few minutes -- no more push him in the crate like I had to do a few times in the begining. He does well in his crate. I keep him there when I am not working/playing with him three or four times a day. 

I let Cooper spend sometime outside in the yard this evening to just sniff around the yard and chew on old bones he finds. He also goes after the toads in my garden. I do hope he finds a wonderful home soon.

Cooper is available for adoption at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New dog toy for Cooper

Squeaky Toy for Cooper

Friday, May 21: Today I found a new toy for Cooper to play with -- a plastic toy with a squeaker in it. At first he just thought is was a toy like one of the other ones I have given him, but as soon as I tossed it and it squeaked he got excited. At first he didn't know the noise was coming from the toy and he would stop and look around. Then when he was the one to cause it to squeak while retrieving it, he would drop it and look all over the ground for where the noise was coming from. He did that quite a few times before he realized that just maybe it was the toy making the noise. 

Once Cooper realized that the toy was making the noise he would drop it and use his nose to sniff and push at it trying to find the noise maker. Now he did not bring it back to me to toss any more. He wanted to find that noise maker and he would sniff, chew, poke, push, toss, and drop it. Then he would grab it and run all over the yard with it. He was having a grand time with his new squeaky toy. I went about cleaning up the yard and left him to play with the toy.

After about 20-30 minutes he finally got bored with the noise and wanted me to toss it for him again. 

Great video: Yellow lab puppy clicker trained for only two weeks...
Dog Taining Video: How to Train a Labrador : How to Teach Your Labrador to Sit

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Playtime with my foster dog

Cooper loves clicker training
From Cooper Chocolate Lab
Cooper is doing very well with his daily clicker training lessons. He LOVES food/treats and now knows he can get the food to come to him faster when he responds faster. I think he is also more at easy with me and this forster home so he able to stay focused on his training better. Of course he will never have the strong focus of a Jack Russell Terrier or the super focus of a Border Collie. Labs just aren't like that -- except when they are tearing after a fast thrown ball. 


This morning I took him out of his crate and he was excited and jumping around me like crazy. I only tossed him two balls before I clipped on his lead for some Heeling work on the road. But he amazed me with how quickly he settled into the work. He is gaining self control and did quite well at maintaining his correct position most of the time. Until we walked near the cattle pasture. He is still worried about those big creatures and kept turning to kept his eyes on where they were in the pasture. I click and treat for returning his attention back to me.

Video on clicker training a dog to walk on a loose leash near you.

Cooper is not the bravest dog I have ever met. The other day when we where doing some heeling work on the road he saw my large German Sheperd behind a bush and spooked like a horse -- tore the leash from my fingers as he bolted down the road about fifty feet. He stopped turned around and looked -- saw it was just Lobo and then came trotting back to me. I clicked and treated for him returning to me. From now on I will click and treat him for moving closer to items that he is a little worried about to make him braver.

Body Work

I put him in a DOWN and moved my hands all over him. He is now quiet comfortable with me handling his tail and gentle squeezing and tugging on it. He is also good about his feet. I can massage between his toes and squeeze his toenails without him getting worried about it or mouthing my hands or arms. My fingers do tickle his feet from time to time, specially his hind feet, and he will do a little kick with them. 

Cooper is also doing a lot better with me rubbing and massaging his ears, cheeks, and face. I am also able to put my fingers down inside his ears. Now when he starts to get mouthy when I am touching his face and ears it is because he wants to play and is not because he is worried about what I am doing to him. 

Mouthy Puppy Play

He is still quite mouthy when he is loose and playing with me. I have to keep trying to replace my hands in his mouth with a ball or other toy in his mouth. In this area his is still very much like a young puppy. He needs to be distracted away from mouthing your hands to playing with a toy. I also say NO (calmly in a normal voice)  and click and treat when he mouths the toy instead of my hand. With a little time he will learn that toys go in mouths but human hands do not.

Playing Soccer Ball

I found a soccer ball that is about three quarters filled with air -- soft and Cooper can get a grasp on it and pick it up. I kick it as hard as I can for him. He runs after it then tackles it, sometimes flipping or tripping over it. He likes this new ball game.  For someone looking for a big puppy acting dog Cooper might just fill the bill. 

Cooper is available for adoption at

Video: Clicker training a dog so you can handle his feet. 

This is how I am working with Cooper and he is learning to like having me handle his different body parts. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Foster Dog Training Time

This post is covering May 18th and this pass weedend: Saturday and Sunday May 16-17. 

Saturday May 16 - day six with Cooper

Cooper did very well on his heeling lesson in the morning -- paying more attention to where his body was positioned and my movements. Midday I took him for a rode run to my mother's house where I checked on my ponies. When I went inside to visit with my mother I left Cooper's leash clipped to the picnic table.  This time he barked a few times after I was inside and whined a little then he was quiet for the rest of the time I was inside -- about 20-30 minutes.  My sister visited with him a bit -- petting him all over and rubbing his ears. He was wanting to play and like a puppy was a bit mouthy.  In the evening I played with him in my yard with my dogs -- tossed toys for him.

Sunday May 17 - day seven

Because I have a hurt hand (hurt it last weekend moving a large plant container)  and it was hurting me a lot today I didn't take Cooper for any road running. On our times together I played toss with him and worked on some of the following lessons: Heel, Down, Down-stay, sit, retrieve, and Come. 

I also handled his his feet/toes, tail, and ears.  He did very well -- not mouthy in the begining like he used to be, only getting mouthy when I put my figures down into his ears. I click and treated whenever he let me handle his body parts in a calm manner without putting his mouth on me. He is way more relaxed with me touching him all over. I even gave him some gentle tail tugs. 

Monday May 18 -- day eight

Cooper morning started off with some toy tossing and then some heeling on the gravel road. It was cool this morning and he kept wanting to forge ahead. I kept making inside turns (turning into the dog) to get Cooper to learn to keep back a little. Also did a little jogging and reversing when he lost focus on me.

When my son left in the golf cart to go down the road Cooper started barking and whining but he didn't keep it up for long. As soon as he was quiet I went outside and asked for a sit and click and treated him for it. Then I circled his crate and repeated.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday with Cooper my foster lab

Day Five with Cooper

Started off the day with some road work with Cooper running along the golf cart. During the breathing breaks I did more work on getting him comfortable with me handling his feet, tail, and ears. Cooper is still a bit mouthy -- it can take time for some dogs to learn to enjoy having their feet and tail touched, squeezed, gently tugged on, and massaged. 

Touching is nice

Most dogs enjoy you massaging their ears. Cooper is still a bit mouthy when I first start to play with them. This mouthiness maybe because he just has never had people handling him like this before. Working labs are breed for their ablity to retrive game fowl and so mouthiness in a young lab is common. 

With daily handling and clicker training Cooper will soon be completely used to having all his body parts handled. In a few more days of working with him he should be totally comfortable with someone handling his ears, tail, feet, and the rest of him.

I like to get my foster dogs used to having their ears and tail lightly tugged on for when they are around playful childern. I also play with their feet and toenail so nailclipping will not be a fuss.

Sounds and noises

Down the road a new barn is being built and Cooper is very attentive to the sounds of the construction work and looses focus on his training when he hears that noises. Like I wrote yesterday he also pays a lot of attention to the sounds of approaching and passing vehicles. And late last night when I let him out to go potty before I went to bed he also give a lot of attention to the howls of the coyotes in the distance. 

Midday fun time

I let Cooper out of his crate and played a little ball in the yard with him. Cooper is not reliable in returning a tossed ball to my hand or even dropping it at my feet. He will energetically go out and retrieve the ball but not always return it. Most of the time he does come nearly all the way back to me but then drops the ball a few feet or yards from me. I am trying to click and treat him when he drops it close to me. I also clicked and treated him for sniffing at or bitting hold of the ball when I held it out to him, but most of the time he just waits there for me to toss it again. 

Playing with Dogs

Gigit my heeler/corgi mix (about 30 pounds) came up to Cooper and invited him to play with a dog play bow. Cooper and Gigit played nicely for a few minutes. Cooper greets new dogs nicely which makes them feel safer and more willing to play with him.

Evening Ball

In the evening it looked like it was going to start raining soon and there was thunder so I just stayed in the yard (about an acre in size) and let all the dogs just sniff around. I played ball off and on with Cooper as I picked up sticks to stack around the old tree stumps we plan to burn. When I wasn't playing ball with him Cooper trotted about and checked out the whole yard area except for the couple of spots where the underbrush is thick and the blackberry brushes grow. He doesn't like to meet up the blackberry thorns -- not even if his ball or toy lands in them.

Look me in the eyes

When I first got Cooper he didn't look me in the eyes or pay much attention to my face -- which can be a good sign as it can mean that he is not real dominate. I click and treat when he does give me attention and looks at my face and now he is giving me more attention and looking at my eyes for my eye click (eye blinks). He ablity to focus on me for a longer time period has increased too. 

Cooper is availible for adoption from

From Cooper Chocolate Lab

Dog Training Video: Clicker Training a Dog for Attention

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Labs are fetching fools

Fourth day with my foster lab, Cooper

Started off this dog training day with another morning road run with the goft cart. I think Coopers feet maybe a touch tender from the gravel road because didn't run quite as fast for as long a distance as yesterday. I slowed the goft cart down some and stopped more.  Cooper also did more running on the road edge in the grass or where the gravel was thinner. It was also a little later in the morning than I usually work him because I worked out Howie the Hound (my other foster dog) first because his was leaving for transport north -- yippee he has been adopted and is heading to his new owners.

Dog Training Lessons...

On the stops we worked on: Heeling, Sit, Down, and Down/Stay. Also did a little more body touching to find his worry spots. Cooper like many foster dogs is not totally used to having all his body parts handled. So I play with his feet, tail, face, and ears. When he allows me without trying to move away or get monthy then I click and treat. This will soon have him looking forward to having his body part played with. 

What does it take to train dogs? Looks like it takes a lot of C's -- just found this on the Clarity Canine website: Van believes that to be effective, an animal trainer must be Calm, Creative, Clear, Concise, Concrete, Compassionate, Curious, Considerate, Comical, and aware that all of our actions, no matter how small, have Consequences whether we are aware of them or not.

Mid day fun
It about 1:30 pm I took Cooper out of his dog crate. He is still crying and barking when he sees me coming to get him (too excited) and I have to wait for him to calm down and sit quietly before clicking and opening his crate door. 

I did a little heeling work with him (after I let him find a good spot to pee). He kept getting ahead of me so we worked in a large circle with him on the inside of the circle. He did keep running into my legs/knees when he forged ahead.  Also did about-turns when he got too far ahead of me.  He will learn to pay more attention to where I am and where he is to me. He actions have consequences and if he doesn't like the consequence then he has to change his action. Whenever he is in the correct heeling postion then I click and treat and whatever gets marked and rewarded will soon be the action he is more willing to do. He sure does like the hot dog slices. 

Also did a bit of down/stay and touch work. Also started lightly squeezing his toe nails and clicking and treating when he kept his mouth and foot still. This will help make it easier to clip his toenails.

Meeting Dogs

Cooper meets other dogs quite easily without a lot of fuss and over the top excitement (unlike Travis did). This is a good energy and the dogs meeting Cooper are not overly worried about him and greet him good too. He also doesn't rip out your arm pulling on the leash trying to check out the new dog, which is nice.

Evening Ball Toss

At about five pm I took Cooper from his crate and did some ball tossing for him. He really enjoys fetching a ball and he run very fast to go get it. I left on is leash so I could step on the dragging end of it when he came close to me so I could try to get him to bring the ball back to me more consistently. Before thowing the ball again I asked and waited for him to sit and sometime I asked for a down. While he is excited with ball playing I am still not getting a down without me giving his leash a light tug down. But he is staying down better until I click and then toss the ball. 
Cooper may do well with Frisbee tossing too as he can jump pretty high for the ball.  

After the ball game I took him for a road run -- just a bit slower than we did yesterday. I also stopped and hooked his leash to the goft cart while I trimmed some rose bushes in my graden along the roadside.  He watched me and didn't bark or cry or pull on the leash, but I was not too far from him, maybe twenty feet at the most. 

Passing cars

Cooper does show some interest in passing cars and he may chase them if he was loose. Maybe if cars passed more often he wouldn't be so interested in them. Maybe I should try walking him along the highway in the morning 0ff-to-work time so he can get use to them more.

From Cooper Chocolate Lab

Here an overview video of clicker training a dog...

Clicker training -- great start for puppies! They love it!

Fat Dogs are not healthy dogs

My new foster dog, Cooper came to me pudgy 

A lot of people keep their dogs too fat and this is not good for their long term health as obesity can lead to many different health issues. While Cooper is with me he is getting a lot of good vigorous DAILY exercise and I will not be over feeding him. I can see already that he has lost a little fat in the few days that he has been here. You don't want your dog too skinny but many people's dogs are way overweight (so are many people). 

Take the time to give your dog what it needs to have a good life...
  • training and excercise/playtime on a consistent schedule 
  • good healthy food (consider feeding a raw diet)
  • healthy environment (how healthy is your home's air?)
  • love and affection (that why you have your dog, right?)
Posted on: May 7, 2009

...We all know that carrying extra weight isn't healthy for humans, contributing to such health problems as heart disease and diabetes, and the same goes for dogs. Obesity is the most common canine nutritional disease in this country, occurring in up to 25 percent of the population. Chubby dogs are more likely to develop serious [...]

If you have the money check into a treadmill for your dog...

Or bike with your dog and both of you can get in shape!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Third Day with Cooper the Lab

Hump day with my foster lab - Cooper

From Cooper Chocolate Lab
Morning Run

Cooper is getting very excited when I pull out the golf cart for his road running. He cries, barks, and claws at the crate door. I make sure to wait until he is quiet and sitting before clicking and letting him out of he crate. I also did a little heeling lesson with him and then let him find a spot to pee before starting the run. Boy, he does like speed and I can drive the golf cart as fast as it will go down the hills and Cooper can keep up with me. He as good lungs and fast moving legs. 

On the breathing breaks I ask for a DOWN and a STAY from Cooper. He is doing pretty well with this but I am not moving too far away from him right now. He is in a DOWN-STAY in the above photo that I took this morning. I also ask for him to stay in the down position while I return to him and pet him all over. 

I run him up and then down the road. I stopped at a deep puddle and let him walk in it to cool off, but unlike the other two foster labs I had Cooper doesn't flop down into the water to get wet. I will have to try him at the pond and see if he will fetch the ball from the water. 

After the run I put him back in his crate and gave him a little dog kibble on while I took my dogs for their morning walk. Cooper barked for a while while we walked down the road away from him.

Dog Yard -- Fussy Fit

When I got back I put Cooper in his dog yard next to Howie the Hound my other foster dog. I gave them both a large raw beef bone to chew on. At first Cooper was busy with the bone and didn't bark when I walked away, but that didn't last long soon he was whining and barking up a storm. I just waited to see how long he would keep it up. After about 15 minutes or so he stopped barking and must have went back to chewing on his bone. Then after about 15-20 mintues he went back into his frenzied barking and whining again which he kept up for about 20-30 mintues until I finally went and got him and put him back in his crate. I was tired of hearing him bark and worried that he would get overheated with all that activity. 

Maybe he has spent too much time in the vet kennel and the dog yard causes him a lot of anxiety. He does well in the dog crate most of the time -- does bark and whine when I go out and he sees me and wants to demand that I let him out.

Visiting the Neighbors

I took Cooper on a run along to my mom's house down the road to check on my two ponies in her pasture. Cooper was just mildly interested in the ponies and a little worried about them when they ran along the fence with us on the other side. He didn't bark or growl at them just sniffed at them a bit when they stopped at their feed bowl to eat the food I gave them. 

I ran Cooper back and forth to the ponies' yard to the the pump shed to fill up buckets to fill up their large water bucket. Then I clipped Cooper to a picnic table so I could go inside to visit with my Mother. I thought that he would throw a fit like he did in his dog yard but he surprised me and just laid down quietly and waited for me to return. My two small dogs were close by hooked on the golf cart.  I was inside about 12-15 mintues and Cooper didn't bark once. When I returned home I put him in his crate. 

Evening Fun - Fetching Toys

I let Cooper loose out of his crate and showed him a Tennis ball. He got excited about the ball and jumped up and tried to grab it. I asked for a SIT and then clicked and tossed the ball. He likes this game runs fast to go and retrieve the ball. He is not consistent in returning the ball back to me. Sometimes he gets close and just drops it and then walks around sniffing the grass. I would pick up the ball and get his attention and ask again for a SIT. He would give the sit pretty fast and then I would throw the ball again. 

Once the ball went in the tall brushy area and he would not go in it to look for the ball. The area has some thorny blackberry bushes in it so that maybe the reason. I had to go and find another toy to toss for him. A couple of times in his excitement Cooper jumped up to grab at the ball before I could toss it.  I started asking for a SIT and even a DOWN before I would toss it. He would sit but I had to help him into a DOWN to get him to do that. Will have to work on DOWN more when he is excited and challenged. 

I also took Cooper for an evening road run too. He should sleep well tonight from his busy day. 

From Cooper Chocolate Lab
Notice that in the photo above that Cooper is wearing a "Gentle Leader Headcollar". 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cooper the chocolate lab

Second day with my new foster dog, Cooper

From Cooper Chocolate Lab
Morning Run

At about seven thirty in the morning I took Cooper for his run along the golf cart. I put my two small dogs on the goft cart in their dog harnesses and ran Cooper alongside on a four foot leash and a choke collar.  Just like yesterday evening he ran fast and enjoyed the running.  When we went alongside the pasture with the cows he was interested but also frighten of them at first. I stopped so the cow and Cooper could get closer to each other by the fence.  Cooper lost interest when the cows just stood there not moving and started to sniff the grass clumps. 

Over weight

Cooper is a bit on the pudgy side and needs to lose some fat. He will lose it fast with our daily runs. Too many dogs in the US are over weight and that is not good for their health. The main reasons many dogs are over weight is that they are over fed and under exercised. All dogs need daily exercise and most labs are active dogs that need more exercise then some other breeds of dogs. But since most labs like to retrieve balls they can be easier to exercise than a dog that doesn't care for retrieving. 


Duringthe  breathing breaks on the morning run with the goft cart I started Cooper on DOWN and STAY lessons . I was able to get him to go into the DOWN position rather easy and he also started to get the idea that I wanted him to stay in that position quite fast too even when I moved a small distance away. Cooper seems to be a smart dog and so far it looks like he will be easy to train.  He likes the hot dog pieces and takes the treats nicely from my hands.

I put him back in his crate when I took my dogs for their morning walk. Cooper barked and whined while we were leaving him, but didn't seem to keep it up once we were way down the street and out of his sight.

Lunch time lessons

At about 12:30 am I took Cooper out of this crate and put in the dog head collar (a Gentle Leader Headcollar). He let me put it on without a struggle and only attempted to remove it a few times as we walked around. I like to try out different training tools on the dogs and see what they do and what works best for each dog. I also like to switch around on using the different collars so the dog learns that no matter which one he is wearing I still want him to listen to my commands. 

Cry baby

After the lunchtime lessons I placed him back into his crate. He was quiet until my son left to go down the road to my Mother's house using the golf cart. Then Cooper started to whine and bark. He continued for about five mintues and I wondered if he also had to pee so I went out to his crate. He clawed at the crate dog and barked at me. I just stood there in front of his crate until he settled down and sat looking at me without barking. Then I clicked and open the crate door. 

You have let the dog learn that all his noise and fussing is not going to make the door open any faster. If you wait each time then you wait less as time goes on.  Dogs are learning all the time and many people end up being taught to listen to their dog instead of the dog learning to listen to the person. 

Evening Run

In the evening I took Cooper for another road run. He likes to run and fast! With these workouts he will be loosing his extra weight (fat) quickly. 

If you don't have a golf cart and a quiet road to run on you might want to look into biking with your dog. There are a few different dog walking devices you might want to check info. I like the looks of "WalkyDog®" dog bike leash. These devices help you bike with your dog safer than just trying to ride along holding on to their leash.

Chocolate male lab - Cooper

My new foster dog arrived Monday evening

Cooper is a pretty chocolate brown male Labrabor Retriever. I think he is already adopted so he will be leaving on a dog transport to the north soon. He is just with me for a short while to get a little training before his adoption. 

Cooper was delivered to my house yesterday evening. I put him in a dog yard and he cried and barked as his first foster mom and I walked away from him. He has a high pitched bark. He also jumped up and down by the gate. I do hope is will not be like Travis and start climbing out. 

First Run

As soon as my guest was gone I pulled out the goft cart and took Cooper for his first "run along". He likes to run and is fast! But he didn't try to pull my arm out socket like Bruce -- my first foster lab. He also has pretty good lungs and stamina and was able to run faster and longer than Travis but not quite as much as hyper Bruce. We went up the road nearly to the highway and then back down the road past the pond. 

First leash work -- Heeling

I stopped from time to time to let him catch his breath and do a little heeling work with him. He pulled a first but not with a lot of force.  I would like change direction and when he pasted me by and started to pull on the leash again I would change direction once again. You cannot get anywhere walking like this but that is not the goal. The goal is to teach the dog that when he feels his collar tighten that he better check on where I am going and come along with me. Cooper doesn't seem to be a hyper dog and doesn't run pass me going full speed like Bruce started off doing. 

After our outing I put Cooper in his dog crate so I would go walk/run my three dogs and my other foster dog.  He did whine and bark a bit when I first left him and he saw me leave the yard with the other dogs. 

Dog Training Tools
  • choke chain
  • 4 foot leash
  • 6 foot leash
  • golf cart
  • clicker and treats -- treats: dry dog kibble and sliced hot dogs
First Night

I left Cooper in his dog crate for the night. At about 10 PM I took him for a short walk around so he could pee before I went to bed. He was quiet in his crate all night. 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Travis the lab day four

Saturday with my new foster dog, Travis

Started off the morning with taking Travis for some jogging along the road from the side of my golf cart. Stopped here and there to do a little work on "HEEL" and "SIT". Started lessons on "DOWN". Travis doesn't like down and got mouthy -- lightly biting my hands and arms. I would tell him NO and keep working on getting him to lay down. This mouthiness tells me that he is not respecting me as his pack leader and is testing me to see if he can just do what he wants to do, which is not to lay down.

From Travis the Lab

I had also noticed some mouthiness from him when I first tried to put him in the dog yard. He needs to learn that this will not stop me and doesn't do a bit of good.

Brushing out the dead hair

At lunch time I took Travis out on a four foot leash and did some heeling lessons. When he see of sniffs something he want to explore surges ahead and pulls. I started walking a circle with him to the inside. This way if he walked to far ahead he ran into my legs or knee. His nose hit my knee hard a few time before he started to keep his place. He will need a lot more work on HEELing and keeping his attention to where I am while walking.

From Travis the Lab

After about 5--10 minutes of HEELing I slipped the end of Travis' leash over a fence post and started to brush out some of his dead winter fur. I don't think he has been brushed much if ever before. He became very mouthy and didn't want me to brush him. I was not hurting him so I just continued and whenever he put his mouth over my arm I said NO and removing it. Even he would stand still I would click and treat him. He has to learn that I will not stop just because he wants me to. A lot of dead hair came out.

Evening outing - almost a dog fight

In the evening I let out Travis and Howie the hound from their dog yards. Howie gets along well with other dogs and so I hoped that he and Travis would met well and maybe play a little. Travis was very excited and I keep him on a leash for this meeting. He jumped right into playing too rough with Howie and after a minute I could see Howie was not liking this rough play. I would pull Travis away from Howie then let him return but he would just go to bit at the back of Howie's neck. Travis was not growling -- just being too excited and dominant with his meeting and play.

After another bite on the neck Howie growled and snapped at Travis. Instead of backing down Travis growled back. I gave Travis a large jerk and then demanded a down from him. He didn't stay in the down long and I put him in a down again. Then walked him in a circle to calm down and put him in his crate so I could take my dogs for their walk.

Travis will have to learn to meet dogs in a nicer, calmer manner, and play gentler too or he will get into himself dog fights. This also shows that he does not respect me as he leader because if he did he would be more respectful of my disapproval of his actions. I will need to work harder to gain Travis' respect with more work on "DOWN" and "HEEL".

When I returned from walking my dogs I worked Travis a little on the road with the cart and did more work on "DOWN" and started on "DOWN-STAY. When he is tried and there are no distractions I can get him to down and stay, but this is just the beginning and he will need a lot more challenging work with more and more distractions added.

From Travis the Lab

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fostering Travis Day Three

Friday is now my third day with Travis

Morning fun with Travis - playing fetch in my yard. Travis is great at fetching the ball and can find it if it lands in the tall grass or underbrush. He uses his nose and sniffs the ball out when it out of sight. Playing ball does get he very excited and he will not always give a fast sit on returning to me. If I hid the ball behind my back he will run around the yard sniffing and looking for the ball and will not pay attention to my calling his name. He does finally return to me when he cannot find it on the ground.

Meeting my dog Gigit

Once I put up the ball Travis tried to play with my thirty pound dog, Gigit. BUT Travis' high nervous and pounce-in-your-face style is not what works to win this girl's heart and Gigit growled and snapped at him. Gigit likes to play but she wants new dogs to flirt politely with her first.

Pond Fetching

At about two pm I take Travis for a walk through the woods to the larger pond. He is still pulling too much so I started to work on recalls (COME) on the trail. My son, Felix comes with us to video tape Travis fetching the ball from the pond. Typical lab - Travis LOVES to play fetch in water. He didn't shake off for each retrieve, but I still got wet, as he does like to shake once he gets near me.

He did do some choking on the pond water while retrieving the ball. He will learn to get the ball with less swallowing of water. I also tossed the ball on land and he jumped high to try to catch a bounced balled.

More road work

At about five pm I did a little more road running with Travis along side the golf cart - or it is more like road jogging as Travis is not into full out racing like Bruce was. Once back home I did some in yard ball tossing for him.

I kept Travis in his crate for part of the day and in his dog yard for part of the day. He has not jumped out of the yard again, but I am keeping him in a crate when I take off with my dogs for their two runs a day.

From Travis the Lab

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day two with Travis the lab

Thursday - my second day with my new foster dog

From Travis the Lab

Because Travis jumped out the four foot gated dog yard yesterday evening. I left him in his crate overnight. Unlike Bruce's first night where he barked and whined nearly all night Travis was very quiet and my sleep was not disturbed.

Heeling at my side

At about seven in the morning I went to Travis' crate and asked for a SIT. Then I waited until he sat and looked me in the eyes then I eye clicked and treated (Eye clicks are just a strong blink of both eyes as the dog is watching you.) Then I opened his crate door and stood in front of it. I blocked the opening and waited for Travis to sit. Once he did I slipped on his choke chain, asked for a sit, then clicked and let him walk out. As soon as he hit the end of the leash I stepped off fast in another direction. This is to teach him that I am the leader and that he need to kept track of where I am and what I am doing and follow me. As soon as he reached my left side I clicked and treated.

I walked again and once again he surged ahead and I changed direction. I kept this up until he was slowing down and paying more attention to where I was. I slipped his leash over a fence post and said, STAY and went to pull out the golf cart for our run. Travis barked and whined. I waited until he was quiet and sitting before approaching him and asking for a sit again before removing his leash from the fence.

Road Run

I had my two smaller dogs on the golf cart and ran Travis along side it. He is not a champion sled puller and it is easy to keep him from pulling ahead. He jogged along side the cart and I would click and stop and treat from time to time. Also I would stop the cart and walk him around asking for heel some too. Travis needs a lot of work on heeling. He kept wanting to just walk ahead and doesn't kept track I where I am. I have to keep changing direction. He will learn that it is just easier to walk with me. He is sitting faster and more consistently when I stop and ask for a sit.

Fetching the Ball

I stop and let him cool off in the pond -- in the shallow water along its edge as i still have him on a four foot lead. Back home play some fetch with him with a tennis ball which he loves. When he is excited he is a little mouthy and also holds on the ball a bit from time to time.

I place him back into his crate and feed him. Then I walk my dogs. Travis barks when we leave the yard, but his barking dies down quickly as soon as we are out of sight. In a couple of hours I placed Travis in his dog yard. He barked some when I left him but didn't climb out. He stayed in his yard until his evening fun.

Evening workout

Repeat of morning cart run along and stops at the pond to cool off and some heeling and sitting training. Then some ball tossing in my yard.

Meeting my two smaller dogs

I had my two little dogs loose in my yard while Travis played fetch. His energy level made my smallest dog, BooBoo nervous and she just stayed out of his way. Gigit who is about thirty pounds was less intimidated by him, but she does take a while before she is trusting enough of large dogs to play with them. With the ball around Travis doesn't give other dogs to much attention.

Travis has a good energy but is not over the top like Bruce. He will fit into more families since he doesn't require as much daily exercise as a hyper dog.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Travis the lab my new foster dog

New Foster Dog - Travis - Day One

On Wednesday morning a pet rescue friend picked up Bruce (he is leaving on transport Thursday) and dropped off Travis, for me to foster - another black male Labrador Retriever that is up for adoption at Labs4Rescue. She put Travis in a dog crate.

Loose Leash Heeling Lesson

After I ran my dogs I came back and took Travis out of his crate and placed a choke chain and four foot lead on him. I walked him about my yard a little to see how much he pulled. He pulled pretty hard on the leash when he wanted to smell something. I kept changing directions whenever he reached the end of the leash and start to pull on it.

I kept doing this until he started to pay more attention to me. Whenever he did give me his attention I clicked and treated him. Travis doesn't know how to take treats from my hand nicely. He put my whole hand in his month a few times trying to figure out how to get the treat. I kept my fist closed until he started to lick at my hand then I would open it so he could get at the treat. The treats were hot dog slices and his dog food kibble.

Clicker Training

I also started to ask for a SIT and what for it before clicking and treating him. He didn't seem to know the word, SIT, but responded more to the upward tug on the leash -- if I had his attention. Once sitting I clicked and treated.

After I could walk a bit without him trying to just drag me. I pulled out the golf cart to take him on a road run. I placed my two smaller dogs on the cart in their halters and let Travis run along side the golf cart. He is not a Speed Racer, more like a Lope Along Larry. He didn't run as fast as he could and before long he was staying right at the side with a loose leash. This was a nice change from the full out racing and arm pulling Bruce did until he was tried. Travis also tucker out faster than Bruce. I only had to travel about half the distance I did with Bruce to give him a good workout. But he will gain stamina with farther workouts.

We stopped by the pond on the road and I let Travis walk into the water where he laid down to cool off. Once back home I place him in his own dog yard.

Evening - Road Run and Pond

At about 5:30 pm I took Travis for another short road run with the golf cart and another stop at the pond to cool off (still on the four foot lead). I also did a little heeling on a loose leash work and sitting. He is still pulling ahead when he smell something he want to check out. He wants the treats but is still not sitting too fast.

I also tried Travis' leash to a fallen tree for a few snap shots in the evening sun.

From Travis the Lab

Jumped the fence

After I exercised Travis I put him back in his dog yard and let my other foster dog, Howie the Hound, and my German Shepard dog, Lobo, out of their dog yards to run around my larger fenced in yard. Travis was very excited and kept barking and barking and jumping up at the gate of his yard.

When I went and got dog food for my dogs and started to put them up after their playtime Travis grew even more excited and jumped the four foot dog yard gate. I was right there and grabbed him by his collar and snapped on a leash and walked him to his crate. I am not ready to have him met my dogs loose, specially when he is so excited and their is food around. So now I know that Travis can climb a four foot fence. I will keep in crated for this night.

Today's Summary of Lessons

I worked with Travis on the following: SIT, take food nicely from my hand, walking on a leash without pulling on it, getting his attention, and jogging along with the golf cart.

Health note: Travis' stool is on the soft side, but this can just be because he is excited and in a new place and eating new food and drinking new water.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day Seven with Foster Dog Bruce

Sunday - but we still work on training

In the morning I walked Bruce up the road to the pond. I figure he can be off lead next to the road since he is able to focus so well on the ball. There is not as much traffic on this road on Sunday. Bruce did fairly well with keeping a loose leash on the walk to the pond and I did do some recalls when he forgot. The command COME is an important one that should be consistently worked on.

Bruce LOVES the pond and the ball fetching. If his new owns can bring him to pond, lake, or other waterway often he will be in heaven. Bruce is bit too much in a hurry to leave to get the ball that he sometimes doesn't notice where I toss it. I kept changing the spot in the pond where I threw the ball so he would learn to watch where I tossed it. He is still chomping too much on the ball and it is still hard to remove it easily from his month. I am now asking for a sit each time before I try to take the ball from him. I am also clicking for when he stops chomping on it for a second. It will take time for him to learn to have a less active mouth when holding the ball.

I had family over today and Bruce did a lot of barking as we where working in the yard and he could see us, but was in his dog yard. After a long while he did shut up, but would start again if I past his yard while going to get tools. He does need to learn more self control and it will come when he see that the barking just doesn't get him what he wants. From time to time when he was quiet I would bring him a few dogs kibbles and ask for a sit and click and treat.

In the evening I played ball in the yard with him. He got too hot and went and jumped in my goldfish pond with his ball. My largest fish was upset and nearly jumped out the pond. I will have to keep Bruce out of my fish pond.

Good News

My golf cart is fixed again! Bought a part at the store yesterday to fix it. So now I can use it once again to help exercise Bruce.

I have been having some Internet connection troubles and it is hard for me to get online and update this blog. It is especially hard to add photos to it. Hope this problem ends soon.


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