Friday, August 8, 2014

What inspires you?

Edited:  I wrote this way back in 2011, but never got around to publishing it. After reading it today, I've decided that although a few years have come and gone, we all still need motivation at times.  So here it is:

It's been a rough few months around here, just last week got a cast off my elbow that has really been inhibiting what I've been able to do with my own dogs, as well as my training dogs. Not able to work dogs with my left hand and having the same trouble with the right, just trying to stay away from surgery this time around.  It's easy to sit around the first couple of weeks, after all, there was a CAST on my arm, but it's off now, and I'm back to working dogs with my right hand.  Painful, but has to be done.

I know what a downer it can be when we aren't feeling 100%, it's raining cats and dogs all day, every day, and things just don't feel like they're working.  So what do you do when the motivation is waning, and you just have to find a way out of the doldrums?

 I try to do a few things here and there, working in particular on how to bring joy back into my life and my relationship with my training dogs.  After all, they don't care what's going on with me, do they?

One of the things I do is read about the fun other trainers are having with their dogs, and I get a  bit jealous. There, I've said it!  I want what they have, and it's all up to me to make it happen.

My dogs deserve it, my training dogs need and deserve it, and they shouldn't have to be denied the fun and joy we enjoy when we're working together.

 Using some fabulous games developed by several trainers I've been following, in particular Sarah Wilson, has kept me in the game.  

Puppy Collars and Leashes

One of the pleasures of getting a new puppy is going shopping for all the "stuff" you'll need.

I'm going to make my recommendations here over time, but for now, let's discuss collars and leads (leashes).

For most pet owners, the variety of collars and leads can be a bit confusing or even overwhelming.  Many of my clients ask before their first lesson, "should I get a choke chain before you come?".  Valid question, but since I haven't met the dog, have no idea what's going to work, and I tend to use and trust my own equipment when we first meet, the answer is "no".  The other part of this is that with all the options out there, and I like almost all of them for one reason or another, what used to be "the go-to" training collar, or "choke chain", is not appropriate.

Since we're talking about puppies today, my recommendation is a wide, flat, non-tightening style collar. The type you can put all her tags on when the time comes.  

Why "wide" and not the narrow, cute ones that are in all the pet supply stores? 
Where the collar sits on the puppy can make a big difference. I like a collar wide enough to cover above and below the trachea. I find narrow collars (on any dog, but especially puppies and toy breeds), can cut right into the trachea, and will be, at the least, uncomfortable, at it's worst, cause tracheal irritation and possible a collapsed trachea in very small pups and certain toy breeds.

I just picked up a lovely first collar for my 2 pups, made by a company called RC Pet Products out of Vancouver, BC, Canada. The collars are xs 7-9" and 5/8" wide.
 you can find a 1" collar in size Small ( 9-15" ). Perfect for puppies and small breeds.

Leashes are another kettle of fish.  Most leashes come with very heavy clips on the ends.  Heavy clips can clock even larger breeds in the side of the head, making it very uncomfortable for them while moving. I have seen dogs not want to walk because of this, and it need not be that way if you are aware of your options.  

I'm a big fan of these leashes from G.W. Little... they specialize in small breeds and puppies for everything you can imagine.   These are my favorite leads for puppies and small breeds. Nothing too heavy, too wide, they are easy on our hands and they do the job:

There are so many options to choose from once you know what they are, and where to find them :)

Next up:
Crates for small breeds and puppies!