SAUDADE - A longing for something you already have......

Pronounced "sow-dahd-jee" this word is hard to define.

It's being in a moment so wonderful that all you can do is

mourn it's passing, even as it is happening.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Police K9 Demo!

A few weeks ago, the Town of Fishers had their Freedom Festival.  Samantha and I went to see the sights, share a snow cone, and we also got to see a police K9 Demonstration.  The Hamilton County Police K9’s gave a demo of their obedience, drug detection and man-stopping skills.  It was a thrill to see these dogs in action, in person.

Please excuse my video quality here.  These were taken with my old (now dead) digital camera.  The videos were shot at high noon, and the camera did not handle the glare from the cars very well.  The videos ended up looking like they were shot in 1960!  LOL

This is a Malinois, showing what happens if the officer is attacked and uses the automatic car door.


Next we have an awesome sable German Shepherd Dog, doing a “car extraction”.

And last is another Malinois, showing off his take-down skills.

The rest of these are a few still shots of some of the other demos, and one of the trailing Bloodhounds.  (what a big sweetie!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Train, don't complain!

I decided to address a few issues that cropped up in our household, that were starting to cause stress and get on everyone’s nerves.

Our first issue was Wonder-Dog Rex.  He has a wonderful, German Shepherd-y personality.  He is extremely affectionate, playful, and silly.  He is also very smart, courageous and faithful, but he tends towards high excitement.  Typical of GSD’s, he is very vocal.  When he is excited and happy, he let’s the whole world know about it.  BARK! BARK! BARK!  Head pointed to the sky, and that loud guard-dog bark going off and making everyone’s ears ring.

One of his favorite times to bark has become when I let the dogs outside, especially in the morning.  It’s chaotic enough with 380#’s of dog all trying to be first out of the door, eager to see what the new day has in store for them.  But, throw in the barking and UGH.  I quickly realized that my attempts to shout “QUIET!” louder than Rex’s barks was getting me no-where.  Probably in his mind, I was just joining in on the excitement!

I tried putting on his leash, and doing a leash correction.  That also did no good, as now he was TEN TIMES more excited, because he was at the door AND he had his leash on!

I decided to go to the source and got out the good ol’ Bitter Apple Spray.  I quietly and calmly advised Rex of the rules.  You bark, you get your mouth “washed out” with Bitter Apple.  You’re quiet, you get a click and a treat.

It really made me feel bad the first time he barked, got a shot of bitter apple and he just rolled his eyes and GROANED.  (LOL)  But he learned pretty quick how to get treats.  I’ve only been working with him a few days, and the barking at the door has decreased DRAMATICALLY.  AHHHH, peace.  He is still learning to self-inhibit and occasionally forgets and rips off a bark.  A gentle reminder, some rolling eyes, and he remembers his new job.

"Well that tasted yucky........."

"I promise I'll be quiet"

"See?  I'm a good boy!"

The second issue in the house involves big giant doggie feet trampling little baby girl feet.  Bayden is 104# of fast moving dog.  One of Samantha’s chores is to let the dogs out of their bedroom in the morning.  Unfortunately, when Samantha is leaning forward to push the gate open, Bayden goes flying through and has been stepping on Samantha’s bare foot.  Ouch!  No one wants to start their day like that.  This behavior is just unacceptable.

On a side note, I would like to brag on my husband’s woodworking skills.  We’ve had years of a hideous baby gate across the doorway to the dog’s room, having to step over the bar, and having it come crashing down on occasion. (Releasing the whole Thundering Pack out to come face to face with any visitors we had over.)  Travis made this FABULOUS gate!!!  He milled all the pieces from one piece of wood, designed and built and finished the gate of a lifetime.  I told him he could make a mint selling this to dog fanciers.  It is just the right height, the hinges are right in the door frame, and the handle goes right where the door handle was.  It swings so smoothly, and looks SO NICE!

Anyway, back to Bayden.  So Bayden is very, very obedient.  (Proud to be home-schooled too!)  I just got some treats and the clicker, and reinforced a nice sit-stay.  First I had to teach her to do her sit-stay back away from the gate’s swing radius.  Then it was just a matter of proofing her, by opening/closing the gate repeatedly, and clicking and treating each stay. 

Then I got Samantha involved to show her how we make Bayden stay off her wittle toesies.  Samantha was very into giving Bayden the release command of “FreeDog!!”, once she had safely stepped back from the doorway.

So far, it’s going very well and here are a couple photos from our first morning after our training.  (Note it is and little girl has NOT had her hair combed yet.)

I always say you get out of your dogs what you put into them.  A little extra effort on my part, will hopefully make for much more peaceful mornings around the homestead!  Whew J

Friday, July 22, 2011

A surprisingly good book for the novice Dane owner....

I just had a birthday and one of my gifts was a book on Great Danes.  (From Jamie!  Apparently he thought the Dane on the front looked like him.)  Anyway, I was not expecting a lot from it, as it's one of those "A Complete Pet Owner's Manual".  Typically these books are sold in pet stores and the text is usually pretty generic and each "breed book" has the same text, and the only difference in the books are the breed-specific photos.

This is the book I received.  I went ahead an started reading and was pleasantly surprised.  All the chapters are very Dane-Specific and do a very good job of preparing the first time Dane owner for the joys and challenges of owning a dog the size of a pony.  IE: not only are you going to have loogies on the ceiling, but you better have a plan for carrying/transporting a dog this large if he ever gets injured or sick.

The recurring theme of the book is "giant dogs bring giant responsibilities", which is something I always try to stress to people who ask questions out in public.  I really like how they stress that Great Danes must be a part of the family, and you get back what you put into the relationship.   Of course the book is not perfect, but overall I'd reccomend it to anyone who is considering adding a Great Dane to their family.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Jamie's New Clothes

Jamie is my special boy.  I've had him since the moment he was born.  He was the last puppy born in his litter and the vet handed him right to me.  He just turned seven in June, and his collar was looking pretty ragged.  So I ordered him a fancy new one from Woof Wear .  They are the same people who did Dijon's "sheriff's badge" collar.

It was a happy surprise when Jamie's collar came in the mail today!  So here he is modeling it.

"Great" means so much more than just "Big"...........

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dawg Days of Summer

Whew! It's been HOT.  We had torrential rains all spring and now the oven has been turned on.  Tomorrow's forecast is for mid-90's with high humidity and a heat index expected of 100-105.  Definitely not family friendly weather.  I've been trying to take the dogs to the local park.  It's shady and there is a lovely, clear, cool creek running though it. 

Samantha loves the park as well, she is working on her "rock throwin" skills

She also loves running the trails!

I'm pretty sure I've posed on this rock with dogs 100 times...

Happy dog faces!

Posing in front of a HUGE old Sycamore tree.  This tree is astonishingly large.

Hombody Jamie prefers sunbathing.  I swear he was a baked potato in a previous life.

Shine says Gimme a nice lawn chair and a lemonaide anyday :)

Stay cool!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rex's Graduation night

Rex joined our family in February, and I decided to take him to obedience classes.  I wanted to continue our bond, and our ability to "read" each other and just have fun!  We both got a lot out of the class.  Below are several pictures and videos of our graduation night at First Friend K-9 Training.  And jeez, I realize I need to get something more fashionable for my treat bag than that hideous fanny pack! LOL



DOWN with verbal cue only.  Rex is no dummy, he knew when the instructor got to us, it was HIS TURN to down!  I had to put him back into a sit, and then have him down on command.


SIT STAY - the dogs had to hold their sit stay, while all the owners walked around the room.  Rex held his stay, despite the fact that the naughty dog across from him did NOT and walked over and was messing with Rex.  He held his stay until the last second.  GOOD BOY!

GROUP SIT STAY - again, Rex was such a good boy and held his stay.  The entire class had to hold a sit stay in a very small spot in the room.  Rex is to the left of the bar stool.  He held his stay even tho the other dogs in class kept breaking, their owners kept re-setting them.  Also, I had walked across the room to talk to the instructor.

And finally, here he is getting his diploma!  His first certificate of achievement for his scrapbook!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

4th of July Weekend!

So welcome to my first Blog post!  After many years of doing a traditional website, I thought it would be fun to keep everyone updated with a blog instead.  Our household consists of me, my husband Travis, our daughter Samantha and my four dogs.  Jamie the Great Dane is 7, Shine the Sussex Spaniel is 6, Bayden the Beauceron is 5, and Rex the German Shepherd is 5. 

We've had a fun holiday weekend so far.  Lots of playing outside and walks.