Progress continues!

So for those of you who don’t know, Inara and I are part of a 1940’s style pin-up calendar that donates money to Daddy Dolls (for military kids).  All the pictures must have a pit bull in them as a part of the photo, not just kind of added as an afterthought.  This is our third year doing it.  In fact, you can find the calendar on Facebook – just do a search for Pit Bulls & Pretty Girls. 

Anyway, the first year I found a photographer here in Ohio.  But last year I went to NY to do a mass photo shoot with some friends.  It was super stressful for both Inara and I because she kept trying to start crap with the other dogs and that necessitated her being kept crated the majority of the time.  Not cool, but her own fault.  She also had trouble maintaining stays during the photo shoot, so it was tough to get a good pic of her.

But this year???  Holy criminey she did so much better!  With a few clicks and treats I easily got her within a couple feet of a dog she went after last year.   She was able to be crated around the other dogs instead of sequestered in a hallway.  She didn’t snark at the other dogs while crated in close quarters in a van.  Her obedience during the actual photo shoot was stellar.  In other words, I couldn’t have asked for a better dog!

It really amazes me how quickly and easily she takes to things when using the clicker.  I used to get so annoyed at the “clicker nazi’s” who always made me feel that if I wasn’t using one I was just the dumbest person they’ve ever met.  Actually, those people do still annoy me.  😉  But now I understand their zeal for it and their desire that everybody give it a try.  A true effort, not just a couple days or months.  We’ve been working on this for over a year, but now her progress is really coming in leaps and bounds instead of small increments.

I love my dog.  🙂

Thank you’s and brags!

Hello all!  I hope this blog entry finds you all well and your dogs healthy, happy and non-reactive!

First of all I’d like to say thank you to Embrace Pet Insurance for featuring Inara as part of their Therapy Pet Week newsletter.  It was so kind of them to contact me and ask to use her story!  So check out their newsletter, leave them a kind comment thanking them for being pit bull friendly and then order some insurance for your pet through them!

Secondly, I’ve been getting some kind comments recently from readers who stumbled upon this blog and I want to say thank you.  I know I don’t keep it updated like I should, but your comments really brighten my day (and make me want to just hug some of you who are struggling!).  I’m so glad that you guys are realizing you’re not alone. Sometimes you feel like the only one with a crazy dog, don’t you?  I know I do, even now.  But trust me when I say there are a TON of us with reactive dogs.  If you’re looking for someplace to get training assistance or just find a sympathetic ear, feel free to pop over to PitBullTalk.  You don’t have to have a pit bull – we welcome all breeds of dog owners.  😉

Now, onto the brags!  Inara and I had been training for a regional competition called C-WAGS.  We were entered in the obedience portion of things (HA!  I know, right???).  Well I was pretty nervous but we got there this past Sunday morning and things could not have gone better.  It was at the center I train at, so I think that helped Inara a lot.  Also, it was CRAZY hot so there weren’t many dogs out.  Most were crated in their cars with the AC running.  So Inara was actually content to lie in her crate in the air-conditioned car, napping, with the occasional foray out to stretch her legs and pee.  She barked at a couple dogs but it was half-hearted.  She was announcing her presence, not threatening them.

Finally it was our turn for our first run-through.  We were second to last, and the woman competing behind me knew Inara was reactive and had agreed to not bring her dog into the building until we were out.  So there were no other dogs in there, which was great.  I had a little trouble getting her focused when we walked in, but I waited until I had some eye contact before we entered the ring.  So we entered and went through the routine – and not only qualified but got FOURTH PLACE!!!!!  There had been probably 15 dogs competing and we got 4th place!!!  I nearly cried with joy.  I never thought my crazy little pit bull would compete, in OBEDIENCE, of all things, and actually beat other dogs.  It was pretty amazing.

Our second run-through we NQ’ed because she was hot and tired and couldn’t focus on the heeling portion.  It’s too bad because the rest of our routine was nearly perfect so we would have ended up pretty high in the rankings again.  🙂  But I didn’t care.  I had gone there with the intention of having fun, seeing how Inara did, and not even qualifying.  But we came home with ribbons.

So please, I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t underestimate yourself and/or your dog.  Believe other people when they say that you can do it.  And above all, make sure you AND YOUR DOG always have fun while training/competing.

Thanks for reading!