In case you’re wondering who’s behind this crazy blog, I thought I’d post some info. Feel free to leave a comment if there’s something you think I should ad.
1. Who are you?
My name is Jenn and I’m in my early thirties. I’m a graphic designer and I currently work for a book publisher. Basically, I take words and pictures and put them together to make them pretty. It’s kind of the best job ever.
2. Why did you start a blog about your dog?
There were a couple of reasons. The first is I wanted an easy way to keep track of our progress. When you’re trying to train something it can be easy to get frustrated and think you’re not going anywhere, but if you look back at where you were a month, six months, or a year ago, you can realize you’ve actually come quite far. The other reason is that I love to talk about my dogs. Like, a lot. And they’re so zany and ridiculous that I thought other people might enjoy it too. The final reason is that when I want to do something (train something new, build something, etc), I always try the home remedy first instead of just going out and buying stuff. There’s tonnes of resources online so I thought I would try and collect them here for other people to read.
3. Tell us a little about your dogs.
Mufaasa (aka Mu) was born on May 2, 2010. He is a rescue that I got when he was nine months old with virtually no training. He is most likely a border collie x lab cross. For a more detailed look into what he was like when I got him, you can read one of my first posts. He’s black and white and about 50lbs, with a crazy metabolism to match his nutty personality. Fortunately he’s really great with people and a quick learner, too. Mu entered his first agility trial in the Fall of 2012, but has since retired from competition (though we still practice for fun).
Raafael (aka Raafi) was born sometime in June 2012. He was adopted from a local German Shepherd rescue. He is a mix of German Shepherd, Malamute, Husky, Golden Retriever, plus some other stuff (probably kangaroo). For a more detailed introduction you can read this post. He had a very rough start but since being adopted when he was 4-5 months old he’s come a long way. He has been competing in agility for a few years now and is doing really well. He is very dog savvy, loves children and is very people oriented, though he has some resource guarding issues while inside which he is working through beautifully.
4. Where do you live?
In beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia. Lots of parks, nice people, and the ocean five minutes from my door.
5. What is your training background?
I never had my own dog growing up, the closest I got was the various barn dogs I would meet when I was horseback riding, and occasionally baby-sitting by dad’s friend’s dog, a gorgous blue merle collie named Molson (yes, for the beer), who was basically the quietist, politest, gentlest collie you ever did meet. I started riding when I was 13, and started working around horses when I was 15, which I did until (and a bit during) university. Afterwards I worked as a groom for Ian Millar and later for Palha Halpern (based near Ottawa with both), where I learned a lot about riding (and about the sometimes horrible, sometimes awesome world of A-circuit show jumping). While there I got my first dog, Naala (German Shephard x rottie), had no idea what I was doing but got the basics down. Once I stopped working as a groom and returned to Nova Scotia, I started to learn more about positive reinforcement training. I attended one basic obedience course, but didn’t really gel with the trainer (he wasn’t bad, and was “mostly” positive, and certainly no corrective type equipment was used, but there was some stuff that didn’t seem to fit). Because of that experience I got more into studying positive reinforcement myself so I could really understand the concepts. After Naala died I got Mufaasa, and got pretty hard-core about training and learning about the psychology behind positive reinforcement. I started training with Sublime Canine and am loving the corporative environment and great trainers there. Raafi has also started with Sublime and is coming along nicely, though he has a few more difficult training issues than his big brother. I’m not an expert, but I’m learning, and happy to pass on what I know so more people can learn about it too.
6. What are your training goals?
I started competing in agility (or “poor-man’s show jumping” as I like to call it) with Mu in 2012. I would also like to compete in disc dog, though I’m a little too poor to be showing in two sports at the moment. Raafi is just about finished his second season of agility, and is developing nicely (though he is a late bloomer). I have no current allusions of going to a world championship, I’m just happy to find new ways to strengthen my partnership with my favourite furry friends. My fav agility topics are motivational games (Mu was pretty lazy at first, and Raafi is incredibly soft and easily upset if he thinks he’s “wrong”, even though he almost never is!), and running contacts.