OK Go’s “White Knuckles” …. HA, The Outtakes

On September 20th we detailed OK Go’s White Knuckles video, amazingly shot in one takeAs most of the dogs in this video are rescues, OK Go is donating a portion of all proceeds from the sale of the video on their site to animal rescue. I don’t know who was having more fun, the guys or the dogs.

Lauren Henry, the owner of Talented Animals and head animal trainer for this video, was brought in to make the canine choreography a reality. “They needed to enjoy it,” says Henry. “Otherwise there’s no way you’re going to drag a dog out there and have them do the same action again and again, day after day.”

“We spent a lot of time playing with them … Each behavior is part of a whole game they’re playing,” she explains. “For instance: the dogs running around people’s legs at the beginning. Riot, the little dog on the left, I would have her go around the chair and then I’d throw the ball. Then I would have her go her around the chair twice, and then throw the ball. And then three times, and then add the person.”

Sequestered in a studio outside of Portland for two weeks, the full routine was only completed about fifteen times. “It all gelled the second week of filming. The one we’re using was the first run we did on the second-to-last-day of filming,” Nordwind says. “We’ll work until we fall down, but the dogs needed time to rest. They were done by about 6:30 [p.m.]. They get tired: They want to go home and eat. In that respect I liked working on the dogs’ schedule.”

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Now, here is a great video showing a compilation of the outtakes. It actually brings the whole video together to see how it was made. Talk about team work.

I loved this comment from drummerbill805, one of the folks who worked on the video:

I worked on this video and it was amazing!!! I’m the guy tossin buckets on Dan the drummer’s side. The dogs were all incredible and stayed focused all day. Testament to Lauren Henry and Talented Animals—greatest two weeks of work in my entire life.

Dog folks ….. often such a stubborn lot

I think I must be really different than other dog people, because I actually listen to and seek out opinions from veterinarians and behaviorists. And, trust me, if I acted the following way in my vet’s office (and these incidents are 100% true), he’d throw me out in a heartbeat. How veterinarian, Dr. Jessica Volgelsang (Dr. V of Pawcurious fame), keeps her cool is just beyond me.

The ALWAYS fabulous Dr. Ian Dunbar (veterinarian, behaviorist & writer) speaks to dog trainers never actually listening …. and he is actually spot on. Just listen to him detail 3 simple strategies to successfully training a dog, which so many folks typically disregard.

We love the honesty in this recent video from Dr. Dunbar on binary feedback. We find that there is too much black and white in the training world, instead of realizing that a common sense eclectic approach that embraces the realistic grays of life is crucial.

The force and fear-based training of old is sadly still very much present today, with the utilization of positive and motivational approaches very much in the minority. And, it may be due to such training being given continuing voice in the media, such as we see in the strangely named, and in our opinion, horrid Dog Whisperer (Cesar Millan’s) show on the National Geographic Channel.

Dr. Sophia Yin speaks to this in her article: Experts Say Dominance-Based Dog Training Techniques Made Popular by Television Shows Can Contribute to Dog Bites.

According to a recent veterinary study published in The Journal of Applied Animal Behavior (2009), if you’re aggressive to your dog, your dog will be aggressive, too.

Says Meghan Herron, DVM, lead author of the study, “Our study demonstrated that many confrontational training methods, whether staring down dogs, striking them, or intimidating them with physical manipulation such as alpha rolls [holding dogs on their back], do little to correct improper behavior and can elicit aggressive responses.”

These techniques are pervasive in many T.V. shows and some popular books. For instance, The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan routinely demonstrates alpha rolls, dominance downs and forced exposure to things that cause fear or aggression, and has depicted Millan restraining dogs or performing physical corrections in order to take valued possessions away from them.

And like their previous bestselling books, Divine Canine by the Monks of New Skete focuses on correcting bad behaviors using choke chain and pinch collar corrections rather than proven non-aversive techniques.

These sources attribute undesirable or aggressive behavior in dogs to the dog’s striving to gain social dominance or to a lack of dominance displayed by the owner. Advocates of this theory therefore suggest owners establish an “alpha” or pack-leader role.

But according to the AVSAB position statement on The Use of Dominance Theory in Animal Behavior Modification, undesirable behaviors are most frequently due to inadvertent rewarding of undesirable behaviors and lack of consistent rewarding of desirable behaviors.

Learn lots more about dog training here. You will be glad you did.

Meet Payton: SAR Pup-in-Training

I just love this little guy. Meet Robin Stanifer with Golden Retriever Payton, her search and rescue dog. They are working from a motorboat on a pond in the Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in central Indiana to track scent during a Department of Homeland Security Search and Rescue Conference training exercise held June 4. (U.S. Army photo by John Crosby)

Learn more about Golden SAR dogs here.

Meet Judy Fridono, Golden Lover & Trainer Extraordinaire

Judy Fridono

Judy Fridono

Judy Fridono, who I’ve featured at my Agricultural Golden Retriever Scent Detection Dog page and on a post with the adorable Halloween costumed Golden Rina, wanted me to publicize a fundraiser in which her Golden would be riding the waves tandem with Patrick Ivison, a 15-year-old spinal cord injured adaptive surfer.

Well, that would be a cinch to merely reproduce Judy’s press release (check it out below). But, the work that she is doing is too fascinating to leave it at that. And, like myself (I have a mixed connective tissue disorder), her charitable endeavors began as a way to make a difference despite adversity.

Due to the pain and degenerative nature of  a juvenile rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis in late childhood, Judy was limited in her physical activities. Instead, she channeled her energy into charitable causes. She puppy raised for Canine Companions for Independence and completed (Bergin University’s) Assistance Dog Institute’s A.S. degree program, working with Dr. Bonnie Bergin, the incredible woman who initially originated the concept of the service dog.  Judy, who has trained dogs at several service dog organizations, is currently a service dog trainer for Paws’itive Teams, also active with her own service dog through their goal directed therapy program working with children.

Judy, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), is also the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Puppy Prodigies, a Neo-natal and Early Learning Program. Their objective is to provide their “prepped” puppies to owner-trainers, assistance dog, and other canine training organizations with the goal of decreasing the number of dogs that are released from programs due to temperament or behavior issues. As the wait for a service dog can be several years & the cost for training quite high ($25,000 per dog), it is shocking to realize that a fair percentage of dogs in training programs do not graduate. That is why Puppy Prodigies is such an important organization.

  • Puppy Prodigies focuses on critical stages of development starting at birth by providing the puppy with structured exercises and experiences such as early stimulation, conditioning, imprinting, habituation, socialization, environment enrichment, and training.  The purpose is to condition the puppies so they learn to learn!  Learn more Here: Early Learning Focus and Early Learning Program Highlights.
  • Puppy Prodigies provides these early trained puppies to organizations and others who need them, which includes but is not limited to assistance dog programs for their puppy raising/training initiatives, medical alert programs, seizure alert/response programs, social therapy programs, scent detection programs, and other career dog programs and individuals who are “owner training” their personal dog for assistance work.
  • Puppy Prodigies has a breeder collaboration program in which they work closely with breeders in a effort to produce exceptional puppies who are destined for a future in assistance work.
  • Puppy Prodigies whelps litters for other assistance dog programs, as well as breeders who are interested in our early learning program for their entire litter.
  • Puppy Prodigies provides continued support once the puppy is placed so that the early learning that was fostered is built upon throughout the puppy’s training journey.
  • Puppy Prodigies provides education and training opportunities to breeders, other assistance dog programs, trainers, etc, so they can provide their Neo-natal & Early Learning Program to their litters of puppies.
  • Puppy Prodigies charts the success of their efforts since the ultimate goal is to decrease the number of dogs who are released from programs due to temperament or behavior issues. This data also serves as a source of early canine behavior research for their work with other dog behavior professionals.

Judy, like many other Golden owners, has a website for her girl, “Rip Curl Ricki“. Born on January 25, 2008, the 9th puppy in a litter of 10, Ricki was raised as part of Puppy Prodigies with hopes of becoming a service dog. A little too interested in chasing birds and other small animals, her career path changed, and she became a SURFice dog! At 8 weeks of age, in addition to her service dog skills training, Ricki began surf dog training on a boogie board in a kiddie pool. Here is this sweet puppy girl learning how to surf  in a kiddie pool at the tender age of 11 to 13 weeks.

Given Judy’s physical limitations, Team Ricki was created to help with taking Ricki in the water to surf, attend practices, accompany her to contests, give surfing advice, help with fundraising, take pictures/video at events, and more. If you would like to get involved, unleash the fun, and be part of Team Ricki, please send an email to pawinspired@aol.com or call (707) 228-0679. Judy is really in need of a strong guy in the San Diego area who can take Ricki out in the water to practice and for competitions.

Ricki is the youngest surFUR on the San Diego Dog Surfing Association Team, and is also a member of the Golden SurFURS team, which is composed of all Golden Retrievers! Check out the Golden SurFURS below.

Although still a novice, now each time Ricki surfs in competitions, she has a personal mission called “Surfin’ for Paws-abilities” which raises money for charitable causes. I do hope you visit her site and check out this mission so that you can donate.

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Surf Dog Contest Winner Carves New Waves as She Tandem Surfs with 15-year-old Spinal Cord Injured Adaptive Surfer

Golden Retriever Ricki

Golden Retriever Ricki

SAN DIEGO, CA, August 14, 2009…”Rip Curl Ricki,” a local golden retriever surf contest winner, will be taking to the waves next Thursday, August 20, to learn a new skill: surfing tandem with Patrick Ivison, a 15-year-old spinal cord injured adaptive surfer. “Ricochet” (as she is known on land) has been surfing since she was a puppy, and has always been part of surfing fundraising efforts for great causes. The newest project for Ricochet, however, presents a unique and exciting challenge: training to surf tandem with Patrick Ivison, who suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of an accident when he was only 14 months old. Patrick was diagnosed quadriplegic, but he is able to surf using an adaptive surfboard.

In addition to accomplishing a tandem surf ride with a person with limited physical abilities (rarely, if ever done), Ricochet will use her surf training next week to prepare for upcoming surf competitions/fundraisers for Patrick.

Although Patrick has excelled through the years in both school and adaptive sports (adaptive surfing is his specialty), he recently decided that having a service dog would help him achieve greater independence as he approaches his college years. Paws’itive Teams, a local non-profit organization that places service dogs with persons with disabilities, caught wind of Patrick’s story and matched him with a golden retriever named Kona.

Patrick also participates in an intense physical therapy program funded through Help Patrick Walk, which helps him build strength by exercising parts of his body he can’t move or control on his own. Since starting his therapy, Patrick has been able to do things he never thought he could.

Although Patrick has excelled through the years in both school and adaptive sports (adaptive surfing is his specialty), he recently decided that having a service dog would help him achieve greater independence as he approaches his college years.

Paws’itive Teams, a local non-profit organization that places service dogs with persons with disabilities, caught wind of Patrick’s story and matched him with a golden retriever named Kona.

The costs of training a service dog, and specialized physical therapy are steep, however – that’s where Ricochet’s knack for surfing and fundraising comes in. Ricochet will be carving waves in San Diego for the next several weeks to prepare for the Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-a-thon in Del Mar on September 13, 2009 as well as the Surf City Surf Dog event in Huntington Beach on October 11, where she hopes to share a wave with Patrick.

A surfin' Patrick

A surfin' Patrick

Patrick is an official beneficiary for the Surf City Surf Dog contest, and the proceeds donated to Ricochet through her fundraising efforts will go directly to Paws’itive Teams, and Help Patrick Walk, for the sole purpose of easing the financial burden on Patrick and his family.

Note: If you’d like to volunteer, get involved, make a donation, or become a sponsor, send an email to pawinspired@aol.com, or call Judy Fridono at (707) 228-0679.

If you are lucky enough to be a Californian, do be sure to go out to see these fun competitions. It’s always fun for the surfers to hear their names chanted while they are carving out some waves (pom-poms optional!)

Sept 13, 2009 to benefit Patrick’s intense PT at Project walk
Ricki will be surfing in the large dog category of Del Mar’s Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-a-thon, surfing as many waves as she can catch in a 20 minute time-frame. She hopes to catch about 6-7 waves. The contest is judged/scored on the length of ride, and how many waves are caught.

Oct 11, 2009 to benefit Patrick’s Golden service dog Kona
Ricki will be surfing in the large dog category in Huntington Beach’s Surf City Surf Dog competition, surfing as many waves as she can catch in a 15 minute time-frame. She hopes to catch 5-6 waves. the contest is judged/scored on the length of ride.

Remember, you can donate for Patrick’s continuing physical therapy through the “Help Patrick Walk” fund which supports his ongoing treatment at Project Walk, and/or for his service dog Kona from Pawsitive Teams.

Just go to  “Surfin’ for Paws-abilities” or click on the Donate Now button.

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Come meet lots of Golden surfing dogs and learn more about this new fun sport that is taking root all over the nation.  Just click here.

SURF DOG CONTEST WINNER CARVES NEW WAVES AS SHE TANDEM SURFS WITH
15-YEAR-OLD SPINAL CORD INJURED ADAPTIVE SURFERSAN DIEGO, CA, August 14, 2009…”Rip Curl Ricki,” a local golden retriever surf contest winner, will be taking to the waves next Thursday, August 20, to learn a new skill: surfing tandem with Patrick Ivison, a 15-year-old spinal cord injured adaptive surfer.  “Ricochet” (as she is known on land) has been surfing since she was a puppy, and has always been part of surfing fundraising efforts for great causes.  The newest project for Ricochet, however, presents a unique and exciting challenge: training to surf tandem with Patrick Ivison, who suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of an accident when he was only 14 months old.  Patrick was diagnosed quadriplegic, but he is able to surf using an adaptive surfboard.In addition to accomplishing a tandem surf ride with a person with limited physical abilities (rarely, if ever done), Ricochet will use her surf training next week to prepare for upcoming surf competitions/fundraisers for Patrick.Although Patrick has excelled through the years in both school and adaptive sports (adaptive surfing is his specialty), he recently decided that having a service dog would help him achieve greater independence as he approaches his college years. Paws’itive Teams, a local non-profit organization that places service dogs with persons with disabilities, caught wind of Patrick’s story and matched him with a golden retriever named Kona.

Patrick also participates in an intense physical therapy program funded through Help Patrick Walk, which helps him build strength by exercising parts of his body he can’t move or control on his own.  Since starting his therapy, Patrick has been able to do things he never thought he could.

The costs of training a service dog, and specialized physical therapy are steep, however – that’s where Ricochet’s knack for surfing and fundraising comes in.
Ricochet will be carving waves in San Diego for the next several weeks to prepare for the Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-a-thon in Del Mar on September 13, 2009 as well as the Surf City Surf Dog event in Huntington Beach on October 11, where she hopes to share a wave with Patrick.

Patrick is an official beneficiary for the Surf City Surf Dog contest, and the proceeds donated to Ricochet through her fundraising efforts will go directly to Paws’itive Teams, and Help Patrick Walk, for the sole purpose of easing the financial burden on Patrick and his family.

Golden Retriever Aries – NASA’s Leader Dog in Training

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I have an update to this wonderful story I brought to you some months back. You will just love this video of this special little girl and her NASA mentor. What a nice man he seems to be. Hard to believe he never married. You will understand what I am talking about when you watch the clip. Just click here.

NASA Langley Welcomes Aries: The Puppy with a Purpose
By Bob Allen, NASA Editor, Photos by Sean Smith

Aries the puppy. NASA Langley’s newest worker is literally a top dog. A golden retriever puppy named Aries is now working on Center as a “Leader Dog in Training.” Her mentor is Evan J. Horowitz, an employee in the Flight Research Services Directorate, Flight Systems Safety Office. Aries the puppy is a “Leader Dog in Training” who will be spending
the next 12 to 16 months at LaRC.

Aries the puppy is a “Leader Dog in Training” who will be spending
the next 12 to 16 months at LaRC.

Horowitz has been raising “Leader Dogs for the Blind” for more than a decade. “Having raised other service dogs, Horowitz wanted to continue in this benevolent activity when he began his job here at LaRC,” explained Patricia Cowen, Safety and Facility Assurance Branch.

Horowitz came to Langley to ensure the structural integrity of the Boeing 757 flying laboratory, known as ARIES – Airborne Research Integrated Experiments System. To honor the aircraft, which has since been sent to Dryden and put in flyable storage, the engineer named the puppy Aries.

When Horowitz arrived on Center, he immediately started going through the appropriate channels for approval. After receiving the okay from his supervisor and co-workers, Horowitz began checking to make sure that there were no regulatory problems with bringing the puppy on Center. Aries received approval from the Office of Human Capital Management (OHCM), the Safety and Mission Assurance Office (SMAO), and the Langley Security Office.

Just to be extra careful Horowitz also got a legal opinion from the Office of Chief Counsel. “They informed him that Virginia State Law actually grants the same access rights to service dogs in training as applies to fully trained service dogs,” said Cowen.

Horowitz put in a request for a female golden retriever and waited 18 months for her to arrive. He drove all the way to Rochester, Mich. to pick up Aries, then brought her back to her new home in Hampton Roads. Although Aries is the property of “Leader Dogs for the Blind,” she will stay with Horowitz for about a year until she’s well-socialized.

Evan Horowitz and Aries the puppy. “It is very important that I get her out and about in society, so that she will be accustomed to being in and around people, noises and distractions,” said Horowitz. “By acquiring permission to bring her on Center, Aries will be raised in an environment most like what she will be in as an adult.”

While on Center, Aries will be wearing a blue coat with the words “Future Leader Dog” embroidered on it. Horowitz says that when he got Aries, he also got all the responsibilities that came with her.

“You will notice I carry around a back pack with food, water and sanitary clean-up supplies everywhere I take her,” he said. “Being a responsible pet owner is as much a part of the program as everything else.”

Horowitz also stressed that it is important that Aries is treated as a working dog. “She’s a very cute puppy, but tempting as it may be, please do not try to pet her or distract her while she is wearing her blue coat. Wearing the blue coat is equivalent to her wearing the guide harness,” he added.

After 12 to 15 months, Horowitz will return Aries to Michigan. Once back at “Leader Dogs for the Blind,” Aries will undergo a formal training process to become a guide dog. By then, thanks to Evan J. Horowitz’s dedication and NASA Langley’s acceptance Aries will be well socialized and know basic dog commands.

For more information about “Leader Dogs for the Blind,” please visit: www.leaderdog.org.

Assistance dogs receive travel training

Assistance dogs receive travel training
By Jennifer Moxley, News14

CHARLOTTE — As part of a volunteer team called the “Do Crew” some US Airways employees spent Wednesday working with some special passengers. The airline workers trained several different assistance dogs to familiarize the animals with airports and airline travel.

Assistance dogs can be guide, service or hearing dogs, and all need exposure to an airport scenario, so they are ready if their owners have to travel.

“An airport’s very exciting to dogs especially if it’s their first time. They often have a lot of smells that they’ve never encountered before and also people get excited to see dogs in airports because it’s not as common. So the dogs have to learn to deal with a lot of distractions and still learn to pay attention and do their job,” said Jennifer Rogers, Executive Director of PAALS. “We want to make sure the dogs have already gone through that process with a trainer or a handler and this way we make sure they’re really ready to go when the person needs them.”

There’s more to the story that also includes a very cool news video clip

Service dogs for deaf, disabled Americans

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Service dogs for deaf, disabled Americans

Inmate Michael Georgio, who is serving a 15-year sentence for a DUI death resulting conviction, trains Buddy to be a service dog as part of NEADS’ Prison Pup program at the John J Moran medium security prison in Cranston, Rhode Island April 24, 2007 In NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans’ Prison Pup program, prison inmates train dogs to be placed with deaf and disabled Americans, including disabled combat veterans. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo

Rowan University Forward to Freedom (R.U.F.F.)

What a cool program for this university to have. I am so very impressed!

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R.U.F.F. visits Oak Knoll School
Posted by Gloucester County Times

Rowan student teachers Ashley Ryan and LeighAnn Quinn invited R.U.F.F. (Rowan University Forward to Freedom) to visit their fourth grade students at Oak Knoll School as part of a “Character Education” class and because they were learning about Helen Keller during Women’s History month.This is the Rowan division of puppy raisers. After their time spent at Rowan, the dogs then go on to Morristown for formal training to become guide or service dogs.

Pictured here are Ashley Ryan, Metin Ahiskali, Elyse Kozlowskiki, Robin Brelsford and LeighAnn Quinn with Kong, the German Shepherd, Spike, the Golden Retriever and Jeeves, the Black Lab Retriever.

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Toms River Rowan U student raises Seeing Eye puppy on campus
December 20, 2006

Wisdom says it takes a village to raise a child, but Kari Mastromonica, a 2004 graduate of Toms River High School East, is finding it takes roommates, teachers, family and an entire university campus to raise a Seeing Eye puppy.“The campus is the perfect place to raise a guide dog as we are a city unto ourselves,” says Robin Brelsford, co-leader of Rowan University’s Forward to Freedom (RUFF) puppy-raising program. “The dogs get plenty of exposure to the things they will encounter as guide dogs. Our dogs grow up in crowds, around traffic, construction equipment, bicycles, wheelchairs, fire alarms, you name it.”

This year RUFF is raising seven puppies, socializing them before they return to The Seeing Eye, Morristown, for formal training. Mastromonica, a junior psychology major, is raising Walden, a Labrador/golden retriever cross puppy.

“I always saw the puppies around campus my freshman year, and I was intrigued by them,” says Mastromonica. “So, I decided to get involved. I filled out an application, and in my sophomore year I started raising a German shepherd named Al, who is continuing training with The Seeing Eye.”

Mastromonica, like all of the other student puppy-raisers, lives on campus. That means Walden has three roommates in addition to Mastromonica. Lindsay Jackson, from Sea Isle City; Kathy Sullivan, from Cateret; and Danielle Cascella, from Spotswood, share their apartment with Walden. All four roommates have agreed to take care of Walden for the duration of his stay.

“We get these puppies at just seven weeks of age. All housetraining and basic obedience are on us,” says Brelsford, who is raising Jeeves, a Labrador/golden retriever cross, with her husband George Brelsford, Rowan vice president of student affairs and co-leader of RUFF.

According to Mastromonica, the experiences and situations have been interesting and not always easy when it comes to taking Walden everywhere she goes. “Outside of campus, sometimes people don’t want Walden in their stores or other buildings,” says Mastromonica. “But at Rowan, everyone is so supportive. People are always stopping me and asking me questions because they are curious. I am always willing to stop and educate people about the reason why I am raising Walden.”

According to Robin Brelsford, all of the stares, awkward situations and training are worth it.

“Raising a puppy requires a deep understanding that this commitment goes way beyond yourself. It is extremely difficult to love and nurture a puppy for a year to give him/her to someone else,” she says. “As much as I love and want my puppy, I don’t need my puppy. Someone else’s life will be greatly enhanced and protected by the job this puppy will be able to do. That’s why we do what we do.”

Golden Retriever Distraction Training …. oh my!

Here, cats are trained to participate in a dog’s training so that the dog learns to ignore the cats. My Alfie would go nuts if that was our kitty girl Cindy, who really looks very much like this particular cat enticing the Golden. Yet, he has learned that when she does come close and rubs against him, that he needs to remain as still as possible as any kind of movement on his part typically leads to her scampering off.

Treating and Training Golden Retrievers with Love

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Oprah has 3 Goldens and wanted help with their jumping up on folks when they come to visit.

Click here to watch a video of Oprah learning the steps to changing this behavior.

Tamar’s 3-step method

(to teach Luke, Layla and Gracie to stay on all fours):

Step 1: Turn your back. “I want you to be the center of the universe,” Tamar says. “Therefore, I want you to love them so much that when you take the love away they’re like, ‘Oh, what can we do to get her love back?'”

Step 2: Tell the dog to sit. “I want them to know that the only time you’re going to look at them and you’re going to touch them is when they’re sitting,” Tamar says. “I want them to feel like they’re exploding, but yet they are not moving their tush off the ground.”

Step 3: Give a treat, but make sure to keep your hand low. “If you give your treat [too high], she’s going to jump to get it,” Tamar says.

Golden Retriever Charlie: Therapy Dog to be

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St. John Ambulance recruits therapy dogs
By ALAN LICZYK, Caledon Citizen Staff Reporter

Debbie Corbett of Caledon, takes her one year old golden retriever Charlie through the evaluation exercise during the recruitment for St. John Ambulance therapy dogs held at Caledon Hills Pet Spa in Bolton.

Currently, the St. John Ambulance Brampton Branch is running 40 dogs in its program, but it continually looks for new recruits, explained Charlene Bartlett, therapy dog coordinator with St. John Ambulance.

Bartlett is also the owner of Caledon Hills Pet Spa in Bolton which hosted the latest recruitment for St. John Ambulance therapy dogs.

She said she usually runs about four to six evaluations a year. At her most recent recruitment she had 14 dogs come in. They don’t take aggressive dogs or any banned dogs like pit bulls. Submissive dogs will be asked to come back for a re-evaluation. Dogs must be at least one year of age. Flat leashes and flat collars are also a must. “The biggest thing is to have fun with your dog,” Bartlett said.

There’s more . . . . 

Murphy: Avalanche Golden Retriever-in-training

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A friend indeed
By Sierra Countis, Sierra Sun

SQUAW VALLEY — Murphy, a 3-month-old golden retriever, is a fourth-generation ski patrol dog at Squaw Valley USA. But, like any rambunctious puppy, Murphy seemed blissfully unaware of the avalanche training going on around him Wednesday morning as he sat in the snow and gnawed on his leash. “He’s on fire” with excitement, said Murphy’s handler, Eric Seelenfreund of Squaw Valley’s ski patrol.

Starting out with simple lessons, Murphy practiced “puppy runaway” drills, where Seelenfreund would hide in a snow cave and let the young pup find him.

Twelve ski patrol dogs and their handlers from Squaw Valley and other area resorts joined Murphy and Rasco, his golden retriever sire, during a week-long training and certification event with the Placer County Avalanche Canine Team.

Using dogs to rescue avalanche victims “really came to fruition within the last two to three years,” said Placer County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Ingalls. In the past, area resorts haven’t had a certified canine team as a resource for avalanche searches, Ingalls said. Response time is critical for such rescues, he said.

“One canine team is just as effective as 45 searchers,” Ingalls said.

Craig Noble, head of the avalanche dog program at Squaw Valley, agrees that using ski patrol dogs to locate a victim caught in an avalanche is highly effective. Noble said the ski patrol dogs “are sort of like an insurance program.”

There’s much more . . . .

No nobler deed – training dogs for disabled vets

Center Trains Dogs For Disabled Vets
nbc5i.com

ROCKWALL, Texas — Many dogs know how to roll over, get the paper or play fetch, but some disabled veterans are learning that pups are a lot more than man’s best friend.

In a Rockwall training center, there are no limitations. Kristen Daniels has been in a wheelchair most of her life. Her best friend Luke helped her almost forget she has a disability.

Click here to learn more and watch the cool video . . .

Remembering Golden Retriever Elvis

Training goes to the dogs … and owners
BY Mitch Albom, FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

There is a dog show in Detroit this weekend, and 60,000 people are expected to attend, and 3,000 dogs, and 163 breeds, and we won’t even count the plastic bags and scoopers.

And at some point during the show, as thousands of spectators cheer, the prized pooches will walk alongside their owners, in lockstep, in gentle canter, paws bouncing as if on marshmallows, coats groomed, heads erect, spines straight.

It reminds me of the day I trained my dog. In the driveway. I had paid a trainer to come and work with my pup, a beautiful golden retriever who I called Elvis, because, in the end, he wasn’t nothing but a hound dog, even if I did pay the trainer 50 bucks an hour.

Personally, I thought, for that kind of cash, trainer and dog should go out behind the house, and when they return, the dog not only fetches the remote control and never again goes poo-poo on the carpet, it also speaks French.

Au contraire, my terrier. Role reversals in training. As it turns out, the trainer trains YOU. Trains you to talk. Trains you to tug the leash. Trains you to make certain sounds with your voice (including, and I swear this is true, mimicking the low, guttural growl that its mother made when, as a puppy, your dog was nursing too hard. This apparently is the only “no” a dog ever pays attention to, figuring that, if it doesn’t, Mama Dog might sell Baby Dog to a kennel. Of course, the dog winds up sold anyhow, thereby shattering its faith in humanity and creating the facial expression dogs display when you coo, “Here, boy! Here, boy!” and the dog’s eyes narrow as if to say, “Right, fatso. Who you calling boy?”).

There’s much more . . . .

Watch Me Grow: The Life Of A GDDI Guide Dog Puppy

I just discovered a cool new addition to the Guide Dogs of the Desert website. Now, folks can actually watch a pup grow from birth to graduation as a Guide Dog.

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This is Izzy, or formally Isabella. Born on January 31, 2006, she is being raised by Mary and Beverly Hutchinson.

Click here to read about her adventures from her first days to present. And, there are loads of photos which truly bring the stories alive.

Golden Deeds

Hereabouts:Couple train puppies to help people
By Beth Anspach, Contributing Writer

But, according to Esther, the day that changed their retirement from a rather peaceful existence to one of constant activity, happened at a local Meijer store, when the Browns first met a “puppy raiser” who worked for an organization called Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).

“We spotted a puppy in training in the store and since we’ve always been animals lovers, we naturally wanted to know more,” Esther Brown said. The Browns quickly found out that CCI had a regional office in Delaware, Ohio, and would be holding an open house for potential puppy raisers that next weekend.

And it was this meeting that started the Browns on the path to a post-retirement career, of sorts, and they soon found themselves raising an 8-week-old golden retriever puppy named Joanne.

“CCI provided training and gave us specific rules we had to follow in raising a companion dog,” Brown said. “And, after more than a year, we returned the dog to them for more specific training.”

Joanne soon went to live with a young boy in St. Marys who had cerebral palsy.

Today, the Browns are happily raising their ninth puppy, Romilla, that came to live with them in September. “We teach them basic commands and good manners — not to jump on people or furniture — that kind of thing,” she said, “and more specialized commands like ‘under’ and ‘up,’ that they will need to know when assisting their companions.”

There’s more …..