Monday, December 29, 2008

Haikuvasz

Coming home from Camp
Lots of fun after all, but
I miss my Momma

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bah, HUMBUG!

So.
A few days ago Momma and P-Daddy were doing all this packing and usually when they do all that packing it means we are going to Brr Mont. And then they put my seat belt on and we got in the car and it was very exciting because it turns out we were not going to Brr Mont but instead we went to CAMP! And so I thought this was the best Christmas present in the world because much as I love going to camp, camp would be a million, zillion, gazillion, BAJILLION times better if we were all going to camp together! So for the last hour to camp I couldn't stop whimpering in excitement. We got out of the car and I was all, like, Momma, this is where we'll sleep!! and this is the dog run where we'll play!! and look at all my friends I can't wait for you to meet them!! and this is where I slept last time!!! And Momma and P-Daddy walked around in the big dog run and Momma even came in my little private run with me when I showed her how you can get there from inside and outside AND THEN THEY LEFT ME THERE.

I was ABANDONED.

And while there were having picnics on the beach in Male a Boo and getting dive bombed by seagulls...



...I was sitting in the snow freezing my butt off. Momma, if you'd taken me with you I would have protected you from the dive bombers.


But NO, they had to go hang out with Auntie Pita and Santa Claus' sister Monica instead. Look how much fun they are having:



And reminder, here I am. Remember ME, Momma?


So Merry Christmas to everyone else, but not to people who ABANDON their pups at very important times like Christmas! I don't care if that airline crate that is a little too small for me and won't even fit in your wagon. Humans are supposed to be really good at problem solving, I'm sure they could solve THIS problem if they really cared.

Bah, humbug!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Biggie's Unsolicited Advice: Peeing and Pupparazzi

Well, there were so many issues embedded in the last few comments that I thought I'd try my hand at unsolicited advice, since people are so good at giving it to me. But first, a haikuvasz:


Snow falling, lovely.
Romping in slush, so cooling.
Mud, hair, everywhere

(shakes curls)


Ok, where were we... oh yes, Victor and PeterPan and their marking and "space" issues:


Victor: Can you please explain to me why people freak out when I try to pee on their dogs while they are peeing? Don't they realize I'm just trying to mark the same spot? And why don't the little dogs move out of the way when they see me coming?

PeterPan: Honestly. This happened to me once and I had to teach him a major lesson. PLEASE talk some sense into him. And while you're at it, could you also explain why my people don't seem to like it when I lay on their faces? They start sputtering and choking and they completely ruin my comfortable position - is there something I'm missing here? Are people really that uncomfortable with lying in a big pack heap to keep warm?


Really, I think marking your family and friends is a wonderful gesture of love and possessiveness, especially during this holiday season. Why, just the other day I tried marking Cooper's dad when we were all walking together. And who needs indoor grass when there's a whole TREE inside to mark?

To the small dogs out there, just think of it as a light rain with scent. A spritzer of eau de toilet, if you will.

As for the lying on people, PP, that's just a sign of unhealthy possessiveness and trying to get just inappropriately close to your humans. You are a dog, not a person. Go eat some beans and sit on Victor's face instead.




I know we have encountered many of the same things. Just because they are big fluffy dogs, does not mean that you can run up to them and try to hug them. I have had people try to pat T-Bone through the car window, even with him growling at them. Some people are just not smart.
--T-Bone

...Mommy always like when people ask 1st but nowadays, she doesn't even bother asking. Anybody who wants to touch us, are free to do so. But what Mommy hates most is when people stare at us from the outside of our car & tapping on the windows & all. It's like they have no manners. I know we're the most gorgeous dogs in the whole wide world but I don't like people staring at us from outside our mobile. Eek!
--Amber-Mae and family

It amazes us how many people think they can just walk up to strange doggies and reach out with those hands and try to touch us. And the staring! Don't they know that is not only rude, but a threat?
--Dannan and the Girl



T-Bone, grasshoper. The problem is that you are not escalating enough. If they don't back away from the growling, then an all-out, full-Cujo assault is necessary. I'm talking full-on, throw your body at the window, snarling assault. That'll show 'em! (Extra points if you make the car rock back and forth, and the people jump away.)

If you can work up some good foaming at the mouth (Bitter Apple does wonders) and act a little rabid, that's good too. Just make sure to hide your rabies vaccination tags. 

Oh yeah, and if people come up to you on the street, the best defense is a good offense, I say. Lunge at them first, snapping and snarling. Extra points if you pull your person off their feet or dislocate their shoulder. 

Amber-Mae and Chloe, you girls need to be more fierce. You could try bleaching your fur and pretending to be a mean kuvasz. Or, make a game out of it. See how close you can bite the air next to their hands. 
...
...
...
What, Momma? No, I'm just answering some fan mail on the 'pooter...
...
...

Argh. Ok, Momma says those ideas aren't so good because they involve something like Liar Bill 'n Tea.  (Sounds like Momma's job.) We are supposed to try nonviolent means. So here's some more ideas you can try that don't involve biting:

Roll around in garbage or go chase a skunk. No one will want to pet you then. This is really good for clearing a WIDE path so you can walk unimpeded on a busy sidewalk. Problem is, your own humans won't want to cuddle with you much either, and it could lead to the dreaded B-A-T-H. 

Teach your humans to lie. Tell them to answer YES! when they ask if you bite, and NO! when they ask if you're friendly. And whatever you do, ABSOLUTELY NO snickering or smiling or sitting or looking pretty when they are having this conversation! Wear a Gentle Leader and pretend it's a muzzle. Try to act a little crazy, like make your eyes roll in different directions or pretend to chase an invisible bird. Pretend to be a combination of Lindsay on a Saturday night, Britney when she shaved her head, and Tom Cruise on Oprah's couch. Then people will feel really sorry for your humans.

Cultivate some really good SBDs or diaries. Eat really smelly stuff and save your gas (or runny poops) until right when someone wants to pet you. Then, let 'em rip! Nothing clears a room faster than a big stinky pile of poo or a Silent But Deadly dog fart. Major caution: This maneuver can only be done outdoors!! DO NOT DO THIS IN A MOVING VEHICLE IN THE WINTER.

Let me know if this advice was helpful!




Thursday, December 18, 2008

**I'm FAMOUS! Well, almost famous...**


My little buddy Rowdy is the FAMOUS one. He eats better than I do because his dad does a whole lifestyle and wellness show and books that mainly focuses on gluten-free food and celiac disease for people. He makes it all look so delicious and he does talk about healthy eating for doggies too. So he might even talk about me and the Wonder Ingredient that I get in my food every day to keep me looking and feeling tip top. Can you guess what it is? You'll have to listen to Uncle Frank tomorrow to find out.
That's TOMORROW, FRIDAY DEC. 19 at 1:30 PM, LIVE on SIRIUS/XM RADIO!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Biggie's Etiquette Column, Issue 1


Dear Random People I Met on My Walk Home From Day Care Last Night:


Momma has been all over me about good manners when I am out greeting my public. Well, it's about time I set some ground rules about how my public meets me.

First of all, it's not polite to stare. I know, I am supremely fluffycurly and gorgeous and it's hard not to stare, but if you stare and I can't see your hands, or you're carrying something or running toward me, or all of the above, I am going to stand my ground and make YOU move.

Also Very Important: NO TOUCHING THE BIGGIE unless Momma says so! I know I am irresistible and at the perfect height for petting and everyone just wants to touch the fur, but it's not polite to touch without asking. Seriously, how would you like it if some random stranger grabbed YOUR butt on the subway? Will you be offended if I grab your butt back?

If you want to pet me, just ask Momma first. But don't startle her or jump out at her because then I will have to Lock and Load for Protection. Keep your hands where I can see 'em, especially if they have treats. Momma always has treats with her, so she will give you one to give me. And I'll even work for them. But not if you scare her.

(P.S. Shouting from across the street, "LOOK AT THAT POLAR BEAR!!!" and making barking and howling noises and then following us down the street, continuing to bark and howl, does not constitute proper "asking." You are ridiculous and drunk and I will not acknowledge your presence. Similarly, reaching out with your hand as you are running toward me and screeching in a high pitch, "OOOOO WOOK AT DA COOOOTIEE ADORABLE PUPPYDOG WOO WOO ARE SO KEY-OOOOOT!!!" is ridiculous. Only Momma talks to me like that and only when there is no one else around to hear.)

Corollary: If Momma says NO you cannot pet me, LISTEN TO HER! She knows best, and even if I'm giving you my dazzling kuvasz smile, I may be smiling because I'm thinking about how high I can make you jump if I snap at you.

And if you have a dog, WATCH 'em. Don't just stare at me. If your dog is giving off mean signals and they're running the entire length of their Flexi-lead, I might have to take matters into my own paws (and mouth) and remind 'em of their manners.

Thank you, and let me know if you have other etiquette issues you would like me to address.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Prom King Opens Manchester Dog Park, Part 2

Biggie's Momma here. We pretty much had a great time at the new run, which is about 4 times the size of Biggie's runs in the city. And with poop bag dispensers! And big wastebaskets! And soon benches and running water! And grass!

They even had a sweet ribbon cutting ceremony and a blessing (see above). It was supposed to be a solemn occasion, one for reflecting on dogs less fortunate than ours, etc., etc. Except - we had THIS going on in the background through the entire blessing:
video

And without Biggie to censor his pictures and edit the posts, I extracted a frame from the video that shows Biggie in a more goofy and less-regal light as he tries to get the dogs to play with him. Prom King, indeed - Court Jester is more like it. His body language is pretty easy to read. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Prom King Opens Manchester Dog Park, Part I

Hi everyone. I hope you all had as good a weekend as I did, but I'm pretty sure you didn't. Cuz not everyone can be a Prom King like me. Yesterday I did a little jailbreak in Brrr Mont and went to visit my yellow lab girlfriend, Charlie, and her Boy. Then today, oh, the GLORY! First, it started snowing, and then I went to the Grand Opening of the Manchester Dog Park. It is actually big enough for me to get some real speed, and best of all, I found some new girlfriends. Here you see the 3 of us, Ella the Great Dane, and a Golden Girl whose name I forgot. As you can see, they can't get enough of me as I patrol the boundaries and tell everydog who's here. 


Ella is the first girl who is actually bigger than me; she weighs in around 125 pounds. And she's a few months older. So I had to get her interested and impressed by my stick dancing skillz:


Once I had her properly interested, she stayed close by my Prom King Handsomeness. Who wouldn't want to be right next to me anyway?


I was especially enamored of her one ear turned inside out from all our wrestling. As you can see, I like to keep her all to myself. She's mine!



Oh yeah, there were other dogs and people there too. Lots of big dogs, though none quite as big and majestic as Ella and me. A few Golden Girls, a whole lotta Labs and Lab mixes, and a few humans with treats were also there to pay tribute to me. Oh yeah, and pictures with Santa. If Momma can figure out how to get them she will post them some day. 

If you want more pictures of glorious ME, don't forget to get your 2009 Kuvasz Calendar. The money goes to kuvasz rescue which is a worthy cause.

PeePee Ess: Mango, maybe we could meet here and play when you go to camp next summer?!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cyber Monday: Buy ME, Mr. January and Mr. December 2009!


Still stumped for a holiday present?

Here's a special gift idea for all my adoring fans - you know who you are - all you ladies, gents and dogs who love my roguish smile, my giant soft floofness, my gentleness with the wee ones and my ferocious guarding side....

It's the 2009 KUVASZ CALENDAR, benefiting kuvasz rescue through Kuvasz Fanciers of America. The link takes you to a preview of the calendar and a way to buy online. You can see all my amazing pictures, but of course, you need to buy the calendar in order to get me in all my full-size, hi-res glory!

It's my modeling debut AND Cyber Monday. What better time and way to spend lots of $$$$ online, save our economy, AND get a year's worth of kuvasz beefcake to ogle? (Ok, it's only 2 months' worth of Biggie, but the other pictures are pretty darn cute too.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thoughts on Barack Obama's Cabinet

I'm feeling very thankful today for all my friends! Happy belated Thanksgiving, y'alls!

With President-elect Obama making appointments to his Cabinet, I decided to put in my 2 cents about who should be in President-Elect Obama's crate, I mean, Cabinet. I know some of these positions are probably already filled, but I thought maybe if there were any undecideds or if they needed some backup appointees, he'd have some waiting in the paws: 

State - George - He lives in the UK, has an Italian girlfriend, is multilingual (sort of), who else is more qualified? And check out his Kiss Kiss video. 
Treasury - Wimsey, especially his November 14 post.
Defense/Homeland Security - ME, Biggie-Z the Kuvasz (who else? I can handle both Cabinet posts at the same time)
Attorney General - Amber because she is probably the best behaved of all of us since she actually listens to the RoolZ
Interior - Ace, for all the natural interior territory he covers in all his runs
Labor - Lora (honorary dog, for all the WORK she puts into all her dogs)
Health and Human (and Dog) Services - 4Bs and Chloe (just look at the last month's posts!!)
Housing and Urban Development - Petey, because he is a city dog if every there was one. 
Transportation - Ruby (duh, of course!) 
Energy - Pacco (she has enough to solve the energy crisis without having to drill in Alaska)
Education - Nanook - for all his work at the library teaching kids to read and for being such a big brudder to Pooka
Veterans Affairs - Peanut and Flash - so they can make sure their dad is always taken care of


and even though this is not technically a Cabinet-Crate appointment, I think Wally should be Barker of the (Dog)House, since he has been Barking for Barack all this time. 

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

STOP STEALING MY CONTENT!

NEWS FLASH: I just found out that a facebook page for a breeder that is selling kuvasz puppies in another country took - as in STOLE - puppy pictures of Biggie that were posted on this blog. (I am not linking to it for obvious reasons.)

Apparently the Spanish text under BIGGIE'S PICTURES says something along the lines of "Me and my brothers are for sale, $700."

Biggie is not for sale. None of Biggie's brothers is for sale. This breeder is in no way associated with me or with Biggie's breeder or any of the kuvasz breeders or owners I know.

Hey, breeder from South America: I've reported you to facebook for copyright violations because yes, you have violated US copyright laws by pulling hi-res pictures of Biggie from this blog and reposting them as your own on facebook. I've been to your website and thankfully you don't have any pictures of Biggie on your kennel/breeder website. But you have hundreds of pictures of kuvasz that seem to be bred from your kennel on that site. Wouldn't it have been easier and MORE HONEST (not to mention legal) to post pictures of your own dogs on your facebook page instead of pulling pictures of puppy Biggie?

I suppose we should be flattered that Biggie is so much cuter than any of the puppies actually bred from this kennel. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? I had been working on a post about finding a good breeder and telling the difference between good breeders and unscrupulous ones, and I guess I can now add another characteristic to the "unscrupulous breeder" column: STOLEN WEB CONTENT.

I have from time to time gotten emails and comments from people who want to re-post pictures from this blog onto their blogs or for other not-for-profit uses. I have always said yes in the past, and I'm generally inclined to say yes because I think this is a terrific dog breed and they deserve more visibility. But people, y'all need to ASK first.

Though if you want to use any of these pictures for any for-profit use, let me save you some time and effort: the answer is NO.
UPDATE: Facebook removed the page. Thanks, facebook!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dog Park RoolZ and RegoolashunZ


While I am at camp, I thought I would have Momma do a post about polite rules for the dog park because my BrrMont dog park may be opening up soon (!!!!) and because she and some of her friends (both real life and dogblog) have had some interesting WTF incidents lately.

Meanwhile I will work on some more haikuvasz as I contemplate the great outdoors here at camp.
------------------------------------------------------------
The basic rules at any public NYC dog park: 

  • Dogs may not be left unattended.
  • The dog run is NOT a playground. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult and should be closely supervised.
  • Entry and use of the dog run is at your own risk.
  • Skateboards, bicycles, scooters and strollers must be left outside the dog run.
  • Clean up after your dog. Animal waste must be promptly removed and properly disposed of.
  • Dogs must be licensed and have all shots and tags.
  • Not Permitted
    --Spike or Pinch Collars
    --Aggressive Dogs
    --Female dogs in heat
    --Food and glass bottles

The private runs in the city - where you pay an annual fee and provide proof of vaccinations and a dog license in exchange for a key to the run - are usually a little cleaner and well-maintained. The one we use, for example, has a little rain shelter, some tables, chairs and benches, more trees, and two hoses). They can sometimes be a little more restrictive, too - again, requiring proof of license and shots, though the public runs sometimes get spot-checked by NYC Parks people. 


But in both private and public runs, there are strange, STRANGE dog owners and dysfunctional, poorly socialized dogs. WTFs abound. Here are some additional unspoken rules/thoughts we wish people would keep in mind at the dog run: 

Monitor your dog's activity.
If you're reading the paper or talking on the phone, chances are you won't see your dog going poop (or eating poop, or stepping in poop) off on the other side of the run. You also won't see if your dog's being aggressive to another dog, jumping on people or getting pushed around by another dog. Rough play can quickly cross the line to aggression, and being a strong leader for your dog means being able to intervene immediately whether your dog is the victim or the aggressor. Also, if you have a dog who tends to run into people, you owe to the other dog owners to at least give a holler if your dog is careening into them from behind. No one likes being knocked over by a dog. 

Learn to read dog body language
Dogs have a huge range of vocal and non-vocal communication. I studied animal behavior in graduate school, so I love watching dogs at play and trying to figure out what they're saying to each other - but you don't need an advanced degree to follow basic dog body language. Before an incident the dogs are usually exchanging a series of escalating signals, and a lot of incidents could be avoided if the humans had noticed these signals earlier. Tail Talk is a great book that shows you what to look for in clear pictures of puppies and adults of many breeds. 

Socialize your dog / Let your dog socialize
If your dog has issues around people or other dogs, you might want to work up to the dog run slowly rather than dragging a fearful dog in. Walk him around the outside and let him see the dogs playing, and let him sniff a little first, if your dog is not comfortable going into the run. Or start by going when the run only has 1 or 2 other friendly dogs in it. By the same token, DON'T keep your dog leashed in the run (unless he's on a time out) and DON'T carry your dog in the run. Many dogs are more fearful when they're on a leash. If you carry a dog in over other dogs' heads, some of them perceive that as a dominant gesture, and they will jump up on you and the dog. 

Another pet peeve of mine is when dog owners come in and sit on a bench and make their dogs sit next to them or on their laps and don't let them play. Again, this seems to happen a lot with the little dogs, and it teaches little dogs to be afraid of bigger dogs. Let your dog meet, greet, sniff and play with dogs of all sizes - big dogs will learn to be careful where they put their paws, and little ones will learn how to play. Confident little pups know just how to let everyone know they're there!

Size isn't everything
See above - it drives me nuts when I come into the run and some wee dog owners pick up their little purse pooches and huffily walk out of the run. They never even give Biggie a chance to show how gentle he is with little dogs! Sometimes age and energy level are a better guide to how your dogs will get along, and sometimes some dogs just hit it off while others don't. And even so, sometimes some dogs will not get along the first time they meet, and then fall in love the second or third time. You can't always force it, and you can't always generalize by breed (unless your dog had a really bad experience with a particular breed the first time she met them). 

Dogs are not people
Repeat after me: Dogs are not people! They WILL smell each other's butts. And poop. And pee. They WILL hump each other. Not all humping is sexual or dominant, sometimes it's playing. Talking to your dog in a reproachful tone of voice or telling them they are supposed to "share" won't get you anywhere. Most of the time the dogs work out their issues on their own, sometimes after some snarling and posturing, but other times they don't. You can't force your dog to play nice with another dog she hates, though you sometimes can manage behavior so they can peacefully coexist in the run. We've even worked out a detente with R-----, the intact yellow lab. Biggie doesn't really like intact males, and had gone after R----- twice (no injuries, though some flying fur and loud crying by R-----), but once it became clear that R----- was not going to challenge Biggie for status,* everything worked out magically: thye sniff each other cordially and then play with their friends. They won't play with each other (yet), but they're comfortable enough to play while the other one is in the run. You can't impose your view of the dog hierarchy on the dogs themselves - and a dominant dog is not a bully (though there were times with R----- that I was embarrassed with Biggie) - usually once they work out who fits where, everybody is happier. More problems tend to happen when you have 2 or more dogs that think they are alpha. 


Sometimes dogs do things to each other that humans find appalling, like licking each other in unmentionable places. Try not to project a human sensibility onto it. If they're getting along and there's no health or safety risk, let them do what dogs do. Biggie got his head peed on when he was a puppy and following another male just a little too close. He's also come home with giant pawprints on his head from playing really rough. And Lexi, his boxer girlfriend, humps him ALL the time. She's the only one who gets away with it. And this, with his girlfriend Zola - if they were kids I'd have told him he was being too rough on her, but she didn't seem to mind at all (note that she's stepping on his foot, so it's not clear who's got the upper paw here):




*R-----'s mom dropped some treats on the ground by accident. R----- was about to go for them but Biggie just walked in, sniffed, and ate them all while R----- just stood there. That was actually the turning point. If R-----'s mom had been like "Those are R-----'s treats!" and picked them up and given them to R-----, it would have been a bad scene. But in this instance letting the dogs be dogs meant letting the dominant dog do what dominant dogs do.



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Canine Tolerable Citizen (oh, the things we put up with!)

Lindsay over at ThatMutt.com has a great post asking, What do you tolerate from your dog?

Rather than hijack the comments to Lindsay's post, I decided to hijack Biggie's blog instead, because he does not have opposable thumbs and is napping now. Biggie's tolerable behavior illustrates the kuvasz temperament beautifully:

1. GUARDING
Like every other kuvasz I have ever heard of, Biggie's mission in life is to guard. When we go to the dog run, he is always aware of everything on the other side of the fence. Anyone who comes too close must be watched, assessed, and, if deemed a threat, challenged and chased away by charging at the fence with ferocious barking. For the most part, the people he deems threatening are understandable: WTFs, big loud men, fast-moving (and loud) bikes, scooters or rollerbladers. At best, we manage the behavior by trying to teach him that most of the people who walk up to the fence are friendly, and he is slowly getting it; if I walk up and talk to the person, he will stand and watch but won't bark. And sometimes he is so busy playing that he will break just to look and decide to go back to playing. But even while he is playing, he has half an eye on the fence.

One point here is that a "protective" dog doesn't necessarily mean a dominant or aggressive dog. Dog owners who know him call him a "mush," a "flirt" and a "softie" and are always amazed at how gentle he is with other dogs, letting the younger and smaller ones climb all over him. I have never seen him hump another dog, yet others hump him all the time when they're playing, and when he's had enough he simply walks them off, no snapping or snarling. He will roll another dog if he thinks it's necesary, but he has an amazingly high tolerance level, and has only done it two or three times in his 18-month life.

The other morning our neighbor's Boston terrier mix came into the run and immediately started barking and snarling and nipping at Biggie's neck aggressively. Biggie just stood there and looked at him sideways before deciding he'd had enough and walked to the dog run gate and waited there to leave. At that point he was a little droopy, like, "Who brought this little bully in here to spoil my fun?" Biggie could have done a lot, but he chose not to. The neighbor's dog was definitely (fear) aggressive but not dominant, while Biggie was neither aggressive nor dominant. 

2. PREY DRIVE
One of the few things Biggie gets really excited about is chasing small living things, like mice and birds. Sometimes when the weather is crisp and windy, he will chase leaves and pieces of paper blowing around. It must be the irregular and unpredictable motion, because if you throw a ball, Biggie may chase it up to 2 times. On the other hand, Biggie has chased and caught a duck, a mouse, and a pigeon; the duck he chased and caught at 6 months, and the latter 2 he caught recently while on leash, and all 3 times I've been screaming at him to cut it out. Fortunately he didn't kill any of the animals he caught; he knows bite control and just likes to chase and catch them, and eventually lets them go after enough yelling. 

Which brings me to another issue dear to my heart: Dog owners need to teach their dogs some self-control. The guarding instinct and the prey drive are VERY strong in the kuvasz, but that doesn't mean these behaviors can't be tempered. Teaching your dog self-control is like teaching children the difference between "inside" and "outside" voices; your dog can still be a dog, he just doesn't need to attack the food delivery guy or chase every single pigeon he sees. 

3. SOCK (and other clothes) STEALING
Ok, this one has been going on for a while. Luckily he doesn't tear them up, but Biggie will raid the clean and dirty laundry piles and select socks or bras to snuggle with and mouth when I'm not home. When he was younger he used to do it to get us to chase him; now it's just a sad gauge of how crazy my workload can get, because once I'm home he doesn't do it at all. It's just so sad to come home and see the big goofball, happy to see me, with a pair of slobbery socks by his side, that I just don't have the heart to try to train this out of him. 

4. PAWING AT STUFF (not people, thank goodness)
This would be a lot cuter if Biggie were a 10 -lb dog, and it sure is better than incessant barking. Biggie only barks when guarding, and the rest of the time he's the strong but silent type. If he's thirsty, he'll just sit in front of his water bowl, shooting us doleful looks. If he's hungry, he wanders into the kitchen and wanders out, looking at us meaningfully, then back into the kitchen and back out.  But sometimes if we're not catching his looks, he uses his big bear paws - to paw at his tip-proof water dish, his empty food bowl, but most often at a door that he wants opened. When he paws at a door, he sounds like a horse pawing at his stall. It's not the claws - our doors are amazingly unmarked - but the sheer weight of his paws that make it so loud. 

5. Peeing in the house when his flock leaves unexpectedly
This dog has the biggest bladder I've ever seen. He can hold it for 12+ hours without an accident, so long as he is being left alone on a schedule he is comfortable with. On the weekends, if we go out, it's usually not on a regular schedule, and chances are just better than 50-50 that he won't make a little anxiety pee near the door. He doesn't cry, he doesn't get destructive, sometimes he just makes a little dribble. 

6. Laziness
This is just a function of the kuvasz independence and stubbornness. Unless properly motivated, The Big One just moves at his own speed. He'll come when you call him, but only when he's good and ready. And even then, he'll just walk. At 18 months, he does like to play, but if you leave him alone he will find a spot (usually between you and the door) to contentedly be a blob. Unless he's guarding, of course.  There is no laziness in the guarding. 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pros and Cons of Having an Intelligent Dog

(Dumb Biggie because he let us throw snow all over his head? Or Smart Biggie because he taught us the "Bury Me in Snow" game?)

This sounds like the title to a dumb post. After all, who wouldn't want to have a smart dog, right? But intelligence is different from obedience, trainability, and energy level, and a smart dog isn't necessarily an easy dog.

People who don't know Biggie or the kuvasz breed sometimes think that he is "dumb" because he's not particularly obedient, he does everything at his own slow pace, and he is basically silent unless he's guarding. The rest of the time, he moves slowly, doesn't always make direct eye contact, and definitely doesn't have the perky, "ohboyOHBOYwhatarewegonnadoNEXT?!?!?" look that border collies seem to have perfected. Since he's not totally focused on people, preferring to keep tabs on them without looking like he is, they underestimate him and forget he's around until he Anal Torpedoes them with a sly grin on his face.

PRO: Biggie knows lots of tricks and commands and picks them up within a few tries...
CON: ...but he only does them when he feels like it, and would much rather learn new tricks than practice his old ones.

PRO: Makes up his own new games and teaches people how to play them just by using body language...
CON: ...Not all humans want to play Anal Torpedo, Hide-and-Seek, Indoor Football, or Bobbing For Rocks. And sometimes even I don't understand the games he wants to play (What game involves a rope bone, puppy bed, towel, and metal food dish at the same time?)

PRO: An intelligent dog is a great problem solver.
CON: An intelligent dog is a great problem solver: will find ways through or around every obstacle if properly motivated, including unlatching doors, training and manipulating humans, and knowing just how far to take the naughtiness.

PRO: Is a great communicator.
CON: Can be demanding. (Luckily Biggie doesn't do this, but some smart dogs with a high energy level will find ways to communicate their desire to eat, drink, go out, and play whenever they want, which is not always when YOU want. If you have a vocal dog, he will quickly figure out that barking leads to attention.)

More CONS: 

CON: An intelligent dog is harder to forgive, because he *knows* he's being naughty, and chooses to do it anyway.

CON: Difficult to dupe. (Our old dog, Boo, was not so good at coming when called, but we could always dupe him by jingling our keys and asking, "Want to go in the car?" Not so some other dogs we know.)

CON: Can be stubborn, because they know how far they can take it, and because they can't be duped. If you have a dog with an independent temperament, this will be a challenge because they won't do stuff just to make you happy; you have to show them it's in their best interest to comply. And even then sometimes they act like they aren't really being obedient - like Biggie executing the "down" command during his Canine Good Citizen test.

CON: May start to train his humans. 

The upshot? You have to be smarter than your dog, and aware all the time of what the dog is learning from you. And since dogs aren't people, you can't reason with them, bargain for good behavior, or explain why they should really listen to you. Given how many WTFs out there own dogs, maybe it's a blessing that there are obedient and dopey ones out there.

(Update: As I post this I see Biggie trotting off in the shadows holding something in his mouth. Why do I just KNOW this is not an "approved item"?)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

WTF: The Prequel

Taking a cue from the 4B's, I'm putting some happy pictures while I tell you about some really stupid and annoying people Momma and I met last night at the dog run. You can see what this dog run looks like here. As you can see, my posse of big dogs can get pretty physical when we play. These are the rules that are also posted at the dog run: 

Rules & Regulations:
  • Dogs may not be left unattended.
  • The dog run is NOT a playground. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult and should be closely supervised.
  • Entry and use of the dog run is at your own risk.
  • Skateboards, bicycles, scooters and strollers must be left outside the dog run.
  • Clean up after your dog. Animal waste must be promptly removed and properly disposed of.
  • Dogs must be licensed and have all shots and tags.

Should be pretty clear, right? Well... I was playing guarding the people in the dog run and the other dog, a young, little black lab. Since it was quiet and there wasn't much going on, Momma was on the phone, and the little black lab's dad was on his phone too. Suddenly, a kid on a SCOOTER came zipping down the boardwalk along the fence, so I told Momma he was there and I barked and barked and ran along the fence with him. He looked like he was 6 or 7. Then, he started coming IN the first gate to the run, on his scooter. Momma grabbed my collar and got off the phone, pronto.

Momma started asking questions right away: 

Momma: Where are your parents? Do you have a dog? Don't bring your scooter in here.
Li'l WTF: I want to come play with the dogs!!!!
Momma: Where's your dog? Do you have a grownup with you? DO NOT bring your scooter in here! 
Li'l WTF: Why not?
Momma: Did you just hear my dog barking at you? He does NOT like scooters.
Big WTF (outside the dog run): I'm his dad. He wants to come in and play with the dogs. 
(Li'l WTF starts opening the 2nd gate, but has thankfully left his scooter in the vestibule.)
Momma: This is a DOG RUN, not a playground. You can't just send your little kid in here to play with the dogs.
Big WTF: But he loves dogs, and he can't have one at home because his mom's allergic.
Momma: Do you see the rules posted on the door? They're there for a reason. These dogs aren't here for your kid to play with. People are not supposed to come in here without a dog, and kids are NOT allowed in here alone.
Big WTF: Oh, I'm watching him. 
(During this time, Li'l WTF has been "playing", by which I mean taunting, the little black lab, whose dad is still on his phone. The little black lab is maybe 40-50 lbs, and starts jumping on Li'l WTF out of excitement. At this point, Li'l WTF starts screaming and runs to Momma and grabs her leg, and finally little black lab's dad comes over and pulls his dog off Li'l WTF who is still screaming and hanging onto Momma's leg while I am standing on the other side of her leg while she holds my collar. These people are WEIRD and very, very stupid.)
Momma: Oh you are? How are you "watching" him now?
Other Dog Dad ("introducing" his dog to Li'l WTF): She's very friendly, there's nothing to worry about. Look, she's very nice. 
Momma: The dog run is for DOGS. It's not safe for small children.  Take your kid to a playground!

Momma was so exasperated she put me on the leash and walked me out and around the park for a bit. Then she saw the Li'l WTF leave, so we started going back to the run, when who do we run into AGAIN but Li'l WTF on his scooter coming straight for us! Big WTF was nowhere in sight. Li'l WTF was hollering and making an awful racket on his scooter, and I could feel Momma's angry feeling rising again. She put her hand up like the stay command and she started yelling at him and she was all like, WHAT did I just tell you and YOU LEAVE US ALONE and I TOLD you not to bother us and you are going to get attacked by a dog someday if you keep it up and GO AWAY NOW!

And then she started walking away and he still tried to follow us on the scooter and Momma turned and yelled STOP FOLLOWING US and LEAVE US ALONE and then Big WTF saw us and he finally started calling his pipsqueak kid and left us alone. And the we went back to the dog run and played. The End.


Momma's note: Biggie was actually angelic through the whole episode even though I was secretly hoping that he would go cujo on the kid just to put the fear in him. But through it all he never growled, pulled or even twitched. This dumbass kid was so little he was pretty much eye-to-eye with Biggie.  (dragging soapbox again) Biggie probably would have been fine and gentle with the kid but I just didn't want to reward Li'l WTF for his complete stupidity. What kid runs into a dog run to "play" with a dog that moments before was barking furiously at him on the other side of a fence? And what dumbass oblivious parent lets his kid do this, thinking that sitting on the other side of two latched gates is somehow "watching" his child? I don't know which pisses me off more. I had visions of this kid growing up to be the type who taunts a dog who is tied up or on the other side of the fence and then is outraged when the dog gets aggressive in response. WTFs start early.

(Little black lab's dad doesn't score any points with me either. He didn't notice when the kid came into the run (at first I thought it was his kid), then didn't come over to supervise his dog playing with Li'l WTF. Then, when Li'l WTF is running away from his dog, he's slow to get to the dog and THEN, despite the words I am having with Big WTF, does not question why the kid is in the run alone and does not teach the kid how to approach a dog. Although, granted, that's not really his job; it's the job of the WTF on the other side of the fence.)

Parents: whether you have a dog or not, make sure your child knows a) good manners upon approaching any dog, and b) that NO means NO. Provoking, taunting, teasing, poking, hitting, and grabbing are NEVER allowed. Every dog, no matter how friendly and calm, no matter how big or small, can be pushed beyond its limits. EVERY dog-child interaction must be closely supervised. A dog bite can happen in an instant, and it is not always the dog's fault. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

On Good Breeding

((cue sound of soapbox dragging...))
I was all set to start this post with a horrible "purebred kuvasz puppies for sale, WILL SHIP ANYWHERE!!!!!" ad and then go on a rant about backyard breeders and puppy mills, but I couldn't find one, which reminded me why we chose a kuvasz in the first place. But there are plenty of ads for other popular breeds and mixes, like labradoodles, goldendoodles, puggles, etc.

The New York Times did a piece on designer dog 'breeds' last year, which mainly highlighted the designer mixes v. purebreeds controversy, which is really the subject of another post or three. Although the same issues come up with extra poignancy with the designer 'breeds', this post is about the importance of good, careful, and ethical breeding.
Just because a puppy is "purebred," "registered" or has "papers"means very little, and the pup may not end up much like the breed it's supposed to be. They could have serious temperament issues, congenital physical problems, or just be irrational. Back when I didn't know any better, I got my 'purebred-with-papers' American Eskimo from a backyard breeder who had posted an ad in the paper. Boo cost me all of $90 and the breeder sent me home with his "papers" (including a record of all his shots to date) and a couple of cans of puppy food.

Don't get me wrong, Boo was a great dog and we had 16 great years together. But he definitely had his issues, including recurring worms and fleas as a pup. His shiny little black nose faded to brown within a few years, he had a bit of pink in his lips, he was not very well-proportioned, and his coat was pretty thin with a slight wave. His mom had a wavy coat with no undercoat at all, which is not the breed standard. More problematic, Boo also had some physical and psychological issues - he would vomit ALL the time, especially when stressed out or excited. And he was ALWAYS stressed out or excited, because was afraid of squeak toys, plastic bags, water bubblers, and lots of other things. His eyesight was terrible even as a young dog, his hearing started to decline when he was a middle-aged dog, and his teeth were prone to terrible tartar buildup even as a young dog, despite our attempts to brush and give him good chews.
The process of getting Biggie took us through two breeders, the national breed club, lots of questions and research, dog shows where I saw lots of kuvasz and met more breeders, and almost a year of waiting for the "right" pup and breeder to come into our lives. We considered adopting a young rescue kuvasz, but having researched the breed carefully enough to understand that even a well-tempered kuvasz in New York City would be a challenge for first time kuvasz owners, we opted to wait. We knew we had found the right breeder because the breeding parents' temperament and health were paramount to her, and she would not have bred dogs that were likely to have health or temperament problems.
The first things Biggie's breeder sent us - before the puppy or parent pictures - were the puppies' pedigree and their parents' health clearances. Eyes and joints all screened and ok; no inbreeding or recurring parents/grandparents/great grandparents, great-greats, etc. on either side. In addition to both parents being shown to championship (picture above of Biggie's pop winning a Best in Specialty Show, which was part of getting him to Westminster), both parents had competed in obedience, which showed us that a) Biggie's parents were trainable and had decent temperaments; b) the breeder was active in developing the best characteristics of the breed; and c) the breeder was very involved in the lives of the dogs.

Turns out we were right in all respects, and this seems pretty common in the kuvasz community. Because it is small, all the breeders know each other so there is little room for backyard or unscrupulous breeders, though it still happens on occasion. At 8 weeks, Biggie came paper-trained and litter-box trained, and crate-trained. He already knew to sit politely for his dinner in the crate. He was also clicker trained, which made teaching new commands a breeze. In addition, Biggie came with a clicker, some clicker basics, a great pamphlet about being a strong leader with positive reinforcement, a "cheat sheet" of tips (what Biggie ate and when, and behavior, training and temperament suggestions), and a 2-week supply of Biggie's then-current food (holistic and human grade).

Oh, and Biggie's breeder stayed a co-owner and committed to taking him back at any time, no questions asked, if he didn't work out, and answered all of our questions about training, temperament, the raw diet, you name it.

While of course taking on a pup or a rescue is a leap of faith, finding a well-bred pup can significantly reduce the chances of fatal temperament defects or chronic health problems. Biggie's only issue, if one can even call it that, is that he is very guardy and protective. But that's true to breed type and he is a classic kuv, and we were well aware this would be an issue in NYC. To date we have yet to find any health or psych issues (irrational fear, aggression, etc.) in our sweet doofus. As for his looks - while they are not that important since I think this breed is beautiful in general - if I had a dollar for every time anyone stopped in their tracks to admire him, or said "Beautiful dog!" or asked to visit with him, I could probably quit my day job and blog full time.





Thursday, October 16, 2008

More reasons weekends are better

As if all that unbridled play and humping and general dog-piling with dogs my own size half my size weren't enough, I also got to spend some time this weekend with one of my favorite little buddies, Bowie the Maltese. Bowie prefers I play gently with him, because otherwise he gets caught underpaw and then he makes a lot of squeaky noises sort of like my plushy toys at home.




First, Bowie got my Achilles heel and took me down.





Ouch, Bowie! Quit throwing your weight around ... all 7 pounds of it!




"MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I have conquered The Big One! I plant my paw on his ear to show my superiority!"




"ummm. Biggie, now can you please stop mugging for the camera? Try to look seriously dominated by me, ok?"

"Fine. If you're going to ignore me, then I will just have to push you around like a tugboat." 

"Hmmm. Doesn't seem to be working..."


I had a great time with Bowie. We tried out some Howl-o-ween costumes too. I am considering being a dalmatian, while Bowie seems to be considering a disguise as a shih-tzu. It's amazing what a little slobber and dust can do!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Timber!!!!

Ho hum. I hate Mondays, because I have to come down from weekends like this last one. I made new friends with a rescued white Siberian husky named Timber. Timber's been with his forever home for about 2 weeks now. The last time I saw him at the dog run he had only been rescued for 2 days and we didn't get along so great. I was all like, Hey buddy, why so tense? Dontcha wanna play? And he was like, Play? Who has time to play? I don't know what to do with all these dogs because if some food shows up who's going to get to eat it, so I better act real tough.

I could definitely see where he might be worried about that 'cuz he's only 42 pounds and he's a year old! This time, though, we became great buddies right away, and this young girl boxer wanted to get in on the act too. I think she has a crush on Timber.



Timber and Lexie decided that since together they might add up to one of me, they would gang up on me.

Hey! Easy on the Biggie butt!


I love it when they chew on my ears. They are helping me with my polar bear costume.
Hot video action - watch for a tumBiggieweed through the middle of the video, and some more surprise friends at the end. This big white dog doesn't discriminate. If you'll play with me, I will play with you.
video

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fish Lottery


Sigh... I was all set to tell you how I won the fish lottery last night - my grocery delivery came and instead of 6 lbs of fish tails and bones, I got 6 pounds of fish cubes - tuna, salmon, swordfish, sea bass. JACKPOT!!!! I LOVE FISH MORE THAN ANY OTHER MEAT EXCEPT MAYBE RAW LIVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Until Stanislaw and Big Pupi (excuse me Pupi, but is it pronounced like "puppy" or "poopie"?), my friends who also eat raw, told me about Salmon Poisoning Disease. This Salmon Poisoning Disease sounds like a real bummer: it comes from eating raw or undercooked salmon, can be fatal in dogs if left untreated, and doesn't seem to affect other animals the same way.

But... I love me my sushi, so I had to do a little more research on this Salmon Poisoning Disease to see what it was all about. Here is a good discussion of SPD and its symptoms and risks:


Freezing (at least, the freezing one can do with a home refrigerator) doesn't seem to kill it. Cooking it does. But it does seem limited to wild-caught Pacific salmon. Momma breathed a sigh of relief because my raw salmon is farmed Atlantic salmon. So, no risk of Salmon Poisoning Disease. Yay!

On the other hand, Atlantic salmon is higher in PCBs (boo) and farmed salmon has a whole host of nutritional and environmental drawbacks, like higher Omega-6 and less Omega-3 oils, and much more carcinogens and antibiotics, not to mention the coloring that gives farmed salmon its salmon color. See this link for an overview.

So what's a sushi-loving pooch to do? Well, given all the commercial dog food recalls, the risks from eating salmon still seem relatively small. Being extra cautious, Momma is now familiar with the symptoms of Salmon Poisoning Disease (thanks Stanislaw and Big Pupi!), so just in case a wild Pacific salmon jumps in my mouth, Momma will know what to look for.

But for any pooches who are indulging in salmon sushi, especially out West, make sure your humans know where the salmon is coming from, and make sure they know the symptoms of Salmon Poisoning Disease:

vomiting
lack of appetite
fever
diarrhea
weakness
swollen lymph nodes
dehydration

Pass the tuna please. I need some mercury.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Teaching a kuvasz not to guard - is it possible?

"He doesn't look like much of a guard dog."

People, a good guard dog is not a dog who is aggressive and mean to everyone; they are not "fighting" dogs, and they are not necessarily dogs that will attack on command! If I had a dollar for every time someone said that over the past 14 months, we would actually have enough money to pay for Biggie's dinners for a month. We also call him Digital Dog, because he is either the sweetest, happiest, playful oaf, gentle with puppies, kittens, babies and rabbits, or else he is going Cujo - all 100+ pounds of him lunging at the end of the leash or standing over 6 feet tall up against a fence, sound and fury signifying a guarding instinct that has been shaped by hundreds of years of breeding. Remember that puppy aptitude test? Biggie was the fat lazy one who was just as happy sneaking off to a corner to nap while his littermates played.

At "his" dog runs, Biggie has decided he must guard everyone in the run from anything that he deems threatening. This includes Port Authority and construction workers, to homeless people dragging carts along the sidewalk, to bicyclists, male joggers and rollerbladers. The problem with just ignoring it is that the behavior gets positively reinforced: he barks, they leave (eventually), he thinks he's chased them away. Negative reinforcement, by saying "eh!" or "no" doesn't work either; these dogs were bred to ward off wolves and many were killed defending their homes to the death from the Nazis, so an "eh" or "no" isn't going to stop a full-on guarding behavior.

BUT... a combination of a strong leader acknowledging the threat, plus a lot of positive reinforcement, does work:

ACKNOWLEDGING THE THREAT:
We start with a calm but authoritative "leave it" or "it's fine" (as in "I hear it, thanks for telling us it's there, now I'm in control of the situation and I deem it NOT to be a threat"). For minor threats, this works really well - he stands and gives his thousand-yard stare, but doesn't escalate to going Cujo. He just watches. This allows him to guard, but teaches him that he can guard quietly, thus keeping us in good standing with the neighbors.

If he's standing quietly and just watching, I'll place a calm hand on his shoulders or pet him, which helps to reinforce the quiet guarding. And as long as he's being quiet, he gets petted and praised.

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT and DISTRACTION+REWARD:
Biscuits are the American Express Card for kuvasz walking. When I see a potential Cujo trigger approaching, I walk up and say hello in a cheery voice and start shoving little pieces of biscuit in Biggie's mouth. [**DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME IF YOUR DOG DOESN'T HAVE GOOD BITE INHIBITION!!!**] Saying hello shows him that I think this person is not a threat, and it's hard for Biggie to bark if he's munching on a biscuit. The idea, of course, is that eventually he associates the trigger with a positive event (biscuits), and rather than barking, will look to me for a treat instead.

When he is able to look at the "threat" without barking and then looks to me, he is ready for the last step, which is to sit for the treat. If I can cut through the guarding instinct to the point that he can listen to a sit command given once, then he clearly doesn't think this "threat" is much of a threat any more. At this point, the next time he sees this type of "threat," he may break away from his playing to run up to the fence to look at the person, but just as soon will run off and resume his play after he's had a good look.

Here he is taking a good look at 8 months - still not something you'd want to tangle with:



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

WTF?

A man stopped us while I was walking the Canine Good Citizen this morning. He was admiring Biggie and I thought he was going to ask to pet him, or what breed he was, etc. Instead, our conversation went like this:

"Do you know of an animal doctor around here?"
[looking around for sign that man is harboring a small animal on his person] "uh, no... There may be one on 44th or 45th St., but I take my dog to a vet on the other side of town."

"Can you tell by looking at a dog if he's fixed?"
"yeah..."

"How?"
[is this a trick question? a new pick-up line? Biggie is now doing the dog equivalent of a kid shifting his weight from side to side, impatiently waiting for us to continue walking to the playground]
"um... he has nuts?!"

[I still do not know why I blurted out "nuts" as opposed to some other euphemism, I also wish I could see my face when I answered him, because I was silently adding "you moron" at the end of my response.]

"If you have a dog, would you recommend that he be fixed?"
"YES!"

The man nodded thoughtfully, said "Kthanksbai," and walked on.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Knocked Momma Down... With a Feather!!!

Hi everyone. 10 years to the day after Momma first got admitted to practice her work, I got admitted after doing some work too.

The picture above is after Momma picked herself up off the ground. Doesn't she look like she won the lottery? Well, she sort of did, because I passed my Canine Good Citizen test on the very first try! No practice, no pre-test cramming, no studying. The last class I had was a year ago when I was 4 months old. Momma was in disbelief.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the CGC test, there are 10 stations that you have to pass with an evaluator. You can use verbal and hand commands, but you can't use any treats or food, you can only reward with praise:

1. Accepting a friendly stranger.
Oh hi. Momma told me to sit. So I will smell you from afar. You smell like dogs. When are you going to start the test?

2. Sitting politely for petting.
You smell like dogs. And you know how to pet us. Hi my name is Biggie what's yours? Ok, I guess I'll let you pet the top of my head.

3. Appearance and grooming.
My fur is deep. The dirt is ground in after 4 days at camp. As long as you just pet me on the surface I don't feel too dirty. Yeah, brushing is fine. I'll just stand here and drool at the hamburger stand back there. You want to grab my paws? ummm... I dunno. Well, ... I guess so... cuz you smell like a nice dog lady.

4. Loose lead walking.
Piece of cake! I had to walk in an L and back while the crowd watching me get tested admired my grace and beauty and bigness. Yo - catch you in the dog run later.


5. Walking through a crowd.
Duh, how do you think I got here?? (see picture -->)

6. Sit and Down on command and Staying in place.
Sitting is easy, but you want me to do WHAT? Aw Mom, there's hundreds of people watching and you want me to be all submissive? I don't wanna.
Don't wanna!
There's all these people behind me and someone's grilling burgers back there and there is a siren going off and there is a very pretty labragal over there I want to impress and there's a little girl terrier over there. Hi I'm Biggie wanna be my girlfriends? I. Don't. Wanna. Down.
It is unseemly. Unbecoming of someone as majestic as I.
...
Momma, are you still breathing? Sigh. Ok. For you I will do it, but I'm going to pretend I meant to lie down to look at this bug on the ground.
...
You're welcome Momma. You can breathe again.
Sit-stay? You got it. Anything so I don't have to Down in front of all these people again.

7. Coming when called.
You're kidding, right? Ok. Hold on. Meditating and looking for that labragal again. Sheesh. 10 feet isn't that far away. Why do I have to go all the way over there? I can watch you just fine from here. Ok, ok. I'm coming. Must. Stand. Up. Don't get your panties in a knot, Momma, I'm coming. One. Foot. In. Front. Of. The. Other. Hey, no one said this was a time trial! I'll come when I'm ready.

8. Reaction to another dog.
Oh hi, met you earlier while we were waiting to go into the test. I know, they are making us do some strange things and we're not even getting paid for it. What. Ever. I know, my Momma is weirdly excited too.

9. Reaction to distraction.
Momma, this whole park is ONE GIANT DISTRACTION! (see picture above, click to enlarge) Do you seriously think I'm going to notice when the nice dog lady raps her pen on her clipboard and then drops it in front of me? She smells nice but she's really clumsy. I've seen her drop it like 10 times already!

10. Supervised separation.
Ok I will sit-stay with the nice dog lady even though she said something about maybe I will rip her shoulder out. How many times do I have to tell you I did NOT have anything to do with Momma's 2 shoulder splurgeries? If I'd been there to protect her maybe she wouldn't have gotten hurt in the first place. Don't worry nice dog lady, I will sit right next to you and make everyone look at us. Aren't I handsome? I'm so proud to be here, thank you, thank you, yes. Thank you all for coming to admire my amazing fluffness with your humans.
... Momma's being so silly - she's going behind that big tree. Momma, I know you're there. Maybe if I stare really hard at the tree I can make Momma come out again.
... Hey Momma! I know magic! I used my amazing mind powers to make you come all the way back from the tree!

Wow, Momma, you're really excited! Thanks for the huggins, I love you too.



George: Thank you for the Golden Paw Award! You must have ESP because you gave it to me the day after I passed my test!