June 2019 Contents



  • Sunday, June 09, 2019 10:49 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)


  • Thursday, June 06, 2019 11:35 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Written by Deborah Neufeld

    I like to puppy test. I have puppy-tested a number of litters for friends and other folks, and I always marvel at the responses. Some puppies have exhibited the best qualities one could look for in a competition dog, and others indicated a wonderful companion. Sometimes the responses are a bit odd, sparking the tester to wonder what happened to cause them. One puppy I remember had a hard time participating in the test as he kept going to a wall and leaning against it. Once we observed the litter together after the individual testing, it was clear why the pup had developed such a response. This puppy had become the one that several other pups in the litter bullied. His response was to go to a wall, lean against it and wait for them to beat him up. Once away from his littermates he was free to develop normally. Observing interactions within the litter can sometimes explain as much as the individual testing.


    Puppy testing isn’t the only criteria one should use in picking a puppy, but it certainly gives you insight into the inner workings of the pup at the time of the test. I worked with a Hearing Dog program for many years that used a version of the Volhard puppy test on dogs up to two years of age. The test was incredibly accurate, correctly assessing the dog’s potential to certify as a hearing dog. The main point of the puppy test, though, is that it only tells you about the pup at the time of the test – it cannot tell you how the pup will end up based on environment and training. I also never discount the natural attraction between the puppy and his human. If you really like the pup from the start you will be a lot more invested in working through training issues as they arise.

    When I tested a previous Boxer at 8 weeks of age, she had no social attraction to people at all. She wouldn’t come to me or anyone else, much less follow me. Something in my gut was telling me this wasn’t the personality I wanted. I decided to take her anyway, figuring we would bond once I got her home. A couple of weeks later and no closer to making a connection with this puppy, I realized that I would need more of a comprehensive plan to work with her. As she was quite independent and wanted nothing to do with me or my husband, choosing to stick with the other dogs instead, we adopted a plan of “nothing for free”. All things in her world came through people. Toys, walks, playing and freedom all came with a price – contact with the “undesirable” humans. Every bite of food was hand fed, and she resented it. At first Tia would come several feet away and bark at her dinner as if to say “hey food, come over here so I don’t have to go near that human”. She wouldn’t even look at me, and seemed offended at having to eat from my hand. Gradually she became more comfortable with my presence and we formed a bond, but it would be a couple of years before she would come to mildly enjoy petting. Initially she would shrink from being touched by anyone and would “shake it off” after being pet. Tia was quite a test of my knowledge and abilities. I hope I never have to tackle such a problem again, but she taught me volumes on how to build a strong relationship. Had I not puppy tested her, it might have taken me a lot longer to figure out the problem and to make a plan of how to deal with it. She certainly wasn’t the dog of my dreams, but now I can’t imagine my life without having had her in it.

    The real dog of my dreams came into my life as a matter of circumstance. I had my first litter of Boxer puppies (one of only two litters I bred in 30 years). I had planned to keep one for Conformation and Obedience. She was a lovely little girl I named Liza Jane – so sweet and pretty, but not too bright. Her sister I called Java because she was a dark brindle. Java got her sister’s brains and then some! She was problem solving at 6 weeks old. She could break out of most crates, open doors as soon as she was tall enough to reach them, and she could figure out a way to get whatever she wanted. I quickly determined that she would be too smart for the average pet owner and would probably end up at the shelter, so we made the decision to keep her.

    To say that she was a challenge would be an understatement. She tested me every day in every way on everything. Java was a nightmare dog, demanding my full attention just to keep her under control. Training her was practically a full-time job. As time passed and we came to know each other, we became pretty much inseparable. Not only did we do Obedience, she did tricks and pet therapy and she became a great ambassador for her breed. It wasn’t until the end of her life that I realized I had the dog of my dreams all along. I just didn’t know it until then.

    A puppy test can’t tell you if a puppy will end up being perfect for you, or a disaster waiting to happen – or sometimes a bit of both. What it can do is give you a snapshot of the puppy’s character at that instant. Most importantly, it can tell you the direction to take in order to mold that puppy into the very best partner you can have. And that partner might just end up being the dog of your dreams. After all, seldom do we know in the beginning where any relationship will take us. The destination is important only because of the journey that takes us there. For the most part, I believe a dog can become the dog of our dreams based on our investment in each other. They’re not born being “perfect” for us. We have to forge a path together, just like any good partnership.

    While each section of the puppy test provides valuable information, there are key features that I find particularly important. First and foremost is social attraction to people. If the pup is independent and does not desire the company of humans, training becomes a much more complicated and creative process to find ways of engaging the dog to work with us. Social attraction to people means our attention is something the dog finds reinforcing and will work to get. This is part of why certain breeds are considered “Obedience breeds”. A higher percentage of dogs in those breeds have a desire to please us, and to earn attention from us. This characteristic is number one on my preference list. Having owned a dog with NO social attraction to people, I can tell you that sociability to people is paramount for me.

    Second on my list would be lack of sensitivity to sounds or sights. If the pup startles easily, he may have difficulty working in a trial environment. Although such problems can be worked through, it is an exhausting process and one that I prefer to avoid.

    Third is willingness to accept a correction – or really anything the dog finds objectionable. There is a part of the test where the pup is rolled onto his back and held gently for 30 seconds. When he is allowed to get up, the part of the test immediately following it is to stroke the pup down his back from head to tail 3 times and see how he responds. Does he cuddle up and try to make friends after the harrowing experience of being upside down for half a minute? Or does he “head for the hills” and write you off along with his bad experience? I’ve seen pups get up from the roll over and try to leave the room, wanting nothing more to do with the tester. A pup who responds this way will have a very hard time dealing with anything unpleasant, whether it is a correction from his handler or something unfortunate that happens in his environment. Some pups with this kind of issue will even hold onto resentment against the handler for clipping his nails. Call it “forgiveness” if you will, but partnerships don’t thrive on such rigid attitudes.

    The final preference would be to have a natural retrieve. A natural retrieve is certainly not a prerequisite, but it is a nice perk. It’s true, almost any dog can be taught to retrieve, and even if the dog is a natural retriever I go through the same process of teaching the retrieve. The first Seeing Eye dog programs discovered a link between a natural retrieve, and the probability that the dog would certify as a service dog. Perhaps it has to do with a sense of cooperation, or an extension of sociability or biddability. Whatever the reason, it is a nice benefit.

    The reason puppy tests are given at 7 weeks is that it is presumed that training has had the least influence on the pup. The idea is to get an assessment of the pup’s “default programming” before training and environment affects his responses. However, by that time many good breeders have alredy worked on handling, socialization, and some training. And again, the Hearing Dog program I worked with found the test to be remarkably accurate on dogs of any age (although 2 years was the limit to enter their program), regardless of their background, training, or lack thereof.

    Bottom line is, do what works for you and enjoy the process. It’s a new adventure with every dog we train. Enjoy the journey!

    Good training, everyone!

  • Wednesday, May 29, 2019 1:04 PM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Written by Deborah Neufeld

    I like to puppy test. I have puppy-tested a number of litters for friends and other folks, and I always marvel at the responses. Some puppies have exhibited the best qualities one could look for in a competition dog, and others indicated a wonderful companion. Sometimes the responses are a bit odd, sparking the tester to wonder what happened to cause them. One puppy I remember had a hard time participating in the test as he kept going to a wall and leaning against it. Once we observed the litter together after the individual testing, it was clear why the pup had developed such a response. This puppy had become the one that several other pups in the litter bullied. His response was to go to a wall, lean against it and wait for them to beat him up. Once away from his littermates he was free to develop normally. Observing interactions within the litter can sometimes explain as much as the individual testing.


    Puppy testing isn’t the only criteria one should use in picking a puppy, but it certainly gives you insight into the inner workings of the pup at the time of the test. I worked with a Hearing Dog program for many years that used a version of the Volhard puppy test on dogs up to two years of age. The test was incredibly accurate, correctly assessing the dog’s potential to certify as a hearing dog. The main point of the puppy test, though, is that it only tells you about the pup at the time of the test – it cannot tell you how the pup will end up based on environment and training. I also never discount the natural attraction between the puppy and his human. If you really like the pup from the start you will be a lot more invested in working through training issues as they arise.

    When I tested a previous Boxer at 8 weeks of age, she had no social attraction to people at all. She wouldn’t come to me or anyone else, much less follow me. Something in my gut was telling me this wasn’t the personality I wanted. I decided to take her anyway, figuring we would bond once I got her home. A couple of weeks later and no closer to making a connection with this puppy, I realized that I would need more of a comprehensive plan to work with her. As she was quite independent and wanted nothing to do with me or my husband, choosing to stick with the other dogs instead, we adopted a plan of “nothing for free”. All things in her world came through people. Toys, walks, playing and freedom all came with a price – contact with the “undesirable” humans. Every bite of food was hand fed, and she resented it. At first Tia would come several feet away and bark at her dinner as if to say “hey food, come over here so I don’t have to go near that human”. She wouldn’t even look at me, and seemed offended at having to eat from my hand. Gradually she became more comfortable with my presence and we formed a bond, but it would be a couple of years before she would come to mildly enjoy petting. Initially she would shrink from being touched by anyone and would “shake it off” after being pet. Tia was quite a test of my knowledge and abilities. I hope I never have to tackle such a problem again, but she taught me volumes on how to build a strong relationship. Had I not puppy tested her, it might have taken me a lot longer to figure out the problem and to make a plan of how to deal with it. She certainly wasn’t the dog of my dreams, but now I can’t imagine my life without having had her in it.

    The real dog of my dreams came into my life as a matter of circumstance. I had my first litter of Boxer puppies (one of only two litters I bred in 30 years). I had planned to keep one for Conformation and Obedience. She was a lovely little girl I named Liza Jane – so sweet and pretty, but not too bright. Her sister I called Java because she was a dark brindle. Java got her sister’s brains and then some! She was problem solving at 6 weeks old. She could break out of most crates, open doors as soon as she was tall enough to reach them, and she could figure out a way to get whatever she wanted. I quickly determined that she would be too smart for the average pet owner and would probably end up at the shelter, so we made the decision to keep her.

    To say that she was a challenge would be an understatement. She tested me every day in every way on everything. Java was a nightmare dog, demanding my full attention just to keep her under control. Training her was practically a full-time job. As time passed and we came to know each other, we became pretty much inseparable. Not only did we do Obedience, she did tricks and pet therapy and she became a great ambassador for her breed. It wasn’t until the end of her life that I realized I had the dog of my dreams all along. I just didn’t know it until then.

    A puppy test can’t tell you if a puppy will end up being perfect for you, or a disaster waiting to happen – or sometimes a bit of both. What it can do is give you a snapshot of the puppy’s character at that instant. Most importantly, it can tell you the direction to take in order to mold that puppy into the very best partner you can have. And that partner might just end up being the dog of your dreams. After all, seldom do we know in the beginning where any relationship will take us. The destination is important only because of the journey that takes us there. For the most part, I believe a dog can become the dog of our dreams based on our investment in each other. They’re not born being “perfect” for us. We have to forge a path together, just like any good partnership.

    While each section of the puppy test provides valuable information, there are key features that I find particularly important. First and foremost is social attraction to people. If the pup is independent and does not desire the company of humans, training becomes a much more complicated and creative process to find ways of engaging the dog to work with us. Social attraction to people means our attention is something the dog finds reinforcing and will work to get. This is part of why certain breeds are considered “Obedience breeds”. A higher percentage of dogs in those breeds have a desire to please us, and to earn attention from us. This characteristic is number one on my preference list. Having owned a dog with NO social attraction to people, I can tell you that sociability to people is paramount for me.

    Second on my list would be lack of sensitivity to sounds or sights. If the pup startles easily, he may have difficulty working in a trial environment. Although such problems can be worked through, it is an exhausting process and one that I prefer to avoid.

    Third is willingness to accept a correction – or really anything the dog finds objectionable. There is a part of the test where the pup is rolled onto his back and held gently for 30 seconds. When he is allowed to get up, the part of the test immediately following it is to stroke the pup down his back from head to tail 3 times and see how he responds. Does he cuddle up and try to make friends after the harrowing experience of being upside down for half a minute? Or does he “head for the hills” and write you off along with his bad experience? I’ve seen pups get up from the roll over and try to leave the room, wanting nothing more to do with the tester. A pup who responds this way will have a very hard time dealing with anything unpleasant, whether it is a correction from his handler or something unfortunate that happens in his environment. Some pups with this kind of issue will even hold onto resentment against the handler for clipping his nails. Call it “forgiveness” if you will, but partnerships don’t thrive on such rigid attitudes.

    The final preference would be to have a natural retrieve. A natural retrieve is certainly not a prerequisite, but it is a nice perk. It’s true, almost any dog can be taught to retrieve, and even if the dog is a natural retriever I go through the same process of teaching the retrieve. The first Seeing Eye dog programs discovered a link between a natural retrieve, and the probability that the dog would certify as a service dog. Perhaps it has to do with a sense of cooperation, or an extension of sociability or biddability. Whatever the reason, it is a nice benefit.

    The reason puppy tests are given at 7 weeks is that it is presumed that training has had the least influence on the pup. The idea is to get an assessment of the pup’s “default programming” before training and environment affects his responses. However, by that time many good breeders have alredy worked on handling, socialization, and some training. And again, the Hearing Dog program I worked with found the test to be remarkably accurate on dogs of any age (although 2 years was the limit to enter their program), regardless of their background, training, or lack thereof.

    Bottom line is, do what works for you and enjoy the process. It’s a new adventure with every dog we train. Enjoy the journey!

    Good training, everyone!

  • Sunday, May 26, 2019 1:24 PM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    <p align="left"><em><strong>Written by&nbsp;</strong><strong>Deborah Neufeld</strong></em></p>


    <p>I like to puppy test. I have puppy-tested a number of litters for friends and other folks, and I always marvel at the responses. Some puppies have exhibited the best qualities one could look for in a competition dog, and others indicated a wonderful companion. Sometimes the responses are a bit odd, sparking the tester to wonder what happened to cause them. One puppy I remember had a hard time participating in the test as he kept going to a wall and leaning against it. Once we observed the litter together after the individual testing, it was clear why the pup had developed such a response. This puppy had become the one that several other pups in the litter bullied. His response was to go to a wall, lean against it and wait for them to beat him up. Once away from his littermates he was free to develop normally. Observing interactions within the litter can sometimes explain as much as the individual testing.</p>


    <p><img src="/resources/Pictures/Articles/Neufeld/pixabay01311803.jpg" alt="" title="" border="0" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; display: block;"><br></p>


    <p>Puppy testing isn’t the only criteria one should use in picking a puppy, but it certainly gives you insight into the inner workings of the pup at the time of the test. I worked with a Hearing Dog program for many years that used a version of the Volhard puppy test on dogs up to two years of age. The test was incredibly accurate, correctly assessing the dog’s potential to certify as a hearing dog. The main point of the puppy test, though, is that it only tells you about the pup at the time of the test – it cannot tell you how the pup will end up based on environment and training. I also never discount the natural attraction between the puppy and his human. If you really like the pup from the start you will be a lot more invested in working through training issues as they arise.<br></p>


    <p>When I tested a previous Boxer at 8 weeks of age, she had no social attraction to people at all. She wouldn’t come to me or anyone else, much less follow me. Something in my gut was telling me this wasn’t the personality I wanted. I decided to take her anyway, figuring we would bond once I got her home. A couple of weeks later and no closer to making a connection with this puppy, I realized that I would need more of a comprehensive plan to work with her. As she was quite independent and wanted nothing to do with me or my husband, choosing to stick with the other dogs instead, we adopted a plan of “nothing for free”. All things in her world came through people. Toys, walks, playing and freedom all came with a price – contact with the “undesirable” humans. Every bite of food was hand fed, and she resented it. At first Tia would come several feet away and bark at her dinner as if to say “hey food, come over here so I don’t have to go near that human”. She wouldn’t even look at me, and seemed offended at having to eat from my hand. Gradually she became more comfortable with my presence and we formed a bond, but it would be a couple of years before she would come to mildly enjoy petting. Initially she would shrink from being touched by anyone and would “shake it off” after being pet. Tia was quite a test of my knowledge and abilities. I hope I never have to tackle such a problem again, but she taught me volumes on how to build a strong relationship. Had I not puppy tested her, it might have taken me a lot longer to figure out the problem and to make a plan of how to deal with it. She certainly wasn’t the dog of my dreams, but now I can’t imagine my life without having had her in it.</p>


    <p>The real dog of my dreams came into my life as a matter of circumstance. I had my first litter of Boxer puppies (one of only two litters I bred in 30 years). I had planned to keep one for Conformation and Obedience. She was a lovely little girl I named Liza Jane – so sweet and pretty, but not too bright. Her sister I called Java because she was a dark brindle. Java got her sister’s brains and then some! She was problem solving at 6 weeks old. She could break out of most crates, open doors as soon as she was tall enough to reach them, and she could figure out a way to get whatever she wanted. I quickly determined that she would be too smart for the average pet owner and would probably end up at the shelter, so we made the decision to keep her.</p>


    <p>To say that she was a challenge would be an understatement. She tested me every day in every way on everything. Java was a nightmare dog, demanding my full attention just to keep her under control. Training her was practically a full-time job. As time passed and we came to know each other, we became pretty much inseparable. Not only did we do Obedience, she did tricks and pet therapy and she became a great ambassador for her breed. It wasn’t until the end of her life that I realized I had the dog of my dreams all along. I just didn’t know it until then.</p>


    <p>A puppy test can’t tell you if a puppy will end up being perfect for you, or a disaster waiting to happen – or sometimes a bit of both. What it can do is give you a snapshot of the puppy’s character at that instant. Most importantly, it can tell you the direction to take in order to mold that puppy into the very best partner you can have. And that partner might just end up being the dog of your dreams. After all, seldom do we know in the beginning where any relationship will take us. The destination is important only because of the journey that takes us there. For the most part, I believe a dog can become the dog of our dreams based on our investment in each other. They’re not born being “perfect” for us. We have to forge a path together, just like any good partnership.</p>


    <p>While each section of the puppy test provides valuable information, there are key features that I find particularly important. First and foremost is social attraction to people. If the pup is independent and does not desire the company of humans, training becomes a much more complicated and creative process to find ways of engaging the dog to work with us. Social attraction to people means our attention is something the dog finds reinforcing and will work to get. This is part of why certain breeds are considered “Obedience breeds”. A higher percentage of dogs in those breeds have a desire to please us, and to earn attention from us. This characteristic is number one on my preference list. Having owned a dog with NO social attraction to people, I can tell you that sociability to people is paramount for me.</p>


    <p>Second on my list would be lack of sensitivity to sounds or sights. If the pup startles easily, he may have difficulty working in a trial environment. Although such problems can be worked through, it is an exhausting process and one that I prefer to avoid.</p>


    <p>Third is willingness to accept a correction – or really anything the dog finds objectionable. There is a part of the test where the pup is rolled onto his back and held gently for 30 seconds. When he is allowed to get up, the part of the test immediately following it is to stroke the pup down his back from head to tail 3 times and see how he responds. Does he cuddle up and try to make friends after the harrowing experience of being upside down for half a minute? Or does he “head for the hills” and write you off along with his bad experience? I’ve seen pups get up from the roll over and try to leave the room, wanting nothing more to do with the tester. A pup who responds this way will have a very hard time dealing with anything unpleasant, whether it is a correction from his handler or something unfortunate that happens in his environment. Some pups with this kind of issue will even hold onto resentment against the handler for clipping his nails. Call it “forgiveness” if you will, but partnerships don’t thrive on such rigid attitudes.</p>


    <p>The final preference would be to have a natural retrieve. A natural retrieve is certainly not a prerequisite, but it is a nice perk. It’s true, almost any dog can be taught to retrieve, and even if the dog is a natural retriever I go through the same process of teaching the retrieve. The first Seeing Eye dog programs discovered a link between a natural retrieve, and the probability that the dog would certify as a service dog. Perhaps it has to do with a sense of cooperation, or an extension of sociability or biddability. Whatever the reason, it is a nice benefit.</p>


    <p>The reason puppy tests are given at 7 weeks is that it is presumed that training has had the least influence on the pup. The idea is to get an assessment of the pup’s “default programming” before training and environment affects his responses. However, by that time many good breeders have alredy worked on handling, socialization, and some training. And again, the Hearing Dog program I worked with found the test to be remarkably accurate on dogs of any age (although 2 years was the limit to enter their program), regardless of their background, training, or lack thereof.</p>


    <p>Bottom line is, do what works for you and enjoy the process. It’s a new adventure with every dog we train. Enjoy the journey!</p>


    <p align="center"><strong>Good training, everyone!</strong></p>

  • Thursday, May 23, 2019 3:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by Deborah Neufeld

    I like to puppy test. I have puppy-tested a number of litters for friends and other folks, and I always marvel at the responses. Some puppies have exhibited the best qualities one could look for in a competition dog, and others indicated a wonderful companion. Sometimes the responses are a bit odd, sparking the tester to wonder what happened to cause them. One puppy I remember had a hard time participating in the test as he kept going to a wall and leaning against it. Once we observed the litter together after the individual testing, it was clear why the pup had developed such a response. This puppy had become the one that several other pups in the litter bullied. His response was to go to a wall, lean against it and wait for them to beat him up. Once away from his littermates he was free to develop normally. Observing interactions within the litter can sometimes explain as much as the individual testing.


    Puppy testing isn’t the only criteria one should use in picking a puppy, but it certainly gives you insight into the inner workings of the pup at the time of the test. I worked with a Hearing Dog program for many years that used a version of the Volhard puppy test on dogs up to two years of age. The test was incredibly accurate, correctly assessing the dog’s potential to certify as a hearing dog. The main point of the puppy test, though, is that it only tells you about the pup at the time of the test – it cannot tell you how the pup will end up based on environment and training. I also never discount the natural attraction between the puppy and his human. If you really like the pup from the start you will be a lot more invested in working through training issues as they arise.

    When I tested a previous Boxer at 8 weeks of age, she had no social attraction to people at all. She wouldn’t come to me or anyone else, much less follow me. Something in my gut was telling me this wasn’t the personality I wanted. I decided to take her anyway, figuring we would bond once I got her home. A couple of weeks later and no closer to making a connection with this puppy, I realized that I would need more of a comprehensive plan to work with her. As she was quite independent and wanted nothing to do with me or my husband, choosing to stick with the other dogs instead, we adopted a plan of “nothing for free”. All things in her world came through people. Toys, walks, playing and freedom all came with a price – contact with the “undesirable” humans. Every bite of food was hand fed, and she resented it. At first Tia would come several feet away and bark at her dinner as if to say “hey food, come over here so I don’t have to go near that human”. She wouldn’t even look at me, and seemed offended at having to eat from my hand. Gradually she became more comfortable with my presence and we formed a bond, but it would be a couple of years before she would come to mildly enjoy petting. Initially she would shrink from being touched by anyone and would “shake it off” after being pet. Tia was quite a test of my knowledge and abilities. I hope I never have to tackle such a problem again, but she taught me volumes on how to build a strong relationship. Had I not puppy tested her, it might have taken me a lot longer to figure out the problem and to make a plan of how to deal with it. She certainly wasn’t the dog of my dreams, but now I can’t imagine my life without having had her in it.

    The real dog of my dreams came into my life as a matter of circumstance. I had my first litter of Boxer puppies (one of only two litters I bred in 30 years). I had planned to keep one for Conformation and Obedience. She was a lovely little girl I named Liza Jane – so sweet and pretty, but not too bright. Her sister I called Java because she was a dark brindle. Java got her sister’s brains and then some! She was problem solving at 6 weeks old. She could break out of most crates, open doors as soon as she was tall enough to reach them, and she could figure out a way to get whatever she wanted. I quickly determined that she would be too smart for the average pet owner and would probably end up at the shelter, so we made the decision to keep her.

    To say that she was a challenge would be an understatement. She tested me every day in every way on everything. Java was a nightmare dog, demanding my full attention just to keep her under control. Training her was practically a full-time job. As time passed and we came to know each other, we became pretty much inseparable. Not only did we do Obedience, she did tricks and pet therapy and she became a great ambassador for her breed. It wasn’t until the end of her life that I realized I had the dog of my dreams all along. I just didn’t know it until then.

    A puppy test can’t tell you if a puppy will end up being perfect for you, or a disaster waiting to happen – or sometimes a bit of both. What it can do is give you a snapshot of the puppy’s character at that instant. Most importantly, it can tell you the direction to take in order to mold that puppy into the very best partner you can have. And that partner might just end up being the dog of your dreams. After all, seldom do we know in the beginning where any relationship will take us. The destination is important only because of the journey that takes us there. For the most part, I believe a dog can become the dog of our dreams based on our investment in each other. They’re not born being “perfect” for us. We have to forge a path together, just like any good partnership.

    While each section of the puppy test provides valuable information, there are key features that I find particularly important. First and foremost is social attraction to people. If the pup is independent and does not desire the company of humans, training becomes a much more complicated and creative process to find ways of engaging the dog to work with us. Social attraction to people means our attention is something the dog finds reinforcing and will work to get. This is part of why certain breeds are considered “Obedience breeds”. A higher percentage of dogs in those breeds have a desire to please us, and to earn attention from us. This characteristic is number one on my preference list. Having owned a dog with NO social attraction to people, I can tell you that sociability to people is paramount for me.

    Second on my list would be lack of sensitivity to sounds or sights. If the pup startles easily, he may have difficulty working in a trial environment. Although such problems can be worked through, it is an exhausting process and one that I prefer to avoid.

    Third is willingness to accept a correction – or really anything the dog finds objectionable. There is a part of the test where the pup is rolled onto his back and held gently for 30 seconds. When he is allowed to get up, the part of the test immediately following it is to stroke the pup down his back from head to tail 3 times and see how he responds. Does he cuddle up and try to make friends after the harrowing experience of being upside down for half a minute? Or does he “head for the hills” and write you off along with his bad experience? I’ve seen pups get up from the roll over and try to leave the room, wanting nothing more to do with the tester. A pup who responds this way will have a very hard time dealing with anything unpleasant, whether it is a correction from his handler or something unfortunate that happens in his environment. Some pups with this kind of issue will even hold onto resentment against the handler for clipping his nails. Call it “forgiveness” if you will, but partnerships don’t thrive on such rigid attitudes.

    The final preference would be to have a natural retrieve. A natural retrieve is certainly not a prerequisite, but it is a nice perk. It’s true, almost any dog can be taught to retrieve, and even if the dog is a natural retriever I go through the same process of teaching the retrieve. The first Seeing Eye dog programs discovered a link between a natural retrieve, and the probability that the dog would certify as a service dog. Perhaps it has to do with a sense of cooperation, or an extension of sociability or biddability. Whatever the reason, it is a nice benefit.

    The reason puppy tests are given at 7 weeks is that it is presumed that training has had the least influence on the pup. The idea is to get an assessment of the pup’s “default programming” before training and environment affects his responses. However, by that time many good breeders have alredy worked on handling, socialization, and some training. And again, the Hearing Dog program I worked with found the test to be remarkably accurate on dogs of any age (although 2 years was the limit to enter their program), regardless of their background, training, or lack thereof.

    Bottom line is, do what works for you and enjoy the process. It’s a new adventure with every dog we train. Enjoy the journey!

    Good training, everyone!

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019 1:58 PM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

     

    RACH DREAM TEAM 2018

    Left to right is: Lorraine Hausch's German Shorthair Pointer JakeSusan Field's Clumber Spaniel Blossom, and Nancy Nelson's All-American Chloe. Each dog is the first of its breed to have earned the RACH Title .

    We have known each other for many years going back to our days in novice obedience classes under the guidance of trainer Deb Masino at Doggie U K9 Academy.  We would see each other from time to time at matches, obedience trials and rally trials. Through these canine companion events we have stayed connected. 

    After attending a Masters introduction seminar with Kit O'Donoghue at Suffolk Obedience Dog Training Club, we decided we could help each other master the Masters signs!  There was no hesitation, we were game!

    So, we started training for the Masters by renting a ring weekly starting in August 2017 just before the commencement of the AKC Masters competition in November 2017.  First, we just trained one sign at a time, then we designed the master courses ourselves and supported each other as we worked out training methods for each dog's needs and challenges.  This RACH Dream Team as we called ourselves, was the first from Long Island to aim for the Masters and then ultimately the RACH. We traveled to different states-- some for a day, some with overnight stays, others with 3 and 4 days of trialing together.  We had a blast together and the dogs did too!

    Jake earned his Masters title in the third week of AKC Masters commencement on 11/19/17 and the girls followed right after.  With a strong background of obedience behind each of the dogs and a sizeable amount of ring experience for each of the handlers and the dogs, we knew what challenges lay ahead of us.  We proofed for noise distractions, hair balls in the ring, other dogs walking by, you name it---we practiced diligently. 

    Being part of the Masters and RACH levels of competition, we had the privilege to show under many judges.  Every judge has a unique way of designing master level rally courses and each has been enjoyable to trial under. 

    Through our friendship and hard work The Dream Team 2018 has gone beyond our highest expectations.  Our dogs are amongst the first in the country to be named Rally Champions.  Jake is the 4th, Blossom the 12th, and Chloe the 9th to have a RACH before their names. 

    ------CONTINUED  ON PAGE 2 -----

    The RACH Dream Team dogs AKC names and titles are below:

    Jake  (German Shorthair Pointer) owned/handled and loved by Lorraine Hausch

    RACH CHINDI'S SCHONER VON DELMAR  RM6 RAE16  CDX VER THDN FDC TKP CGC BCAT SCN SIN 

    RACH Title earned 06/16/2018

    Jake is the 3rd all breed dog to have earned the masters title, the 4th all breed dog to earn the RACH (under the new point system) and has been the German Shorthair Pointer Club of America Rally Dog of the Year for 3 years.  Jake is and has always been a shining star. Jake started his obedience career by not only earning First Place on all  3 legs of his CD but also taking a High in Trial and continued in the ribbons for his CDX.  Now soon to be 11 years old, Jake is  not slowing down, he is  continuing to trial in Rally while excelling in new venues of fast cat and scent work and visiting nursing home residents . He is always looking for more challenges to conquer with his tail waggling all the time with happiness.

    Blossom(Clumber Spaniel) owned/handled and loved by Susan Field

    RACH FRIAR'S AIR FIELD AT PEARL HARBOR UD RM4 RAE3 SWN SIA SCA SHDN THDN CGCA TKP 

    RACH Title earned 07/28/2018

    Clumbers, rarely seen in Rally are not traditional obedience dogs. She garnered much attention consistently achieving 100's High Triple Q's, and first placements.  Blossom is the 9th Clumber to ever have earned a UD and has been the Clumber  Spaniel Club of American High Scoring  Clumber in obedience for 3 years.  Blossom, a girl for all seasons, participates in many activities , among them is spending time as a therapy dog delighting people in nursing homes, schools, a bereavement camp, and a cancer camp.  This Clumber girl is a real crowd pleaser, filling lives with joy wherever she goes. 

    Chloe (All-American) owned/handled and loved by Nancy Nelson

    RACH CHLOE WILD CHILD UDX OM1 BN VER RM3 RAE3 SWN SCNE SCA SIA SEA THD CGC TKA SHDN

    RACH Title earned 07/20/2018

    Chloe was rescued from a high-kill shelter at 6 months of age. Chloe is an amazing, intelligent dog who loves the challenge of new activities.  She has been featured on the AKC website twice.  Chloe is the first All-American to earn the RACH Title and is the fifth All-American to earn the UDX title . 

     

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019 1:24 PM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    <p align="left"><em><strong>Written by&nbsp;</strong><strong>Deborah Neufeld</strong></em></p>


    <p>I like to puppy test. I have puppy-tested a number of litters for friends and other folks, and I always marvel at the responses. Some puppies have exhibited the best qualities one could look for in a competition dog, and others indicated a wonderful companion. Sometimes the responses are a bit odd, sparking the tester to wonder what happened to cause them. One puppy I remember had a hard time participating in the test as he kept going to a wall and leaning against it. Once we observed the litter together after the individual testing, it was clear why the pup had developed such a response. This puppy had become the one that several other pups in the litter bullied. His response was to go to a wall, lean against it and wait for them to beat him up. Once away from his littermates he was free to develop normally. Observing interactions within the litter can sometimes explain as much as the individual testing.</p>


    <p><img src="/resources/Pictures/Articles/Neufeld/pixabay01311803.jpg" alt="" title="" border="0" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; display: block;"><br></p>


    <p>Puppy testing isn’t the only criteria one should use in picking a puppy, but it certainly gives you insight into the inner workings of the pup at the time of the test. I worked with a Hearing Dog program for many years that used a version of the Volhard puppy test on dogs up to two years of age. The test was incredibly accurate, correctly assessing the dog’s potential to certify as a hearing dog. The main point of the puppy test, though, is that it only tells you about the pup at the time of the test – it cannot tell you how the pup will end up based on environment and training. I also never discount the natural attraction between the puppy and his human. If you really like the pup from the start you will be a lot more invested in working through training issues as they arise.<br></p>


    <p>When I tested a previous Boxer at 8 weeks of age, she had no social attraction to people at all. She wouldn’t come to me or anyone else, much less follow me. Something in my gut was telling me this wasn’t the personality I wanted. I decided to take her anyway, figuring we would bond once I got her home. A couple of weeks later and no closer to making a connection with this puppy, I realized that I would need more of a comprehensive plan to work with her. As she was quite independent and wanted nothing to do with me or my husband, choosing to stick with the other dogs instead, we adopted a plan of “nothing for free”. All things in her world came through people. Toys, walks, playing and freedom all came with a price – contact with the “undesirable” humans. Every bite of food was hand fed, and she resented it. At first Tia would come several feet away and bark at her dinner as if to say “hey food, come over here so I don’t have to go near that human”. She wouldn’t even look at me, and seemed offended at having to eat from my hand. Gradually she became more comfortable with my presence and we formed a bond, but it would be a couple of years before she would come to mildly enjoy petting. Initially she would shrink from being touched by anyone and would “shake it off” after being pet. Tia was quite a test of my knowledge and abilities. I hope I never have to tackle such a problem again, but she taught me volumes on how to build a strong relationship. Had I not puppy tested her, it might have taken me a lot longer to figure out the problem and to make a plan of how to deal with it. She certainly wasn’t the dog of my dreams, but now I can’t imagine my life without having had her in it.</p>


    <p>The real dog of my dreams came into my life as a matter of circumstance. I had my first litter of Boxer puppies (one of only two litters I bred in 30 years). I had planned to keep one for Conformation and Obedience. She was a lovely little girl I named Liza Jane – so sweet and pretty, but not too bright. Her sister I called Java because she was a dark brindle. Java got her sister’s brains and then some! She was problem solving at 6 weeks old. She could break out of most crates, open doors as soon as she was tall enough to reach them, and she could figure out a way to get whatever she wanted. I quickly determined that she would be too smart for the average pet owner and would probably end up at the shelter, so we made the decision to keep her.</p>


    <p>To say that she was a challenge would be an understatement. She tested me every day in every way on everything. Java was a nightmare dog, demanding my full attention just to keep her under control. Training her was practically a full-time job. As time passed and we came to know each other, we became pretty much inseparable. Not only did we do Obedience, she did tricks and pet therapy and she became a great ambassador for her breed. It wasn’t until the end of her life that I realized I had the dog of my dreams all along. I just didn’t know it until then.</p>


    <p>A puppy test can’t tell you if a puppy will end up being perfect for you, or a disaster waiting to happen – or sometimes a bit of both. What it can do is give you a snapshot of the puppy’s character at that instant. Most importantly, it can tell you the direction to take in order to mold that puppy into the very best partner you can have. And that partner might just end up being the dog of your dreams. After all, seldom do we know in the beginning where any relationship will take us. The destination is important only because of the journey that takes us there. For the most part, I believe a dog can become the dog of our dreams based on our investment in each other. They’re not born being “perfect” for us. We have to forge a path together, just like any good partnership.</p>


    <p>While each section of the puppy test provides valuable information, there are key features that I find particularly important. First and foremost is social attraction to people. If the pup is independent and does not desire the company of humans, training becomes a much more complicated and creative process to find ways of engaging the dog to work with us. Social attraction to people means our attention is something the dog finds reinforcing and will work to get. This is part of why certain breeds are considered “Obedience breeds”. A higher percentage of dogs in those breeds have a desire to please us, and to earn attention from us. This characteristic is number one on my preference list. Having owned a dog with NO social attraction to people, I can tell you that sociability to people is paramount for me.</p>


    <p>Second on my list would be lack of sensitivity to sounds or sights. If the pup startles easily, he may have difficulty working in a trial environment. Although such problems can be worked through, it is an exhausting process and one that I prefer to avoid.</p>


    <p>Third is willingness to accept a correction – or really anything the dog finds objectionable. There is a part of the test where the pup is rolled onto his back and held gently for 30 seconds. When he is allowed to get up, the part of the test immediately following it is to stroke the pup down his back from head to tail 3 times and see how he responds. Does he cuddle up and try to make friends after the harrowing experience of being upside down for half a minute? Or does he “head for the hills” and write you off along with his bad experience? I’ve seen pups get up from the roll over and try to leave the room, wanting nothing more to do with the tester. A pup who responds this way will have a very hard time dealing with anything unpleasant, whether it is a correction from his handler or something unfortunate that happens in his environment. Some pups with this kind of issue will even hold onto resentment against the handler for clipping his nails. Call it “forgiveness” if you will, but partnerships don’t thrive on such rigid attitudes.</p>


    <p>The final preference would be to have a natural retrieve. A natural retrieve is certainly not a prerequisite, but it is a nice perk. It’s true, almost any dog can be taught to retrieve, and even if the dog is a natural retriever I go through the same process of teaching the retrieve. The first Seeing Eye dog programs discovered a link between a natural retrieve, and the probability that the dog would certify as a service dog. Perhaps it has to do with a sense of cooperation, or an extension of sociability or biddability. Whatever the reason, it is a nice benefit.</p>


    <p>The reason puppy tests are given at 7 weeks is that it is presumed that training has had the least influence on the pup. The idea is to get an assessment of the pup’s “default programming” before training and environment affects his responses. However, by that time many good breeders have alredy worked on handling, socialization, and some training. And again, the Hearing Dog program I worked with found the test to be remarkably accurate on dogs of any age (although 2 years was the limit to enter their program), regardless of their background, training, or lack thereof.</p>


    <p>Bottom line is, do what works for you and enjoy the process. It’s a new adventure with every dog we train. Enjoy the journey!</p>


    <p align="center"><strong>Good training, everyone!</strong></p>

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019 1:23 PM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    <p align="left"><em><strong>Written by&nbsp;</strong><strong>Deborah Neufeld</strong></em></p>


    <p>I like to puppy test. I have puppy-tested a number of litters for friends and other folks, and I always marvel at the responses. Some puppies have exhibited the best qualities one could look for in a competition dog, and others indicated a wonderful companion. Sometimes the responses are a bit odd, sparking the tester to wonder what happened to cause them. One puppy I remember had a hard time participating in the test as he kept going to a wall and leaning against it. Once we observed the litter together after the individual testing, it was clear why the pup had developed such a response. This puppy had become the one that several other pups in the litter bullied. His response was to go to a wall, lean against it and wait for them to beat him up. Once away from his littermates he was free to develop normally. Observing interactions within the litter can sometimes explain as much as the individual testing.</p>


    <p><img src="/resources/Pictures/Articles/Neufeld/pixabay01311803.jpg" alt="" title="" border="0" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; display: block;"><br></p>


    <p>Puppy testing isn’t the only criteria one should use in picking a puppy, but it certainly gives you insight into the inner workings of the pup at the time of the test. I worked with a Hearing Dog program for many years that used a version of the Volhard puppy test on dogs up to two years of age. The test was incredibly accurate, correctly assessing the dog’s potential to certify as a hearing dog. The main point of the puppy test, though, is that it only tells you about the pup at the time of the test – it cannot tell you how the pup will end up based on environment and training. I also never discount the natural attraction between the puppy and his human. If you really like the pup from the start you will be a lot more invested in working through training issues as they arise.<br></p>


    <p>When I tested a previous Boxer at 8 weeks of age, she had no social attraction to people at all. She wouldn’t come to me or anyone else, much less follow me. Something in my gut was telling me this wasn’t the personality I wanted. I decided to take her anyway, figuring we would bond once I got her home. A couple of weeks later and no closer to making a connection with this puppy, I realized that I would need more of a comprehensive plan to work with her. As she was quite independent and wanted nothing to do with me or my husband, choosing to stick with the other dogs instead, we adopted a plan of “nothing for free”. All things in her world came through people. Toys, walks, playing and freedom all came with a price – contact with the “undesirable” humans. Every bite of food was hand fed, and she resented it. At first Tia would come several feet away and bark at her dinner as if to say “hey food, come over here so I don’t have to go near that human”. She wouldn’t even look at me, and seemed offended at having to eat from my hand. Gradually she became more comfortable with my presence and we formed a bond, but it would be a couple of years before she would come to mildly enjoy petting. Initially she would shrink from being touched by anyone and would “shake it off” after being pet. Tia was quite a test of my knowledge and abilities. I hope I never have to tackle such a problem again, but she taught me volumes on how to build a strong relationship. Had I not puppy tested her, it might have taken me a lot longer to figure out the problem and to make a plan of how to deal with it. She certainly wasn’t the dog of my dreams, but now I can’t imagine my life without having had her in it.</p>


    <p>The real dog of my dreams came into my life as a matter of circumstance. I had my first litter of Boxer puppies (one of only two litters I bred in 30 years). I had planned to keep one for Conformation and Obedience. She was a lovely little girl I named Liza Jane – so sweet and pretty, but not too bright. Her sister I called Java because she was a dark brindle. Java got her sister’s brains and then some! She was problem solving at 6 weeks old. She could break out of most crates, open doors as soon as she was tall enough to reach them, and she could figure out a way to get whatever she wanted. I quickly determined that she would be too smart for the average pet owner and would probably end up at the shelter, so we made the decision to keep her.</p>


    <p>To say that she was a challenge would be an understatement. She tested me every day in every way on everything. Java was a nightmare dog, demanding my full attention just to keep her under control. Training her was practically a full-time job. As time passed and we came to know each other, we became pretty much inseparable. Not only did we do Obedience, she did tricks and pet therapy and she became a great ambassador for her breed. It wasn’t until the end of her life that I realized I had the dog of my dreams all along. I just didn’t know it until then.</p>


    <p>A puppy test can’t tell you if a puppy will end up being perfect for you, or a disaster waiting to happen – or sometimes a bit of both. What it can do is give you a snapshot of the puppy’s character at that instant. Most importantly, it can tell you the direction to take in order to mold that puppy into the very best partner you can have. And that partner might just end up being the dog of your dreams. After all, seldom do we know in the beginning where any relationship will take us. The destination is important only because of the journey that takes us there. For the most part, I believe a dog can become the dog of our dreams based on our investment in each other. They’re not born being “perfect” for us. We have to forge a path together, just like any good partnership.</p>


    <p>While each section of the puppy test provides valuable information, there are key features that I find particularly important. First and foremost is social attraction to people. If the pup is independent and does not desire the company of humans, training becomes a much more complicated and creative process to find ways of engaging the dog to work with us. Social attraction to people means our attention is something the dog finds reinforcing and will work to get. This is part of why certain breeds are considered “Obedience breeds”. A higher percentage of dogs in those breeds have a desire to please us, and to earn attention from us. This characteristic is number one on my preference list. Having owned a dog with NO social attraction to people, I can tell you that sociability to people is paramount for me.</p>


    <p>Second on my list would be lack of sensitivity to sounds or sights. If the pup startles easily, he may have difficulty working in a trial environment. Although such problems can be worked through, it is an exhausting process and one that I prefer to avoid.</p>


    <p>Third is willingness to accept a correction – or really anything the dog finds objectionable. There is a part of the test where the pup is rolled onto his back and held gently for 30 seconds. When he is allowed to get up, the part of the test immediately following it is to stroke the pup down his back from head to tail 3 times and see how he responds. Does he cuddle up and try to make friends after the harrowing experience of being upside down for half a minute? Or does he “head for the hills” and write you off along with his bad experience? I’ve seen pups get up from the roll over and try to leave the room, wanting nothing more to do with the tester. A pup who responds this way will have a very hard time dealing with anything unpleasant, whether it is a correction from his handler or something unfortunate that happens in his environment. Some pups with this kind of issue will even hold onto resentment against the handler for clipping his nails. Call it “forgiveness” if you will, but partnerships don’t thrive on such rigid attitudes.</p>


    <p>The final preference would be to have a natural retrieve. A natural retrieve is certainly not a prerequisite, but it is a nice perk. It’s true, almost any dog can be taught to retrieve, and even if the dog is a natural retriever I go through the same process of teaching the retrieve. The first Seeing Eye dog programs discovered a link between a natural retrieve, and the probability that the dog would certify as a service dog. Perhaps it has to do with a sense of cooperation, or an extension of sociability or biddability. Whatever the reason, it is a nice benefit.</p>


    <p>The reason puppy tests are given at 7 weeks is that it is presumed that training has had the least influence on the pup. The idea is to get an assessment of the pup’s “default programming” before training and environment affects his responses. However, by that time many good breeders have alredy worked on handling, socialization, and some training. And again, the Hearing Dog program I worked with found the test to be remarkably accurate on dogs of any age (although 2 years was the limit to enter their program), regardless of their background, training, or lack thereof.</p>


    <p>Bottom line is, do what works for you and enjoy the process. It’s a new adventure with every dog we train. Enjoy the journey!</p>


    <p align="center"><strong>Good training, everyone!</strong></p>

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019 10:56 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Ann Chiappetta is a mom, wife and therapist from New York.  She typically travels through life at a high rate of speed, always accompanied by Guiding Eyes dog Verona.  This post is an excerpt from Ann’s own blog –http://www.thought-wheel.com/

    Each day at lunch I pocket my mobile phone, some cash, and harness up my dog. She stands while I put on her harness and leash.  After gearing up we exit the office.

    We walk to the steps, she stops to indicate them, and as soon as I tap the top of the step with a shoe, she leads me down, and we swing open the door and out on to the sidewalk. We turn on the auto pilot and reach the left turn across a four lane intersection. I wait for the light to change, counting the seconds after the last chirp of the audible pedestrian signal. When I hear the traffic surge, I say ‘forward’ and we start across the street. As soon as my foot reaches the ramped curb on the opposite side, Verona stops and I hear, “Hi, is your dog a working dog?”

    As I groan inwardly, thinking, oh, boy, here we go again, I put on a smile and tell Verona to sit while the big, brown dog he’s walking tries to make his doggie acquaintance. The dog is excited, panting and pacing but the man keeps him from disturbing my dog.

    We exchange pleasantries, and move on to our destination, the dog relief area just one more block away. It is a great, clean place with a waste bag dispenser that is never out of bags.

    As we walk up the sidewalk, I hear more dogs and their owners but all is well. Verona directs me to the dispenser with a targeting command and I remove her harness, extend her leash, and she does her business.

    Once she’s done and harnessed up, I say ‘forward’ and turn back to the way we came so we can find the trash and go get lunch. Suddenly, she stops and I hear the patter of small paws and the jingle of a leash. The woman at the other end of it realizes her dog has decided to play kissy face with Verona and my dog is trying to go around it but it keeps cutting us off. I call this the doggie side step, as we often get nowhere until the other person recalls their dog. I think, as I often do, that a flexible leash is not as great as the inventor hoped it would be.  The woman is very apologetic and retrieves her dog so we can move on.

    Okay, I think, today is a great day to praise my dog, as she has ignored not one, but two dogs while working. As we walk across another wide four lane intersection, I tell her, “Good dog”, and I know her tail is up. Swaying proudly.

    We walk another block and enter the mall.

    I love working my dog, passing each day and year with a better understanding for one another and strengthening the bond. I often wonder what my next dog will be like, as we are coming up on our fifth year together. I think it’s normal to think about these things, as it prepares me for the time we must part as a team and allow another dog to step in to lead me.

    Verona guides me down the ramp, and angles us toward the door to the restaurant. Like clockwork, the little white fuzz ball in the vitamin store begins his barking and as usual, Verona ignores him. I hear his owner telling him to be quiet and wonder if the mall actually allows pets inside.   We navigate among the chairs and tables and stand on line to order and pay for lunch. Then we weave out of the store, pass the barking dog, up the ramp, and out into the sunshine.

    Once we are back in the office, the gear comes off and Verona drinks some water and takes a snooze while I eat.

    This is a typical day – whether its dog distractions, traffic checks, construction or a street fair, we face it all together. It’s times like this that I feel fortunate to work with a guide dog. We have the freedom to go about our business in a way that I’d never known with a white cane.  

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