1. How do you teach recalls to your dogs?
It all depends on the dog. I used a long line with foster dogs, and if they didn't come, I just calmly and unrelentingly walk them down until they got it. I used positive reinforcement with Bonnie, because she was so food driven. Brynn was not as food driven, from the moment she was a puppy I would call her back to me in every situation. I varied the reward, from petting to food. I never had to walk her down - she wouldn't stray out of my sight from the time she was a pup. Bea has been another story. She has not been easy. I had to do a lot of walking after her. She is stubborn and can be a wee bit sneaky. Her recall is about 75% reliable now. I just make sure I don't put her in a situation where I cannot get to her. Distractions are difficult. Just time and miles with her, she still has some growing up to do.
2. What is your favorite Restaurant or type of food?
Favorite Restaurant: I love good old fashioned American diners, where the staff know your name. We have a place here in Orting called Around the Corner Cafe that serves good 'stick to your ribs' food. That type of place can't be replaced by big chain restaurants. We also have another restaurant here in Orting called Los Pinos - it is a Mexican place, owned and run by one of our neighbors. My son used to work there washing dishes. You know you have been to a restaurant too much over the years if the waiter has your order written down before you even tell him.
Favorite type of food: I am blessed my husband is an avid fisherman. I adore fish. I could eat salmon morning, noon and night happily. My favorite food is salmon. Tomatoes follow a close second. (We wont mention Cheetos puffs or chocolate...shhhhhhh!).
3. What is your favorite interest outside of dogs/livestock/sports?
There is life outside of dogs? I think I would have to say my favorite interest outside of dogs would be photography. Wait, does that count if I am always photographing dogs?
4. Describe your path from where you started out to where you are now.
I have been doing this 'herding thing' with my dogs for three years now. We are barely out of Novice. I have run Beth in novice/novice, ranch and pro-novice. I ran Brynn in nursery (badly) and we are now running in pro-novice (still badly, but improving/learning every trial). I cannot express enough the importance of finding a good trainer and sticking with them. Do not bounce around to different trainers - stick to one and train with people who are familiar with their techniques to reinforce what you are learning. I made the mistake of bouncing around from one trainer to another when I started and the only thing we accomplished was confusing the hell out of myself & Beth. Dianne Deal has been my choice for a trainer & I am very happy with how we are progressing. If it is financially feasible invest in sending your dog for training - it helped me immeasurably. Being a novice it is very difficult to train your dog while you are learning - I was fortunate with Beth that she was so forgiving. Many people say you will ruin your first dog while you learn. Thankfully I got help with her at the right time and she was a strong enough dog to get past it - I really hope I don't damage Brynn with my awkward handling.
5. Is there a dog that you raised that, if you knew then what you know now, you would have raised them differently? Question posed by Jodi.
I would not have let Brynn get away with snarky-snotty behavior or resource guarding & been more assertive in protecting her from bad situations where she could get in trouble or make a bad choice.