Enjoy some updated pics of our “A” litter vom Kugelblitz who are 9 months. I cannot believe the amazing things i have seen from this litter. Every breeder should be as happy as i am with not only the owners, but the accomplishments these pups are going for, and the success they are displaying. Yellow girl Allah has passed 3 of her 5 certification tests for Airscent SAR K9, her brother Artemis has passed 2 of the 5 also for Airscent SAR K9. Scotty, Red boy owned by his handler for NYSP enters the K9 academy next month, Annika maroon girl is progressing nicely in IPO and has already shown under german judge Helmut Konig for her puppy rating. Pink girl, Osa is training hard at Penn Vet Working Dog Center and green boy is polishing up his obedience and detection skills to certify as and HRD K9. Purple girl Athena is welcoming a new 2 legged sister into her home this year! Can’t wait to see what 6 more months bring!!!!
Spring 2014 the “A” litter vom Kugelblitz (Due first week of April)
We are pleased to announce the breeding of Raina vom Franzosen Wald STAR CGC SAR-W DM clear, DNA certified, hips OFA good and Elbows Normal and Edgar von Ramhaus STAR CGC SD DM clear, DNA certified, hips and elbows SV a-normal a1
This litter has been highly anticipated and we have had a waiting list for pups for almost 2 years from Raina. This WGWL litter has a fantastic pedigree backing it and is 5-5 on Pike. Currently accepting deposits for 1 male and 1 female and a waiting list until litter size is known. We already have 5 pups spoken for.
Edgar (Soren) Pedigree includes Asko vd Lutter, Tom v Leefdaalhof, Yoschy, Aly, and he is 5-5 on Marc and 5-4 on Pike. Soren is actively training for IPO and will be going for his BH and IPO 1 this spring. His main job is HRD (cadaver) K9. He is also a therapy dog and my personal service dog. While defensive and strong in protection work, he can fly on airplanes next to total strangers and spend his days at a therapeutic boarding school for trouble kids as a therapy dog. Soren has also been on sheep and is a natural herder. He is the multipurpose GSD who can do it all.
Raina was the youngest certified search dog in NYS passing her last certification tests for live and human remains at 12 months old. Raina is certified through New York State as well as International Police Working Dog Association (IPWDA) as an HRD K9. While Raina is social and friendly she also has a civil side to her and has strong defense that comes out while working protection. Raina will also trial for her BH this spring. Raina’s mother has had 2 litters which have 4 search dogs and 4 police canines. Rainas pedigree includes dogs like Chicco von der Fasanerie, Aly vom Vordersteinwald, Pike von der Schafbachmühle, Marc vom Herkulesblick, Half vom Ruhbachtal, and Lord vom Gleisdreieck. Raina has also filmed a movie which is in production at this time and will be released in 2014 called Late Phases.
This litter will produce very high drive, serious working dogs who will need a job to do daily. Both dogs bring nerve strength, high prey, biddablitity and defense. Both are very social and friendly to kids, adults, small dogs, and live in a pack of 10 dogs from 3 pounds to 80 pounds.
A simple obedience exercise right? I mean every dog knows how to sit, all they do is put their butt on the ground…..right????
Well i guess it depends what type of sit you want, for my Fugly the pug all i wanted was him to sit when given a hand or voice command so that he could pass his CGC and Therapy certifications. Now the girls need to have fast sits, and from any distance away from me for safety reasons. Soren on the other hand has to have a perfect square sit, not rolled back onto his hips, not sloppy in any way, and it needs to be immediate and even while in motion.
So i guess the first step in a solid sit is to think about what we want, and have a plan.
One of the first questions i ask my clients is “what do you want to achieve?” For the sake of this post we will be going over how to train a reliable sit for a pet dog. Knowing this allows us to outline our plan, we want Fido to sit the first time, every time, in all situations we ask him like we want any dog to do so we can keep clear communication with him. We do not care if he rolls onto his hip or if he does it while we are walking or while out working, we just want a solid sit!
So know our thinking is out of the way we can continue with a small outline of a plan and then get started.
We will start with 4 short 5 minute sessions a day. With a bag full of hot dogs we will lure the nose up so the butt hits the ground, feeding as soon as its on the floor.
Once he has mastered this, and is offering it or performing it as soon as the cue (the hand getting the hot dog usually ends up being the cue) happens, we will begin to pair the word “sit” with it while his butt is dropping to the ground
now depending on the dog, this will occur quickly or slower, dogs with a good reward system and moderate or high food drive will breeze through this.
Once he understands the new cue (the word sit) coincides with his butt hitting the ground, we will stop reaching for the food, give the command sit and mark (with a yes or a clicker) as soon as he sits, then reaching for the treat to reward. THIS IS THE HARDEST PART. Almost everyone inadvertently reaches for the food first or in the middle, instead of waiting till the behavior has occurred and you have marked it. This little mistake is HUGE in the learning of the dog.
If Fido doesn’t sit upon the first command, you ignore, move a few feet away re engage him and re command again in a new trial. This why he never learns to wait for your second, third or fourth command! He only gets his reward if he listens the FIRST time.
Once he is reliably performing the command in your training area you can take it on the road and add little distractions, and other environments so he can begin to generalize! (I see reliably as 4 out of 5 commands correct the first time, then i will begin to push forward, if i encounter a session where he does 1 or 2 out of 5 then i drop back again so he fully understands before challenging him to much)
And yes, all that work is just for one sit command. Training dogs is not simple and quick, it requires time, patience, and consistency!
After our widely successful post on positive dog training we move on to our second P- Pit Bulls.
Now i can speak on this subject mostly because of a story about the first dog i ever owned named Olive. I don’t like to think of myself as an “expert” because frankly i do not think anyone is an expert at anything, we can always learn if we keep our ears open and our pride down. However i do owe most of my knowledge and relationship with dogs to my pit bull Olive.
To keep a long story short Olive was 8 months old, and living at the local humane society after being picked up from a dog fighting operation. I was 18 years old, in love, and we wanted our first dog. I did what most responsible semi-knowledgeable albeit young people do and ventured to the local pound with my boyfriend to pick out our first puppy. Having been bit by plenty of dalmatians and dachshunds in my life i steered away from them, and towards what was the vast majority of dogs impounded in concrete run after concrete run. I found a wonderful 2 year old brown and white pitty, and the boyfriend fell in the love with the unsure, scared black and white young pit from the dog fighting bust. He won, and we brought her home the next day after being spayed.
According to the shelter she was sweet, a bit shy, and loved everything. Well she was fear aggressive, guarded whatever she had within 5 feet of her, and wanted to kill every dog she saw. I chalked it up to the fact that most pounds cannot really distinguish a dogs personality without allowing it to live in a home and bond, hence why there was a very high failure rate. That would be addressed in the coming year when I founded and incorporated Life Long Tails a 501(c)3 not for profit foster based rescue for dogs, cats, and small animals.
But anyway, i digress, after adopting Olive i not only found my love for teaching and training dogs for fun (competing in obedience and agility with my troubled girl), but also how to rehab extreme aggression issues and really try to understand how the canine mind works. This brought me years of traveling all over the USA taking classes, learning how to run an effective rescue, certifying as an animal rescue technician, and assisting at large scale disasters both natural and man made. It also led to me a large amount of work with bully breeds, and other high drive, high strung, misunderstood dogs.
Each animal species i work with comes with its own set of assumptions or automatic conclusions. Cats like to sleep, dogs like to play, horses enjoy grazing, and cows give us little affection but good milk. That being said each breed of dog also gives us natural tendencies which have been manipulated over the generations by humans breeding without discretion or knowledge, and further more, each dog within its breed has a unique set of characteristics that make him or her form an identity. We all know that Pit’s have been the “fad for discrimination” now for a few years, and the breed holds its place after Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Dobermans to name a few. What i think has forced this breed to hold the spot for not only a lengthy amount of time but also with severe consequences is humans. The general lack of understanding of the breed, its purpose, and it’s identity as a canine has caused humans to place it in less then optimal conditions resulting in the severe consequences both behaviorally and genetically. In order to work with a dog you must first understand him as a breed, and then him as an individual. All breeds, and all dogs have limitations and as humans have indiscriminately bred dogs they have altered many of these negatively. Combine this with the breeds popularity, the fact that we are really dealing with 5 plus “breeds” that are considered pit bulls, the media and celebrity ownership, and the status that has come with owning them and a recipe for disaster was imminent. There is no quick fix (which i swear is what almost everyone who contacts me about dog training wants) or answer to this problem. We need to educate, train, cease breeding indiscriminately, and correctly read and interpret their strengths, weaknesses, and limitations.
Olive is still alive, and on her way to almost 13 years old. She doesn’t live with me anymore, and i miss her like crazy but in the settlement after divorce it was agreed that she needed to live out her last years in the home she was used to and happy in. That girl is responsible for pushing me to become a better dog owner, and in turn a dog trainer, canine behavior consultant, and many other paths in my canine-human relationship over the last decade. She is proof that dogs can change, and you should never judge a book by its cover, or a dog by its breed.
So in my attempt to tackle what i believe is an insanely prideful, pointless battle between “trainers” on the topic of positive only training I will outline below what is actually the most accurate method of training that curtails to both “positive only” and “must keep negative and punishment” trainers. I do not believe that people are actually arguing the correct point, see it is not about being “positive only” or not, there are four quadrants of operant conditioning for a reason, we need to utilize them all while training, but the fact is that trainers pride and emotion have taken the correct utilization of positive punishment, and negative reinforcement and developed them to be incorrect and ineffective on a canine, but yet completely self fulfilling for them!! See, self centered humans with heads in asses!!!!!!
Ok so to be a bit more clear in my above point. Physical punishment is not necessary to train the dog, but a corrective action is. Dogs DO need to be told what is wrong sometimes, as well as what is right, but in a correct balanced proportion so that the brain can function unstressed and learn more successfully. So is positive punishment or negative reinforcement wrong to use??? NO not if used correctly, for the benefit of the canine and how he learns, instead of correctly for the prideful emotional, egotistical dog trainer!!!!!!!
So try this on for size………instead of trying to eliminate half of the methods of operant conditioning, why instead can we not fix where the errors lie in the methods of applying it?? With most dogs i train, 9 times out of 10 if the behavior i ask for is not executed correctly it is because
A. The behavior has not generalized, or is not fully known (this process takes MUCH longer then most impatient people are willing to commit)
B. The distractions are to high and the behavior is not proofed yet.
C. You have set criteria that is well beyond what the dog can achieve, so instead of dropping back you punish because your own human emotions come through and you feel better leash jerking the dog.
So i reset my trial in a more appropriate setting and continue to proof. Occasionally with a behavior i know the dog fully understands, is proofed, and is now variably rewarded, and the dog blows me off a corrective action is needed, and no it isn’t stringing the dog up, or kicking it but a corrective action that shows the dog he can control his environment and what he wants can be taken away when he makes a mistake. (and what is that called kids??????) Viola! I have utilized more then just positive methods “technically” and haven’t inflicted any physical harm or pain on my dog!
Why is it that we have just assumed negative reinforcement, negative punishment and positive punishment always inflict pain and harm, and thus jumped to eliminating them all together scoping our operant conditioning to 1 out of 4 ways to teach our dogs??
Let us then look at our training methods as individual trainers. What i find most often in working with other trainers and K9 handlers is that they are not ever clear in the communication aspect with their dogs, nor do they really even understand how they are training the dog. Sure they have watched a few videos and can repeat what they see and get results, but unfortunately inappropriate negative reinforcement and positive punishment frequently yield faster results with undue stress on the dog that leads to a break down in the trained behaviors later on down the road. But of course in the moment they look great and feel good too!
It can be said that communication gives confidence, and while positive communication is significantly better for the learning process of canines, you cannot achieve everything with positive only communication, however you do not need to physically punish nor abuse training methods to utilize the other quadrants of operant conditioning.
So it is not that we need to turn “purely positive” in our training methods, it is that we need to become educated on, and remember how to humanly and appropriately use the other tools in our operant conditioning toolbox without the humane propensity to inflict pain and harm!
The 3 P’s here bring up some very interesting controversy which i plan to cover over the next week. Probably one of the most controversial “dog topics” today is the battle of purely positive dog trainers with the rest of the world. What i think people don’t get is that everyone is really arguing the same point, but both have their heads stuck into their asses so far they cannot see it!
And as far as pit bulls go, well we know their heads have been buried in asses for years so honestly we can only chip away a little at a time!
Well pride made my list mainly because it was a P word……..no but really i see pride as one of the biggest faults in most dog trainers and one that definitely causes both the above P issues. A serious fault that leads to extremists on certain topics because the pride battle that is going on inside of them actually changes their focus and pushes it further and further to what they had started to believe was right. It’s like taking a ham sandwich and me saying, well it would taste better if it was ham and cheese, and you adamantly stating the only way to eat a ham sandwich is with ham, and while arguing with me adding on so much ham that the sandwich becomes a foot tall, and your pig supply has diminished just to overly prove your point that you are correct beyond measure and I am wrong. *******But honestly did you believe in the first place the only way to eat a ham sandwich was with a foot of ham, or did your pride just push you to standing behind what you have already stood up for that you had to push it to extremes that didn’t make sense??? Hum sound familiar????
First and arguably most important will be our purely positive training dilemma. Stay tuned!!!
The holidays always bring sort of a peace around both the humans and the canines. We always say “I love this time of year” or “I cannot wait for the holiday time” While i do believe the dogs have “emotions” i do not think they understand time in the sense of the year like they can in the sense of the day. What i mean is that you frequently see Fido get really excited everyday around a certain “time” which almost insinuates that your dog can tell what time of day it is. One of our dogs Max is always sitting by the window at the front of the house around 4:30pm on Tuesdays when i’m home. I’m sure he does it when i’m not home too, but i see it on my day off, he sits and waits anytime between 4:20-4:40 because that’s when my significant other comes home from work. If there is a disruption in the schedule then he waits it out till 5 or so and eventually gives up. While Max has a concept of “time” for the day or the routine, dogs do not appear to be capable of having a concept of “time” for the year. Maybe because it doesn’t happen frequently enough, or within a close enough proximity of the other trials for learning to actually take place, but i have never seen my dogs get thoroughly excited on thanksgiving weekend when we always put the tree up or go crazy waiting to open their presents Christmas morning.
A dogs sense of “time” is what distinguishes how they live, and why so many dogs can be rehabilitated even after experiencing traumatic events in their lives. A dogs sense of time is what they are experiencing right now, in this very moment. For the kids at Allynwood this frame of mind is exactly what they need to follow, living in the moment a day at a time. Everyone forms behavior patterns, human and canine, from certain repetitive events in their lives, but the overall sense of “time” is what allows us to live either care free day or day or burdened by our haunts from the past and our fears of the future.
As 2013 comes to a close i must stop and reflect on what the year has held for us and even more exciting is what 2014 has in store.
2013 brought us a newly certified trailing K9 Miss Emeline and an additional certification on Raina through IPWDA as well. It brought us 2 more certified therapy K9s Anna and Frank. It brought us two newly certified water recovery K9s with Raina and Max both passing on the same day. It also brought us the addition of Annecy to the pack and Diva to the program. I feel like 2013 brought us a lot of twos!!!!
As the sole handler and trainer of all the canine copilot dogs (with the exception of Max and Mia whom i assist in training plans but they are handled by my better half) I feel like 2013 has been just a glimmer of what i can achieve.
So with that 2014 will focus on the following.
-The A litter of vom Kugelblitz Kennels. This highly anticipated litter between Raina and Soren is going to bring us a some of the top SAR, IPO and Police dogs in New York State.
-Annecy as what we hope to be the first certified Airscent dog in New York State with a bark and hold indication.
-Annecy’s CGC, Therapy certification, narcotics certification and BH. vom Kugelblitz’s first Malinois has a lot to accomplish and we know this little girl can do it all. Please keep an eye out in 2015 for our B litter of malinois’s at vom Kugelblitz kennels.
-Soren’s therapy certification,BH, Show rating, and IPO1 come this spring. This boy will be busy between raising his offspring.
-Kamikaze’s therapy certification.
-Diva’s therapy certification, BH, airscent and HR certification.
– Mia’s CGC, and HR certification.
– Anna, Frank, Abby, Eme, Max, and Raina will all get to relax and take the year off, just performing there typical jobs on a daily basis (and Raina being a mom of course!)
and of course we will continue our rescue work with Life Long Tails helping local canines who cannot stay in their current homes and continue to maintain our roster of students for private and group training.
Keep an additional eye out on Allynwood Academy and the new CHAT(c) program that Jenn has been appointed training director of. Parts of 2014 will be traveling doing seminars on our breakthrough new Canine Human Attunement Training. We were able to give one presentation in North Carolina in 2013 as well as hold our first all day seminar in November at Allynwood, both of which where a huge success! Very excited about this new venture, and the ability to continue helping people develop the ultimate relationship with their canine copilots.
❤ so with that, we are ready to proceed to the last month of 2013 and ring in the new year!!