Sunday, April 28, 2013

Seeing double?

Current resident Satchel has been cloned... or so it seems.   Check out new boy Tin Tin.   We just had to introduce them given their close resemblance.   Fortunately they liked each other!

Satchel (left) with doppleganger Tin Tin.

Bubba's Big Playday

It was a good day to be Bubba at the shelter.  Our big new sweet boy got to play with two different gal pals over at the dog run.

We first introduced Bubba to Junebug for some polite sniffing and interaction.   Junebug is becoming more and more relaxed and we're so happy to see it.   Bubba was clearly interested but didn't push her.   He was a complete gentleman.  They did eventually exchange some play bows which was encouraging.  We think the next date will be even better!

Beautiful chocolate brown girl

Bubba's second date was a rollicking good time.  Ms. Daphne was raring to go and they zoomed madly around the yard.

Daphne is full of puppy energy and she is fast!

Sweet doggie kisses

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dog Lost in Oakland

It's always heartbreaking to see a poster for a lost dog.  The dog pictured below is named Layla.   She went missing in Oakland on March 1st of this year.   She has been spotted most recently on March 20th.    

Her guardians have setup a website which includes a map showing where she has been seen.  All details on the Looking for Layla website.

There is a $1000 reward offered for assistance in bringing Layla home.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Little Dog Play Fun!

It was great fun to let some little dogs out to play.  Satchel in particular was raring to go and it was a pleasure to see him being so silly and playful.  Puppy Muffin was so happy to join in on the fun.

Satchel (left) and Prince hanging out
Prince looking stylish in his red harness

Satchel loves to play!  Here he is doing his best run rabbit run impersonation.
The real fun started when puppy Muffin arrived.   She and Satchel had a blast together.
Satchel says "Catch me if you can."
Sharing a drink after some very active play.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Trust Your Dog and Pass the Hotdogs

"Trust your dog" is the motto of the burgeoning dog sport "Nosework."    As you likely already know, our canine friends have the ability to detect odor way beyond our human capacity.  Indeed, "Dogs can sense odors at concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans can."   The Nosework sport involves hiding concentrated odor (birch, anise, clove) for your doggie companion to find and alert on.   We humans need to learn how to "read our dogs", know when they're in odor, understand how the environment (wind, surface types, etc) impact the way scent travels and basically get out of our dog's  way so they can do their thing!

I got started with Nosework via  a class at the Berkeley Humane Society called "Intro to Odor."  In this class the dog is taught to recognize and search for the odor "birch."  There are a number of certified nosework instructors holding class locally.   I'm currently enrolled at the Marin Humane Society's Extreme Scenting class and it has been great fun.  Each weekend we venture to different location to hone our nosework skills.  Last weekend we were allowed to do interior searches at the Embassy Suites hotel in San Rafael.

There are two organizations holding Nosework trials in this area.   First, the  "National Association of  Canine Scent Work" group has had mutiple trials level (NW1, NW2, NW3) over the past years.  I wholeheartedly recommend volunteering at an event so you can see the range of dogs who participate.  It warms my heart to see a toy poodle ripping through the same search that a unusually large doberman just completed.   Each trial has four elements:  vehicle search, exterior search, interior search and container search.   Dogs usually have 2-1/2 to 3 minutes to finish each section.   If they get all four they earn a title!

Another great aspect of the sport, is that "reactive" dogs are allowed to participate since the dogs don't interact with each other.  Indeed, reactive dogs get their own parking area at events and get to wear a festive red scarf so people know the pooch might need some room.  

This past weekend, the United Kennel Club (UKC) held its first nosework trial ever here in Oakland the headquarters of Pet Food Express.   There were close to 30 dogs, lots of volunteers and a lot of good cheer to be had.   Trials are usually an all day event with two searches happening in the morning, a break for lunch and then the last two searches in the afternoon.   The day wraps up with a debriefing with the judges and awards ceremony.   The four judges were all expert canine handlers, three of them work for local police departments where they handle drug or explosive sniffing pooches.   The judges were very generous with their comments, offered some good tips and seemed to really appreciate the variety of dogs that were on hand strutting their stuff.   

Finally, I can't help but brag a bit about my own girl Jelly.   The UKC trial was her first event and she came in third overall!    I was so surprised and thrilled that my little sharpei mix won a medal.  In classes, she's always a star because she's so eager to please though she can be skittish in new situations.   It helps too that  she has a very clear "alert" sign in that she'll turn and look directly at me as though to say "it's right here,  where's my hot dog" (dogs are treated for finding the hides).  If I don't appear to believe her she'll start pawing the odor source.  Good girl!

Pictures below are from the vehicle search part of the trial. BTW, she found the hide here in 21.04 seconds.  Her best time was 5.41 seconds for the exterior search find.

At the start line, once the dog's nose crosses the green line, the timer starts.

Checking out the first of three vehicles.

Jelly appears to be "in odor" here.
Honing in on the hide.
Alert, alert -- it's right here mom.

After completing all four elements.  Yay, we did it!

Back at home, Jelly with her medal (on a bed of wisteria blossoms in the garden)

BTW, I believe there is a movement afoot to get some nosework instruction for BACS shelter volunteers so we can stimulate our doggie residents in a new way.