Dog trains man

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guarding Dog In Action: Hovawart Intruder Alert

1. "Who's that?". Here Viva and Kenzo notice a person at the end of the drive way and start to focus. Viva is on the left. Kenzo on the right.

2. "That's far enough". The person is approaching. Very clear body language of the lips in this one.

3. "Alert!". The person moved over the threshold. Kenzo sounds the alert.

The Hovawart is a guarding dog. They are wired to act suspicious towards anything new and unfamiliar that approaches their domain. If I would have opened the door and greet the person while telling them it is alright, Viva would cover the person in kisses right away. Kenzo would still be suspicious though. He will accept the situation, but will not loose the person out of his sight. First after a while or with a second meet, he will be able to relax more.

Anything the person would do during their first meeting to approach him, he would reject with a loud bark. How differently Kenzo behaves when we our out. Just yesterday in training class a person he didn't know came up to him, bend over (!), gave him a hug, and looked right into his eyes. Kenzo is maybe not thrilled when that happens, but he allows it.

I took these pictures when I caught Kenzo and Viva doing what a guarding dog does, and posted them on Facebook. They were so popular I thought you would like it if we shared them on our blog as well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kenzo in the Surf

We just returned from a 2-week trip to Holland. I had to work a lot, but spend all my time in the evenings with Kenzo and Viva. The place we usually pick for our stays in Holland is pet friendly and close to the beach.

Viva feels comfortable because she knows the place by now. And Kenzo loves it so much here because of the beach. There is only one thing on his mind as soon as we arrive. Where is the beach! When we go for a morning walk, he is determinately pulling me in the same direction: "it is over there, come on, hurry!"

The weather was bad during our stay, but Kenzo doesn't care about that. He loves to play fetch in the surf.

When there is a good surf, he loves to jump over and through the waves. Sometimes a wave catches him and he disappears for a short moment, until he surfaces again. With a huge smile on his face.

Kenzo working on his timing

Although wet, some of the evening walks were accompanied by spectacular sunsets and we enjoyed the view on an otherwise grey day.

The sun did come out one single day though. To Kenzo's disappointment, as there was no surf.

Where is the surf? I want the bad weather to return!

Hovawarts are no natural water dogs like Newfies, Labs and Retrievers. But they can enjoy it, just like any other dog. We got Viva swimming in a couple of weeks. And she was 6 years old and didn't like water when we tried first. Maybe one day she loves it as much as Kenzo does.

On one of our walks we met this fun Retriever, that preferred sand over water. Here he is together with Joska the Viszla - one of Kenzo's Dutch friends - in a fine display of team work. You dig, I get a sand rub!

You dig, I get a sand rub

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Traveling Safe with Gates instead of Crates

Viva desensitizing her Gate
When you - like us - cannot travel with your dogs in crates because your dogs are too big or your car too small, you are going to love this product. A doggie gate. The gate has two separate doors. As if we didn’t re-model the car enough last time. But we felt this was really missing.

The separate doors allow us to get them safe in and out the car, one by one. No more risk of being floored by two stampeding Hovawarts wanting to leave as soon as the hatch opens - which actually did happen once, to the amusement of the travelers on the road stop place and some scratches and bruises for me and my wife.

Another advantage is when we park the car in the shadow in mildly warm weather we can still leave the dogs in the car with the hatch open. The doors can be locked with a key.

Inside look, how it was before
The seatbelt system inside their area did not work very well and they would either get entangled or felt restrained. Not restraining them would give the risk they could walk out in traffic in case of an accident. The gate solves this. Without the seat belts they now move as freely as possible.

The doors are universal and fit in most cars. You can easy assemble it yourself – which I did. We got the "Variogate", manufactured by the Swedish company "mim". As I wanted to see the product before I bought it we made a trip to Sweden to have a look although you can buy it on the web.

When we landed in Sweden our first address left us empty handed – despite calling them upfront and asking "do you really have it on stock? So we can SEE the product?". Luckily the salesmen at the third store helped us and called around to other competing (!) stores until he found one that did actually had one on stock. Swedish people are so nice and helpful !

Hatch open! Cooling down on the ferry
We had a great trip to Holland with our new gate. Especially Viva loved it. When we made stops she could quickly make a pit-stop and went back into her "crate". From there she safely observed the rest of us, while I was exploring the place more with Kenzo. Which made him happy as well.

With warm weather it is difficult to keep them cool on the ferry from Denmark to Germany. We are not allowed to walk on the car deck, but I can also not take two huge dogs into the public area as it is overcrowded with people. This time I just left the hatch open and returned to two very cool dogs, see the picture above.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My 7 Best Posts

Many thanks to Roxanne Hawn from Champion of My Heart for passing on the “my 7 best posts” to us. Here are the links to our 7 best blog posts:

1. Most Beautiful Post: The Small Fearful Dog Therapist

What is more beautiful than a dog acting out of kindness? Inspired by Kenzo’s special relationship with small fearful dogs we ask the question if dogs are capable of empathy, and if that behavior is nurture or nature.

2. Most Popular Post: Danish Breed Ban Rests on Historically Thin Basis

We can’t take credit for the most popular post as we didn’t write it ourselves, only translated it from Danish with the consent from the original author. It tells the scandalous conditions under which the breed ban in Denmark came about. And how politicians above all want to appear decisive and disregard the facts.

3. Most Controversial Post: Welcome to the Wall of Shame Irene Jarnved

Not many controversial things happened on this blog. Although some opinions we voiced did cost us some “virtual” friendships. Closest we can come to writing something controversial, is the “Wall of Shame Breed Ban” series. They moved around on Danish forums and FB groups, once more sparking the debate, and making Danes aware of the bad publicity their breed ban is receiving abroad.

4. Most Helpful Post: Are You Prepared For a Dog Fight

When my dad was severely bitten trying to break up a dog fight we wrote this post on how to prevent a dog fight and what you can do when you are in the middle of one. We still use the post when we are attending a dog fight discussion in social media, and hopefully made a contribution to dog bite prevention. Having a plan never hurts.

5. Post Whose Success Surprised Me: Embarrassment Is Not an Option

Meant to be a simple rant on why embarrassment is a useless human emotion that poisons the relationship we have with our dogs, it surprised me to find so many kindred spirits.

6. Post That Didn’t Get the Attention it Deserved: Meet Shiloh, Hovawart in Need of Help

More than one year ago I first wrote about Shiloh the Hovawart and it leaves me with mixed feelings. Enough money was raised to get Shiloh through her needed hip operations. But Shiloh never found her forever home and is still at the rescue. She is still awaiting adoption.

7. Post I’m Most Proud Of: Open Letter to Merete Eldrup

After seeing the appalling video with the collapsing vet euthanizing 19 puppies, this post was the first of a series in protest of the Danish breed ban. Among others it led to an international petition in protest of the Danish breed ban – you did sign the petition right? -  and other bloggers decided to speak out against BSL in Denmark as well.

Passing it on

We are passing the “my 7 best posts” on to these bloggers, looking forward to see what they will pick:

Julie Danbolt -Moody Mudi

Julie Nutter – Dogs and Tails

Jana Rade – DawgBusiness

Karen Friesecke – DoggyStylish

Jen – My Brown Newfies
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