Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Extreme Mutt Makeover

Well I applied for this wonderful event and I got approved as a trainer! They only selected 10 trainers from the entire DFW metroplex who applied to be part of this event. I go to pick up my selected dog this Saturday, August 1st. I'm hoping to (it may not happen but my brain says it will) video the training process each week and post it on here. I will have the dog for 7 weeks, or until September 18th (however long that is).

Here are some specifics on the project . . .

The nation's most unique equine competition, the Extreme Mustang Makeover, will return to Fort Worth's Will Rogers Memorial Center for a third year but with an added twist; the Extreme Mutt Makeover.

Known for its ability to transform wild horses into willing partners, the Extreme Mustang Makeover is bringing this new dimension to the animal adoption world to highlight the time-honored partnership of man with dogs and horses.

"Everyone knows that most horse people are also dog people and that most dog people have an affinity for horses," says Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF) Executive Director and competition visionary Patti Colbert. "Both species face similar problems; a struggling economy that has forced pet owners to abandon or give away their animals and a need to find compassionate animal lovers who are willing to give these animals good homes.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover management is working in partnership with the Humane Society of North Texas to produce the Extreme Mutt Makeover. The event will be held in conjunction with the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Ft. Worth, Texas, September 18-20, 2009 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

While the Extreme Mustang Makeover will return with its reputed lineup of amazing performances and transformations of 125 formerly wild horses, a total of 10 shelter dogs selected from the Humane Society of North Texas will be matched with 10 dog trainers. Dog trainers will compete for prizes on Friday and Saturday during the Extreme Mustang Makeover. Following the dog competition, the dogs will be available for adoption through the Humane Society of North Texas.

Three levels of competition will be presented during the Extreme Mustang Makeover, including Idols and Legends, featuring three and four year old geldings, as well as Mission 008, featuring yearlings with trainers age 18 and under. Idol and Legend levels are determined by the trainers own assessment of the horse's progress and level of ability. A total of $25,000 will be offered in the competition, with a $5,000 prize going to the Legends champion, while the Idols champion will take home $3,000 and the youth champion taking home $1,500.

The MHF in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) created the Extreme Mustang Makeover event to highlight the recognized value of mustangs through a national training competition. The event will give the public a unique opportunity to see the results of wild horses becoming trained mounts and then participate in a competitive bidding process to adopt one of these treasured animals. Adoption of all horses will take place September 20 with BLM personnel on hand to answer questions and assist adopters with the application process.

All events are free with the exception of the Legends Finals September 19. Tickets are on sale now through for this entertaining and heartfelt event.

The purpose of the competition is to showcase the beauty, versatility, and trainability of these rugged horses that roam freely on public lands throughout the West, where the Bureau of Land Management protects them under Federal law. The BLM periodically removes excess animals from the range to ensure herd health and protect rangeland resources. Thousands of removed animals are then made available each year to the public for adoption. All of the animals involved in the "Makeover" competition will be available for adoption at the Fort Worth event in September.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Biking with Fido: Video.

Here I am riding with Noah, my Aussie/BC. He loves it. Now I will admit that I do need to get the bike tool for dogs, the K9 Bike Jogger. Holding the leash is dangerous. We are "conditioning" since we are neither one in shape so we don't go far . . . right now. (And please forgive my husband, aka, the videographer. I'm not sure why he says, "Uh oh.")

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Biking with Fido.

So for those of you who get my newsletter you noticed that I mentioned you could bike with your dog in tow. Well I borrowed a bike from a friend and I took 2 Goldens that I walk each week (not at the same time!) and then my Lab and then my Aussie/BC. They all had a blast!

I simply held the dog's leash and went. I would really like to get a different bike and get one of the dog springer/bike riders [designed for bikes & dogs] and see if this is as simple as it appears. Also the leash-holding system can be dangerous if a dog is not that great on-leash. I really feel the safety is key and those systems sold to put on bikes for your dog are much safer. If/when I get one I'll let you know!

It wears the dogs out rather quickly, I'll tell you that! I have a few tips if you have a dog that isn't running on a regular basis for long periods of time. . . .
  • Dogs need to be in good shape to go long distances on a bike with you.
  • Go on short rides & gradually build up the time, speed & distance once you have conditioned your dog to this.
  • Start out slower than normal & gradually build up speed.
  • Avoid hills unless you are really confident or have done this a lot!
  • Remember your dog's feet can wear out quickly depending on the terrain you are riding on. Put the doggie boots on your dog if you can. Otherwise make sure the ground isn't too hot.
  • Let your dog drink afterwards but not too much as to inhale to quickly. (Remember the info on Bloat in my newsletter!)
I'll try to get some pics of my riding skills and how much fun the dogs had! I know I sure had some worn out dogs after our short 15-minute ride!

Monday, July 6, 2009


I don't know if people realize that dogs (animals of any kind really) are tenacious to a very alarming degree. I often hear people say, "Won't he stop pulling on the leash when he realizes that he's choking himself [and that is uncomfortable or painful]?" The answer is "no."

If an animal wants something or is motivated by high drive or worse, anxiety or fear, they will do anything to get to the goal they have in their mind. This goal may be harmful to the dog but they will endure the pain to get to the end result.

I've met dogs who have eaten through metal, sheetrock and have broken teeth and bled profusely in order to get to their desired location. In these situations the dogs were highly nervous and anxious to get out of an enclosed room or enclosure and took whatever measure they had to in order to get out. The sheetrock was amazing. You looked from one side of a wall through the wall to the other room just like someone got a giant sledge hammer and just knocked a hole in the wall!

So if you have a dog that is nervous, scared or has high anxiety for some reason you are best to try to help the dog through it (if you need professional help get it!) so that your dog won't harm himself. Dog's don't care about pain. Animals can endure quite a bit of pain, unlike humans, before they will stop something if they really have their mind set on something. This is primarily true when fear is driving the force.

Here is a story about a dog who was so afraid of fireworks (not uncommon at all) that he escaped a pretty highly secure fence to get away from the racket on the 4th of July.