What an amazing week spent at the PDCA Nationals in Indianapolis filled with conformation shows, rally obedience trials and seminars, tricks titles, and workshops on pug health, nutrition, and training. We met all sorts of pug folks from across the country (and some other countries as well) involved in conformation, rescue, agility, obedience, barn hunt, scent work, dock diving, and just plain "pug loving"! Our Champion Peachtree's Kirkcudbright Kayleigh (KK) earned a high score of 97 in the Novice Rally Obedience trial!
KK also enjoyed the hotel. Here she is waiting patiently outside the restaurant while I picked up the dinner. (I told her to stay and be quiet. She was trying to camouflage herself behind the sign!)
Our pug Sebastian B.G.R., CGC, RN, RA, TKN (who is not part of our breeding program but one of the smartest pugs we've ever owned!) participated in an amazing Rally Obedience seminar,
Our new 4.5 month puppy, Zobear's American Idol, (Annie) did so well in the 4-6 Puppy Class!
Our Champion Pickwick's Peachtree Hill Country Mighty Macintosh enjoyed participating in an Exhibition Match as well as earned his Novice Trick Title.
The drive was long but we made it home safely, filled with all sorts of new knowledge regarding pug health, training, and lots of ribbons, titles, and fun memories! Here is Macintosh and Annie en route back from the conference.
We can't believe how fast Macintosh finished his championship ... and by 8 months of age! He finished in North Carolina and went on to earn 4 points and a major toward his Grand Championship in Columbiana, AL this past weekend. Macintosh will do some training for AKC Tricks and Canine Musical Freestyle over the summer, then we will resume with conformation after, hopefully, his head and chest have filled out.
Here he was just last December during his 1st piano lesson ....
And look how much he grew in 2 months (here he was at the February Tallahassee show) ....
And another month later .... here he is at the March North Carolina show where he finished his championship . . . . .
And this past weekend at the Columbiana, AL show where he won Best of Breed, and Best of Breed Owner Handler, and Best of Opposite and a bunch of other fun things plus earned 4 points toward his Grand Championship and a major.
To give you an idea of how much more growing/maturing he still has left, here is Macintosh (in the middle) in between his mother, Champion KK, and grandfather, Grand Champion Rocket Man.
3 generations . . . . .
At only 7 and half months of age, it just amazes me that this sweet boy has already earned 2 majors and 11 points toward his championship. He is a true ham in the ring and is definitely still a puppy, but he pours his heart and love out and earns everyone's smiles. Here he is at his 3rd show cluster in Tallahassee, Florida February, 2018.
Our dogs live with us in our home. On occasion, we'll let one sleep with us, but we all seem to get a better night's rest (including the dogs!) when we are in our own beds. Since a few of the pugs tend to snore we bought a "white noise machine" for the big dogs. It seems to keep them all stay calmer and quieter throughout the night as well. Throughout the day, though, constant companions in the house since I work at home and they are with us in whatever room we are in. Now to choose today's "studio dog" who will join me while I teach piano ..... (this is a special thing and they have to earn it!)
Macintosh entered 4 days in the Atlanta, Georgia shows this past weekend. He LOVED the entire experience and won his class, Bred By Exhibitor each day. Many thanks to Thursday's judge at the Griffin Georgia Kennel Club show for appreciating Macintosh's magnificence by choosing him for "Winners Dog". The purple ribbon was wonderful, and we are glad to have a major 3 point win out of the way, however, we were MOST PROUD that by the 3rd day of showing he NEVER tried to sit in the ring and by the 4th day he stood still on the table. Finally! He had been having bad cases of "popcorn butt" in his handling classes at Birmingham Kennel Club so this was truly the "major win" for his humans! Macintosh truly seems to love the show environment and has so much fun .... perhaps a little TOO much fun on the final day when he decided to hop and bounce instead of walk, and reminded me that he is still just a 7 month old puppy (tomorrow) when he decided to try to bite at the bottom of my skirt. Hmmmm, perhaps I'll be wearing pants at the next show lol. And, no more morning playtime biting the bottom of my robe every morning. Sigh.
Here he was on Friday:
Here he was on Saturday (never tried to sit .... except on table :)
No video footage of Sunday to prove that he finally stayed still on the table for the judge. However, every time I see him smiling and laughing at me after he bit my skirt I can't help but laugh out loud. I know laughing and smiling is just as wonderful a marker as a clicker, but still it took everything I had to keep a serious face and not laugh at him. Here he is the morning before the final show. He brought me my hair brush, as if to say "time to brush ME now!" Macintosh LOVES his grooming.
And here he is getting after his bath:
Macintosh's first show was in Clemson, South Carolina on a FREEZING day in a cold, cold building. However, pugs (and pug owners!) tend to prefer cold to hot on any day! He absolutely LOVED the show atmosphere, and showing off in the ring. That was my goal = to have fun, so the purple ribbon for "Winners Dog" was icing on the cake. His favorite part was the toy and bully stick he got after the show and he loved having his buddy, pug Lord Randolph, with him for company.
Pickwick's Peachtree Hill Country Mighty Macintosh, at age 5 months, participated in his first event and won a trophy even taller than him! Best Puppy, Best in Toy Group ... .and, to his owners, best sport because he was a true showman and totally fearless. He owned the room! We can't wait for his next show in South Carolina.
Dog wash day. Made some more DIY homemade "Rosemary Lavender Delight" shampoo bars. Tons of amazing, organic essential oils -- Vitamin E, chamomile oil, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Neem oil, Wheat Germ oil, -- help the dogs' coats shine, alleviate itching from allergies, and the neem oil, lavender, rosemary, lemon grass helps repel fleas, ticks, and mosquitos.
When training our pups and our own canine crew, we use gentle, force-free, humane training and a scientifically sound training protocol as recommended by the American Veterinary Society for Animal Behavior. We are members of Birmingham Obedience Training Club and participate in the AKC Canine Good Citizenship Program, and follow guidelines established by the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program.
As recommended by the latest scientific findings of canine cognition and behavior, we never use force, intimidation, violence, e-collars etc. with any of our dogs to produce results. We use scientifically sound behavior modification protocols and gentle, humane, and force-free training.
We modify the S.T.A.R. Puppy Program for pups who will be participating in conformation and/or canine freestyle events but the basic principles are as follows:
AKC CGC℠ Responsible Dog Owner's Pledge
*I will be responsible for my dog's health needs. These include: routine veterinary care including check-ups and vaccines adequate nutrition through proper diet; clean water at all times daily exercise and regular bathing and grooming.
*I will be responsible for my dog's safety. I will properly control my dog by providing fencing where appropriate, not letting my dog run loose, and using a leash in public. I will ensure that my dog has some form of identification when appropriate (which may include collar tags, tattoos, or microchip ID). I will provide adequate supervision when my dog and children are together.
*I will not allow my dog to infringe on the rights of others. I will not allow my dog to run loose in the neighborhood. I will not allow my dog to be a nuisance to others by barking while in the yard, in a hotel room, etc. I will pick up and properly dispose of my dog's waste in all public areas such as on the grounds of hotels, on sidewalks, parks, etc. I will pick up and properly dispose of my dog's waste in wilderness areas, on hiking trails, campgrounds and in off-leash parks.
*I will be responsible for my dog's quality of life. I understand that basic training is beneficial to all dogs. I will give my dog attention and playtime. I understand that owning a dog is a commitment in time and caring.
20 STEPS To Success: The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Test
1. Maintains puppy's health (vaccines, exams, appears healthy)
2. Owner receives Responsible Dog Owner's Pledge
3. Owner describes adequate daily play and exercise plan
4. Owner and puppy attend at least 6 classes by an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator
5. Owner brings bags to classes for cleaning up after puppy
6. Owner has obtained some form of ID for puppy-collar tag, etc.
7. Free of aggression toward people during at least 6 weeks of class
8. Free of aggression toward other puppies in class
9. Tolerates collar or body harness of owner's choice
10. Owner can hug or hold puppy (depending on size)
11. Puppy allows owner to take away a treat or toy
PRE-CANINE GOOD CITIZEN® TEST BEHAVIORS:
12. Allows (in any position) petting by a person other than the owner
13. Grooming-Allows owner handling and brief exam (ears, feet)
14. Walks on a Leash-Follows owner on lead in a straight line (15 steps)
15. Walks by other people-Walks on leash past other people 5-ft away
16. Sits on command-Owner may use a food lure
17. Down on command-Owner may use a food lure
18. Comes to owner from 5-ft when name is called
19. Reaction to Distractions-distractions are presented 15-ft away
20. Stay on leash with another person (owner walks 10 steps and returns
Rally and Canine Freestyle
Our pugs seem to love Rally Obedience. It is "friendlier" for those non-biddable dogs like pugs (which can be quite stubborn!) compared with straight up obedience since you can chat and talk with your dog throughout the event.
At Pickwick Pugs we start handling/socializing the puppies from the day he/she is born and apply bio-sensor principles and ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation) exercises from their first day of life until they leave to go to their new home. We want our puppies to have every advantage as they leave our home and go to their “forever homes”. Starting on Day 3, we add the ENS exercises through Day 16. Five benefits have been observed in canines that were exposed to the Bio Sensor stimulation exercises:
*Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
*Stronger heart beats
*Stronger adrenal glands
*More tolerance to stress
*Greater resistance to disease.
Additionally, with regard to learning, the exercises help pups to be more active and more exploratory. "In simple problem solving tests using detours in a maze, the non-stimulated pups became extremely aroused, wined a great deal, and made many errors. Their stimulated littermates were less disturbed or upset by test conditions and when comparisons were made, the stimulated littermates were more calm in the test environment, made fewer errors and gave only an occasional distress when stressed."
We also include important handling and socialization of the puppies and incorporate many other socialization and imprinting regimes during the puppies first 8-12 weeks of life at our home.
We continue to work with the pups applying important socialization principles and basic training while they are with us. Their training is geared toward their specific future endeavors (conformation, obedience etc.) but all pugs need to be destined for a couch or lap and, whether or not they participate in activities such as dog shows or tricks events they will need to master important basic skills that allow them to function in a human's world and master the human's vocabulary and rules.
To learn more about these principles there is a wonderful book written by Jerry Hope entitled "The Breeder’s Guide to Raising Superstar Dogs - Puppy Development, Imprinting and Training".
Having attended multiple conferences with Ian Dunbar PhD, BVetMed, MRCVS, we are committed to raising puppies to have solid temperaments, dynamite demeanors, and stellar dispositions" .... true SuperStar Dogs! We can not recommend his book and seminars enough.