(VICT) Re: Dog breeds

  • From: Sheila Styron <sheilastyron@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: vi-clicker-trainers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 09:37:01 -0500

I agree that it would be extremely interesting and fulfilling to train
from scratch, but without all the important pieces of the big picture in
place, I will probably continue to have to settle for the challenges of
taking a well bred fairly predictable dog and carrying on its education
after GDB has very solidly brought it through the rigors of Guiding a
Blind Person 101. There is still plenty to do from that point forward.
Different breed and species characteristics are also interesting, but so
are the traits and subtleties that make up each of our individual dogs.
Just think of it. There is a lot more to me than the fact that I'm a
blind European mix. Grin I personally would never place breed preference
at the top of my list of preferred characteristics in a guide JMPO.   

Sheila Styron, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: vi-clicker-trainers-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:vi-clicker-trainers-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Shelley
L. Rhodes
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 9:00 AM
To: vi-clicker-trainers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: (VICT) Re: Dog breeds

Quite true Jill.

I remember when I went off to Guide Dog school, I told them I didn't
what breed it was, but I really didn't want a lab.  Smile.  They asked
me if 
I wanted a golden and my first reaction was "no" because I had met two
three goldens who were not exactly what I wanted in a guide.  One, was
people distracted she would strangle herself on her choke chain and
whine to 
see you.  The other one would jump all over when she saw you.  I know
that these were just bad guide dog behavior and are things that can be 
worked on.

When they gave me my golden he changed my mind about them.  I do love 
goldens and would love to have another one as a guide, smile, and maybe
day to train one for myself as a guide, smile.  But at this time in my
I don't have the time, money or know how, to train a dog for my
I live in one of the suburbs of Boston and would need to train a dog in
hurry for traffic, subway travel, commuter rail travel, bus travel, lots
people, lots of other dogs, squirrels, birds, seagulls in particular, 
obstacles and a large variety of stimuli.  I don't live anywhere near
would be considered rural or suburban living,nsmile.  So am not sure how
would be able to train for those kind of areas, smile, hwich you would
to train for before doing the intensive city work, smile.

Shelley L. Rhodes B.S. Ed, CTVI
and Judson, guiding golden
Guide Dogs For the Blind Inc.
Graduate Alumni Association Board

Dog ownership is like a rainbow.
 Puppies are the joy at one end.
 Old dogs are the treasure at the other.
Carolyn Alexander

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jill Gross" <jgross@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <vi-clicker-trainers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 2:06 AM
Subject: (VICT) Re: Dog breeds

The black Russian terriers are still pretty rare. That's another good
thing about them. It means Americans haven't had a chance to ruin them
yet. A dog breed becoming popular can be the kiss of death for the
breed. I have only seen them at the shows in the last two years or so.
They were only recently recognized by the AKC.

You really have me going with these Portugese water dogs. I have to look
at them more closely.

If my salukis will be out for any longer than to relieve in the yard,
they wear coats in winter. They are very hardy, but they are desert

Hope you get your rottie one day. It is great when you finally get your
dream dog. I wanted a saluki for so many years, but I forced myself to
wait until I bought a house and had a fenced yard. I had other breeds
while living in apartments, but the salukis had to wait.


On Wed, 18 Apr 2007, Shelley L. Rhodes wrote:

> You know, you are absolutely right about the sight hounds and to an 
> extent Golden retrievers too, are best motivated by "What's in it for 
> me" or so I have found with my guy.  he loves to please, but... 
> definitely works at his best when I offer more than just a :"good boy"

> and the leash correction thing never really gets the desired results.
> I have a Friend who uses a Portroguese Water Dog, as a Service dog for
> brace
> and balance work and other tasks.  She loves her, and the pup is
> hypoallerginic, very sight hound in temperment, though, and she says
> has
> to be clipped every six weeks to keep nice.
> Would love to see one of those Russian Terrier dogs, smile.
> Got to see an American Bull Dog the other day, boy was he huge.  
> Actually the right size for guide work.
> The Saluki is indeed a truly striking dog, smile.  I do wonder, maybe 
> not
> a
> problem where you live, but wouldn't tyou or do you do something to 
> protect
> their coats in harsh weather?  like here in Boston, it was even too
> for
> my golden retriever.
> Would love to own a Rottweiler one of these days, smile.
> Shelley L. Rhodes B.S. Ed, CTVI
> and Judson, guiding golden
> juddysbuddy@xxxxxxxxxxxx
> Guide Dogs For the Blind Inc.
> Graduate Alumni Association Board
> www.guidedogs.com
> Dog ownership is like a rainbow.
> Puppies are the joy at one end.
> Old dogs are the treasure at the other.
> Carolyn Alexander
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jill Gross" <jgross@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <vi-clicker-trainers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2007 12:53 AM
> Subject: (VICT) Re: Dog breeds
> Hi Val,
> The Mareemmas you mentioned sound very interesting. My breed of choice

> as far as dogs that I have as pets and, secondarily, for comformation 
> showing are slaukis. I love all of the sighthound breeds. The salukis 
> is generally very aloof and have a low food drive. They can be very 
> serious out in public, but at home they are clown hounds. I think that

> positive training is just perfect for sighthounds. I used to have 
> collies and German shepherds as pets. When I got into salukis, I had 
> to give up all of the old, harsher methods of training. Forget a choke

> collar, and you wouldn't dream of giving one a leash correction. Harsh

> training methods simply builds a wall between you and the dog and you 
> are very unlikely to get the desired result.
> Salukis and other sighthounds often said to be dumb by folks who 
> aren't very knowledgable about canine behavior. Sighthounds are highly

> intelligent, but they are very oriented toward what's in it for them. 
> Again, clicker training is perfect for them.
> So, salukis are my breed of choice in general. I can't imaigne life 
> without them in my life. Having said that, I am not necessarily 
> planning on training a saluki as a guide. Back in the 1950's, a saluki

> breeder form New York donated a female saluki to the Seeing Eye. She 
> was trained and given to David Loux who worked at the school for many 
> years. I contacted David about ten years ago and asked questions about

> his experience with her. He said that on a scale of one to ten in 
> working ability, she was a twelve. She was fabulous. His only 
> complaint was that she was too serious overall as a dog. Needless to 
> say, I often think aobut what David said. I have had salukis since 
> 1996. Some have been purchased as pups and some have been rescues. 
> Some have had very steady personalities and some have been what I 
> consider to be too anxious to handle the stress of guide work.
> One problem with a salukis is that they are gorgeous, very elegant 
> animals. I have had a couple who, when walked in town, have literally 
> stopped traffic. I have often had people leaning out of car windows 
> yelling questions about my dogs. It can be difficult enough to keep 
> people from petting and otherwise distracting a service dog without 
> having them be extraordinarily striking. I recall that the Seeing Eye 
> would never use white shepherds for that very reason. They drew too 
> much attention.
> I have looked at a couple of other breeds. An interesting one is the 
> black Russian terrier. The ones I have met are very sound and 
> attentive, hard-working dogs. A breeder I know has had a few of her 
> pups trained as assistance dogs. My problem with them has to do with 
> all of that hair! I have major carpal tunnel issues and extensive 
> grooming is out of the question for me. I have a very ahrd time 
> keeping my long-haired shepherd looking respectable. A black Russian 
> has a lot of long, heavy coat. They also are quite large. I can't 
> quite imagine fitting one of these guys under a seat on a bus.
> I would be interested to hear if others have worked with any "unusual"

> breeds or mixes. When I was a kid, I was super impressed by 
> shepherd/collie mixes. They were bright and eager to learn. Nowadays, 
> I would be afraid that they got more of the negatives in the mix 
> simply because both breeds have been so overbred in this country.
> Jill
> On Tue, 17 Apr 2007, Valerie wrote:
>> Jill, out of interest what is your preferred breed /breeds of dog 
>> since doing  your research.? Although both my dogs have  been food 
>> orientated outside the home particularly the lab, apart from a first 
>> few days on arrival here, and being very mischievous with wrecking 
>> bedding, they are very well behaved indoors. I could leave any food 
>> on a table and know it would not be touched, so as far as my two go 
>> they are great indoors. I can't remember whether I said one school 
>> here is trialling a Maremma cross Retriever, still in training, 
>> Mareemma's being the guardian of flocks of animals, sheep, poultry 
>> etc. It's said they are rather aloof so distraction
>> wise that may be a good trait smile.
>> Regards Valerie
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Jill Gross" <jgross@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> To: <vi-clicker-trainers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 2:57 PM
>> Subject: (VICT) Re: New member and I clicker
>> Jo, I would guess that you probably like the idea of selecting your 
>> own dog for training. I think that is the greatest factor for me. I 
>> would like to pick my breed based on my research and I would like 
>> find a dog witht he
>> personality traits that I like in a service dog. I have always been
>> disappointed in the very limited number of breeds utilized by most of
>> guide dog schools. I know many people who have labs as guides and
>> are
>> thrilled with them. I don't particularly care for them and feel that
>> have some important traits that decrease there desirability as
>> ie.
>> they are very social and they are extremely food oriented. There are
>> many fabulous breeds out there and I have have never understood why
>> of them have never been used by the schools. I know there is a small
>> school that uses vislas and Leader will use the occasional bouvier or
>> boxer.
>> I "untrain" my guides to stop at the up-curb on street crossings. I 
>> do most of my travelling in the city where people often drive 
>> wrecklessly. I want my butt and my dog's butt in the street as little

>> as possible. I have always been good able knowing where the up-curbs 
>> are, so I find it safer for us to get out of the street quickly. I 
>> have always trained my dogs to do other things, some that are 
>> practical and some that are fun. I have also found that the dogs that

>> are trained by the schools tend to be unruly
>> in the house. I have had to do significant in-home training with all
>> one of my dogs. I have often wondered how the nondog person who gets
>> guide handles a guide who wrecks their house.
>> Jill
>> On Sun, 15 Apr 2007, Jo Clayson wrote:
>>> What would you like to do with your dog that the dogs in schools are

>>> not trained for?
>>> Interesting question.  I've never had a dog from a school, and 
>>> though I know a few people personally that have, I'm not really 
>>> familiar with specifically
>>> what behaviors are taught,  or not taught.
>>> Things I teach my dogs:
>>> Tricks: shake hands, roll over, choosing the correct hand in 
>>> response to a
>>> question, speak, etc.   Both my dogs and I have fun with these. 
>>> Teaching
>>> a
>>> trick is a good way for me to try out a different training 
>>> method....if
>>> I
>>> really goof up and my dog doesn't do a perfect "play dead" it's not
>>> potentially life threatening for me or my dog.  Also, if my dog has
>>> distracted and needs to focus back on me, tricks are often a good
way to
>>> get
>>> that focus back.  Simply because they are tricks and fun, there
>>> the
>>> tension in my voice that so easily communicates to my dog, like when
>>> might
>>> tell her to "leave it" , "quiet" or "sit".  A dog that does a few
>>> can
>>> also delight other people, and help those who are hesitant or a bit
>>> fearful
>>> around dogs.
>>> Search & rescue: though we are not part of a search team, I want my 
>>> dogs and I to be able to work together in this way. I live on 29 
>>> acres of land in a
>>> rather remote area with thousands of acres of undeveloped land
>>> Should a guest here, or a hunter get lost, or should I be injured
>>> folks
>>> are looking for me, I want my dogs to be able to assist in the
>>> search.
>>> Agility - we don't compete, but do this at home for fun, physical 
>>> conditioning, and for building teamwork, self-control, and physical 
>>> skills.
>>> "go to the bathroom" - take me to a public restroom  . For a dog 
>>> with a keen sense of smell, this seems to be a fairly easy task.
>>> Find my stuff:   When we are away from home I may have a duffle bag,

>>> back
>>> pack,  jacket , bucket of tools, etc that I set down. Usually I know

>>> where they are, but sometimes I forget, or am "bleary brained" with 
>>> chemical exposure and it's handy to have my dog take me to my stuff.
>>> Go to the car:   as I don't drive, and ride with many different
>>> and
>>> some of the families have more than one vehicle, I sometimes can't 
>>> remember what vehicle I'm looking for or where it is parked.  Kita 
>>> does fairly well
>>> already in small parking lots.  Zoomer could even find the vehicle
in a
>>> very
>>> large lot.  It's also been handy for the driver a few times who
>>> where
>>> they parked!
>>> There are probably others.   Often my dogs have figured out
something on
>>> their own that is helpful to me, so I reward and encourage it.
>>> Jo

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