Recaps for 2012

Sorry we have been absent for some time. There have been lots of things going on, training, along with busy travel schedules, article write ups etc etc.

As we head into the new year here’s recap of the remainder of 2012:

May 2012:

Attended a few conferences, one with Suzanne Clothier with emphasis on relationship building with canines. Some really cool info on enrichment activities, building of trust, and canines feeling safe.

Important concepts.  First, dogs do not learn/train well if they are feeling stressed or fearful. Dogs do not intend on being stubborn, honestly dogs have to first feel safe, otherwise we as humans are at a disadvantage even before we start with the training process.

Second, enrichment enables young dogs to be comfortable in the environment and learn to explore and use exploration as part of the thinking process. Enrichment begins very early right at the whelping box. Without enrichment, there is one extra hurdle to overcome before moving forward in new environmental scenarios and learning plans.  All dogs of all ages should have opportunity for continued enrichment throughout their lives.

Emotions and all the other sensory systems (smell, hearing and sight) tie into the neurological system so pairing good things with the senses along with fun activities can be an advantage in helping many dogs overcome their fears building some trust.

Look for a breeder that provides proper handing stimulation and exposure to novel objects for play and interaction early on. By all means, anyone with a new pup get out there to puppy K. Peer to peer play is another important element of enrichment for most mammals.






June 2012:

We did some poking around in various locations, but the arid conditions in June, no matter where we went, did not lend itself for frog photos at upper or lower level elevations. However, we did see some three lined skinks and got some cool climbing and hiking in with some  awesome views.




July 2012:

Community clean out of electronics. I was flabbergasted at how much electronic waste and debris is created for even a small community. What a huge turnover of old appliances hard drives, key boards etc etc. I am so glad to see a large turn out rather than dumping appliances at the side of the road. This shot was taken at one of 25 containers filled to overflowing.






July also marks an addition to the family and new breed called a Kai. As with any new puppy, adding to current canines within a family requires a commitment to training that spans most of any given week. Rotating activities for a combo of dogs is well worth it though for a stable and happy pack.





August 2012:

Not much to say other than it was hotter than hades. Didn’t make it to any shows as we waited it out. In the down time I reviewed Susan Garretts Shaping Success and Leslie McDevitt’s Control Unleashed Puppy Program. So many good tips to work with.

September 2012:

The swallowtails decided to lay their eggs in the garden. The caterpillers ate most of our parsley but we felt it was a small donation for the privlige of watching them develop. Pretty cool creatures.





October 2012:

Sadly have had the departure of our brooder/breeding pair of Leukomelas. They produced over 6 clutches in several years with more than 15 viable offspring (which are in various locations globally). We are proud that our captive bred gene pool has added to other successful vivariums.

The gold banded arrow frog can be picky breeders but this match was made in heaven since this pair was never out of each other’s eye. When Goldie died last fall the calls went silent by Valentine, her mate, until his passing. Whether he died of loneliness, a broken heart, or plain old age we will never know. I believe probably a combination of all three. Some frogs can live to the age of 10 or 12 years.

We consider ourselves lucky to have spent eight years with this pair. We have no idea the true life span in the wild, although the travel range for a pair may only be 200 sq feet if the right trees are found. One thing that is important to viability is moisture, available either through mist or rain, that flushes bromeliad pockets and creates a stable habitat for the long process of rearing young. Having an internal misting system is really helpful in husbandry practices. The flip side, if you mist you have drain or flush to avoid flooding conditions.

RIP Goldie and Valentine






Below are female Aratus: These two never had a clutch of eggs. We referred to them as “the fat ladies”. It can be difficult to determine gender on a pair of frogs. We just made the assumption that they were females due to their size and plumpness. They provided no mating ritual in the 7 years here with us.





November 2012:

Yep its leaf collection and for a few that have fur and don’t need a rake it is something to cheer about.






So many things to do and see in regard to splitting time, Kathy Sdao or rare breed show, or early holiday crafters …. tough decisions on what to attend. In the end Kathy’s seminar won. She had a lot to say about “poisoned cues” and how to avoid making mistakes in training.  What is a poisoned cue you may be wondering:

(A “poisoned cue” is a cue (i.e. command) that is no longer reinforcing for the dog. If a reinforcer no longer triggers positive emotions and associations, it can no longer predictably be used inside a chain of behaviors to reward previous behaviors or if has ambiguity it is then said to be poisoned.  In positive reinforcement training the clicker becomes a reinforcer because it is paired with good things your dog likes as a reward for doing what you request.  If the click is associated with a punishment it loses its power and the cue is no longer effective for happy training.  Once a cue is spoiled, the poisoned cue will break the chain in a long link of behaviors.  Commonly poisoned cues are dog’s names and the recall (i.e. “come” or “here” command).  Note punishment can be anything a dog does not like, it does not have to be physical correction.  Although, physical correction can be a major contributor to spoiled cues or cue failure.  It is also possible to poison training tools such as a leash or harness or even an environment to the point the dog will not work in them, or responds negatively to them as a result of paired negative associations.)

Timing is everything it seems and often it is best not to say anything at all to your dog as he/she works though the early process of training/learning, especially when you just do not have it’s focus or attention. I think we humans tend to jabber and move about a bit too much.






Thanksgiving has me thinking about things I am thankful for:  Individuals that make me think in new ways and learn; People that provide new ideas and ways of doing things, and friends that help me train in becoming a better partner with my canines, and having true friends that genuinely know how to have fun and are interested in my welfare.

December 2012:

ORT Nose Work goals- With all the practicing I think we have it nailed. but again you never know. We will see come March.

December temps have also been warm and I was surprised and thrilled to see honey bees on the Helleborus this late in the season. Honey bees have been few and far between this year in the garden as they are generally in decline in many areas.






As we head into the holiday season and the new year we celebrate 25 yrs of training with Shibas. Yep quite a milestone and it’s hard to believe we have had this breed in our lives for so long. It is just natural they are here as members of our family, we would not have it any other way.







Have a wonderful holiday season…..see you around in 2013. We look forward to a lot of fun activities in the new year.