Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dock Diving Summer Fun Event

On Saturday, June 23rd, Conneaut Lake Bark Park Dock Diving Club will hold a “Summer Fun Dock Diving Event”.  The event is open to anyone that wants to participate and have an opportunity to see how their “high flying dog” could compare in a registered dock diving event and a chance to better understand the procedures associated with competitive dock diving.   
Registration will open at 9:00 with the first splash (class) to start at 10:00. Open dock will be from 9:00 until 10:00.  We will have 3 sets of splashes and also the extreme vertical.  The splashes will be $5.00 each and you can enter in one or all three.  Finals will follow shortly after the last splash.  If you qualify for finals they will be free. The schedule is as follows.

9:00 – 10:00    Registration
10:00              Splash #1
                      Splash #2
                      Extreme Vertical
                      Splash #3

We will run the first splash and take a 15 min break then the 2nd splash and a 15 min break  and so on.  Ribbons will be awarded to the winners. Any questions on procedures, cost, etc.,  please feel free to call Sherry at           814-336-9442.
Find out more about Dock Diving at Conneaut Lake Bark Park:


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sadie, the Therapy Dog


People seem to come to Therapy Dog work through different channels and for different reasons.

When my husband and I married 36 years ago, our wedding gift to each other was a Cocker Spaniel puppy that we named "Gus". It didn't take long until we were a multi-dog household. All I had ever known as a kid was having dogs as pets. Jim and I had wonderful dogs with great personalities.

About 15 years ago, we were given a yellow Labrador puppy. Her owners couldn't handle her so they decided to "give her to Deb and Jim". Her name was Sadie. She was the most difficult dog we have ever owned.

Sadie and Debbie Ski Jorring
Her biggest problem was food aggression. Also, she was so hyperactive that her eyes were always dilated and I actually had to teach her that she could be still for a while. Of course, on the "up" side, she was never tired and could do things for a very long time. I taught her to Ski Jor, which is pulling a cross country skier. She loved it because she could run forever.

I looked for a dog training school and found Attaboy Dog Obedience in the yellow pages. I signed Sadie up and she excelled in obedience. The owner/operator told me about a local small therapy dog program called "Paws Hand Delivered". We tested for it and Sadie completed the test perfectly.

When you do have a therapy dog, it is important that you know your dog. The most important thing during your visits is your dog, his/her comfort, and safety. Therapy Dogs are not robots. Some don't like certain facilities, some don't like children, and some only want to visit when they feel like it. Even though Sadie was a therapy dog, the food aggression didn't disappear. If we were visiting and a patient asked to feed the dogs, we left the room immediately.

Sadie was an exceptional therapy dog. She would carefully step among cords and tubes to let someone pet her and then cautiously back out, never making a misstep. She would approach people slowly and make sure that nothing was disturbed during her visit. She amazed me when we visited the skilled nursing areas where the patients are seriously ill.

By now, I was totally hooked on therapy dog work so we also joined a hospice program. Again, Sadie was quiet and soft when visiting people. And I had my new dog, Sophie, a Brussels Griffon, tested. Now I had two therapy dogs.

I had worked for many years in Human Services. Now I was impressed by how much I could help people by working through my dogs. The patients could talk about dogs they used to have and happier times they remembered. The softness of the dogs eased sore hands and tiny dogs could be held like children. When holding Sophie one evening, a lady said that it had been many years since she had held a dog.

Therapy Dog work takes you out of yourself. It's not about you. It is about the patient and your dog and you are the facilitater. And in coming outside of yourself, you actually gain more than you ever thought you could.

If you have a dog with good manners that interacts nicely with people, you may want to consider having your dog tested to be a Therapy Dog. There will be testing on June 16, 2012, at the Conneaut Lake Bark Park. You can also contact the Bark Park for information on what the test is like and what you need to know beforehand.

Sadie and Sophie are no longer with us. Now Bunny and Abu are my therapy dogs and Opie and Isaac are "in the wings" to become therapy dogs. This is something I want to do for a very long time.
Debbie Myers

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Life with Opie: Finding Opie

Opie looking his best for Basic Obedience
Graduation Day.

Opie is now one year old. 

He is a black and white Pit Bull/Labrador mix. His mother was named Oreo and was a black and white Pit Bull. His dad was a silly yellow Lab.

We found Opie after 4 days of whining in the tree line at the back of the property. We had looked for 4 days but he was hard to find because he was black and kept hiding from us. On the 4th day, hunger and fleas brought him to us. He was about 6 weeks old.

The "breeder" said we could keep him so our first order of business was to get him healthy. With his happy personality and his "I can do this" attitude, that didn't take long.

Opie recently graduated from Advanced Obedience. The thing to remember when you take Obedience classes is that they are your starting place. The pups don't leave all trained and ready for off leash activities. You still need to work with your dog regularly so that those new skills become routine.

In Opie's case, he was what I call a Winter Puppy. A lot of his puppyhood took place in the winter when it was hard to find groups of people to pet him and to socialize him. Because of his love of every person and every dog, he has some immature and rude behaviors because he isn't totally socialized.

That is our goal for this summer, to learn manners and to practice all his commands out in The World.
I'll keep you posted on his progress!

Life with Opie: A Dock Diver!

Opie the Swimmer
Opie loves the water. He learned to swim in our little pond before our Newfoundland puppy did.

At the Hot Diggity Dog event at the Bark Park on May 19, I took Opie with me. Ron Oswald and his Doberman, Ruby, were going to the pond so we joined them. Ruby was running into the pond and jumping into the water and Opie, with his dramatics, was crying, touching the water, and fussing. Eventually, he stepped in.

I threw Opie's bumper into the water a few feet and again, after the dramatics, he went in and got it. Then I threw it about 5 feet, then 8 feet and finally, Opie just leapt off the side of the pond into the water.

He LOVED it!! He was so excited. I threw it several times and Opie jumped into the water each time with such joy.

Then Ron said that I should try him on the dock. The Bark Park has an official Dock Diving dock with classes for beginners and advanced dogs.

I wasn't sure about this but I took Opie up on the dock and showed him the end of it with the drop and then threw his bumper. Off he went! And then he jumped off 4 more times. Opie had a wonderful day.

When we got home, Opie came to me several times in the evening and put his head on my lap as if to say "Thanks Mom. I had a great day." Going to the Bark Park for Opie is like going to Doggy Disney World.