Isaac vom Geistwasser

A BLOG about a DOG

Developing prey drive in puppy

I have been struggling trying to develop Isaac’s prey drive over the past few weeks. When he came home at 7.5 weeks I began imprinting which included him chasing a little rubber ball around his room. Isaac definitely liked the ball! The challenge came when I tried to transition the ball to the back yard after he had transitioned from his room to the basement. He just wasn’t too interested in chasing the ball (I wasn’t tossing huge distances).

In an effort to focus on prey drive (ball) for the past two and a half weeks Isaac has had NO tracking or obedience training. Just PLAY, food and walks. Progress was slow but I think we are moving in a positive direction with the ball drive. I say ball drive because pure prey drive seems to be fine not over the top, but it’s there.

Here is an example of his prey drive but not necessarily ball drive. Just this Friday I went to pick Noah up from goalie camp; I took Isaac, a lead, and a couple balls. Once he got the sniffing out of the way in this new location I teased him with the ball and he wanted it (chomp chomp). I tossed the ball and he looked in the direction of the ball and then back a me. Poor ball drive in my opinion.

I then noticed a chunk of concrete (that’s really a picture of it) in the grass and grabbed it before Isaac saw it (he has rock drive). Then when he was busy sniffing and looking around I tossed the chunk of concrete (what I thought was out of his range). He spotted me tossing it, saw it land, and was off like I had just thrown an entire log of summer sausage. He grabbed it and brought it back to me. I tossed it again with the same result, I even think flames shot out of his ass after he went after it. After about five throws I stuck the rock in my pocket in an effort to save his teeth. I then saw an empty Gatorade bottle and tossed it with the same results I had with the rock. Balls nothing, rocks and Gatorade bottles “prey drive”. Was it the way they roll, bounce, or the noise they make when they hit the ground. Maybe he’s just homophobic and won’t chase ‘balls’!

Two and a half weeks ago I started with a dish towel hooked to a string on a broken fishing pole. Isaac chased, pounced, and jumped for the rag. He would pull, tug and hold the dish rag in his mouth until I held it still and gave him an ‘Aus’.

After about a week of that I put a Gappay ball on a long string and repeated the process in the front yard and garage with similar results to the puppy rag.

On occasion I would work in a two handed tug or the leather puppy tug I have.

This past Friday I started tossing two Kongs for him. The Kongs didn’t get the same level of response as the rock or the Gatorade bottle, but produced a little more drive than the plain balls.

Currently I am working with two Kongs with webbing handles and I seem to be holding his attention and keeping him in drive. We’ll see how it goes…I tried the kongs without the webbing and I just couldn’t get him into it without being able to drag it in front of him bouncing around. The webbing isn’t optimal, but it seems to be more of a help than a hindrance.

New Wordpress Plugin

I found a pretty useful WordPress plugin that allows you to have pop-up images in your posts. Here is a nice little picture of Isaac that Jen sent me from when he was still living at the breeders.

The FlickrTips plugin seems to be rather quick and not too terribly annoying like some pop-ups that seem to hang around too long or are hard to get rid of. I am going to look to see if I can change the color of the underline that shows up when the link is to an image. Also it doesn’t seem to like images with ?POST data.

I also found this picture which I thought was quite amusing. This is classic helper attire (shorts, sandals, bandanna, and sunglasses). Is that a cigarette or some type of training aid I’m not familiar with?

Moving away from Fecal matters

In an effort to move away from all things fecal here are a couple pictures of Isaac and the boy. The only training that has takingen place this week has been tug-o-war and chase things. Yes, I know that these fly in the face of my no dogs in bed rule……

“Dad, he just had solid logs”

The phone at work rang at around 12:30 and Noah said, “dad, he just had solid logs”.

So in the AM, mid-day, and evening Isaac had some nice solid turds. I’ll just put a link to the picture this time in an effort to clean up the blog! To see what we were battling check this post.

"Dad, he just had solid logs"

The phone at work rang at around 12:30 and Noah said, “dad, he just had solid logs”.

So in the AM, mid-day, and evening Isaac had some nice solid turds. I’ll just put a link to the picture this time in an effort to clean up the blog! To see what we were battling check this post.

Why do dogs dig

When I got home from work today I noticed that Isaac had started his own attempt at increasing the production of oil here in the United States. No offshore drilling for him, in an effort to lower the cost of transporting the black gold he is roughnecking right in my own front yard.

Digging for Oil

It has also become apparent that Kerry one of his favorite humans so maybe he overheard her telling me that she wanted this tree dug up and moved. He might be smarter than I give him credit for.

Maybe he was just digging because he’s a dog!

Visit to Animal House Veterinary Hospital

After having loose stool every hour on the hour last night Isaac made a trip to the vet.

They diagnosed him with Colitis which is a rather broad spectrum diagnosis. We might know more after they get the results from the fecal analysis (Fecal Flotation). For the Colitis the vet prescribed Metronidazole 250 mg tablets taken twice daily. He also got two cans of Hills WD Canine Canned which they claim will firm up his stool.

We’ve gone from diarrhea every hour on the hour to NO bowel movements since 6:00 AM (he’s had two meals).

14 Weeks Old today as well

Isaac vom Geistwasser Kway Fenga son

Do rocks cause Diarrhea?

I just realized that the BLOG has turned from cute puppy pictures to complete SHIT!

So in an effort to be thorough in my analysis of Isaac’s stool I went in the yard and cleaned up the brown gold he produces. I know I claimed earlier that I thought I had stopped him from consuming rocks and wood chips, unless they are being added to the fecal matter after he poops I was wrong.

I went through the poo like a diver looking for pearls and found some wood chip fibers, he seems to chew those up fairly well. I found the occasional rock, those aren’t chewed as finely as the wood chips. I also found some red and white substance that looked like sprinkles on a chocolate ice cream cone (except the chocolate smelled bad).

So all in all today (starting at 6:00 AM) he had in this order

  • Loose stool
  • Breakfast (2 cups)
  • Nice solid logs
  • Dinner (2 cups)
  • Soft logs (more like semi melted chocolate bars)
  • Loose stool
  • Little loose stool and a fuzz of clear mucus (which is always nice)

Don’t fear he’s going to the vet! He’s been consuming water and doesn’t seem lethargic so I’m sure he’ll make it through the night.

The Battle Rages On!

A Couple of Dogs playing

Isaac and Stella had a little play session today, Isaac was disappointed at yesterdays showing. Brodie was too tired to play!

Yes after solid stool in the AM Isaac had loose stool in the PM (I won’t share the pictures, not too pleasant). Will be following up with the vet tomorrow.

Puppy Diarrhea

Update 6-4-2009..I started feeding him Fromm and tracking his progress on this page. Here is a link to the Fromm I’m feeding him.

Last night at dinner everyone made fun of what they call my obsession, really it’s just a BLOG about my dog. Some called it a diary, but since it’s not pink and doesn’t have a key I’m confident in my endeavor. Though because of the ridicule I’m going to step it up a notch today by analyzing my dogs stool. Provide something worth reading…

Isaac has been to the vet and has had his stool professionally analyzed and it showed no signs of worms. He was given a ‘stronger’ worming medication just to be safe. Since that time Isaac has had a number of occurrences of diarrhea. He does need to go to the vet again to have his stool checked and receive a couple of shots. I’ve tried to isolate (where I can) what might be causing the digestive issues in the pooch.

He hasn’t switched off of the Canidae kibble so it doesn’t appear to be the food. I’ve slowed his habit of eating Rabbit Poop down so I don’t think that’s causing the issues. He isn’t getting any bones or chews toys that he’s digesting (put a halt to the pig ears). He also isn’t getting into the trash or anything strange like that. Unless he is sneaking rocks and wood chips when I’m not around (Kerry/Noah?) I don’t believe that’s the issue either.

All I can figure is it’s one of two things. My first thought is that it’s some type of parasite like Coccidia or Giardia, but it doesn’t seem to be consistent enough (only has it on occasion). I am now beginning to wonder if it might be exercise induced.

Yesterday Isaac had a long walk in the morning. It was cool out and he didn’t show any signs of being tired or overheated. Later in the day and most of the night he had brown pudding stool (not liquid and no blood), but it didn’t start until very late afternoon (the walk was at 7:00 AM). He didn’t have any strange food or get into anything else weird. Then this morning he laid some nice solid logs (about 45 minutes after eating 2 cups of Canidae). So though the exercise was far earlier in the day it seems to be the one common denominator in the equation (unless it’s Coccidia). It seems on days where he’s had longer or more frequent walks he’s more prone to have loose stool.

Here are some images for your viewing pleasure. The first one is of a dump he took last night, the second is from this mornings duker, and the third he just laid 5 minutes ago shortly after his evening meal. (click to enlarge)

Possible solution to eating Rabbit Poop

This is currently on HOLD (not sure what I’ll do).

Here is what I’m thinking about doing to end the Rabbit poop obsession. Currently if I say “leave it” Isaac will generally eat only one turd and will sneak on to the next treasure trove of poo. I need to get him to the point where he doesn’t need me to constantly say “leave it”.

I know this will be controversial with a lot of people and am still evaluating it’s usefulness. Haven’t implemented it yet.

The plan is to use something like a combination throw chain shaker bottle to discourage this behavior with a click and treat as soon as he stops. Currently the method of teaching ‘leave it’ with rabbit poop has been say leave it, pull away with collar or leash. This seems to simply be teaching him to eat rabbit poop in locales out of my direct reach.

Plan I’m evaluating:

1. Isaac roams around looking for rabbit poop
2. Isaac finds the poo mother load
4. If he doesn’t lick up a poo he gets a click and a reward
5. If he continues in his resolve to find a snack the throw chain is released in his direction
* First he probably won’t realize it’s me doing it since he’s in Rabbit Poo Drive mode
* This is not a heat seeking missle, it’s an attention getter (not going to hit him)
6. He should be startled enough to look up and respond to a command like come or look
7. Once he responds to the command he gets a click and a reward

Here is what I’m using. In the past I’ve used chains but they are hard to find after tossing and don’t make enough noise to break Isaac out of Rabbit Poo Drive.

I just filled two used Skoal cans with used primers from old .45 ACP cartridges and duct taped them shut.

Book List

Someone asked in a comment if I was familiar with the books/videos by the Monks of New Skete so I decided to list some of the material I have found most useful. I have read the books by the monks but I did’t find them particularly useful.

There isn’t just one book that teaches you ALL the skills you need to train a dog. All beasts are a little different and handlers all have different amounts of experience. You’ve got soft dogs, hard dogs, low drive dogs, high drive dogs, timid handlers, loud obnoxious (me) handlers…… there is no one size fits all book. Needless to say I’ve enjoyed reading the following and gleaned some amount of knowledge from each one (may or may not have been worth the price of admission). These are in no particular order….and all the links are safe (I’m not making money directing you anywhere).

The Dog’s Mind by Bruce Fogle

Just got this one in the mail, but I skimmed it one night at the bookstore and it looks promising.

Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems by Cesar Millan

Decent info if you’re a new dog owner or tend to apply human emotions to animals. Plus I like it because I was surprised to find out he’s not a 100% positive trainer (dorks). Doesn’t relate to dog sports like Schutzhund, but I like the fact that he mentions it as a viable option for dogs (few current mainstream authors do this). I’ve never seen his show so all I know of him is from this book.

Getting Started: Clicker Training for Dogs (Getting Started) By: Karen Pryor

If you’ve got a puppy and don’t know anything about markers this will get you going. Markers are nothing more than what people have been doing forever with puppies (lure -> Good Dog -> treat), just a little easier for humans to pin point the behavior they want. Replace the good dog with a click and it’s seems to be easier for humans to not forget the good dog and also be more precise in using it. (way high level).

Advanced Schutzhund By: Ivan Balabanov

Decent read if you’re into Schutzhund, nothing terribly new, but stuff that is hard to find in print.

Schutzhund: Theory and Training Methods by Susan Barwig and Stewart Hilliard

This is the standard Schutzhund book that everyone in the sport has at least looked at. Not a lot of current state of the art training methods, but gives a very good overview of the sport.


I’ve read the entire book, but bought it just for the tracking piece which I really really like and seems to be working well for Isaac.

Obedience without Conflict DVD 1: Clear Communication by Ivan Balabonov

Obedience without Conflict DVD 2: The Game by Ivan Balabonov

These videos are a little pricey but I think they are worth it. They are interesting and have good information in them. They fit between the Clicker training books and the document on Bridge and Target Training by Kayce Cover.

Introduction to Bridge and Target Training by Kayce Cover

I’m not currently using Kayce’s methods, but this is an amazing read and very interesting. Think clicker training to the power of a million. Here’s and example….teach your dog to touch any given part of his body to your hand through the use of a tertiary bridge.

Play Drive

Isaac hasn’t had any formal Obedience or Tracking work since Sunday. He got a couple more sessions today chasing the towel around the yard.

I think the rabbit poop eating has reached critical mass. He has had issues with Diarrhea and hasn’t gotten into anything out of the ordinary (except rabbit poop). Rice and ground beef in the AM and nothing for dinner, he had solid stool by the end of the day.

Found the following links related to dogs and rabbit poop (nothing to exciting)

Working on getting him to stop eating the poo…..”leave it’ seems to be becoming more effective for other things like dogs, stuff on the floor, wood chips, rocks, and lots of other misc stuff. “Leave it” for rabbit poop is about as effective as telling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to leave Israel alone (by the way that’s his real BLOG).

Back tie option (puppies)

In an effort to get Isaac to start playing with ‘things’ and not just me I decided to try and back tie him rather than have Noah try and be a fence post. I thought about using the swingset , handle on garage door, and a post on the deck to tie him up. Each one had it’s own issues and I figured it would be nice if I could move whatever I wanted to use to different locations and I didn’t want him to constantly getting tangled up in ’stuff’.

Here are the materials used

lid to a 5 gallon bucket

3 washers

spring clip

quick link

large nail

(had all this laying around the garage).

To fabricate

Put a hole in the lid, stuck 3 washers on the nail, stuck the nail through the bucked lid, put the spring clip on the quick clip and attached that to the nail between the the bottom and middle washers, stuck nail in the ground, and attached the leash to the clip. One thing to watch, make sure the washer nearest the top of the nail doesn’t slip over the head of the nail.

Here are some pictures of the final product (click to enlarge).

Keep in mind that this held a 13 week old puppy very securely, but I’m not sure it would hold a large mature dog (might need a bigger nail and something bigger than the 5 gallon bucket lid).

It worked quite well and helped Isaac focus on the ‘prey’ item and not my feet, legs, hands, and shorts.

Second Trip to the Schutzhund Club

Isaac went to the Schutzhund Club (Indian Creek Schutzhund Club) for the second time today. He had his first accident in the crate on the way to the club. WOW did he have an accident, a giant pile of crap. So the day was off to a rough start.

Tracking: Isaac did well on the track (I did well too, stayed out of his way). The track was a little shorter than he was used to, but because he crapped in the crate I was running late. He is still moving a touch fast and tends to not go side to side with his nose as much as he moves forward, but all an all it’s not bad. This is the one area where the work I’ve been doing with him seems to be paying off. I kind of slacked off on everything else in an effort to get his nose in the ground.

Obedience: Isaac did his obedience, I used summer sausage cubes instead of ham. The ham seems to send him into over the top food drive and the summer sausage tone it down a little (maybe a little too much). Had the two balls in my pocket, but I didn’t break them out. Two ball is working at home inside, but only on occasion outside. The Fuss, Platz, Sitz, and Look are coming along. I’m working the sitz in front, but haven’t associated a command with it.

Protection: Bill ( had the two puppies in attendance come out together and he tried to get them to interact with the rag on a stick. They seemed more interested in each other and Bill than in the ‘toy’. It’s interesting because at home Isaac interacts with items like this, I think it is going to take him time to adjust to the club and interacting with a ‘helper’ other than Noah or myself.

Soccer: Straight from the club to soccer. When we arrived the lightening warning was sounded and everyone (100’s) headed to the pavilion. Isaac got some socialization with some good kids and some horrible kids. He also got some time with a two year old retriever. He kept his mouth to himself and took the torture in stride.

Noah heard me talking about DRIVE

Sorry for the intro, I couldn’t resist!

I don’t think Noah understood when he overheard me talking about developing drive……

Also I’m not sure why when youtube converted the video it got slowed down and lost the sound. I tried to rerender it an reupload it 4 or 5 times….slow motion will have to do! If anyone knows the perfect setting to render for youtube using Adobe Premiere Pro let me know (I seem to have lost them).

Flag Day

Alright I realize that this post has nothing to do with the dog, but it’s going up anyway.

My company is ‘celebrating’ Flag Day and fitting in some diversity by allowing us to wear Blue Jeans to work today. Below is email that was sent out earlier this month.

Saturday, June 14th is Flag Day!

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued the proclamation establishing National Flag Day on June 14. This date was chosen to commemorate the adoption of the U.S. flag, which took place on June, 14 1777.

Americans are encouraged to celebrate this occasion by flying an American flag, and many also choose to wear the colors of our flag to show their pride on this day.

Did you know that blue jeans were invented in 1873 by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, who were both immigrants to the United States?

Help us celebrate the diversity that makes our country great and the colors of our flag by wearing blue jeans and red, white, and blue on Thursday, June 12!

So here is my issue.

First and foremost this is simply my company pushing their agenda of diversity to soften the blow on those who will be losing jobs due to off-shoring. They call it off-shoring because the people the jobs are going to technically work for my company they just happen to also live in India! If you say anything negative about the decision the company line is “Those jobs are going to (insert my company name) employees”. This diversity propaganda is no longer being used for the Gay Lesbian Transgender Support Group, but has expanded to the “Global Market” as they like to call it.

The second issue I have is this. As I walked in the building this AM a cute young American girl handed me a flag to help in our celebration of Flag day. This seemed like a nice gesture until I looked at the flag and noticed in Blue letters the phrase “MADE IN CHINA”. Do you think it would have been possible to purchase these little flags from a company her in the United States. I imagine there is a workshop somewhere within the confines of this country that provides jobs for the mentally impaired or disabled Veterans who produce a very similar product.

In reality we are celebrating the fact that we are giving the country away a little piece at a time! Here is a picture of the flag I was handed.

(click to enlarge)

Video of some puppy tracking

Noah took some video of Isaac tracking today, the video is a little sketchy as is my technique. Noah skills as a camera man appear to be improving faster than my abilities as a dog trainer. I seriously thought about editing out the ‘bad’ parts to put together a couple of minutes of ‘solid’ tracking, but figured I wouldn’t learn anything from that. Though I think I could have a spliced together a nice highlight reel.

The good news is that Isaac is moving forward while keeping his nose down. Now for the bad news! I still at times keep a tight leash, I stepped in and pointed a little, and in an effort to keep the tracks in the shade I had my scent pads to close together (yes I said scent pads plural).

All and all for a slacker handler I think the dog is pushing through and figuring it out regardless of my faults. He even kept his nose to the ground as Bethany ran up screaming “Mom, what are you doing?”

Why the three tracks? Well I’m sure this will be a controversial topic, but I am using the tracking program that is detailed by Gary Patterson in his book entitled Training the Behavior. The 10,000 foot view is that working with three tracks the dog is able to settle in and calm down and regain focus between each of the tracks with hopes that the third and longest track is the best. You only use 3 tracks during the early phases of tracking (it’s not a forever thing). Seems to be working (if I could just get out of the way and let the dog work we’d probably progress a little faster).

Here are the videos (Track 1 is about 10 feet, Track 2 is about 15 feet, and track 3 is about 20 feet). They are all baited with a Jackpot at the end, I made the jackpot a tad smaller than the ones I used on Monday. Isaac still heads back to the tracks from Monday when ever we pass by with the hopes that more meat fell from the sky while we were away.

Track 1

Track 2

Track 3

Today’s Training Schedule

Today the only training that occurred was sitz before you go out any door and get in your crate. Was hoping to track, but it just never happened. In reality Isaac crashed in the crate the majority of the day except when he played soccer with Noah. I think Sunday’s trip to the Schutzhund Club and yesterdays walk zapped him.

The beast is still afraid of the lawnmower which is strange because nothing else he has encountered has phased him. The crazy dog even stands on sewer grates (see through) and walks on the bouncy bridge at the park. The shotguns at the gun club didn’t phase him. Maybe he’s afraid I’m going to make him mow.

Today's Training Schedule

Today the only training that occurred was sitz before you go out any door and get in your crate. Was hoping to track, but it just never happened. In reality Isaac crashed in the crate the majority of the day except when he played soccer with Noah. I think Sunday’s trip to the Schutzhund Club and yesterdays walk zapped him.

The beast is still afraid of the lawnmower which is strange because nothing else he has encountered has phased him. The crazy dog even stands on sewer grates (see through) and walks on the bouncy bridge at the park. The shotguns at the gun club didn’t phase him. Maybe he’s afraid I’m going to make him mow.