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Why are European Dogs So Well Behaved?

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Why Are European Dogs So Well Behaved?

Dogs, Euro Style

By Kama Brown CPDT-KA, January 2017

GSCA National Walking Gun Dog Championship

Couldn’t be more thrilled to share the news about about the

Gordon Setter Club of America, Inc.

National Walking Gun Dog Championship 

Monday, October 22, 2018

C&R Center on the Norman G Wilder Wildlife Area

Felton, Delaware

This is GSCA’s 3rd National event for 2018 and the newest addition to the GSCA lineup of spectacular events showcasing our talented and beautiful breed!

Premium List Link

Walking-field-trial (1)

Feature photo by Jim McWalter

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

NEWS FLASH – Gordon Setter Students & Mentors

I started a new discussion group that you may find totally useful if you’re seriously into breeding and/or competing with your Gordon Setter. Now, I realize that many of you are not on Facebook and may well have sworn never to go there BUT you don’t have to turn into a Facebook junkie, nor do you need to accumulate a slathering of friends, but you will need to set up a Facebook account in order to view and post to the group.  There are already fabulous discussions starting, questions being posed, and pictures being shared of dogs from way back, all things educational can be shared here.

Here is the link Gordon Setter Students & Mentors click here if you’d care to check it out or join the group.

Gordon Setter Students & Mentors

Description

Welcome Gordon Setter students and mentors! This group is meant to serve as a resource and learning tool for Gordon Setter fanciers who are serious students or experienced breeder/exhibitors willing to join forces where everyone can learn about and mentor the art of breeding better Gordon Setters. A place also to fine tune our skill and expertise when competing in conformation, performance or field events. Topics might include such things as genetics, structure, pedigrees, ancestors, health, and proper care, grooming, as well as training tips pertaining to competition in conformation, performance and field events. To make the most of this forum you are encouraged to submit questions, content and photos to provide examples as well as actively participate in discussions with helpful answers and guiding principles.

Things to keep in mind:

No personal attacks, ridicule, or harassment on or about another member’s post. You will be removed from the group and blocked. We don’t always need to agree and various opinions on a topic are encouraged to promote a learning environment, however remember when you are expressing an opinion to please do so in a tactful and polite manner.

Since this group is meant to serve educational purposes only, please do not submit your win photos and brags, we do love to see those and are very happy for you, but let’s post them on other forums to maintain focus here. The same would be true of those happy Gordon photos we post just for fun.

Please focus on the positive traits of any dog pictured. If you have constructive criticism always be considerate and tactful in your comments to ensure you are providing encouragement as well as an educational experience for the student. Please do share educational articles and links to other sites that will educate and promote better breeding and competition practices.

No SPAM or ads to promote the sale of merchandise or dogs. Spammers will be removed.

No personal attacks on other members! We are here to help each other learn and we will respect everyone and treat each other with dignity because of our differences, a different view could be where a new learning begins.

Enjoy!
Sally Gift, Mesa AZ
Photo by Bob Segal – 2015 GSCA National Specialty

Impulse Control

Thank you to this week’s guest blogger Jennifer Skiba, Westminster, CO who shares training tips that will make living with your Gordon Setter easier.

You know, reading this I realized that if anyone had taught me impulse control I wouldn’t have that half eaten box of Turtle candy sitting on my kitchen counter. However, on the plus side, Sara hasn’t been counter surfing as usual, otherwise they’d be totally gone. At least one of us has learned impulse control.

Jennifer SIf I could teach only one thing to dog owners it would be to understand the importance of teaching their dog impulse control. Impulse control is an incredibly valuable life skill for your dog to have and yet is one of the skills I find most dogs lack. When people think of a “good dog” what they are really noticing is a dog with good impulse control. It is a dog who doesn’t jump on people, who doesn’t steal food, who doesn’t pull on the leash, etc. These are all behaviors that require the dog to have impulse control, to wait. How does the dog learn to wait? To feel an impulse and decide not to act on it? Through lots and lots of practice.

Impulse games teach your dog to feel an impulse to want to do something but to not do it, or to look for permission before doing it. Many trainers teach this as a “leave it” command but I prefer to teach it as a default behavior. Meaning the dog automatically defaults to waiting instead of snatching food. This isn’t about micro managing your dog. This is about teaching them to think before they act. This isn’t just for food either, if done correctly it teaches the dog to look for permission and will be a foundation for other behaviors that don’t involve food. Impulse control is a foundational behavior of all of the advanced behaviors that people recognize as hallmarks of a “good dog”.

So, how do I teach impulse control? I start with the dog’s food and some treats and I teach them that the way to get the treat is to not want the treat anymore. That is the basic behavior. Once they understand that I challenge them over and over again with the same exercise in different contexts. This is called proofing a behavior, what that means is I am helping my dog to generalize the behavior. This allows the dog to access the behavior even if it’s not exactly the same as the last time. Here are two videos that I made that show phase 1 and phase 2 of impulse control.

Impulse Control – Part 1 video

Impulse Control – Part 2 video

A progression of challenges might look like this:

  • Treats in a closed hand
  • Treats in an open hand
  • Treats on the floor
  • Treats dropped on the floor
  • Snapping turtle
  • The dog’s food bowl
  • Treats on the dog’s paw
  • Treats I find when I walk into a room and they are on the floor already
  • Treats on the coffee table, picnic table or dining room table
  • People food (start easy with crackers or bread)
  • People food that is harder (cheese or lunch meat)
  • People food that is on a table surface
  • The above challenges outside (backyard, front yard, porch)
  • “Treats” in the real world (goose poop)

Non-food related impulse control behaviors:

  • Not greeting other dogs
  • Being calm around other dogs
  • Not jumping on people
  • Not begging
  • Not stealing food from children
  • Not counter surfing
  • Staying
  • Waiting
  • Walking politely on leash
  • Waiting for you to throw a toy
  • Not stealing kids toys/shoes
  • Not stealing your shoes

I start to teach this with food because generally all dogs want food. Once they understand the behavior with food I can change it to other items like a toy. The key to having good impulse control is LOTS of practice in LOTS of different contexts. If you take the time to teach your dog to wait without having to say “wait” all the time (or “leave it”) you will find that your dog is a joy to live with. You aren’t having to watch their every movement and they understand that waiting is the first choice they should offer.

Jennifer Skiba, Westminster, CO

Namastay Training   www.NamastayTraining.com

“Teaching People to Listen, One Dog at a Time”

Counter-Surfing – Gordons do it best without a board!

After thirty plus years and six generations I am announcing that I have created a line of Gordon Setters that are the very best at one of the breed’s favorite sports – Counter Surfing. My dogs are so good at this sport they require no supporting surf boards or other paraphernalia, they win each and every time with pure perseverance and style. Generation after generation my dogs have improved their tactical approach, scent prowess, snatch and gobble style, and always finish each run perfectly with a purely innocent expression that captivates the judge’s heart every time. I’ve employed many counter measures (no pun intended) to try to foil their prowess, training methods that were promised to break the habits of top winning Counter Surfers and I will tell you that despite my perseverance and skill my Gordon Setters have always triumphed in the end, making their best counter run when I least expect it and when I was the most confident that I’d gained the upper hand.

Counter Surfing at it's best!
Photo by Susan Roy Nelson – Fiona loves steak, can you tell?

So, I know there are a bunch of you out there who also believe you have great Counter Surfers, and some of you who wish you could convince your Gordon to give  this sport up – like permanently. Well, I share your pursuit of a happy ending and as such often find myself trying just one more measure (yes I’ve done the mouse traps, tin cans, blah blah blah…do you remember I said 30 plus years?).

I ran across this training website on You Tube last week and thought I’d share it with you as I kind of liked this guy and his advice is not only humane but also good.  His name is Zak George and a link to his website and the YouTube training video follows.

How to train your dog to stop stealing! Teach Your Dog to LEAVE ANYTHING ALONE Counter Surfing – YouTube.

Reason for counter surfing!
Photo by Susan Roy Nelson – Chicken Marsala by Jerry Nelson

I also want to send a special Thank You out to Susan Roy Nelson for capturing the beautiful photos of Gordon Setters in competition as Counter Surfers. I’ve never been able to take photos of my own dogs in action, my skill as a photographer doesn’t come close to Susan’s! I also am wondering if Jerry’s cooking is better than mine and thus his tasty dishes are more incentive for a stellar performance on the dog’s part?

I’m not sure I still have the energy as a woman of a certain age to teach an old dog new tricks, but I will be waiting to hear from those of you who’ve tried this method with your Gordon. Or, better yet, many of our readers would love to hear from those of you who have your own working method of countering the counter surfer! That’s what the comment section is for people, for you to join in the conversation helping other Gordon Setter owners by sharing.

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

Dog Training Tips by Jennifer Skiba, Namastay Training, LLC

Jennifer SWe are so very pleased to welcome Jennifer Skiba owner of Namastay Training LLC, Westminster, CO as a contributor to Gordon Setter Expert. Jennifer came to us as a recommended trainer by Laurie Ward, and Jennifer has generously agreed to respond to our questions with expert advice for all puppy and dog owners, advice we share with you, our Gordon Setter loving friends and family. Jennifer Skiba – “Teaching People to Listen, One Dog at a Time”

 Interview: Jennifer Skiba, Namastay Training, LLC – March 2015

Gordon Setter Expert asked:

Do you participate in performance events and if so which ones?

None.  I spend my time teaching other people to work with their dogs.

Would you share a brief history of when you started to train and why you choose the events that you are choosing now?

I specialize in puppy training, child & dog dynamics and general pet dog training.  Training has always come naturally to me and for years many friends encouraged me to train professionally.  I always put them off.  And then many years ago I watched friends of my husband take their sweet standard poodle puppy to a harsh aversion trainer.  I realized then that I could no longer sit on the sidelines and watch this happen over and over to more puppies.  I believe that good puppy raising is paramount to having a good family dog.  And truly, isn’t that what our dog are when they aren’t “working”- a family dog?  Many behavior problems that cause dogs to end up in shelters or rescues can be prevented if you do due diligence when they are young.  I want my students to be able to take their new puppy and go on to whatever sport or activity they would like.

How would you describe the Gordon Setter as a learner?

I have only had the pleasure of working with one Gordon Setter thus far and he has been a sweet dog.  I try not to get too wrapped up in the breed tendencies and prefer to focus on each puppy or dog as an individual and tailor training to their personalities.

What advice would you give to someone new, just starting out about where to look for resources in order to learn training techniques?

My advice to someone new?  Realize that your puppy is a dog with a rich culture that communicates quite differently than we do.  Just because their culture is different doesn’t mean it is inferior to ours-just different.  That means that you have to learn just as much “dog” as they have to learn “English”.  I would attend a puppy class (without your puppy) to see how the class is run and if you mesh with the trainer.  They are training you to train your puppy and if you don’t feel like they are approachable with questions find someone else.  There are many ways to train a dog and you have to find one that feels right to you.  I believe we should train our dogs how we would like to be taught something new.  With a teacher who is patient and kind to us.

Is there a method or combination of methods that you use and find most effective with Gordon Setters?

I believe ALL dogs respond best when we are clear and consistent and teach them to WANT to work with us.  I prefer teaching new skills in a positive manner and using what is really reinforcing for the dog-treats, toys, attention.  I believe there is a time and a place to say “no” to our dogs but it isn’t when they are learning something new.

What type of training class or trainer, if any, would you advise them to attend or seek?

I would recommend finding a training class that is both fun and informative.  If class is boring you won’t want to go.  I also recommend a class that focuses on using positive reinforcement when learning a new behavior.  I advise finding a trainer that is welcoming and easy to approach with questions.

Do you recommend any books or DVD resources?

Books:  There are so many great books but if I had to recommend only a few…

If a Dog’s Prayers Were Answered…Bones Would Rain from the Sky by Suzanne Clothier

The Puppy Primer by Patricia McConnell Ph.D

Feeling Outnumbered?  How to manage and enjoy your multi-dog household by Patricia McConnell Ph.D and Karen London, Ph.D

K9 Medic How to Save Your Dog’s life During an Emergency by Eric “Odie” Roth

After You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar, DVM

Any recommendations for internet resources like blogs or websites? (By clicking on the name of the link a new page will open at the website.)

When working with a Gordon Setter what do you believe are the most important things to remember about the breed?

Again, I think it’s important to look at the dog as an individual and base your training on their strengths and weaknesses.        Website:  www.namastaytraining.com

Bones would rain from the sky Puppy Primer Feeling outnumbered After you get your puppy K9 Medic

Clicker Training – what is it – how to do it – resource links

Photo courtesy of Linda Stebbins
Photo courtesy of Linda Stebbins

In the past couple of days we’ve heard from two Agility competitors, Susan Nelson and Linda Stebbins who both mentioned using clicker training as a core beginning for the more advanced work we see in Agility. If you’re new to dog training the phrase clicker training probably sounds like a foreign language to you, so we thought it might be good to share some resource sites with you where you can learn more about this positive training method and if you want you could start putting it to use immediately to train new puppies or old dogs new tricks!

The first site we’re listing is by the originator of the clicker method Gary Wilkes who lives here in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. An introduction taken from the website tell us that “Gary Wilkes is an internationally acclaimed behaviorist, trainer, author, columnist, teacher and lecturer. He offers a wide variety of animal related services, including behavior modification, training and behavioral instruction for animal care professionals, pet owners and professional trainers. He currently provides behavior services in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area by veterinary referral and is the architect of the highly successful Coyote rehabilitation project at the Phoenix Zoo. Wilkes is most noted as the founder of “Click and Treat(R) Training”, the first practical and humane application of operant conditioning for dogs – and the hottest trend in modern dog training. He has taught his methods to US Army Delta Force Special Operations handlers, the staff at the Seeing Eye and Paws With A Cause – the most effective service dog school in the country. Wilkes has earned respect for his abilities in both the “real world” of dog training and the scientific world of behavior analysis. He has a unique ability to simplify complex principles into easily applied methods.”

By clicking on this title, Gary Wilkes – Click & Treat  you will be taken directly to his website which you will find loaded with information, training tools and other helpful links.

If you would simply like to go directly to Gary’s store to purchase training supplies pick the link that follows! Clicker Training Store – Gary Wilkes Click & Treat

A second website we found that was loaded with great information is  Karen Pryor Dog Training.With years’ worth of wisdom from Karen Pryor and a vast array of experts, our library is the largest resource of clicker training information you’ll find anywhere online.

If you simply want to see a video to get a taste of this training method you could click on ‘clicker’ in the title that follows to watch Clicker Training Basics and if that’s not enough clicking for you yet, you could also click to view How to teach your dog not to jump up!

Well that’s about all the clicks I can handle for one night, hope this helps and don’t forget to leave your comments, suggestions, additions etc. in the comment section below. We love to see you sharing with each other!

Sally Gift  Mesa, AZ

UPDATE: Please read the comment section of this article by clicking on Comments under the title, Carole Raschella wrote to provide insight about clicker training that we found enlightening . Many thanks to Carole who added the Karen Pryor Clicker Training Expos to our list as a wonderful source for the serious trainer. You may follow this link to more information by doing the infamous click here!

Cerebellar Degeneration in the Gordon Setter

Thank you to Jerold Bell DVM for allowing us to reprint this article.

Jerold S Bell DVM, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, N. Grafton, MA USA

puppy by Silvia Timmerman
Photo by Silvia Timmermann

Cerebellar Degeneration CD (also referred to as Cerebellar Cortical Abiotrophy CCA, or Cerebellar Ataxia CA) is a hereditary neurological disease seen in the Gordon Setter breed, and caused by a simple autosomal recessive gene. It causes slowly progressive muscular in-coordination, with an onset or age of recognition of clinical signs between six months to four years of age. Pathology studies performed in the 1970’s show the onset closer to six months of age; but with mild clinical signs affected dogs may not be identified until later in life. CD is not related to the metabolic disorder lethal neonatal encephalopathy (DUNG’d) seen in 3 to 8 week old Gordon Setters.

The clinical signs of CD include: poor balance, frequent stumbling, a wide-based stance (feet planted far apart), a high-stepping gait, and head or body tremors. Affected dogs have normal mental alertness. Most affected dogs have a normal life expectancy, and pass away due to unrelated causes. There is no treatment for CD.

Drs. Alexander de Lahunta, Linda Cork, and Steven Steinberg published the clinical description and mode of inheritance of CD in the breed in the early 1908’s. In 2012, Dr. Natasha Olby at North Carolina State University identified the mutated gene. With autosomal recessive inheritance, both parent must be carriers of this mutated gene to produce affected offspring. Approximately one-quarter of offspring from such matings are expected to be affected; but statistical chance can cause none to several affected dogs in a litter. A genetic test is available for this mutated gene that will determine normal, carrier, or affected status. The test can be run at any age with cheek swabs, and costs $15 (US) per dog tested. (Submit DNA for Testing – NC State Veterinary Hospital).     (Link to form for submitting DNA for testing)

Gordon Setters affected with CD have been identified since a least the 1960s in both conformation and field trial lines throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Affected and carrier Gordon Setters worldwide do not “connect up” before generationally early ancestors of the breed. All confirmed affected Gordon Setters around the world have the identified mutated gene causing CD. This same mutation was identified in Dr. Olby’s laboratory to be the cause of CD in the Old English Sheepdog breed – showing a common ancestor as the original source of the mutation in both breeds. No other breeds have been identified with the same mutation to date.

Over the years, Gordon Setter breeders and owners have been surprised by a diagnosis of CD in their dogs, due to a lack of known relatives with the disorder. These occurrences are traditionally followed by more affected dogs from related lines. The ancestrally ancient origin of the mutated gene explains this occurrence. The mutated gene has been dispersed and propagated in the Gordon Setter breed since its origination. Now that there is an inexpensive and accurate genetic test for the mutated gene, ALL breedable Gordon Setters should be tested.

As with all testable simple autosomal recessive genes, quality carrier dogs can be bred to quality normal-testing mates. This prevents affected dogs from being produced. Quality normal-testing offspring should replace the carrier parent for breeding. Carrier offspring should be selected against for breeding homes. In this way, you have eliminated the single mutated gene, without losing the quality traits of the line. A genetic test for a simple recessive disorder should not change who gets bred, only who they get  bred to.

To assist breeders with health-conscious breeding, each dog’s results should be entered into the OFA Cerebellar Degeneration registry (OFA Form for submission of DNA). The test results will be listed on the dog’s OFA page. The cost is $15 per dog, $30 litter of 3 or more, and a kennel rate of $7.50 per dog if 5 or more dogs are entered by the same owner (all in $US). If a dog is out of two DNA tested clear Gordon Setter Parents, the OFA will provide a Clear by Parentage (CBP) certification. In this way, generations of Gordon Setters do not have to be tested.  CBP certification requires that both parents are CD tested and entered into the OFA registry, and that the parents and offspring have been DNA parentage certified (usually available through your national Kennel Club).

Cerebellar degeneration is not the most frequent genetic disorder affecting the breed, but is the oldest documented simple inherited disorder in Gordon Setters. With the availability of an accurate and inexpensive genetic test, no Gordon Setter, their owners or breeders should have to deal with the affected state of this disorder going forward.

(This article can be reprinted with permission from the author Jerold.bell@tufts.edu)

To order cheek swab kits by phone, call:
North Carolina State University Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Phone-Voice Mail: 919.513.3314
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Facility: NC State CVM Research Building

To order cheek swab kits via an e-mail at the following address:
vcgl@lists.ncsu.edu
Please state the following in your e-mail:
Your mailing address.
Number of kits you would like.
Type of test, (which breed), you are requesting,Gordon Setter, Cerebellar Degeneration.

Additional Links:  GSCA Health Survey 2004

(This article contains photos that are not intended nor do they relate to the content of the article.)

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Moving Beyond Leader of the Pack

Dog trainers, training methods, and training tools, are everywhere. How does one know which way to go?

heelingI admit that I’m not an expert dog trainer so I most certainly don’t have what I’d call a “right” answer to that question. However, I do know what feels right to me and works after spending 30 years living with Gordon Setters. While I’m not actively exhibiting in performance events, my Gordon Setters are members of my household and so we did need to find a way to live safely and peacefully together. Needless to say living with a large, active Gordon Setter in the house does take a bit of training though while I’d like to think that I’ve been training them I have to admit that they may have trained me just as often!

I just finished reading the peer reviewed article “Moving Beyond Leader of the Pack”  written by Iilana Reisner, DVM Phd. and I’d recommend you take a couple of minutes to read it yourself, especially if you’re not familiar with force free or fear free methods of training. Ms Reisner lays the groundwork for why force free training is appropriate and lists multiple resources for more information and guidance regarding these methods.Novice obedience

If you’re involved in performance events with your Gordon Setter perhaps you could take a minute to share your training methods and/or thoughts with us? If you’d like to send us information for publication you may do so by emailing  us at:  gordonsetterexpert@gmail.com and please use Training in the subject line.

To read the PDF of the article “Moving Beyond Leader of the Pack” click here.

Types of Behavior Specialists
  • Veterinary Behaviorist (Diplomat ACVB) are board-certified specialists qualified to diagnose and treat both medical and primary behavioral conditions in animals. Currently there are 65 veterinarians worldwide board-certified by the American College of Veterinary behaviorist (dacvb.org).
  • Certified Applied Animal behaviorist (CAAB) have completed graduate-level (master’s, doctorate, or veterinary degree with behavior residency) training at an accredited university in the field of animal behavior, demonstrated skill in applied behavior and training, and met the requirements for credentialing by the Animal Behavior Society (certifiedanimalbehaviorist.com).
  • Certified Pet Dog Trainers (CPDT) are dog trainers who have met the requirements for certification by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. This group certifies trainers on the basis of humane standards of competence in animal training and behavior, standardized testing, and continuing education (ccpdt.org).
  • Non-credentialed behaviorist, such as those who use the titles behaviorist, animal behaviorist, pet behavior consultant, animal behavior specialist, and other related titles (which can be used by anyone), have no specific background or education in animal behavior.it is important to carefully review the qualifications, education, and experience of any non-credentialed individual who claims to be a behavior specialist.

(This article contains photos that are not intended nor do they relate to the content of the article.)