Archive for June, 2009

Pabst Wins World’s Ugliest Dog Contest

Monday, June 29th, 2009


Petaluma, CA – The crowd at the Sonoma-Marin Fair this past Friday chanted “Pabst, Pabst”, while the judges of the 2009 World’s Ugliest Dog contest made their final deliberations. The two final contenders were the crowd favorite Pabst (a boxer-mix shelter dog) and Rascal, a Chinese Crested and former champion of the World’s Ugliest Dog contest.  Given that the Chinese Crested breed has held dominion over the title for over seven years and that it accounted for over 50% of this year’s contestants in the pedigree class, many people were surprised when the boxer-mix was named the winner.

Among those surprised by the outcome was Pabst’s owner and contest first-timer Miles Egstad, of Citrus Heights, California. “I don’t think he’s that ugly,” said Egstad of his boxer-mix, whose most distinguishable feature is his large under-bite. But it was Pabst’s sweet personality that won the crowd over, and perhaps convinced the judges to break from tradition.

Egstad, 25, says his dog’s name comes from the fact that he has a “bitter beer face”. Egstad became aware of the World’s Ugliest Dog contest when he saw it on television. His friends urged him to enter Pabst, and as a consequence Egstad is now a couple thousand dollars richer. Pabst swept in all three rounds of the dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, earning $100 for mutt class, $500 for runoff in the pedigree class, and $1000 for World’s Ugliest Dog.

On top of that, contest sponsor House of Dog added another $1000 in prize money, a table of expensive dog collars, lashes and bowls and a modeling contract for Pabst, which the World’s Ugliest Dog signed with his paw. Grace Chon, the event photographer, conducted a professional photo shoot.

Pabst was a shelter dog when Egstad adopted him three years ago. This year marked the first time that a so-called “mutt” has won the contest. Karen Halligan, one of the contest judges and a veterinarian famous for her roles in the television series Groomer Has It, Dog Tales, Animal Rescue 911 and Dogs 101, performed screenings to ensure that all competing dogs were healthy. As judge Brian Sobel stated, the contest was meant for “dogs who are naturally ugly.”

The show was filmed by Dogs 101 and will air this fall on the Animal Planet television network. The local humane society was also present at the contest, bringing along its adoption wagon. The World’s Ugliest Dog contest has been trademarked by the Sonoma-Marin Fair and this year marks its 21st anniversary.

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How to Teach Your Dog to Sit

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009


You brought home a cute little puppy, you showered him with new toys, and you did your initial cuddling, but now it is time to get down to business; I’m talking about training your puppy, and one of the first commands for him to learn is “sit.”There are many ways to start training your puppy to sit, but the two most popular are the Click and Treat Method and the Compulsory Method.  Here is a summary of the two methods:

Click and Treat Method

This method is based on the concepts of classical conditioning.  Without getting into the whole theory behind Pavlov’s Dog, the Click and Treat Method is centered upon the idea that a dog can be trained to sit with only positive reinforcement and without a leash or collar and, most important, with no force.  All you need is a basic clicker which you can purchase at any animal supply store.Here is how it works.

  1. You must begin by establishing a connection between the treat and the clicker.  You do this by giving the dog many treats while you click the clicker over and over again.  He will get the idea that when he hears the clicker, he will be rewarded.
  2. Then stop giving the dog treats until he has directed his attention to you.  When you get his attention, present a treat and click the clicker as you give your dog a treat.
  3. Now hold a treat chest level so that he has to face his attention upward.  This should force him to naturally take a sitting position in order to direct his attention to the treat.  As soon as he sits, click the clicker and give him the treat.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times until it seems as though he has caught onto the idea that he will be rewarded for this behavior in correlation to the clicking.
  5. Now add the “sit” command to the routine and continue to keep doing this over and over.
  6. Eventually, you will be able to remove the click and rely on the sit command alone.

The keys to success with the Click and Treat Method are patience and an open mind that your dog will be able to be conditioned into understanding commands.  Once you have successfully accomplished the “sit” command, you should be able to use this method for other tricks as well.

Compulsory Method

Unlike the Click and Treat Method, the more traditional Compulsory Method is a method of coercion where you enforce instead of reward your dog’s behavior.

This method is simple.  Basically, you push down on the dog’s rump section, forcing him into a sit position, while saying the “sit” command.  If your dog lies down when pushing on his rump section, you may need to gently pull up on his chin while pushing down his rump section in order to get him into a sitting position.  You must repeat this several times until he realizes that he will be forced into the position if he doesn’t take the position on his own.  He will eventually start to take the sit position on command because he knows this is a behavior you will enforce.

Choke collars have been known to be used with this method as a way to enforce the “sit” command.  Using the choke collar, an owner would use the same steps only they will use the collar to pull up with just enough for the dog to sit, but not enough to make him stand.  If the dog begins to stand, the choke collar will be uncomfortable, making them take the sit position.  Though, using a choke collar, especially when used incorrectly, can cause the dog to fear the use of a leash and may also cause the dog to become nervous and/or aggressive.

Overall, whichever method you use when training your puppy, it is important that you remain consistent and be patient.

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