Nicknames: Sweetpea, Bubby, Dingo Dog, the Devildog, Satan, "Lips" Calahan (that's my gangster name), The Queen Bee
Birthday: February 14th 2001
Likes: Frisbee games, food, the hose, car rides.
Pet-Peeves: Other dogs, not being boss of the world, kitties, skateboards, trains, planes, trucks. OH! And magpies. I hate those. And it's so exhausting to have to supervise the other dogs in the house every day, but somebody has to do it. .
Favorite Toy: Frisbee, and anything I can chew up, and my pickup truck (aka the "cowdog cadillac") - from the back of which I herd all the trucks which pass us..
Favorite Food: Cheese!
Favorite Walk: Woods, offleash, or in my yard, where sometimes 'big birds' that make noise fly overhead and I bark them and chase them away. Mom says they are called "planes".
Best Tricks: Great at obedience (heeling, "wait", "lie down", "sit", etc.), good frizbee catcher; writes a blog, WOOF! The Dog Blog She gets her frustration out that way.
Arrival Story: After my divorce, I was searching for a good guard type dog, and was intested in looking for a Cattle Dog (excellent protectors!). She is a blue heeler, came from the Humane Society in Eau Claire, Wis. She was 8 mo, had been abused, and was angry. Bit me for a year. We worked with a serious experienced trainer for over a year, and Sheila is good now. . . but not to be trusted with other dogs who are strangers to her.
Now she is like the little girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead. . .. "when she is good she is very very good, and when she is bad she is horrid". She was my only dog for awhile, and was a good little guardian and friend, in a rough time. She's such a tough little thing. . . dealing with her taught me to be tough, at a time when I needed to be braver in my life. . . I am her forever mom and she's my forever bud.
Bio: Sheila worked one on one with a trainer with 18 years experience in aggressive dogs. "Positive only" training works for 99% of dogs, but not one that is dangerous. The trainer worked wonders. The interesting thing was that Sheila just adored her . . . it seemed that she was just thrilled to find someone who knew how to demand her respect. Sheila is a very smart girl who took to her "lessons" like a moth to a flame, until she became the "demo dog" for the more mainstream obedience classes.
The best part is that her mom ended up so intrigued that she learned to train too, and eventually became a certified veterinary technician. I have some strong feelings about dogs with aggressive tendencies. I think 'temperament' testing is only of limited value, and really goes overboard. It makes more sense to place such a dog in a house with only adults who are willing to learn some training skills, than to deny the dog a home and future because of some temperament issues during a 15-minute test. I also believe that using 'traditional' training with these dogs, along with some other techniques, can mean the difference between whether they find a home or are euthanized. We have gotten so carried away with the politically correct 'positive only' that we have thrown away the dogs that can't learn that way, and taken away their only hope. I have a special place in my heart for these incorrigible demons, and hope that in the future we can as a society be a little more open-minded to the kinds of training that these dogs need in order to be made safe to be around. I know these techniques are valuable because I have seen them work with my own eyes, and know they saved my dog's life.
Me and My Bud:: Me and My Bud Bella! These are all the great things we have in common: 1 We are both Cattle Dogs! Yay! 2 We both follow our moms everywhere, even to the bathroom! 3 We both bark the other cars from our car. 4 We both love treats! 5 We both bark the other dogs and scare them on our walk. 6 We are both very tough customers. 7 We both love snow! 8 We are both very spoiled. We both pretty much rule our worlds.
Thanks!: Thanks Everybody! A big WOOF! to all who sent congrats, rosettes, and notes in celebration of my Dog of the Day! What a great Christmas surprise! I made lots of great new friends too! Lots of love to all from Sheila Dog.
So . . . I'm sittin in the truck, watching the dog "obedience" class on its first day. I don't attend, because I've been taught so much I could teach the bozodogs myself . . . and to be truthful, the Master thinks I'll embarass her and bite some poodle in half. (Poodles. . .are they really dogs?)
I'm sniffing the breeze coming through the window, enjoying the spring day, and I hear the teacher say, "From now on, we don't say NO to our dogs." I strain to see the Master's face - she's holdin' it together like a stone. "Because, the teacher says, "we get into a bad habit of saying "NO!" too often and after a while, the dog tunes it out. Now the Master nods in agreement, slowly. Interesting idea, she says, could be true. Hmmm. I wonder if she's lyin'.
The Master does say NO to me sometimes. And the other dog my brother. And the cats. I find that it is not overused, and it's a good one-syllable signal to get my nose out of whatever I'm doing. She uses the BIG voice. Gets my attention. Not difficult to get the meaning. I like it.
Then I get to decide whether I will do as she commands. The other dog, my brother, he always does it. She says the word and he nearly pees himself. (Border Collie. . . wussies every one.) Sometimes I am feeling good, and shrug my dog withers and say, "OK". Other times, I'm kind of spoiling for a show-down.
You see, I am that sort of a dog. I don't suffer fools. I am born to be Alpha ( My kind are the boss of cows for Heaven's sake. . . ) Unless my human insists upon being Alpha. Then it is my duty to challenge the throne every day at least once. Even if I know she'll win, it keeps her on her toes. So some days, NO just ain't gonna do it. To be a worthy leader, she must be. . . well. . . forceful.
Sitting in the truck watching the class, I am wondering what sort of word the Master will substitute. I will need to consider carefully the best way to put this to the test. After all, when I'm . . .say, for instance. . . growling at the kitties, she won't want to use a loooong phrase. Must be short, to stop ME short. (Kitties. . . what ARE they?)
I hear the teacher suggest the humans just IGNORE "bad" behaviors, and praise good ones. Hmmm. So when I'm cranky and snap at the Master's leg as she passes, she's gonna ignore me? She tried that once. I got up and followed her, snapping until she heeded my issue for the day. She put me in my place pretty good. No problem. I liked it. She was still in control of herself and her throne - I don't call her the Master for nothing; the household heirarchy was intact. I felt good about things again. No worries. I could climb back onto the couch and snooze without a care. And when she put me in my place . . I'm pretty sure she used the word NO. Worked just fine - loud and clear. I liked it..
The class winds up, every doggie gets a treat (man I'm hungry!) and they all say goodbye. The other dog my brother is bouncing around like a maniac - that's what he does. He jumps into the front seat of the pickup and begins to bark at me through the backseat window. The Master walks around and opens the topper door on the back of the truck. She pats my head and gives me a treat too. "You're a good girl," she says, "Ready to go home?"
She goes back and opens the front door to climb into the driver's seat - "Aengus, NO!" she says to the other dog my brother, who is still barking at me, and he cowers and lies down. "Good boy," she says, "NO bark." She caresses his ears as we pull into traffic.
A happy dog, I run around the back all the way home - from side to side, front to back, herding the other vehicles that pass. When we stop at lights I bark the cars beside us. I like when they have dogs too. Sometimes they bark me back. People walk on the sidewalks. I bark them and scare them. They like it.