Mali and the Monster

Best in Breed~~~

October 13th 2009 8:20 am
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I do not often show Mali as she has a white face and that is a pint off the moment she steps into the ring for our breed standard. However this last weekend the Judge was Fred Lanting "Mr. GSD" I just could not pass up a chance to hear what he had to say about my girl past her face. He gives detailed description of the dog as he looks at them at smaller shows and this was going to be a small show.

We also placed Rani in the show in hopes she would place well and add to the points she had accumulated at the last show. We know Rani soon become the bitch of her age to beat as she has such graceful movement the crowd cheers her on every time she is in a ring.

Rani is in first as she is younger and just glides around the ring like she is floating. My husband hold the leash with just his first finger and thumb coming to a stop before Fred. Fred has Rani stand out so the crowd can see her as he looks her over and says so everyone can hear. "This is what a Shiloh Shepherd bitch is supposed to look like." I nearly fell out of my chair. He went on to say so many other things most of which I cannot remember as I was so floored. Rani went on in the show to take Winners Bitch. She did not go further as the Bitch to beat was there and Rani is the up and coming girl her turn is soon.

Now it is Mali's turn, my white faced girl steps into the ring with all those dark faced girls. I wait for her to be looked over as always. They go around and she flies by, legs stretched and lines up. He puts her in front of the others and has them go again. Then when they all come back, he hand my husband a blue ribbon. I can't believe it, and start to shake. He starts to talk about Mali but I cannot hear what he is saying as she has a blue ribbon. He talks about the others and they then leave the ring.

Steve is called back into the ring again this time to go again a male smooth coat who has won many times in the past. He belongs to a friend of mine is a very good looking dog. I am expecting Mali to just be passed over now, it was just a fluke and sigh and I am so thankful for a blue ribbon for my white faced girl. Both Mali and Pistol Pete run around the ring. They are both about the same height with good long strides and graceful movements, when they come to a stop before Fred Lanting he has them stop and switch positions but not run again. This time he walks around the two of them. I am wondering what is taking so long, why doesn't he just get this over with? He is looking and tipping his head and walking back and forth, it never crossed my mind he was weighing the possibility of picking Mali until he did. He picked Mali over Pete. OH my Mali won again! Mali took Best In Breed!

Fred Lanting, "Mr. GSD" said my White Faced girl was Best In Breed! He likes her confidence was the only comment I remember, as I was stone cold dumb struck. Mali and Steve left the ring and everyone was congratulating me and I thank people, at least I think I did, as everything was a whirl. Not to long after Mali went into the ring again, this time for Best In Show. She went up against dogs I knew she would not beat but it was great to see her there, and of all shows to not remember to bring my camera. She was there though right there in the ring with the Champions, my White Faced Girl.

 

Mali Teaches

October 9th 2009 10:57 am
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Mali is my ISSR Shiloh Shepherd. I came today to try once again to put into words some of what I see when I watch Mali teach. I have tried to write before about but what she does but is so subtle it is hard to define and if you are not watching her, you could miss it happening.


When we first got her Steve and I decided we wanted to make sure she had lots of confidence as she was an only pup and was going to be taking on the big job of a service dog. I read many articles on raising a dogs confidence; as well as, researched posts on different forums and tried many of different techniques. The ones that seemed to work best for Mali we did often, along with some of the things I did with my children when they were young. I know she is a dog but Shilohs are so much like children in the way they think you really have to treat them like human children often. I spent a lot of my time on the floor playing with her just like I did with my own children. After all, once I am down it is hard for me to get back up so I just stayed there.


Mali was always a puppy who liked to watch everything. Most puppies are interested in their surroundings but Mali wanted to watch more than her immediate surroundings, she was interested in as far as her eyes could see; and would take the time to watch everything. She was always an extremely active pup; however, if something in the distance caught her eye she would sit quietly and just watch. Once she digested all of the information she needed from the experience she was off again. Mali rarely backed down from anything new from the first day we got her, no matter how big or loud it was. I will not take the time brag how quickly she learned as this post is more about what she did later and the beginning paragraphs are only a foundation of who she was rather than of what she knew.


When Mali was seven months old we went to pick up Rani at Tina Barber's (The Breed Founder's). The two of them hit it off right away. On the fifteen hour drive home I was a concerned as Mali refused to drink any water. No matter how much I coaxed her she would turn her nose up and prance away nervously . At first, I was worried her was jealous of Rani. I could not have been more wrong. When we got home Mali ate and drank fine, as a matter of fact over the next few weeks I discovered that Mali did not drink the water on the way home as she wanted all of the water to be for Rani. In fact Mali at the ripe old age of 7 months had taken Rani on as if she were her own pup. You have to understand Shilohs are considered poppies until they are three years of age as they grow and mature until they are that age, so for Mali to take on that kind of chore at 7 months of age was amazing to say the least and a tribute to what kind of mom she would be one day. Mali seemed to become obsessed with cleaning Rani, inside her ears and even inside of her mouth. It was quite cute in a way to watch them. Then quite out of the blue in my eyes I saw Rani lick Mali's muzzle and Mali regurgitate food for her. My first thought was YUCK! My second thought was a little more of a Hmmmmm. Mali is just a baby herself yet she has taken over the role of segregate parent of Rani so completely.


It was only a month later when we add Yuki to our pack and soon Mali is taking care of two little puppies. For the most part she is no longer regurgitating food; however, she still cleaned them both insistently. Then one night she did something which for the first time caught me off guard. She plays a game with them, one I played with her, one I played with my children when they were babies.


Mali takes a chewy and places it on the floor while the pups are watching her, then she placed a news paper over the chewy; the pups watched her as Mali steps back. Mali waits a few seconds then takes the paper off the chewy and retrieves the chewy. Mali does this three or four times as the puppies watch. Then she placed the chewy down again and covers it up with the paper again and backs off; this time the puppies go and find the chewy. I am watching from the living room with my mouth open unable to say a word. This is just one small example of little games I have seen her set up for the puppies to learn.


Yuki has had a bit of a hard time she came to us a little later in life and was not as well socialized, because of this she is very shy. Her shyness held her back in learning as a puppy; and so, in many ways she was behind Rani in learning. I had to take her out in the community a lot more; and so, much of what Mail has done with Rani she had not had a chance to do with Yuki. This is not a bad thing as Yuki has come a long way with her shyness. Her shyness has improved and she will never be an outgoing girl like Mali and Rani, but we can settle for an aloof girl and be very happy with her. She and my husband Steve are very close.


When the girls are out playing in the side yard and it is time to come in some times the puppies would not hear me calling they would be to engrossed in whatever scent or butterfly had caught their attention. I do not walk well; and so, going get them is not always an option for me. Al I have to do is tell Mali to go get the girls and she turns around and dose just that. She heads off to where the girls are and nose at them and then heads back for the house with the two puppies running at her heals. Even now that they are older if we are at a dog park and it is time to leave I can send Mali off to get the girls when it is time to leave. I just tell her with a sweep of my arm and I head off towards the exit, where all three meet me ready to go.


I am going to skip over some of what Mail has done with Rani and go straight to what happened with Yuki a couple of months ago. Yuki is now 9 months old and comes from a very large line of Shilohs. Now that Yuki is feeling so much more confident, when she is in the living room she no longer just finds a place by my feet and settles happy to be there and watch what the other two are doing. She has decided she should explore the room and everything there is in it. Both Mali and Rani explored the room when they were younger and already know the places they are to stay away from, such as the electronics, lamps, and other breakables. Yuki; however, has no clue. Yuki by the way, is as large as Mali and a bit longer, and unlike Mali, has little control over that massive wagging tail. Basally she lumbers through my living room like a tank. Each time Yuki would go near a lamp, before I could say to her, "Not yours", and direct her away, Mali would beat me to it and either body block her with a groan or gently place her mouth over Yuki's mouth. Then guide her away from the lamp, or the TV, wires, my hutch and anything else where she would be either in danger of being hurt or in trouble if she broke something. Once again Yuki learned from following Mali's guide what she can and cannot do in my living room and now like the other girls she is quite safe and no longer behaves like and out of control tank at least 90 % of the time. She even has some control of her tail. Mali uses the intercept and body block when we have strangers or even company we know come to visit as well, if they reach to pet Yuki and Yuki flattens her ear wishing they would not pet her Mali ,moves in to protect her. If you did not understand the body langue you would just think Mali was hogging the attention, but she is in fact protecting Yuki from unwanted attention.


There are other little things Mali does to teach these girls; such as, let them put her to the ground. Even though she is the Alpha, she seems to understand the need to build their confidence, especially Yuki's, but to me these things about my girl Mali just jump right out and say look at me. My friends say I should type a book about her, and maybe one day I will after all she is only 14 months old, she has many years left to live.

(Mali is now 22 months old..posted OCT)

 

To Wooo or not to wooo

August 5th 2009 8:50 am
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Three days ago, Mali and I were stopped in traffic. I had all the windows rolled down as it was not very hot out and there was a nice breeze. Mali was enjoying flirting with the people in the car next to us when she heard the sirens of a fire truck. The expression on her face was priceless as she snapped her heard around to look at me pleadingly. I swear her eyes were sparkling and she had a grin on her face that ran from ear to ear!

I now had a clue as to why we were all stopped in one place for so long there was either an accident or a fire up a head. Either Mali's look was so convincing or I am a push over but either way, I said okay go ahead and howl. She lifted her chin towards the ceiling of my car and curled her lips into an O starting with a very deep-throated sound, which turned the heads of all the people around us. As the fire truck got nearer, she changed her howl to harmonize with it to a more piercing sound. Thank goodness, my windows were down or my eardrums would not have survived.

The fire truck passed and Mali continued to howl, lowering the pitch back to the deep-throated pitch of earlier. Finally I could barely hear the truck and could see it had stopped and tried to get Mali to stop howling, ~besides how does she breathe howling for that long?~. At first she did not seem to hear me talking to her as she was so clearly enjoying herself. People in the cars in front of me and behind me had gotten out of their cars to see what was going on and not only were they looking up at the fire truck they were looking at my car, ~Mali shhhh now~.

I placed my right hand in the back and touched her left shoulder she lowered her still howling head and looked at me, I know she was at least listening. I told her to stop howling now. Mali placed her muzzle in my hand still howling Wooo wooo wooo but softer than before, I told her she needed to stop no... she Woo woo again quieter woo woo, I could not contain a big smile as it was obvious she really wanted to howl woo wooooo, I put on a stern face, but I know my voice was going to break if I was not careful and I said Enough. One word was all I could manage or I would laugh. She stopped with the WOOs and I told her she was a good girl.

Traffic started to move not to long after, first one side and than the other. We were the other side; and just when we were about to move an ambulance came roaring by and Mali started again WOOOOOooooooo, she did not ask me this time. After all, she had already asked if it was okay to howl in the car just a little while ago. I kept the windows down and droving right past the two cars with the crunched fronts with my dog singing in the back seat. Once we hit 50 miles per hour Mali stopped the singing and all was quiet again.

 

Medical Alerting

July 1st 2009 10:44 am
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I have a young service dog named Mali. I got her when she was 11 weeks old. I had a trainer come to my home to help with her training through advanced obedience and hand signs, since then I have done the rest of her training and Mali has passed all the rest of her tests with 100%. At this time, Mali is only 17 months old.

One day we were walking into the bank. I had Mali on a loose lead rather than holding onto her harness, I held onto my husband's arm, Mali was at healing on my left side. We walked passed an elderly woman walking a very slow shuffling step. Suddenly Mali broke healing position just in time to catch the elderly woman who was about to fall. I did not see she was going to fall nor did my husband or we would have reached out for her, but Mali seemed to know it was going to happen and braced herself to take the brunt of the woman's weight. Mali was all of about 11 months old at the time. (She was just a baby really in the Shiloh dog world, as they do not mature until they are 3 years old.) This is not something Mali had been trained for as of yet as she is too young to hold any ones weight.

Last fall Mali began doing something, which I found disturbing, but I could find no logical reason for it. She had never done this before and I had started to do research for the best way to break her of the new unexplained habit. She had started to jump up on me, though quiet gently and place her nose either in my chest or against my throat. Within a couple of days I found out my thyroid was flip flopping, back and forth from hyperactive to hypoactive at least every three weeks and possibly more often. This flip-flopping, had caused my heart to enlarge and could cause me to have a heart attack or stroke at any moment. This was the first time was I figured out Mali could medically alert. She had been telling me I had an issue with my heart and my thyroid all the time with her cold wet nose. As soon as I took care of my medical issue, she stopped her jumping issues.
Last month a friend came to visit me she has a service do who lets her know if she stops breathing at night and even sometimes when she is driving the car, as she just does not notice. We were sitting out back in my fenced in yard so her dog could be loose with my girls and play. Mali just could not stop bothering my friend. I had to send her away many times. This was not like her, she loved to play with Blue, but we were so busy catching up I did not pay attention to the clues until Mali pointed it out with her cold noise. She came right up to my friend, put her cold noise right up against her left breast, and pushed in deep. At this point as I pulled Mali back and put her in a down stay, I looked at my friend and asked her directly why she was going to the doctor. She had a cyst at that exact spot on her breast. Since this time, Mali has alerted to sinus infections, and low blood sugar to both complete strangers; and me as well as, to getting very upset with me when I am out in the public and she knows I am in pain. Mali is a very vocal dog she rarely alerts quietly for long if ignored. Perhaps this is a good thing as her lack of being quiet makes me leave and go home earlier than I might have.

 

Mali and the monster

July 1st 2009 10:36 am
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Every night Steve and I take Mali to the green way. The green way is a 17-mile walking park. In between the trails, we walk and the return course there is a large field and today there were tractors racking and bailing hay. Mali loves going to go to the green way. She has many friends there, who often walk with us in a pack as we travel our three-mile route. One day when Mali was 7 months old, no one from the pack was on the Green Way with us, it was just Mali, Steve, and I in my wheel chair; as we came out from the wooded area Mali saw the monster for the first time. It was huge, brown, and just as wide as it was tall. It stood in one place threatening malice.

As soon as Mali saw the monster, her hackles rose from the tip of her head all the way to the tip of her tail. She puffed out the fur on her chest showing the monster she was big and tough. For the first time in her young life, I heard her growl. Not a puppy sound but that of a dog determined to save her people from that terrible mincing monster. She growled even louder as Steve slowed my wheel chair down. Then Steve took her leash from me and my two strong protectors began to stalk the monster.

Mali kept her hackles high as she lowered her head. Her feet could not decide if she was going to prance or stalk. Steve was just as brave as Mali when facing down the monster even though it was almost twice his size. Mali and Steve got within touching distance before the monster seemed to cower. I saw him touch it as Mali pranced around her nose twitching as she waited to see if she would have to come to his defense. At last, she and the monster got face to face and peace ensued. Mali and Steve returned to me at an easy pace, as they would not want to let the monster see how quickly they wanted to get away.

We moved further down the trail and it was here we found the young monster. Unlike the adult, it was only about knee high to Steve, yet it was still far wider than it was tall. Mali approached the young monster without raised hackles after all; she had just put a huge monster in its place. Steve was very brave and even briefly sat on the young monster, while Mali circled it just in case. Then once again, we returned to our trek around the Green way.

~The actors in this real life drama were Steve playing himself, Sherri playing the bystander and Mali my 7 month old service dog in training played "Mali the Brave and Fearless".~
~The adult monster was played by a gigantic roll of hay and the young adult was played by a bale of hay~

 
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