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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Seven Years!



Seven years ago, she came into my life.  Treasure, a small white, blind and deaf dog, has changed my life.  She has changed the lives for many, many dogs like herself through helping me educate.  She has become more than anyone had ever expected.  And yet, in the end, she's just my pal - my special girl.

I remember when I brought her home.  There were only a couple sites on the internet to find information about dogs that were both blind and deaf - and they were sorely lacking in appropriate and helpful information.  There were a few more sites about double merles, but not all of them gave information that would be helpful to someone who was adopting one of these special dogs.  

Misinformation and misunderstanding was the norm.  I felt like we were trail blazers to provide information, instruction, and an example. And so ... this blog was born.  So many people followed this blog as Treasure repeatedly broke down barriers and rose above expectations.  Over and over again she proved what was possible.  

Seven years ago, today, I typed in my first blog post.  The first of many posts that I hope have given my readers a glimpse into the magical life of a little dog and her friends.  So many posts that have helped many who were thinking of adopting but weren't sure if they could do it.  

For all the rescues and shelters and foster homes, just learning about double merles and how to communicate with dogs in a different way - Treasure helped to create hope.  So many dog's lives have been saved.  So many dogs that have gotten to stay in their homes, as we were able to help with training issues and concerns.

We have educated so many and now when I look online, there are so many sites and places to find information.  The word is out there!

There are so many double merles now doing fun dog sports and activities with their families.  That was almost unheard of when this blog began.  What a difference!  

Thank you to everyone who follows this blog, who shares it, and who recommends it to others.  I hope it will continue to be an inspiration and a source of useful information for another seven years! 

And, of course, a super special THANK YOU to my dear Treasure.  Without her, there would be no White Dog Blog.  She has been my special girl ever since I first laid eyes on her picture.  She has truly changed the world in so many special ways!  




Friday, August 18, 2017

Benefits of Enrichment




What is all this talk about enrichment?  Enrichment is defined as improving or enhancing the quality of something.  So, enrichment in our dogs' lives is about enhancing their quality of life, giving them interesting things to experience and do, and in the process, we enrich our own lives too.  Providing enrichment for our dogs is fun and lets us use our creativity.

When we add these interesting things to our dogs' lives, however, there are other, extra benefits that may appear.  Every dog can enjoy and benefit from enrichment, no matter what senses they rely on or what their physical abilities are.  

Sometimes when our dogs have physical or sensory limitations, they tend to slow down their activity levels or the things they try to do on their own.  And we accept this as due to those limitations, but often it's because the way they experience the world has changed.  A dog that can move easily and freely and that can experience its world fully with all senses, gets drawn to different objects, movement, and activities in its environment.  If this changes and the dog doesn't see, hear and experience things in the same way, it may stop interacting with its environment.

Adding enrichment to a dog's day-to-day life can help to keep it interested, happy, and content.  It provides a sense of well-being.  Enrichment offers the power of choice.  We can empower our dogs to make choices about what they do during the day, so they aren't just sitting around waiting for something to happen. 

Enrichment builds a dog's confidence with new experiences.  Keeping a dog used to change is important, because our lives with dogs don't tend to always stay the same.  By continuing to introduce change into a dog's lifestyle, that dog will be better able to adapt to any changes that come its way.

Providing new experiences in your dog's life will help to enhance its mental sharpness and problem solving ability.  Enrichment keeps dogs busy and gives them a job to do.  Many breeds of dogs were originally bred to have a job to do every day. Sitting around the house is a poor substitute for a job, and this is where many dogs find their own "job" - one which people don't always approve of!  

Enrichment can help a dog to learn to enjoy quiet time alone and can reduce separation issues.  It can provide activities for dogs that are recovering from surgeries or injuries and may need to have crate rest time.  Providing new experiences can reduce stress and boredom, and hence, can reduce stress and boredom-related behaviors that people often don't appreciate.  

Whatever your reason for wanting to provide enrichment activities for your dog, I know you will find it FUN!  Fun for you ... and for your dog!  

If you'd like to learn more about providing enrichment for your dog, check out the new online class at Uniquely Paws-Able.  Every week you will learn new fun activities to do with your dog, as well as about the many enrichment toys you can buy - and many more you can make yourself with things you already have around your house!  You will learn some of the science behind why enrichment is necessary in a dog's life, and how to use enrichment activities to ward off behavior issues.  Class starts next week!  Hope to see you there!  








Sunday, August 13, 2017

New Classes and Resources - Uniquely Paws-Able




Hello White Dog Blog Fans!

I'm excited to announce that Uniquely Paws-Able continues to grow to provide you with new resources and opportunities to learn and have fun with your dogs!  Take a look at what's new:

NEW this class session is Enrichment and Games - 6 weeks full of fun activities for you and your dog to do together to enhance his/her quality of life, to build confidence, and to ward off boredom and the behavior issues that often come with it.  Enrichment and Games will be kicking off on Aug. 26th. 

Offered again this session will be Grooming, Husbandry and Handling Games, due to popular demand.  Many of you missed it the first time around and asked for it to be offered again.  We will use positive reinforcement to help our dogs learn to enjoy and cooperate with everyday husbandry and grooming behaviors.  Past Grooming students, feel free to join us again this session if you'd like.  You already have access to the course material - we'd love to have you offering support in the Facebook group to the newer Grooming students!  This course will also kick off on Aug. 26th.

Offered as an ongoing self-study course, that you can join at any time, is Positive Reinforcement and Clicker Training.  This course will get you started off right on the road to training and communicating with your dog in a positive manner!  Start anytime!

The Easy Blog Reference Guide is offered FREE to students signed up through Uniquely Paws-Able.  With this guide, you can easily navigate The White Dog Blog and find posts of interest quickly.  Check out the Reference Guide today!

Another NEW offering is the FREE Library section - exclusive to Uniquely Paws-Able members.  I am building this Library as a resource center for those interested in double merles, blind and/or deaf dogs, training (for any dogs), wellness, and just wants to get into my head and see what I like.  There are some articles loaded there now - check back frequently!

I have new classes in the planning stages and would love to know what classes you're waiting for and would love to see!  Please reach out with your ideas!  This school is all about helping you learn more about your dog! 

Happy Training,


Deb

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Treasure Embraces Eleven!


How did it happen that this amazing girl is 11 years old already?  I'm struck by a mixture of emotions.  I want to bring time to a screeching halt so she never gets any older and I have her with me forever.  I've only had her with me for 7 years and I want to make up those years that I didn't have her with me.  I adore her and my whole heart belongs to her - and she knows it.  I look back and I am amazed at all she has accomplished and all we have created together as a resource for others with double merles and with blind/deaf dogs.  She has been a trail blazer for so many others coming along in her path.  

She has touched so many people's lives - some in person and some from afar.  So many people know her and know of her, that I am humbled over and over again.  I go over so many moments in my heart that are etched there forever.  I see her slowing down.  I see her aging.  My mind doesn't want to comprehend that she's getting older.  

But then I put on her party hat and pulled out her favorite treat - homemade frosty snacks!  Turkey doggy ice cream with special dog treats frozen into it.  And she shows me that age is all a number in my head.  She has no concept of these things I burden myself with.  Her love of life and ice cream, the way she greets me when I come home, how she snuggles with me at bedtime and gently licks me awake in the morning, or how she puts her tiny feet on my leg to get my attention - these are the things that make my heart sing daily.  

Just looking at her brings a smile to my face and a rush of love to my heart.  She's my girl and I'm her person.  Together we are an unstoppable team.  I am so grateful that I started this blog 7 years ago when Treasure found her way into my heart and my home.  I started it as a way to share with others so they could learn along with us.  And I've created a beautiful memoir of Treasure's life and accomplishments.  I hope you take some time to go back and read some of our posts that you may not have seen before.  

Happy Birthday and Gotcha Day, my beautiful Treasure!  I raise a toast of doggy ice cream to the blessing of many more years together as friends and partners.  Love you, Sweet Pea!  






Thursday, July 20, 2017

Invincible Vinny Branches Out!

Invincible means incapable of being defeated, conquered, or subdued.  That pretty much sums up Vinny's attitude toward life.  He is a full-speed ahead, always joyful, kind of guy.  And I haven't found anything that he won't put his whole self into doing. 

To help celebrate that invincible spirit, Vinny has branched out with his own Facebook page!  He will spread the word about being different and making the most of it, about positive reinforcement teaching, and about having great fun with your dog!  He will also educate about responsible breeding practices and why he was born the way he is.  

Come follow Vinny on his adventures!  There will even be some fun giveaways as the number of followers grows!  Here's his new address - https://www.facebook.com/InvincibleVinnyBDF/


Congrats to Vinny on his new ITD title!  




Monday, June 12, 2017

Table of Contents for This Blog!



YAY!  

I'm pleased to announce a new, easier way to navigate The White Dog Blog and find that post you're looking for without a hassle!  Thank you Rose for the wonderful suggestion to create an ordered way to sort through all the great information here! 

Here's how it works:

I am adding to my online school, Uniquely Paws-Able, to create an online resource center.  All of my new articles, etc, will be added there over time.  The first free offering there is the Easy Blog Reference Guide.  

When you click on the link, you'll be taken to a page that asks you to enroll.  If you are already a Uniquely Paws-Able member, you can log in and then click the enroll button to add the Reference Guide to your classroom area.  If you are not already a Uniquely Paws-Able member, please create an easy and free log-in account.  Then you can enroll in the Reference Guide area and you will be able to access the Guide as often as you'd like.

The Guide is broken down into topic headings which will help you to find the type of information and post you are looking for.  When you click on the topic heading, you will be taken to a page with all the posts pertaining to that topic. From there, it is just an easy click which will take you directly to that particular blog post!  

There is so much great information in this blog, but it has gotten large enough now that sometimes it's difficult to find just the information that you need.  I hope you find this resource helpful and will use it frequently!  

While you're at Uniquely Paws-Able, check out our class offerings - Positive Reinforcement and Clicker Training is now available as a self-study course so anyone can sign up and get started learning at any time without waiting for a class to start.  Grooming, Husbandry and Handling Games started this past Saturday, but enrollment will stay open through Thursday, June 15th!  


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What's NEW!

Lots of new things going on here and I really need to sit down and catch up on posts telling you all about it! I'll begin here - there is a new bar across the top of the blog page where you can put your email address and subscribe to get all my new posts here delivered straight to your email box!  This way you won't miss any!  

Treasure, Vinny and I represented double merles at Double Merle Awareness Day on May 20th.  We had a table to greet people and educate about the dangers of breeding merle to merle, as well as about how even blind and deaf dogs can be amazing!  We had so many people come to meet the dogs and talk to us!  It was a great opportunity to get our message out.  Thanks to Keller's Cause (www.kellerscause.com) for creating Double Merle Awareness Day, and for sending banners and handouts all across the country to make it easy for us to all educate others!




Treasure, Vegas, Vinny and I were featured in Effingham Magazine with another opportunity to tell people about how to prevent double merles (just don't breed two merles together!) and how to live with and train a dog that may have different abilities (blindness and/or deafness).  The reporter and photographer did a wonderful job on the story!




Uniquely Paws-Able online school is growing!  We are now offering Positive Reinforcement and Clicker Training as a self study class, so anyone is able to take the class at any time that's right for them and their dog!  A new class is starting June 10th with the topic of Grooming, Husbandry and Handling Games!  This is very exciting, as there are so many dogs that find touch, grooming and veterinary exams to be stressful. Often these situations turn into a struggle for dog and person.  This class will show how to use positive reinforcement to create a dog that is willing to cooperate with every day tasks such as giving eye drops, cutting toenails, grooming and more!

If you haven't signed up at Uniquely Paws-Able, be sure to go check it out.  Creating an account will sign you up to receive updates as more classes and resources are added at the site.  And, it's very easy from there to look over the courses that are offered and enroll in the classes you'd like to take.  Everything is online and we have students from around the world.  We'd love to have you join us!