The Scottish Terrier And Obedience

First of Three Parts  

The Scottish Terrier and Obedience – Part 1 - Consider Obedience

By Ray Rinaldi

The many breeds of dog existing today are the result of breeders’ efforts to combine function and form. In the past, function was all important. A dog that did not earn its keep was not kept. Our Scottish terriers were bred with short legs, punishing jaws, good noses, and double coats for their role in going to ground after prey. Personality also was bred for in regard to function. Independence, courage, tenacity was needed by dogs in the field. Today’s breeders still strive to maintain that functionality combined with elegance of form. It is the essence of our breed. It is what attracted us to them in the first place, and keeps us loving the breed through the years. We would not want them to be any other way.

For many of us today, however, the main function of our Scotty is not as hunter but as companion. We acquired our dogs to be company, entertainment, and diversion, something to care for and be cared by in return. We spend time with our dogs. We interact with them. Often, that interaction is more passive in nature than active. They sit by our sides while we go about our business. We watch them chew on their toys or bark at squirrels in the backyard. Some interactions are more active. We feed them. We brush them. We may take them for a nice run in the woods, or a walk on the leash in the park. It is very enjoyable for you and the dog certainly. You may not really be looking for anything more, but think about it, How connected are you? Your Scottie is intent on sniffing the ground (The best sniffs always seem to be just beyond the end of the leash.). His independent nature makes him pull you in the direction he deems to go in. You are connected by the leash, but sometimes he seems hardly aware that the drag at the other end is you. Have you ever thought about doing something that was a much more active, involved interaction with your dog? One where you actively engage him mentally and physically? One where he engages you mentally and physically? One where you do more than just co-exist but bond? One where you actually engage your dog as a partner, as a team member? One where you give your dog a purpose and function to perform for you and with you? Consider Obedience.


Scottish Terrier Obedience- Part 2 - A Place for All

Ray Rinaldi


One of the strongest recommendations for considering obedience as an activity for you and your Scottie is that it truly offers something for everyone. From local classes to national competition, there is a place in obedience for every dog and every owner.

Obedience has multiple levels and venues. You can be as casual or as involved as you and your Scottie have interest and aptitude. For the new puppy, there is Puppy Kindergarten. For the pet owner, there are Family Dog Training Classes or Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Courses. For those who “get bitten by the obedience bug” and want to get involved at a higher level, there are more advanced Obedience Classes.

Obedience is open to dogs of any age. No dog is too young. Puppy Kindergarten is a fun and wonderful way to introduce your Scottie to a lifetime of learning. No dog is too old. A dog of any age can learn new things and enjoy your attention. I did not start obedience with my first Scottie until he was 2 years old. We were both totally inexperienced when we started but we learned together and were able to go on to advanced levels. And many dogs start much older than that.

Obedience is open to dogs of any background. Formal Obedience shows (called Trials), even at the most advanced competition levels, are open to pet Scotties. Unlike Conformation showing, it does not matter if your dog has been spayed or neutered. It does not matter if your Scottie is a Rescue of unknown background. It does not matter if your dog is “pet quality” or a Champion. In Obedience, all dogs are considered equal. Pedigree does not count. Competition Obedience is a sport of intelligence and teamwork, not beauty and breeding, so all dogs enter the ring on an equal standing. Part Scottie “mixed” breed dogs can become the shining stars of their training class. In the last few years, even the American Kennel Club, the standard bearer for the promotion of the purebred dog, has become more open to allowing mixed breed dogs in Obedience Trials. True, a handicapped dog (deaf, blind, lame) is not allowed in formal AKC competitions, but I have certainly seen them in training classes where they succeed as well as any other dog. I myself have had a Scottie who became deaf when he was older but continued to go to training with him just for fun. I also was blessed to have a Scottie with Cerebellar Abiotrophy (a disease causing progressive loss of equilibrium) who I trained in obedience. He had more heart and spirit than any dog I ever knew and loved to do obedience training. He had to work harder than any other dog in class but he always gave 110%. He enjoyed my attention so much, and the training, and was so proud of himself when he accomplished something that we never stopped training, though we had to make modifications to accommodate his disability.

Speaking of disability, obedience is open to all owners. Over the years, I have seen and trained with owners who needed canes or wheelchairs. There are blind, deaf and hard of hearing trainers. There are owners whose movement has been compromised by a stroke. Obedience does require moving with your dog but it is not demanding physically. Young or elderly, abled or disabled, you can participate. Unlike a dog that is disabled and not allowed to compete, an owner who has a disability is always accommodated at a formal AKC trial.

Obedience Part 3 -Ray Rinaldi

The Scottish Terrier and Obedience – Part 3 – The Journey

In the first two parts we considered how obedience training might be a good fit for you and your dog, something you can enjoy together. That is a good attitude to take with you as you start your journey. You and your dog will be learning new things. Though there will be goals, milestones along the way; there is also a destination in the journey. Enjoy the time spent with your dog along the way. Like going on a cruise ship, getting there is most of the fun. Do not focus too much on the goals at first. They will come in time.

Dogs and their human companions are all starting from different launching points. Every dog and owner team will have their unique set of strengths and problems. One of the best pieces of advice and encouragement that I received early on was: “You work with what you’ve got.”

I am glad that we started doing obedience before I first heard “Scottish terriers don’t do obedience.” (Or don’t do it well). I am glad that we had instructors who looked forward to working with a Scottie team. I am glad that we did not have instructors who expected less of us because we were a Scottie team.

Take that first step in the journey. Find an instructor, class or obedience club that is a good fit for you and your dog. Over the years, I have been to many instructors. They can vary greatly in experience, techniques and teaching ability. It is always a good idea to ask if you can go to a class to observe.

Talk to the instructor and members of the class before you join. Do not assume one class is representative of all. You know your dog best. Make sure you are comfortable with the training techniques. An instructor with experience training terriers is to be desired.

Become aware of the unique Scottish Terrier temperament and physical characteristics which require techniques and adaptations in training that differ from training larger or working breeds. 

HEALTH BLOG


Welcome to the Health Blog of the Scottish Terrier Club of New England, Inc. In this Article regarding the health and well-being of our beloved Scotties we'll present some common things at home that could make you Scottie sick.  Future posts will cover a range of information from basic care of your Scottish Terrier to genetic issues that can be in the breed.


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Most responsible homeowners make an effort to keep harsh chemicals, rat poison and other dangerous substances away from pets. However, the same people may not realize how many other pet toxins lurk in the home.

Here are some other items that could make your pet sick:

1. Ibuprofen: You may have the best intentions in giving human pain medications to pets, but no drugs should be given to pets without first consulting your veterinarian. Ibuprofen in particular can cause significant intestinal and kidney damage and many other over-the-counter and prescription medications for humans can harm animals. Also keep in mind that child-proof medicine bottles are not necessarily animal-proof, and pets could ingest a whole bottle of drugs.

2. Pet medications: It's also important to keep animal medications out of reach of pets. They are often enticingly flavored, so if pets find their way into the bottle, they are likely to gobble far more than a safe dosage.

3. Grapes and raisins: It's also important to be careful with snacks for animals. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Some tests show as few as seven grapes can be toxic. Onions and garlic are also dangerous for both cats and dogs, though typically in larger amounts.

4. Sugar-free gum and mints: Sugarless candy and other items often contain xylitol, a sweetener that can cause low blood sugar and liver failure.

5. Chocolate: It's not a myth propagated by chocoholics trying to hoard their sweets. Chocolate can be deadly for dogs and other pets. A mild stimulant in chocolate can be far from mild for pets. It can cause seizures, vomiting, diarrhea and heart problems. Dark chocolate is particularly dangerous. Also, coffee and other caffeinated drinks contain similar substances.

6. Alcohol: Your dog may be your best buddy, but don't share a beer with him. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory problems in many animals, and may be deadly.

7. Lilies: Lilies top a long list of common plants that can be toxic to animals. A cat that eats even small amounts of lily parts can incur severe kidney damage. Other dangerous plants include sago palms, tulip bulbs, azaleas, rhododendrons, yew and English ivy.

8. Batteries: Again, most corrosive acids are kept away from pets, but pet owners may not think of keeping batteries well out of reach. Battery acid can cause corrosive injuries to the mouth and stomach of many animals. Liquid potpourri may also be similarly dangerous.

9. Christmas trees: If pets eat tinsel and other decorations, the material can cause intestinal problems. Similarly, Christmas tree water may contain dangerous bacteria and fertilizers.

10. Citronella candles: Citronella smells good, so it attracts dogs, but it can cause diarrhea and stomach cramps if ingested.

If your pet may have consumed one of the above toxins or other dangerous substances, contact your veterinarian or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Remember the best time to be prepared for an emergency is before it happens!

Common Sense Dog Safety ideas from Charlie Stevens

Everyday bits of knowledge that every dog owner has forgotten at least once. 

We all know never to leave our Scotties in a parked car with the windows closed in the summer. Winter can be just as challenging.  If it is15 degrees outside, it won't take long to reach 15 degrees inside a parked car.

Never leave your Scottie out in the sun for long periods of time.  Provide lots of shade for your Scottie, and always provide plenty of cool, clean water to prevent dehydration, inside ad outside in your fenced yard.

Dogs can have severe allergic reactions to insect bites.  If you notice your dog acutely swollen around the muzzle, or developing hives, it is best to get him or her treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Inflammatory response can lead to severe illness and respiratory distress.

Charlie Stevens at a Club Grooming Seminar

Read all labels of flea and tick medication carefully. Misuse can lead to toxicity and even death.

Scotties should not ride in truck beds. They can overheat there as well.

Avoid leaving windows and doors open in your house. A determined Scottie can tear through a screen.

Keep your scottie away from mouse, ant, and roach traps or bate. 

Human medications can be lethal to small dogs   Even chocolate can be toxic, even lethal.

Fertilizer, antifreeze and pesticides can be deadly to pets. Store them safely.  Don't allow you pet to walk on a freshly fertilized lawn

Finally if your a gardner, check the toxicity of the plans in your garden: Easter lily, Azalea and amaryllis, also  Lilly-of-the valley. Foxtail (spear grass) can be a health hazard for skin, ears, eyes and nose.  

Excerpts from Scottie Tails #1 2013

IN REMEMBRANCE.

C.S.LEWIS , a novelist, poet, academic, literary critic and lay theologian known for his literary work ,The Chronicles of Narnia, was reportedly asked at one popular lecture: "Will my dog be in heaven?".  He reportedly responded: Would it be heaven without your dog? Getting an answer in the negative, he then said, "well then your dog will be in heaven.  

There is a secular work by an unknown author "Just this side of Heaven is a Place called Rainbow Bridge"  The author imagines all animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor.  He imagines them all running and playing together. He imagines their excitement when you are spotted.: "You have been spotted and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again."  ...Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.

Please send a digital picture of your beloved Scottie who we can memorialize in this blog.




Agility events

Agility events

Agility is the one AKC venue where you can not only see dogs as true athletes, but also witness teamwork between the handler and dog that is unequaled in any other venue. As a worker you get an unequalled view from inside the ring.  You will be thrilled by some of the runs, amused by others and the agility teams of dog and handler try to negotiate the course as fast as possible while not committing errors that cost them points.  The atmosphere  is relaxed for the most part as the majority of participants are there to have a good time.

As a worker you not only get the best eat in the house, you will also get a free lunch, the gratitude of the judge and participants and satisfaction from knowing that you contributed to the success of the one event that provides most of the funs necessary for the club to function.  Agility keeps us solvent, so it is important that our trials run smoothly so that the entrants will come back next year. For this to happen we need club members to help, even if only for a few hours, during the weekend.