newsletter header wide
HoofPrints Newsletter
February 9, 2012 DOGS Issue
My stupidest dog training mistake, ever
what I learned from this one set me on a whole new path
Frozen fish for dinner Shown here is our Jack Russell Terrier Lucy. She's pictured trying to bring a stiffly frozen bluegill into the house, for the umpteenth time (but that's a whole 'nother story) You can see more pictures of Lucy here.

Years ago, Lucy caused me to reconsider all I ever thought I knew about the validity of punishment as a training tool. Like many dogs, she is fiercely protective of anything that is hers. Bones and rawhide chips are highly coveted. I grew up in a household that raised large dogs. From the time they were puppies, we worked with them - and taught them that being snappy or growling at a human family member over food was absolutely not tolerated. It took forever for Lucy to adjust to this way of thinking. My usual way of dealing with this - which worked my whole life - on dozens of dogs - was to deal swiftly and severely with the crime of guarding food from human authority. And then benevolently return the object of controversy. Usually one session that included a swift swat and/or a loud scolding was enough to do the trick. Lucy growled every time. I'd careful extricate the object of desire - scold her for growling, and graciously return it. Everyone in the family knows the drill - and she was treated with consistency each time - with no real progress.

Then, during one of these attempted training sessions she bit my son Jordan and drew blood. I was right there monitoring the interaction - he'd done nothing inappropriate - so I did what I saw fit - I immediately snatched her up by the scruff of her neck and paddled her surly little butt. Fairly severe punishment - but biting is totally NOT allowed in our house. Thinking that surely must have solved the problem once and for all - I had Jordan offer her coveted rawhide chip back to her. She looked at it, trembling in fear. So, not only did I NOT solve the guarding problem - I succeeded in making her afraid of something she dearly loved. I cannot think of another time that I have felt more badly about an interaction with an animal. This was a textbook punishment - swift - immediate - almost as the "crime" was happening. And it's effect went terribly wrong.

It was nearly a year before Lucy could have a rawhide chip without the anxiety showing on her face. Had I not seen this with my own eyes, I would have NEVER considered that one swift correction could have such far-reaching negative ramifications. This event further eroded the base of training knowledge that I had accumulated throughout my life with animals, knowledge that I had smugly regarded as more than adequate to manage our myriad of creatures. It lead me to question everything I thought I knew as correct - and consider many avenues that I had previously viewed as ineffective. It's been a wonderful journey.
Look how far we've come...

Part of Martin Kihn's journey in his book "Bad Dog" was learning how to train  

Bad Dog cover his dog. Never having owned a dog before, he did not have the first clue about what to do. Consequently, his dog Hola, a Bernese Mountain dog with a challenging disposition, was out of control on multiple levels. And not just jump-on-people or tear-up-stuff out of control... She was surly and attacked people. Even her owners were not exempt from her aggressive behavior. It was so bad that it contributed (along with the author's alcoholism) to the breakup of his marriage. This book is about the redemption of both dog and man.

Because Martin had no preconceived notions about how he expected to execute the training of his monster dog, his commentary on what he observed as he entered into the world of dog training methodology is fascinating. And he doesn't spare anyone - no matter how well known or well accepted - from his careful scrutiny. He's not an expert and doesn't claim to be, but you sure can learn a lot from his unbiased and careful reporting of the information he gathered along the way. You can order Bad Dog here.

Consider this quote Kihn shares in the book:
"Hold (the dog) suspended until he has neither the strength nor inclination to renew the fight. Once lowered he will probably stagger loop-legged for a few steps, vomit once or twice, and roll over on his side. But do not let it alarm you." What medieval text would advise a person to choke their dog until it vomits? This is actually a quote from a long-time best selling dog training book "The Koehler Method of Dog Training". Written by William Koehler - head of training for Walt Disney Studios and the man behind the dog actors in Swiss Family Robinson and The Incredible Journey. Eek! This book was first published in in 1962, and has undergone 38 reprints - over 475,000 copies sold. All telling people to hang and choke their dogs.

Thank goodness better times have come. One of my very favorite folks to look to for wonderful dog training insight is Dr Sophia Yin. Be sure to spend some time on her website. She's got a wealth of free information there for the taking. And not just partial info that tries to hook you into buying stuff. Genuine, "I'm here to help" info that you can use. Her personal dog (Jonesy) is a Jack Russell Terrier. This is a challenging breed that's whip-smart, but not necessarily so interested in doing what's asked. They have boundless energy and tend to be a little on the nervy/high-strung side. He stars in many of her videos, and his cheery obedience is a joy to behold.
I'm Listening With A Broken Ear - NEW book tells big story

I've got a real dilemma with this one. I want to tell folks all about it -     

but it's a bit of a cliffhanger and I don't want to spoil the ending. (Ironically, this book discusses some training techniques that I don't necessarily agree with, however, desperate situations call for desperate measures.)

In a nutshell, the author finds a pathetic, nearly dead dog abandoned in a parking lot. She brings her home and nurses her back to health. Somewhere along the way the family realizes they are in way over their heads as the dog has behavior issues that they can't manage. Dangerous behavior issues. It's hard enough to find homes for dogs who behave perfectly, so rehoming this one was NOT an option. Vicky spends a lot of time online trying to solve the problem, and ends up getting hooked up with a rescuer named Malta. Malta supplies Vicky with a horse whip.  And teaches her how to do the "alpha roll" when the dog gets out of line. Now, before you run screaming, thinking you totally don't want to waste your time reading a work written by someone who keeps a whip in hand and rolls her poor dog - give this one a chance. You WON'T be disappointed. I guarantee it. It's thoughtful, spiritual, laugh out loud humorous - and the ending is so very good you will probably cry. Or cheer. Or both. There's a more detailed description and a couple excerpts to read here.

Almost as impressive as the families effort to rehabilitate this damaged dog, is the dedication of the rescuer who helped her. This gal and her husband work full time, yet they also run Hollow Creek Farm Equine & Canine Rescue on the side and place a LOT of animals. The fact that she managed to squeeze Vicky into her schedule, to help her save the dog from certain euthanasia, is remarkable in itself. Sometimes it's just easier to say "pick your battles" and devote time and resources to animals who are not so challenging. It made for a gloriously inspiring story, however, with the rescuer (Malta) encouraging Vicky to write this book. The very last sentence = "You should write this all down," Malta tells me, "It might inspire someone else who is ready to give up." And so I have.

We are selling this book for a bit more than the suggested retail, with the extra money going to Hollow Creek Farm Equine Canine Rescue.

disappearing mud mug We also have our Dog Lovers Disappearing Muddy Pawprints mug on sale for HALF PRICE, with ALL of the proceeds going to Hollow Creek Farm. This is an 11 oz white ceramic mug with a fun twist. It's imprinted all over with muddy paw prints, and the words SMILE! IT'S ONLY MUD. Fill the cup with hot liquid, and the most amazing thing happens. The words & paw prints dissolve away, revealing a pack of smiling dogs. As the cup cools, the words & paw prints reappear. It works over and over again. To see this and all our other HALF PRICE items, click here.
DON'T DUMP THE DOG! Every dog owner should read this book

- and now we've got an online excerpt to get you started - click HERE      

Don't Dump The Dog Cover Most folks who live in a rural area have experienced this. A strange dog shows up at your place. He or she appears to be somebody's dog - it's apparent someone's given the dog care. Sadly, the dog waits for his "master" to come back for him - and they never do. The dog's been dumped. Someone decides they can't (don't want to) keep it any longer, so they take their doggie friend for a ride in the country... and leave him there. In urban areas, folks just toodle down to the animal shelter and dump their dogs there - without the bother of casing a likely home in the country with the proverbial "big yard".

This book is written by someone who's worked in one of those shelters where people surrender their dogs, every day. Randy does what most of us can't - he works tirelessly to place all these dogs without euthanizing any. Mama dogs dropped off in the nick of time - BEFORE they deliver a litter of puppies, fighting dogs, starving dogs, sick or injured dogs... you name it, Randy's had it. And he's pretty mad.

Cleaning up all these messes left by irresponsible and stupid people can do that to a person. In the stories, he speaks of therapy sessions with his shrink, psychiatric medications, alcohol and caffeine. Thankfully, he's channeled his anger in a most productive way - this book. It's about the funniest book I have ever read. And, bless his heart, he's included concise, step-by-step instructions for solving most dog behavior problems that we all encounter. There's none of the "pack leader" bullying stuff, either - it's all delightfully positive, constructive and sensible training. And in case you think all this might be a little boring, take a look at some of these chapter titles:

A.D.D. Dogs
Shuuut Up!
The Turd Eaters
Cujo in the Dog Park

Gina's note: Even if your dog doesn't eat turds or attack in the dog park - you'll be captivated by this book - it's humorous, serious, informative and inspirational. Randy is a brilliant writer and I am so thankful that he shared his (and his dog's) stories. To order the book click here

New wood sign reminds you how to handle stress like a dog.
If you can't eat it, or play with it, then pee on it and walk away.
Handle Stress Like a Dog Good advice, if you ask me. Dogs don't spend time worrying. They size up an object or situation, decide if it could be fun or tasty - and if not, they take a potty break and go on their next adventure. Even if that adventure is a nap.

This distressed, crackle-painted wood sign is MADE IN USA of real wood (not pressed wood composite) It measures 12"x12"x5/8" thick and has a hanging slot on the back.

To order click here
Dog lovers scrapbook kit & other dog gifts preserve memories
This would be a fun gift for anyone with a new puppy...
Doggy Scrapbook or even for someone who'd lost an old dog and would like to compile a keepsake for memories. When Zack died, and I set about creating his tribute video (that's here) I realized I had pictures of him scattered all over - in albums, on the computer, etc. I even still have his AKC papers, and the results of some genetic testing we had done for a muscle disorder. (weird, I know - but you never know when you might need the AKC papers and genetic test results for a neutered, dead dog...) I once had a dreamcatcher woven of shed hair saved from another beloved dog - (that's a whole 'nother story... see GOOD STUFF below for photo) Anyway, this album would be the perfect place to round up all that stuff and keep it all together, more info here.
Also shown in this picture is our sterling silver Angel Dog Necklace and Dog Keepsake Box, those are sold here.
If you've never checked out our other DOG products, now's the time
We've got a lot of rare prints online that have never been in catalogs.
Dog category page When we acquired HoofPrints from original owner Judy Sprague in Massachussetts, (story here) with that inventory came a LOT of one-of-a-kind, rare prints from sold out limited editions. Since they were sold out editions, it didn't make sense to put these in the catalog, as we couldn't guarantee supply to customers. Ebay's not worked that well - (although we did sell one very rare print of a  Clumber Spaniel to someone in Australia for $800.) My point is, there are some real treasures languishing here in the print drawers.
We've got hand-pulled etchings by master printmaker Henry Wilkinson in 7 different breeds. I suspect these are worth far more now than the prices we've got listed (remember - the Clumber Spaniel print above was released at around $150.)
Also prints by the famous (and now deceased) British sporting artist Mick Cawston. And of course the infamous Poker Dogs, which are neither rare nor expensive, but still funny... To explore our dog products, click here.
Recap - From the last newsletter
Here's what we talked about last time:
2012 spring catalog cover HoofPrints Catalog Spring Edition available here
Download a copy RIGHT NOW here
Heavy Stainless Horse Hoof Openers here
New book: Care & Rehabilitation of the Equine Foot here
FARRIERS: Folks are Watching You - explanation here
New Farrier Business Cards
added to online directory - list is here
Gina rants about copyright infringement here
books here 
Riding Rules for Old Horsewomen here
Pewter Heart on Deerskin
thong necklace here. 
3 Horsey T-shirts -
set for UNDER $40. here
Farrier Travel Mug is BACK! Order here
Until Tuesday
; a soldier & dog who helped him here 

- See what you missed! Click HERE to catch up on the news.
More about HoofPrints - and miscellaneous ramblings from Gina 
Check out our NEW "GOOD STUFF" links at the bottom of this section! 
Farriers Greeting Cards was started by Gina Keesling in 1986 (in a very small way) to provide helpful promotional materials for farrier husband Rob. This newsletter is emailed to subscribers a few times a month, depending on how often I have something to share. Watch for special sales, interesting stories, uplifting quotes and more.


This week's quote is by an unknown author:

A Prayer for the Animals

"Lord, you love the animals as you love your children.
We give thanks for how you use them to teach us lessons of your unconditional love and forgiveness. Help us to be kind to the creatures you put in our care,
as they look to us in the same manner that we look to you.
Lord, teach us patience and understanding
so that we will seek to find all that is good about these creatures.
We thank you for the life of every pet and ask you
to prepare a warm and happy place for them
where they may know of your love and find rest within the shadows of your care."



Thanks everyone, for reading!
Gina Keesling, owner 

 Contact Information


Links to things we like, things that make us smile, things we want to share...  

War Horse Movie Poster I saw War Horse last weekend - we went on a Saturday night and surprisingly there were only about a dozen other people in the theatre besides us. I took a pocket full of kleenex and didn't need a single one. I enjoyed it, it was a thoughtful story, and as much as I've seen it discussed online, I had no idea what was going to happen, so that was cool.

There were a few equine blunders that I am surprised they let through, but nothing major. There's an article that was published in Guideposts Magazine - about how the author of the book War Horse came to arrive at the story here.

And some blog posts by my favorite equine reporter Fran Jurga concerning farrier, horseshoe and hoof trivia relating to the movie here and here
Share our emails
Viral marketing... it sounds bad, doesn't it?
You can ask my husband - a frequent topic around here is that of forwarded emails - and the psychology behind them - just WHAT prompts people to decide; "I am going to send this to everyone I know!".

We receive a lot of them. Some are pretty good, and others are dumb. Dumb in a myriad of ways...  Alarmist email rumors that have been around forever - that folks keep sending "just in case it's true" Pictures of someone's butt (or worse) - don't even get me started about the firecracker butt - but at least that one was timely when it showed up around July 4. Christian messages that are uplifting - until you get to the end and you're threatened "if you're not ashamed that you love Jesus, forward this - if you are, then delete." Pictures of cute puppies and kittens (awww)

I enjoy writing these newsletters - and sharing all this stuff with you all. But the fact is, it's also a way to help us stay connected with customers and sell products during the time between catalog mailings (which is only once a year) So I really, really like it when someone new stumbles upon the newsletter and is excited to "discover" our company and the products we offer.

In all my efforts to make the newsletter interesting and forward-worthy - it never occurred to me to JUST ASK you all to send it! Duh. Sometimes the obvious is elusive, I guess. So here goes - my request to ask you to forward our email newsletter to your horsey friends.  All we ask is that you please be judicious and only send to folks who might be interested. Otherwise we are no better than the "firecracker butt". Click to get started. (please note - using this form does NOT subscribe anyone to our list - it is a one-time only forward)