February 2015                                                                        


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     The motto of GSP Rescue New England is "You won't change the world by rescuing a dog, but you'll change the world for the dog you rescued."


    Never was that more true than with Ozzy, a GSP hit by a car and left for dead in South Carolina. 


     Read about how a Good Samaritan rushed to his aid, how Southern GSP Rescue and GSP Rescue New England teamed up to help, and in turn, how the rescue community and dog lovers from all over the country raised over $10,000 in little more than 24 hours to make it possible for Ozzy to have lifesaving surgery. 


     Ozzy is now in foster and on the road to recovery. His world has been changed. Know that you were an essential part of his being saved from certain death thanks to your involvement with GSP Rescue New England.


     We thank you and Ozzy thanks you! 



and Michele
GSP Rescue NE Board of Directors 
Good Samaritan Vera Rodriguez, left, with Ozzy!


Word came on February 7 of a GSP who had been hit by a car and left for dead in South Carolina.


A Good Samaritan, Vera Rodriguez, who happened to be in the area, came to Ozzy's aid after the person who hit him drove off, rushing the dog, who was suffering from dislocated hind legs, and a broken front leg, among other things, to an emergency vet in nearby Charlotte, N.C.


Ozzie, at the emergency vet. 


 Lauren Barker, Southeast GSP Rescue's South Carolina state  coordinator, was immediately on the case and working with Vera. As they waited for an evaluation by the vet, Vera knew whatever surgery Ozzy needed for his multiple injuries would be expensive, so a GoFundMe link was created to secure funds for any potential medical care. 


The rescue community sprang to action. In just over 24  hours, more than $10,000 was raised to help this poor dog.That's $10,000! Just amazing, and all by folks who cared enough to help a dog in need.


Ozzy, groggy from pain medication. 

 Donations ranged from a few dollars to several hundred and were sent from all over the United States, including many from us in New England.


Ozzy wasn't microchipped and his owner never stepped forward so he was taken under the wing of Southeast GSP Rescue. 


 Ozzy, after surgery.


He was successfully operated on and on Feb. 13, was discharged from the hospital. On Feb. 18, Ozzy was transported to Florida where he is receiving specialized rehabilitation and lots of TLC. 


According to the Southeast GSP Rescue Facebook page, his vet rehabber and foster mom reports, "What I like most is that he is stretching on his own and he is comfortable standing. Besides the surgery, he does have quite a few scrapes and cuts but seems to be mending well. He does tire quickly, as would be expected after his trauma and surgery, and he needs to rest for healing. He slept well last night and the thunderstorms that we had did not seem to bother him. He wags his tail and loves to eat ice cubes." :-)


Ozzy, today, safe and secure in a Florida foster home. :-)





Support GSP Rescue New England simply by walking your dog! Check out this app at http://www.wooftrax.com/ and use it each time you grab for the leash. It's healthy for you, your dog, and GSP Rescue NE!


In Memory Of Our Dogs ...


This is how we would like to think they left us while we held them in our arms. We loved them, we did our best to be true to their breed. May they be pointing birds forever. 




Everyone makes mistakes. 


There's no such thing as a perfect training or behavior modification session. Some of the best animal trainers show videos of themselves training a dog, beluga whale, or walrus and point out their training errors. 


The difference between a good behavior modification program and a bad one is the ability to spot these mistakes and correct ourselves, rather than punish the dog.




Distance affects reactivity. The closer you get to something you fear, the greater your level of stress. Once the stress reaches a certain level, the brain tells us to react in some way that increases our chance of survival, which can include avoidance . . . or aggression. The other thing the brain tells us is to stop wasting energy on non-essential functions in that moment. Like eating. Or thinking.


If your dog is exhibiting any type of avoidance or aggression in the presence of a dog, person, or other trigger, you are too close (early warning sign - your normally polite dog starts painfully ripping the treats from your hand). Anything you attempt at this level is only going to amount to temporary suppression of behavior, which is not the same as changing the underlying emotion behind the behavior.


Behavior modification happens at a distance the dog is aware of the trigger but not showing any negative reaction, often referred to asunder-threshold. If your dog reacts, MOVE. Get her out of the situation and to a distance that she can give you a behavior you can reward.



So, you don't like clickers because they seem gimmicky, and you don't want to say "Yes!" because it sounds silly. It doesn't matter what sound you use, but if you're going to be effective, you MUST have great timing. You will never have great timing with just the treat in your pocket.


The point of a clicker (or "yes!" or a click of your tongue, or whatever) is that you have a unique sound that marks the moment of your dog's brilliance. That sound has been consistently paired with rewards so that the moment your dog hears it, the reward centers of the brain start churning out dopamine, which feels good. So, even if you are caught digging around in the pocket of your jeans for the treat, you've still captured the behavior the instant it happened, increasing the chance that your dog will do it again next time.


Why not just use "good dog/boy/girl?" Well, because it's slower but, more importantly, you probably don't give your dog a food reward after saying it, so it doesn't have the association needed to have that feel good effect. Worse, if you say "Good boy" before patting your dog on the head, which he hates, you could be using a marker that has a bad association.


Things can happen quickly with a reactive dog and if you don't instantly capture that brilliant moment your dog looks at you the moment he spots a new dog, you're going to end up rewarding the wrong thing.



Reinforcement breaks down when people don't reward the dog for NOT doing bad behavior to begin with. I see so many dog owners out walking their dogs, completely oblivious to the fact that their dog is looking up at them, seeking some form of feedback. 


What does all this have to do with being stingy? Well, if you're only looking for perfect behavior, you're missing opportunities to reward less-than-perfect-but-still-better-than-aggressive behaviors your dog might be displaying.


Dog owners should look for two things:

  • Behaviors which are incompatible with the unwanted behavior (differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior - DRI). For example, looking at you is incompatible with biting a passerby. Your dog can't do both at the same time.  
  • Behaviors which are different than the unwanted behavior (differential reinforcement of other behavior - DRO). An example would be looking at another dog without barking. While your dog could bark, he's not doing so in that moment.

Now, technically, your dog biting YOU in the leg would be incompatible with biting a passerby in the leg. That's why an important part of behavior modification is teaching the dog a variety of behaviors we like BEFORE we head out in search of strange dogs or people.


The higher the rate of reward, the faster your dog will start to form a pleasant association to the presence of strange dogs or people. Stingy rewards result in stingy behaviors.



Your dog is doing really well watching kids in the playground across the street, giving you all sorts of good behaviors you can reward. So, you've decided you're ready to invite your neighbor and her three dog-loving children to your 800 square foot house for a play date to see how he does.


Dogs DO NOT need contact with the thing they fear in order for it to be a positive experience.


Dogs DO NOT need contact for socialization to occur.


Think of your favorite coworker. Do they hug you a lot? Snuggle up to you during meetings? Of course not! Positive associations can be formed without any physical contact at all.


Fifteen years ago, having a stranger feed a fearful dog was considered a good, positive approach to desensitization. However, we've discovered over the years that if a dog isn't ready to approach a person on their own, the treat is only going to mask the fear.


  Once the treat is gone, the dog is now much closer to the person than they are comfortable with. Depending on the dog, they may decide the best way to get distance is to use aggressive behavior. 


A far better approach is to start with the fearful dog at a distance from the stranger (and contact prevented by a leash or other management tool), with the owner dispensing all the treat rewards, just as we you do with a dog that was reactive to strange dogs on walks. This way, the dog is exposed to the new person, but at a distance that is safe for both dog and people.



Three seconds. That's the maximum amount of time that should be permitted for a dog to interact with a new dog or new person before calling them away. 


"1 - 2 - 3 - Rex, come!"


That's because three seconds seems to be just about right for a dog that is uncertain when interacting, but it's also not enough time for a person or dog to behave in a way that could trigger a reaction in the dog. 


A first meeting might consist of a dozen 3-second encounters, or it might consist of two. It all depends on the dog and the person or dog at the other end of the meeting.


First meetings are important, especially in behavior modification. When things are going well, it can be tempting to keep going and "see how he does," which is how many bites happen and fights start. Better the first meeting be a positive 3-second experience than a longer experience which only ends up reinforcing your dog's negative association to people or dogs.



You have permission to be rude. To turn your back on a perfectly nice person and walk away without a word. Why? Because every second you spend trying to explain to a well-meaning dog lover why your dog doesn't like their dog or doesn't want to be pet allows that person to get closer and closer.


It is better to be rude and forgotten five minutes later by a stranger than to be paying their dog's vet bills or explaining to animal control why your dog just bit someone.


Fine. You can't be rude? Here's one approach I teach clients which allows you to give your polite explanation, but gives your dog the distance he needs to feel safe.  It also turns the sharp, pointy end toward you, just in case.


Dogs Love Me:  Protecting Your Dog From Well-Meaning Dog Lovers
Dogs Love Me: Protecting Your Dog
 From Well-Meaning Dog Lovers

While ideas like the Yellow Dog Project are admirable, we're still trying to teach people not to leave their dogs in the car on hot summer days while they shop at the mall, so it's going to be a while before this becomes common knowledge.  In the meantime, you're still stuck with trying to explain to someone what the ribbon means.  Better to give your explanations over your shoulder or not at all.



If your dog is reacting in a way you don't like, he's telling you something.  He's telling you that the environment or situation you have him in is too much, that he doesn't know how to handle it.  LISTEN to what his behavior is telling you, then stop putting him in those situations where he feels the need to either escape or defend himself.  That's not training.  Training is about preparing your dog for those situations, teaching him behaviors that help him cope.  If he's relying on escape or aggression, that means he is not prepared. 


It is your job as his owner, his guardian, his leader, or whatever you choose to call yourself, it is your responsibility to keep him safe.  When he reacts with fear or aggression, that means that you set him up to fail.  Listen to your dog.  If you don't, he's going to resort to instinctive behaviors designed to keep him safe. 

In This Issue

Quick Links

Help Us Help Them
foster logo


GSP Rescue New England has a presence on Facebook. Go to: Facebook.com/GSPRescueNE
Cookbooks Still Available!

How 'bout some home cookin' for February?  


Get yourself a copy of "Point to the Pantry," a cookbook full of recipes by the GSP Rescue family. Cost? $10 per copy, plus shipping.

To purchase, go to the Rescue Store at www.GSPRescueNE.org

Look Who's Been Adopted!

More GSPs have found their forever homes!


They are: Rascal, Bryan, Henry, Kris, Trapper, Remi, and Sasha. 


Hooray for the dogs!! Hooray for their new families!! :-) 


Donations have gratefully been accepted this month from: Catherine Parmentier, Caryl Johnson, Kim Stewart, Animal Welfare Fund, Joan Lucas, Agilent Technologies (Bob Klepach matching funds), Bruce and Jan Grieco, Frank Straccia, Eleni Refthimiotakis and Vasilios Efthimiades, Margaret Bennett, Mia Unson (Monsanto matching funds), and Cheryl Coughlin.

 Thank you, thank you, thank you all for your generosity!


Recurring Donations

Thank you to these donors who have set up recurring monthly donations -- an easy process that can be set up on PayPal.

Donors are: Frank StracciaJeff Adams, Bill Crawford and Emilie Knisley


Thank you for your generosity!


Thank You, Donors!

For those who have graciously made donations to GSP Rescue NE and would like a receipt, please contact Celeste.


And, once again, a big THANK YOU to you all. :-)

Help From Our Friends
At Bissell

Click HERE to get to the Bissell website.

 Help Us With

Our Year-Round Fundraisers




Zeppa Studios designs and produces unique gifts for dog and other animal lovers. 


Their Project Rescue was specifically created to help rescue groups earn money and for customers to save money!


Enter the coupon code for German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue New England (GSPRNE) during your online check-out or mention it to the customer service rep when ordering by phone. Customers get 10 percent off their order, GSP Rescue NE will get 20 percent. 


For information or to see their product line, go to ZeppaStudios  


Dog Door Discount!

 Hale Pet Door logo

GSP Rescue New England is listed among rescue groups and shelters that have participated in Hale Pet Door's Rescue Rewards program. 
The Rescue Rewards works this way:  When  customers let Hale know that they adopted a pet (either recently or in the past), they receive a 10 percent discount on the cost of their Hale Pet Door.  And then Hale makes a donation for that same 10 percent amount to the organization that the customer tells them about.


In 2010, Hale donated more than $20,000 to rescues and shelters all over the country.  

For more information on Hale pet doors, go to www.halepetdoor.com

COMEDY CORNER                                                 


Dog earns her keep shoveling snow off hockey rink


Elsa, the yellow lab, had no time to build a snowman, or even play fetch.

The devoted Canadian dog was on a mission to help shovel her family's snow-covered backyard hockey rink.

Ignoring the tennis ball nearby, Elsa meant business when she bit down on the handle of a big blue shovel.

The dog, from Guelph, Ontario, confidently shoveled a straight path, even as she struggled to maintain her grip mid-way. 

Elsa's owner Greg Cox tweeted the clip out to his followers and tagged ESPN sportscaster John Buccigross, according to Huffington Post Canada. 

Cox wrote: 'So my Lab is ready for some hockey, are you @Buccigross @NHL ?? #backyardrink #Canada #hockey #puppy'. 

Buccigross, who wrote a weekly NHL column for ESPN's site for 10 years, tweeted Cox back and said 'Greg, that is beautiful!' 

The proud owner also tagged Budweiser in a separate tweet and asked them if they needed 'a new lab' for their commercials, alluding to their much-loved recent puppy advertisements.

When one Twitter user asked Cox how the family managed to teach Elsa the trick, he said she had never been trained. 

'We didn't teach her at all,' he wrote back. 'She watched us do it many times and loved being out there, so who knows?'