Molniya Tries The Agility

Posted in dog training, pets with tags , , , on May 15, 2013 by rattlerjen

Our little puppy is growing so fast!

She did an amazing job on the agility today.

Are there treats in that hand?



Arrr!  I walk the plank for those tasty morsels.


walk the plank


Treats?  I don’t need silly treats!  Even this swinging plank is cake!


swinging plank


I think I might need a bit of help with this one

pipe bridge


Climb the stairs?

open stairs


Almost there.

almost there


I did it!

i did it


Down under we go!

short stuff


You want me to go in there?

tunnel 1


For a frisbee?  SURE!



Woo hoo! Let’s do more!


Rovers on the Rubble

Posted in dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , on May 13, 2013 by rattlerjen

Today, our team trained on the urban search and rescue’s rubble pile.  I got some wonderful pictures of some of our fantastic pups braving the wreckage.

grummanrubble1 IMG_1689 IMG_1696 IMG_1742 IMG_1793 IMG_1841 IMG_1867 IMG_1915

A little new puppy update for spring

Posted in dog training, pets with tags , , , , on April 1, 2013 by rattlerjen

We have been busy here

Our new puppy is growing up so fast.  She can do nose work like nobody’s business!  We have been to two dog obedience classes and have had a lot of fun.

Starting over with a brand new puppy is hard work!

I have forgotten all of the things that I must do to turn her into a good search dog.  Time to review some of my previous posts! – 10 Dynamite Tips for a New Search and Rescue Dog

Right now we are working on her recall.

I have fallen into the dog training trap nearly all of us have done at one time.  She has a fantastic recall at home. (She looks a lot like the roadrunner from the cartoons,) her feet all a blur when coming when called.  Alas, when we are out and about.  She can decide a blowing leaf, a blade of grass, or a pile of deer poo far more important than listening to me.  It seems like such a pain in the touche to grab the long line, treats, toys, and pile the dog in the car to drive to someplace new for every training session.  So, I convince myself I will do it tomorrow and simply train my dog in the living room.  BAD dog owner!  This is something that will come back and bite me in the touche.  It is like going to the gym or for a walk, no one wants to get up and do it, but once there you are glad you did. I timed my last training session outing and it only took 10 minutes all told!  That includes the drive to and from the park!

Lesson learned.

If you want a well behaved dog, you need to take little field trips.

Now shut up, put those shoes on, and get off that bum!


The recall is very important to Search and Rescue dogs because we work air scenting dogs off leash. Forget the idea of the bloodhound dragging the handler around the woods.  Those are how tracking/trailing dogs work.  My dog can choose to chase deer, roll in poo, play with another dog, splash around in the stream, or work. He can play keep away and chase me games if he wants. Grom, my operational search dog choses to work instead.  He will even come back to a call or whistle blow while in hot persuit of a herd of deer!  How did I get such a wonderful recall?  Practice.

Practice at home with no distractions.  Then practice in many other places without distractions. Then add distractions working closer to the distractions and then working around more difficult distractions.

Best I get started then.

Tinkering with the Robot

Posted in dog training, howto, pets with tags , on January 28, 2013 by rattlerjen

This is what my husband got me for Christmas

Manners Minder Kit

Manners Minder

It has turned out to be a very cool way to train my dogs from a distance.

Here is Grom playing with his new toy.

My husband is a genius!

Our new little puppy, Molniya seems to have trouble staying quiet in her crate.  She has learned to bark in there and throws some pretty nice tantrums.  In order to reward her for being quiet, we needed a way to reward her.

Sure, we could drop a few treats in her crate every time we walked by, but wouldn’t it be more fun and rewarding for her to get treats even when we were somewhere else in the house?

My hubby found a great solution with a little bit of work.


  • dremel
  • funnel
  • board
  • rubber bands
  1. First, cut a hole in the top of the crate just big enough for the end of the funnel to fit through.
  2. Measure how far the funnel drops into the crate.
  3. Then measure the thickness of the board you will be using on top of the crate. (see video) We used a sheet of plywood. Cut a hole in the plywood the same size of the hole you cut in the top of the crate.
  4. Remove the food tray on the Manners Minder (it comes off easily for cleaning.)
  5. Bend the funnel flat on one side so that it lies flush with the manners minder tray area.
  6. Then, cut the funnel so that is not sticking into the hole in the crate and lies flush with the roof. The funnel will be cut at an angle since it will be lying against the Robot.
  7. Tie together enough rubber bands to fit around the back of the manners minder to either side of the funnel.  Drill a hole on either side of the funnel where the rubber bands will attach to.  Tie the rubber bands to either side and adjust so the funnel lies flat in the tray area.  Make sure the funnel is not blocking the hole where the treats come out!
  8. Put the board on the top of the crate and line it up with the hole in the crate.
  9. Place the funnel in the hole.
  10. Place the Manners Minder up against the leaning funnel and pull the rubber band loop around to the back of the robot to hold it on.
  11. Fill er up and let er rip!

Watch this baby at work!

Video from the top

Video from the front

When to Deploy Search and Rescue Canines

Posted in pets, Search and Rescue with tags , on January 19, 2013 by rattlerjen

I would like to give a shout out to a fantastic website I found today about how to deploy search and rescue dogs.  The website gives a wonderful description on the different kinds of search dogs and how they are best used in a search.

Find the fantastic posting here:

Scents Ability Search Dogs


Posted in dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , on January 18, 2013 by rattlerjen

What a beautiful day it was at training.  The weatherman assured us it would be warm and sunny in the afternoon, but it turned out to be foggy all day. Spooky and gorgeous.

We started off with some obedience practice with all of the dogs.  I think Grom did a bang up job on his recall and his down stay.  I do have to admit that our heeling is abysmal.  No worries, I taught him to walk on the right side so now I can teach him a proper heel on the LEFT side using only shaping techniques.  Yay, a fun project!

Molniya, our new puppy is learning what search and rescue is all about.  She absolutely loves everyone and everything.  She also gets (squirrel!) distracted very easily and has yet to figure out what she is supposed to do when she is taken out of the car.  I love puppies they are so CUTE!  Our little girl is one quick study.  This is her second time out of the car at training today and she quickly gets in to the barking for her toy.  I think she is well on her way to getting the hang of this thing!  Good girl.

Here she is a few days before.  She spent probably five minutes sniffing around before she decided to get her brain in gear.  She finally gave me a nice bark and got some very nice play.  Then, a man started throwing a ball for his off leash dog in the park.  WHOA!  puppy brain distraction major event!  I needed to end on a good note with her attention on barking for the toy, not for the awesome free dog with the ball running around. So, I moved her to the other side of my car where she could not see the other dog and tried again.  SCORE!  What a good girl.

Molniya Gets a uniform

Posted in life with a working dog, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , on December 4, 2012 by rattlerjen

We received Molniya’s vest in the mail today.  It fits her perfectly.  Nothing looks better on a black dog.  At least her “brother,” Grom, thinks so.


She is fitting in so well.  The best part is she loves to bark!

What sort of dog owner wants their dog to bark?  These people must be crazy!  We are teaching her to bark on command for her favorite toy.  Barking is what she will use to tell us she has found a missing person.  She will then get her toy reward for a job well done.

She fits in so well around here.  Molniya loves playing with her big brother, Grom. She also loves chasing balls in the backyard.  She loves bubbles most of all;  she will do anything for them!

Someone does need to tell her to stop trying to eat the stink bugs. EW!

Meet Molniya

Posted in pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , on November 27, 2012 by rattlerjen

A name that means lightning

I think it’s a pretty good fit.

Meet the newest member of our pack. Mini-G or Molniya is a Belgian Malinois that was given up by its owners because she was destroying the house.  That’s a malinois for you. She needed a job.  She also got a big brother in the bargain.

Molniya (pronounced Mol – nee- ya) brings joy to everything she does.

Her favorite thing is to try and lick you to death while furiously wagging her tail in a big circle. She was given up to a wonderful rescue organization called Bully Paws as a puppy because she was just too much for a family with a toddler.

What a goofy puppy

She was soon adopted out to a family that just did not know what they were getting in to! Belgian Mals certainly are not the sort of dog that likes to go for a simple 30 minute walk, a few minutes of ball play, and will sit on the dog bed for the rest of the day.  She will go non-stop for hours!  When she is bored she will reign destruction on anything within reach.

I wonder what I should destroy next?

She was given back to the rescue organization and lived with half a dozen adorable pit bulls in her foster home.  Her foster “Mom” and pitt buddies were beginning to have enough of her shenanigans. The little minx was playing with the bullies to exhaustion and bugging everyone long after they were done playing for the day.

Her foster parents even had to put her crate in a quiet room and put a towel under the door so that she would get some sleep!

ball ball ball ball!

Until she grows out of her puppy brain, She gets lots of kongs and other nice toys in her crate while we are gone. No eating shoes like Grom did little girl!

Here she is getting evaluated as a search dog, playing with Todd.

She is the perfect candidate for a working Search and Rescue dog.  She loves everyone including children, strangers, dogs, and even other animals.  Most of all, she loves playing tug!

I think aaron has taken to her

We are truly lucky to have been introduced to this wonderful girl.  Look for further postings on her progress in search training along with her big brother. Grom.


Search for a Missing Hiker in Augusta

Posted in Search and Rescue with tags on November 19, 2012 by rattlerjen

A large part of our team went out searching for a missing hiker this past week.  Here is Danne, one fantastic German Shepherd on our team and her handler interviewed on the news.

Missing Staunton Man


NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Calendar Cover Duo

Posted in pets, Search and Rescue with tags , on November 6, 2012 by rattlerjen


Grom and I are featured on the cover of this year’s Calendar from Virginia Search and Rescue Dog Association.  Get yours today!  A donation of $10 gets you the gift of the calendar filled with gorgeous photos.

If you live in the Northern Virginia Area, I may be able to deliver yours by hand and save you the two dollar shipping charge.  Just email me at

And yes, it is tax deductible and you are welcome to donate more.  It’s a perfect gift for the holiday’s and for a good cause.

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