Meet Fiona, A.J and Sheldon - In Memory of Alan
These beauties are the much loved family members of Brienne and Lockie Stewart-Baker. Princess Fiona as she is better known is a Veiled Chameleon and definitely not a ‘pet’ for the faint hearted.
She has very special requirements. She needs a constant and correctly humidified jungle like enclosure. To get it right the couple use a mister that sprays water 3 times a day in her enclosure. A beautiful green in these photos, Lockie says she can be quite grumpy which means that she turns darker as their colour changes with their moods. Naturally distrustful she is also not afraid to head butt them when she would rather stay in her enclosure, Chameleons are not very social.
Fiona eats crickets and worms for her staple diet. Caring for a Chameleon is a complicated but rewarding effort and should be properly researched before spending the time and money on a proper enclosure to ensure they have what they need to be safe and healthy. There is a specialist vet on the island and if you were considering this type of pet it would be a good idea to speak to them first.
Alan, a Bearded Dragon who is pictured sunbathing on the wall above the parc de la mar in Palma is sadly no longer around but he apparently did like to go for a walk with his ‘dad’ sitting atop his shoulders as they walked around Palma.
AJ another bearded dragon is now 5 months old. AJ stands for Alan Junior but they are not actually related. He is much easier to look after. Bearded dragons are bred captive and Lockie says some people even make little harnesses to take them for a walks, they are pretty chilled pets apparently.
They like a dry climate with a warm basking spot so he has his own terrarium with those conditions and he also eats crickets and worms. Brienne hand feeds AJ on the floor and he likes to chill out as much as have a run around.
The last pet in this house hold is Sheldon. He is a Russian tortoise and not an endangered species. Currently asleep in a box for hiberation, the couple are in the middle of building him a new enclosure to enjoy when he wakes up. He is pretty simple and eats lettuce while chilling in his cave.
Obedience Training Part 2
with Joachim Sommer
Last week we defined what obedience training is (teaching our dog to carry out certain tasks on cue like sitting, lying down, coming when called, going to “their place” etc.) this week we want to look at how and where we should teach our dog and what we need. In order to initiate the process we need a motivator and a reward, although for a few dogs simply interacting with us is enough to motivate and reward them most will need something more potent. In most cases food (their favourite kibble, dog treat or a piece of sausage) serves this purpouse very well, for dogs that are not food motivated a tug toy or a ball may be an alternative. Start with training simple things in a “low distraction” and low stress environment.
The living room or maybe the back yard are good places to start.
Actively teaching the dog their name as a cue to get their attention, to “sit” or “the target” (the dog touches the hand held out to them with their nose or paw on cue) are good first steps.
If you have more than one dog start working with each of the dogs individually! Once the dog gets that paying attention to and interacting with you is more beneficial to them than ignoring you, you will see that the dog more and more thinks about what you want and is more eager to comply. Then you can start teaching more difficult things . Once they reliably carry out the task in a given environment we can raise one of the three difficulty levels (3 D’s):
1. Increase the Duration a task (like sit) is carried out
2. Increase the Distance to us when carrying out the task (i.e. remain sitting when handler walks away)
3. Increase the Distraction by changing venue or introducing a stimulus the dog is interested in like bringing a cherished person, animal or object into the training environment.
Dos and Don’ts:
Reward your dog A LOT when training a new task or when choosing a greater difficulty.
Phase out the rewards gradually and randomly once the dog knows a task.
Be patient, let the dog think, DON’T repeat commands! WAIT at least 20-30 seconds. before repeating or (better) asking them to do something different (simpler).
One of the “dangers” in training is that the dog does not do anything unless they are shown their reward, i.e. they need to be “bribed”. This usually happens when the handler was impatient during training (for example the recall) by quickly holding out a treat for them when the task is not executed in a split second.
Don’t be predictive, the dog will soon know you are training at the same time every day and work perfectly then. Try to work the training in your daily schedule so they can’t predict when you ask them to do something.
“Baby steps”! Raise the difficulty levels gradually and individually.
Give the dog a break! They usually will let you know when they need one by walking away, sniffing at things or being generally distracted.
Use rewards the dog likes but doesn’t get them overly excited.
Please visit our facebook page “perrocador” for more tips and tricks in training your dog.