Shasta Dogs Blog

It Just Keeps Getting Better!

Posted over 5 years ago by Holly

In reviewing 2015, the Shasta Dogs team is amazed at all the people and dogs who have joined us in active & responsible dog ownership! It's been a time of dear friendships, lots of learning, and excitement for the year to come.

We have more resources and contacts than ever for creating opportunities to train and enjoy dogs! As this year comes to a close, make a New Year resolution to get involved in your community through your beloved dog.

If you need a bit of inspiration, just look at the opportunities!

Lure coursing is a great outlet for a dog's natural hunting instincts. We will be continuing this fun, high-speed activity for fit, adult dogs.

Sheep herding clinics with Patti Wells were a blast. Herding is scheduled to resume in April, after lambing season.

Shasta Dogs is now associated with Barn Hunt Association LLC. We look forward to growing this delightful sport in Northern California

Puppy Social & Obedience Training

Among the participants of our Fall series, several have gone on to Search & Rescue, CGC certificates, and Rally!
New training clinics and classes are planned for 2016. Watch the newsletter or calendar!

The Shasta Dogs beginning agility workshop, taught by Diane Ostrem and Jennifer Phillips, was very popular! We hope to soon offer "Agility Basics" in a more permanent location.

So many other highlights from this year!

  • Hundreds of school kids learned about dog sports and training at Shasta Dogs demos.
  • The very successful "Stay & Come Trials" will be returning to Love Your Pet Expo at the Shasta District Fairgrounds next year!
  • Shasta Dogs' team ranked in the Top 10 nationwide for Morris Animal Foundation's "Unite to Fight Pet Cancer" fundraiser.
  • We had a successful fundraising yard sale with many contributions!
  • Since its beginning, Shasta Dogs has hosted over 100 free training walks on Redding-area trails.
  • Second appearance at the Redding Lighted Christmas Parade

Because our memberships are Jan-Dec, now is the ideal time to sign up for Shasta Dogs' 2016 season! You'll get our team t-shirt, decal, special email notifications, and discounts on ALL Shasta Dogs' events! You'll be investing in improving our future events and spreading responsible dog-ownership to Northern California! Ready to plug in? Email Shasta Dogs for more info on membership!

Stay & Come Trials

Posted about 6 years ago by Holly

A fun contest to test your dog's training!
Located at Hawes' Ranch, just south of Redding on Dersch Rd, during the Love Your Pet Expo and Super Adoption Event on April 18th!!

Entry fee is $5, prize values are scaled according to Level difficulty, with values of $5-75. Signup at Shasta Dogs booth day of event. Main trials will be held at 11:45 and 2:45. Prize will be awarded according to highest level achieved. One prize per handler, per day. Handler is allowed two (2) attempts per level to pass the trial. Prize will be awarded according to highest level achieved.


This event will test contestant's training of the "come" command!

Dog may be left in a “sit” or “down” position or held by an assistant behind starting line. If the dog is left in “stay”, it may not change positions until owner calls.

Owner will stand within the Marked Area (MA) and may call and gesture to dog. Stepping out of MA ends trial.

No food or toys on trial field.

Dog must wear a flat collar or body harness only.

Owner must touch dog's collar or tab (less than 1' in length) before 10 second time limit at all levels.

LEVEL 1: Distance of 15 feet.

LEVEL 2: Distance of 30 feet.

LEVEL 3: Distance of 30 feet, 1 plate of food and 1 tennis ball in path. Eating or carrying food/toys ends trial.

LEVEL 4: Distance of 40 feet, 3 plates of food (various), 2 tennis balls, and 1 other toy. Eating or carrying food/toys ends trial.

LEVEL 5: Distance of 60 feet, 3 plates of food (various), 2 tennis balls, and 1 other toy, AND moving lure crosses between dog and owner after dog is released. Eating or carrying food/toys/lure ends trial. Following lure into "freeway zone" ends trial.

*Exact distances & distractions may be adjusted on day of trial based on site conditions.


This event will test contestant's training of the "stay" command.

Dog may be left in "sit" or “down” within a Marked Area (MA). Dog will be tethered to a ground stake attached to a secure flat collar or body harness by a leash no more than 6' long. No other extra collars or equipment on dog.

Dog may change position from sit, down, stand. No part of the dog except tail may cross the MA.

Owner will stand and move as directed by judge.

Owner may speak to the dog throughout the trial, except at Level 5. Food and toys not allowed on trial field.

Trial concludes when owner re-enters MA with dog.

LEVEL 1: Owner will leave dog in MA and go to a point 10 feet from the MA. They may return immediately to their dog.

LEVEL 2: Owner will leave dog in MA and go to a point 15 feet from the MA. They must stay at the point for five seconds before returning to their dog.

LEVEL 3: Owner will leave dog in MA and go to a point 15 feet from the MA. They must stay at the point for five seconds before returning to their dog. Meanwhile, helper(s) will toss up to 3 food items outside of MA, within 24” of MA boundary, to the front of the dog.

LEVEL 4: Owner will leave dog in MA and go to a point 30 feet from the MA. They must stay at the point for ten seconds before returning to their dog. Meanwhile, helper will toss up to 3 food items outside of MA, within 24” of MA boundary, to the front of the dog; a second helper will toss a tennis ball no closer than 10' from the MA.

LEVEL 5: Owner will leave dog in MA and go to a point out of sight of their dog. They must stay at the point for 1 minute before returning to their dog. Meanwhile, helper will toss up to 3 food items outside of MA, within 24” of MA boundary, to the front of the dog; a second helper will toss a tennis ball no closer than 10' from the MA.

*Exact distances & distractions may be adjusted on day of trial based on site conditions.

Aggressive Tendencies

Posted over 6 years ago by Holly

I just watched a sweet little video featuring frolicking pit bulls that made the statement
"Responsible ownership can prevent any aggressive tendencies"

Well, no, actually it cannot........

A lower threshold ("tendency") for aggressive behavior is NOT all based on how a dog is treated or trained. It's also part of an animal's DNA.

Predators need both offensive (hunting/killing/taking) and defensive (reacting to a threat or challenge) aggression. Aggression is a normal and natural survival..... READ MORE

Therapy, Service, and Support Dogs

Posted over 6 years ago by Holly

There is a great deal of misunderstanding and agitation recently about illegitimate "service" dogs entering North State businesses.

The "services" that dogs can perform are multiplying, and not all of these uses are obvious. Diabetic alert, PTSD, autism, and seizure-alert dogs may accompany a person who looks perfectly "healthy". Also, lab, golden retriever, and German shepherd dogs are no longer the only breeds used for service. READ MORE

Keeping Cool

Posted almost 7 years ago by Holly

Activity produces extra heat within our bodies. Every cell is like a tiny engine, roaring away. The more you gun those little engines, the more heat you need to "give away" to the environment. Otherwise, you'll get burned by your own motor.

There are 4 ways warm-blooded creatures shed heat. One is by simply radiating heat to the environment. It's...

7 Ways You May Be Killing Your Dog

Posted almost 7 years ago by Holly

Provided you like the dog you have, you probably want it to live a long, full life in good health. You can't make them live forever, but here are some life-shortening risks that you CAN control.

1. Inferior Diet

You saw that one coming, didn't you? Low-quality and even outright toxic ingredients in commercial dog foods and treats will erode your dog's health. It might seem like cheap food is a bargain.... READ MORE

Therapy Dogs

Posted about 7 years ago by Holly

Do you wish you could share the joy your dog brings to you with others?

Both Redding and Chico have growing opportunities to certify and work as a therapy dog team. You and your dog can be trained, equipped, and insured by an organization specializing in therapy dogs. Dogs for this work must be very stable, almost fearless, and stranger-friendly. CGC or equivalent temperament testing is usually required, as well as training to accustom the dog to crowds of people, wheelchairs, crutches, hugs, loud noises, stairs, and elevators.

Working therapy dogs are not medical service or emotional supp... READ MORE

Obesity in Dogs

Posted about 7 years ago by Holly

Our inspiration for this article is the 2014 Westminster Dog Show's "Best in Breed" Labrador retriever. Her fat-rolls jiggle splendidly when she plumply trots. She is unable to maintain a jog for more than a few yards without panting from the effort.

"But that dog looks pretty normal," you exclaim. "I see Labs like that everywhere I go!"

That's no surprise, since it's estimated that over half of American dogs are overweight. Fat is the new "normal". I have completely surprised people when I gently mention that their dog is overweight. One friend said he h... READ MORE


Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

National Mutt Day is December 2! Its a great excuse to celebrate the marvelous genetic diversity of dogs.

Generally speaking, a mutt is the offspring of two dogs which do not relate to the same breed, as defined by a registry or standard. Breed registries are a fairly new invention, with the American Kennel Club being formed in 1884 and the United Kennel Club in 1898. Europe has breed registries as well from the 1800s.

These registries were created to formalize attempts to produce or maintain certain characteristics in a breed, such as color, coat, size, and temperament. Selective breeding enhances features like short noses in toy breeds, gameness or hunting ability in terriers, and herding instinct and agility in shepherds. One has a reasonable hope of ac... READ MORE


Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

A friend with several children related to me how they had gotten a 6-month-old Golden Retriever. Before long, the dog jumped up on the 5-year-old, knocked her to the ground, and scratched her face with a claw. The dog did this repeatedly, wantonly, even when the girl would begin crying, even after being clearly told "no". The dog was quickly returned to the shelter. He was clearly not a good dog and probably not a real Golden Retriever, because it's common knowledge that READ MORE

Senior Pets

Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month! It's a great time to 1. give our senior pets a loving pat on the head, 2. tell someone why older dogs are a great pet to adopt.

Frequently, puppies are brought into young families for the express purpose of being the kids' pal and teaching them responsibility and compassion. Ten years later, the kids leave for college and the dog is left without a purpose. Dogs who find a new family at...READ MORE

Halloween With Dogs

Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

TWO Halloween parties in Redding for Oct 26th

Fired Up Dogs Book

Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

Being the manager of a Belgian Malinois and a border collie mix, "Fired Up Frantic & Freaked Out" was right down my alley. Owners of aggressive, reactive, enthusiastic, and/or hysterical dogs will invariably tell you that their dogs have many wonderful features and talents. Relaxing and letting things go is just not part of their...READ MORE

French Ring Trials

Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

Lodi hosted the Bay Area Ring Club's French Ring Trial on Saturday. There were lots of beautiful Germans, Belgians, and Dutchies, plus some Cane Corsas, Dobermans, and a pit bull. The ringside bleachers were cheerful, filled with spectators and young sport dogs... READ MORE

When Dogs Get Lost

Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

his morning a little white dog was running up westbound Highway 44.
She took the Sundial Bridge exit, ran around the Convention Center and eventually made it under the chainlink gate into the Rodeo Grounds. Multiple people stopped to call, whistle, and coax her. I got my friendly dog out to greet and try to lure her in but after a quick nose touch, she was on her way again.... READ MORE

Responsible Dog Ownership

Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

According to the AKC, September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month! So give yourself a big pat on the back because probably, every dog owner believes they are a responsible (enough) owner.
But what is really “responsible” ownership? That's kind of what Shasta Dogs is all.... READ MORE

Butte County Fair Splash Dogs

Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

Chico hounds are elated that Splash Dogs is coming to the Butte County Fair! Thursday through Sunday the traveling dock will host veterans and new jumpers in practice and competitive jumps. These jumps typically draw competitors from Nevada, the Bay Area, and the coast. This event is also United Kennel Club sanctioned, meaning dogs who are UKC registered can earn a dock-jumping title.... READ MORE

Is a Pit Bull The Dog For Me?

Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

Are you considering a Pit Bull-type breed for your future dog? Maybe seeing so many in the shelter and knowing these dogs are first to be euthanized makes you want to save one? Before you leap into the world of bully dogs, there are things to take into consideration. READ MORE

Dog Destinations

Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

Shasta Dogs continues to expand and update the archives of Places to Go With Dogs!  The Shasta County destinations are filling in fast. Info on water-access, ticks, foxtails, leash/offleash, and other users is helpful when planning a trip with your dogs. Cooler mountain trails are great for summer!

Forcing their owners to exercise is probably the single most beneficial service modern American dogs perform. It's certainlyexpanded my horizons to find new places to take my indefatigable hounds. I even started mountain biking last winter, just to keep up with them!

Want to contribute? Send an e-mail or comment below about your favorite trail to take with dogs.

Temperament Testing

Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

A canine temperament test measures emotional resilience and adaptability. Several organizations provide a version of this kind of test and there are a number of reasons why a dog owner would shell out $20-50 for a temperament test. READ MORE

Warning Signs of a Dog Bite

Posted over 7 years ago by Holly

The following video illustrates what a cornered, anxious, and ready-to-snap dog looks like. If a dog owner ever tells you "Oh, he's fine, he loves kids" but you see

1. lip licking

2. looking & edging away

3. A dog positioned near FOOD of any kind

4. Muzzle-wrinkling show of teeth

5. Stiff, tense body

6. Air snaps or nipping at clothes

GET YOUR KID AWAY FROM THAT DOG. Every day, children are bitten by familiar, "he's friendly!" dogs, after MANY unheeded warning signs identical to those in this video. Anyone who says "It came out of the blue, no warning" is, like the maker of this video, a poor student of canine body language. WATCH VIDEO

Anderson River Park

Posted almost 8 years ago by Holly

A favorite for HOT evenings, Anderson River Park again hosted Shasta Dogs' weekly Distraction Proofing walk. This particular Friday there were an unusual number of herders! Two border collies, a border collie/lab, two Australian Shepherds, four other shepherd or cattledog types, a German..... READ MORE

Heartworm Article

Posted almost 8 years ago by Holly

Shasta Dogs thanks Brittany Nelms, PhD, of Lake County vector control for inspiration, information and photos! A practical article on dog heartworm lifecycle, prevention, safeguards, and low-cost resources is up at

Once you know your enemy, you can build your defenses!

Fire Safety

Posted almost 8 years ago by Holly

A few weeks ago, my Mom and I updated our annual fire-evacuation plans. Living in a rural area, we know from experience that when the fire department knocks on the door, there may be only minutes to throw our highest-priority items in the car. I would encourage everyone-- especially those in wildfire areas-- to give a few minutes thought to an evacuation plan. Here are some ideas for fire-safety READ MORE

Corning MondioRing Trials

Posted almost 8 years ago by Holly

I try not to pick favorites but here are a few reasons why MondioRing trials are more fun than AKC trials:

  • “Stand next to Batman” is a legit judge's direction
  • Heeling pattern goes through a carousel of huge, fluffy stuffed animals
  • Men in padded suits firing pistol blanks while being chased by a dog
  • Award plaque features 2-headed Cerberus dog
The “Carnival” themed trials in Corning this weekend were f...READ MORE

Dogathon 2013

Posted almost 8 years ago by Holly

A great time was had at Haven Humane's Dogathon in Redding June 8th, even though it was hotter than blazes. I put a rug in my dogs' crates and kept dumping ice on it throughout the day. They stayed a lot perkier than I did! Dock jumping was of course the popular event, letting the dogs fly off into the cool blue yonder. In some cases the dogs were swimming for numbered balls that corresponded to big prizes, a fun contest that was greatly enjoyed by spectators and participants. The Zippity Dog....READ MORE

Why the Chicken Crossed the Road

Posted almost 8 years ago by Holly

This is a fun, silly read but there is something to be learned from it, too. In each case, the trainer takes credit for the event based on his or her method. A trainer or owner can get a dog to behave as desired by a variety of means. The difference is in what side-effects the methods have. IMHO, if a dog presents with confidence, cheerfulness, and eagerness to cooperate with the handler, whatever method is being ....READ MORE

Dog Bite Prevention Week

Posted almost 8 years ago by Holly

Early stress signals from my dog are something I never want to take for granted. Sometimes it's inconvenient to accommodate what looks like a really, really dumb phobia. But taking 60 seconds to remove a dog to a safer environment is not nearly as inconvenient as field dressing and filing paperwork on dog bite. With May 19-26 being National Dog Bite Prevention Week, check out the new article on Preventing Dog Bites. There's a cool video at the end showing a whole series of clear canine signals preceding a painful-looking bite on a very famous person!

Friday Night Stroll @ Upper Middle Creek Trail

Posted almost 8 years ago by Holly

In 1892, the Ruggles Brothers robbed the stagecoach on Middle Creek Road, stealing $5,000 in gold coins. John and Charles Ruggles were soon found, jailed, and lynched in the town of Shasta but the loot was never found. Today you can walk that infamous route (newly graded and paved!), speculate which gully the robbers sprang from, and ponder where the gold might be hiding in the canyon below. The ....READ MORE

Shasta Splash Dogs Spring Splash 2013!

Posted almost 8 years ago by Holly

A HOT and beautiful Sunday at the pool! Lots of dogs made new personal best this weekend and there were some newbies doing their first official jumps.

The location was new for Splash Dogs: the parking lot of a small shopping center that is home to Happy Tails Barkery as well as Paws for a Cause, the thrift store of ResQ Animal Coalition. Between jumps I visited both of these establishments for my first time. I was pleasantly... READ MORE

Stock Dog Trial At Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Show

Posted almost 8 years ago by Holly

Yep, it's a bit redneck, but if you grew up in the country there's nothing like a night of watching dogs wrangling a bunch of cows up and down an arena while a guy on a horse flaps his arms and yells. Sometimes you cheer for the steers, sometimes for the dog, but either way, you're watching a 3-way battle of wills and basic instincts on a sophisticated playing field. The goal in a stock dog trial is to maneuver the animals through... READ MORE

Siskiyou Sled Dog Races 2013

Posted about 8 years ago by Holly

There was a dumpload of fresh snow on the north side of Mt Shasta for the 2013 Siskiyou Sled Dog Races. We took a firepit and wood, lots of snacks, and camp chairs. Got so comfy I didn't want to leave! Every half-hour or so a race started or contestants returned and we moseyed over to the starting line to watch the action. The mushers were from all over the western states. There was even a truck-load of dogs on their way to the Iditarod.
The energy at the starting line is palpable, with... READ MORE

Lure Coursing With Northstate Flyin Hounds

Posted about 8 years ago by Holly

It was the first time I had seen Salukis in person. Somehow I had caught wind of a lure-coursing trial, held by the Saluki Club of Greater San Francisco, in Redding, CA. What an experience!
Salukis are rather 2-dimensional, like cardboard cut-outs of dogs: beautifully conformed in length and height but negligible in width. You don't see many Salukis out and about, probably because their owners are tired of people asking “Don't you ever feed that poor dog?!” In public they are grave, composed, showing little reaction to anything ....READ MORE

Lake County MondioRing Trials

Posted about 8 years ago by Holly

A Mondioring trial in Lake County-- Dr. Seuss theme! What's not to love about a genuine Who from Whoville wearing a bitesuit getting taken down in front of an artificial Christmas tree?! Great job on the props, Competitive Canine. Note the handsome murals that somebody put a LOT of time into!

Leerburg-famous Michael Ellis was there, as well as some of his students. I believe his dog Shrike got a Mondio II title, despite having some difficulty deciding whether to guard the handler or escort the decoy away by the crotch.... READ MORE

Search & Rescue Dog Training

Posted about 8 years ago by Holly

A morning playing “hide-and-seek” with Shasta County search dogs! This was my stakeout spot, huddled under a camo tarp. It was a bit chilly! Even with a good GPS, it takes the searcher-team a long time to grid a 50-acre square on foot. It was so peaceful-- and I'd had to get up so early to get to Shingletown on time-- I fell asleep for most of it. Woke up when I heard the dog closing in!There's actually a science to how a scenting dog finds a....READ MORE