I started spinning on a homemade drop spindle when I was a teenager and was hooked. I just started spinning on my Ashford Traditional Double Drive spinning wheel again after many years. I was a complete self taught novice before and still am. I have bags and bags of dog hair from our two Great Pyrenees and Great Pyrenees/Husky. I really like to spin, but I make so many mistakes because the yarn just doesn't look right. Years ago, I decided to spin the hair dirty because we didn't have running water where we lived and I read somewhere that people do that. I am currently washing some more dirty spun fiber and will wash before spinning from now on!! Also my fiber is really kinky, like a spring now that it's plyed. I have been working on the tension on my wheel, but can't seem to get this right. Is this natural for a novice? Should I go back to the drop spindle? Should I tighten the drive even more than I have? Maybe I should take a class???
I know nothing about spinning dog hair so I have no opinion on that. But if you are unsure of yourself, and have a limited or finite amount of dog hair, don't use it to practice on. We get better in time by working on our craft. you are probably doing very well but you want to do better. A class may help you learn better technique or show you that you really are doing very well. There are books available that include at least a section on spinning pet hair and way back when I was getting Spin-off (mostly the 80's and 90's--I need to re-up now!) there were articles on it. Wool is sometimes better for a beginner because it is easy to spin, but don't assume you are doing something wrong, it all comes with practice and lots of patience. Sorry if this is a bit disjointed but you sound like a you are doing just what is natural and normal for a novice and are coming along GREAT.
Thank you for the words of encouragement! I put the dog hair away for a while. Well, actually, I washed some of it and it is drying. I got out a huge bag of natural fiber that I picked up for free a year ago or so. I carded some up and the fibers are very long compared to the dog hair. It is so much easier to spin!!! I think I will put the dog hair away for a while and practice on this. Thank you for that advice. By the way; my husband and I also took my spinning wheel apart, cleaned it up a bit and screwed it back together, tightening everything up as we went. That along with the longer fiber has made a huge difference.