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About corvus

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    Resisting hysteria
  • Birthday 07/03/83

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  1. If we're sharing videos... :D You can kinda see how hunds differ from a primitive flushing hound, but most of the video I have of Kestrel is on the trail because you can't see her otherwise. She doesn't go far, but she has a lot of stuff to do. She is like my friend's tekel (working mini dachshund). Gets down to business bouncing around to see what they can find. We find she doesn't follow through particularly. If she flushes a bird and it flies over her head, she runs after it, but seems more interested in running back to where it came from to see if she can flush more.
  2. As I mentioned, I don't have breeds that are known to be handler sensitive, and that's because I tend to be loudly expressive sometimes. I like a lot about some of the traditional herding breeds, but the intensity and pressure sensitivity are a turnoff for me because I know it clashes with my personality. I would have to work on myself as well as the dog. Easier to work on just one! Most sighthounds I meet are not in the habit of creating opportunities. They are plenty smart, but not terribly active or motivated, which makes them pretty easy to live with. If you can motivate them, they learn easily, but they are not as easily motivated as other breeds. What we often love about working breeds is that it is very easy to motivate them. They will work for all kinds of things, and throw themselves into it, and they do tend to look for opportunities. I guess the thing is it's hard to turn on or off parts of a dog's nature. So, if they are difficult to motivate, they might be easy to live with, but hard to train. If they are easy to motivate, they might be easy to train, but not so easy when they are not training, because they don't turn it off just because you're not harnessing it anymore. Dogs with anxiety disorders are hard to place anywhere. They don't act in ways that necessarily make a lot of sense in the first place. You can really see the difference when you work with dogs that have problems they have learned and that's it, and dogs that have problems that are related to all kinds of bigger problems with their emotional lives. The former are a pretty smooth ride and respond quickly and usually predictably. The latter are nearly always complicated and take a long time and suffer sudden and inexplicable setbacks and just when you think you are getting somewhere, they stall completely or a whole new problem appears.
  3. I don't think any one trait equals easy on its own. I am finding the podengo pretty challenging. She is reasonably biddable, but that doesn't equal easy, either. It's the combination of traits that is the killer. Any one on its own is manageable, but all together and I have my hands well and truly full. I don't have dogs that react poorly to my emotional state, thankfully. That is by design! I do have dogs that notice EVERYTHING and have an opinion about it. That is hard work. The podengo reacts very strongly to stuff. It has taken a good while for her to settle down and mature enough to work without spinning off into frenetic activity. You can't fault her enthusiasm, but wow, trying to harness it is not easy.
  4. Some traits and combinations thereof are certainly more challenging than others. And yes, smart dogs... you had better know what you are doing! They will get ahead of you and suddenly they are running the show if you don't take careful control of their learning. Super smart dogs will learn things dogs are not meant to learn. I have two of them. They make connections that other dogs do not, particularly to get attention, and it ends up being a problem I have to train around. They are crazy fun and addictive, though, and I don't know how I could ever live without a super smart dog, now. Impulsivity can also be very hard to deal with if you are not sure of yourself. Some dogs do need to be actively taught impulse control, and you can expect to fight their nature to be grabby and demanding unless you know how to manage it. Or maybe you will fight it even if you do know how to manage it... Proactive coping styles are also very difficult to overcome and can produce some real challenging behaviour. I have two of those as well. When something bothers them, they tend to rush towards it and try to actively engage it. OMG, it can be so problematic and takes a lot of consistency and being able to pre-empt them to get on top of it. My youngest is proactive as hell, extremely alert, AND independent. Cue charging off into the distance. It has taken so much work and management to put a lid on this natural urge and get some thinking happening. Persistence is the other one that can be tough if you're not prepared. Great if you like to do lots of training, but persistent dogs can and will outlast you and just keep at it trying to get what they want until you give in. You have to learn to pick your battles and manage the environment to work in your favour. And recognise when you're going to lose and act fast. The absolute most challenging dogs I have worked with have been outrageously smart, impulsive, optimistic, persistent, and crazy switched on to everything going on around them. They find ways to get what they want. They work out all the times you are not very attentive to them and exploit it. I once had a client whose dog had worked out if he chewed on the wall, he would get attention. What do you do? He's wrecking the house. You have to stop him. I have been in a similar situation with one of my dogs, who found out if he chased kids, I would call him. He likes being called. Ergo, he started chasing kids. Likewise, he learned if he scrapes his paw across a power board, someone will instantly react to him. Takes some creative management sometimes to sort it out. Easy dogs are the not super bright ones that tend to be low arousal, and a little bit risk averse, and not at all emotionally reactive. They are socially very tolerant, tend to have a soft mouth, and don't need a lot of exercise or mental stimulation to be happy. I keep saying that the next time I pick a dog, it WILL be the slightly timid, left-pawed, pessimistic, kind of boring dog in the litter that hardly seems to notice life going on around them. I seem to get sucked in by spunky little tigers with huge opinions every time.
  5. One of my dogs has been on behavioural medication for generalised anxiety disorder for about 4 years, now. He's a troubled soul, but between medication, management and training, he is a happy troubled soul. He still stresses about a lot of stuff that other dogs don't worry much about, and he finds it hard to calm himself and adapt to new situations. But, he is so much happier on the medication. It helps him control his arousal and he is better able to relax and sleep normally. Just being able to sleep instead of constantly up and down checking on things and barking at things makes a huge difference to his wellbeing.
  6. Like, genuinely don't enjoy walking? I get prefer to be doing something else, but I've met a lot of dogs for whom walking on leash can be quite frustrating and/or anxiety inducing that still give every indication of wanting to go for a walk. The only dogs I've ever worked with that genuinely did not enjoy going for walks were dogs with chronic anxiety disorders. I have seen plenty of dogs kind of rolling their eyes because on leash walks are so tedious and slow, but if you asked them if they would choose a slow and tedious walk or no walk, I'm guessing they would choose slow and tedious. It's not just about the exercise or the nature of the activity. It's also about going somewhere with the humans. They tend to be pretty optimistic about how that is going to turn out.
  7. Incidentally, the picture of the three dogs in my avatar has her staring into the distance. No doubt, she is wondering why we are still sitting here taking photos. She is not super keen on sitting still when there is so much world to be explored, on leash or off. She does it because I pay her pretty well, but she would rather be moving.
  8. I can appreciate the dog that just gets involved in their environment and forgets about the leash. I'm pretty sure to get Kestrel not to do that, I would have to be quite vigilant. It's in her nature to zigzag and explore and follow her nose. But, I do practise calling her in for a treat or a quick trick and release every now and then. My goal is not to be more interesting to her than the environment. I mean, if it were either of my herding breeds, yes, that is a reasonable goal. But this is a primitive flushing hound. I am never going to be more interesting to her than the environment. My goal is just to balance her responsiveness to me with her responsiveness to the environment so that when I need her attention, I can get it promptly. It's not easy with her, as she wasn't really bred for it. However, with about a year or so of hard work, she does actually actively engage us while out on walks sometimes, and that is super exciting given how hard we had to work to get it. That balance where she can go chase birds and bounce around in the bush and also come back when called and do a few tricks and learn to back up onto a log is what I am after. She doesn't need to think I'm everything, or even the best thing there is. She just needs to think I'm a good bet. The more she thinks of me as a good bet, the more leverage I have with her.
  9. I get that some dogs don't like walks. I was just curious about what exactly they didn't like about it. Kestrel is pretty similar if she's off leash, but a lot smaller, so I guess not so fast and doesn't cover as much ground, and obviously can't pull as hard when she does get going on leash. She also settles in to our foot speed without too much trouble most of the time. I kind of think of her breed as an all-rounder, which I suppose means she is not fixated on any one sense or behavioural pattern. She tends to get very aroused about bounding around in the bush, most especially if she finds birds or some other animal. I'm not sure how long she would do it for, because we have never seen her voluntarily stop. I can run take her for a 2 hour trail run and she is begging to go on yet another trail at the end. She would certainly prefer to be off leash, far more than the hunds do. She'll take on leash without complaint as long as we are moving, though.
  10. Really? Why not? Thinking of my podengo, who I guess is another flushing breed. She is so little that pulling on leash can sometimes be overlooked, but she has been trained to walk on a loose leash anyway. Sometimes (okay, frequently) she gets carried away following a scent or exploring and she starts pulling. We stop and wait until she remembers her leash manners and sits, which does not usually take long. She LOVES walks. She likes to be off leash best, and trail runs are her absolute favourite, but she will take any outing in any form.
  11. Dogs that don't inherently want to stay within coo-ee can be trained to. My podengo is enormously excited by exploring and novelty. As in, she won't get in the car at the end of an hour long walk because she's not done yet. She is perpetually trying to convince us to go a little farther with her, even when we've just run 13km on bush trails and you'd think she might be ready to go home. It has taken a fair bit of work to get her interested in hanging around and seeing what we are doing. Lots of reinforcing check-ins, prompting them if need be. More importantly, effort needs to be made to show her it is really worthwhile sticking around until dismissed. That means spending a good 30s+ actively engaging her and giving her lots of opportunities for easy reinforcement before releasing her. The release is important as well. They get used to waiting for it if you try to make sure you always release them before they release themselves.
  12. If you feel like you need to punish a behaviour, an e-collar is a powerful tool that can be used with a finesse that is beyond really any other form of punishment. I wouldn't judge a trainer for deciding they need one, but it's extremely unprofessional to sell them to clients in a state (e.g. NSW) where they are actually illegal to use. Whether they ought to be illegal to use is another issue entirely.
  13. Corgi. One with rubbish driving instincts. ;) Tibetan terriers are a nice sized dog that's pretty fun.
  14. Positive Puppies is in your area: Also Domineque at The Dog Brigade:
  15. This is classic herding dog behaviour, but herding dogs will revert to herding behaviours whenever they are uncomfortable. Trying to control things that scare them is a great way for a herding dog to feel more secure. If H goes still, there is a reasonable chance he is reinforcing this behaviour, because it's supposed to stop movement. Driving from behind is also a behaviour that is supposed to control movement, but this time move rather than stop. As such, this is getting tricky. If H doesn't stop, the dog escalates. Every chance the dog will escalate to something overtly aggressive. Jumping up is pretty confrontational in this context. If H does stop, he likely reinforces the behaviour, so there's no winning with those two options. The way might be for H to de-escalate (e.g. slow down), and someone diverts the dog. You have a behaviourist, right? I'm pretty uncomfortable with how this is shaping up online. Think you need a good behaviourist to work on strategies to lever the dog gently out of this behaviour pattern. Pre-empting it is absolutely key. Every time the dog is triggered but DOESN'T start this problematic behaviour pattern and everything turns out all right anyway, he's learning that another behaviour works just as well and is less confrontational. Most dogs prefer that, but instincts are hard to train away from. I actually would hold off on desexing. There is increasing evidence that desexed dogs are MORE fearful and aggressive than entire dogs.