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corvus

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About corvus

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    Resisting hysteria
  • Birthday 07/03/1983

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    http://www.creatureteacher.com.au

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    Female

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    NSW

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  1. There's no difference really between "naturally dominant" and "trying it on". Both of them don't necessarily explain what he is doing and why, though. Some individual dogs have a very proactive coping style, which means when they are stressed, they are likely to choose a strategy that involves actively taking on the stressor rather than passively avoiding it or tolerating it. I had a puppy 9 years ago that was doing this kind of thing. I worked to avoid eliciting those behaviours in the first place and also worked gently on improving his tolerance of the stimuli that provoked them. For him, a lot of it comes down to stress. Things worry him and he thinks he should do something about it. Encouraging him to choose more passive strategies and rewarding him for tolerating things has helped enormously. He's a dog that has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but I don't think that is why he was like this as a puppy.
  2. Hanrob

    Sorry, this is probably a bit late. I'm currently the senior trainer at Hanrob in Heathcote. Things are changing in the training space at least. I can't speak for the pet boarding side, really. It's probably no better or worse than most boarding kennels.
  3. Socialising a dog - daycare?

    My dogs in general walk calmly by other dogs except Kestrel, and Kestrel is the one that has had the least socialisation with other dogs out of the three of them. They can all also interact politely with strange dogs and all of them will play with unfamiliar dogs and I honestly find that not only gratifying but also useful and I believe it helps them a lot in coping with suburbia where they do meet a lot of dogs inevitably. Furthermore, my most social dog is an awesome stooge dog for work with reactive dogs, and can do close work like few dogs can. There is a lot to be said for stellar social skills, and dogs don't get those without direct experience to help them develop. I see dogs all the time that have had little to do with other dogs and over time this drove them to become fearful and anxious. It breaks my heart to see dogs that are afraid of their own kind for no reason other than that they just don't understand dogs well enough to be able to interact with them confidently. On the other side, I see dogs that are dog park regulars whose owners cannot walk them past other dogs because they so badly want to greet (very often staffy mixes!). Give me the latter any day of the week. It's usually easier to work on, and much HAPPIER dogs. There is a happy medium. I don't think a dog daycare is a terrible idea, but it depends on the individual dog. For some dogs, their social interactions really need to be carefully watched and managed to ensure they build the right kinds of experiences. Two of mine it would have been madness to send them. For other dogs, they are more resilient and a well run dog daycare can be a good environment for them to visit once or twice a week. My most social dog went to daycare twice a week for several months as a young dog. He adored it. He was always very excited to arrive and couldn't get in there fast enough. It did not turn him into a dog that loses his mind around other dogs, because guess what, I trained him.
  4. My dog ate a blue bottle

    One of my dogs once ate SO MANY bluebottles that she threw up and managed to give herself a taste aversion to them. All of my dogs have eaten them from time to time, but only the dried ones that have been on the beach for a while.
  5. Vet warns of Greyhound Adoption Risk

    Like I said, it's hard to know what is driving her comments at the moment. She should be prepared to quote numbers, even if they are educated estimates at best, but lots of people are not, and I'm not sure if anyone has asked her to. I'd like to know what's going on for real as well. Wait for another Four Corners report, I guess.
  6. interesting article

    Thing about dogs is I'm smarter than they are, and I have more tools at my disposal, and better foresight, and I'm more compassionate and empathetic, and much better at planning. Nature gave me those advantages, so I'm happy to use them and call that "natural". ;)
  7. Vet warns of Greyhound Adoption Risk

    I'm not sure exactly what Karen Dawson's experiences are with human-directed aggression and anxiety in ex-racers. Frankly, the industry has chewed her up and spat her out, and it's hard to know what is driving her comments. Whatever her stance and however right or wrong she is, no one deserves the sickening way she has been treated. That being said, what do you do? She's still seen a lot more ex-racing greyhounds than I have, for example, and seen them from more sources and regions. The industry isn't the same everywhere, and in the past perhaps there has been more self-selection occurring with the greyhounds that get sent for assessment with GAP than there is now that in NSW at least, it's a lot harder to euthanise a racing greyhounds than it used to be. So, I wouldn't comment, I guess. I don't know what the situation is. I haven't seen much evidence of human-directed aggression or anxiety from dogs I've seen at tracks or in training. That might be because it's not very common or it might be because they don't usually make it to the track, or maybe I have missed out on seeing a sizeable portion of the greyhound population.
  8. Vet warns of Greyhound Adoption Risk

    It's not "singling a breed out" to acknowledge or indeed warn that potentially dangerous decisions are being made about their management. I don't think many people appreciate what these dogs can be like. They may never have seen a small dog, but they have been trained to chase and grab things about the size of a small dog that are fluffy and make noises. They have been trained to do little else, and they have been so heavily conditioned to do it that often they are not able to think beyond doing it. I worry that many more people will appreciate this in the near future the way the industry is attempting to "address" their problems. It won't do greyhounds any favours, that is for sure.
  9. I'm not sure you can assert that it is something put forward by so many organisations when it hasn't even been stipulated what exactly this training looks like. As I said, Delta wants trainers to refer aggression cases. So, what training method are we talking about, exactly? The OP has vanished, so my guess is it was a pot stirring post and that's it.
  10. It is SO MUCH MORE complicated than "methods". A method could mean a broad approach of first do no harm, or it could be a specific training technique. Delta trains their students not to take on aggression cases at all. They are supposed to refer to a vet behaviourist. So first off, there is no "Delta method" for dealing with human-aggressive dogs. Whatever Delta-trained trainers are doing with them, they were not taught to do that by Delta. Secondly, dogs bite people sometimes, and sometimes that is a direct response to the training method and sometimes it's in spite of the training method. However, once a dog has bitten someone, no trainer can truly claim to be able to fix that dog so it will never do that again. That's just not how behaviour works. It is rare for an animal to try a strategy once and never ever try it again. This is particularly the case with aggressive behaviour, because usually animals that are expressing it are in a state of extremely high arousal, and/or other options do not appear available to them. That may be just their perception or it may be reality. Whatever the case, aggression is often effective - it makes people and other dogs back off. And you are playing with fire if you don't back off. If they really want to hurt you and feel like they need to, you will end up in hospital. Any trainer that claims they can fix this so that it never occurs again are either ignorant or dishonest. We have no business making those promises. It just depends so much on so many other factors. Thirdly, people with dogs that display problem behaviours like this are usually chasing that last 1%. Or the last 5%. Or the last 0.05%. It doesn't matter what methods they use, unless they can either successfully counter-condition or desensitise the dog to every single potential trigger in every single combination with every single potentially contributing factor (pain, a run of perceived failures, frustration, stress... I could go on all day) or they can control the environment sufficiently that the perfect storm will never arise, there is a risk the behaviour will occur again. As our training takes hold, it gets harder to train for those last triggering scenarios. Sometimes you manage it and a new triggering scenario arises. Sometimes you have a dog that is just that kind of dog and there is always going to be something. I've known dogs that went years and years without showing the problem behaviour and then one day, the planets aligned and there it was again. Lastly, behavioural medication can be a critical part of treatment. The goal is not usually sedation. I don't know where you are getting your information about dosage, but it would be extremely irresponsible for a vet to prescribe medication at a dose that is high enough to risk the health of the dog. In fact, it could result in them losing their licence to practice if it is not justifiable. I have a dog on long-term behavioural medication, because he is a happier dog on it. It sure made training him easier. In fact, these drugs absolutely are indicated for aggression. What is contraindicated is punitive training approaches. The reason why is the risk involved. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't and sometimes it makes the dog worse. Trainers that use these methods always argue about the risk, because they judge it to be very low. Personally, I would rather not take that risk if I don't have to, and I very rarely feel that it's necessary.
  11. I hate contacting breeders. Some are lovely, some never respond, some are wildly unhelpful, and some are rude and condescending. Rescue is the same. Given I always compose an e-mail that is polite and details what I am looking for in a dog and asks if their breed/rescue dog might suit me, I have little idea what is likely to trigger someone to be unpleasant. So, the uncertainty makes me anxious. Looking for a dog is an emotional thing. Sometimes even a polite "the dog you are interested in has already found a home" is a bit painful, especially when it's the 15th answer you've got like that.
  12. Back car seat cover

    Our Backseat Buddy only lasted about 4 years. We currently have one from a brand I can't remember. It has non-slip backing and tabs that get shoved between the bench and backrest cushions to keep it in place. It is quite good.
  13. APDT are running a science symposium at the University of Sydney, June 2nd. This is a book launch event for my book! It is aimed at lay people and dog enthusiasts, but there should be something in there for everyone. Join us for a day of presentations & workshops inspired to help you better understand your canine companion. Topics covered will include: Recognizing normal dog behaviour Optimism in dogs Oxytocin in dogs and humans Effects of age-at-castration on dog behaviour Expectations of dog adopters Factors that influence working dog success Working breeds as happy pets How arousal and affective state affect training How does good dogmanship make dogs happy? For more information and to book: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=367512&
  14. VIC Greyhounds unmuzzled

    The greyhound industry needs to address their socialisation practices as a priority. To me, this is putting the cart before the horse, and I hope it doesn't prove costly for people's small animals. Assessing greyhounds for predatory behaviour is a curly issue, and evidence for the efficacy of assessments is pretty thin on the ground AFAIK.
  15. Japanese Spitz Breeds

    As a total sucker for grown-up spitz breeds of which several originated in Japan, I appreciate the appeal. However, I would not get one of these breeds for a suburban home, and doubly not if my lifestyle involved a lot of being out and about in public with the dog. Reason why is that many of these dogs are reserved. They are not unfriendly exactly, but they don't want to be friends with everyone, and out and about in suburbia, that is really hard to manage. I know, because I have two dogs that are not really ideal for suburbia. They take work. Will they hike with me? Absolutely. It's their favourite thing. They like the beach. But dog parks... not so much. The neighbourhood's friendly labradors and staffies? Nope. Kids running around screaming in the park? Er... They will need some distance to handle that. My Finnish lapphund, though, is an ideal suburban dog. As long as you don't mind the coat. He will certainly come hiking with us, for hours. Not much for running or swimming, but he loves everyone and he's really hard to unsettle. Friends with any stranger. He's fine off leash. It takes a bit of work to keep him responsive with strong recalls, but not as hard as it is with my podengo. I'd also go for a Samoyed, and I'd consider a Japanese spitz. I'd be careful with Finnish spitz, though. That is a hunting breed. I have only met one and she was not an easy dog. Buhund would be worth checking out if there is a litter coming up. I have a vallhund, and I don't think they are an easy suburban dog. Quite doable, but you have to appreciate they are a cattle driving breed first and foremost. Shikoku are gorgeous, but they are serious, grown-up dogs. I wouldn't consider it unless I lived in a quiet area. The more time I spend in suburbia with highly strung or not massively sociable dogs, the more I promise myself my next dog will be hyper-sociable. It comes with its own challenges (not everyone wants a dog on their head), but much easier on the dog day-to-day, and so much easier to manage.
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