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About corvus

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    Resisting hysteria
  • Birthday 07/03/83

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  1. My first dog at age 13 was a corgi. Worked out fantastic. She was a great dog. I think shelties are not all that active in the scheme of things. I would tend to avoid a heavy coat. It's easy for it to get ugly if you don't stay on top of it pretty religiously. If she wants to stick with a full coat, I'd suggest start with a smaller dog. A large, fluffy dog is significantly more work than a small fluffy dog. If you want to go for an adult dog and/or a rescue, I'd pay for a behaviourist to assess the dog before you commit. They can't foresee everything, but they might see more than you do.
  2. Teen Pup Behaviour

    You are probably right that it is a stage she is going through. I also go and check for them. They are alerting after all, so it seems fair to honour them. But, if barking continues after I checked, I go out and warn ("enough of that or you'll have to come inside" - probably means hardly anything to them), if I have to come out a third time, they go inside. They do get a treat for coming inside sometimes, so I'm not left chasing them around the pool. They are smart. It's not exactly meant to be a penalty, but it may be sometimes. It's also worthwhile to sit outside with the dog for a while with some treats on hand. When there's a noise, call them in before they start barking and give them a treat. I have also had success with calling them in after one bark volley, reward, then get them to lie down on a bed, reward again. You can easily deal with them learning to bark to get called in by not paying them twice for the same thing. And then pay them periodically for staying on their bed. They learn the bed is more reinforcing.
  3. Puppy aggression towards younger puppies

    I'm in southern Sydney, or you can catch up with me at USyd in Camperdown on occasion. I have had some Japanese Spitz clients, actually. All different. I think while you're deciding on a behaviourist, try to stay calm if you miss getting him on leash in time and he snaps. Get him in hand as quickly as possible, apologise to the puppy's owner, move him away from the puppy, block the puppy if it keeps trying to come back. Once the puppy is gone, take a few moments to take some deep breaths yourself and give your dog a rub to help him calm down. It's already too late for him to learn much about how he should handle these situations, so you may as well concentrate on reconnecting with him and ensuring you are both calm enough to continue your walk. The inconsistency in his responses suggests that maybe he is not exactly sure of himself. I usually treat this kind of thing by teaching them a coping behaviour or three they can fall back on when they have suddenly decided they don't want to engage. The trick is to get them to tell you when they are not in the mood. The Look At That game from Leslie McDevitt is my favourite, but others can be useful as well. My anxious dude comes and walks between my ankles when he's not keen on interacting with another dog. He can be quite fickle and some days he is friendly and some days he just wants to avoid it all. So, if he pops himself between my ankles, I know he'd probably rather not engage, and I can help him achieve that without him snapping.
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  5. Puppy aggression towards younger puppies

    I think you should get some savvy eyes on this dog. Sometimes dogs pick on easy targets because they can. It doesn't mean that they are being brats or that they're mean or lacking respect or any other of the labels we tend to put on them through our own lens of human values. Most of the time they are uncomfortable around many dogs, and they only show it overtly where it is "safe" for them to. It's not an uncommon pattern in my experience. Usually it's smaller and/or younger dogs that are targeted, but the dog often shows subtle signs of anxiety and conflict around bigger or older dogs as well. Dog owners miss them because they are very small signals. My first suspicion would be that this dog possibly doesn't love other dogs except for puppies. Another possibility is that he does at the moment, but what puppies do that trigger some dogs, older dogs sometimes do as well. If a puppy is triggering it at this age, it is probably going to spread to other dogs, even if you keep him away from puppies. So, get someone to check it out and figure out why he is doing this. There's a good chance you will be able to manage him safely and minimise the expression of this behaviour in future if you know what the function of it is.
  6. Puppy to Dog interaction

    I think it's totally normal for an alert working dog of that age. If it's any reassurance, my podengo only really started to move away from this same unpredictable business at about 14 months old. From about 7-14 months, it was just train the dog you have in front of you now. She was inconsistent and extremely emotionally reactive sometimes, and I was never really sure what dog I was going to be walking when I left the house. We have been doing flyball for most of that time, and when I was asked how she was doing and where she was at, most of the time I was like "Eh, who knows what she's doing and where she's at. Let's find out and go from there." It's wearing at times, but you've got to get your zen on and wait for them to grow a grown-up brain. She is nearly 2, now, and we still have bumpy ones, just fewer of them. She still fires up at dogs if they surprise her sometimes, but other times she handles it. She's just learning. She is a super alert, proactive little girl, and she has a lot to learn about what is okay and what is truly worrying and what she can do about it. The big switch at about 14 months was a relief. Suddenly she could do a bunch of stuff I'd been trying for months to get her doing. There was a very noticeable change in her ability to think through arousal. One day she just couldn't and seemingly the next day she could.
  7. Puppy to Dog interaction

    My theory is they are eager to interact because they have so much to learn. They know the basics from early life, but lots of dogs have all different kinds of preferred signals and interaction styles. They kind of have to do it to learn it, because interactions are dynamic and they need to have a good understanding of how their behaviour affects outcomes. Aiming for moderate arousal is a good idea, because it enables them to be more aware of the smaller signals dogs might be giving them. Lots of dogs that habitually have only high-arousal interactions with other dogs end up proactively defensive, because they trigger disciplinary action but don't know when or why because they were too excited to see the warning signs. If they can't predict when they will get in trouble, they become anxious and tend to strike out before the other dog can get offended. I see this A LOT, and the pattern looks like a dog that is interested in other dogs and may even be eager to greet, but about 3 seconds into the greeting, they tense up and snap at the other dog. Owners are bewildered. Why does the dog try to greet and then snap? Probably because they are anticipating trouble but don't understand how to avert it. I would stick to the 3-second greetings, but let her return to the dog if the opportunity is there. Chances are, she's not really done after 3-seconds. Leaving her in a state where she barely got started all the time may lead to frustration and feed the arousal issue. My youngster gets pretty conflicted about other dogs, but likes to greet. I let her greet if she is not barking and pulling, and if we have the luxury, I encourage her to come back to me, cuddles and treats, then let her return to the dog for another go, then call her back again, more cuddles, back to the dog... Until she is happy to move on and is not looking over her shoulder or trying to walk backwards.
  8. Puppy to Dog interaction

    A lot of young dogs have a fierce need to interact with other dogs. It usually settles down when they hit social maturity, but I have met some dogs for whom it did not, and usually the reason why is unusual levels of frustration, either from deprivation (the dog has not had their social needs met as a youngster and has come to be crazy frustrated about always missing out) or from an expectation of crazy full-on fun (e.g. dog park regulars). For frustrated greeters, I usually concentrate on reducing the frustration of not getting to greet by having the handler provide plenty of engagement and reinforcers so the dog learns that missing out on greeting is not horrific.
  9. Adventures with your dog?

    She says the bush is her natural habitat. She is incredibly light on her feet. The rougher the terrain, the more of her dust we all get to eat. I got her to be my trail running pal, and she LOVES trail running. She seems to think 6-7km/hr is the ideal speed to explore at.
  10. Adventures with your dog?

    Just the usual bush and beach weekly adventures, here. ;)
  11. Little Dogs and Bones

    On the plus side, a big bone for a little dog is a whole body workout.
  12. Little Dogs and Bones

    It's a cow shin bone. Butchers want to cut them for us, but I always say no. If they want marrow, they will have to work for it like nature intended. Kestrel can make a dent in these bones, but it takes her a long time. The bigger dogs have more jaw strength and make faster progress. Kestrel's favourite are pig trotters. We have to get them cut in half for her, but she can get through it. She also gets lamb breast, bits of chicken marylands, and parts of duck necks. And the odd lamb shank. She can handle anything the big dogs can, just takes her longer.
  13. Little Dogs and Bones

    Kestrel gets whatever the big dogs get. She just usually gets smaller portions. Except for recreation bones. If she wants a giant bone half the size of herself, that's okay.
  14. Oh, the trackers are designed to be attached to a backpack, but they are tiny. About the size of a small pedometer. You could attach one to even a very small dog's collar if they can wear a collar on the job.
  15. Some folks in our lab put GPS trackers on working stock dogs and got records of over 70km some days. Kinda puts things in perspective. We have a bunch of quite cheap data trackers designed for wearing on a backpack during travels to keep track of where you go. They are small and easy to attach, and you don't need to subscribe to anything. Someone gave us a Fitbark I tried out for a while, but you have to calibrate them to get distance.