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About corvus

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    Resisting hysteria
  • Birthday 07/03/1983

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  1. Some dogs are torn about fetch. They love to chase, but they also want to possess the toy, so when you ask them to bring it back to you, you are putting them in an impossible state of conflict. They can't both possess the toy and also give it to you for another round of chase-the-toy. Some dogs will endlessly bring it and then drop it and then pounce on it as soon as you move to pick it up. You can help them out by making the decision easier. If you have several toys that are the same, then you can shape her to bring the toy she has closer and closer to you by throwing another toy as the reward. You will do a bit of leg work at first to keep yourself stocked with toys, and she may at first take her toy with her when she chases the second one and get all conflicted about which one to pick up. She should figure out that she can just focus on one toy, and she is not going to notice when you pick up the one she dropped, so she doesn't get the sense she is losing possession of a valued resource. She gave it up and got another one instead. Keep the toy tosses fast to keep her moving and pretty soon she will probably stop stressing so much about bringing it to you.
  2. Confused new dog owner

    Most likely, the reason why he is doing it is because learning history. He is getting something out of it that he wants. It is hard to say what that is without knowing how this developed, but you can figure out a lot by looking at what happens as a result. You said he jumped on the GR and she went away. I would bet, that is your answer right there. For whatever reason, he wanted her to go away, and he achieved that. If you start from there, along with the principle that the more he practices a behaviour, the more he will do it in future, then it should be clear what you need to do. Prevent him from doing what you don't want to, preferably with a leash or avoiding those situations. Encourage him to do something you want him to in those situations instead, like coming to you when called. Make the latter very worth his while. He should get what he wants (away from the GR), plus an additional reward (e.g. food). It will be most effective if he doesn't perform the behaviour at all - i.e. you call him away before he does something you don't want him to.
  3. If he has recently had an altercation through that very fence with another dog acting aggressively, maybe he responded to the context more than anything. It may well be a one-off.
  4. Supposedly it can take up to 8 weeks to see the effects of the medication. Anecdotally, it seems 3-4 is common.
  5. My dog was like that for about the first 4 weeks of being on fluoxetine. It took several months for him to fully return to his usual bright and perky self (but without the insanity). I understand that is an unusually long time. It was worth it, though. He has responded well to it and is a much happier dog.
  6. Karen Riddell at Spot Dog might be worthwhile checking out: https://www.facebook.com/Spotdogtraining/ It's not necessarily that she sees "sucker", it's just that the signal isn't clear and nor are the consequences. Often people that try to talk their dog into doing something are giving a lot of signals all at once and most of them are meaningless. A puppy has to try to sift through them all to find something meaningful. With a short attention span and no quick and clear consequences forthcoming, they don't learn what the meaningful signal is. They just do what they like. They usually turn out to be perfectly cooperative once they know what they are being asked and that they will get good things when they do it.
  7. Soft doesn't have to mean a pushover. And opportunistic puppies aren't necessarily disrespectful. Learning theory doesn't need to be applied firmly, just consistently.
  8. Hard decision, biting dog. *Updated*

    I'm a bit confused. You said that the times she has bitten recently, it has all been people she knew. My response to this is to think maybe she is most expressive with those she already knows, because she trusts them more. It wouldn't be uncommon for a dog's fear to suppress aggressive responses. In other words, she is too scared of strangers to aggress towards them. However, you seem to be suggesting this is part of a bigger problem. Like any time someone comes, her responses have become more extreme in recent times, and she is not coping with them being there. If I have understood correctly, my first guess would be that the visitors stress her out, and she is most likely to express this where she is least suppressed by fear - i.e. with familiar people. But, it doesn't entirely fit the pattern. I would expect the aggression to come out when the upsetting stimulus was present. So, that would suggest she is not okay with these familiar people being near her, either. Which would prompt me to consider she is in pain. If she's not, then it sounds like she is becoming sensitised, which is undoable, but you probably need to do some detective work to identify why it happened in the first place. I'm getting the feeling this is complicated.
  9. Hard decision, biting dog. *Updated*

    Can you set up a pen for her in an area where you spend a lot of time so she can be with you but also physically prevented from doing anyone any harm? If you pay her for going in every single time, there is a good chance she will continue to go in on her own. I would talk to your vet about some behavioural medication. You could try crowdfunding a vet behaviourist visit. I would support you.
  10. So worried about snakes!!

    Snake avoidance is an interesting topic. I would like to tackle it practically in the future, but seem to be forever planning to launch projects and I only have time to launch about a fifth of them. This one is high on my list, though! Particularly because I am trail running all year 'round with a small, highly alert dog that chases critters. Recalls have served us well with dogs and snakes in the past, but we live in fear of the day we don't see the snake in time. I don't really trust any of the current methods used by most trainers, whether they are aversive or positive reinforcement-based. I question if you can learn to avoid something without the appropriate negative emotional state associated with a noxious stimulus. Having said that, I would not go down the route of snake = shock, either. It is crude and risky IMO. I have one dog at least who I suspect I could transform from curious about snakes to actively attacking snakes with that approach. He's a cattle driving dog. His solution to things he doesn't like is to drive them away. Often with his teeth. I think for avoidance training to be humane, the animal should be first set up with the skills to turn an aversive stimulus off. That way, we hopefully retain a thinking animal once the snakes are brought out. That should minimise incorrect associations, avoid panicked responses, and give us plenty to positively reinforce and a dog that knows what they are doing and why.
  11. Yeah, I would not be walking into a situation where I knew a dog was likely to bite me. Er, it hurts! And if for some reason he escalates, he can do you serious damage, more than just bruises. It's also scary as hell being around a dog that might at any time bite you. If your friend wants you to give him another chance, she has to make absolutely sure he cannot bite you. A leash at a minimum. I ask for barriers when I visit a dog with a bite history. I want a door or fence between me and it, thanks. And I want there to be a leash as well if door or gate is going to be opened. I don't want him rushing through people's legs to get to me. I explain that it's not good for anyone if the dog bites me. I don't want to be bitten because it bloody hurts, but I also don't want their dog to practice that behaviour anyway. I don't want to be the one that provokes them that far. And I don't want them to see their dog hurt someone. I would encourage you not to interact with this dog. It is too hard to say how it might go. Sometimes a treat and retreat game can win a leery dog over, but then again, sometimes it seems to make dogs more aroused and more eager to try to control you, which might make them even worse.
  12. Thoughts on Aggression

    IME with Northern breeds, you do best gaining their willing cooperation. Working with them rather than trying to be the boss. It is the same with my podengo as well. Their cooperation should not be taken for granted. They will give it to you if you make it worth their while, and that is just the kind of creatures they are. It's why I like working with them so much. They don't just do it because you told them, unless they are humouring you. You have to work to make it something they want to do, and if you do that enough, they become reasonably reliable. Barring spitz moments.
  13. Thoughts on Aggression

    Oh my goodness, people. Aggression towards humans is certainly very serious, but this is a dog's life you are deciding OVER THE INTERNET without even laying eyes on it is somehow forfeit purely because he dares to tell his humans he wants none of it. I kind of hoped we are a little more enlightened these days than "dog bites human = dog dead". Just for the record, one of my dogs bit me once. 7 years ago. I did not put him to sleep because he told me something with his teeth. I bloody listened to him. He didn't bite me again. The trigger for that bite occurs frequently and no longer triggers him to bite. These things can be turned around, but you have the best chances of doing so if you get PROFESSIONAL help EARLY. The biggest issue I find with people having dogs that may injure other people or dogs is managing these dogs so that everyone is safe. It is not easy sometimes, but if it can be done, we have a good argument for attempting to change the dog's behaviour long-term. We do that by understanding what the dog is trying to achieve with their aggression. Aggression is functional after all. They aggress because it is working for them in some way. Believe me when I tell you, it is extremely rare for the function of aggression to be asserting dominance. Much more likely that the dog is buying space, trying to prevent something he doesn't like occurring, or trying to control stimuli he is nervous about. It is highly irresponsible to advise someone on how to treat an aggressive dog without qualifications and experience to support that advice. You could genuinely make it worse, and if they felt like suing you as a result, and you have no insurance, you could be in a world of trouble.
  14. Poo bags and plastic waste

    I was told that they should be good for 2 hours at least. I can vouch for that. They are annoyingly difficult to detach from a roll, but I can live with it. I got sent some samples when I asked about them. The first sample never showed up, and I was going to leave it at that given one of my flyball team mates had been using them and assured me they were perfectly practical, but Bruce followed up by e-mail and sent me another sample. Can't fault his customer service.
  15. Poo bags and plastic waste

    We use the Oh Crap PVA ones. Seems a lot better to me than "biodegradable" bags that actually break down into plastic soup. Tried some other brand, which I think may have been corn-based, and they biodegraded right in my hand. Thanks, but no thanks.